When it comes to SKS and SKS chassis, we’re a bit spoiled in Canada. We’ve been importing SKSs more recently than the US and still have a decent supply of inexpensive ones coming into the country, so we have lots of aftermarket parts and kits for them. The Scorpio SKS-15 by Kodiak Defence and North Sylva is a more fully featured SKS-based rifle that comes with a full top rail, compatibility with 7.62×39 XCR pistol magazines, and a more adjustable chassis for around $850. Kodiak Defence loaned me this rifle for review.
Scorpio SKS-15 Features
- Full top picatinny rail
- XCR 7.62x39mm pistol magazine compatibility (important, because here in Canada, those can hold 10 rounds)
- Ambidextrous AR-style magazine release
- Keymod forend
- AR-style telescoping buttstock
- AR-style grip
- Removed front sight and bayonet lug, added threaded flash hider (M14 left hand thread, same as an AK47)
Scorpio SKS-15 vs Upgrading an SKS Piecemeal
Try doing all that with piecing things together. You’ll find that you pass the $800-ish that the Scorpio SKS-15 costs pretty quickly.
- SKS: $225-$250 in Canada
- Mag adapter: $200
- Magazine: $30
- Optics rail: $100
- Aluminum stock, AR grip/stock plus adds a configurable forend: $350
- Total: $930
That still doesn’t thread your muzzle for brakes/flash suppressors, but you get the picture.
What Competes with the Scorpio SKS-15?
I’ll lay out a few 7.62×39 alternatives for Canadians:
- Regular SKS’s, kind of. They’re stripper clip fed, offer no option for optics, and can’t adapt their stocks to the user, but stock SKSs are cheap!
- WR762 rifles, V58’s, and the like. They’re mag fed, and they’ll take a side mount scope. You’d still need to accessorize with stuff from Zahal or similar to get the same features. ~$1200
- Norinco M305 in 7.62×39. No optics mount but the iron sights are pretty good. ~$750
- Kodiak Defence SKS-KD
- Ruger Mini 30
- XCR-L in 7.62×39
Many of these options cost quite a bit more than a Scorpio SKS-15, and most don’t offer any built-in optics mount. Only one has a 10 round detachable mag option (the XCR).
Ergonomically, the SKS-15 has some key advantages over a stock SKS.
The length of pull is adjustable, which is a pretty decent improvement over the SKS’ stubby stock and resulting short length of pull. If you don’t like the included stock, change it for one of the many aftermarket AR-15 stocks on the market.
I found that the ambidextrous magazine release was easiest to activate using my left hand. Hitting the left hand side of the release drops the magazine free, then you can grab another mag with your left hand. As I’m right handed, the right hand side button felt awkward, but maybe a left handed user would like it.
The extended top rail made it easy to mount more up to date optics. I chose a red dot because the SKS platform is more of a short range, quick shooting platform, but you could go for a scope if you prefer some magnification. Since the forend features keymod slots, it’ll accept many other accessories that you may want to add on, like lights, bipods, lasers, etc.
Some rifles that are converted to use AR-15 parts suffer from a poor grip to trigger length (some M14 conversions are a real stretch to the trigger), but it works great here. Using a standard AR grip means that you are spoiled for choice if you want to replace it with something else.
With no bolt release or left handed charging handle, right handed users will have to stroke the bolt from underneath or overtop after changing magazines.
Disassembling the SKS-15
Rather than describe disassembly, check out North Sylva’s video. Given the work to disassemble, I’d really recommend using non corrosive ammo with this rifle. Canada Ammo sells fairly new production, non corrosive Norinco 7.62×39 ($0.35/round as of this article) for just a bit more than corrosive stuff.
Here in Canada, there aren’t any modular 7.62×39 rifles at the sub-$1000 price range to compete with this rifle, so the SKS-15 is kind of in a class on its own. That makes it hard to compare with any other rifles in earnest because there’s such a large cost difference before you get to another rifle with similar features. So, if you’re looking for a fun SKS with some updated features, check out the Scorpio SKS-15.