Every once in a while, guns show up that make you scratch your head and wonder about what the Russians actually were trying to do when they made changes. Some of them, like going from the spring loaded firing pin to a free floating design, seem to have been made for ease of manufacturability, maintainability, or perhaps increased reliability (ever seen a FP spring after a popped primer?). One that has always intrigued me is the transition from the year + arsenal marked receiver covers of the '49 through '55 guns, to the blank receiver covers of the '56 to '58 series.
We fortunately have enough guns shown and mentioned by collectors all around the web that we can start to see how this transition actually played out. These guns are 1956, letter "Д" suffix guns with a serial number beginning with the letters "KP".
Let's look at the progression of the guns I've tracked (click on the photos to enlarge them inline)
- KP219_Д with no receiver star, a '55 cover, and a refurb hardwood stock.
- КР839_Д with no receiver star, a '55 cover, and a no-date/cartouche stock with various crisp proof marks. (no photos to show)
- KP1194_Д with no receiver star, a '55 cover, and a no-date/no cartouche hardwood stock with various crisp proof marks.
- KP1688_Д with no receiver star, a '55 cover, and an IC heavy shellac stock that may or might not be matching. (member here has this one, and it's a beauty!)
- KP2348_Д with no receiver star, a '55 dated cover and a heavy refurb job including a replacemwnt amber laminate stock and EP'd trigger group.
- KP2416_Д with no receiver star, a no date cover, and a replacement amber hardwood stock with no cartouche. This gun is a heavy refurb, though the cover is from a KP_Д series, it may not be original to this gun.
- KP2643_Д with no receiver star, a '55 dated cover, and what I believe to be a replacement red laminate stock with no cartouche.
- KP2921_Д with no receiver star, a '55 dated cover, and a no-date/no cartouche hardwood stock with crisp proof marks. I found this one in my furloughs over in the dark depths of the Russian web.
- KP3110_Д with no receiver star, with a likely '55 cover and blank hardwood stock. I was listed in the 1955 year column in Kurgan/noytaCCCP's Russian registry. (no photos to show)
- KP5264_Д with no receiver star, with a no date star cover and a replacement amber laminate stock.
- KP5511 (probably Д suffix, but not specifically indicated) with unknown receiver star, cover, stock. Cover and stock are both likely blank or no-date based on the 55/56 designator in the registry. (no photos to show)
- KP5584_Д with no receiver star, no-date star cover, likely replacement/refurb stock as the color is way off and all the proof marks show indications of sanding. I had this gun in the list forever, but only recently found the photos on Yooper's site.
- KP6139_Д with unknown receiver star, no-date cover, unknown stock. (no photos to show)
- KP6338_Д with no receiver star, no-date star cover, and a no-date/no cartouche hardwood stock with what appears to be shellac in the valleys of the stock S/N.
- KP6367_Д with no receiver star, a definite star on the receiver cover (likely a no date star stamp cover), and a no-date/no cartouche stock. Unfortunately photos are not the best.
- KP6640_Д with no receiver star, no-date star cover, and a no-date/no cartouche hardwood stock with various crisp proof marks.
- KP6852_Д, with no receiver star, blank cover, and a refurbed hardwood stock w/ a clear refurb mark (1827th ABV / Nizhyn) right next to the S/N stamping. Unfortunately, due to the refurb, this blank cover may be a replacement and not necessarily be original to the gun.
- KP6977_Д with no receiver star, no-date star cover, and a no-date/ no-cartouche stock with various crisp proof marks. (no photos available)
- KP7479_Д with no receiver star, no date star cover, no-date / no-cartouche stock with crisp proof marks. Looks like an as-issued gun to me.
I would say that KP prefixed guns don't have the receiver
Tula star stamp as the general rule. (does anyone have any info of a KP prefix, Д suffix SKS with
a star on it that I somehow missed? The cover seems to have transitioned from 1955 dated w/ a Tula star to just the Tula star, and then possibly to a blank cover as the S/Ns increased.
Another series worth looking into is the CM series as CM9308 is verified with photos to have similar no receiver star, no-date cover, no cartouche hardwood stock characteristics with the KPs, though the S/N definitely lacks the Д. Not quite sure what to make of that….
As always, these photos were mostly pulled from online auction sites, websites, and forum posts. I have no idea who owns rights to what photos, so I usually just throw out the following disclaimer:
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.