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The only dates that have been verified were from 1957, 1958, 1959 & 1960. In the mid 50's Russia started marking the guns on the left side of the receiver with a small star designating the manufacture at the Tula arsenal. When was the no date stamped Tula receiver cover gun manufactured?There are reports of Romanian SKS's without the year stamped on them. The Russian SKS's were in actual production from 1949 to 1956 when the rifle of choice was changed to the AK-47. These are generally considered by many to be the last run in 1956. It would seem logical that it would be either late 1955 or early 1956.
I do not guarantee that this is 100% accurate because as we all know, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE WITH THE SKS.These characters translated to Type 56, the model designation of the Chinese SKS were found on later SKS's. There is much current discussion going on as to the accuracy of this method.These guns were referred to as a Type 56 Carbine by the Chinese. The way you figure this out is by adding the first digit to the year 1956. some are stating that the 1 million series starts in 1958 and moves forward from there, your guess is as good as mine as to which is 100% accurate.Note location of serial number in regards to the factory stamping /26\.In 1963 the Chinese added the 3 characters which translated to Type 56. The one pictured on the left is from 1964 and on the right is from 1980. The above pictured rifles are still a military contract as evidenced by the 3 Chinese characters between the arsenal stamp and s/n.