Development of the Alternate left side charging handle.
A left side charging handle seems to be typical on most current manufactured
battle rifles. The multiple benefits of ergonomic charging as well as general
convenience seems to be an apparent benefit for the shooter.
We decided to proceed with a design, notwithstanding the challenge of the extremely heavy SKS bolt spring.
After field-stripping and a heavy cleaning of the bolt and the associated springs, including the trigger spring, we made sure the curly end of the SKS main bolt spring was inserted in first (as noted by SKS maintenance manuals), and we tested the system.
The test proved that there was better leverage using the left side handle, with the right hand on the grip during charging. It wasn't bad at all. However, not all physiques will be able to charge with the handle if there's not enough beef involved.
Even with the beef, you cannot be bashful pulling the handle back. After all a spring designed to offset the ballistics energy of the 7.62x39 has to be hearty. Even so we were delighted with the general ease of the function.
It cannot be overstated that the bolt and bolt springs and such have to be cleaned and properly lubricated for it to work at optimum. (I actually tested the system on a somewhat cosmolite impregnated spring and the effort was almost twice it was with the cleaned system).
We also tested to see if the main bolt spring could be inserted in backwards with the straight end going in first. Every once in a while there was "grittiness", we assume due to the bolt cover scraping against the interior spring. Main thing - make sure the curly end goes into the bolt first.
The folks who have the M type bolt will benefit most since they will be able to insert a fully loaded mag as the first operation of the firing sequence. Simply pulling the charging handle back will then allow the bolt to go forward into battery. Those without the M bolt will have to lock the bolt open with the hold open tab as their first operation of the firing sequence. Not a big deal, but something to consider.
During the firing sequence, after firing all the rounds in the mag, the chamber will be held open with the SKS factory hold-open tab and the spent mag can be released and a full mag can be inserted. To place the gun in battery, you can either use the slam bolt function already included in the base kit, or you could also pull the left side charging handle back to gently engage the factory bolt handle and release it to charge the gun.
It's fun, so have some!!!