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Old 06-26-2005, 12:06 PM   #1
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Chinese M-14s

1. Which is better, the polytech or norinco and why?
2. On the polytech, which is the better receiver - the one with the heel marking on top or on the side and why? Or is there no difference?

Thanks in advance!

Jim
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Old 06-26-2005, 12:31 PM   #2
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functionally, i dont believe there is any difference b/w the two....
i hear that the polytech is a better looking receiver....norincos tend to have residual tool marks etc, and the polys are said to be more "cleaned up".
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Old 06-26-2005, 01:01 PM   #3
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the polys imported thru southfield michigan were supposed to be the best finished.
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Old 06-26-2005, 01:52 PM   #4
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Agreed, both Polytech Industries and Norinco M14 type rifles were both manufactured and assembled at State Arsenal 356 Yunnan Province, People's Republic of China. IDE/CJA (out of Southfield, MI) went to State Arsenal 356 and got the factory to improve fit and finish of the M14 rifles they were importing. IDE/CJA imported Chinese M14 rifles into the United States for a short period of time before September, 1994.

The Southfield, MI importer was also able to get walnut stocks on the Chinese M14 rifles instead of the chu wood normally seen. Chu wood was harvested in Manchuria (northern China) whereas the walnut wood used for the IDE/CJA M14 rifle stocks was harvested from Yunnan Province (southwest China).
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Old 06-26-2005, 06:37 PM   #5
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thanks everyone...is it necessary to get the receiver heat treated when having the USGI bolt swapped? Any Pros & Cons?
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Old 06-27-2005, 05:13 PM   #6
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According to Smith Enterprise

It is, but others such as Warbird swaps out Chi Com bolts with USGI without doing it and so does my gunsmith who assemblies and parkerizes M14 clones for a very well know manufacturer. Most people from what I've seen stick to swapping out the bolt first, I have also swapped out the stock, trigger assembly and mags too, but left the rear sight as it hasn't given me any problems. I didn't have problems with the other parts but believe in using USGI when I have them on hand.
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Old 06-27-2005, 05:14 PM   #7
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sorry Wrong Post

Next.
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Old 06-27-2005, 06:48 PM   #8
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I have heard of NO problems with the steel or heat treatment of the Chinese receivers. Major problem is the bolts and their excessive headspace.
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Old 06-28-2005, 08:29 AM   #9
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Not meaning to detract from the original post, but how do the Chinese barrels compare to USGI and comercial barrels?
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Old 06-28-2005, 08:41 AM   #10
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I'd rate my Polytech barrels as excellent. My Poly will shoot ~3MOA from prone. Sometimes better, sometimes worse. I am the variable. I think from a rest it would be 2MOA. Certainly as good as USGI.
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Old 06-28-2005, 05:02 PM   #11
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Walt K from Fulton is the man. Here is what he has to say,
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chinese M14S Receivers (Polytech and Norinco): The Lowdown

Chinese receivers are the best thing this side of the USGI M14. They are dimensionally perfect, particularly in the area of the bolt lug recesses—something that most commercial receiver manufacturers can't seem to get right. The Chinese receivers are forged, as John Garand intended that the M14 receiver be made. We've never seen a cracked Chinese receiver.

However, the balance of the rifle is suspect, to say the least.

Here’s the full story.

The Chinese bolt is unconscionably soft and must be replaced by a USGI bolt. If the bolt is not replaced, the bolt lugs collapse within a few hundred rounds, leading to dangerously excessive headspace. The barrel/bolt/receiver relationship in the Chinese rifles is, for whatever reason, not the same the relationship found in USGI or even US commercial receivers. For a USGI bolt to close in a Chinese receiver, the receiver must be relieved in front of the bolt lugs. This is the only really good way to fit a USGI bolt.

Some folks mistakenly grind the front of the bolt lugs—which screws up the bolt stop interface, inter alia—or try to get the needed clearance by lapping the bolt—which makes the case hardened layer on the rear of the lugs perilously thin. Further, when you attempt to fit the bolt by removing material from the rear of the lugs, you create a great deal of slop—sometimes called “free headspace”—when the bolt is closed. This “slop” can result in an unsupported case head and blown-up rifle.

You must install a USGI bolt, and you must properly fit it.

With a USGI bolt properly fitted, its bolt face now intrudes into the breech of the barrel so far that headspace becomes dangerously short. Since the Chinese barrel is chrome-lined, the chamber cannot be deepened to achieve proper headspace. Thus, a US barrel needs to be installed so that it can be finish-reamed to the proper headspace.

Now, the gas system. The gas system parts are not compatible with USGI gas system parts. Further, the gas cylinder is not stainless steel as is the USGI gas cylinder. The threads on the Chinese barrel for the Chinese bolt lock differ from the threads on the GI bolt lock, which is another good reason for installing a US-spec barrel. Not only are the Chinese gas system parts not compatible with GI parts, they’re not compatible with each other! That is, two different rifles will have hand-fitted gas pistons, for example. So even if one were willing to put up with the Chinese gas cylinder’s tendency to rust internally, there’s no way to support the system. You can’t get parts. So a USGI gas system must be installed.

The trigger housing is generally good, as are the safety, mag catch & hammer spring assembly, but the trigger/sear and hammer are soft as butter. They must be replaced. The bolt stops are also soft, the cartridge clip guides a mess, and the rear sight assemblies are purely hopeless.

While the op rods can be OK, they do tend to roll out and eventually mess up the cam track in the op rod hump. Most should be replaced with a GI op rod.

The stocks are an unattractive “mystery wood.”

But What About Heat Treating?

Lack of proper hardness is not the only problem with the Chinese bolts. Nearly all (if not all) of the Chinese bolts we have seen—and we have worked on many hundreds of Chinese rifles since their importation began—are too long for proper firing pin retraction. This dimensional "long-coming" is enough to deadline Chinese bolts all by itself. Further, the bolt lugs are not properly shaped to evenly and fully seat in the bolt lug recesses. Heat-treating, even if it could be properly done, would not correct these dimensional flaws.

While the receiver is not quite as hard as that of a USGI M14 receiver, the Chinese receiver's hardness has been empirically determined to be more than sufficient. We've never seen a worn Chinese receiver, even those that have had tens of thousands of rounds through them. Heat-treating is simply not needed.

The Conclusion

When the whole package is considered, we at Fulton Armory strip down to the receiver and start from there. The result is the finest M14-type rifle this side of USGI. However, it’s tough for owners to reconceptualize their “Chinese Rifle” as what it really is, a “Chinese Receiver
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Old 06-28-2005, 07:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cornbread2
Walt K from Fulton is the man. Here is what he has to say
And how does Walt K from Fulton put bread on his table? Hmmmm, let's see....oh, that's right, he sells gun parts and builds up custom rifles. Something to keep in mind when reading all that.

(My Daddy taught me years ago: Never ask a barber whether you need a haircut.)

Based on my own experience, and that of many others on this and other boards, I'd have to say that there is much truth in that passage (particularly about the Chinese bolts and headspace), and much that...well, let's just say "doesn't seem to apply" in our cases. If that had been the first or only thing I'd read about Chinese M14s, it might have frightened me into spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars needlessly fixing nonexistant problems.

Luckily I dodged a bullet in that aspect. I was actually checking into having Fulton do some work on my gun when I asked one of their representatives at a gun show a simple question and got an answer so obviously and outrageously wrong that I knew that I would NEVER trust them to work on my M14.

Maybe Fulton does good work, maybe not, I dunno. Some have evidently had good luck with them. (I won't even get into customer service horror stories posted on this forum and elsewhere). I can tell you that I live within driving distance of them and if I ever need my rifle worked on, I've already decided that I'd rather pack it up and send it across the country to Warbird.
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Old 06-29-2005, 07:54 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cornbread2
Walt K from Fulton is the man. Here is what he has to say,
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chinese M14S Receivers (Polytech and Norinco): The Lowdown

Chinese receivers are the best thing this side of the USGI M14. They are dimensionally perfect, particularly in the area of the bolt lug recesses—something that most commercial receiver manufacturers can't seem to get right. The Chinese receivers are forged, as John Garand intended that the M14 receiver be made. We've never seen a cracked Chinese receiver.

However, the balance of the rifle is suspect, to say the least.

Here’s the full story.

The Chinese bolt is unconscionably soft and must be replaced by a USGI bolt. If the bolt is not replaced, the bolt lugs collapse within a few hundred rounds, leading to dangerously excessive headspace. The barrel/bolt/receiver relationship in the Chinese rifles is, for whatever reason, not the same the relationship found in USGI or even US commercial receivers. For a USGI bolt to close in a Chinese receiver, the receiver must be relieved in front of the bolt lugs. This is the only really good way to fit a USGI bolt.

Some folks mistakenly grind the front of the bolt lugs—which screws up the bolt stop interface, inter alia—or try to get the needed clearance by lapping the bolt—which makes the case hardened layer on the rear of the lugs perilously thin. Further, when you attempt to fit the bolt by removing material from the rear of the lugs, you create a great deal of slop—sometimes called “free headspace”—when the bolt is closed. This “slop” can result in an unsupported case head and blown-up rifle.

You must install a USGI bolt, and you must properly fit it.

With a USGI bolt properly fitted, its bolt face now intrudes into the breech of the barrel so far that headspace becomes dangerously short. Since the Chinese barrel is chrome-lined, the chamber cannot be deepened to achieve proper headspace. Thus, a US barrel needs to be installed so that it can be finish-reamed to the proper headspace.

Now, the gas system. The gas system parts are not compatible with USGI gas system parts. Further, the gas cylinder is not stainless steel as is the USGI gas cylinder. The threads on the Chinese barrel for the Chinese bolt lock differ from the threads on the GI bolt lock, which is another good reason for installing a US-spec barrel. Not only are the Chinese gas system parts not compatible with GI parts, they’re not compatible with each other! That is, two different rifles will have hand-fitted gas pistons, for example. So even if one were willing to put up with the Chinese gas cylinder’s tendency to rust internally, there’s no way to support the system. You can’t get parts. So a USGI gas system must be installed.

The trigger housing is generally good, as are the safety, mag catch & hammer spring assembly, but the trigger/sear and hammer are soft as butter. They must be replaced. The bolt stops are also soft, the cartridge clip guides a mess, and the rear sight assemblies are purely hopeless.

While the op rods can be OK, they do tend to roll out and eventually mess up the cam track in the op rod hump. Most should be replaced with a GI op rod.

The stocks are an unattractive “mystery wood.”

But What About Heat Treating?

Lack of proper hardness is not the only problem with the Chinese bolts. Nearly all (if not all) of the Chinese bolts we have seen—and we have worked on many hundreds of Chinese rifles since their importation began—are too long for proper firing pin retraction. This dimensional "long-coming" is enough to deadline Chinese bolts all by itself. Further, the bolt lugs are not properly shaped to evenly and fully seat in the bolt lug recesses. Heat-treating, even if it could be properly done, would not correct these dimensional flaws.

While the receiver is not quite as hard as that of a USGI M14 receiver, the Chinese receiver's hardness has been empirically determined to be more than sufficient. We've never seen a worn Chinese receiver, even those that have had tens of thousands of rounds through them. Heat-treating is simply not needed.

The Conclusion

When the whole package is considered, we at Fulton Armory strip down to the receiver and start from there. The result is the finest M14-type rifle this side of USGI. However, it’s tough for owners to reconceptualize their “Chinese Rifle” as what it really is, a “Chinese Receiver
- these comments only apply to the OLD chinese m14s- not the new , which he has had nothing to say about- incidentally, they don't apply to EVERY old chinese m14 either- best to get it checked by a smith that's familiar with the m14-
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Old 06-29-2005, 08:38 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1st Maine
Not meaning to detract from the original post, but how do the Chinese barrels compare to USGI and comercial barrels?
I don't mind detracting from the orignal post at all. I really want to hash out this rifle on as many levels as everyone is willing.
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Old 06-29-2005, 09:48 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim0437
I don't mind detracting from the orignal post at all. I really want to hash out this rifle on as many levels as everyone is willing.
Long story short: The situation is not ALWAYS as bad as the Fulton guy would have you believe. I'm sure many rifles have shown the problems he talks about, but by no means do ALL of them.

Problems with excessive headspace seem to be nearly universally common. Mine was actually unsafe to shoot right out of the box. Others are not QUITE so bad. Everything else about mine seems fine.

If you are careful and learn what you are doing, you CAN end up with an excellent rifle at a fairly low cost. You CAN also end up pouring as much money into the thing fixing it as a new SA M1A would have cost you.

If it's any encouragement to you, I have read quite a number of postings on this and other boards indicating much success and enjoyment with the Chinese M14s once the headspace problems are addressed. I can't recall anyone saying "I had one and it was a complete piece of junk." Some have had to replace more parts than others, but it seems just about everyone who tries and who goes about it right ends up with a good rifle. Or at the very least a safe and serviceable one. Be not discouraged!
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Old 06-29-2005, 06:49 PM   #16
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Warbird was able to get headspace on one of my Poly's to 1.632 WITH A CHINESE BARREL. for comparison the other I had him rebarrel a TRW barrel with a TRW bolt and that headspace is 1.636
so I think the guy's at Fulton are a little hungry

[Editor: I changed 1.62 to 1.632 for clarity. I assumed a typographical error was made by the author. If this is wrong let me know. Different]
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Old 06-29-2005, 07:16 PM   #17
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The TRW bolt dropped right into my Poly and headspaced at 1.634 (locked up tight on a .308 NO GO gauge), though I hasten to add that having US bolts drop right in with correct headspace is the exception and not the rule--most of them will require fitting and this MUST be done by someone who knows what he's doing, such as Warbird.
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Old 06-29-2005, 08:01 PM   #18
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dumb question of the day

what exactly is "headspace" a measure of?
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Old 06-29-2005, 09:03 PM   #19
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I'll dodge the bullet....

and let someone else answer the question about headspace.. but suffice it to say,, I have four Polytech M14S rifles... three wear the original chrome lined barrels, one I installed a chrome lined SAK barrel I got from Boomer (thanks again, Boomer), All wear either TRW or Winnie bolts, (I installed) and all hs between 1.631 and 1.633.. I had a SA M1A, and had a chance to sell it... enough said.. Les
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Old 06-29-2005, 10:44 PM   #20
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Loaded rounds have to fit into a rifle's chamber within certain tolerances, so that the rifles don't blow up when fired.

Headspace is essentially the measurement that references how the cartridge fits in the chamber when the bolt is closed.

TC
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