The most recommended SKS modifications in a rough order of how often I have seen them recommended by other SKS owners.
1. Tech Sight appeture sight – On my search for the best SKS mods, the tech sight appeture sight was by far the most mentioned mod. It is a great addition to the SKS without taking away the mil sure look. Simple and effective.
2. Kivaari trigger – The SKS trigger pull tends to vary depending on the individual rifle, however if you are a proud owner of a SKS with a poor trigger pull then having the trigger reworked can do wonders for the shootability and accuracy of your weapon. The most recommended advice is to send your trigger to a man named “Kivaari” who has a reputation for creating match grade trigger pulls for your SKS. He has put together some information on the SKS trigger here.
3. Spring loaded firing pin – The firing pin on the SKS was built to stand up to military ammo with hard primers. Commercial grade ammo that you purchase today have softer primers and are therefore prone to slam fires. To alleviate this issue a spring loaded firing pin can be used to soften the firing pin blow. While there are different options for this mod, the Murray’s Gunsmithing modification has been the highest recommended.
5. Remove bayonet & grenade launcher lugs – This is a mod usually done for aesthetic reasons, but many agree that the weight reduction on the barrel helps with accuracy.
6. Tapco detachable magazine – Tapco has created a magazine that makes your SKS magazine fed opposed to top loaded by stripper clips. This will require some filing and modification to the factory wood stock, but the reviews for the magazine have been very good, as expected with Tapco.
7. Recoil pad for length – From an accuracy standpoint, one of the complaints is the length of the factory stock. Adding a recoil pad for the purpose of increasing stock length and reducing shoulder pain is a commonly recommended change.
8. Muzzle brake – Unlike the Mosin Nagant, the SKS isn’t known for dislocating shoulders on the weekend, so the muzzle brake isn’t as much for reducing recoil as it is reducing muzzle jump especially in rapid fire situations.
9. Clean bolt – It is easy to assume that if you purchased a clean SKS that the cosmoline was also removed from the bolt, but one should not take the easy way out. Remove your bolt and shake it. You should hear the firing pin rattle. If you don’t hear it rattle the odds are the bolt is filled with cosmoline. Disassemble the bolt and boil the components in a mixture of Simple Green and water for an hour. Put it back together and check to see if the rattling ensues upon shaking.
10. Bed the Stock – The receiver of your rifle being loose can cause slight movement that will affect the accuracy of your SKS. Using a product like acraglass is the recommended starting point to getting rid of these movements. Be sure to follow the directions because the process gets messy, literally and figuratively.
11. Re-Crown the Barrel – This should only need to be done if the end of the barrel is corroded or has been abused. Re-crowning adds the even roll around the edge of the barrel so gases can escape evening upon the bullet’s exit from the rifle. Doing this to a barrel that needs it will improve accuracy.
12. ATI Folding stock– For those that are looking for a less traditional stock option, ATI makes a high quality folding stock for the SKS that gives you more portability and a lighter rifle overall.
BONUS! Good Ammo is a great modification that can help you increase accuracy and enjoy your shooting experience.
When doing any modifications to your SKS make sure you are compliant with Rule 922 R. You can find more about it here.