With the exception of the AK-47, the AR-15, and the M16, there are few 20th-century rifles that are as popular or recognizable as the SKS. First introduced all the way back in 1943, this Russian-designed beast of a semi-automatic carbine is chambered for the 7.62×39mm round.
It didn’t take long for other countries to start implementing the use of the SKS with their own militaries, and to start producing their own versions of the highly acclaimed rifle. In Asia, the Chinese, Vietnamese, and North Korean regimes all released their own versions, as did other eastern European nations such as Romania, Poland, and Yugoslavia. This shows just how versatile the platform really is.
But they do come with one pretty obvious downside…
The standard SKS (no matter the country of origin) does not come with integral mounting points (such as a Picatinny or Weaver rail) to mount a scope or any other attachment easily.
That’s why I decided to take an in-depth look at how to mount a scope on your SKS, the different types of best SKS scope mounts available, the best scopes to use with your SKS, and show you where the best place to find them is! Now that’s a lot of information, so let’s get started with the…
Different Types of Best SKS Scope Mounts
For a rifle that first saw action in WWII, there are a surprisingly small amount of mounting options available. Therefore, the first question you need to answer is, “Am I looking for a forward or rear mounting system?”
The location of your mount will dictate what sort of scope you will use. Both forward and rear mounts come with their own list of pros and cons.
Forward mounts are great for a couple of reasons. First up, they are super easy to install. They are also usually the cheaper of the two options, and they do not need to be removed for the sake of cleaning.
The major downside of front mounts is how restrictive they are when it comes to scope choices. Your only scope options really are red dots, SCOGs, and scout scopes.
Rear mounts are what you and I are most used to seeing on most rifle platforms (and for good reason). They offer far more options, and there is a much wider range of scopes that can be paired with them.
If you are looking to replace the rear receiver cover, then you can expect many long hours of filing to get the mount to fit. It’s definitely worth the extra work, though, especially if you are looking for a cheap rear mount SKS assembly.
The other option is to mount directly over the receiver. This is more expensive but a much simpler overall process. This type of mount is the gold standard for SKS rifles (in my opinion).
Let’s now break it down into the four main categories of scope mounts that work well with the SKS.
Iron Sight Replacements – Forward Mount
Perfect for red dot or ACOG sights, the iron sight replacement mounts are the easiest to install and the cheapest SKS mounting option without a doubt. Plus, there is no need to remove the mount for cleaning purposes which is a handy upside.
Forward Stock Mounts – Forward Mount
Forward stock mounts attach to the rifle using the existing screws that are already in place on the SKS. This type of mount has a forward placement on the rifle, meaning it will need to be paired with a scout scope. This does not suit all versions of the SKS, so make sure to check the specifications of your weapon before you purchase this setup.
Receiver Cover Substitutes – Rear Mount
Although this type of mount is not really manufactured with the SKS in mind, and they do require a fair bit of filing before you even think about mounting one onto your weapon, they actually work really well once the tedious job is done. They are also one of the cheaper options, so if you don’t mind a bit of manual labor, then check out this option.
Receiver Mounts – Rear Mount
Without a shadow of a doubt, receiver mounts are the best SKS mounting option for a few reasons. They are the most secure, they have by far the longest rails, can be used with pretty much any type of scope, and since they mount straight above the receiver, they stop any chance of an ejected round coming into contact with the scope.
But, the downsides are that they are also the most costly option, they restrict the use of stripper clips, and they must be removed when cleaning the weapon.
How To Mount An SKS Scope?
So, what is the best way to mount a scope onto your SKS?
That kinda depends on which SKS you have. Chinese-made SKS rifles are easier to mount a scope onto, due to a couple of extra screws they have in the forward stock.
But, in general terms, the best way to mount an SKS scope is by utilizing a receiver mount. As mentioned, this option is slightly more costly than some of the others and is not as simple as forward mount. But, in the long run, it is the best option to go with for the reasons I mentioned.
Once you have chosen the mounting option that best suits your setup, the next thing to do is actually mount the scope.
But why should you mount your own scope when it is so cheap to have the guy at the gun store do it?
I actually had this discussion a few years back with some buddies, and it changed how I thought about the subject. Two of my friends (the guys with by far the most shooting experience out of the group) made it very clear that they believed that having your scope mounted by someone other than yourself was a recipe for disaster!
Scopes are precision instruments. Mounting a scope takes time and care. As long as you properly mount your scope, you should find that your shooting improves.
So, first up, grab the right tools…
The three most important pieces of kit to have on hand are a leveling kit, a gun stabilizer, and a torque wrench. Next, stabilize that SKS of yours. You could use a gun vice, but I prefer to use my gun stabilizing bags.
Then you are going to want to mount the base. It is best to lightly oil the bottom of the rail before mounting as this helps stop any rusting issues. Then, apply a small amount of Blue Loctite to the base screws before using the torque wrench to secure the base to the rifle in line with the manufacturer’s specifications.
After the base is mounted, it’s time to get the scope on and level it. Leveling the scope is the most important part of the whole setup, and you should take great care to get it right. It’s not a hard thing to do, but it is easy to mess up. If you are using a leveling kit (which I most definitely recommend), then follow the instructions given, and you should have no issues.
Should You Use A Scope On Your SKS?
Again, that’s really up to you and the type of shooting you enjoy. Since you have made it to this page, I’m going to make the wild assumption that you are interested in mounting a scope onto your SKS rifle.
Mounting a scope can make a huge difference to the accuracy of your shooting, and that does not just apply to medium or long-range targeting. A good red dot or ACOG sight can speed up target acquisition and increase close-range accuracy pretty dramatically.
But, with that being said, mounting a scope is not for everybody. One of the main reasons the SKS has had such enduring popularity is because they work so well with the scopeless setup. The iron sights are well designed and offer great accuracy (up to a point).
Regardless of that, you probably do, which is why you’re here, so let’s take a look at some of the best SKS scope mounts you can buy.
Top 4 Best SKS Scope Mounts For The Money In 2023 Reviews
1 UTG Pro SKS Receiver Cover Mount – Best Value for Money SKS Scope Mount
There are a few reasons why I have gone for the UTG Pro SKS Receiver Cover Mount as my number one pick.
First up, let’s check out the specs…
- Rail Type: Picatinny/Weaver
- Length: 9.06 inches
- Width: 2.11 inches
- Height: 1.72 inches
- Weight: 12.1 oz (343 grams)
- Material: Hard-Anodized Aircraft-Grade Aluminum
- Accessories Included: Hex Nut, Allen Wrench 3/32″, Allen Wrench 1/8″, Set Screw or Pin, Hex Screw, 2 x Spring Washers, Mount Users Manual
The build quality is second to none. Every single product that UTG produces is proudly designed and manufactured in the USA, and it really shows. As soon as I opened the box, this great piece of engineering impressed me with the strictness and accuracy of the machining, especially for the price. Sure, this isn’t the cheapest option on today’s list, but it is hard to beat in terms of value for money.
The hard-anodized aircraft-grade aluminum rail has an overall weight of just 12.1 ounces (that’s 343 grams) which is below the top end of the acceptable weight range for scope mounts. It’s not the lightest option, and some shooters may find it a tad heavy, but I had no issues with it.
Maybe a little filing needed…
This style of mount clicks in over the rear of the receiver. Some filing may be required to get it to fit (although luckily for me, it clipped on without any hassle). A section of this mount runs over the top of the bolt and works perfectly as a deflector for spent shells.
The long length and solid construction make for a mount that can handle pretty much any sized scope. There are a total of 22 slots on this one, making for multiple mounting positions.
Great for close quarter combat…
One of my favorite features of the UTG Pro SKS Receiver Cover Mount is the low profile “see through” design. This mount allows for iron sights to be mounted right up top and can be sighted down effectively thanks to the semi-circular groove that runs the whole length of the mount. This feature makes the overall configuration much more versatile, allowing for quick and effective close quarter combat targeting.
The 4 point locking mechanism that secures the mount to the receiver is as solid as I have seen on any scope mounting. This ensures that the zero-holding capacity of your rifle setup falls totally on the scope, and not on the mount whatsoever.
Overall, the best scope mount that is currently available for the SKS rifle, and to be honest, probably the one you should go out and grab right now!
- In my opinion, the best SKS scope mounting option currently available.
- Mount installation was quick and easy.
- The build quality and workmanship is second to none.
- Does not restrict the use of bump stocks.
- Fully designed and manufactured in the USA.
- You can add iron sights to the setup to increase the functionality of your SKS.
- Excellent at deflecting spent cartridges.
- Holds zero perfectly.
- Does not fit every SKS, with owners of Chinese SKS’s complaining that the mount is incompatible with their rifle.
- The design restricts the use of stripper clips and other types of speed reloaders.
2 BARSKA SKS Mount with Integrated Rail – Best Compact SKS Mount
Next, in my look at the Best SKS Scope Mounts, the BARSKA SKS Mount with Integrated Rail is a lot smaller than the mount I just reviewed. This comes with some inherent advantages, as well as a few downsides. But let’s check out the specs first!
- Rail Type: Picatinny/Weaver
- Length: 5.02 inches
- Width: 1.25 inches
- Height: 2 inches
- Weight: 9.5 oz (270 grams)
- Material: Alloy Steel with T6 Aluminum
The most obvious upside of this scope is the lighter weight. Anytime you can cut overall weight from a rifle config is a good thing in my book. The smaller size does offer less versatility, though.
Again, this is a receiver cover style SKS mount that helps deflect any spent casings, and it does that job well.
The build quality is almost as good as the UTG Pro I just reviewed. Made from steel alloy with T6 aluminum ensures the strength of the overall unit, and there is a similar “see-thru” design. This time it consists of a peephole system under there where a scope would be mounted, and allows the shooter to view the original iron sights.
The biggest appeal to this scope (in my humble opinion) is the simplicity of the design. The finish is not as high quality as the UTG option, but is an SKS really supposed to look pretty? Rough and ready is the order of the day if you ask me!
Hope you like filing…
The one big downside was the amount of filing I needed to do to get this pain in the arse to fit. It took close to an hour to find a snug fit, and that was with the help of a Dremel (which you should 100% have on hand if you purchase this SKS mount, unless you love filing and getting sore hands).
But overall, if you are looking for a compact SKS mount that won’t break the bank, then you could do a lot worse than the BARSKA SKS Mount with Integrated Rail!
- Lightweight and compact.
- Super affordable.
- Well built.
- Easy to maintain once fitted.
- Tough and built to last.
- You will need to either file or use a Dremel to find a snug fit.
3 AR-GEAR OEM Black Steel SKS Rifle Scope Mount – Best Budget SKS Scope Mount
The fantastic AR-GEAR OEM Black Steel SKS Rifle Scope Mount is one of the highest rated SKS scope mounts online right now, and it’s easy to see why. This unit is priced to please, strong as an ox, lightweight and compact, and holds zero as well as any of the previous options!
- Rail Type: Picatinny/Weaver
- Length: 4.9 inches
- Width: 1.3 inches
- Height: 1.9 inches
- Weight: 8.7 oz (246 grams)
- Material: Machined T6 Aluminum
Ok, so as you can see, this scope is the lightest, thinnest, shortest, and most compact of the three reviewed so far.
So, why didn’t it take the best compact SKS scope award?
Simply because it is also the most budget friendly. In fact, I would actually say that this is probably the best compact SKS scope mount as well, but it can’t take all the accolades.
The build quality is as good as any of the options and is sure to withstand even the harshest conditions. The rock-solid one-piece design allows for almost any scope to be fitted, and just like our previous contenders, there’s a space below the rail to allow for iron sight viewing.
Time to get the file out yet again…
In terms of installation, this scope mounting process can be a little fiddly depending on which variation of the scope you own. The front end of the mount has been left a little long to ensure the mount will fit any SKS variant, but this does mean there may be some filing needed to get it to spec.
I found the installation process to be less of a hassle than the last unit, and once I finally got her to fit, she never seemed like moving. After over 750 shots, the mount has not budged even a millimeter and holds zero extremely well.
If you’re on the hunt for a small mount that costs less than a tank of gas, this is the one for you!
- Cheapest high-quality option.
- Compact, lightweight, and rugged.
- Iron sight viewing tunnel.
- 1-inch rings included.
- Stable and secure fit.
- My favorite small mount option.
- Installation may take some time, depending on your SKS setup.
4 PK-01 VS. Red Dot Sight SKS Rifle Scope – Best Integrated Red Dot SKS Scope
Originally designed and used by the Venezuelan military, the PK-01 VS. Red Dot Sight SKS Rifle Scope is the best red dot for SKS currently available on the market. It is a chunky boy (weighing in at 14.4 lbs or 400 grams), but if you don’t mind a bit of extra weight on your setup, then this might be the perfect SKS red dot option for you.
- Rail Type: Picatinny/Weaver
- Length: 149 mm
- Width: 64 mm
- Height: 130 mm
- Weight: 14.4 oz (400 grams)
- Material: Machined Aircraft-Grade Aluminum
- Battery Type: 1 x AA
- Battery Life: 400 Hours
This is one of the easier options to mount, and the 1 x magnification is perfect for close combat situations. This is a “co-witness red dot,” which means it works in tandem with the inbuilt iron sights. Great stuff.
The optics of this sight have been fully multi-coated to reduce glare and aberration issues, and also to ensure maximum light transmission. The adjustable turrets for both windage and elevation of extremely easy adjustments which move in 0.5 MOA units.
Massive battery life…
The battery assembly is also top class. 4000 hours from an AA battery is pretty insane, especially since they can be found literally anywhere and are pretty much the cheapest battery option in most stores.
The reticle is a simple single dot formation which is listed to be 1 MOA. The site offers eight brightness settings. The two most bright settings deal with even the harshest light conditions, and the softest two work great for dawn and dusk.
This is my go-to red dot system for my SKS and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, no doubt about it. The only downside I can see is the price, but it is not what I would consider overly expensive, and it does include both the mount and sight.
- Mount and sight combo.
- Built to last a lifetime.
- Clear and crisp optics.
- Easy to install.
- ½ MOA adjustments for windage and elevation.
- Nitrogen purged.
- Co-witness, low profile sight.
- Expensive, but not overly considering the sight is also included.
Looking for Some Quality Scopes to Add to The Armory?
Then take a look at our comprehensive comparisons of the Best Scope for Hog Hunting, the Best Vortex Scopes, the Best 300 Win Mag Scopes, the Best Simmons Rifle Scopes, the Best Scopes for .338 Lapua Mag, or the Best Air Rifle Scopes that you can buy in 2023.
Or, take a look at our in-depth reviews of the Best Ruger AR 556 Scope, the Best Scout Scopes, the Best Scope for 6.5 Creedmoor, Best Mini 14 Ranch Rifle Scopes, the Best Scopes for AR15 under 100 Dollars, the Best Handgun Scopes & Optics, the Best Rimfire Scopes, or the Best Scope for AK-47 on the market.
So, Which of These Best SKS Scope Mounts Should You Buy?
So, there we are. Everything you need to know about scope mounts for the SKS platform, and all the best options in one, easy to digest article! But, which one should you choose?
If you are anything like me, it has to be the…
UTG Pro SKS Receiver Cover Mount
It’s just such a great product that is easy to install, maintain, and should last the lifetime of your rifle.
Happy and safe shooting!