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Old June 17, 2021, 12:39 PM   #1
Joe_Pike
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Wilson Combat 1911 Drop In Parts Question

I ran across an old Norinco 1911 where I work for a decent price and will probably be picking it up. If I do I will replace all of the springs for starters. I wouldn't mind having a long trigger (prefer them) and possibly an extended beaver tail grip safety which will require a new hammer. I looked at the Wilson Combat "drop in" parts but had someone tell me that they didn't like them at all and that they didn't fit well. I know the metal of the Norinco is hard and hard to work with, so, that's why I was looking at the drop-in stuff. Any thoughts?
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Old June 17, 2021, 01:42 PM   #2
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The Wilson drop-in beavertail is dimensioned to fit Colt frames, so, if the frame contours are closer to Springfield, Remington Rand, et al., the fit won't be as good as if the frame were Colt.
I had a Norinco, years ago, which already had a beavertail installed, so can't comment from first-hand experience on the original frame dimensions, but looking at online pics, the Norinco frames appear to have the shorter frame tangs that would result in some large gaps.
You could buy the Commander safety, and modify it to fit the Norinco, but that sort of defeats the purpose.
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Old June 17, 2021, 04:32 PM   #3
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Like many imports, the Norinco 1911s are almost a 1911. Kinda like the Taurus PT1911, lots of 1911 parts fit, some don't, and some almost do. And just FYI, drop-in parts don't just drop in a lot of the time. It's been a couple years since I worked on a Norinco 1911 so I can't remember where the parts don't quite fit, but as you start working on it you'll figure it out pretty quick.
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Old June 17, 2021, 05:08 PM   #4
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I would leave it as is; if you want to accurize a 1911, get a Colt.
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Old June 17, 2021, 05:15 PM   #5
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Colt's are nonexistant at this point...at least for a reasonable amount of money. Norinco's used to be one of the 1911s of choice to do custom builds on because of the metal and how close they are to a Colt, so, I'll stick with it for the $325 I'll have in it.
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Old June 17, 2021, 05:30 PM   #6
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Colt's are nonexistant at this point...at least for a reasonable amount of money. Norinco's used to be one of the 1911s of choice to do custom builds on because of the metal and how close they are to a Colt, so, I'll stick with it for the $325 I'll have in it.
No on any accuracy work, and I've never seen a Norinco win a match.
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Old June 17, 2021, 05:54 PM   #7
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Well, I gurss I will have to assume that all of the positive things I've read from those that built and shoot customs with the Norinco as a base are telling stories.
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Old June 17, 2021, 06:03 PM   #8
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Wilson drop-in parts are just that -- they are made so they can be dropped into pretty much any 1911 that's within USGI Ordnance Department specs. I have used any number of their hammers, sears, and slide stops with no problems. I once tried a similar-appearing, elongated loop Commander-style hammer from another "name" manufacturer and it tied up the gun completely.

The Wilson drop-in beavertails work. That said, even on a genuine Colt frame the beavertails for the full-size guns leave a significant gap between the frame tangs and the beavertail. Conversely, the Commander version, on both a Colt Commander and a para-Ordnance P13.45, fit so well that they looked almost custom fitted.
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Old June 17, 2021, 06:04 PM   #9
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Well, I gurss I will have to assume that all of the positive things I've read from those that built and shoot customs with the Norinco as a base are telling stories.
Like the guy that tried to turn his ten-speed into a Harley, all the non-bikers believed him. I can't fault him for trying.
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Old June 17, 2021, 06:22 PM   #10
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Thanks Aguila Blanca and RickB for the info.

Quote:
Like the guy that tried to turn his ten-speed into a Harley, all the non-bikers believed him. I can't fault him for trying
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Old June 17, 2021, 11:14 PM   #11
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Norinco's are mil-spec 1911 A1. Surprisingly good steel, small parts not so much.
I ran one in USPSA Limited 10 around 20 years ago. Actually got a pretty fair trigger
with the stock sear/hammer/disconnector and a EGW sear spring. Bobbed the stock
hammer spur to work with a beavertail grip safety. Eventually replaced the trigger
with a Cylinder and Slide Warp Speed drop in kit--and it did indeed drop right in.
No fitting at all.
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Old June 17, 2021, 11:41 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Joe_Pike View Post
I ran across an old Norinco 1911 where I work for a decent price and will probably be picking it up. If I do I will replace all of the springs for starters. I wouldn't mind having a long trigger (prefer them) and possibly an extended beaver tail grip safety which will require a new hammer. I looked at the Wilson Combat "drop in" parts but had someone tell me that they didn't like them at all and that they didn't fit well. I know the metal of the Norinco is hard and hard to work with, so, that's why I was looking at the drop-in stuff. Any thoughts?
I have used Wilson 'factory plus' parts in various Colts and clones with good results. They are as close to drop-in as you're going to get. Some parts (sears, safeties etc) are going to require some fitting.
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Old June 18, 2021, 01:57 AM   #13
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Just to interject a little information:
* Norinco firearms have not been imported to the USA since the 1990s. Norinco was banned from importing firearms by the US government. Canadians can still get them, but no US imports.
* Norinco used fair quality metal in their 1911s. Not great, just fair.
* Nobody I know uses Norinco 1911s for custom builds just because they are scarce. I've been a smith for 30 years and I have only seen about a dozen of them. More people using Rock Island frames and slides now, or just building up US commercial 1911s.
* Most custom 1911 builders I know use custom frames. If you are goiing to ask a customer to lay out $3000 for a custom 1911, it had better not say Springfield or Taurus on it.
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Old June 18, 2021, 07:23 AM   #14
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I dunno, I have seen some pretty fancy Springfields but not Taurus.

I saw some pretty fancy Norincos back when they were imported. There was one here with about every improvement allowed for IDPA CDP including nice blue over chrome finish.

Tuner had some posts on Norincos, he thought the frame and slide were better than the barrels and recommended a Springfield barrel as an easy replacement.

A guy here described a trigger job on one. His action pin holes were skew but he said "No problem, I just stoned the hammer and sear at the same angle so they met up evenly."
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Old June 18, 2021, 09:15 AM   #15
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* Norinco used fair quality metal in their 1911s. Not great, just fair.
That's odd because I just read an article saying that the metal Norinco used was superior to the metal that Colt used.
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Old June 18, 2021, 10:37 AM   #16
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That's odd because I just read an article saying that the metal Norinco used was superior to the metal that Colt used.
Not necessarily "superior" to Colt, but it is widely acknowledged throughout the 1911 community that Norinco steel is harder than any other maker's steel. That has been so widely reported that I accept it as fact
However, I regard it as "different" from Colt's steel, not "better." Harder can (and often does) also mean less ductile and more brittle. At some point, there comes a point at which the steel becomes too brittle for optimal performance in the particular application.

I'm not saying that Norks are too brittle, I'm just saying that I don't think the fact that they're very hard means that their steel is better than the steel used by Colt.
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Old June 18, 2021, 11:24 AM   #17
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Some Norinco barrels were also soft and exhibited battering of the left and/or right sides of the chamber. Me, Tuner and another 1911 nut or two had a long conversation about this far enough in the past that I can't remember which forum it was on. What I do recall, from the collective input, was that we estimated these 'soft barrels' to have occurred in roughly 10% of the pistols we were familiar with.

Don't ask me what we had for supper last Wednesday; but that 10% figure stuck in my mind.
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Old June 18, 2021, 11:49 AM   #18
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I wish I could remember where I read that little article the other day. The guy was explaining why harder steel doesn't necessarily mean more brittle. I think it was in response to some people saying Norincos were junk and he was explaining why they weren't.
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Old June 18, 2021, 12:33 PM   #19
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I think people make the mistake of taking low machinability steel as stronger.

Watched FLG undertake to replace sights on a Norinco.
Sight pusher and punch with heavy hammer made no impression on the GI rear.
So he cut it in half on the mill and knocked out the pieces. Then we could see the problem, the slide dovetail was not complete, it just kind of ran out near the right side. The factory sight was apparently swaged into place under heavy pressure.
So even Norinco couldn't always machine that stuff cleanly.
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Old June 18, 2021, 08:49 PM   #20
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When someone claims Norinco steel is "better" than Colt you might ask them "which year Colt". Lots of changes in metallurgy between when Colt started making 1911's in , oh yeah, 1911. Norinco started when? 1980's? So I might expect 70 year newer steel might be "better" than early model Colts.
I'd want a serious study for claims comparing contemporary steels.
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Old June 18, 2021, 11:24 PM   #21
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Anyone can publish an article; it may or may not be factual. What was the author's credibility? What are his credentials?
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Old June 18, 2021, 11:42 PM   #22
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Anyone can publish an article; it may or may not be factual. What was the author's credibility? What are his credentials?
I'm not here to argue with you. I was here for information. I will go elsewhere, but thanks for playing.
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Old June 19, 2021, 01:52 AM   #23
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It's been a long time since I handled a Norinco M1911. A friend of mine bought one and I taught him how to strip and reassemble it. While we were at it I gave it a quick trigger job with a knife sharpening stone and I gave him the old walnut grips from my Springfield Armory M1911. I didn't see anything that made me think it wasn't a good gun for the money.

A knew a guy that bought a stainless Springfield Armory M1911 and he put in a butt load of expensive upgrade parts on it and sold me the old stuff cheap. I traded off the barrel, but I put the barrel bushing, hammer, grip safety and main spring housing on my black combat model. I polished the stainless parts first and I bought a set of stainless alan head grip screws to go with the Hogue grips.

Anyway a few years ago I put in a drop in stainless Wilson drop in combat grip safety and unfortunately, I don't remember the name of the brand of commander style hammer. As I recall the brand of hammer sounded Swedish and I put in a Chip McCormick drop in sear at the same time. All 3 parts were truly drop in. I was expecting to have to tune the hammer and sear but the worked together like a matched set... I suppose I got lucky.

Anyway it looks and shoots great and no longer digs into my hand. I used to keep bandaids in my shooting bag. Not for the cuts I'd get from the grip safety but to prevent them...

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Old June 19, 2021, 09:20 AM   #24
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If the springs work, don't replace them. Get spares (preferably Colt) just to have.

About the only thing I replace on 1911s (for myself) is to install a Muenster (sp) ambidextrous safety. For a while, it was the one used by Colt too. The advantage is that the sear pin is extended with a milled slot in the shaft. The slot mated with extended portion and left thumb safety such that the left thunb safety couldn't possibly work itself out (no walking).

Install a tighter bushing (you may have to hand fit it) and maybe even a longer link (if necessary).

Always test the firearm with the ammunition and magazines you intend to use with it.
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Old June 19, 2021, 10:06 AM   #25
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About the only thing I replace on 1911s (for myself) is to install a Muenster (sp) ambidextrous safety.
I'm not sure on the spelling, either, but I think it's more like Muesckle. And I don't think they exist any more. My recollection is that it disappeared from Brownell's catalog several years ago.

EGW, Ed Brown, and Kimber all have something similar, except they all have extended pads.

https://www.brownells.com/handgun-pa...rod130069.aspx
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