Thursday, July 29, 2010
Chinese Type 56 Carbine
Not to be confused with the Chinese Type 56 Assault Rifle based on the Soviet AK-47, this is the Type 56 Carbine based on the Soviet SKS.
The Type 56 Carbine is almost an exact copy of the Soviet design. The Chinese did make many minor changes and even with the same series one can find differences. Chinese copies used many stamped parts while Soviet versions typically had milled receivers. Early models had a blade type bayonet while later models (after serial number 9,000,000) had a spike bayonet. It retains the internal 10 round magazine. Many military Type 56 Carbines were later re-arsenaled and exported to the United States where they were purchased in larger quantities as "Sporter rifles". Many had the bayonets removed to comply with import restrictions. These are , however, true military weapons. China did import many Commercial version based on the Type 56 design but these were strictly for import and were never used by the military though the names might imply otherwise. These include the M21, "Cowboy's Companion", Hunter, Models D/M, Paratrooper, Sharpshooter, and Sporter.
The item in my collection is a Type 56 Carbine with (missing) spike bayonet. It is about two pounds lighter than the Yugoslavian M59/66a1 and very accurate. It came to me sporterized with a aftermarket stock but, thankfully, the owner had kept the original wood stock and I was able to put it back in its military configuration once again. The Type 56 can seem a tad short for long armed western shooters but its light weight compensates for that very well. The "Cheese Grater" type upper hand guard is also not part of the military configuration and has since been replaced with the original wooden part, no longer painted black.
This is how she looked when I purchased it. You can see the black painted handguard in the lower right.