A Nurse with a Gun

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Pawn Shop Circuit: Chinese Copies

Dave waved me over to the gun case with a smile this morning, as I ambled into his pawn shop. Without my asking, he pulled out a Norinco 1911 and inquired "Whatcha think?" This was a Government sized Norinco 1911A1 with rubber grips. The grips had a "Ranger" medallion. The gun had no import markings.

The Norinco is a Chinese copy of the classic GI M1911A1. The steel is good enough that Clark's Custom will use them for a 460 Rowland conversion. The Norinco slides are known for dulling blades used to cut sight dovetails. They are accepted as a good in-spec base gun, a diamond in the rough, by renowned gunsmiths. They can often be shot as is by those who simply want a GI style 1911. Norinco 1911s are forged, no MIM, with spring steel extractors, just as John Moses intended. They are no longer importable after Bill Clinton's presidency.

Dave was wanting $350 for the Norinco, and I thought about it a bit. I looked the pistol over, and noted the roughness of many of the parts. The mainspring housing looked like the serrations were cut with a grinding wheel. There were mill marks present in places that I am used to being smooth. Overall, the pistol had a third world look to it, kind of cool.

I handed it back to Dave. For $300, I might bite, but I have a bunch of 1911s. Perhaps I will kick myself in the future, but I really don't need another project gun. I would keep the Norinco as it was, perhaps swapping out the rubber grips for double diamonds. Bottom line was I did not need the gun, and it did not insprire me. I handed it back to Dave.



Blogger The Conservative UAW Guy said...

I bought one of these in a package deal of three guns about 9ish years ago. Being (as my name implies)a union, American-made kind of guy (ok, I have glocks!), I kind of hate to admit that I like the Norinco.

It is built like a tank, and I used the extractor in my Gold Cup for a few weeks with zero failures.

Bottom line - It is reliable and accurate enough that I would bet my life on it functioning when needed - a claim I would never make lightly.

Curious (and ironic) importation was suspended under Clinton, while that same country was garnering our missile and computer technology from that very administration.

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Diamondback said...

Norinco is one that I'll never own. Funding the China Military is not something I'm willing to do. I've also decided never to buy Steyer (never on my list anyway) or Glock after they've sold weapons to Iran that were redirected to Terrorists in Iraq. Just my .02 ... Let the flaming begin.

8:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you that a Norinco 1911A1 makes a fine project gun, but it is cheaper to buy a ready-made custom pistol. After all, just about everything on the pistol needs replacement.

For fourteen years, I have owned and tweaked my Nork. When I bought the pistol, it did not group so much as pattern on the target. Performance was vastly worse than that predicted by the NRA's April 1993, American Rifleman review of the pistol. In the AR review, NRA staff recorded 5 consecutive 5-shot groups at 25 yards. The best group was 2.12", and the worst was 5.52". In the case of my Nork, various gunsmiths have progressively improved the pistol's performance. Currently, a 10-shot string @ 50yds from a Ransom Machine Rest produces a 2"x2" group.

Any surviving Nork is representative of a time when the U.S. and China were trying to figure out what products and services to exchange.
If I came across a NIB or like-new Nork for $300, I might buy it for its minor historical significance and keep it stock.

11:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought a norico 1911 back in the early 90's for $250.00, thinking it'd make an OK gun to keep stashed in the car. Much to my great suprise the damn thing shot everything I put into it, except for the hornandy (?) 185 gr "flying ashtrays", and was (and is) as accurate as my springfield armory 1911 that I'd paid close to $800.00 for. I love that gun! Well, except for the funky "Copy of ..." rollmark.
Maybe I just lucked out, but mine's the best .45 I've ever owned, out of 7.

9:14 AM  
Blogger less said...

Hey diamondback:

Who taught Osama how to blow stuff
up and who gave Saddam all the
great WoMD? Oh yeah, that was us...

Blowback anyone?

My point is only that political
processes are governed by
Politicians and not necessarily
by the companies producing items.

Glock and Steyr supply the
Austrian military. Their politicos
decide who to sell it to. Flame
Austria, not the companies there.

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Xavier, with the Zumbo storm still raging (there's a link at MSN now), is it just coincidence that your most recent post references the chinese company that made the copy SKS/AK ubiquitous? I doubt it.

In the early 90's I could buy NIB SKS's complete with bayonet, sling, and cleaning kit, all slathered in five pounds of cosmolene for $65 each if I bought ten or more at a time for my gun and pawn shop. I bought some, shot some, and sold some but all in all the amazing functionality for the money couldn't offset the crudeness and there wasn't that much demand.

Then our newly-liberal government decided that a ban based on some meaningless criteria was a good idea and would be a great major first inroad towards public disarmament (they didn't mention that last part), knowing many within the gun community itself would be loath to defend these ugly sisters of "proper" hunting and sporting firearms.

From that point forward, I could have sold hundreds or even thousands of them. I didn't, largely because in my one and sometimes two man pawn shop time spent with gun customers and space for inventory had to be shared with several other types of selling and buying activity.

But my point is this; the ban itself created a huge market and demand for products that held little interest before...$65 guns became $300 guns, $20 magazines became $100 magazines and there was enough warning that the manufacturers cranked out and the public devoured thousands upon thousands of them, virtually all of which are floating around out there now, some in the hands of rights-abiding Americans and some not.

The government and it's ban is directly responsible for many, many people purchasing these weapons where before there was no interest in possessing them. But telling an American that he CAN'T have something or do something fires a Constitutional flame in the hearts of all who love and understand freedom.

What irony; I may not like the idea of all those shooting machines filtering through questionable hands, and antigunners counted on that concern to conceal their true intent, but Constitutional supporters ultimately saw through their backdoor attempt. What a backfire in the face of those who would disarm us so as to more easily dominate us.

But there are still those who bought the argument; how amazing that someone like Mr. Zumbo, who has enjoyed a lifetime of freedoms that he would now attempt to restrict, fails to learn from the past and understand that even the very mention of that restriction would fan those flames again, consuming him and having exactly the opposite effect of what he intended...sales of AR's and AK's will likely surge again, admittedly somewhat to everyone's detriment, based on the controversy he rekindled.

And diamondback, who with some sort of convoluted reasoning says that your purchase of that used, no longer available for import, Norinco 1911 would somehow fund communism and/or terrorism, might want to read the bottom of about eighty percent of the consumer goods in his house for "made in china". Wonder where all those dollars go, hmmm? 2A forever. jtc

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Diamondback said...

Less, Nice straw man bringing up CIA training of Afghanistan rebels to fight the former USSR and frankly you sound like your saying 9/11 was our fault. Let's stick to the topic. Steyer sold arms directly to Iran. Those arms were supposed to be for Police use. They went directly to Terrorists in Iraq and were used to kill British and U.S. servicemen. Now Glock is doing the same thing. I could almost excuse Steyer as being duped but they are still selling the weapons. Glock, I'm sure has heard what happened and is still planning on selling the weapons to Iran.
Anon, I don't buy anything made in China and haven't in 10 years. It's real easy to check. Just look for the made in China label before you decide to buy. If I can, I always make a point to try and buy US products. It's not just a philosophy, it's a lifestyle.
I don't have a problem with others buying whatever they want. Want a Norinco, Glock or Steyer...more power to you. I'm just pointing out SOME of the reasons I don't. I'm not making any judgement calls on people that buy them.

10:04 PM  
Anonymous Zane said...

Actually, Diamondback, while Less did commit a logical fallacy, its called Tu Quoque (Latin: "you as well") not a strawman. A strawman argument would have been if he had changed your argument slightly an then knocked it down. He just kind of said "hey, we did it too."

Also, while we are on the topic of definitions: the people fighting in Iraq are not terrorists. A terrorist is a person who uses fear, not aciton, to incite political change. If they were just treathening ot blow things up and kill people to get others to do something, THAT would be terrorism. Frankly, the people in Iraq who are fighting right now are an armed resistance against an invading military force: the US.

Finally, your placing of so much importance on "terrorists" to actually capitalize the word frightens me a bit, as it may be an indicator of just how important a place this has taken in many minds.
(I didn't intend this to become a diatribe but your comment got me thinking.) For example, I have several friends in the military who have served tours of duty in Iraq. Not a single one of them ever refers to the people there as "Iraqis" or even "people." They are always "terrorists" or "insurgents." To me, this indicates that these folks have been successfully dehumanized by whomever has stock in dehumanizing them. Dehumanizing anybody, no matter for what reason, is ALWAYS a bad idea and an ethical catastrophy.

6:51 AM  
Anonymous AR said...

Guys, when I lived in Houston, in a not so wonderful neighborhood, I went to a gun show in the Astrodome convention hall. Almost 5 miles of tables. It took 225.00 plus tax to bring home an honest to goodness .45 The fact that it was from China didn't enter into my mind. It took me 4 months to save up that money, 3 kids, wife, rent, working near the top pay of my chosen profession. It is still protecting me as we converse. It ate everything I could feed it. I learned with it, messed with it, and trust it with my life, and the lives of my family. It's proven itself time and again. All that to say this: I was nearly poor, and I couldn't afford anything else. Jennings, et. al. weren't in the running. I wanted a reliable pistol, in .45, and I got a good, make that GREAT one. I have a couple Colts now, and some other brands, but she was my first... and still is my sweetheart. (I even have her serial number memorized.)

3:52 PM  

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