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Old January 26, 2013, 03:20 AM   #1
Pond, James Pond
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1911: interchangeable parts?

You know how people seem to mix and match AR-15 components from different manufacturers to build their ideal AR, be it for parts or cost or both.

What about 1911s. They are all essentially the same design, as I understand it, so are bits interchangeable?

Most specifically could, say, Ruger, STI or Colt 1911 mags or recoil spring guide rods fit something like a Norinco 1911.

(I don't have any of these, but if I ever got a 1911 it would be the Norinco: half the price of the others and seemingly still a decently built piece...)
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Old January 26, 2013, 05:08 AM   #2
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In general , yes the parts are interchangeable. However some manufacturers do have some unique components. Some use ramped barrels, some have series 80 parts, some have a slightly different ambi thumb safety, dovetail for the rear sight. But the majority are interchangeable with some minor fitting. Always best to check first. Not familiar with the norinco so can't comment. Rock island is a good choice also.
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Old January 26, 2013, 05:56 AM   #3
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Parts is Parts

Mostly, but sometimes not. I ran into a problem once with a friend's friend's oompact Para Ordnance that had the disconnect damaged by the sear spring. They ran it by here on his way home from the range, and a standard disconnect didn't even come close to interchanging. They had to go to Para Ordnance for a new one, and Para wouldn't send one. They had to send in the pistol.
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Old January 26, 2013, 07:24 AM   #4
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Just wondering,why would you want to buy a chinese pistol and then replace
internal parts with US made components?
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Old January 26, 2013, 07:47 AM   #5
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Short answer, probably.

Long answer, no.

Longer answer, maybe.

The 1911 is a platform that has been modified by everyone who has decided to make their own interpretation of it. Most parts (guide rods, springs, magazines, triggers, etc.) will probably fit with no modification.

Barrels, slides, sears, BGS, safeties, sights, firing mechanisms, extractors, etc. are either a no or maybe--with machining.

You need to know what kind of a 1911 you have to know what will fit. The Norinco is a near replica of a 70 series GI, most 1911 parts will fit with a little machining.
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Old January 26, 2013, 07:55 AM   #6
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Norinco

When the Norincos first appeared, I wasn't greatly impressed. I could see internal parts that weren't anywhere even close to spec, and looked like they were fitted with a hacksaw and a wood rasp. If I had my time to do ovr, I'd have borrowed money and bought a pickup truck full of'em.

While the earliest ones had vertical barrel fit problems, that was corrected in short order. The guns are reliable...accurate enough for their intended purpose...and as tough as a chunk of pig iron.

They're a little rough around the edges, but no more so than many wartime Ithacas and early Rands I've seen...and they could all do with a little careful stoning and polishing in the fire control group...but they're functional, and I've only encountered one that refused to run without some pretty labor-intensive work. I spent nearly 20 hours on the "Norinco From Hell" but it was one of the early ones, and all turned out well...finally. The owner reports that it hasn't missed a beat...and after proving itself...has joined his carry rotation.

Standard spec parts will generally interchange with only the occasional need for light hand-fitting. The springs seem to be a little iffy...particularly the sear spring...so I change those out and install an EWG firing pin stop with a 1/16th radius as a matter of SOP. If the upper lug engagement is good, that's about all that's needed, although some owners opt for a Kart barrel.

As an interesting aside, the OEM magazines are carbon copies of Colt's redesigned "Hybrid" type. All that's needed to complete the package is a Wolff 11-pound spring.

Then, just go shoot it, but be aware that if you want to practice malfunction drills, you'll have to purposely induce a stoppage.
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Old January 26, 2013, 08:50 AM   #7
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'Tuner:

Quote:
... snip... The springs seem to be a little iffy...particularly the sear spring... snip ...
Thanks for that great insight and wealth of details. Good to know that at least the mags can be interchanged.

Springs... well, from the little I know of pistols in general and the less I know of 1911s, recoild and mainsprings should at least be something to have to hand.

Quote:
Just wondering,why would you want to buy a chinese pistol and then replace
internal parts with US made components?
It's not so much chinese pistol and US parts, but more affordable pistol and avaialble parts. One shop occassionally has a Norinco 1911 (presumably with 2 mags) for about €500. However, after sales support is not particularly good and my guess is that getting anything; even just mags could be tought to get. A must if I ever decide to use it in IPSC standard production, for example.

Then there is another shop. Great guys, lovely stock and able to get spares and upgrades, but a Ruger 1911 (which I would love to own), or STI 1911s, start at about €1100 and upward...

So if I can go for my spares at the latter, but buying the significantly cheaper 1911 at the former, I'd could live with that....
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Old January 26, 2013, 09:35 AM   #8
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Parts is parts

Quote:
It's not so much chinese pistol and US parts, but more affordable pistol and avaialble parts.
Other than as little light stoning to smooth out the warts, there's rarely a need to swap out the small parts in a Norinco. I've got a stocker here that's been doing medium beater duty for several years and about 10,000 rounds. Nothing has failed and nothing has broken...and the gun has never malfunctioned. Ever.

All I did was change the springs and install the firing pin stop...lightly stone the rough spots on the disconnect and sear, and clean up the barrel ramp a little...not because of a problem...but because it wasn't feeding my cast SWCs quite as smoothly as I like. It shoots about an inch above POA at 25 yards, and cleans the plate rack at that distance as long as I don't jerk the trigger.

Can't ask much more than that of a pistol that I gave 300 bucks for NIB.

Ugly is as ugly does, hey!
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Old January 26, 2013, 09:45 AM   #9
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Norky

Here's a 14-shot group fired at 25 yards with PMC ball less than an hour after I finished fitting a Kart Easy-Fit barrel into a friend's Norinco. I don't work with absolute accuracy as the goal, but rather for reliability...so the barrel was just a bit looser than it woulda/coulda been had I been more meticulous.

I hit the hammer hooks with a stone to equalize their lengths at .025 inch and clean'em up...cut a very light escape angle on the backside of the sear crown...and changed the springs. I polished the sides of the sear to insure free reset. The trigger broke clean at about 6 pounds.

No other work was done.

There was no throwing away the first round. With a bag under his wrists, he locked a magazine into the gun...loaded the chamber...fired to slidelock...reloaded and released the slide...and shot another 7 at the target.

He was happy. That was 6 years ago, and at last report last year, the pistol was runnin' fine and embarrassing several owners of 2,000-dollar pistols.

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Old January 26, 2013, 09:54 AM   #10
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FWIW - I have a Norinco that I bought new back in 1993. I have a Colt Ace 22LR conversion kit that works just fine on the Norinco. At one time, I had converted it over to 9mm, using a Colt slide and parts. Not being that satisfied with the 9mm, it went thru another conversion to 38 Super, again using Colt Parts. Have now come full circle back to it's 45 ACP form, where it serves as a pretty good truck gun. Over the years, I haven't found any Colt or aftermarket parts for the 1911 that didn't interchange with the Norinco. You may have to do some minor fitting, which is to be expected with any 1911. If you want a 1911 that you can tinker with, the Norinco is a good choice, As a side note, I have read of people having issues with the Norinco 1911 magazines. I have several of them and have used then in my Colts & Kimbers without problems. So I would say that the Chinese did a pretty good copy on the 1911.
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Old January 26, 2013, 11:55 AM   #11
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"It's not so much chinese pistol and US parts, but more affordable pistol and avaialble parts. One shop occassionally has a Norinco 1911 (presumably with 2 mags) for about €500."
500 what? Where are you 00 ?
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Old January 26, 2013, 12:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
500 what?
Well, Euros....

The clue is in the € of
Quote:
500


I live in Estonia: check my location, under my Username!
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Old January 26, 2013, 12:33 PM   #13
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"I hit the hammer hooks with a stone to equalize their lengths at .025 inch and clean'em up..."
OK the half cock hook is a true recess hook with a .012"R and a .035"flat with
radiused corners,full cock is a fish hook .030" flat sharp edge.
What is accomplished here by that modification?
You just about destroy the half cock profile and reduce the full cock at least a
good .005" and leave a square edge on it.There must be a good reason for that
of that I'm sure.
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Old January 26, 2013, 12:49 PM   #14
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re:

Quote:
full cock is a fish hook .030" flat sharp edge.
Quote:
You just about destroy the half cock profile and reduce the full cock at least a good .005"
Hammer hooks are to spec at .028 +/- .003 inch. The hooks in question were unequal length, so I made'em equal. To spec, they're not "flat" or square. They're nominally undersquare one degree. Smiths that do full trigger jobs square them and cut them as short as .018 inch, though .020 has pretty much become the defacto standard these days.

Then, they stone the sear primary angle so that it "agrees" with the modified hammer hooks and cut a secondary angle on the backside of the crown that further reduces the size of the contact area between the hooks and the sear.
In many, there can be as little as .010 inch of contact patch.

The secondary...or "Escape" angle...also reduces or eliminates the tendency of the sear to lift the hammer as it rolls out. I prefer to leave the hooks undersquare on a carry or duty pistol in order to maintain a positive or "captive" engagement. I like to leave the hammer hooks longer than most do. .023 is a bare minimum and I prefer .025 inch. A light secondary angle, along with the long, undersquare hooks creates a rollout-type break rather than the proverbial glass rod, which...in my studied opinion...is useful on a target pistol but has no place on a social gun.

And I'm tryin' to wrap my head around the part about destroying the half-cock profile. What does equalizing the hammer hook length have to do with the half-cock?
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Old January 26, 2013, 01:41 PM   #15
polyphemus
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Because I know you have prints,the half cock hook is shaped like an inverted
dipper,and the handle is round(.012"R)the bottom of the ladle is flat with radiused corners and it measures .030" add this length to the handle's and you
got at least .040""from the edge to the body,now you grind .015" off and the
round edge disappears.The profile is gone and you are left with the remains of
the flat part.
The full cock hook is .035"+0.000" -.005" nominal so .025" make it a little
under but all things considered.....As to the sear hook contact geometry as
far as I am concerned,the way the Master designed it is plenty good enough for
me and tweaking that does not interest me in the least.I still think you know
more about these things than I do.
You are equalizing the hooks' length .to .025" and I take that to mean both
hooks have the same distance to the body.

Last edited by polyphemus; January 26, 2013 at 01:53 PM. Reason: typo
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Old January 26, 2013, 02:00 PM   #16
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re:

Quote:
you grind .015" off and the
round edge disappears.The profile is gone and you are left with the remains of
the flat part.prints,the half cock hook is shaped like an inverted
dipper,and the handle is round(.
I'll try again from a different direction.

Why would I do anything to the half-cock? It has nothing to do with the sear and hammer hook relationship. There's no reason to alter the half cock notch.

Quote:
You are equalizing the hooks' length .to .025" and I take that to mean bothhooks have the same distance to the body.
Right. One was longer than the other, so I laid a feeler gauge under the hooks and made them both the same length by cutting the tips flush with the gauge.
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Old January 26, 2013, 03:14 PM   #17
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OK,The upper hook or half cock and the lower hook or full cock.
Please don't tell me there's a third one.
I could not see modifying the half cock hook because the sear then could not get trapped and the hammer would fall when the trigger was pulled.
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Old January 26, 2013, 03:44 PM   #18
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re:

Quote:
I could not see modifying the half cock hook
And...I never said that I did that. I never even mentioned the half cock.

Quote:
Please don't tell me there's a third one.
There is on some of the newer Springfield hammers. Don't know why, but there it is.
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Old January 26, 2013, 03:56 PM   #19
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Hammer

NM
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Old January 26, 2013, 04:41 PM   #20
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"I hit the hammer hooks with a stone to equalize their lengths"
What am I missing here? if there's only two hooks and one is the full cock
ain't the other one the half cock?
Springfield Armory now puts three hooks on their hammers to tick off people like me.
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Old January 26, 2013, 05:56 PM   #21
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re:

Quote:
What am I missing here? if there's only two hooks and one is the full cock
ain't the other one the half cock?
There are two hammer hooks that create the full cock shelf. They're arranged on either side of the hammer with a gap between them.

One of the hammer hooks was longer than the other. I made them equal length so that the sear would escape both at the same time.

None of this has anything to do with the half-cock notch.

Recent Springfield hammers have the normal hammer hooks and half-cock, with an additional quarter-cock shelf similar to the Series 80 Colt hammers. Their reasoning for that is a mystery.
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Old January 26, 2013, 06:03 PM   #22
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Hammer Hooks

Here ya go. We clear now?
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Old January 26, 2013, 06:29 PM   #23
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The concept of interchangeability of parts was developed by Eli Whitney ! Usually only credited with inventing the cotton gin he was a very active inventor .Interchangeability was the backbone of the industrial revolution !
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Old January 26, 2013, 06:31 PM   #24
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On Topic

Anyway...back to the Norinco question.

They're not what I would call "nice" pistols or pretty pistols. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Personally, I think they look better than a lot of these overdone customs that seem to be an exercise in seeing how far the creator can remove them from resembling a 1911. I'm a purist, though. I like the looks of the Yankee Fist in all its Spartan glory.

For the most part, they're functional and reliable and really don't need to have their small parts replaced unless there's a defined problem...which there seldom is. A little stoning here and there in the right places...as long as the tweaker understands what to stone and how...isn't a bad idea.

There are no cast or MIM parts in a Norinco, assuming that the gun is stock.
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Old January 26, 2013, 06:53 PM   #25
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Crystal clear,the full cock hook is a double hook of course so "hooks" is technically correct.Whether they function as one is immaterial there are two
of them,I read hammer hooks and thought,two functional hooks.
You only ground the full cock hooks.Thank you for taking the time to disabuse me.
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