Russian designed weapons all seem to have one thing in common. Mounting optics was an afterthought while designing their rifles. You’ll notice this in the Mosin Nagant, AK47/74, SVT 40 and even the SKS. All deadly accurate with irons, but a scope adds a little more range. Installing your first sks scope mount isn’t always easy, but the following guide should set you in the right direction.
What’s The Best SKS Mount?
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The UTG Pro Sks Receiver mount is easily the best mount on the market. UTG has long been a staple in the European firearm industry, but they’ve only recently moved production to the United States. UTG (aka Leapers) builds high quality tactical gear at an affordable price. Using high quality standards UTG is quickly taking America by storm.
There are a ton of SKS mounts on the market, but no other mount competes with UTG’s pro mount. Made in the USA using high quality materials. It was precision casted and machined using a high strength steel base. It’s built to last, unlike some of their cheaper rivals. The top rail was designed with a custom shell deflector to protect your scope. With the UTG rail you won’t have to use a forward mounted scout scope like in other models. Using one of the longest rails on the market, you can mount multiple accessories. From a traditional scope to a red dot magnifier combo. With its 22 slot picattiny rail you get a little extra room to work. There’s also a low profile see-thru tunnel if you want to co-witness iron sights.
Unlike some of the competitors you won’t need to do any modifications to your rifle. Installation is easy with a simple 4 step installation process. Just attach the mount to the 4 precise locking points and you’ll be off to the range. Once properly installed, the UTG pro mount is extremely stable. All of these SKS mounts have one main downside. The scope gets in the way when you’re trying to top load ammo. UTG’s scope mount is the way to go if you can afford the increased price tag.
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Brass Stackers SKS mount was designed for the Chinese type 56 SKS(not Norinco/Russian). Brass Stacker designed this mount to work with forward mounted scout scopes. You won’t have to do any modifications and damage your rifle.
If you have a Chinese Type 56 SKS there’s not a ton of mounting options. You can attempt to drill your receiver to mount a rail, but your risk damaging your rifle. The Brass Stacker mount doesn’t work like a traditional scope mount. It’s mounted to the forward portion of your rail on the wood. There are a few advantages to a forward mounted scope, but there are a few issues that arise. You’ll be limited to using long eye relief scopes or red dot setups. Some of my favorite guns use scout scope setups, but they tend to be more expensive.
There are a lot of good things about this Brass Stacker Scope mount. They chose a innovative anchor point design that provides a high level of stability. By using mounting points(not found in Norinco) already in the rifle it minimizes damage to your gun. The raised see through mount allows you to continue using traditional iron sights. Unlike the above UTG mount, Brass Stacker doesn’t interfere with stripper clip use, and doesn’t need to be removed for cleaning.
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If you’re willing to put in a little elbow grease the Barska mount is a much cheaper option. Constructed from aluminum with a matte black finish. The Barska mount is one of the cheapest mounts on the market, but it accomplishes its task. If all you’re looking for is a cheap setup this mount is a great solution.
If you’re looking for easy setup this is definitely not the mount for you. To attach this mount you need to remove and replace the rear receiver cover. It’s a permanent mounting solution that’s easier said than done. Due to the Varying manufacturer standards it won’t easily fit in all rifles. It’s a good thing Barska made a thick mount, because you’re going to need a lot of filing. With a bench grinder it will take about 10 minutes to work the material down enough to fit.
Once you figure out the installation process the mount is actually pretty nice. It’s a raised rear mount that will allow you to see your iron sights. Due to the rail placement you’ll still be able to use traditional rifle scopes. With a modestly sized scope you can still use stripper clips. If you’re willing to put in the work filing this mount down it’s well worth the price.
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Bumlon did things a little bit differently with their mount. Instead of giving you a peep sight they fully replaced the stock rear sight with this mount. This rail will work on any SKS that uses standard iron sights(AK47 Sights).
This Bumlon Scope Mount is by far the cheapest option on the market. You won’t have to screw around with a file and removing rail covers. Simply replace your traditional iron sights with this scope mount. In less than five minutes you’ll be able to mount a scope.
With the ease of installation comes a few small problems. The main issue is that it’s a forward mount, so you are going to have to use a scout scope. The rail is also shorter than I would have liked, which limits your mounting options. It’s the perfect size for a red dot or compact scout scope. Once the scopes installed this rail will not move at all. It really is amazing that something this cheap works so well. Before you go screwing around with a file you should definitely try this scope mount.
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This is another cheap scope mount that will require a little work to get mounted. It’s pretty similar to the above Barska mount so I won’t get into all the minute details. You’ll have to put in a little work to get this installed.
This is another scope mount that you are going to have to bring out your file. It will take a little bit of patience, but you can definitely get a tight fit. Getting the perfect fit is crucial to a successful install. A wobbly scope mount isn’t going to hold zero after a few shots. This scope mount won’t require any drilling or tapping to install. Just remove the stock receiver cover and replace it with this mount. Unless you get extremely lucky you’ll probably have to do some filing.
Once installed properly the mount feels very firm to the touch. It’s made out of a durable lightweight aluminum, with a matte black coating. The coating feels cheap, and I highly doubt it will last more than a few years. The Raised mount has a see through opening for using iron sights. The One inch scope rings included with the rail are pretty durable. This mount is well worth a look at this price.
Different Types of Mounts For The SKS
For a gun that has been around since the 40’s there’s really not a lot of mounting options. All your choices are either expensive, a pain to install or require a scout scope. Thankfully all these issues can easily be worked out with a little patience. There are four main types of scope mounts that we’re going to be covering. All of them have their own ups and down. The three main types of mounts are receiver mounts, forward stock mounts, iron sight replacements and receiver cover replacements.
- Receiver Mounts: Mounts that go directly over the receiver are by far the nicest mounts on the market. These mount directly over the receiver reflecting brass away from the scope. You can use any type of scope or red dot with this type of mount. Receiver mounts are the most secure and have much longer rails. There are a few downsides with a receiver mount. They tend to cost a lot more, need to be removed during cleaning and stop the use of stripper clips.
- Forward Stock Mounts: Forward stock mounts use the screws that come with the sks to securely mount the rail. You’ll have to check your rifle to look for the proper screw placement. This type of mount is extremely secure, but can only be used on Chinese Type 56 rifles(not Norinco or Russian). The forward rail placement means you are going to have use a scout scope, but you won’t have to remove the rail while cleaning.
- Iron Sight Replacements: mounts that replace the iron sight are by far the cheapest mounting option available. They’re also in the running for the easiest to install. The forward placement limits your use to scout scopes and the rail size is a bit small. If you’re looking to mount a red dot this is what you want to use.
- Receiver Cover Replacements: To put it bluntly, receiver cover replacements are a pain in the ass to use. They require a ton of filing to properly mount it to your rifle. They are cheap and allow you to mount any traditional scope to the SKS. If you can get past the time spent filing these rear mounted rails are actually pretty convenient.
Forward vs Rear Placement Mounts
The location of your scope mount is the biggest factor you are going to need to decide. Whichever mount you choose will determine what type of scope you can install. Both of these mounts offer their own advantages, but they come with issues as well.
Forward Mount: The biggest advantage to a forward mount is going to be installation. Installation only requires the removal of a few screws to install your rail. You can either replace your iron sights with a rail, or attach it to screws found in Chinese Type 56 Stocks. Both of these options offer a sturdy base that won’t damage your rifle. The only real downside to a forward mount is that it limits your options. You have to either pair your rifle with a red dot or use a scout scope.
Rear Mount: Rear mounts are what you’re traditionally accustomed to on rifles. You can either mount it above the receiver or replace the receiver cover. Mounting above the receiver is a simple but costly install. Replacing the rear receiver cover will require extensive filing. You can use just about any type of optic with a rear mount. The UTG mount listed above will even allow you to install additional accessories.
What is a Scout Scope?
I’ve mentioned scout scopes a lot in this article, but you might not be familiar with the term. The most obvious feature of a scout scope is it’s forward mount. You’ll have to use an extended eye relief scope that’s mounted forward of the rifles action. There are two main reasons to use a scout scope. The main advantage is that you’ll be able to shoot with both eyes open. This significantly enhances your peripheral vision allowing you to better see your surroundings. Most of the time you’ll see a scout scope on short to mid range hunting rifles. They also shift the rifles balance forward making it easier to hold in your hand.
Initially scout rifles used fixed 2x magnification glass. The lower magnification gave a wider field of view without distorting binocular vision. Throughout the years new variable magnification scopes have been built. Most variable scout scopes have magnification levels around 1-4x. You definitely need to try a scout rifle to appreciate the advantages.
Which SKS Scope Mount is Best?
If you have the extra money to spend you can’t go wrong with the UTG or Brass Stacker mounts. The additional cost is well worth the reduced hassle they offer. The Bumlon is a much more affordable option that is also easy to install. You’re going to have to use a scout scope with the Bumlon mount. The receiver cover mounts are also an affordable option if you don’t mind filing.