Author Topic: List of Russian SKS45 Importers  (Read 6865 times)

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Online running-man

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List of Russian SKS45 Importers
« on: May 17, 2016, 11:59:05 PM »
Here is a compilation of all the import stamps I can find on the Russian SKS45.  All the images are thumbnails, click the individual photos to enlarge.

If you have an Russian import stamp that isn't shown here, please post up a photo and I'll add it here.  thumb1

  • CAI #1, Century International Arms out of Saint Albans, Vermont:
    C.A.I. ST. ALB VT
    SKS 7.62X39 RUSSIA


    Type: Stamp
    Location: Right Front Barrel
    Notes: I honestly don't know the true progression of these first few CAI stamps.  This one is fairly common and places the "CAI" portion of the stamp before the "SKS" portion.  Obviously pre-2000 imports as CAI moved from St. Albans to Georgia, VT in November of 2000.  The CAI and SKS portions of the stamp were imprinted in two separate steps, there is considerable variation in the placement and order of these two pieces of information. 

  • CAI #1a, Century International Arms out of Saint Albans, Vermont:
    C.A.I. ST. ALB VT <upside down>
    SKS 7.62X39 RUSSIA


    Type: Stamp
    Location: Right Front Barrel
    Notes:  This is a variation on CAI #1 in that the CAI portion is consistently stamped upside down.  I've seen this variation on no less than 5 different Russian SKSs.  It appears that the mistake continued unnoticed for some period of time. 

  • CAI #2, Century International Arms out of Saint Albans, Vermont:
    SKS 7.62X39 RUSSIA
    C.A.I. ST. ALB VT


    Type: Stamp
    Location: Right Front Barrel
    Notes:  Identical to CAI #1 except for the order of the SKS and CAI portions of the stamp.

  • CAI #2a, Century International Arms out of Saint Albans, Vermont:
    SKS 7.62X39 RUSSIA
    C.A.I. ST. ALB VT


    Type: Stamp
    Location: Right Front Barrel
    Notes:  Identical to CAI #2 except this stamp is placed at the extreme forward portion of the barrel right next to the bayo lug.

  • CAI #3, Century International Arms out of Saint Albans, Vermont:
    C.A.I. ST. ALB VT       SKS 7.62X39        RUSSIA

    Type: Stamp
    Location: Right Front Barrel
    Notes:  A single line of text distinguishes this stamp from the others.  CAI and SKS portions are now joined by a RUSSIA portion with a large degree of variable spacing between the three stamps.

  • CAI #4, Century International Arms out of Saint Albans, Vermont:
    C.A.I. ST. ALB. VT.
    SKS 7.62x39 Russia


    Type: Etching?  Possibly a stamp
    Location: Right Front Barrel
    Notes:  This is a noticeably different stamp with much different punctuation and a different capitalization on the "Russia" portion.

  • CDI: Classic Distributors Inc. out of Swanton, Vermont
    SKS 7.62x39          MADE IN RUSSIA           CCCP##### <much larger letters for the CCCP S/N>
    C.D.I. SWAN. VT


    Type: Stamp
    Location: Right Rear Receiver
    Notes: These are the ones that the 'real' collectors absolutely hate.  The dreaded CCCP import stamped guns.  Yes the CCCP is large and it's obnoxious and if it was a ploy to sell more Russian SKSs it probably failed, but the guns themselves are really in about the same condition as you find the CAI, NHM, and KBI guns: varying.  Would I turn up my nose at an as-issued '53 Izhevsk with a CDI stamp on it?  Heck no, that's just crazy talk.

    Anywhoo, about the company itself, I have not been able to 100% verify that CDI really equals Classic Distributors, Inc., but there is some pretty compelling evidence that it is them.  Some Swedish Mausers are stamped with a CLASS. DIST. SWAN. VT import stamp and Swanton, Vermont isn't exactly the size of LA as it only has 6400 people as of the latest census, so I'd lean towards CDI really being Classic Distributing Inc.  Following that path, Classic Distributing does have a Vermont secretary of state filing here showing that it was incorporated on December, 26, 1989 and didn't dissolve until after the 2002 fiscal year filing.  This is the correct timeframe for the '92 to '96 import of Russian SKS 45s.  It appears that the CEO was Theo Prokos.  You gotta love unusual names like that because it makes searching for the guy just that much more interesting.  I found a link to the 100th Congress, 1st Session Report on the Iran Contra Affair  During 1985, Theo was the fast talker for Century International Arms, he was the one who was sent out to soothe things when feathers would get ruffled.    Anyhow, I thought that was pretty interesting, it appears that the Iran-Contra Investigation, when it concluded in ~'88-'89 may have been the impetus that Theo needed to open up another import shop.  Swanton is located in Franklin County Vermont, only 9 miles north of St. Albans.  We all know who operated out of St. Albans in the 80's and 90s.  These Russian importers are as incestuous as the Chines ones are! thumb1

  • IO #1, Interordinance Inc. out of Monroe, North Carolina:
    I.O.INC.,MONROE, NC
    M56 7.62X39, CHINA


    Type: Pin Punch
    Location: Right Mid Barrel Under Gas Tube
    Notes: The only Russian guns these stamps are seen on are Russian Sneaks.  Imported with a batch of Chinese SKS in 1Q 2013, these guns are marked "China" despite the fact they are clearly Russian SKS45s.  These guns will typically be in fair to poor shape, with a good portion of them in an incorrect stock or having a mismatched receiver cover. 

  • IO #2, Interordinance Inc. out of Palm Bay, Florida:
    I.O. INC., Palm Bay, FL
    M56 7.62X39 CHINA


    Type: Pin Punch
    Location: Right Mid Barrel Under Gas Tube
    Notes: The only Russian guns these stamps are seen on are Russian Sneaks.  Imported with a batch of Chinese SKS in 3Q 2013 (IO relocated to Palm bay in August, 2013), these guns are marked "China" despite the fact they are clearly Russian SKS45s.  These guns will typically be in fair to poor shape, with a good portion of them in an incorrect stock or having a mismatched receiver cover.  Most of the IO Palm Bay Russian sneaks were confiscated by ATF and destroyed as they were not supposed to be imported per the VRA

  • KBI #1, KBI Inc. (Kassner, B? & I?) out of Harrisburg, Pennslyvania:
    RUSSIA SKS-45 7.62X39 KBI.INC HBG,PA                 RH######

    Type: Pin Punch
    Location: Left Mid / Rear Receiver
    Notes: Definitely one of the big boys in the Russian SKS-45 game, KBI imported a whole bunch of guns in the mid 90's between the fall of the Soviet Union to the signing of the VRA in April '96.  The president of KBI was Michael Kassner, who is somewhat of a legend in the arms import business.  From the Pennsylvania secretary of state website (search for KBI), it appears that KBI was founded in 1989.  Looking at the corporations Kassnar was involved in, I see Kassnar Imports Inc. in '67 (possibly his dad's company), Firstshot Inc. in '91, KopyKats Inc. in '96, Kassnar & Associates in '97.  Kassner's Linkedin profile can be found here.  He is currently at IWI USA Inc.

    As for the stamp itself, I honestly have no idea why there are RH prefixes and RL prefixes.  Something caused the change, maybe it was as simple as a separate import batch.  I'm calling this one #1 as the RH's are much more numerous than the RL's from what I've seen. 

  • KBI #2, KBI Inc. (Kassner, B? & I?) out of Harrisburg, Pennslyvania:
    RUSSIA SKS-45 7.62X39 KBI.INC HBG,PA                 RL######

    Type: Pin Punch
    Location: Left Mid / Rear Receiver
    Notes: Identical to KBI #1 save for the RL in the S/N.  Far less of the RL's around than the RH's from what I've seen.

  • NHM #1, New Helvetica Mercantile Co. out of Sacramento, California:
                     2####
    NHM CO. SAC CAL    RUSSIA SKS 7.62X39


    Type: Stamp
    Location: Left Front Receiver
    Notes: A simple stamp with three parts, the S/N on top, the NHM portion first and the Russia portion offset to the the right of that on NHM #2.  I believe this to be the first NHM stamp found in the Russian SKS45s, though it could easily be argued that another stamp came first.  See the IAIE entry in the List of Chinese Type 56 Importers for additional info on NHM.

  • NHM #1a, New Helvetica Mercantile Co. out of Sacramento, California:
    2#### NHM CO. SAC CAL <upside down>   RUSSIA SKS 7.62X39

    Type: Stamp
    Location: Left Front Receiver
    Notes: Very similar to NHM #1, but the S/N is in a totally different place and the NHM stamp was erroneously put on upside down.  A case could easily be made that NHM #1 and #1a could be after any of the other NHM stamps because this one is so oddball different.  I think it goes first because there are only a maximum of 10000 different S/N's with this stamp.  They may have changed to the 9.9 million stamps if they ran out of numbers, but I've never seen an NHM #2 S/N higher than 21000 however.  See the IAIE entry in the List of Chinese Type 56 Importers for additional info on NHM.

  • NHM #2, New Helvetica Mercantile Co. out of Sacramento, California:
    99#####
    NHM CO. SAC CAL    RUSSIA SKS 7.62X39


    Type: Stamp
    Location: Left Mid Receiver
    Notes: It could be argued that this one is the first stamp but these look slightly less crude than the 20k stamps.  Regardless, it is still one of the very first NHM stamps. The very low S/N (~20th gun in the 9.9 mil series is shown here) is in a very small and odd font.  The numerals don't match the NHM portion at all.  These import stamps are often unreadable, or at least only partially struck.  The numbers, however, are struck extremely deeply.  Because of these differences, I think the two may have been stamped at different times but it's impossible to know for certain w/o talking to an insider at NHM.  See the IAIE entry in the List of Chinese Type 56 Importers for additional info on NHM.

  • NHM #2a, New Helvetica Mercantile Co. out of Sacramento, California:
    99##### <sideways>  NHM CO. SAC CAL    RUSSIA SKS 7.62X39

    Type: Stamp
    Location: Left Front Receiver
    Notes: A variation on NHM #2.  This one has the S/N stamped sideways underneath the Russian S/N.  I can't imagine this was something that occurred for very long as it looks terrible.  See the IAIE entry in the List of Chinese Type 56 Importers for additional info on NHM.

  • NHM #2b, New Helvetica Mercantile Co. out of Sacramento, California:
    NHM CO. SAC CAL    RUSSIA SKS 7.62X39
                    99#####


    Type: Stamp
    Location: Left Front Receiver
    Notes: Another simple variation on NHM #2.  This one has the S/N underneath the stamp instead of above or inline.  With this gun only being ~1860 guns away from the example shown in NHM #2, it's hard to say if there was a true deviation here (suggesting different import lots) or if there was simply a large amount of variation in the stampings from one gun to the next.  As I accumulate additional NHM import stamps in the database, perhaps we will be able to make an educated call on this one.  See the IAIE entry in the List of Chinese Type 56 Importers for additional info on NHM.

  • NHM #3, New Helvetica Mercantile Co. out of Sacramento, California:
    RUSSIA SKS 7.62X39 NHM SAC.CA                99#####

    Type: Pin Punch
    Location: Left Mid/Rear Receiver
    Notes:  Here we see the pin punch being used instead of the individual stamps.  Numbers are still sequential starting (I assume) from 9900001 in the NHM #1 series.  See the IAIE entry in the List of Chinese Type 56 Importers for additional info on NHM.

  • NHM #4, New Helvetica Mercantile Co. out of Sacramento, California:
    SKS-RUSSIA 7.62 MM
                                        99##### <very large numerals>
    NHM CO SACCO


    Type: Stamp / Engraving
    Location: Right Rear Receiver
    Notes: Here is a very late NHM stamp. I believe this one comes before #5 because it continues the 99##### numbering format that was started in NHM #1.  This marking is on the right side of the receiver, many people mistake this mark for a CDI mark as they are very similar looking.  Another one of the marks that the 'real' collectors turn their noses up at.  See the IAIE entry in the List of Chinese Type 56 Importers for additional info on NHM.

  • NHM #5, New Helvetica Mercantile Co. out of Sacramento, California:
    NHM CO SAC CA 7.62X39 SKS RUSSIA N####

    Type: Pin Punch
    Location: Left Rear Receiver
    Notes: Another NHM stamp, this one the last one in the series assuming they started at NHM #1.  Certainly newer than NHM #4.  See the IAIE entry in the List of Chinese Type 56 Importers for additional info on NHM.

  • Springfield Armory, Springfield Inc. out of Geneseo, Illinois (No real relation to Springfield Armory located in MA except for using the name, but it is coincidentally quite close to Rockport and the Rock Island Arsenal):
    RUSSIA SKS 7.62X39 SPRINGFILED INC GENESEO IL.

    Type: Engraved
    Location: Left Mid Receiver
    Notes: Took forever to verify that this one does indeed exist.  Likely a very small import batch.  Thanks to Panhead for passing on the photo.

  • TGI, Tennessee Gun Inc. out of Knoxville, Tennessee:
    SKS 7.62X 39 JIANSHE CHINA TGI KNOX TN

    Type: Pin Punch
    Location: Left/Bottom of Barrel between FSB and Gas Block
    Notes: All of these guns will be Russian Sneaks as this is a Sino-Banian stamp from 1Q 2014.  There is also a two line TGI stamp from 4Q 2014, but I don't have a photo of that one on a Russian.  Remember that by mid 2014, groups like Royal Tiger (IO's retail arm) had turned over their Russian Sneaks to ATF to be destroyed so it may be that these are the only TGI stamped Russian sneaks in circulation.


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: July 03, 2018, 04:07:55 PM by running-man »
      

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Re: List of Russian SKS45 Importers
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2016, 11:03:10 PM »
Got these guys all done.  I actually learned quite a bit researching all these varied importers!  thumb1 

If anyone has any others, please post them up.
      

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Re: List of Russian SKS45 Importers
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2016, 03:35:42 PM »
I can't confirm nor deny this, yet :), but I thought I would post this in case someone sees, runs across or knows the why, who, and where. Along with the Swanton address that is listed all over the interweb, cut and pasted and reposted. There is also a St Albans address that has surfaced..

Note: it's not truly from an official local, state or gov't document, so this is why the validity comes into question, the above information is in question until official documents are found, discovered and/or confirmed. It was found on a credit reporting site.

CLASSIC DISTRIBUTORS, INC.

Company Type Domestic Profit Corporation
Company number 104729
Status Dissolved
Date Of Incorporation 12/26/1989
Dissolved Date 12/31/2003
Place Of Incorporation Vermont
Last Annual Report Date 12/31/2002
Principal Address 2, N, MAIN, ST, ST, ALBANS, VT, 05478
Mailing Address 2, N, MAIN, ST, ST, ALBANS, VT, 05478
Business Description HARDWARE

CLASSIC DISTRIBUTORS, INC. principals
Secretary JESSE D BUGBEE
Treasurer THEO PROKOS
Director THEO PROKOS
President THEO PROKOS

Registered Agent
Agent Name JESSE BUGBEE ESQ
Registered Agent Address 2, NORTH, MAIN, STREET, ST, ALBANS, VT, 05478

Description
The company CLASSIC DISTRIBUTORS, INC. is registered on 12/26/1989 and locates at the address 2, N, MAIN, ST, ST, ALBANS, VT, 05478. Registration number of the company 104729. Postal address of the company 2, N, MAIN, ST, ST, ALBANS, VT, 05478. Current status of the organization Dissolved. Date of the last annual report 12/31/2002. Foreign name of the company CLASSIC DISTRIBUTORS, INC. and address 2, N, MAIN, ST, ST, ALBANS, VT, 05478. Description of business: "HARDWARE". The credit report for the company CLASSIC DISTRIBUTORS, INC.. At the company 4 principals, among which: Secretary - JESSE D BUGBEE, Treasurer - THEO PROKOS, Director - THEO PROKOS, President - THEO PROKOS.

Info found here: 
http://vermont.intercreditreport.com/company/classic-distributors-inc-104729

A search of Classic Distributors Inc in state of Vermont search yields...
http://vermont.intercreditreport.com/search/1?query=Classic+Distributor

Possible Admin offices, or ?  Same names, dates etc...
If you know or can confirm, deny, point us in the general direction, we would love to hear it thumb1
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Re: List of Russian SKS45 Importers
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2016, 10:57:59 PM »
Great work resulting in an excellent Resource Joe!  thumb1