I've still been dabbling with this prefix/suffix mess for a while, on and off for the past few months, between hospitals, being stuck out of town working, so on and so forth.................
So I will throw this at the wall and see what sticks. RM, please forgive me, it has to come out. I just used a few rifles that came to mind in standing out while looking. It would be interesting to see what is reflected in the mass-o-pictures you have.
I'm starting to, now that I've seen quite a few, wonder if the serial suffix is not possibly a refurb/inspection/rebuild location or a rebuild identifier.... and has possibly nothing to do with the importer or exporter as a specific suffix/prefix can not be finger pointed to any one specific importer/exporter. It has been shown they welded, reground and reserialed rifles, maybe stamping was part of the refurb evolution in their methods.
Looking through the ones in this thread and pictures of ones I found elsewhere, it kind of dawned on me, they are usually all in very good shape, almost new'ish for their age, realistically, if you set aside the 30-40 years of dings, nicks and use from here in the US. Some in this very thread and others elsewhere are older rifles sporting the later blondish stocks and have the suffix, then you see the same serial series in the same ranges with finish loss and worn stocks, like the recent Albanian imports, the IC rifles and non-import marked/bringbacks there is none that had a prefix/suffix I could find. Another quirk.. the /2\ stock stamp seems to follow the serial suffix/prefix, not always, but seems thats were it shows up.
as example..... 2 10million /26\ rifles.... Same year built, 369335 rifles apart...even just looking at the metal finish, one is sporting that new "commercial" look, one is sporting the very well used "military" look, or as RM calls..."as issued". looking at stocks, the top rifle the stock is matching from what I saw, and I'm sure that finish color was not an overly common color used by /26\ in 1965, it's more like a finish you would see on late imported rifles..
If respective owners want them removed, please contact me and it shall be done.
Another example..M08's 11 million oil finish rifle(top) vs. a 12 million no import marked rifle(bottom).
Another... from M08's stash, (Sorry M08 for singling out you out)
. All the same rifle.. With a "B" suffix and /2\ stock stamp. With this example.. it has had stock work done at some point which would account for the plugs/repairs in the wood. It could very well be a factory stock, a repaired factory stock, but it could be a replacement. Did the repaired stock warrant the "B" stamp because it had been repaired in some way? And ask yourself, Self, how often is an actual repaired stock seen, some rifles, the repairs are common place, but how many are seen on a Chinese SKS?
Thoughts? Ideas? Lets hear it.... because this suffix/prefix mystery has hung in limbo for almost as many years as dating methods and such.
I just think it is somewhere in it's life, something was done..it could have been anything from a simple inspection or a full fledge rebuild.