First, is the SKS I am talking about heavier than the AR he is talking about? He has already mentioned mounting points and optics. Throw a flashlight and a couple of other googaws on there, and what is the difference in weight?"In my perfect domestic conditions, with access to parts and tools that I will not have to salvage, fight someone else over, or carry with me - and which will add to my overall pack weight if I do carry them,"
arent you kinda dismissing the fact that the SKS is heavier than the AR in the first place? ar+ some spare pats = SKS with no spare parts.
the average sks is 8.5lbs while the average ar is 7.5lbs or so, that leaves approx an entire pound for spares/ tools at an equivalent weight.
or, more ammo, 7.62x39 is already heavier than 5.56, so either your carrying less rounds, or more weight. the AR's ammo advantage is even greater if you consider that you can carry the rifle+ some ammo and still be the same weight as an SKS with NO AMMO.
I agree that it is hard to carry as many rounds, but as far as tools and such, the SKS can still operate with only half its moving parts. There is one in the Hue military museum that no longer even had the trigger group - instead utilizing a sort of notched lever, was missing the gas system entirely, and had a magazine that appeared to have been made from a soup can. In theory, it was still operational when it became an exhibit. . Having spare parts becomes a little less important when you are talking simple machine with loose tolerances versus complex machine with complex interactivity and tight tolerances.
As for tools, every tool you need is either in your buttstock or your ammo pouch with an SKS. Most of the rest literally falls into the duct tape and bailing wire school of field repair if you look at captured examples in Afghanistan.
Addressing the weight of ammo, I guess I could make the same argument that most of the militaries of the world made for a number of years - if you learn to shoot, and your rifle makes big holes, you theoretically don't need as much ammo. We all know that that argument isn't a good one, though. I don't have a good answer here. More ammo is always a good argument.