Thursday, November 20, 2008

SKS - does it stand for 'Samco Krap Sent'?

No, actually SKS is the designation of a rifle issued by many Com Bloc countries during the 1960's through the 1970's and probably even into the 80s and 90s, but you might wonder if you saw the rifle i just received. I recently ordered one from Samco Global Arms, Inc. It arrived at my house today, and when I got home from work it was waiting for me on the coffee table in the basement right where I would find it when I went down to watch TV. My son knows where to leave things so I will not miss them.

I ordered a NEW CONDITION Yugoslavian SKS, model: M59/66A1, the latest of all the models. When I saw the box, I decided to have a quick dinner before opening it. After dinner I went at the box carefully opening it to make sure I did no damage to the new SKS. I need not have been so careful. You see, as it turned out, the NEW CONDITION SKS was not so new. Now mind you, I know the various conditions for military surplus rifles, of which this is one. I realize that there are New Condition Rifles, Factory Re-Conditioned Rifles (often mistakenly called NEW or NEW CONDITION), Excellent Condition, Very Good Condition, Good Condition and so on down to pieces of out and out krapola. The one I ordered was advertised as NEW CONDITION, and therefore it should have been in a condition that indicated it was new. Mine was not and that was obvious.

For starters, there were two glaring repairs in the wood stock. One was about 1 1/4" x 3/4" x 1 1/4 x 3/4"" in a rectangular shape. Wood had been removed from the stock and this piece put in its place. There was another similar repair that was smaller in size, maybe 1/2" x 1/2" on each side. In addition there are several grooves or gouges, several scratches, and several nicks in the wood stock and wood handguard. Furthermore there are several scratches, scrapes, and dings in the metal parts of the rifle. It also appears as if this rifle has wear to the bolt which would indicate it has been used previously and is not NEW CONDITION. I noticed to that the bore seemed dark, not bright as advertised but will admit I did not clean it due to the other problems. One part, the rear sight had a serial number, but not matching the number on the other parts that were serialized 9and there numbers matched one another). Finally, I noticed that the gas shutoff button was bent.

Now mind you, the attached pictures do not do the damage justice. It was darned hard to get the scratches, nicks and grooves to show at all once the flash filled them in. In real life it all looks worse, except maybe for that repair job - that at least came out as is in the photograph above. The next two photos show the differing serial numbers and some wood dings and a scratch. You would have also seen a scratch on the magazine but I guess the way the flash filled in, or caused reflections - you cannot see it. It is there though right on that side of the magazine.

I could probably have accepted the rifle if the only damage had been the metal scratches, scrapes and dings and the serial number on the rear sight; but the addition of the wood repairs, the other wood damage, and the bent gas shutoff valve, the wear on moving parts as if previously used, and the possibly dark bore make it totally unacceptable. So I fired off an email to Samco about the
problems. I am hopeful this was an oversight on their part due to the increased number of orders they received as a result of the November 4th presidential election. Hopefully they will still have actual NEW CONDITION Yugo SKS rifles in stock and will be able to find me one. Of course if they want to take about $100 off the price of this one, I might go for it because even with the Cosmoline on it I can tell it has a sweet trigger. Otherwise I'll let you know how my attempt at an exchange for one in truly new condition turns out.

Thankfully I ordered and paid for this using my American Express card and they have a pretty good history of assisting with customer complaints against sellers who sell other than what they have advertised.

All the best,
Glenn B