Best SKS Magazines – 2020 Ultimate Review

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The SKS is a powerful and accurate rifle, especially popular with old-school rifle enthusiasts. All weapon systems are prone to customization in the right hands, and the SKS is no exception to this.

With emerging aftermarkets and the versatility in its use, a ton of different magazine options are available for the SKS.

With all the aftermarket upgrades available right now, you should upgrade your SKS rifle to make it more effective and power packed. 

The focus in this article will be the SKS magazine and its upgrades. We will be talking about conventional stripper clips and mags and will compare them for the SKS.

We will also review the best SKS magazine on the market to help you with your buying decision. So let’s begin.

Comparison Chart of the Best SKS Magazines

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Choate - Adjustable SKS Dragunov Stock

  • Made from shape retaining and strong fiberglass polymer
  • High cheekpiece and adjustable length-of-pull
  • One-piece stock with minor fitting required for installation
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ATI SKS Monte Carlo Stock In Dark Earth Brown With Scorpion Recoil Pad

  • Ergonomic and lighweight design similar to OEM stock
  • Raised cheek rest with soft scorpion butt pad
  • More affordable alternative for people with a low budget
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Tapco Weapons Accessories - SKS Intrafuse Stock W/O Bayonet Cut Adjustable

  • Fully-adjustable and modular stock design
  • Includes intrafuse stock, grip with storage, and handguard
  • Features a top rail for mounting optics and accessories
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How Do I Choose a Good Mag For An SKS?

Choosing a magazine that is good for your SKS will take some time and a bit of knowing how to distinguish a great mag from one that isn’t so great. You need to know some of the key features and characteristics so you can make an easy and informed decision on which mag is best for you. Here are a few things to keep your eyes peeled on:

Price

Yes, the price tag is usually something that you’ll consider to be a deciding factor, but don’t let it be the only reason why you purchased it. You need to be able to invest in the best quality and performance you can afford. This means not going for something that’s actually cheap and flimsy. Be sure to consider your budget and find a magazine that’s best for your wallet. 

Material

The best materials in a mag are polymer and some metals like steel. You want something that is tough and can hit the hard pavement without getting damaged or breaking apart. There will be times when you’ll need to quickly switch out your magazines, so the old ones will fall to the ground while you quickly load a new one. You can still retrieve them afterward and reuse them (provided they are not busted).

Reliability

If you can fit a mag inside the mag well and go through the whole thing without any kind of jamming or malfunctioning time after time, you’ll know for a fact that it’s pretty reliable. It’s important that you pay close attention to any customer reviews while searching for a magazine. If the consistent message implies that there are no malfunctions or the like, there’s a good chance it might be the same for you.

Why Are Aftermarket SKS Magazines Best?

If you possess an original, non-customized SKS rifle, it'll feature a built-in internal box magazine with a capacity of 10 rounds. The SKS was invented at a time when the rifle industry was still relying upon semi-automatic and single shot guns. 

With the advancements in rifle technology, there are numerous types of accessories available, and one of them is the magazine.

The SKS features an internal box magazine which has to be loaded either using a stripper clip or by hand round by round. Loading an SKS is a somewhat time-consuming process as compared to using a magazine.

SKS Diagram (Source)

Magazines for the SKS are available in 5, 10, 20, 30, 35, 50 and even 75 round capacity variants. This enhances your overall shooting experience and prevents you from loading rounds every now and then.

Additionally, using magazines for your SKS enhances your ammunition carrying and managing capabilities. If you are using your SKS for competitions, the 10 round capacity and stripper clip loading mechanism are surely not going to help.

A good SKS magazine must be durable, quick to load, easy-to-attach and efficient with cycling rounds.

Quick Take - The Best SKS Magazines

Review of the Best SKS Magazines

Below is a list of the five best SKS magazines that are currently on the market. As you go through each one, be sure to note the features and characteristics of each so you can find the magazine that is best for your SKS rifle. Find one that might match your ideal description of the magazine you are looking for and you are bound to find one that is close enough. 

Based on the features, ease of use, efficiency, and price, we've sorted out the best SKS magazines currently on the market. Let’s begin by taking a look at the first magazine on our list:

Pros

  • Great value
  • Very Lightweight
  • Usable in States with restrictive laws
  • Fits great without modification

Cons

  • Limited 5 Round Capacity

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of new users were quite happy with a few of the features and qualities this magazine had. For one, it was one of the most affordable for most budget shoppers. Secondly, the quality was pretty top-notch. One user said that he was able to use this for the purpose of hunting because he believed that five rounds were good enough for him. But he had extras just in case he wanted to spend time at the range for a few hours.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Even with five rounds at your disposal, it’s pretty dang useful for those who love to hunt or just fire off rounds at the range. Now that might not be enough for you (and if that’s the case, you can either buy extras or look for another magazine). But if you think five shots per magazine is something that you can prefer the most, by all means, you can use this magazine for all your shooting needs. 

The Pro Mag SKS magazine features polymer construction and a five round capacity. This magazine is designed for people who live in states where 5+ round capacity mags have been banned.

This SKS magazine can be easily installed in your SKS without making modifications to the original stock.

The magazine has been designed using DuPont® Zytel™ based polymer which ensures a long service life. It is not prone to malfunction and works efficiently. The duckbill design eliminates the need for an adapter.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be a great magazine for SKS hunters and casual target shooters everywhere. It might not be as useful for those who are competitive shooters who will probably need more rounds in a single magazine. This might also be a good match for those who are beginner users of an SKS rifle. And if you want to up the ante on your capacity, you’ll have plenty of magazines at your disposal. 

Bottom Line

If you want a magazine that is affordable and will have a reasonable capacity for its users, then you may want to consider this Pro Mag SKS Polymer Magazine. You’ll probably end up using extras or making a step up in the future (or stick with these for the long run if you like them well enough). Regardless, these magazines are pretty reliable and fun to use for any application. 

This ProMag SKS magazine has a limited 5 round capacity which is even less than the original ammo holding capacity of the SKS.

However, this magazine is useful for shooters who live in states with laws restricting mag capacities to less than 10 rounds. The price point is quite decent and won’t hurt your pocket.

Pros

  • Huge 75 round capacity
  • Durable Stainless steel construction
  • Can be stored with zero spring tension
  • Can be loaded directly without fighting the spring tension

Cons

  • Only useful for range shooting
  • Stainless steel body and round capacity make it heavy

What Recent Buyers Report

Most of the new users were competitive shooters or casual target shooters that need a whole lot of rounds to work with for their shooting sessions. Aside from the impressive number of rounds that it can take up, the magazine is pretty solid and durable with thanks to the polymer material of the magazine. One user said that he was able to load this with the help of a speedloader and was able to blast through about 1000 rounds without a single malfunction to report. So far, he’s been quite impressed.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This magazine has 75 rounds. No, that is not a typo. It has a 75-round capacity. That’s probably a lot more ammo than you know what to do with. But rest assured, this magazine might be the best possible option for those who like to shoot bullets at targets in a casual or competitive setting. So, if you are looking for a magazine that will give you so many rounds to work with at the range or while you are in the middle of intense competition, this puppy will certainly be the go-to choice for you.

The KCI magazine is a custom-made option for SKS enthusiasts who like to shoot an SKS like a machine gun. The magazine can be opened using two latches provided at the rear, without fighting the spring tension.

It can be stored for a long duration with zero tension on the spring. The magazine has been designed using stamped steel and has the capacity of 75 rounds. This drum magazine is manufactured in South Korea too.

Who Will Use This Most

This magazine will be great for those that will need a large-capacity magazine for target shooting or competition shooting. You can try it out for hunting purposes, but that probably might feel a little out of place. But we won’t judge you if you do. But if you have plenty of rounds at your disposal and want something that will be reliable with every shot you fire, this magazine will be right up your alley.

Bottom Line

The KCI USA SKS 75 round magazine is a competitive or casual target shooter best friend. With a lot of rounds on hand, you certainly want a magazine that can handle a whole lot of them. This might just be the magazine that is large enough to hold all of them together before you are able to fire them off. Sure, 75 rounds might be a lot but rest assured, they are a whole lot of fun to fire off. 

The KCI magazine offers you a huge 75 round capacity so you can shoot for longer durations without the need to reload.

It can be loaded quickly by opening the rear cover, reducing load times. However, the magazine is only useful for shooting down the range.

Using it for hunting, defense or competitions does not seem practical. It has been priced to fit almost everyone’s budget.

Pros

  • Great value
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Locks firmly and doesn’t wobble
  • Lightweight Polymer Construction

Cons

  • It might require some fitting
  • Polymer prone to wear and tear

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of new users were quite satisfied with this magazine. They were quick to point out the durability of the magazine. They said the polymer material makes it impossible to damage when it hits the hard ground surface. Even better, the clip remains reliable and jam-free for them even through 1000 yards. One user said that he uses his SKS for target shooting and has yet to come across a disappointing magazine. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

At 20 rounds, this magazine gives you great firepower. So, if you shoot targets or go hunting, you’ll know that you’ll have plenty of shots to work with. The magazine itself is easy to slide into the mag well and won’t jam on you when you need to switch it out with a new one. Simply put, it won’t waste your time when you are in a situation where timing is not your friend. If you want durability and reliability, this clip will be the go-to choice for you.

The Tapco Weapons polymer magazine for the SKS is an effective upgrade to a rifle. The 20 round capacity of the magazine is optimum for most shooters.

To use this magazine, you simply have to remove the rifle's internal magazine and hinged floor plate, then you’re good to go.

Several rifles with wooden stocks might require alterations to the Magwell. The anti-tilt follower ensures proper feeding of rounds, whereas the steel base plate is an addition to the durability of the rifle.

The horizontal ribbing on the exterior provides a firm gripping surface to the shooter. Also, the company offers a lifetime warranty over this product. Counts as three parts for compliance with U.S. Code Title 18 Section 922(r) part-source requirements. The magazine is also available in a 10 round variant.

Who Will Use This Most

This will stand out as a great magazine for those who want the best in durability and reliability. So, if you want something that is hardcore and impervious to any damage while providing jam-free shooting, then you’ll certainly want to give this magazine a try. You won’t be disappointed with the overall ability of this magazine if you choose to get it for your own SKS. 

Bottom Line

The Tapco Weapons Accessories SKS 20 round magazine will definitely be the go-to choice for those who want the best quality magazines in the business. And since they are easy to load, they are easy to empty out thanks to its ability to not jam on you at any given time. 

The Tapco 20 round magazine for the SKS is a lightweight and easy-to-install magazine upgrade for your rifle. The magazine is quite renowned on the market and is available at an exceptional price point when compared to its counterparts.

The 20 round capacity is quite balanced providing you with ample ammunition to shoot, meanwhile not adding much to the weight of your SKS.

Pros

  • Features a body and feeder made of DuPont's proprietary Zytel-based polymer for exceptional reliability
  • Your choice of five-round or ten-round capacity perfect for hunting, plinking or target shooting
  • Manufactured and assembled right here in the United States of America

Cons

  • Low ammo capacity

What Recent Buyers Report

New users say that loading this magazine was pretty easy to do by hand. However, some of the others say it was quick and easy with the use of a speedloader. Regardless of how you load it, the new buyers agreed with one thing: this sucker is reliable. Through 500 rounds, users have reported no jamming or malfunctioning. One user said that he was able to use this in a competition with his SKS. He bought a few extra (which is pretty much required for most SKS users) simply because he loved how well they performed. Plus, with the quality being pretty darn hardcore why wouldn’t you buy extras?

Why it Stands Out to Us

If maximum durability is your thing, there’s a good chance that you may want to give this magazine a closer look. Made from high-quality polymer, this magazine is pretty indestructible. Meaning it won’t bust apart no matter how hard you throw it on the ground. You can rest easy knowing that you’ll have magazines that won’t mind hitting the ground when you won’t have a single second to think about it. Plus, they are quick and easy to load in the SKS rifle so switching out one with the other is pretty simple. 

The SKS was to the former Warsaw Pact what the M14 was to the USA, a briefly issued update from wartime battle rifle to modern assault rifle that was soon superseded by another legendary design. Since the SKS was so quickly replaced by the AK, hundreds of thousands were left in storage and made their way to our shores at bargain prices when the iron curtain fell.

The SKS is one of the most fun rifles to have around, and as such has spawned a cottage industry in quality aftermarket components such as this magazine from ProMag. These mags bring a 21st-century polymer magazine design to your mid-20th-century assault rifle.

The body and follower of these mags are made of a unique, proprietary Zytel-based polymer from DuPont. Combined with ProMag's signature heat-treated chrome silicon spring, these mags give you outstanding durability, reliability, and smooth feeding at a great price.

Who Will Use This Most

This will benefit a lot of competitive shooters. But it will also have its uses among the target shooting (casual) and hunting crowds. All and all, it’s for those who want the best durability possible in a magazine. If you choose this magazine, you better order up some extras, because these magazines are by far one of the best performing mags for an SKS. Don’t believe us? Get one and put it to the test.

Bottom Line

The Pro Mag SKS 7.62x39mm Magazine is probably going to last you quite a while, and it won’t jam or malfunction. Simply put, this magazine is probably going to operate on “God Mode” (but don’t hold us to that quote, because malfunctions can still happen even if its a rare occurrence). No other magazine on the market can match the abilities and qualities of this. Even if one tries, they will fall short. 

ProMag is a particular favorite among shooters thanks to their great corrosion-proof quality at an unbeatable price. It would be a bit ludicrous to spend a bunch of money on a gun like the SKS, which is, although very fun and practical, rather primitive in fit and finish. The top benefits of this magazine are the choice of capacity and the exceptionally durable materials used in construction.

Pros

  • Durable Steel Lever Release
  • Lightweight Polymer Construction
  • Large Carrying Capacity (35 rounds)

Cons

  • It might be illegal in some states
  • Polymer doesn’t resist heat and hard usage

What Recent Buyers Report

As expected, most of the new users were pretty happy with the number of rounds they’ve got with this magazine. Most of them were hunters, but a good majority of users were target shooters of both the competitive and casual variety. One user says that he uses the magazine for both hunting and competition shooting. He said there was nothing else quite like this magazine when it came to firepower and durability.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Archangel magazine has a unique design that is not only perfect for loading but it’s also perfect for switching out whenever you need a freshly loaded mag. So, it’s probably one of the best magazines you’ll want to consider buying multiples for. That way, you can switch one with the other in record time without having to waste it trying to reload each shot one by one, and best of all, it’s pretty dang solid in construction. It won’t break in half nor will it get banged up in any high-stress situation.

The Archangel LVX is a 35 round magazine designed especially for the SKS. The magazine features a hardened polymer body and uses an efficient spring made from heat treated silicon wire. The follower of the mag has also been made from polymer and helps in feeding rounds to the SKS efficiently. 

The extra duckbill on the front of the magazine makes it fit different models of the SKS easily. It eliminates the need to install an internal adapter for using normal magazines without the duckbill. The textured design of the magazine provides a firm grip while changing. The magazine is also available in a 20 round capacity variant.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be great for those who are target shooters, but it can be good enough for hunting varmint or even deer hunting as well. You’ll have a mountain of rounds at your disposal with a magazine like this. So if 35 rounds are good enough for you, the answer to whether or not this magazine is for you is a no brainer. 

Bottom Line

The Archangel LVX might be quite fun to fire off when you’re at the range or out in the field, and it will certainly last you quite a while assuming that you take the best care of it. Load this puppy up and have a ball with it no matter what the application is, and don’t forget to purchase extras if you feel that it’s necessary to do so. 

SKS Stripper Clips vs. Detachable Magazines - Which is Ideal? 

Many think detachable magazines are better. Stripper clips have their advantages over magazines, but comparing the two is like comparing an axe with a chainsaw.

A stripper clip is a curved piece of metal that has a margined groove to hold 5 or 10 rounds at once. To load the rifle, all you have to do is fit the end of the clip into the groove of the loading port and push down the rounds within the internal magazine with a push of your thumb.

Sounds easy, doesn't it?

Well, this might be easy and quick for a seasoned WWII soldier who had loaded hundreds of rounds using stripper clips, but when compared with load time of magazines, it is quite slow.

The average time for changing a magazine is 3-4 seconds, whereas the average time for loading rounds using a stripper clip can be anywhere between 7-8 seconds or more.

SKS Detachable Magazine (source)

vs.

Stripper Clips Being Loaded (source)

Additionally, the loading slot is harder to find for the stripper clip, as compared to the wide magwell for the magazine.

Apart from this, stripper clips are also prone to losing rounds while carrying or loading. They may fall out of your pocket or when you try to load them into the SKS.

All these facts are in no way intended to insult the stripper clips. Stripper clips are lightweight, very economical, and a cheap option when compared to magazines. You can carry a lot of these clips at once without adding much weight to your gear.

Stripper Clips (Source)

However, the agility, holding capacity, and ease of use with magazines overshadows the qualities of stripper clips.

Feeding ammunition to your SKS under a stressful situation is far easier when using a magazine, as compared to the stripper clips.

Additionally, you can also injure your fingers or get them fatigued while trying to use clips. Stripper clips are surely not for people with finger arthritis as well.

Conclusion

Overall, the SKS has a limited holding capacity of 10 rounds, which is also time-consuming to load. 

Stripper clips are quite slow to use and handle as compared to magazines. Using mags offers greater ammunition capacity and quick reloading of the SKS.

A good SKS magazine must be lightweight, durable and should fit snug with the SKS. Additionally, make sure to check with your local state laws before upgrading your SKS magazine.

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