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Old 12-11-2005, 11:01 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Texas
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Continued Good Luck with Norinco 1911

Hello. A few years ago I ran across a Norinco 1911 pattern pistol that had been lightly used and purchased it at a decent price. (No "politics" please. This "commie" pistol was purchased used and not from any importer.) Not a "great" price as had been the case a little farther back, but at least decent.

It was in normal factory trim from the spur hammer and GI grip safety to the small fixed sights and plastic grips.

I took it out and shot it. The trigger was so-so, with a bit of creep and I got nipped by the spur hammer and sharp edges of the grip safety is very normal for me. The important things for me were that it functioned fine and I learned precisely how far off the mark the sights were at 15 yards. I don't recall that figure now, but it was something like a couple of inches or so. I shot several groups that day and another to verify that figure. Knowing this, I was able to provide that information to gunsmith, Scott Mays, so that the proper height relationship could be had with the King Hardballer rear fixed sight and the serrated ramp sight (plain blk) that he silver soldered to the slide. The dovetail work, installing the sights which he cut to the proper height and rebluing the slide I did have to pay for as I am not competent to do that myself.

I cleaned up some areas inside the frame and smoothed a few parts a bit and stuck on a Pachmayr drop-in wide grip safety, a flat checkered mainspring housing, a McCormick trigger, new grips and some skateboard tape. I freely admit that I got lucky in that the gun has a very nice 4-lb trigger, something that I could not do on my own on demand for sure. Several other parts were changed as well.[/i]

Though shown with cast Precision SWC's, this gun simply does not shoot as well with cast slugs as with about any jacketed bullet. I have no idea if this is due to the depth of the rifling on the Chinese barrel, the hardchrome, barrel diameter, or a combination. The "fit" of the drop-in safety is certainly not so nice as on a fitted one, but the gun frame can be brought back to original if desired...or a safety can be fitted if desired.

This is the best group I ever shot with that particular pistol at 25 yards. Most of the time, the groups were just a bit larger. Still, I'll bet that for most of us, the gun's intrinsic accuracy is sufficient for most needs. The pistol certainly will not shoot with one having a properly fitted match least I cannot make it do so.

At the present time I have no plans on changing out the barrel. It fits more loosely than a fitted one to be sure, but it is alright for knocking around in the woods and has been used as a carry gun more than a few times.

So far I have found no parts (with one exception) that cannot be changed if so desired. Some fitting may be required, but such can be the case with other makes of the 1911 as well. The exception is the exterior threads of the grip screw bushings. The interior threads work fine with American screws for the gun, but the exterior threads

are reportedly different from other maker's. I have no idea

if the pitch is close enough to go ahead and try American-made grips screw bushings or if the holes in the frame have to be drilled out and rethreaded for oversized bushings. Perhaps those more knowledgeable on that information can let us know.

For me, it is not an issue as I prefer standard thickness stocks on this gun, but I wanted to mention the thing about the exterior grip screw bushing threads in case anyone decided to get a Norinco and then put on the thin grips.

I had not shot this pistol in several months, but got an opportunity to crank off two hundred more shots recently. I've lost the round count, but probably 3K to 3500 is close.

So far the gun seems tough as a boot and has not stuttered with any load of at least 200 grains @ 830 ft/sec. Below that and the one can have an occasional failure to eject. At standard 230-gr. @ 780 to 870 ft/sec, it runs slick as a gut.

In the US, these are getting more difficult to find, but at the right price, I think that they would make a very good base gun for a fellow wanting an inexpensive but reliable 1911 type pistol.

The gun is certainly showing no excessive wear at all and seems well built. It is not going to "win" any beauty contests with the tooling marks visible here and there and the slide-to-bbl and frame-to-slide fit while decent would not woo any serious target shooters. That said, I bet that with a Kart E-Z fit barrel & bushing properly fitted and installed, the gun would shoot more tightly than 99% of us can hold.

If I run across another one that is new or like new and below my view on the right price, I'd pick it up in a heartbeat.

In short, the thing continues to shoot with no loss in reliablility and retaining satisfactory field accuracy.

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Old 12-12-2005, 04:15 AM   #2
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Continued Good Luck with Norinco 1911

Nice review as always Mr. Camp. Unfortunately I've read those are no longer imported.
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Old 12-12-2005, 11:19 PM   #3
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Continued Good Luck with Norinco 1911

I love those Norincos. I have one I recently purchased at a Pawn Shop for $225.00. Like Mr. Camp, I rounded up the ususal suspects, and did some tweaking and lo and behold, I have a very nice accurate carry gun. The triple hard chromed barrels are some of the best around. They like .452 lead bullets and are so easy to clean that it still amazes me. I much prefer them to anything else in their price range. Mine also wears about .25 cents worth of skateboard tape. I have $200.00 Sambar Stag grips on mine that came from Raj at Eagle grips. Shocking, huh?
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Old 12-13-2005, 05:28 AM   #4
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Continued Good Luck with Norinco 1911

Hi there Stephen,

While I lament the passing of the importation of Norinco's, I remember at one time that they had become of favorite of Gunsmith's for customizing because of the quality of the steel and heat treatment.

Thank you for the report. It is a great looking and shooting handgun! I have not seen one around here "used" for a long time and suspect that knowlegable 1911 owners are reluctant to let them go!

Proud member of the Horry County Tokarev Society.
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