How to Change an SKS Magazine
Russ Chastain 07.14.17
The SKS is a cool old semi-automatic rifle and its 7.62×39 cartridge is suitable for hunting deer and hogs, but in many areas, its built-in 10-round magazine capacity makes it illegal for hunting. Here’s how I removed that magazine so I could use an aftermarket 5-round detachable magazine to make my rifle legal for hunting.
(Before you try this, make sure it’s legal to do so with your particular rifle.)
It’s been a few years since I did this project; at the time I found a great deal on this Tapco 5-round magazine so that’s what I used.
Make sure your rifle is unloaded! Now, lock your rifle’s bolt back (open).
Look at the rear end of the trigger guard, and locate the trigger retainer, which is the thing with the little dimple in it.
You will need to switch the safety to the “safe” position before you can remove the trigger group (it’s in the “fire” position in the photo).
Next, use an appropriate tool such as this small philips screwdriver to push the retainer forward to release the trigger guard and allow the trigger group to pivot downward at the rear.
There’s a spring that should push the rear end downward once it’s released. Don’t be afraid to grunt a little; sometimes the retainer is difficult to move. But do make sure the safety is in the “safe” position as shown above.
With the trigger group removed, the rear of the factory magazine will be able to come open, and if you move the rear of the magazine assembly downward (with the rifle’s bolt open), the entire magazine should come right on out.
Old 10-round magazine on the right, new detachable 5-round magazine on the left.
Now you can put the trigger group back in. You first insert the front end and make sure everything is fitting together properly; it should look like the photo above.
Now you’re ready to push the rear of the trigger assembly upward until it’s in place and the retainer (that thing you pushed with a screwdriver earlier) pops into place.
This can be tough to do with all the spring tension, but it’s definitely do-able.
Once that’s done, you can check the fit of your detachable mag. Hook the front of it into the steel lip at front of the cutout in the stock and hinge the magazine upward. The latch in front of the trigger guard ought to grab it when it’s in the right place.
It’s a lot easier to insert this particular magazine when the bolt is open.
This side view shows how the latch retains the magazine.
Now it’s easy to swap out magazines, and if I wanted to, I could even use a 20-round mag when I’m not hunting. And whenever I want to restore the gun to original condition, I can always put the factory mag assembly back in.