Sunday, August 10, 2014

Friggin' Yugo SKS Bolt Disassembly

Brought the Yugo SKS to annual NE Bloggershoot last weekend. Fired a few hundred rounds through it and took it down to clean it today. Yeah, I know screw me for waiting a week. Well, I am happy I waited because if I had done it right after getting home from a 5 plus hour drive last weekend I may have had a coronary if I added what happened tonight to the aftermath of the drive.

What a frigging pain in the arse it is to disassemble an SKS bolt, at least one in a Yugo SKS anyway (and this is a common problem with the Yugo SKS). I remember having taken the bolt apart some time back and that the firing pin retention pin was a bit of a pain to remove but it came out without too much trouble. Well, that was not the case tonight. It must have taken me the better part of two hours getting that one pin to come out. Most of that time the bolt soaked in mineral spirits in the hope that would loosen it up somewhat (or should I say the false hope cause it did not work).

The bent and broken punches from the set with
the center punch that did the job underneath them.
After soaking it in the mineral spirits, I pounded on that bastard using my brass punch set and the tiny lightweight hammer that came with the punches. Two of the punches bent. I switched to a bigger hammer and wailed away again, this time the punch I was using snapped in two and it was not one of the ones that had already bent. I tried a small steel punch I had as it was the only straight steel punch I had (actually have 4 of them all basically the same). That one bent too.

Then, in desperation, I grabbed a center punch. They are tapered and the tapered end becomes much too wide for the hole that the retaining pin was in. I figured if I was careful, I could give some much stronger whacks to this punch because it is steel, thicker than the other steel ones I have, and very strong. After about 25 to 30 hard hits, the pin finally budged. It took another 5 to 6 good strong whacks to get it far enough out that I became fearful if I hit the punch again it would go too far in and widen the hole (remember this punch is tapered or conical). So I stopped, straightened out one of the bent brass punches by hitting it with the hammer and used that for the rest of the way. Talk about a pain the arse - that was one but it was not finished there was yet another.

Apparently the firing pin in my Yugo SKS is also a pain to remove. I had to use pliers. I would think it should have just slid right out as there was minimal fouling in the channel and on the pin. Not only did it come out with difficulty but it went back in the same way. I had to whack it with the nylon end of my punch set hammer to seat it. I do not recall whether or not I had that difficulty last time I disassembled and cleaned the bolt (maybe I did have some difficulty last time because its been awhile and that would have been incentive not to do it often). Even though it was difficult - the firing pin moves freely enough not to slam fire (which is sometimes a problem with this type of firing pin). I am thinking of ordering a replacement firing pin to see if that makes a difference, that is if I can find a reputable source for one. Actually, it seems I have already found a couple of them. I am not too sure if I want to get a firing pin of the same design as in my rifle like this, or go with an enhanced version like this one.

Before I change the firing pin though, I am going to look for the receipt for my punch set. I am hoping I got it from Sportsmansguide because if I did, I can either get my money back or get a replacement as part of their satisfaction guarantee. Took a break, looked for the receipt, and yes indeed it came from - so an email is on the way to them requesting a replacement or a refund. In the meantime I will decide on which firing pin to go with once I get paid next month.

All the best,
Glenn B

S&W Model 22A-1 - First Shots

I took the S&W Model 22A-1 along with us to the bloggershoot last weekend. I figured it would be as good a time as any to run some rounds through it, not so much to see if it was a tack driver or not but to see how well it functioned. I have to admit, I did not expect it to do too well because it appears to be cheaply made to me.

Having only two (2) mags for it meant I got to shoot 20 rounds out of it (10 round mags), then had to stop to reload meaning I lost my spot on the firing line (which accommodated six people at most at one time). That was a bit time consuming because after reloading the mags, I had to wait on a line to get back to the line. In all, I shot maybe 60 to 80 rounds at most through it. Not many and nowhere nearly enough to make it a true test of the little plinker but enough to realize that it functioned okay, at least with the ammo I was using that day. The ammo was CCI Blazer and Federal high velocity, copper plated, 36 grain hollow points (1993 vintage). The gun fed, fired, extracted and ejected every round without failure.

It was pretty accurate too, at least at a very close range. The target was set up at about 5 yards. I fired off a couple of mags rapid fire to see how it would function, then switched over to slow fire for the next couple to few magazines full. While shooting slow fire, I was able to attain a single group smaller than a dime for one mags worth of lead. That was with the old Federal ammo. The other groups were from smaller than a nickel to about a quarter in size.  The slightly smaller than nickel sized group was also with the Federal ammo; I think I only fired 20 rounds of that ammo through the S&W. The other groups that were a bit more open, from a nickel to a quarter size, were with the CCI Blazer.

I might have done better had I not been getting bombarded with hot brass casings from a full auto gun while shooting one stint of two mags worth of ammo and had I not had the guy next to me shooting off a 50 caliber rifle. The shockwave from the muzzle on that thing was tremendous and it certainly did just a little to make me loose my concentration on the next shot. Anyway, I did okay with it and have to say that at the least it seemingly would make a decent plinker. I think it would also probably make a decent small game pistol but will have to do some serious firing at a regular range to determine that. I will be doing just that - taking it to a regular range for some further evaluation on a future date. I'll write it up in more detail after that.

As for the impression I got after its first shots, I am happy with it even though, as I said, it appears to be cheaply made and I expect certain parts will not take all too long to fail. I guess after a year or three of toting it around and shooting it here and there, I may be able to tell if the parts I am guessing will fail will have done so or not. Hopefully I am wrong about it and it will prove itself a better made pistol than I suspect. By the way, the problem I wrote about recently with having difficulty getting one of the mags out of the mag well seems to have gotten a bit better though it is still not as easy as it should be to remove that particular magazine.

All I all, it seems like a fair to okay pistol so far, though it could use some improvements (such as having not one but both mags come free properly) and time and more ammo will tell if it is a plinker or a junker.

All the best,
Glenn B