I didn't see an SKS forum.
The Albanian SKS is one of, if not the , most interesting SKS models. There's so much interesting history of Albania and this singular model of the SKS.
Albanian Communist Flag
(The following is excerpted from a review by Glyn Reinders, Lebanon, NH)
The Albanian SKS was believed to be an early Simonov design that was never manufactured by other European countries. It was known locally by the name "July 10th Rifle", after Albania's Independence Day.
The Albanian SKS was manufactured at the Umgramsh Factory from 1967-1971 and again from 1976-1979, in Gramish, Albania. There is some debate about what happened during the years 1972-1975 but I have never seen or heard of Albanian SKS's from this time period. Some have been found that have a serial number but no date. It could be these that were made during the ’72-’75 period, but there’s no proof.
The obvious differences between the Albanian SKS and those from other countries are:
1) The extended length stock and the extended 3 vent upper handguard that extend all the way to the gas block.
2) The trapdoor butt plate has 2 doors rather than the normal one.
3) The Albanians use an AK style charging handle rather than the round style used by all other countries.
(This is the charging handle of my '78)
4) The Albanian rear sling swivel is located on the left side of the butt stock as compared to the bottom of the butt stock on other models.
5) The 10 round fixed magazine on the Albanian has a slightly different bottom profile than those on other SKS's.
So, there were an estimated 16,950 produced. For unknown reasons the Albanians destroyed or gave away nearly two thirds of them and it is believed that only 5700 are left in the world today. There have been reports that US Government led efforts "encouraged" the Albanian government to collect and destroy over 130,000 Albanian small arms (their SKS included) during the mid to late 1990's. This may be why we see limited numbers of them in the world market today.
This is how I received mine, back when they first became available. If anyone remembers, they looked as though they had been dipped in a vat of cosmoline.
I have two; a 1968 (all matching, in excellent condition) and a 1978 (beat up stock, looks pretty used).
This is a pic of the 1978 model.