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View Full Version : Polytech forged M1A's - good or bad?


Skans
May 17, 2010, 09:14 AM
I've been doing quite a bit of research on M1A's lately, thinking I might really want one. I know that I don't want one of the new cast Springfields. I had been considering the ones made by Polytech, as they have forged receivers, and the parts can be replaced with USGI parts.

However, this weekend, a knowledgable person on M14's and M1A's gave me the rundown on the history of those made by Sprinfield Armory, Inc., Springfield Armory (US armory), and Norinco. He didn't seem to know much about the Polytech M1A's, and lumped them in with the Norincos.

According to this gentleman, the Norincos and Polytechs were forged, but the quality of steel used in them was substandard, causing the receivers to stretch over time. First, is this true of both Polytechs and Norincos? Only true of Norincos? Or, disproved urban legend, as it was the bolts that were the problem, not the receivers?

No, this is not a trick question - just looking for some more feedback on this subject. The original Springfield Armory, Inc. forged receiver M1A's are now over $3,000. So, I guess the real question is are there any comparable quality M1A's - forged receiver, etc. that can be had for a much lesser amount.

SR420
May 17, 2010, 09:38 AM
The original Springfield Armory, Inc. forged receiver M1A's are now over $3,000.No Springfield M1As have been produced with forged receivers - none, all M1As are built on cast receivers.
Springfield Armory, Inc. is not the same company that made USGI Springfield M14s and M1s.

According to this gentleman, the Norincos and Polytechs were forged, but the quality of steel used in them was substandard, causing the receivers to stretch over time.The forged ChiCom receivers are as close as you can get dimensionally to USGI.
It's not a bad idea to have the hardness tested and re-heat treat as needed, but few have a heat treat problem.
They are good to go.

He didn't seem to know much about the Polytech M1A's, and lumped them in with the Norincos.It is my understanding that Norinco and Poly Tech M14s were made at the same factory. Norinco receivers have a less aesthetically pleasing exterior finish while the Poly Tech M14s tend to have a smoother, cleaner exterior finish especially heel stamped versions.

NOTE: Side stamped Poly Tech M14s with the "IDE" import mark are said to be the very best quality right out of the box.


Bottom line: ChiCom M14s are without a doubt the very best value in the M14 world.
The receivers are excellent and they are the perfect host to build your dream M14 on. ChiCom barrels are chrome lined and as good as USGI. ChiCom op rods are forged 1-piece parts that are as good as TRW USGI. ChiCom trigger groups are as good as USGI and they respond well to upgrades just like USGI trigger groups do. You may want to replace the rest of the parts with USGI or SEI parts.

ChiCom bolts were manufactured with locking lugs having an incorrect radius. Many owners have fired thousands of rounds without a single problem and they check the head space with NATO gauges often. Personally, I prefer a USGI bolt conversion and I have hired SEI to install TRW bolts in the four M14s they have built for me. Two are built on Norinco receivers, two are built on Poly Tech receivers. The Norinco builds have all TRW parts and the Poly Tech builds have ChiCom op rods and trigger groups... all four are outstanding. I chose SEI because Ron Smith knows more about ChiCom M14s than the Chinese that built them.

Slamfire
May 17, 2010, 01:29 PM
Polytech and Norinco receivers make an excellent basis for a M1a. When these rifles were cheap, and GI parts kits were cheap, you could cost effectively build a very nice rifle.

I have never owned one. A gunsmith bud of mine built a number of rifles around them, he does good work, and no one complained.

He sent two Chinese receivers off to a shop that does metal analysis. His receivers were close to 5100 steel in composition.

5100 steel is tougher and used in more severe applications than mil spec 8620. Springfield Armory uses 8620 because of all the mil spec fanatics out there.

However forged versus cast, 5100 versus 8620, these do not make any difference on target.

Springfield Armory receivers have been used since the 1970's and they work. SA receivers are the standard by which you evaluated other receivers. A bud of mine had six barrels on one, after it developed a crack about the bolt release, Springfield Armory replaced the receiver for free. Considering he fired at least $15,000 of ammunition through that receiver, he received excellent customer service. (picture of rebuilt rifle "Phoenix") I don't know if a 5100 Chinese receiver will outlast that, but I do know if it breaks, you are not getting a replacement for free.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/EditedriflePhoenixDSCN2278.jpg

Another consideration, whether you will get your money out of your rifle. I have handled a small number of match rifles built around Chinese receivers. The rifles shot well, the owners were happy, but all agreed, they either were able to buy the completed rifle at a discount because of the Chinese receiver, or they won't get their money out of the rifle they built up because they started with a Chinese receiver.

Come and take it.
May 17, 2010, 02:49 PM
I own a polytech with chrome lined barrel. In the past I have fired some surprising accurate groups at 100 yards, open sights before the barrel heated up.

The tightest ever off a cold barrel was 5 shots in 3/4 inch.

The one I own now is well put together.

Some were shabbily put together though. I owned both a Polytech and Norinco in the 90s in which the barrel was so far out of line with the reciever that I could not get the sights zeroed.

I have owned 2 norinco, 2 polytech in all over the years and they were all reliable.

B. Lahey
May 17, 2010, 03:33 PM
I had SEI rebuild my Polytech M14, and I couldn't be happier. It's a fantastic rifle now. It wasn't terrible stock, but all the smartguy talk about bolt problems eventually sunk in, and it wasn't totally reliable so that contributed as well. Now the thing just won't quit. I shot up at least 2,000 rounds before I had my first post-rebuild malfunction, and that was a short stroke I believe caused by an underloaded round.

I was even able to do the build on a relatively small budget (for M14ish rifles, anyway), Ron Smith was really great about that. I only replaced enough parts to make it unquestionably safe and highly durable, like the average M14 you would have pulled out of an armory rack back when they were the standard service rifle. And a Smith Vortex flash-hider, because they look cool and it was already going to be spending time at the Smith shop.:)

Ended up coming in around $2,000 total, including the base rifle.

It will shoot around 2moa with the Black Hills 155gr Amax load, and 3moa with German milsurp plinking ammo. For me, with irons, that's pretty darn good. And that's with the original chinese barrel. I may upgrade the barrel at some point but the funds just were not there the first time around.

And if you build a rifle on a Polytech receiver (which are awesome, by the way), by the time the project is done you will know every nook and cranny on the thing. It is not a project for the impatient, but I thought it was tremendously entertaining.

Do it, I bet you will like it.

http://i307.photobucket.com/albums/nn298/brendanclaude/M14stbrd.jpg

madcratebuilder
May 18, 2010, 05:18 AM
The Polytech is a metric rifle, not all GI parts interchange without work. When you could buy them for $400 it was a good base to build a rifle. With todays prices i think it's smarter to start with a LRB forged receiver if you have to have forged. Cast is more than adequate for the semi auto M1A.

SR420
May 18, 2010, 08:18 AM
No big deal!

The original barrel has metric threads for the gas lock and castle nut.
You can use a GI or SEI gas cylinder and flash hider on the ChiCom
barrel as long as you use the original gas lock ans castle nut.

Other than those threads, there is nothing METRIC about ChiCom M14
rifle and the receiver is closer to GI dimensions than the LRB receiver.

mtscout
May 18, 2010, 08:50 AM
For your first M1A, I strongly suggest the SA, just because of the warranty.
There are a lot of used M1A's around, and the prices are high.
If I were buying new I would go with the NM Springfield Armory, (2k), or LRB, (2.4K and a year wait).
If looking for a used one, (I always do), You can still find some SA's, (1990 and prior), that are all USGI. I found one (2nd one for me) a year ago for $1100.
It just takes some persistence.
M1A's are kind of a cult, not cheap, lots of history, and satisfying.

http://www.shedhorn.com/firearmlist.aspx?CategoryID=122

.

SR420
May 18, 2010, 08:56 AM
mtscout For your first M1A, I strongly suggest the SA, just because of the warranty.

I followed that advice for my 1st M14 and purchased a brand new Scout.
It went back to Springfield Inc. for warranty repairs FOUR TIMES!

The best parts of that rifle were the barrel, receiver and warranty and the
best day I had with my M1A was the day I parted it out and replaced it with
my 1st MK14 SEI built on a Norinco receiver.

Kmar40
May 18, 2010, 08:56 AM
If looking for a used one, (I always do), You can still find some SA's, (1990 and prior), that are all USGI. I found one (2nd one for me) a year ago for $1100. Someone lied to you, son.
No Springfield M1As have been produced with forged receivers - none,SR420 is as big an M1a fanboy as there is.

SR420
May 18, 2010, 08:57 AM
Kmar40......SR420 is as big an M1a fanboy as there is.


I'm not sure what that means.
If it's a compliment: Thanks.
If it's a derogatory statement: :cool:


BTW, I am no fan of the M1A.





.

mtscout
May 18, 2010, 09:24 AM
Kmar40, thanks for the heads up.


This is what I found for $1100.
0537XX 7.62mm M1A SA- receiver.
TRW-bolt, Op rod, trigger group.
Winchester 11 62 barrel.
Walnut stock with selector cut out.

After I had purchased the rifle, I called Springfield and asked about the serial number. They gave me the date it was assembled.
My understanding was until 1990, SA's supply of USGI parts was still being utilized.

Kmar40
May 18, 2010, 12:33 PM
???? You're always posting M14 and M1a pics. Definitely meant as a compliment. In other words, that you weren't someone posting derogatory opinions them.

SR420
May 18, 2010, 01:49 PM
Understood and THANK YOU! :D

Slamfire
May 18, 2010, 06:02 PM
I followed that advice for my 1st M14 and purchased a brand new Scout.
It went back to Springfield Inc. for warranty repairs FOUR TIMES

Most unfortunate.

My factory complete M1a's were match rifles built prior to 1995. They were all GI parts except for the beefy stock and match barrels. This rifle is on its third barrel and has never really malfunctioned. The screws unitizing the gas cylinder came loose and I fixed that by having the plate welded to the gas cylinder.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/M1a%20and%20Garand%20Receiver%20Pictures/ReducedRightSiderifle1.jpg


This was built around a SA "seconds" receiver that I got for a great price at Camp Perry from Springfield Armory . I used all GI parts except for the Douglas barrel and SA stock. I wanted something that looked military, but was match accurate.

Never had a problem with it.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/M1a%20and%20Garand%20Receiver%20Pictures/ReducedFulllengthM1a195395P62300-1.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/M1a%20and%20Garand%20Receiver%20Pictures/ReducedSpringfieldArmoryBuilding.jpg

Come and take it.
May 18, 2010, 06:57 PM
Does the military purchase any new m14s or are they all refurbished?

SR420
May 19, 2010, 07:20 AM
The USGI M14 went out of production decades ago... all that we have are old rifles that have been Refurbished / Reset.

john1969
June 18, 2010, 07:30 AM
Dude I had my poly done by SEI. Find someone else!

SR420
June 18, 2010, 07:45 AM
john1969 Dude I had my poly done by SEI.

Dude, I've has SEI build four M14s for me and all four are outstanding.
Two on Norinco receivers and two on Poly Tech receivers, all 4 are heel stamped.

The quality of SEI's work is unsurpassed.

http://gi350.photobucket.com/groups/q401/OCSB03YO9N/06-16-10003.jpg

SR420
June 18, 2010, 07:52 AM
:confused:john1969 ...........smithenterprisesucks.com/ :confused:

John, what's up with the link in your signature? Are you on a mission to slander SEI?

Come and take it.
June 18, 2010, 03:29 PM
I scoped my M14s Polytech about a week ago. I eyeballed the mount and dialed the scope in to match my iron sights.

3 shots into 1 inch with two in the same hole from a crude 50 yard bench. Nothing to brag about by itself and I only had to drop the elevation by 1.25 moa.

A few days later I came out to shoot another 3 shot group and they also fell around 1 inch at 50 from the same shooting spot in exactly the same area as the other shooting session.

That is pretty consistent and accurate for an untuned battle rifle in my book.

hopefully one day when I can stretch the range a bit I will see what else it will do.

Used a two knob mount with low weaver rings. Scope is right at 2 inches offset.