Norinco Model 1911A1 .45

Discussion in 'Firearms Research' started by msmp5, Mar 30, 2022.

  1. msmp5

    msmp5 Member

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    Had this one sitting in my safe for over 20 years, finally took it out and shot it today. My eyes aren't as great as they used to be but I still shot 3" groups with it at 15 yds without trying very hard. Seems like a pretty solid, well made gun. It is marked "Model of the 1911A1 [some sort of crest] .45 automatic" and "made in China by Norinco" and has the importer marking of "IAC Billerica, MA" in very tiny print. Is there any way to get a manufacture date or an import date on this? Or import date range? Ser # is 5158xx Any collector value to these? ..... I'm pretty sure we will never see these imported again! I'm trying to decide if I should keep it as part of my [admittedly small] collection Gov't Model-type .45's, or sell it. Any info on these would be appreciated. Norinco_1911A1_#5153xx.jpg
     
  2. vintovka

    vintovka Member

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    Man I remember those pistols and the importer was known for low priced imports. IAC may still be around so google them. I had one on these right around 2000. It was a $100 item then and a $500+ collectors item now. I traded it to an electrical contract for hooking us up to power. Its amusing that the unusual markings that no one liked are now its best selling point. IIRC these are nice stout pistols even if finished somewhat crudely. I'd keep it as it can only go up in value and demand.
     
  3. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    The steel is very good on the limited run we got in the US. Dimensionally identical to a GI 1911, so parts are not a big issue (no more fit issues than any other 1911).

    Finish was not that glamorous, but was not meant to be, either.

    Mine did everything expected of it. Had 2008 not intervened, I'd have it today, too.
    [​IMG]
    Collectible is subject to individual opinion. There were only a few years of these being imported. They got short shrift when they were available. They were not very expensive at the time, from around $250 to $350, when generic 1911 were going $500-600 at the entry level. (All of this was well before RIA got into the US market.)

    Those Norincos had some "pull" as starting points for custom builders, too. So, "box stock" examples are a little bit scarce. Maybe that makes them a little bit collectible. Other than they generally only came in the one version/model.
     
  4. vintovka

    vintovka Member

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    I was always surprised they didn't make these in 7.62x25 TOK like VC captures.
     
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  5. Rockrivr1

    Rockrivr1 Member

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    Not sure about import dates but I doubt they are collectors items. Had one and a couple FFLs wouldn't touch it when I offered it up in trade a couple years ago. Finally sold it outright for a little more then what I paid for it. Nice gun overall.

    99pMFLB.jpg
     
  6. vintovka

    vintovka Member

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    I have seen and been emailed and frequently asked if i had one in the estate we are dealing with or knew anyone who had one. I saw one sell for over $500 not that long ago and asked the buyer his thoughts. Collectors item was his the main reason and that they have been banned for decades. With that thought i wonder why there still so many inexpensive Chinese Toks being offered. I should add the markings in the last pic were far batter then the one I had. Mine looked like they had hand stamped each letter and did not have the Norinco crest.
     
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  7. msmp5

    msmp5 Member

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    Noted that the one in Rockrvr1’s pic was imported by CSI in Ont, CA. Mine was imported by IAC in Billerica MA. Does anyone know which one was the earlier or later importer? I’d like to determine at least an approx import date range for my “IAC” marked gun, if possible.
     
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  8. vintovka

    vintovka Member

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    My WAG is 1985-1994. Ban was circa 1995. Same time as real problems started with Norinco 9mm like 213's???
     
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  9. Jimfern

    Jimfern Member

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    I got this one used and it shoots great. I have kept all the parts in case I want to put it back to stock.
    [​IMG]
     
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  10. davethedog

    davethedog Member

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    Well i be doggone. I had forgot about those it's been so long since i saw one. They are not very common at least around here. Last ones i saw were in the early 90's i believe. At the time i had a Colt Govt. model so i had no interest in one of these. I did buy a Norinco 213 9MM and a Norinco short barrel SKS about that time.
     
  11. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    I would shorten the window from about '89-'94, based on when I remember seeing them NIB at gunshows, alongside $79 SKS and $189 AKs, lol. I remember seeing the 1911s going for $199 circa '93.
     
  12. gotboostvr

    gotboostvr Member

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    I've got one of them kicking around.

    Picked it up around 2009 for about $300.

    The only factory parts left on it are:
    Frame
    Slide
    Front sight
    Firing pin
    Firing pin retaining plate
    Grip screw bushings

    It was a good shooter as-issued, I just upgraded it over time.
     
  13. vintovka

    vintovka Member

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    Still can't understand why the one i had was so crudely marked. Maybe a prototype? The ones shown on this thread look 100% better.
     
  14. Monac

    Monac Member

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    The Norinco 1911s were only made for export and not Chinese military or police use. In any place where civilians were allowed to own them, nobody wanted them in a Russian/Chinese/Warsaw Pact caliber like 7.62x25mm. In any place where the military or police (or gangs, I guess) wanted a 7.62x25mm pistol, they were going to go for the cheaper, lighter, and slimmer Chinese Tokarev copies. That's my thinking, anyway. :thumbup:

    They sold well once people were satisfied that they were OK guns that would accept aftermarket 1911 parts readily. Since they're all 25+ years old now, I guess it makes sense that collector interest is picking up.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2022
  15. vintovka

    vintovka Member

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    I swear they sold all the pallets of defective 9 and 7.62 toks to African pirates. They seem to be in a lot of pics from there. BTW there was a quiet recall on these for bad "after arsenal safeties" that tended to fire when released. Several we had back then were collected by distributor for about 15 - 20% over invoice.
     
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  16. kerreckt

    kerreckt Member

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    I bought this one around 2010. Paid $250. Very good shooter. Norinco 45 L.JPG
     
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  17. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

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    I know a few 1911 smiths that loved using the Norinco as a base for custom builds. Norinco used good steel for their 1911 pistols.
     
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  18. AlexanderA
    • Contributing Member

    AlexanderA Member

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    Filled the niche now being filled by the Philippine imports.
     
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  19. vintovka

    vintovka Member

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    I think i messed up royal when i traded mine off circa 2000. As previously said the markings looked nothing like the ones posted here. They were very crude, hand stamped. and the Norinco emblem was absent. It came from an importer down in LA i was dealing with at the time. If i had to guess the one i had was an early prototype or test model as i found it had a very low serial beginning with lots of zeros. If norincos can be collectible its still out there somewhere. I even had to toss in 2 box's of ammo to close the deal with the electrician.
     
  20. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    If Norinco had put out technical data on the things, the steels they were made of particularly, I would have been interested. I did have a friend who purchased a Norinco M14, had the receiver ion blast tested. I forgot what SAE steel it was close to, but both of us looked in our Machinery Handbooks and saw transmission gears, and other hard use, tough applications as appropriate. Our book value analysis conclusion was that the Chinese picked a steel that was much better than US GI. US GI receivers are made of 8620 steel, the bare minimum for the job. Which is OK for a battle rifle which only had to pass a 6000 round endurance test, and then, any and all parts could be discarded in rebuild.

    Since then, my Cold War era prejudges about Chinese equipment have flipped. We were taught that Chinese Communist products are garbage, everything Chi Com was bad, and the early stuff that came in the 1980's, that was not far from wrong. The Chinese 3/4 drive ratchet set I purchased in the early 1980's cost me only $50.00 and I have beat and used the heck out of those sockets. But at the time I did not expect them to last. I got them because they were cheap. Same day, at the Flea Market, looked for a used American 3/4" drive ratchet wrench, because I figured the Chinese one would strip, and bust my knuckles. I paid $75.00 for a used Easco 3/4 drive ratchet wrench . Guess what, the Chinese wrench still clicks and Easco is out of business. Now I am typing on a Chinese made computer, most every part I put in my vehicles is Chinese made, and so are the new tools. Having gone through four Chinese made AC Delco starters, the aluminum nose cones are thin compared to the old American ones, so nothing is perfect.

    But had I known that the Chinese had smart metallurgists, excellent engineers, and knew how to build long lasting 1911's, I would have purchased one of those cheap Norinco's. But that was then.
     
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  21. The Glockodile

    The Glockodile Member

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    Hm.

    Shh!

    That's not what folks want to hear! :rofl:
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2022
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  22. Bwana John

    Bwana John Member

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    Scuttlebutt says that the steel for the Norinco Model of (the) 1911 came from British made, work hardened, railroad rails.
     
  23. kerreckt

    kerreckt Member

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    There is a very good paper written by a metallurgist that worked for the Chinese during the period these pistols were manufactured. I believe he was from the Philippines. I read it years ago. He stated that the steel in these pistols was from ore/steel that was the most economical to process for their purpose. It was closest and therefore easier to transport among other reasons. The fact that it happened to be very hard and of good quality was coincidental. It was not a primary consideration. He gave many other details that I cannot recall. Most were technical. Economy was the driving factor was my takeaway after reading it. This paper is probably still on the web somewhere.
     
  24. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    When people don't know the industrial capabilities or capacity of a country, they come up with stories like this.

    Somewhere on my computer is a picture of a Chinese T62 tank. The idea that the Chinese did not have their own organic steel production, but had to use scrap railroad ties from the British period, is due to Nationalism.

    In the year 1990, China was making more steel than the US is today. And today, I am sure the Chinese are claiming that the United States is tearing up old railroad tracks, to find the steel to make automobiles.

    [​IMG]

    You know, if we went to war with China, and for every American killed, the US killed one Chinese, when all 300 million Americans were dead, there would still be one billion angry Chinese left.
     
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  25. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Kind of like the older story that the best London Twist (Damascus) shotgun barrels were made out of used horseshoe nails that had been "condensed" by heavy hauling. ("It ain't the 'eavy 'aulin that 'urts the 'orses' 'ooves, it's the 'ammer, 'ammer, 'ammer, on the 'ard 'ighway." Kipling)

    So we have rail iron.
    Chance availability of superior ore.

    I once saw it said that they did not, maybe could not, produce a closely specified alloy like 4140 CM so they overengineered their material selection, using better steel than strictly necessary so they would not slip into inferior material.

    My opinion, after watching my gunsmith struggle with milling and filing on Norincos, is that people are assuming poor machinability is a sign of superior strength.
     
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