Author Topic: Q: When was my Chinese Type 56 SKS made?  (Read 15593 times)

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Q: When was my Chinese Type 56 SKS made?
« on: October 16, 2014, 01:04:12 AM »
A: This is by far the most commonly asked question.  Unfortunately, the real answer is

“Nobody but the Chinese know with 100% certainty, and they aren’t talking.”

Based on countless hours of research, the viewing of hundreds of different rifles with different arsenal stamps, different serial number designations, and most importantly, different feature sets we think we have an answer, so let’s give it our best try.   Please note this list isn’t gospel, is it just our interpretation based on our observations.  Also note that we are one year different from EVERYONE else on the net.  We have a very good reason for doing this and have proof to back it up.  If you think you see a glaring error, please post up and let’s discuss it.

Please feel free to reply to this post, but also note that all replies & banter will eventually be deleted as they are discussed to keep this thread as clean as possible.

The easy ones:

  • Early to mid 1956: Soviet Sino Guns, S/N 0001 to ~2000.
  • 1956 – to at latest, April 1957: Ghost Guns, S/N ~2000 to ~213,700.
  • Early 1957: six digit /26\ marked guns, S/N ~213,700 to at least 348,996.
  • Late 1957: 2 million /26\ marked guns, S/N ~2,350,000 to at least 2,441,000.
  • 1958: 3 million /26\ marked guns, S/N ~3,000,001 to  at least 3,233,000.  First observation of the stock side sling swivel.
  • 1959: Letter Prefix /26\ marked guns. Stocks contain narrow font.
  • 1960?: Letter Prefix /26\ marked guns. Stocks contain wide font.  First observation of large (1/4” tall x ~1/4” wide) font.  These guns could theoretically be lumped with the 1959 letters, and 1960 could have been a very light Type 56 year.  There is really no hard evidence pointing one way or the other, though I would lean towards major disruptions in Chinese Type 56 production as the Sino-Soviet split was entering full swing and China could no longer rely on easily getting barreled receivers supplied from the USSR.  This also can give additional meaning to the Chinese ideograph markings seen on the 1961 built carbines as they were now fully Chinese built.
  • 1961: 6 million /26\ marked guns, S/N ~6,000,001 to at least 6,021,000.  First observation of the 五六式 stamp.
  • 1962: 7 million /26\ marked guns, S/N ~7,000,001 to at least 7,170,000.
  • 1963: 8 million /26\ marked guns, S/N ~8,000,001 to at least 8,209,000.
  • 1964: 9 million /26\ marked guns, S/N ~9,000,001 to at least 9,218,000.  First observation of short barrel lug, first observation of spike bayonet.
  • 1965: 10 million /26\ marked guns, S/N ~10,000,001 to at least 10,442,000.  Stock sling swivel relocated to bottom again.
  • 1966: 11 million /26\ marked guns, S/N ~11,000,001 to at least 11,590,000 (This S/N range seems excessively long…something is going on here we don't fully understand!).  First observation of stamped trigger group, first two piece gas tube, deletion of bolt carrier and bayo lug lightening cuts.
  • 1967: 12 million /26\ marked guns, S/N ~12,000,001 to at least 12,351,000.  First appearance of the inverted receiver cover takedown lever..
  • 1968: 13 million /26\ marked guns, S/N ~13,000,001 to at least 13,071,000.
  • 1969: 14 million /26\ marked guns, S/N ~14,000,001 to at least 14,242,000.
  • 1978: 23 million /26\ marked guns, S/N ~23,000,001 to at least 23,113,000.  First observation of ‘French Tickler’ Bakelite style handguard
  • 1979: 24 million /26\ marked guns, S/N ~24,000,001 to at least 24,224,000.
  • 1984: Clayco M8 marked guns, new production (on scrubbed receivers?), S/N ~10,000 to ~11,600, no longer see the 五六式 stamp.
  • 1988: SKS 63, accepts standard AK magazines.
  • 1988: SKS D, new production, accepts standard AK magazines.
  • 1988 to 1989 & 1992 to 1993: SKS Sporter, new production, accepts standard AK magazines.
  • 1989: SKS KS-30, 16.5” barrel, accepts standard AK magazines.
  • 1992: SKSS, new production, 16.5” barrel, short gas system.
  • 1993: SKS 93, 16.5” barrel, accepts standard AK magazines.
  • 1993 to 1994: SKS M, new production, accepts standard AK magazines.
  • 1993 to 1994: SKS NR, new production, accepts standard AK magazines.
  • 1993 to 1994: SKS MC-5D, rearsenaled, accepts standard AK magazines.
  • 1988 – 1994: Misc guns of various styles, usually w/o an arsenal stamp and sometimes assembled from scrubbed parts, having a unique 88 thru 93 prefix to the serial number.  The parts of these guns may come from any time period, but they were (re)assembled and (re)numbered exclusively for export.

Now, you’re probably saying, “These SKS-Files guys don’t know jack. Everybody on the net knows that the date code on a /26\ gun reads:

1956 + millions digit = year of manufacture!!!!”

In my years of collecting, I have never seen any hard proof that says this is the case!  Many experts proclaim this, and every site on the net that even superficially deals with SKSs has rumblings that this is the date formula, but why?!  It seems that this is simply a case of one idea getting regurgitated over and over again, gaining more ‘truth’ the more often it’s repeated.  Proof for this dating scheme is severely lacking. 

It has been mentioned that there are Vietnam captured guns with papers that give us a floor that say a 12 million /26\ series gun cannot have come later than 1971, but this really does not tell us that the 1956 + millions idea of dating is correct, only that it is somewhat close. 

We like to see more substantial proof than “XYZ says so” here at SKS-Files.  It is abundantly clear that the very first Chinese Type 56 carbines produced for China were the 0001 to ~2000 Soviet-Sino Type 56 carbines.  These carbines are characterized by the four digit serial numbers within the 0001 to 2000 spread, a conspicuous Tula star stamped on the left side of the receiver to the far right of the S/N, a long barrel lug, “V” shaped bayonet cutout in the front stock ferrule, and numerous Russian approval and process stamps located on all components throughout the carbine.  The original stocks on these carbines appear to be made of the same hardwood used on Russian SKS 45s.  Common consensus is that these carbines were produced in very early to mid 1956.  Indeed, the Soviet Union adopted the Tula star stamped SKS 45 receivers with the introduction of their “Д” serial suffixed guns in 1956!  It is unknown whether these “trial” guns were actually produced in the USSR with Chinese observers taking detailed production notes, or whether they were produced in China using all Russian supplied hardware with direct Russian technical help.

Production immediately went into full swing with the “Ghost” guns.  These carbines are almost identical to the Soviet-Sinos with some notable differences.  These carbines do not have near as many Russian approval and process stamps on components indicating less hand holding by the Soviets.  The stocks on these carbines appear to have a somewhat different wood type than was used in Russian SKS 45s.  And finally, these carbines range from S/N ~2000 to ~213700 for a production run of approximately 212,000 carbines.    Based on the Soviet-Sino production, it would appear that these truly domestically produced carbines were produced in the latter half of 1956 through at latest early 1957.  The Chinese themselves often refer to their domestic built SKS carbine as the “Type 56 and a half” carbine. 

In 1957 we know something special happened at Jianshe arsenal in China:
In April 1957, the second factory became state-owned and was renamed Jianshe Machine Tool Factory.
At around S/N 213700, we notice a very substantial change in Chinese SKS rifle production: the triangle 26 (denoted as /26\ here at SKS-Files) stamp first appears.  The timing of these two events could be purely coincidental, but it would seem that tying them together would make sense as the new government run factory would now have different protocols for marking firearms than the “privately” owned factory previously did.  These rifles, for all intents and purposes, are identical to the ghost guns in all features.  The six digit /26\ guns continued until around S/N 325,000, giving a run of approximately 197,000 carbines.  It is surmised that the six digit /26\ guns were made after the April 1957 government takeover of Jianshe.  This would mean that they are all 1957 guns.

As the six digit /26\ carbines continued to come off the line, the Chinese decided to make yet another change.  It is known that in T53 production, the Chinese switched from an progressing alphanumeric S/N (AXXXXXX) early on, to a simple progressing all numeric S/N like they used with the ghost and six-digit /26\ guns.  Later in T53 production, they changed a third time to a millions placeholder system where the millions digit changed as the year of manufacture changed.  Finally in 1960, they changed a fourth time back to a 4 numeral progressing alphanumeric with a /26\ stamp.  Luckily for us, the Chinese actually labeled their T53s with the manufacture date so we can directly correlate S/N changes and see what they did and when they did it.  With the Type 56 SKS, we don’t have a date stamp, but we can assume that they did similar things at similar times with their numbers systems.  Unfortunately, this comparison puts us at odds with the most commonly accepted 1956 + millions = year of manufacture guesstimate that is so prolific around the web.  The T53 system of numbering actually went like this:

6/1953 to 12/1953: A000001 thru A62000.
1954: 1,000,001 thru 1,305,000.
Early 1955: 1,305,000 thru 1,402,000.
Late 1955: 3,000,001 thru 3,330,000.
1956: 4,000,001 thru 4,063,000.
1960: Letter series: A0001 thru perhaps K9999, with a distinct /26\ stamp.

which indicates that they experimented with 4 different styles of part numeration.  The 1953 guns have a special symbol immediately after the S/N that is a Chinese “Shi” character: .  This character is often translated to mean “test” or “experiment” and the 1953 rifles are often called “trials” rifles.  In 1954, the S/N designation changed to a simple rolling 1 million prefix number that continued from ’54 through the early parts of 1955.  By late 1955 is where things get really interesting, they jump to a 3 million prefix and reset the main block of numbers back to 000001.  In 1956, they again jump the prefix to 4 million and reset the main block of numbers back to 000001.  They are clearly attempting to designate some type of special meaning to the millions place on these T53s.  It appears they are designating the millions placeholder to indicate the “nth” year of production.  Had they kept this ‘standard’ S/N system throughout production, 1953 would have been the 1st year of production (1 million), 1954 would have been 2nd (2 million), 1955 was the 3rd year of production (3 million), 1956 was the 4th year (4 million), and so on.

The odd S/N method restarted in 1960 has been theorized by T53 collectors to have been a specific contract of T53 rifles purposefully made for North Vietnam.  It is interesting to note that the /26\ mark shows up in 1960, but not in 1956 which is entirely consistent with the major ownership changes at Jianshe in 1957.

Back to the T56 SKSs, it seems the Chinese only half-heartedly started the millions = a new year of manufacture on their SKSs.  Instead of rolling the main digit back to 000001, they continued with a rolling S/N from the six digit /26\ guns directly into the 2 million series, proceeding from S/N ~348,000 to S/N ~2,350,000.  If they followed the same numbering system that they used for T53s in 1956, these 2 million series T56 SKS carbines should be 1957 (2nd year) produced guns as well!!  The one major ding I see in this dating system is that the Chinese had to have produced the latter portions of the ghost guns, all the six digit /26\ guns, and all the 2 million /26\ guns in the same year.  This equals more than 203,000 SKS carbines in their second year of SKS production.  This may not be as far fetched as it seems since we know the Chinese are thought to have produced more than 300,000 T53s in 1954, their second year of production and a whopping 440,000 T53 carbines in 1955, only their third year of T53 production!!  They obviously became proficient at mass production of these armaments very rapidly  We know that they had extensive help from the USSR to produce these weapons and the need was exceedingly great to adequately arm the PLA after the Korean War exposed the many Chinese supply and logistics weaknesses.

The 88 to 94 marked guns are very clearly 1988 to 1994 guns built specifically for export to foreign markets.  Most of the special purpose guns such as the AK magazine accepting ones, were obviously new manufacture as described in the list above. 


The slightly harder ones:

(This list is by no means complete; more will be added as they are discovered.)
  • 1973: Triangle Arsenals, S/N in the 18,000,000’s.
  • 1974: Triangle Arsenals, S/N in the 19,000,000’s.
  • 1975: Triangle Arsenals, S/N in the 20,000,000’s.
  • 1976: Rectangle/Triangle Arsenals, S/N in the 21,000,000’s.
  • 1977: Diamond/Rectangle/Triangle Arsenals, S/N in the 22,000,000’s.
  • 1978: Oval/Rectangle/Triangle Arsenals, S/N in the 23,000,000’s.
  • 1979: Diamond/Oval/Rectangle/Triangle Arsenals, S/N in the 24,000,000’s.
  • 1980: Rectangle/Triangle Arsenals, S/N in the 25,000,00’s.
  • 1983: Triangle Arsenals, S/N in the 28,000,000’s.
  • 1984: Triangle Arsenals, No Arsenal Stamp, S/N in the 29,000,000’s.


If you look at the bulleted list of the mostly /26\ guns in the previous section, you’ll notice that there is a huge empty spot from 1970 through 1977 at the /26\ factory.  Did the Chinese suddenly stop producing Type 56 SKSs?  What about all the other triangle, rectangle, diamond, and oval arsenals, where do they fit in the grand scheme of things?  The Chinese were pretty meticulous with their /26\ Type 56 and even their Type 53’s.  It is highly unlikely that they would totally drop their tracking system w/o replacing it with something else. 

Based on numerous examples, we believe that with the higher output factories, they simply continued using their original system of S/Ns.  The image below shows an example of this continuation of the millions digit = “nth” year of production numbering system.


Figure 1: An example of a 23 million (23rd year of production = 1978) gun with a non /26\ stamp.  This gun has all “late” features including a pressed and pinned barrel, two piece gas tube, and stamped & spot-welded trigger group.


The harder ones:

(This list is by no means complete; more will be added as they are discovered.)
  • 1967: Triangle Arsenals, S/N in the 1,200,000’s.
  • 1968: Oval/Triangle Arsenals, S/N in the 1,300,000’s.
  • 1969: Triangle Arsenals, S/N in the 1,400,000’s.
  • 1970: Triangle Arsenals, S/N in the 1,500,000’s.  Note that there is a distinct but small (less than 20k rifles) group of /26\ rifles produced with a 1.5 million prefix.  The Chinese must have known they would be tapering SKS production at /26\ in 1970 and modified the S/N accordingly.
  • 1971: Triangle Arsenals, S/N in the 1,600,000’s.
  • 1972: Triangle Arsenals, S/N in the 1,700,000’s.
  • 1973: Triangle Arsenals, S/N in the 1,800,000’s.
  • 1975: Rectangle Arsenals, S/N in the 2,000,000’s.
  • 1976: Rectangle/Triangle Arsenals, S/N in the 2,100,000’s.
  • 1977: Rectangle Arsenals, S/N in the 2,200,000’s.
  • 1978: Rectangle/Triangle Arsenals, S/N in the 2,300,000’s.
  • 1979: Rectangle Arsenals, S/N in the 2,400,000’s.
  • 1980: Oval Arsenals, S/N in the 2,500,000’s.


Why do we say the “higher output factories” in the above section?  The answer is that there are many lower output factories that also produced rifles in this time period.  Where the large arsenals could easily crank out 100 thousand rifles a year, it appears that the lower output factories struggled to produce even 10 thousand rifles over the course of a year.  The Chinese learned that they did not need the hundred thousands placeholder in the serial numbers of guns produced at low output factories.  The Chinese are nothing if not efficient, they realized that stamping an extra “0” on all the serialized components was a huge waste of time, so they simply dropped the hundred thousand, and sometimes even the ten thousand placeholder digit!  Therefore, on some of the smaller factories, it is not the millions placeholder that is important, it is the first two digits that tell the “nth” year of production.


Figure 2: An example of a “1.8” million gun that in reality designates the 18th year of production (1973).  This gun has all “late” features including a pressed and pinned barrel, spike bayonet, and late style front sight assembly.


The really hard ones:

(This list is by no means complete; more will be added as they are discovered.)
  • 1970: Rectangle/Triangle Arsenals, S/N with a 70 prefix.
  • 1971: Rectangle/Triangle Arsenals, S/N with a 71 prefix.
  • 1972: Rectangle/Triangle Arsenals, S/N with a 72 prefix.
  • 1973: Rectangle Arsenals, S/N with a 73 prefix.
  • 1974: Diamond Arsenals, S/N with a 74 prefix.
  • 1975: Rectangle Arsenals, S/N with a 75 prefix.
  • 1976: Rectangle Arsenals, S/N with a 76 prefix.


So by now, if you’re really paying attention, you should have recognized something about every Type 56 made by the Chinese since they started the 2 million series back in 1957: on datable guns, the serial number on the receiver always contains more digits than the most other S/N’s stamped components throughout the gun.  A four, five, or six digit number is sufficient to keep the important numbered parts matched with the gun during manufacture, but time is saved by not having to stamp the entire S/N 6 times per gun. 

Based on many examples we have seen of mismatched fonts, extra spacing, varying strike depth, misalignment, and the general ‘differentness’ of the “nth” year of production codes, it is clear that the codes are stamped after the main four, five, or six digit S/N is applied sometime during the production of the weapon.  Now, we know that certain Chinese Type 56 guns imported in the late 80’s through early 90’s sport a very distinct 88-94 S/N prefix as shown below.


Figure 3: An example of an “88” prefixed gun.


Figure 4: An example of an “89” prefixed gun.


Figure 5: An example of a “90” prefixed gun.


Figure 6: An example of a “91” prefixed gun.


Figure 7: An example of a “92” prefixed gun.


Figure 8: An example of a “93” prefixed gun.


Figure 9: An example of a “94” prefixed gun.

The question now becomes: “Did the Chinese use this method of dating guns prior to the late 80s?”  The simple answer is, yes.  The Chinese appear to have used this method of attaching the “YY” prefix extensively at certain factories in the early to mid 70’s.


Figure 10: An example of a “74” prefixed gun that clearly has a distinct space between the date stamp and the main portion of the serial number.


Figure 11: An example of a “75” prefixed gun.  The year prefix on this specimen is very well aligned with the rest of the serial number.  This gun has a short lug, late style rear sight block, cast gas port, late front sight assembly, and 2 piece gas tube.



As more information comes into the Comprehensive Chinese SKS Survey, we will hopefully be able to update this list with additional S/N blocks of non /26\ arsenal guns.

-RM

Photos from various auction sites and internet postings are used under 17 U.S. Code § 107, fair use, not for profit educational purposes.  If any of the photos in this post are yours and you explicitly do not want them shown, please contact me.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2016, 02:22:50 PM by running-man »
      

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Re: Q: When was my Chinese Type 56 SKS made?
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2014, 09:21:41 AM »
Running man and I have discussed this year allocation for a long time now.  We found a few flaws in the 6digi and 2m serial data giving us a false illusion.  In reality, the 6digi serials rolled directly into the 2m serials. 

Loose-Cannon fully supports this message, and will be editing everything associated with it in the next few days.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2014, 09:54:46 AM by Loose}{Cannon »
  
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Re: Q: When was my Chinese Type 56 SKS made?
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2014, 09:57:25 AM »
Feel free to challenge anything in the first post guys.  Like I said, it's not gospel.  Heck I may even have a severe year typo (posted this at 11 PM last night) or something especially egregious that needs fixing. 

Also if you've got an oddball gun, say one that has a spike bayo but is an 8 million /26\, post it up!  There's nothing to say the Chinese didn't experiment with certain changes before they went to full fledged production. 

We learn from our mistakes, RM is not always right (even though he likes to think he is!)
      

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Re: Q: When was my Chinese Type 56 SKS made?
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2014, 10:16:51 PM »
In addition to RMs OP, There is another issue to address.

Since there is no evidence the /26\ stamp indicates Jan 1st 1957, but rather April 1957 with state ownership and actually naming the factory Jianshe. We have a number of 6digit Ghost guns that are actually 1957 rifles.

Estimated 425k produced in 56 and 57 combined from serial data gives us an avg of 17.7k per month. Jan, Feb, and march means 17.7x3= 53.1k rifles off the 213k total non /26\ "ghosts" leaves us at 160k.

160,000 serial ghost is the estimated threshold for classifying a 56 or a 57 ghost.
  
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Re: Q: When was my Chinese Type 56 SKS made?
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2014, 12:05:18 AM »
Slight correction to the above....  2k of the total is the Soviet Sinos, and 2.422m is the actual picture verified 2m.  small tweek in numbers because Im anal like that.   :)


1955/56: "test run" of Soviet Sinos, ~ 2k guns
1956: non-/26\ marked (ghosts, sterile) ~160k guns
1957: non-/26\ marked (ghosts, sterile) ~51k guns
1957: six digit /26\, ~112k guns
1957: 2 mil /26\, ~97k guns
1958: 3 mil /26\, ~215k guns
1959/60: Letter prefix /26\, possibly up to ~360k guns (360k guns would indicate two years worth of production)
1961: 6 mil
  
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Re: Q: When was my Chinese Type 56 SKS made?
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2014, 12:18:40 AM »
I've updated the main post with current information on the non /26\ arsenal dating.  Much of it has come as a direct result of the survey (yay we're seeing results!). 

I think the non /26\ 18 to 29 million series are rock solid.  The 1.3 to 2.3 million series are also relatively solid as every S/N I've seen has been a eerily low number away from 0's, with very few even topping X,X10,000.  The Chinese certainly knew the limitations on the smaller arsenals and what to expect out of them production wise. 

The '70 - '76 marked rifles I was a bit less certain of, but that <0203> example I show in the post has pretty much sealed the deal for me. 

There is one final series of rifles that I'll be looking at, these have giant 70, 71, 72, etc. numbers before the "5 6 Type" Chinese characters with odd 300k S/Ns.  It appears that these are likely date stamps as well with maybe a simple rolling S/N, but I want to do more research before I conclude my findings.

-RM
      

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Re: Q: When was my Chinese Type 56 SKS made?
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2014, 12:49:49 AM »
Thank you running-man, this is great!

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Re: Q: When was my Chinese Type 56 SKS made?
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2014, 10:25:40 AM »
I really like where this is going!

I am curious, about the 1.5 million 1970 /26\ guns...do they have any unusual features compared to other /26\ guns?  Specifically, do they share a similar font style to the serials on the other 1 million series non /26\ guns?

When do pinned barrels make their first appearance?  I ask because according to this latest theory, my 1.6 is a 1971 and is my only pinned barrel Chinese.  Could it be the newer serial types appeared when the pinned barrel did, and /26\ complied with the new convention for its limited run in 1970 when the other factories had just gotten started?

OR....

Could it be that leftover parts from 1969 /26\'s were sent off for final assembly to one of the newer factories, already stamped /26\ but stamped with the new serial system after assembly?   It seems to make sense that serializing would happen after assembly, chasing down like numbered parts would be a pain, and likely would yield many more mismatch guns when parts could not be located.  Whereas if the (TYPE 56) /insert factory here\ was stamped as the receivers were made, it is plausible that the above parts to assembly scenario would make sense.  It seems like it would be silly for these leftover parts to make them revert back to the /26\ serial system for a limited run, when everything else said factory would be making would receive the new system.

Whew, I hope you can make sense of that...it makes sense to me, but I just woke up.

Thank you for all your research and effort towards this, it seems like you might be on to something here!  :)
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Re: Q: When was my Chinese Type 56 SKS made?
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2014, 11:59:25 AM »
FYI: I split the photos of Justin's unusual 9 mil /26\ into it's own thread.  We can get more feedback there while this thread stays clean.

The 1.5 mil /26\s I've seen are pretty 'standard' for that date.  They have short threaded barrel lugs (/26\ did not produce pressed and pinned barrels in my opinion), late version bayo lugs, late series rear sight blocks, stamped & spot welded trigger groups, and stocks with side swivels & .200" wide by .250" high font.

I don't have a clear photo of a gas block to know whether it is milled or cast, the gas tube to know whether it's two piece or one (I assume two, or the magazine internals to know if it's early or late.    What I'd really like is a good 14 million series to compare it to….

Pinned barrels seem to come no later than 1970, and I think could possibly be from '68.  The interesting thing to me is that they seemed to have initially come from the small production arsenals which is pretty logical when you really think about it: Prototyping a new design eventually leads to mass production. 

I think they had to stamp the components parts at time of assembly & fittment, not necessarily when the individual parts were mass produced.  You simply had to match bolt to receiver as proper operation is too important and the tolerances too sloppy to not to get those correct.  The prefix on all receivers were most certainly stamped after the gun was completely assembled.  I don't know about the arsenal stamps and whether they were done before or after.  I'd suspect after, as they may have been used as a final quality control stamp of approval before the gun was crated and sent out (that's what I'd use them for anyhow). 

Still lots of unanswered questions out there.  I'd appreciate any challenges to what's been posted.  I think there will be exceptions as I've got examples of guns that simply don't fit the narrative.  The DB guns, DP, certain M21s, 0406b's, and very late scrubbed parts guns most certainly, but I also have seen others that are just bizarre… 

Are they oddballs?  Misstamped?  Does the hypothesis need tweaking?  All good things to think about. 
      

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Re: Q: When was my Chinese Type 56 SKS made?
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2014, 07:00:28 PM »
Very interesting....

Using this new theory, and then looking at my small list of 406b guns (pasted below), it does seem to make sense.....

The two guns with pinned barrels are both 18xxxxx serials. Those are the latest product rifles of what I've gathered so far. They also both have stamped trigger groups. With this new info, they would be 1973s.

My newest 406b gun is a 16xxxxx serial, and it has a short lug barrel but a stamped trigger. That should be a 1971.

The 15xxxxx guns have short lug barrels, but milled triggers. Should be 1970.

Going off that...

1970 - short lug, milled trigger.
1971 - short lug, stamped trigger.
1973 - pinned barrel, stamped trigger.

Does that pattern match what you've seen production wise in the survey and other arsenal guns?

All the serials I've collected below are from 15xxxx-18xxxx, except ONE 11xxxxx. I am not sure where that one even fits in this new theory.

Thoughts?



1-11001XX (no suffix) Importer: Labanu Inc. Short lug, "D" rear sight mark.
2-1603208 (no suffix) (my gun) Importer: CSI ONT CA. Sort lug, stamped trigger, "D" rear sight mark.
2-18053XX  G suffix AFTER stamp. Importer unknown.
3-18061XX  G suffix AFTER stamp. Importer unknown.
Both above guns posted by same person.
3-1806XXX  G suffix AFTER stamp. Importer: Poly USA, pinned barrel, stamped trigger.
3-17069XX  F suffix AFTER stamp. Importer: Poly USA, "D" rear sight mark
5-17154XX (no suffix) -this gun is interesting...it's looks like it's been well battle used, and has no importer mark.
6-17152XX, Poly USA, with the letter stamp "E" after the arsenal mark
6-18156XX (has a C BEFORE the 6 prefix) no other info
8-1517XXX (suffix and importer unknown, no pics posted). Short lug, "D" rear sight mark, ground off bayo lug.
9-1519777 L  (my gun) Importer: Poly USA. Short lug barrel, "D" rear sight mark, ground off bayo lug.
11-15XXXX (has weird symbol suffix) Importer unknown, Short lug, "D" rear sight mark.
? - 1514588 L (can't see prefix, no other pics)
10-18283XX (no suffix) - another one that looks like it's been well battle used, and has no importer mark. Pinned barrel, stamped trigger, "3" rear sight mark.

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Re: Q: When was my Chinese Type 56 SKS made?
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2014, 07:27:46 PM »
I don't know about the 0406b's PS.  Those guys are real oddballs, that's why I specifically named them and the M21's, DB's etc in this post.  I would be wary of trying to force a gun into a timeframe where it really may not be warranted because they are so different.

Still lots of unanswered questions out there.  I'd appreciate any challenges to what's been posted.  I think there will be exceptions as I've got examples of guns that simply don't fit the narrative.  The DB guns, DP, certain M21s, 0406b's, and very late scrubbed parts guns most certainly, but I also have seen others that are just bizarre… 


You have more info on the 0406b's than I do, that's for certain.  It's interesting if the guns show some sort of component progression according to S/N, but I agree it's probably a stretch to assume that the 1,1XX,XXX is an 11th year (1966) gun, though it's certainly not out of the realm of possibility.  We have pretty good evidence that the Chinese were using other arsenals besides /26\ at least by 1968, so who is to say that 0406 didn't get started a couple years earlier?  That 1,100,1xx S/N is downright low, maybe it was a very small run of guns to see if the satellite factory concept would even work?  Who knows, all speculation without more data (another 10 or 20 0406b guns would be awesome!), but fun nonetheless.
      

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Re: Q: When was my Chinese Type 56 SKS made?
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2014, 07:42:58 PM »
Pinned vs threaded is an interesting avenue to investigate, but things like triggers and two piece gastubes etc can be all over the place depending on where they received said components and when. It would also seem some of these very low production locations used new, nos, and full blow recycled scrubbed and force-matched components. Imho, since the shift away from /26\ appears to happen in the 68-70 timeframe, I wouldn't be surprised to find stamped and milled trigger housings on any of them nor would it indicate a timeframe being that /26\ started with them in the 11th year (1966).
  
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Re: Q: When was my Chinese Type 56 SKS made?
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2014, 07:50:53 PM »
I don't know about the 0406b's PS.  Those guys are real oddballs, that's why I specifically named them and the M21's, DB's etc in this post.  I would be wary of trying to force a gun into a timeframe where it really may not be warranted because they are so different.

Still lots of unanswered questions out there.  I'd appreciate any challenges to what's been posted.  I think there will be exceptions as I've got examples of guns that simply don't fit the narrative.  The DB guns, DP, certain M21s, 0406b's, and very late scrubbed parts guns most certainly, but I also have seen others that are just bizarre… 


You have more info on the 0406b's than I do, that's for certain.  It's interesting if the guns show some sort of component progression according to S/N, but I agree it's probably a stretch to assume that the 1,1XX,XXX is an 11th year (1966) gun, though it's certainly not out of the realm of possibility.  We have pretty good evidence that the Chinese were using other arsenals besides /26\ at least by 1968, so who is to say that 0406 didn't get started a couple years earlier?  That 1,100,1xx S/N is downright low, maybe it was a very small run of guns to see if the satellite factory concept would even work?  Who knows, all speculation without more data (another 10 or 20 0406b guns would be awesome!), but fun nonetheless.

One observation I can make about the one 1,1xxxxx gun...the serial stamp font is different than any of the other 0406b serials. It's the same layout...the prefix number, a dash, then the rest of the serial. But the font is more squared off. So maybe it IS an earlier gun?

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Re: Q: When was my Chinese Type 56 SKS made?
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2015, 10:36:42 AM »
I got a PM the other day from a guy on another board.  He has a KFS imported Type 56 SKS and has done a fine job researching his rifle.  Here is what he sent me after we'd been talking a bit about his rifle:

Quote from: Ron Carter
RM,
When I contacted Polytech, she asked for the serial number of my rifle my rifle (ed: his S/N is 17235xx, arsenal /636\ -RM) and she told me that is was made in 1972 and it was imported in 1987 and part of military surplus.  She told me I could buy the certificate for $50.00.

It's only a single data point of correlation.  But the fact that they called this 1.7 mil, non-/26\ rifle a 1972, and not a 1956 or a 1973 tells me we're on the right track!  thumb1
      

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Re: Q: When was my Chinese Type 56 SKS made?
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2015, 12:03:38 PM »
When your right.... your right.  Even a blind dog finds a bone once in a while.    OK1
  
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Re: Q: When was my Chinese Type 56 SKS made?
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2015, 02:56:20 PM »
I got a PM the other day from a guy on another board.  He has a KFS imported Type 56 SKS and has done a fine job researching his rifle.  Here is what he sent me after we'd been talking a bit about his rifle:

Quote from: Ron Carter
RM,
When I contacted Polytech, she asked for the serial number of my rifle my rifle (ed: his S/N is 17235xx, arsenal /636\ -RM) and she told me that is was made in 1972 and it was imported in 1987 and part of military surplus.  She told me I could buy the certificate for $50.00.

It's only a single data point of correlation.  But the fact that they called this 1.7 mil, non-/26\ rifle a 1972, and not a 1956 or a 1973 tells me we're on the right track!  thumb1

If only we could have access to what KFS has.... When I talked to them about it....they have some serious info.

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Re: Q: When was my Chinese Type 56 SKS made?
« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2015, 05:43:06 PM »
So true. I have a KFS import (pre-ban) it is a beautiful rifle. Looks like it was never issued. It only had a few rounds fired by the original purchaser and I have only fired it to determine function and accuracy (about 6 rounds.)
Also found that cosmoline is still lurking in the tighter nooks and crannies, when I removed the firing pin to identify for the survey I pulled the extractor and spring and found the spring still had some cosmoline residue in it's center.

Function is perfect and accuracy is exceptional from the open sights. I recall reading about the KFS imports for that period... about 6000 rifles? Anyway; the survey here was completed for the project. My thanks to everyone who put this great resource together.

Best Regards

M1911.A1

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Re: Q: When was my Chinese Type 56 SKS made?
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2015, 01:07:48 AM »
I was perusing other boards (*gasp* you mean we're free to do that here?) and found a tantalizing string.  I pulled the string and I think this info needed to be posted.  It's only a small piece of proof, but it falls 100% in line with our dating scheme.  thumb1

I found this image:


Meh, nothing too impressive, the side of an olive green crate.  You're probably saying: "RM, you're wasting my time here, get on with it!"  Ok, let's take a step back and see how the Chinese marked some of their other crates.  This is a crate of 7.62x54R ammo with Albanian (yes Albanian!) script on the outside.  Notice the three sets of numbers in the bottom left of each crate:

Ammo pictures below taken by Stevo at CGN


And open the 0007 marked crate, and take a look at the two tins inside.  Ah ha, we see some familiar Chinese markings, a very clear 53式 (type) as this 7.62x54R was fabricated for a Type 53 carbine.   We also see the same three numbers 0007, 71, and 68, but this time, arranged a bit differently: 0007-71 and then 3-68:


Unfortunately, this is where info from this particular crate simply stops.  The poster put up some photos of the ammo inside, but neglected to show the headstamps, darn:


Too bad, I could have put a bow on this post right off the bat, but instead you'll have to simply bear with me through another couple examples.  The following is a different tin of ammo from a different poster.  This is 7.62x39 ammo, but the general markings are somewhat similar.  I see a 0030 & 101 kind of grouped together and a 6-71 also grouped together among all the Chinese:


The headstamp of these rounds reads 101 over 71:


Common consensus around the net is that the top number in a chinese headstamp is the factory, and the bottom number is the year, in this case factory 101 ammo produced in 1971.  Interesting, those numbers sure are prominent on the outside of the tins.  Is this somewhat consistent with other ammo tins?

This is other 7.62x39 ammo and the general markings are different, though it's a bit hard to tell as the tin is in horrible shape with heavy oxidation.  Three numbers stand out, like what was marked on the crate from the 7.62x54R ammo.  These numbers are 0049-69-61:


Opening the tin yields boxes of ammo, and opening the boxes yields this:


Interesting!  The headstamp says that this ammo is from factory 61, produced in 1969. 

So what can I conclude from these simple examples when you see a XXXX-XX-XX(Y) number set on a crate or tin?
  • The first number in the three number chain appears to be perhaps a crate number (or maybe a batch number, lot number, or other identifying number that seems to be different on each individual crate) as both tins in my 7.62x54R example from above had identical 0007 markings as the crate holding them did.
  • The second number corresponds to the year of manufacture. (Incidentally, the X-YEAR code seen grouped together on the tin appears to me to be a month code as I've seen no number greater than 12 as the prefix.  This is assumed by many other collectors that I've seen as well.)
  • The third number corresponds to the factory number.
So what does any of this this have to do with the first green crate photo from above?


Hmm, 0004-70-256.  Crate #0004, built in 1970, from factory 256.

But what's inside that crate?

:o


:o :o


:o :o :o


popcorn1


nailbite1


drool2


pullhair1


dance1 banana time

Interesting.  These guns are pristine in the original grease!  I'd go so far as to say unissued, and anyone who knows me knows that I never use that term!  I'd be surprised if theres a gouge or ding in the whole lot.

Crate #0004, built in 1970, from factory 256.
Rifle 1509796 (among other 1.5 mils in the crate, I also have a picture of rifle 1510971), we've always called that mark factory "625"
15 S/N prefix corresponds to the 15th year of production (1970) from our dating hypothesis.  It would appear it matches exceptionally well with the crate markings.  The 256 arsenal is another interesting nugget in there as well.  Very interesting indeed!
« Last Edit: April 19, 2015, 06:34:36 PM by Loose}{Cannon »
      

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Re: Q: When was my Chinese Type 56 SKS made?
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2015, 01:36:56 AM »
I have had this theory as well for a while, im going to share a theory that I sent to another top name in the SKS field last February.

   "I have a theory concerning Chinese weapons production. I know that the current theory is that the Chinese had a system where the year of production for major arsenals is represented as a millions + year of adopted design. I know it is impossible to prove, or disprove this, but I have another theory that may be plausible. The Chinese Type 54 TT-33 variant is one of the only cold war era Chinese weapons that was actually dated 19XX. All of the Type 54's I have seen are from state factory 66(626). At first glance one would think they could date the Type 54's the same way as the SKS's, millions + 1954 = date of production.

   This almost works out to be true, but this is always off by one million on every single type 54 I have seen. A 1966 example would have for instance a 13 million serial number(1966-13+1=1954), and a 1959 dated example would have a 6 million serial number(1959-6+1=1954).  I have also never come across, in all my research, a 1 million serialized Chinese SKS or AK, the earliest ak serial number I have found was a 2 million. This makes since though, if factory 626 were to keep serial number consistency across production lines of type 54 pistols, and type 56 ak's, that the off by one date/serial number correspondence holds true. Year 1 = initial year(1956) would be 6 digit numbers/sino soviet markings, year 2 of production=1957 would be 2 million, year 3/1958 =3 million etc... this makes me question the current system of dating Chinese weapons."
« Last Edit: February 12, 2015, 01:47:31 AM by miner1436 »

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Re: Q: When was my Chinese Type 56 SKS made?
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2015, 06:52:53 AM »
Outstanding smoking gun RM!

Miner...  we been banging this drum for a while now.  You came to the right place.  :)

Also take a look at the T53. 
  
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