I expected to get a few of my guns cleaned and lubricated today. I sat down this morning with the Yugo SKS across my lap and commenced to take it apart. After a few minutes of this and that, I realized I forgot a step and I had to resort to my video on how to field strip it. Yes it has been awhile since I cleaned it. No problem though, a quick trip up to my PC, a fast view of the video, and the issue was resolved. Piece of cake to field strip it once you remember how to do it. While I have the instructions for disassembly and reassembly on disc, you can also find those instructions online for free. If you need such info you can find it here: http://www.surplusrifle.com/sks/index.asp.
After that I went at getting it clean. Once I had it apart, and I had gotten a look inside of it, I thought - 'Oh my gosh that 7.62x39 Wolf Ammo sure is dirty shooting ammo". There was black fouling just about everywhere. I cleaned here, cleaned there, then cleaned here and there again, and again. Finally after using about 20 cleaning patches, and about 25 double ended cotton swabs, and a brass brush, and a steel brush, and about an ounce of Hoppes, and a pipe cleaner or two, it looked almost clean. As you may have guessed, that cleaning took me some time, I'd say at least an hour and fifteen minutes. Heck it never takes me more than about 15 to 20 minutes to clean one of my rifles thoroughly, so while I was taking all that time cleaning this one I had lots of time to think about why it was so dirty. The consensus of my little gray cells, both the lively healthy ones, and the slower dying ones, and even the totally pulverized ones all came to the consensus that maybe - just maybe - it was not the fault of the ammo so much as it was that I had not cleaned the darned thing after having shot it several times on various range trips. It actually took me a moment or two to remember I had been testing it.
Now there is an important point in knowing that my SKS could be fired at the range, and in between trips to the range that it could sit in my basement without having been cleaned, then be taken out again and fired again, then stored without cleaning again, then fired again, then stored without cleaning again, and on and on over the course of at least several more range trips. That point mind you is not that I am lazy about cleaning my SKS, but rather that it can and will fire when very dirty, and that it fires reliably despite the fouling. As a matter of fact, the carbon deposits on the face of the gas piston was probably as thick as two sheets of 20 lb. computer paper. That is darned thick. Yet the SKS has functioned flawlessly throughout having hundreds of rounds fired through it, then being stored, then fired again, and so forth on and on without cleanings. My guesstimate is that at least 750 to 1,000 rounds have gone through it since I last cleaned it.
Of course I do not recommend that you neglect cleaning your firearms. I only did it because I wanted to test it; I wanted to see about how long it could go without a cleaning and if it could go up to 1,000 rounds without cleaning. Somewhere in there though I lost my tally sheet. I do recall I was close to the 750 mark, and I also recall I shot it once or twice after that. It is not a picky rifle, and the gas vents stayed open and not fouled badly although things like the gas control valve, and the front face of the gas piston, and parts of the bolt were fouled almost beyond belief (yes the Wolf ammo is dirty but not excessively so, the excessive fouling was due to no cleanings). I like the fact that is can handle some dirt and still keep firing like a charm. From now on though it will get properly cleaned right after each time I fire it.
Now you may remember that I began this piece by saying: "I expected to get a few of my guns cleaned and lubricated today"; but the truth is it just did not happen. There was no time, what with all the time it took to clean the one SKS, so that is all I got done in the gun cleaning department. With relatives coming for a belated Christmas celebration, and with me needing to go to a few stores, especially to the beer distributor time was tight. Those Franziskaner Hefe Weissbiers I picked up were great, but my guns had to be put away before I could enjoy even a sip, and there is always tomorrow to get some others cleaned and they just need a routine light cleaning having been in storage. Once I get them done, I just may have to have another bier or two.
All the best,
Flying Lesson #117 - Stage Check I Part II
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