One of the main focuses of SKS-Files, and a key reason for it's creation, is to preserve the history and accuracy of information surrounding the SKS. And unfortunately, we have 30+ years of misinformation out there, stemming from hearsay, poor recollection, inflated egos, and just plain ole made up information. But fortunately, we have great people here at the files, that are constantly questioning, probing, searching, and data collecting. This often leads to breaking many of those old habits of SKS "knowledge" that was never based off of fact.
The Chinese commercial models are not exempt from this. Before his passing, xxxsksjoe had recently obtained many old issues of Shotgun News, to search for information on the commercial models FROM THE ACTUAL SOURCES. Joe and I had been discussing how some of the model names being used were just plain wrong, and we started finding some good proof.
Now that Joe has passed his vast information along to me, I have continued on with his work (and my own). Now, what I am going to post may be hard for people to transition, as the names of these models have not been questioned for decades. But that doesn't change the fact that they are wrong, and I will provide the proof in this post for all to read, see, and question if needed. This is a post based on new found information, and discussion is gladly encouraged.
I will be re-classifying three commercial models. The SKS-D, the Navy Arms Type 84, and the Midwest Ordnance. SKS-D
The "SKS-D", was one of the earliest commercial models that took AK magazines. This was a brand new production rifle. There were a few minor variations of parts used, but the rifle had a 20" barrel, military stock, riveted bayo lug with removable bayo, and of course used standard AK magazines. The rifles were sold with three 30 round AK mags in the box.
Now.... this rifle has been called the "D" for many years here on the internet. But like many things you read on the internet, that doesn't mean it's right.
There are THREE things that can be used to properly identify what the PROPER model name is for a commercial Chinese SKS - 1. The model name stamped on the receiver. 2. The model name printed on the export/bar code label on the box. 3. The model name printed in magazines and catalogs from the time period of sale.
Every single new production commercial SKS has the model name stamped on the receiver....EXCEPT the "SKS-D". This has lead to years of people taking liberties to name the gun.
So why now did I question the name of this SKS? Well, I started noticing something interesting. I kept finding these guns for sale online, still with the original box, and I noticed that the export labels did NOT say "SKS-D" where the model is printed on the label. It says "SKS-30". Here are two examples:
Notice the bottom left side of the sticker. It says "SKS-30". Next to that, is the serial. This is how commercial models were shipped to the US from China. A quick description of the rifle on top, the bar code, then the model and serial on bottom. We don't have the model name on the receiver, but we now have one of the other two known sources.
So let's go for the third source now. Advertising. The "SKS-D" came out in 88, and there were plenty of ads in Shotgun news from 88 to 91 for these guns, from both the three main importers and other local distributors. Let's look at some of them....
Take a look at this ad from DIG. DIG was one of the three importers for this rifle....
Notice that they simply call it an SKS with a detachable magazine. There is not a model name being used. They are not calling it an "SKS-D".
Now look at this ad from China Sports. They were one of the other importers....
Again, notice they are just using a description of the gun for the ad. No usage of "SKS-D".
I found about 8 other companies using the generic description as well. I never found one ad calling the gun an "SKS-D".
I did however, find ads calling the gun what I had suspected was the actual model name...
Here is one, calling the SKS-30...
Here is another company, calling it the SKS-30...
So now we have ZERO evidence of this gun ever being called the "SKS-D". And we have verified export labels and advertising showing the correct model name for this rifle as being the SKS-30
But wait.... it gets better. There actually IS an SKS-D. But it's a different model than people have been calling it.... Midwest Ordnance
In the very late 80s and early 90s, there was a shop in Detroit called Midwest Ordnance. They had a very talented gunsmith who basically copied the SKS-30 and converted existing rifles to use AK mags. You could buy one outright, or send yours in to be converted. They would make any configuration you wanted.... wood stock, combat exchange stock, drum mags, pistol grip, etc, etc. There were actually REALLY nicely done rifles (I just got one, pics will be coming soon in a new thread). xxxsksjoe said there were about 200-300 guns produced by them, but honestly I have nothing to back that up. However, it is very plausible, given the time it would take to build one of these guns, factored into about 2-3 years of doing them.
So what does this have to the "SKS-D"? Well, that is actually the CORRECT name for the Midwest guns. That's right folks... the SKS-D is actually the version made by Midwest Ordnance. That is what they called and marketed their conversions as.
Here is one of their business cards....
Pretty cut and dry folks.... it says "creators of the SKS-D" right on their card.
Need more proof? Check this ad out...
This is really the ad that ties it all together. For one, it says right on it "presents the original SKS-D series". Second, MO actually sold SKS-D shirts and apparel (look at the bottom of the screen shot)! And most importantly, look at the description of the rifle... "this is the closest duplication of the original Chinese SKS-30". This advertisement both proves that the MO guns are the REAL SKS-Ds, as well as backs up that the Chinese made gun was called the SKS-30.
And lastly, the Navy Arms Type 84
(Joe had already made this one known, but I am going to add it in here too, since I will soon be modifying the Commercial guide pages with these updates.)
The Navy Arms "type 84" was a 16.5" barrel, AK magazine SKS, that still retained the bayonet. It is the ONLY commercial model you get all three of those features on. It had been debated whether or not these conversions were done overseas, or here in the US. As far as I know, there is no proof either way, and it is very hard to find valid info about Navy Arms from back then. All we really have to go by is NA catalogs and advertisements and some of their lower production models only appeared in one or two obscure ads. Personally, I think they were done in house somewhere similar to the Midwest Ordnance guns. Each "type 84" was pretty much hand made, and the AK magazines had to be slightly modified to work for each particular rifle, which is why they came with two matching serial magazines.
Back to the name.... I wish I had tons of awesome proof to dispel the old name and prove the correct name, but I don't. This was a very low production gun, with an estimated 400 or so units made. And it was only very briefly advertised in one or two ads.
But here is what we know.... There is ZERO proof or information that backs up the name "type 84" for this rifle. Joe never found any source for that name, and I have not either. If anyone has any valid proof where that name came from, I would love to hear it.
What we DO know, is that Navy Arms called this rifle the "Assault Carbine" in their ads. And it's their gun, and their name.
So to sum all of this up...
What has been called the SKS-D for many many years, is actually the SKS-30
What has been called the Midwest Ordnance conversion, is actually the SKS-D
What has been called the Navy Arms Type 84, is actually the Navy Arms Assault Carbine
Please feel free to discuss, add anything, or disprove anything. Proper information is what we want here