SKS Serial Number Lookup: Determine the MFG Date in 6 Easy Steps

SKS Serial Number Lookup: Determine the MFG Date in 6 Easy Steps

SKS serial number lookup can be difficult as a result of their long history and variety of models from various origin countries. In this exclusive article, we’ll look at rifles’ history and analyze how to search serial codes to find your gun’s production dates. Let’s begin!

A Look at the History of the SKS Firearm

The semi-automatic weapon reached the market after WWII in 1945, and its supply increased due to the cold war era. The excellent firearm is from the Soviets and utilized by the allied union of the Eastern Bloc. 

Surprisingly, the AK-47 overthrew these rifles as the Soviet’s primary weapon. The gun’s variations are now traceable worldwide, and their popularity has grown due to the following factors:

  • Warfare: It resulted from warfare in Bosnia, Somalia, and some parts of Asia, where the Chinese adopted the firearm.
  • Technology diffusion: Sharing of the unique tech, including the spike bayonet, by the Soviets (during the cold war) to other nations like East Germany, Albania Yugoslavia, North Korea, and Chinese SKS versions.
SKS Serial Number Lookup. A Look at the History of the SKS Firearm

Rifle and Serial Numbers Review

This rifle is a simple design and durable firearm. It’s an inexpensive option, making it a perfect backup, and it was also excellent for weaponizing large groups during wars.

  • The firearm is meant for the 7.62x39mm ammunition, also used in the AK-47.
  • It comes with excellent precision and overall functionality.
  • This makes it perfect as an assault rifle for armies and home uses like hunting.
Rifle and Serial Numbers Review

SKS Manufacture Date Lookup by Serial Number

Considering their extensive background, the serial number will assist you in discovering production details such as:

  • Country of origin, including Chinese SKS rifle, Russian East German SKS serial number guns
  • Gun variety, such as the unique Norinco SKS or East Germany firearms
  • The dates of manufacture
  • Specifications of your rifle include the specs and type of chambering.
SKS Manufacture Date Lookup by Serial Number

SKS Rifles and Serial Numbers Dynamics

The original SKS rifles had a four-digit serial number underneath and then a two-digit year stamp. The subsequent versions are identifiable by various markings, which is key in identifying the country of make.

For instance: The letter prefix “C” is for Chinese Norinco SKS, “I”- for Yugoslavia, and “R” (underneath the stamped star) – is for Russia. These are widely distributed weapons. 

Finding the Manufacture Date of SKS Rifles by Serial Number

Checking the manufacture dates for your firearm follows a simple procedure using the serial number as follows.

Step 1: Inspection of Your Rifle

The serial number is located in different sections of your gun and typically combines digits, letters, and symbols. 

  • Check your receiver: Your gun’s serial code might be stamped on the left side of the metal receiver, close to the chamber.
  • Barrel: Inspect for numerals near the barrel’s muzzle end.

Use a magnifying glass or a cleaning rod to see your serial codes. Also, be wary of the changed or unmatched serial number as switched-out firearms. 

Step 1: Inspection of Your Rifle

Step 2: Finding the Albanian SKS Rifle Serial Number

You’ll find different countries of origin for these rifles have other formats of serial markings. The Albanian version has its serial number consisting of a dash followed by two numerals (year of manufacture).

Step 2: Finding the Albanian SKS Rifle Serial Number

Step 3: Identifying the Romanian Weapon Serial Number

Romanian versions are a little different, but still easy to do a serial number search. You can check the last section of the serial number for a dash followed by four numerals, indicating the manufacture year.

Step 3: Identifying the Romanian Weapon Serial Number

Step 4: Adding the First Digit on Norinco SKS Rifle

The Chinese Norinco SKS firearm involves adding the first digit to 1956. This year is the specific period when the Chinese Norinco SKS started its stock production of these weapons. 

Step 4: Adding the First Digit on Norinco SKS Rifle

Step 5: Checking the First 2 Numbers

A weapon with a German SKS serial number can typically be identified by its first two digits.

Step 5: Checking the First 2 Numbers

Step 6: Looking at the Four Digit Number Underneath

You can also examine the four-digit number underneath the stamped star on a Russian gun. This number denotes the year of production, and the ‘r’ after the year represents the Russian.

Step 6: Looking at the Four Digit Number Underneath

How to Execute the Serial Code Search

Not all codes provide you with conclusive information after locating and decoding them. There are several ways you should follow to get the necessary details via the serial code, and they include the following: 

Doing an online search

Several websites offer serial number lookup services, including the following. 

  • The most popular is the Serial Number Database, a community-driven database allowing you to submit a serial number and other details for your search.
  • Visit Yooper John’s Database: The website outlines data regarding the country of origin, categorizing the different code formats.

You can always contact the manufacturer if you fail to get information from the above sources. However, not all manufacturers keep stock of records of their older rifles, so this may not always be an option.

Doing an online search


Where is the original SKS made?

The original SKS was manufactured in the Soviet Union and was used for military purposes.

How old is the SKS?

The SKS was first introduced in 1945, shortly after the Second World War.

Which country is SKS?

SKS hails from the Soviet Union, mainly produced by Russia after adapting the firearm for its military.


The SKS weapon is popular with most shooters and comes in different country versions, making it essential to know your gun details. For identification of your SKS serial number, you can follow the steps and examples and refer to the sources for more conclusive information.

So, which is the best way to do your SKS rifle serial code search? Comment below and tell us of any other sources our readers can utilize.

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Tyler Purol is a professional Bowhunter. He has professional training in hunting. For many years he hunts regularly.