May 27, 2013

New Rifle - SKS M59/66

Just last week, I picked up a new military surplus rifle; a Yugoslavian made SKS M59/66. This is a soviet designed semiautomatic rifle chambered in 7.62X39mm. It holds ten rounds which can be fed individually or by means of a stripper clip. This Yugoslavian version of the rifle, features a grenade launcher at the muzzle and a folding ladder-sight for use when firing grenades. A special blank must be chambered by hand and fired to propel the grenade. What’s neat is that when you raise the ladder sight for the grenade launcher, the gas port to the gas chamber is blocked which prevents a round from the magazine from being auto-loaded, making the rifle, basically single-shot for the purpose of firing grenades. Clever; safe. This SKS was used extensively by the Soviets until it was replaced largely, by the AK-47 in the early 1950s and became a secondary rifle, although they are still used for ceremonies today. Based on the serial number of my rifle, I was able to determine that it was made in 1966, dipped in Cosmoline and preserved ever since. I am eager to get this rifle to the range, after having spent a lot of time working to remove the Cosmoline today. What is Cosmoline? Besides being a pain in the ass to remove, it is a wax-like rust preventative used for storage and preservation of firearms. Let me tell you; when they dip these rifles in Cosmoline, ite gets EVERYWHERE. The entire gas chamber and barrel was packed full. When I first pulled the action back at the gun shop, it gulped and sputtered as air and Cosmoline worked against my efforts. I could barely pull it back. Although today’s Cosmoline removal was a minor pain in the ass, it really wasn’t too bad and does not deter me from buying other neat “mil-surp” rifles ( I have my eye on the Mosin-Nagant). You basically just soak your disassembled rifle in mineral spirits.  Needless to say, it is very important to remove all of the Cosmoline from the rifle, or else you run the risk of seriously injuring yourself or others at the range.

As you can see in these photos, the Cosmoline is everywhere. It's sticky; not greasy, which is another reason why you need to be sure to thoroughly remove it from every nook & cranny. If you don't remove it from the firing pin in the bolt, you'll likely slam-fire all ten rounds out of the gun before you know what happened.

Just look at all that Cosmo on the gas rod! Removing it from the primary gas chamber was a real pain. I didn't want to soak the wood in Mineral Spirits and risk "bleaching" the color out of it.

A bottle of mineral spirits is all it takes to remove the Cosmo from the rifle. Let is soak for an hour or so and brush the parts using a brush having natural bristles. Give it a swish now and then but for the most part, just let them sit. When you're done, you just wipe them clean and give them a nice coating of Rem-oil. Let that Rem-oil soak back into the pores of the metal.

A 4" diameter length of PVC piping, capped at the bottom and stood on end, works great for soaking the barrel.

The stock is the most difficult piece to remove the Cosmo from. You need a hot sunny day to let that Cosmo heat up and rise out of the wood. I had read about several different methods of getting it out of the wood and chose the "dash board method". The Tacoma got pretty hot today and I was able to wipe the stock down a few times getting a bunch of Cosmo out each time. Still, this needs to be done a few more times. The stock is still "tacky" to the touch.

You need to be patient and really be sure that all the Cosmo is removed from pieces like the firing pin. I was satisfied when the pin would rattle loosely back and forth upon shaking this block.

Shown above are the ladder sight and grenade launching muzzle piece. Pretty neat!

All clean & buttoned up! Time to get to the range!


recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Nice work Mike. That's a good looking SKS. All machined steel -no stampings. I've known about surplus gear packed in cosmo but never seen the cleaning process. Thanks for sharing.

Mike said...

Thanks RCT. If ever you de-cosmo a rifle, it's not as bad as people make it out to be. Patience (soaking) & diligence (scrubbing) is the key.