Scout Scopes


Scope Mount Reviewarticle by Jamie Mangrum

SKS scope review Review of Scout Scopes makes scout style scope mounts for the SKS and the AK style rifles I have written two prior articles about scoping the SKS carbine. The first article covered installing a receiver cover scope mount and documented my eventual disgust and unhappiness in its overall performance. The second article covered my opinion of all of the available scope mounts at the time that I wrote the article. I finally settled on the conclusion that if you were dead set on scoping the SKS carbine, you should opt for a drill and tap scope mount. I made this statement because in my opinion, all of the other designs I had encountered were poor in their functionality and basic design.

There is always the question to ask: Is it really worth while to scope an SKS?

The answer is: If you install a scope and are looking for sniper like accuracy and performance from the venerable little carbine, then I am sorry to tell you that this will be a prize that eludes you till your end of days. But if you are looking to improve upon the original open sights on the carbine then there is potential in using optics. Now keep in mind that your SKS must be capable of some feat of reasonable accuracy prior to mounting a scope if you are looking to make things better.

There are a lot of other factors that can effect and determine accuracy besides just your sights.

Personally, I don’t want a sniper SKS, because this is really an oxymoron anyways. I just want an SKS that I can shoot more accurately.

Then, when I am all finished shooting and need to disassemble my SKS for cleaning I don’t want to have some contraption that is in my way and makes it impossible to accomplish.

Up until recently I felt that the design of the SKS would not allow for a simple (no-gunsmith) scope mount that was rugged, simple to install, and just plain worked.

In walks makes scout style scope mounts for the SKS and the AK style rifles. The mount replaces the rear sight and allows for the installation of either a Long Eye Relief scope or a red dot scope.

Scope mount
The mount with a long eye relief scope installed.

Installation of SKS scope
The BSA red dot scope and mount installed on my Chinese SKS.

Sighting in the SKS with scope
Rear sight view when you remove the scope and rail portion of the mount. Note traditional fixed SKS sight picture.

For the sake of my project I chose to go with an inexpensive BSA red dot scope ($39 in 2005…probably higher when you read this). I like this scope because it does not magnify the sight picture. It just supplies a clean, crisp sight picture with a red dot superimposed directly over the target. Like any scope you can adjust for both windage and elevation by the turning of two knobs. This model (most are the same) takes a standard CR 2032 watch battery that is one of the most common watch batteries available. I always take an extra battery with me to the range because the one draw back to this type of a scope is that if you leave it turned on when you put it away there will be no power the next time you want to play (the rhyme is a little saying I say to my self over and over again when I use my red dot scope). I hate to be bested by a small electronic device. But I have to admit I screw up about half the time and leave it on.

Another great thing about the mount is if you remove the scope and rail from the lower half of the mount you are left with a fairly accurate fixed rear sight (as shown to the left). Now that was some impressive common sense thinking on the designer’s part. I wonder if he was like me and kept going through batteries as well. I really like it when I see something that someone actually designed for human beings!

Rear sight view when you remove the scope and rail portion of the mount. Note traditional fixed SKS sight picture.Another feature of being able to remove the sight rail is that sells additional rails at a reasonable price.

This way if you really wanted to you could have multiple types of optics readily mounted on separate rails that you could quickly interchange. The tolerances (gap) between the posts on the bottom of the rails and the holes they fit into are very tight. They kind of snap in place and then each of the two posts are held in place by two allen screws. I do recommend placing a small amount of non-permanent screw lock solution (loc-tite) as I found the screws can come loose after firing off several hundred rounds. Keep in mind that this is pretty much the case with most scope mounts. Gun goes bang, gun vibrates, and the screws come loose. Loc-tite or a suitable substitute is the mil-surp tinker’s best friend.

The Project Begins
SKS scope installation SAFETY! Make sure the rifle is unloaded and pointed in a safe direction before continuing with the project. If your SKS has a pin in the rear sight punch it out and remove it. Out of all the SKS that I own the only one that has a pin is the Chinese.
Step by step process for your sks scope mount Since later you are going to want to bore sight the scope it is a good idea to remove the reciever cover, recoil spring, bolt, bolt carrier, magazine and trigger.
rear sight of your sks You should really have the firearm secured in a gun vise so your hands are free to work. Take a flat blade screw driver and press down all the way on the front of the rear sight blade.
sks scope mount While the rear sight is fully depressed, simultaneously pull the rear sight to the rear and then remove it.
sks Unscrew the four upper hex screws, on the mount, that hold in the posts of the rail. There are two upper screws on each side.
scope installation Pull the rail straight out. As I stated earlier, the post and post holes are a pretty tight fit. You probably cannot, but you should not try to pull the rail posts out at an angle.
installing your scope mount for an sks

Figure 7 shows the comparison between the original rear sight on the left and the rear sight the is cut into the base of the scope mount.

Pretty smart!

sks Next remove the retaining pin set screw.
scope mount installation

Slide out the retaining pin.

Note that the flat groove cut into the retaining pin. When you reinstall the pin you need to make certain this flat part points upwards towards the bottom of the set screw or the set screw will not properly hold the retaining pin in place.

scope mount Place the mount into the rear sight base as shown in figure 10.
I found using a quick clamp to hold the scope mount in place frees up both of your hands so you can insert the retaining pin easily.
Insert the retaining pin with the flat side point directly upwards.
Insert the set screw and lock the pin in place. It is a good idea to place a small drop of non-permanent screw lock (loc-tite) on the set screw prior to installing it.
Insert the posts of the scope rail straight down into the holes. Make certain the longer end of the scope rail points forward.
Tighten the upper screws to hold the scope rail posts in place. Stated in the instructions it says to always tighten the screws on the right hand side first, followed by the screws on the left side. I believe this helps the scope, when reinstalled, return to zero.
Tighten the upper screws on the left hand side.
Install the scope.
Next peer down the bore and sight in (place your focal point so it is directly aligned in the center of the bore) on a specific spot on a far wall. Then while being careful to not move the firearm, adjust the elevation of the scope so it is over the same exact spot on the wall. Then check again through the bore and scope to make certain they are still aligned.
Finally the instructions say to tighten the lower screws to lock in the scope. Perform the bore sight in again making certain to align this time both the elevation and the windage so it is directly over the same exact spot that you have centered in the bore. This will give you a somewhat close sight adjustment and will either get you on the paper or close.
Next I reassembled the carbine.

Figure 21 shows the finished project!

Note: I actually did this project twice. I first did the installation portion of the project on a Yugo 59/66 SKS and it installed perfectly per the instructions that I gave above. When I tried to extract the photos from the photo shoot I found all of the photos were useless due to a problem with the camera. I then decided to shake things up a bit and redo the project on the Chinese SKS shown in the article. Both versions of the project were easy and only took around 30 minutes (each) to finish from start to finish. That is even with all of the cussing when I discovered that the first set of photos were toast.

At The Range
Another great thing about this mount is that you can still use the stripper clips to load the SKS.

I started out with the target placed out at 25 yards. This makes it really easy to get on the paper quickly. Once you are sighted in you can move the target out to 50 or 100 yards.

Figure 23 shows the view of the target through the red dot scope. Heck of a lot easier to see than using open sights don’t you think?
Once I got the elevation and windage dialed in I was able to get pretty respectable targets at 50 yards. as shown in figure 24. This was accomplished using Russian manufactured ammo.
Next I removed the scope and rail and set them aside. I found the rear sight was easy to use but the rear sight notch was a tad bit tighter that the original and was a little difficult to see after using the spacious red dot scope.

Once I finally was able to get my eyes to refocus I was able to get pretty good groups as shown in figure 26. I would recommend to that they should possibly look into opening up the rear sight notch just a hair as it was a little tight. But it is something in a pinch you can quickly get used to. Then I placed the rails and scope back on and tightened everything down. My windage was pretty much dead on, but my elevation was a tad high.

Update: Since the original release of this article the manufacturer has increased the size of the rear sight notch.
I  was quickly able to walk the scope back onto target.

Then I felt like an idiot. I found what I thought were full boxes of ammo that I had left in my range case were actually empty. This is where the shooting stopped.

All in all, I am very pleased with the results of the project and at under $100 for the scope and mount I found the project to be a good investment of both time and money.

I think the mount is a very well designed product and the best no-gunsmith mount I have seen so far made for the SKS. I really like the idea of having the open sight cut into the the mount base. As I said before I am always accidentally leaving my red dot scope on and finding I have a dead battery.

My hat goes off to