I feel that I have been upfront about this rifle. Questions answered, dozens of pictures posted for all to see. But as soon as Westrifle was mentioned, it was more about them and less about knowing more about this rifle. Judge this rifle and if there are questionable items, post it.
I don't think anyone here is trying to disparage you or the rifle because of the Westrifle connection. Were it a bladed rifle from 1950 onward, the discussion would have never gotten this far.
But, if determination of age and/or possible provenance are at heart of the discussion surrounding this rifle, than the Westrifle connection becomes crucial to making (or not being able to make) a determination.
It actually helps to let the discussion remain open. In my opinion it's crucial that the stamps on the the receiver and cover are Soviet-made ( and seemingly identical). Westrifle has a reputation of humping guns-- so it's important for the discussion to consider various aspects of the rifle to get a better idea of whether or not your rifle made it through Westrifle variously modified or relatively unscathed. TBH, I'm of the opinion that very little (if anything) was done to this rifle by Westrifle (though some of the other metal stamps could be reasonably questioned).
Might they have scrubbed some serials an then re-stamped to make a matching rifle? Yes, possibly As I just noted, some of the other metal stamps are modestly questionable (imo). But the receiver and cover serials are (beating a dead horse) still the crucial serial stamps
. And I just don't see any indication that they have been altered in any way by Westrifle. Going further, I don't think they were altered by the Soviets either. To me they are far and away the most convincing traits for date determination on this rifle. But they are not 100% date-determining.
I believe there is a substantial argument to be made that it's a 1950 gun with a cruciform bayonet. And, of course others will disagree, but I think the argument in favor of 1950 is more convincing than the argument in favor of a 1949 gun with an replacement cover.
But the Westrifle connection can't be ignored-- just like Mitchell's Mausers here in the US.
More than likely this
rifle will never provide definitive proof regarding the actual date of manufacture. And that's not because of the Westrifle connection. If we could omit the questionable westrfile connection, we would still be left with a nearly 70 year old gun that has gone through at least one fairly heavy refurbishment process.
The best evidence for an unaltered/as-issued (or even a lite-lite-refurb), 1950, cruciformed, SKS45 will be exactly that. Given the uninterrupted stream of Soviet SKS imports to Canada over the past few decades, my educated guess (whatever that means) is that the best chance of finding such an example would be in CANADA.
So, my sks addicts to the north, keep yer eyes peeled. Eh?
In the end you've got a unique piece that's touched on a relatively obscure corner of SKS history and (dare I say) lore.
Nothing wrong with that. I'd gladly pay 2-3 times what you paid in Canada to own such a specimen in the US...westrifle or not.