Yugoslavian M59/66

Cold War Carbine



The Yugoslavian M59/66 is essentially a copy of a Russian SKS carbine with a grenade launcher added on.  The SKS was adopted by the Soviets in 1945 and some trial versions were even used against the Germans in the last days of WWII.  It was invented by a Russian named Sergei Simonov.  The rifle utilized the new 7.62x39mm intermediate round.  The magazine of an SKS was not detachable.  It was fixed to the weapon and was loaded by stripper clips from the top of the receiver.  It was a very robust design and was very dependable in even the worst conditions.  Although the rifle was used extensively by the Russians and many other Communist nations, it was overshadowed by the AK-47 which was designed and adopted by the Russians at about the same time as the SKS.

The Yugoslavians adopted the SKS in 1959 and called it the M59.  It was pretty much an exact copy of the Russian SKS except without a chrome lined bore.  Then in 1966, a new model was adopted called the M59/66.  This SKS was the same as the M59 except that a 22mm NATO spec grenade launcher was added to the muzzle.  This was used by simply switching the gas valve to the grenade launching mode, flipping up the grenade sight, fitting a grenade onto the end of the rifle and loading a grenade launching blank.  All the operator had to do then was aim and pull the trigger and he would send a grenade down range at the enemy.  The M59/66 was made right up until 1989.

My Rifle

I bought my Yugo SKS at a gun show for $150.  It was most likely rearsenaled at some point in it's life which means that it is currently in like new condition.  My rifle has glow in the dark night sights that were put on early SKS's.  It was manufactured in 1971 and is in amazing condition.  The Yugoslavians seem to have had an obsession with a preservative grease called cosmoline.  They pretty much soaked their SKS's in the stuff for storage.  I spent an entire weekend getting it all off of my rifle.  The SKS is an increadibly fun rifle to shoot.  The recoil is very light and you can put a lot of lead down range, real fast!


Here are two recordings that I made of an SKS being cycled.





A soldier firing a grenade from his SKS during the Yugoslavian Civil War

M59/66 Specifications

  • Caliber: 7.62x39mm
  • Length: 44.1 inches
  • Weight unloaded: 9lb 1oz
  • Barrel Length: 19.7 inches
  • Magazine: 10 round integral box
  • Type: semi-automatic

Photos (click to enlarge)

NOTE: The X's were put on some pictures by me to obscure the full serial number of the rifle.  It's just a privacy issue with some people.