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Author Topic: Polytech/Norinco M1/M14 Clones.  (Read 14459 times)

Grant

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Polytech/Norinco M1/M14 Clones.
« on: March 07, 2010, 12:10:08 AM »
  I was just curious about something.

  I know the "Stigma" I'll say of Chinese made rifles.   I cringe at the thought of an American design like the M14 being made overseas.    Much the same way I get downright peeved at seeing "Made in Vietnam" on 5.11 gear. 

     That said, I've been looking at them and figured I'd come to the experts here on a few questions.

    #1.  Many of the super-positive reviews of Polytech M14's are new versions.  That is post-ban imports that are going to Canada, VS the pre-ban's that are available in the US.

    #2.  Many of the problems (Mechanical problems, VS cosmetic) seem to be about the Bolt being of soft metal, allowing excessive headspace.

    Those points being made.  I am wondering if Polytech's aren't all that bad.   What is the benefits of a Forged VS cast receiver?    Even considering the cost of a gunsmith to install a new bolt, and possibly tweak a Chinese one, would it be any better than a Springfield Armory?

    I'm just curious on this. 
Montana"I’d say the worst part of all this is the feeling of betrayal,           but I’m betting the part where they break in here and beat us to death might be worse.”


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Re: Polytech/Norinco M1/M14 Clones.
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2010, 02:34:34 AM »
Forged vs. cast in general, not specific to firearms, is that forged is stronger, but more expensive to make.  Both can have hidden flaws if not handled properly.  Forging requires all the same hot pour process as cast, but the additional steps of forging (squishing under enormous pressure) and subsequent heat treatment.  In the case of forged aluminum or magnesium alloy products special furnaces are required with inert atmosphere to prevent burning up the workpiece during heat treat.  There are tremendously strong machined castings (such as gears, engine blocks, pump impellers) but they are used in different applications than machined forgings (periscope parts, drill collars, tail shafts, some rifle barrels).  What it comes down to is a properly engineered part with proper material and process control. 

My understanding about the low regard for Chinese export firearms is a certain disregard for uniform quality steel, poor fabrication and an inclusive attitude about critical dimensions.
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Re: Polytech/Norinco M1/M14 Clones.
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2010, 06:01:36 AM »
I'm not an expert about M14s in general or Polytechs in particular, but I do own a Poly and I've done a bit of research about them. So, while taking what I have to say with the appropriate grain of salt, here is what I have read and experienced from the US-legal Polys (which are the earlier ones, since importation was banned awhile back):

The Polytech M14S is a great example of the utter stupidity of communism. They went to the bother (and, I would imagine, significant expense) of manufacturing an outstanding receiver, properly dimensioned in every respect, forged of tool steel with proper heat treatment. Basically, it is every bit as good as a real-deal M14 receiver, and arguably better than the cast commercial offerings most of us own today. They then mated it to a decent chrome-lined barrel. They then slapped on some parts of highly variable quality, installed a poorly-dimensioned bolt of too-soft steel, finished everything like it was a homework project from Parkerizing 101, and slapped it all into some mystery-wood stock. Naturally, the Polytech rifle got a reputation for shoody workmanship, especially when things started exploding near shooters' faces. Bad news, eh?

Not so fast. That receiver is excellent. The barrel is good. The rest of the parts can be swapped out as needed. The bolt should be replaced, or at least watched like a HAWK with headspace gauges. The stock should probably be swapped out. But once you've done that, you have one heck of a rifle. The receiver should outlive your grandkids.


If you have a line on a M14S for under a grand, I would give it a good, hard look. You have to factor in the cost of buying and installing a USGI bolt (under $400 total, I would imagine) and expect to do a little fiddling to get stuff up to snuff. Or, see if that work has already been done. But once you do that, you'll have an outstanding rifle, for way less money than you would pay to get the equivalent from anyplace else. And, since importation is banned, you're not supporting communist slave labor by buying it.

Mike
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Mutant Musket

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Re: Polytech/Norinco M1/M14 Clones.
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2010, 08:01:13 AM »
"The Polytech M14S is a great example of the utter stupidity of communism."   ???

Well, I only know one person who owned a Chinese M14. His experience wasn't a good one. His M14 started showing strange wear on the bolt as if it was receiving a custom "melt" job for concealed carry, like people used to do for compact 1911s. It looked cool...So that wasn't good. He swapped out the bolt for a US made example and all seemed fine for a short time. But soon it became apparent that the new bolt was beating the receiver to death. He said the bolt was stretching the receiver and "digging in" in a way you really wouldn't want it to. I never saw the receiver inside to see what he meant by that, so I can't describe that further, but the rifle stopped functioning. The bolt would not lock all the way into battery and was clearly unsafe. The rifle ended up being a total loss because the receiver was damaged.
Sorry I can't explain further, I never used the rifle and never examined the inside of the receiver. The way the original bolt developed a melt job was crazy though. I haven't seen a Chinese M14 since.
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Grant

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Re: Polytech/Norinco M1/M14 Clones.
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2010, 08:15:39 AM »
  Course that sorta goes in with the common vein.  Almost 3/4 of every post I've seen says "Change the bolt".

   So Coronach: Parts are interchangable between the USGI and M14S? I know the bolt takes a little work (From what I've read) to get it into a Chinese rifle, but most other stuff is okay?

   One more question:  Is the Norinco and Polytech the same gun? 

I  am just sorta meandering around and skimming .308's and comparing everything.   I'd like a Broadsword, but the M1/M14 action is really appealing to me. 
Montana"I’d say the worst part of all this is the feeling of betrayal,           but I’m betting the part where they break in here and beat us to death might be worse.”

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Re: Polytech/Norinco M1/M14 Clones.
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2010, 11:29:23 AM »
The M14S is an example of the stupidity of communism because they went to great lengths to build a quality receiver, and then put junk in it (the bolt) that makes the entire product worthless, at best. Not a rational economic decision. Musket's description of the bolt failure seems pretty common. The bolt is too soft and the lugs round off and headspace progressively gets worse and worse until something fails.

What is interesting is the description of the receiver failing, too. I've not heard of a properly converted Polytech receiver failing. Musket, who did the conversion work to fit the USGI bolt? Was it a Poly or Norinco? The general consensus of M14 gunsmiths seems to be that the receiver is not just safe, but of very high quality.

According to Warbirds Gunsmithing, all M14 parts swap out. The bolt requires fitting, but swapping the bolt is not a drop in job on any M14. Fulton Armory claims that you need to change the barrel, too. Warbirds says you don't. My Warbird shoots just fine with the original barrel.

Mike
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Re: Polytech/Norinco M1/M14 Clones.
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2010, 12:01:45 PM »
It was a Norinco. This tale of woe took place 11 years ago and I have no way to tell what batch or series it was. The guy fitted the bolt himself, but he's a fairly competent armorer I understand. (Of ARs at least). I'm definitely not an M14 smith myself. He said the receiver was too soft too, or not tempered right, or somesuch wrongness. I know the rifle ended up torn down for parts and bits and that the receiver was an unworkable KIA. He wouldn't sell the rifle off because he didn't want to stick anyone else with a doomed item.
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Re: Polytech/Norinco M1/M14 Clones.
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2010, 12:42:53 PM »
My main stick is a Poly M14S. I had a USGI bolt fitted by Smith Enterprise, and added a fiberglass stock. I followed Ron's advice, and kept the barrel and gas block. Since I've ad it, it's been accurate and reliable. I've run it hard through rifle classes, and never had a hiccup with Australian or South African surplus, or commercial Federal.

The receivers are indeed first rate. I've got an older Norinco that I am going to have built up soon. That said, I think it's a conspiracy by SAI that keeps the newer Polys out of the States.
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Grant

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Re: Polytech/Norinco M1/M14 Clones.
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2010, 12:09:20 AM »
  Well I was looking at Fulton Armory's page:
 http://www.fulton-armory.com/M14-Services.htm

 Basically $200 to give it a once-over and install a GI bolt.

  A couple of questions:
  How bad are the stocks?  I mean are they that poorly fitted?  A few people said "They're ugly", but to me they don't look bad.  But if the fit was off, yeah, it'd be better to stick on a new stock.

 Second: Fulton Armory seems to be all "GAH, ARGGH *rip out hair*" about replacing the barrel too.
  From what I've heard, the Barrels are decent...shouldn't need replacing.

   I dunno.  Still thinking but the Polytech seems to be about as good as the Springfield for a cheaper price, and maybe a bit better if fully upgraded to equal $$ amount. 
Montana"I’d say the worst part of all this is the feeling of betrayal,           but I’m betting the part where they break in here and beat us to death might be worse.”

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Re: Polytech/Norinco M1/M14 Clones.
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2010, 08:39:42 AM »
The mystery wood stock works. I just prefer fiberglass for a working rifle.

And I think Fulton is trying to sell you a barrel.
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Grant

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Re: Polytech/Norinco M1/M14 Clones.
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2010, 12:36:37 PM »
  I figured they were trying to sell barrels.   I'd look around at somewhere else, but I don't see many people with as much of a firm background in the dealing.

   I dunno.  I'm still undecided.  I'd like a Broadsword, but I'm torn because the M14 is sorta "The gun" (in my opinion) of semi-auto's.  It's the 1911 of semi-auto combat rifles.     My final part is tearing at me because of the FAL....it just has had so much history on it.     It was sorta the defender of freedom during the communist years....Even though it really didn't earn that title. 
Montana"I’d say the worst part of all this is the feeling of betrayal,           but I’m betting the part where they break in here and beat us to death might be worse.”

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Re: Polytech/Norinco M1/M14 Clones.
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2010, 02:22:59 PM »
"Sorta" didn't earn the title?

I've got a list of 90 countries that would say otherwise.  :neener
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Re: Polytech/Norinco M1/M14 Clones.
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2010, 04:09:16 PM »
Let's not turn this into an FAL/M14 flame-off, okay?
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Re: Polytech/Norinco M1/M14 Clones.
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2010, 04:21:40 PM »
Let's not turn this into an FAL/M14 flame-off, okay?

The best way to avoid doing that is to buy both of em.   ;D  And a G3, and a Broadsword and a...
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Bo Smith

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Re: Polytech/Norinco M1/M14 Clones.
« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2010, 05:34:32 PM »
Unless you really like to shoot. Who could afford to train with all of them in these days of $.50/round  for surplus?
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Grant

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Re: Polytech/Norinco M1/M14 Clones.
« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2010, 07:00:54 PM »
  Okay: not a flame-off:  But, I meant it really didn't "Face off" against the AKM family.    It was the weapon of free countries, but when it was used in Africa,etc. it was more one slightly better group of DipS***s facing off against worse groups of DipS***s.    

  For actual combat of Good VS evil (as over-used as that term is), the M16 saw more use, and even the AK/AK variant VS AK Variant really...  Like Israel.  The Galil and M16 saw more combat than the FN FAL did.  
  
  Believe me, if I could afford a FAL/M14/Broadsword/G3 I would LOVE it...

As it is, just feeding any I get will be a chore, plus what I get, will either be traded for with material I have now, or with cash I get from them.  (The firearms sale section here later today  ;D)
  
EDIT: Added P.S.  I emailed Smith Enterprises to see if they still reworked Chinese Bolts.  Don't see a thing about it on their website, so figured I should ask first.   Looks Like Fulton Armory might refuse work if they don't replace the barrel, trigger, sear,etc. in addition to the bolt. 
« Last Edit: March 08, 2010, 07:40:32 PM by Grant »
Montana"I’d say the worst part of all this is the feeling of betrayal,           but I’m betting the part where they break in here and beat us to death might be worse.”

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Re: Polytech/Norinco M1/M14 Clones.
« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2010, 07:28:47 PM »
Fulton is trying to sell you crap you don't need. I have no doubt that Fulton does good work, but I like picking what work I'm going to have done. Try Warbirds instead. Just be advised that Tim is a little slow to respond to this here newfangled intarweb thingamajiggy, and emails will sometimes go unanswered for a week or so. Be prepared as well to keep a running list of everything you want done to the gun, because he can forget stuff you talked about before. I just ended all of my emails will a "summary, here is what is being done to the gun" list. This must sound like I had a terrible experience, but I did not. He's just slow, but he does good work for a reasonable price. My M14S shoots just fine with its chinese trigger group, chinese barrel, TRW bolt and Polytech receiver.

http://www.warbirdscustomguns.com/

Mike
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Re: Polytech/Norinco M1/M14 Clones.
« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2010, 01:25:12 PM »
 I'll hafta look into him.    I don't even know that I'll get a Polytech, but Smith sorta...wow. 

 I supply the bolt, then conversion "starts at $500".....Hmm..$200(bolt)+$500(Work)+800(gun)=$1500....   I think a Polytech might be better than a M1A, but at least for $1500, it would be warrentied. 

   
 
Montana"I’d say the worst part of all this is the feeling of betrayal,           but I’m betting the part where they break in here and beat us to death might be worse.”

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Re: Polytech/Norinco M1/M14 Clones.
« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2010, 03:22:43 PM »
Warbirds will be $200 (bolt), $200 (work, $125 for the fitting, $75 for refinishing), + whatever for the gun.

I got my Polytech for $500. They're out there, but you have to be vigilant and ready to purchase when they pop up.

Mike
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Grant

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Re: Polytech/Norinco M1/M14 Clones.
« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2010, 06:43:21 PM »
  That sounds reasonable.   My thing was SEI wanted that $500 PLUS I buy the bolt   :o

 And I will be watching.  I saw one at a gunshow that went for $750.  At the time I figured "Huh. Chinese....Must be junk".    :banghead

   
Montana"I’d say the worst part of all this is the feeling of betrayal,           but I’m betting the part where they break in here and beat us to death might be worse.”

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Re: Polytech/Norinco M1/M14 Clones.
« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2010, 10:13:14 PM »
One thing you will have to watch is whether a USGI conversion has been done already. In the plus column, that's less you have to do. In the minus column, it may have been done improperly. If it is an unconverted gun, you'll have to decide for yourself if you want to do the conversion. Some of the bolts were just fine, apparently. I pondered it, and decided...

1. I'm really attached to my face

and

2. I'm ugly enough already.

I had the conversion done.

Mike
« Last Edit: March 11, 2010, 12:59:09 PM by Coronach »
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Grant

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Re: Polytech/Norinco M1/M14 Clones.
« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2010, 11:17:28 PM »
  Any way to tell if it's USGI?   Does the bolt have a serial number?  Or any particular markings?

I googlfued, but came up empty. 
Montana"I’d say the worst part of all this is the feeling of betrayal,           but I’m betting the part where they break in here and beat us to death might be worse.”

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Re: Polytech/Norinco M1/M14 Clones.
« Reply #22 on: March 11, 2010, 10:11:02 AM »
A GI bolt will have a makers mark and part number. A lot of them have a heat-treat dimple on the top, too. Be careful, though. SAI let out a bunch of counterfeit bolts, complete with fake markings.
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Re: Polytech/Norinco M1/M14 Clones.
« Reply #23 on: March 11, 2010, 05:47:46 PM »
I had one of the Norinco M14S for several years and had no issues with it.  It was factory stock.  With the new ones being imported to Canada the most recurrent issue that I have heard of is improperly indexed barrels, nothing about the bolts.  With the older Polytechs, I have read lots about the bolts being poor quality.  From what I understand, the "Norincos" and the "Polytechs" were assembled in different time periods, different factories, and with different batches of parts - they are, as I understand it, different divisions of the Chinese state military industrial complex and operate independently if cooperatively.  So if you get one that is actually a "Norinco" you might not have to change much on it.
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Re: Polytech/Norinco M1/M14 Clones.
« Reply #24 on: March 12, 2010, 04:33:57 AM »
They went to the bother (and, I would imagine, significant expense) of manufacturing an outstanding receiver, properly dimensioned in every respect, forged of tool steel with proper heat treatment. Basically, it is every bit as good as a real-deal M14 receiver, and arguably better than the cast commercial offerings most of us own today. They then mated it to a decent chrome-lined barrel. They then slapped on some parts of highly variable quality, installed a poorly-dimensioned bolt of too-soft steel, finished everything like it was a homework project from Parkerizing 101, and slapped it all into some mystery-wood stock. Naturally, the Polytech rifle got a reputation for shoody workmanship, especially when things started exploding near shooters' faces. Bad news, eh?

They made a properly dimensioned, treated and spec-ed receiver?  That's not exactly easy with the M14, even US firms had difficulty with it initially.

And then they put a lousy bolt in it?

That's the sort of decision only a committee of Party officers could make.
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