The SKS is one of the most popular rifle platforms in the world, sharing that distinction with the AK-47 and the AR-15/M16 platforms.
Even with that popularity though, finding the best scope mount for the SKS can be a chore.
Why? Because the standard SKS (and the AK-47, and the Mosin Nagant, and a lot of other Russian and Chinese guns) do not have integral mount points, like the full length rail on a flat top AR.
Today, we’re going to go over just what you need to look for in an SKS mount for a riflescope, and then we’re going to look at specific mounting systems so you can find the perfect mount for you and your rifle.
Leapers UTG Pro SKS Mount
10 x 3 x 2 inches
Tuff Zone SKS Tri Rail
2.25 x 1 x 1.25 inches
Magwedge SKS Rail Scope Mount
12.28 x 2.83 x 1.81 inches
Sun Optics SM8670
Aircraft Grade Aluminum
12.0 x 1.1"30.5 x 2.8 cm
Side Mounts for the SKS Rifle
5.94 x 2.76 x 0.39 inches
Kalinka Optics Patriot Mount
Tacksport Red Dot Scope Mount
7.4 x 4.41 x 1.18 inches
6061 T6 aircraft aluminum
Let’s dive right in.
Why Is It So Hard to Mount a Scope on an SKS?
Most modern optics, particularly Western optics, are ideally mounted with either a rail-style mount, or with scope rings that screw into a tapped receiver.
The SKS doesn’t have a drilled receiver, nor does it really have a place to drill. It also doesn’t come with a rail.
The top of the SKS receiver, the dust cover, is just a housing to cover the innards of the rifle. It is thin metal, not thick enough to hold mounting screws for a pic rail. Besides which the bolt clearance may not be enough to set the screws well enough without hitting the bolt.
Putting a rail on it is possible but it takes some creativity and some aftermarket parts. The more common option is a scout scope mount with an optic that has a long eye relief.
Whichever mount you decide to go with, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Length of the rail if you are adding a pic rail.
- The mount's sides. Some mounts have a pic rail on each side, allowing you to add other items.
- The integral rings if you choose a mount without a rail. The rings have to hold your scope. Scope tubes come in a variety of diameters so you want to make sure that your ring diameter works with your optic..
- The kind of optic. This really matters when you start looking at high-end thermal scopes.
1. Leapers UTG Pro SKS Receiver Cover Mount
There are a few things that make the Leapers UTG Pro SKS Receiver Cover Mount one of our top picks for the best SKS scope mounts.
1) The length of the rail. The high-quality (and high-strength) aluminum alloy 22 slot picatinny rail is 9 inches long, giving you plenty of space for proper eye relief. This integrated rail lets you mount whatever standard optic you want.
You can use a long-tube scope or a low-profile compact one.
You can mount a red dot sight, reflex sight, or a larger traditional scope if you have high scope rings. You can even run a magnifier for long-range shots or night vision monoculars thanks to the long rail.
2) An integral shell deflector. The mount has a rail running along the right side that knocks spent brass out of the way.
3) The rail has a channel cut down the length. If you have the right iron sights, the scope will co-witness.
A chief drawback is you are limited to putting in one round at the time if you like to top load.
This mount also installs to the receiver with two mount screws on each side. If you can field strip your SKS, installing this mount will not be a problem.
The left side has angled slots. If you have the right hardware, you can attach another pic rail here. In this case put some thread adhesive on the hardware threads to help hold it in place.
2. Tuff Zone SKS Tri Rail
The Tuff Zone SKS Tri Rail runs a close second to the Leaper UTG Pro SKS Scope Mount above for one reason. It has three pic rails, top and both sides.
It does not rank higher because it is short.
You are not going to mount a long-tube scope on this one. You can possibly find a longer pic rail to attach to the top, but you have to get a reinforced one to get stability.
You can install the three rails, if you want, or put only the top rail if you prefer. All three are drilled at the same spots, so you can mount the rails where you like.
Put the shortest one on top and you can feed ammo with a stripper clip through the ejection port. That does mean you are even more limited in what kind of optic you can mount. Anything particularly large is going to be a tight fit.
Finally, it has a matte black anodizing to keep the scope free of corrosion.
3. Magwedge SKS Rail Scope Mount KwikRail Gen 2.5
With 27 slots and the front end pinning to the rear iron sight mount, the Magwedge SKS Rail Scope Mount KwikRail Gen 2.5 is one monster rail. It's actually long enough to mount a set of iron sights as well as an optic. Just be sure your rings are see-through for proper cowitnessing.
The Gen 2.5 includes a pull pin for the rear instead of the usual pin. Grab the ring, pull the pin and the rail tilts up to give you easy access to clear your SKS. To put it back, slide the pin home and you're back in business.
If you’re after a rail mount that can run all your optics on and you don’t like the Norinco Chinese type rail covers, this is a great option that is the perfect fit for shooters that want those extra iron sights or what have you.
4. Sun Optics SM8670
The Sun Optics SM867 is a slightly more difficult mount than the Leapers. The mount's front end pins into place on the rear iron sight mount and back end attaches to the dust cover lock pin. This does mean you are taking the rear sight off. You should not need a gunsmith to do this.
The rail has a whopping 26 slots so you have plenty of room. It also has a shell deflector running down the right side.
The drawback is the left side is solid. If you want to mount something there, you will have to drill out holes.
Side Mounts for the SKS Rifle
Another option for the SKS is the side mount system. This requires the most initial work as you must install a side rail to hanging the scope mounting hardware. Installing the side rail means drilling, tapping and setting screws. This is not for everyone. This is the biggest disadvantage.
Another drawback is the big piece of metal hanging off the side of your rife when the scope is in place. This definitely reduces the tactical nature of the rifle. It's something else on the gun to get hung on something when you are trying to use it.
Once installed, the side mount goes and off easily, usually with a flip of a tension bar. That is the biggest advantage. Another advantage is you can get height on the scope, enough for a co-witness, without using high rings.
Side mounts are a popular choice for sniper scopes. SKS and AK-47 side mounts are the same. Different manufacturers are not always interchangeable.
6. Kalinka Optics Patriot Centered Side Mount 225 mm rail
The Kalinka Optics Patriot Centered Side Mount 225 mm rail has five different styles. The pictured version has a long forward pic rail.
Look closely at the extension and you will see it has a reinforced bottom. This extra stability is needed to make the scope steady and deal with recoil. Thin pic rails, such as the add-on variety, will not hold up.
Get the Kalashnikov or SKS-Mosin version.
7. Tacksport Red Dot Scope Mount
This Tacksport Red Dot Scope Mount is a pic rail high rise side mount.
While Tacksport says this is for a red dot, you can mount a regular scope to it. The maker's statement, "This red dot scope mount cannot be an assault weapon part or accessory," is there for import regulations. It has enough space to mount a long tube scope, but it will be tight.
8. BelOMO PK-A
Wrapping up the list is the Dragunov-type mount that comes with an integrated 1 MOA red dot scope. The BelOMO PK-A was designed for the Venezuelan military. These are unissued dovetail-style mounts.
What looks like a hinge is actually the battery compartment. It holds a single AA battery, making this yet another great choice. Replacement batteries are as close as the nearest convenience store.
It’s a high-profile mount, but it’s a little stronger than some of the cover mounts. The high-strength steel base
The SKS is a mid-range rifle at best. Certainly, some people can shoot this old warhorse to 1,000 yards, but that is not practical. If you need to reach tar far, get a 30 caliber round with more powder volume.
For ranges under 300 yards, the SKS is a fine gun for medium-sized and thin-skinned or smaller animals. Mounting a scope to one of these rifles adds functionality. Your decision is what kind of scope to mount.
As noted, the side mounts are the hardest to install and may require the services of a professional gunsmith. If you try to do it yourself and get something wrong, you have a mess on your hands.
What do you think of these SKS mounts? Is there one you think you’re going to use on your rifle? Let us know in the comments below.