Norinco 1911 questions from newbie


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elktonjohn
June 7, 2011, 01:18 AM
Hello all, my first post here...

Just spent $450 on a Norinco 1911A1 ser#522*** and fired a clip of Winchester copper-clad today at 25 feet and hit a 6 inch group. I'm not an experienced shooter and was only getting introduced to the feel of the gun but was somewhat impressed as I was'nt being serious about my grouping. Before shooting it I did a simple field strip and checked for barrel peening and general issues and found none but some battering of the barrel-spring housing part which resides just inside the barrel bushing at the business end of the gun. Sorry, my nomenclature stinks...but what I'm getting at is this:
I know nothing about this gun, it seems to shoot pretty straight but if there are any weak points with this gun, just what should I be looking for? Please understand, I'm only looking for basic and reliable and relatively accurate when it comes to this 45, it's an EDC, not a competition shooter but I want to have the kids be comfortable with it so I need it to be safe. Crazy fact is the 18 year old girl is a better shot then me...so I need it safe, and reliable and as tight as it should be. Any advice or opinions would be greatly appreciated. John

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BHP FAN
June 7, 2011, 01:34 AM
my Dad had the exact same gun, and it is the best under $500.00 semi-auto .45 pistol made. get some decent grips, maybe smooth the edges on the grip safety, and you are good to go... all parts are 100% interchangable with genuine G.I. parts with only minor fitting [if any] and it likes Mecgar 7 round flush-fit flat bottom mags the best.
I bought the R.I.A. G.I., [also a GREAT under $500.00 pistol!] but only because the Norinco is no longer importable to California.

Steve C
June 7, 2011, 01:49 AM
The Norinco is probably one of the best 1911 clones made being an almost exact duplication with as good or perhaps even better steel than Colt. The slide and frame is one of the only clones many of the custom builders will work on besides Colts.

The barrel and the springs isn't the best though and a barrel swap can improve the guns shooting and spring swap to US manufactured springs will improve long term reliability.

xr1200
June 7, 2011, 02:12 AM
Thats a very bad group for a little over 7 yrds. you should be getting almost a 1" group at that range , and a 6 " group at 25 yrds. wouldn't be to bad for a norinco.

One problem with norincos is that they have poorly fit barrel lugs and you get premature wear in the side and barrel lugs. If the slide lugs are severly worn then you are screwed it can't be fixed, but if the slide is good and only the barrel lugs are worn then you can fit a new barrel and save the gun.

Take the gun apart and show us a picture of the barrel lugs and the internal lugs of the slide.

The member 1911tuner is a 1911 specialist and he can evaluate it for you.

GCBurner
June 7, 2011, 07:29 AM
When these could still be imported, I got a brand new one for about $300. Great guns, and an outstanding value, they are 100% interchangeable with Colt 1911A1 parts. I've fired mine a lot, and it's been 100% reliable with factory 230gr. FMJ ammo. I replaced the factory plastic grips with a nice set of checkered walnut, and added an ambidextrous safety, full-length guide rod with new recoil spring, and a fitted barrel bushing; it shoots as accurately as I can hold.

outerlimit
June 7, 2011, 09:12 AM
I'm surprised the Norincos haven't gone up more in value in the past decade as they are much better guns than the current 1911's in that price range.

elktonjohn
June 7, 2011, 09:49 PM
Thank you everybody for your replies and I will post some pictures of the slide and barrel so you all can have a look-see. I think it will shoot tighter groups once I focus on an actual target instead of the future firewood I was shooting at. Thanks again, John

HisSoldier
June 7, 2011, 10:49 PM
I recently bought one also, new or nearly new, for $450. It's the only 1911 I've ever seen with a chrome bore barrel! The fitting of the hood was lousy, like they didn't understand or care about what that does to accuracy potential.

The gun is reasonably accurate anyway, and the 3.7 pound trigger didn't hurt!

Other than the pukey grips it's a nice gun, not as nice as my RIA though, but shares that special value that a really cheap gun that functions well, it's easily worth a good deal more.

Most of my 1911's cost 2-4 times as much! Special bonus, all small parts commonly MIM'd in US cheap made 1911's are FORGED in this gun.

roadliner
June 8, 2011, 05:35 PM
The Norinco 45 is probably the best "value for the dollar" gun I've ever purchased. If I had known then that they would be banned in the U.S., I'd bought at least two more.

Jim Watson
June 9, 2011, 07:59 AM
Please look up a parts list and work on your nomenclature.

'some battering of the barrel-spring housing part which resides just inside the barrel bushing at the business end of the gun

It SOUNDS like you are talking about the recoil spring plug which is not subject to impact and should not look battered. If it is somehow roughed up, it is cheap to replace.

If the spring tunnel of the slide itself is already battered, you have real problems.

awit357
June 9, 2011, 08:18 AM
Here in the Philippines especially in cebu city norinco's are very popular coz its cheap and durable not to mention reliable out of the box w/ hardball ammo. Its the most common personal sidearm of our police officers especially among ipsc standard single stack shooters, very durable. You got it right the first time. Congratulations.

Mad Magyar
June 9, 2011, 11:24 AM
Thats a very bad group for a little over 7 yrds. you should be getting almost a 1" group at that range , and a 6 " group at 25 yrds. wouldn't be to bad for a norinco.


Is that with a Ransom rest? He's got a stock Norinco that probably is need of some parts...He's not into competition....:rolleyes:

xr1200
June 9, 2011, 04:12 PM
At 7 yrds. 21 ft shooting off hand with my kimber I can put all 7 shots into a 1" or less clover leaf pattern and at 25yrds. just resting the gun on sand bag or rolled up towel, it will group about 2.5" at 25 yrds.

Your norinco should at least group 2" at 7 yrds. off hand and at 25 yrds. 4-6 inches would be acceptable from a hand held rest.

Mad Magyar
June 9, 2011, 07:56 PM
At 7 yrds. 21 ft shooting off hand with my kimber I can put all 7 shots into a 1" or less clover leaf pattern and at 25yrds. just resting the gun on sand bag or rolled up towel, it will group about 2.5" at 25 yrds.

Your norinco should at least group 2" at 7 yrds. off hand and at 25 yrds. 4-6 inches would be acceptable from a hand held rest.
Wow! I'm impressed....What does this have to do with the OP's querry? Yeah,
I placed 3rd in the Bianchi Cup in the 80's.. Do you believe it? :rolleyes:

chrisb507
June 9, 2011, 08:52 PM
...at 25 feet and hit a 6 inch group. I'm not an experienced shooter...

If you are a new shooter, I think there is a chance it might be you and not the gun. (I say this as a relatively new shooter myself, who struggled early at any decent grouping.) I might try to have a more experienced shooter give it a go to confirm or deny that it's the Norninco...

xr1200
June 9, 2011, 09:04 PM
The groups the OP is shooting is pretty bad, even a novice shooter should get better than that. Such large groups might indicate that there is some severe wear between the barrel and slide lugs.

Example my wife just completed a CCW 6 months ago shot a 290 score out of a possible 300 in her CCW qualification and never handled or shot a pistol before in her life.

This was done with a SW 380 body guard and at 7 yrds, firing off hand, one handed she was getting about 1 1/2" to 2 " groups for 6 shots and she is only 90lbs. and 5' 2" .

So the OP should be getting, better groups than he is getting at 7-9 yrds.

elktonjohn
June 9, 2011, 11:58 PM
Here is what I can post for now in terms of pictures. The group I shot was four rounds, fired at twilight into the butt end of a Hickory log on my buddy's farm. It was my first time shooting this gun and I was not sure it would even cycle so I was just happy I hit the darn log in the dark. I am concerned about the dings on the spring cap but the spring and spring guide are fine. I will work on my nomenclature and get a schematic as time allows. I pulled the grips and found nothing odd, at least to my un-trained eyes. The trigger pull was very light...that was a nice surprise as it felt pretty smooth. I think someone has tinkered with this guy but it is a total unknown right now. The trigger has three vertical holes in it, which I have seen in many pics...is this stock? Also I notice the sights are not factory original...I'll post more pics but for now I think I've hit my limit...thanks for the comments and advice, John

xr1200
June 10, 2011, 12:25 AM
the lugs don't look bad, but that recoil spring plug looks likes its hitting something during recoil. It would be a good idea to replace the recoil spring, guide rod and recoil spring plug and some wilson shock buffs. You can get them cheap at www.brownells.com, get either wilson, ed brown, or night hawk custom, even EGW brand is very good.

1911Tuner
June 10, 2011, 05:58 AM
The lugs are being deformed badly under recoil forces. Very likely the result of insufficient vertical engagement in the slide. Probably an early Norinco. They corrected that issue with the later ones.

If you'll look straight down onto the barrel lugs, you'll notice a distinct stair-step appearance.

As the lugs set back, the headspace grows by a like amount. Norincos weren't known for minimal headspace to begin with. A NO-GO gauge will tell the tale. Even if it's not beyond maximum spec now...it soon will be.

The good news is that the slide is probably okay. Norinco barrels are soft. The slides are hard and tough.

The only proper cure is to have a barrel hard-fit. A drop-in replacement barrel won't likely do any good.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings.

Jim Watson
June 10, 2011, 07:08 AM
Yup, that barrel is shot, so to speak.

The recoil spring plug is indeed beat up. Maybe the gun was shot with the bushing not turned straight, holding the plug back .1" and it crashed into the frame in recoil.

Different sights, different trigger, barrel worn out, the gun is obviously well used.


Tuner, didn't you have some good results with stock Springfield barrels in Norincos?

xr1200
June 10, 2011, 04:18 PM
Well hated to be the bearer of bad news, but the groups reflected something was wrong with the gun. As 1911 tuner stated puting in a new barrel will fix the gun, cheapest way to fix it would be to go with a kart easy fit barrel and bushing. Cost is likely to run you at least $150 for the barrel and bushing and about a $100-$150 to fit it.

Good news is that the gun will be a real tack driver after replacing the barrel.

One piece of advice you could take the gun back to the person or place you bought it from, and make them take it back. If they refuse to deal with you then you can always take them to small claims court to get your money back. Note if you bought it from a shop, the simple mentioning of small claims court or the fact of them recieving court papers will usually get them to fix or refund the item price.

It would be nice if the moderators would place alerts in the sticky section about such problems, as with the norinco 1911's so ppl know what to look out for.

So far your the second person that got taken on a bad norinco 1911 in the past 3 months on the gun forum.

Toforo
June 10, 2011, 05:39 PM
Yup, that barrel is shot, so to speak.

The recoil spring plug is indeed beat up. Maybe the gun was shot with the bushing not turned straight, holding the plug back .1" and it crashed into the frame in recoil.

Different sights, different trigger, barrel worn out, the gun is obviously well used.


Tuner, didn't you have some good results with stock Springfield barrels in Norincos?
My question too (springfield barrel) - I recall reading a LONG and DETAILED thread between 'Tuner and someone else who had this prob....

The reason I read it was because I was researching what turned out to be a GOOD (older) Norinco purchase and was looking for all the info I could get on the Norinco barrel-lug issues of the older models.

Mine turned out to be a good one... a SERIOUS tack-driver which I LOVINGLY use at the range as my "reload tester"

1911Tuner
June 10, 2011, 06:39 PM
Tofro...unfortunately Springfield is no longer selling their excellent service barrels to the general public. I had very good results with them as semi-drop in barrels...but even those didn't make up for the lack of vertical lug engagement. In fact, they'd probably be worse because they're harder, and instead of the lugs simply being deformed...they'd likely shear off or at least crack.

xr1200...In guns such as this one with slide and frame dimensions that don't allow for good vertical lug engagement...the Kart Easy Fit won't work very well. A hard-fit barrel is the best approach.

elktonjohn
June 10, 2011, 11:29 PM
Well...bad news is a reality and it offers a chance to learn. I appear to own a well worn 1911 Norinco and now it's a what-to-do. The ser # is 522*** which I thought made it a later model and not so likely to have barrel lug issues, I guess I'm wondering if some other thing could be causing the problems but regardless, I'm still stuck with a problem. I want to hold out hope that there is an easier solution then hard-fitting a new barrel...any takers?? But If the only answer is the expensive road that 1911Tuner suggested then...Ouch...but ok. Thanks to all of you for responding, it's been an eye opener for certain. Oye...

Mad Magyar
June 11, 2011, 05:06 AM
BTW, despite remarks by the "Mr. Bulleye", at that distance you are still within the limits of any "Kill-Zone", for CC in any state....;)

19112XS
June 11, 2011, 10:33 AM
Tuner knows Norks inside out (literally!) His solution will be the best and cheapest in the long run.

1911Tuner
June 11, 2011, 11:05 AM
It's not necessarily well-worn. With bad enough vertical lug engagement, I've seen that much deformation occur in as little as 500 rounds.

2XS! Good to see ya surface again. I trust that the Rehab Nork is still rompin' and stompin' and shuckin'em as per the desideratum?

elktonjohn
June 11, 2011, 11:51 PM
Thanks for everything guys...since I hate it when a gun, or any other machine is getting eaten up with use I think I'll save up and get it fixed properly. I'll do some reading and get it tuned up and post results...in a while...Oye...and again thanks, John

Toforo
June 12, 2011, 10:06 AM
Thanks for everything guys...since I hate it when a gun, or any other machine is getting eaten up with use I think I'll save up and get it fixed properly. I'll do some reading and get it tuned up and post results...in a while...Oye...and again thanks, John
I personally think it's worth fixing....

They aren't "around" anymore - banned in the US in 1993 by Clinton.
Every year, they get harder and harder and harder to find.....

.....and once you get it fixed, it IS a tac-driver.

A "WORKING/FUNCTIONING" Norinco is only going to increase in value here in the U.S. due to it's lack of availability - there are a limited number in circulation and that number is NOT going to increase.

Good move in my oppinion....
...and, if you get an NEW barrel - KEEP THE old one, especially since it's a Norinco barrel in the gun now (THE "M P" on the side of the barrel indicates that it is - if, on the opposite side of the barrel, it has the last 4 digits of the gun's serial number, then you have a matching ORIGINAL barrel from the factory) - so hang onto it after replacing it, even if it's unusable.

schmeky
June 12, 2011, 02:22 PM
Here's what you can potentially expect from that "worn" Norinco. This is my own personal Norc after I installed a Kart National Match Barrel (not the E-Z fit) and an Ed Brown bushing. The slide to frame fit is typical mil-spec, i.e. it rattles a little. So don't get rid of a forged steel gun with so much potential.

http://img3.imageshack.us/img3/5803/norincoslide007.jpg

xr1200
June 12, 2011, 03:17 PM
Overall for the cost of what a new kart barrel and bushing and having it fitted, is not worth it, unless you could get a good deal from someone knowledgeable like 1911 tuner.

Most smith's don't do barrel fitting and finding one locally, that you can trust or that will do the work reasonalbly priced is difficult to do.

Your going to have to put at least another $300-$350 into the gun and even after you finish it. The gun will still only be worth $400-$450.

Just sell the gun locally on the backpage.com they have a good sporting good section that allows guns to be sold for free.

You should be able to get $350-$400 for the gun and take the money you get and buy a SA range officer for $750 or even a RIA tacticle for around $500, would be better than sinking any more money into the norinco.

Treat the small amount of money you lost, as a lesson , and don't buy any low end guns used anymore, if you buy used stick with the top names and you usually don't have any issues, like colt , remington, ruger, mossberg, SA, kimber etc.

1911Tuner
June 12, 2011, 03:33 PM
Here's a 14-shot group that kartracer's Norinco shot from a rest after I peened the rails at the front just a little to reduce vertical play, and fitted a Kart barrel into.

14 shots. No throwing the first shot away to eliminate the accursed 1st round flyer. Just load up two magazines...drop the slide...and start shooting. The ammunition was off the shelf PMC hardball.

As is par for my barrel fitting, I didn't approach it purely with accuracy in mind, and I wasn't all that careful. I usually fit them just a bit looser than most match-grade fits because...well...because that's the way I do things.

And now, the decision rests with you, sir.

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e243/1911Tuner/JoesGroup.jpg

19112XS
June 12, 2011, 06:50 PM
I vote for keeping and fixing your Norinco. You’re not limited to finding a local gunsmith; use the internet and UPS to have a tougher-than-average tack driver made.

Greetings Tuner! Yup, the Rehab Nork is still runnin’ strong! The second “new” hammer has seated in nicely and I look forward to getting some quality time with that pistol this summer.

1911Tuner
June 12, 2011, 07:21 PM
Excellent news! See ya next trip.

Skylerbone
June 12, 2011, 10:32 PM
14 chances and he never hit that quarter! Sell now! Sell now!

schmeky
June 12, 2011, 11:09 PM
xr1200,

With all due respect, a Springfield or a RIA is not going to "out accuracy" any 1911 with a properly fitted barrel. RIA's are cast, nothing wrong with this, but forged is preferable.

Nothing in the $750 range, ala Springfield Range Officer, will get you in the match grade accuracy category.

So get a $400-$450 norc; a match barrel install should run around $300.00, and now you have a forged steel, true series 70 tack driver for around $700-$750.00.

You could do a lot worse.

NMGonzo
June 12, 2011, 11:12 PM
You are going to get better pretty soon.

Try to aim for one spot.

Skylerbone
June 12, 2011, 11:54 PM
A few holes in a log at dusk in a 6" spread doesn't make someone a bad shot. If protection and proficiency is what you're looking for there's nothing wrong with buying a second pistol for now and rebuilding what you have later. I say this because lead time for good smiths can frustrate those not used to them and bad people don't wait for your preparation.

If you prefer to pass on what you have perhaps a trade back to the shop you bought it at might be in order. As Tuner stated it's up to you. Keep in mind that what you have may well be made into an amazing shooter and heirloom pistol not easily replaced at twice the cost.

elktonjohn
June 13, 2011, 12:29 AM
We've got at least one gunsmith with a good rep here in the Shenandoah Valley of Va...and oddly enough one of his old signs was stolen and ended up at my antique store so we've met and have an unusual friendship already. For whatever reason I just like this pistol and intend to have it looked at with an eye towards fixing it properly. 1911Tuner is pretty close by, perhaps he has the time and needs a project??

Greg528iT
June 13, 2011, 12:57 PM
14 chances and he never hit that quarter!

you'd think after the 1st or 2nd shot he'd have aimed a tad further left. :D

schmeky
June 13, 2011, 05:13 PM
Try to aim for one spot.

That's the best advice I've read in a long time :o

outerlimit
June 14, 2011, 08:11 AM
Holy moly, I'd like you to look at my 1911 Norinco someday 1911Tuner, I didn't know you were a gunsmith, I thought you just a competition shooter. What was the distance of those shots, my 1993 Norinco is bit more innacurrate than my MKIV mid-80's vintage series 80 Colt with the stock collet bushing, but it's a good gun regardless. The chrome lined barrel gives it a little extra velocity too. Just not as accurate of a gun though. But totally reliable with the 250 or so rounds that have been fired out of it. Even reliable with an 18.5lb Wolff recoil spring. I only shoot 230gr. standard pressure ammo and +P 230gr. though, I'm not in that class of strange people who shoot 185gr. and then come in gun forums and complain about why their gun is a piece of crap because it jams or doesn't cycle.

1911Tuner
June 14, 2011, 01:43 PM
I'm not a gunsmith. I'm a mechanic. Sort of a "Level 2" armorer, I guess. Beyond simple parts changing, but not into full custom work. My area is also fairly limited to 1911 pistols...Smith & Wesson revolvers...and bolt-action rifles. Also pretty well-versed in the AR15/M16 family.

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