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A few months ago I received a mail flyer advertising Chinese-made SKS rifles in rather poor condition at a price I thought was too high, so I ignored it. During May, I received a flyer from another firm for such rifles at a more reasonable price, so I decided to go online and see what I could learn. From what I've read, these rifles were sold to Albania and had been stored in Cosmoline for decades. Albania became a member of NATO in 2009, and as a US "ally" our State Department allowed them to sell these rifles to US firms. These are the first Chinese rifles allowed into the US since the import bans of 1989-1993. On Gunboards I saw mention of these rifles offered by yet another firm: Classic Firearms (CF) of Monroe NC at an even better price than the mail flyer mentioned earlier.

Apparently these rifles became available late last year, and CF decided to continue their sale price of about $270 for a "basic" rifle, with an additional $20 for selected external appearance and/or $20 for matching exterior numbers only (visible on six different parts of the rifle). The website description was very thorough, I thought, so on Friday, May 23rd I placed my order. That same day I received an email acknowledging my order. My credit card was charged on Wed 5-28 and on Sat 5-31 I received another email stating that my order was ready for shipping and providing a UPS tracking number. My rifle left NC on Monday June 2 and arrived in my UPS 8th Zone on Monday, June 9th, per the UPS schedule.

Here's what I found. As advertised, the rifle was of early, milled construction with blade bayonet. I'd ordered matching numbers, but not selection for appearance. All six exterior numbers matched, as did the number on the bolt itself. My rifle also had a cleaning rod, but the website states that not all rifles may have that accessory. The bluing was well-worn (also as advertised & expected). After removing the exterior Cosmoline I pushed a cleaning rod through the bore and found it to be in excellent condition (chrome-lined), very bright and shiny. The stock is solid, in need of cleaning, with some dents but no cracks. The only original marking on the rifle, other than the serial number, was the number "20" on the left side of the receiver and barrel, hidden under the wood. I think that signifies the factory number, but will welcome comments from others more knowledgeable on that point. The stamp on the barrel, between the forend & the gas port housing, identified the importer as I O, Inc., of Palm Bay, Florida, the country of origin as China and the caliber as 7.62 x 39.

The metal cleaned up nicely, as I think can be seen from the photos. I won't reassemble it until after I've cleaned & re-oiled the stock. I think a rifle in this condition would make a nice project for someone who wants to experiment with refinishing the metal and/or stock, or it can certainly be left alone as a shooting-condition piece of history. As with anything in the collectible/used gun market, we pay our money & take our choice. Personally, I'm well pleased with my purchase. Accordingly, I can recommend that anyone interested in this latest batch of Chinese SKS rifles take a look at www.classicfirerams.com and see what that firm has to offer.
 

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