Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 24

Thread: Norinco A1 lower (full mag fence) for a retro build?

  1. #1

    Norinco CQ-311 A1 lower (full mag fence) for a retro build?

    I've been passively trying to source a blank A1 lower for a while now (ever since I started my Mk18 Mod 0 clone build) but with the recent prohibition on 80% lowers, my search came to a grinding halt (wanted to also do the Colt M16 engraving to complete the look). Until Colt releases their retro line, I don't think I'll ever be able to get it right.

    So, I came across this Norinco lower on EE and it turned out to be an A1 style lower





    It's not the 1st gen "slabside" lower or the 2nd gen "partial mag fence" lower but the 3rd gen of A1 lowers with the full mag fence as seen on some older Mk18 Mod0 models.















    I know some people have gone as far as re-profiling their A2 lowers into appearing like an A1 lower, but that is a ton of work. There's a really good thread about it on AR15.com:

    https://www.ar15.com/forums/ar-15/AR...ux/123-294264/

    I doubt I would ever go down that road but now I have this perfectly good A1 lower and I need to do something with it. I just don't know how I'd feel about swapping out my Colt LE6920 lower for a Norinco one though, just because it's a clone correct A1 profile, lol!
    Last edited by mister donut; 03-28-2018 at 07:39 PM.
    “The greatest happiness is to scatter your enemy, to drive him before you, to see his cities reduced to ashes, to see those who love him shrouded in tears, and to gather into your bosom his wives and daughters.”

  2. #2
    I recently found an article about this Norinco lower over at Small Arms Review:

    http://www.smallarmsreview.com/displ...darticles=1855

    Packed in its water stained box, one could easily see that the Norinco CQ-311-1 semiautomatic rifle had been stored for a long time. You could easy imagine several pallets of this AR-15A1 clone forgotten in the corner of a distant Asian warehouse. Why were these rifles made in the first place? What political decisions kept them in the warehouse for decades until now? Newly discovered, several hundred have recently materialized in places like Canada, where Small Arms Review was able to examine this rare piece of Black Rifle history and put it to the test at the firing range.

    The well-known ban on Chinese arms makes the CQ-311 a rare commodity in North America and so when a CQ became available for a closer look, it was an opportunity not to be missed. In this Norinco 5.56x45mm rifle, you have a close copy of the old Colt rifle, with its milled aluminum lower, fixed carrying handle, and standard diameter barrel.

    Detailed information concerning the origin of the CQ-311 was not available at the time of print, so the following is conjecture on the part of this author and others. It can be surmised that the rifle was made with a two-fold purpose in mind. First, it is possible that the Chinese produced these rifles as a means of procuring sanitized weapons for military use and for its state sponsored affiliated Maoist groups.

    This notion seems to be supported by a photo recently seen in a publication called Children and Armed Conflict featuring a child soldier holding a CQ-311. Some have even offered the theory that the CQs were made to equip North Korean Special Forces used to infiltrate into South Korea, although this seems highly unlikely given the Daewoo rifle in use.

    A second, more plausible, explanation for the birth of the CQ was that Chinese might have considered producing this rifle for American consumption given the success of its AK series of semi-autos. Yet this begs the question of why these rifles were not widespread in America given the approximate sale price of $400. Did Colt and its legal team play a part in preventing the dissemination of this rifle?

    The rifle series was produced in the mid-to-late 1980s, and so the ban on Chinese guns was not in effect. Some unconfirmed reports suggest about 500 made it into America before the ban. We know that at least a small number were sold in Texas and Florida. With all these questions, this Chinese-made Stoner is certainly a mystery.

    A closer look

    The CQs in Canada were imported via Hong Kong by DARK International Trading Co. after being found by accident tucked away in a warehouse. Originally, 150 pieces were sent over in the first shipment and were immediately sold. Then another 350 were ordered, but only 50 arrived. By several accounts, it appears that the Chinese military officials seized the other 300, but why would this be so?

    These rifles are semiautomatic and Norinco will normally take anyone’s cash. There seems to be no reason a Norinco product would be confiscated unless, perhaps, the seizure was not sanctioned by Beijing. Meanwhile, another Canadian importer was able to procure some additional CQs from another lot, but these have a different series of serial numbers and some have a grey finish.

    In any case, some CQs made it out. Inspecting a CQ-311, it is obvious that there has been no attempt at making these rifles politically correct. A bayonet lug is standard, as is the birdcage flash eliminator and teardrop forward assist button. Mechanically, it is an AR-15A1, with its standard diameter 20-inch barrel and A1 sights, but without refinement in finishing. The fit is good, but the choice of metal finish and plastic furniture can only be called ghastly. The black painted lacquer finish is streaky and unattractive. As close as the CQ is to the original AR pattern, the furniture is completely redesigned. Most would call the furniture ugly, but it is nevertheless very hand filling and does lend itself to comfortable shooting.

    What was a surprise was that the test CQ came with no butt stock at all. Evidently, this rifle was part of the second shipment that did not include that stock. As the story goes, the butt stocks were removed so that new buffer parts could be installed, then the stocks were lost. Even the test rifle showed the remnants of the rubber buffer bumper that had turned to powder over the years. A new bumper was provided and a replacement stock was procured from another CQ owner who was eager to cast one off.

    The furniture can be exchanged with A2 fittings with minor filing. It takes a tad more work to fit A1 stocks and handguards because certain dimensions have been changed, such as where the sling attachment enters the butt stock. There seems to be no logical reason why the rifle so closely approximates the original, and then its builders worked so ardently to change minor parts such as the buffer tube using metric threads.

    As for the buffer itself, it appears to have been reverse engineered from an earlier type. The owner’s manual states the suitable ammunition is CJ 5.56mm standard cartridge, American M193 and Belgian SS92 cartridges. Where the CQ is available in full automatic, over 900 rpm is possible.

    The front sight is a somewhat porous casting making the workmanship rather spotty. However, a close examination of the bolt carrier shows poor parkerizing over well-machined parts. Markings located on the left side of the upper receiver are as follows:

    NORINCO
    MODEL 311-1
    5.56mmX45
    MADE IN CHINA
    CQ
    serial number

    While is it reasonable to assume CQ is an abbreviation for Group Changqing Machine Factory, it is unknown what could be meant by the single marking on the right side of the lower: MINDEN. Who knows what that refers to? Minden, Nevada or Minden, located in Malaysia?

    It sounds as if there are more questions than answers for the Type 311-1 rifle, which, according to the manual, is “suitable to civilian use and is a favorite with hunting and sporting enthusiasts and self-defenders, and...enjoys a better killing firepower to an effective target within a range of 460 meters.”

    Range assessment

    The Norinco was taken out to the range to see how this Chicom knockoff performs. The feel is almost pure Colt AR-15A1 in terms of its seven-pound weight, but the furniture is so radically changed for the better in this writer’s opinion. As unsightly as it is, the furniture is very ergonomic and lends itself to easy snapshooting and comfortable bench work.

    Two range assessments were undertaken, one during the heat of the summer and another during a bone chilling minus10 degrees Fahrenheit winter day. Only iron sights were used and American Eagle .223 Remington 55-grain FMJ Boat Tail was fired downrange from different positions to assess handling and accuracy.

    The summer test from the bench showed that the CQ was capable of an estimated 1.5-inch group. This figure did not include a lone wandering shot executed when the rifle was first shot out of the box and before point of impact was established. In any case, this is not bad for iron sights and seems to counter the arguments of Norinco’s ardent QC critics.

    The winter test gives you an idea about what we sometimes do for our shooting art. As hands numbed and shooting glasses fogged, a 3.25-inch group was presented at 100 yards, which in itself is more than enough to subdue a rushing adversary.

    With sight adjustment, the point of impact changed favorably. This time, the group was a tighter 2.5-inches, again not including the dead-on X-ring straggler. Not bad for a freezing winter test! The only complaint this writer had was the lack of a case deflector. For this southpaw, the brass painfully bounced off a tight, frozen cheek over and over.

    It appears that with the Norinco CQ we have a rifle capable of groups of 1.5 to 3.25 inches year round with 100 percent reliability. It would be interesting to see what a good scope could do for those figures. Having used the CQ in two rifle competitions among A2s, this writer can affirm that the Chinese rifle can hold its own.

    Conclusion

    The Norinco CQ-311-1 semiautomatic rifle does not reflect a lot of original thought being a close clone of the Colt. While there is nothing to single out the CQ for special praise, it is nevertheless a respectable addition to the Black Rifle family. Its finish and furniture will not appeal to American tastes, but upgrades can be made.

    Mechanically reliable and accurate, the CQ-311-1 provides an inexpensive, lightweight rifle that would be ideally suited to the needs of both military firearms enthusiasts and cost-conscious law enforcement agencies. One wonders why the market has not seen more CQs and the answer - as is typical in most gun matters - is undoubtedly political.
    This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V8N10 (July 2005)
    and was posted online on May 10, 2013
    “The greatest happiness is to scatter your enemy, to drive him before you, to see his cities reduced to ashes, to see those who love him shrouded in tears, and to gather into your bosom his wives and daughters.”

  3. #3
    This review concerns me, especially since I have no idea where to source a buffer tube or receiver extension with metric threads.....I've never even heard of metric threads......I wonder if he's talking about comm-spec versus mil-spec.



    When I get home from work tonight, I'll have to test out the buffer tubes I have at home and see if they will fit.....damn.
    Last edited by mister donut; 03-14-2018 at 04:59 PM.
    “The greatest happiness is to scatter your enemy, to drive him before you, to see his cities reduced to ashes, to see those who love him shrouded in tears, and to gather into your bosom his wives and daughters.”

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Surrey, BC
    Posts
    339
    Here is a post from Greenhorse on CGN on the CQ 311 Metric threads.

    Quote Originally Posted by Greenhorse six
    The receiver extension is metirc,you can use it as is,other rifle stocks such as magpul or any A1, A2's with fit,just have to reuse the stock screw thats on it.
    You can replace it with a little work and time.
    The barrel nut is metic and can be reused as well if you want to change barrels,the barrel on it right now has a 1 in12 twist rate which is great for 42- 55gr ammo,55gr being most common and easy to get.

    And the grip screw will need to be reused if you swap out grips

    and lastly,the handguard cap will only work with A2 or magpul handguards, not the A1's as it's round and an A1 needs the standard triangle cap.

    Aside from that it's a great rifle for around $500-600.

    Oh, and the paint job on them suck.lol
    I am not an animal I am a human bean!

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Troglodyte View Post
    Here is a post from Greenhorse on CGN on the CQ 311 Metric threads.
    Thanks for finding that information! Now I’m screwed for sure, lol!

    I bought the lower receiver completely stripped, bare bones, so no receiver extension/buffer tube or original grip. Guess I better do a bit more research, yikes....

    Maybe I can re-tap the threads.......
    Last edited by mister donut; 03-14-2018 at 08:07 PM.
    “The greatest happiness is to scatter your enemy, to drive him before you, to see his cities reduced to ashes, to see those who love him shrouded in tears, and to gather into your bosom his wives and daughters.”

  6. #6
    Ok, so I got home after work and discovered that I was mistaken about buying a stripped receiver only because I was looking through my spare parts box and found an extra A2 butt stock, complete with receiver extension, buffer and buffer spring that I don’t remember buying. I also found a selector switch and bolt catch in the same bag, so I guess these were all the extra bits that came with it.

    I tried to spin on the receiver extension and it threaded right on. I guess since I have a receiver extension that works with this lower, I don't think I'll bother trying to figure out how to get a carbine buffer tune to work, I did run into some other issues though. The grip screw on the CQ 331-1 appears to be unique to this receiver and a standard AR grip screw will not fit. I looked in my little baggie of parts and there was no grip screw. I looked in my entire spare parts box and all my extra grips, but none of the screws I had would thread in. Anyway, I’ll have to visit Home Depot one of these days and see if I can find any screws that will fit or I’m literally screwed, pun intended.

    Anyway, enough about parts fitting, how about that horrible finish? It's this sort of semi-gloss dark gray and the markings on it are pretty ugly. My original idea was to mill off the "Norinco Made in China" and "Minden" markings and re-engrave it with the correct Colt markings, but after a cursory investigation, I was not successful in finding information in the Firearm Act that speaks to this. I was never going to mill off or file off the serial number - I've seen enough crime shows and movies to have the common sense to know this would be pretty illegal, but what about other markings?

    I took a deeper look into the Firearms Act of Canada, Regulations Made Under this Act, Firearms Marking Regulations (Not In Force) (SOR /2004-275). Specifically, I am referring to Para 5 - Tampering with Markings In this section, it clearly states:

    5(1) No person shall knowingly remove, alter, obliterate or deface a marking on a firearm
    (2)Subsection (1) does not apply to a public agent acting in the course of their duties or for the purposes of their employment.

    Para 6 however is titled Coming Into Force which states:

    6 These regulations come into force December 1, 2018.

    So, in my day job, I work closely with certain Acts and Regs and my job is to interpret and apply them when making certain decisions, but I'm no expert on the Firearms Act and would appreciate any help in this area.

    First, I want to look at Para 5, break down it's elements to see what has to be proven:

    1. No person - This would be everyone in Canada not covered in subsection (2)
    2. Knowingly - In full awareness or consciousness; deliberately
    3. Remove a marking - Take away or off the position occupied, eliminate or get rid of
    4. Alter a marking - Change or cause to change in character or composition
    5. Obliterate a marking - Destroy utterly; wipe out
    6. Deface a marking - Spoil the surface or appearance
    7. On a firearm - In this case, the lower of an AR is the firearm

    Points 1, 2, and 7 are pretty self explanatory, so I'd like to focus on points 3-6. "Remove, Alter, Obliterate and Deface" suggest to me something of a permanent nature. I've seen people tape over their serial numbers when posting pictures of their firearms, which is obviously a temporary situation, so I was wondering about paint, I was thinking about painting over some of the markings, a little more aesthetically pleasing solution than using tape, but not permanent like milling, filing or grinding.

    Para 6 of the Regulation is interesting in that it describes these Regs are not in force until 1Dec18, so what are the current Regs pertaining to markings on a firearm? I'll have to keep looking.

    People consider these "gray areas" and I suppose they are, but really, they just haven't been tested in court. quite frankly, I have little interest in taking the time and cost in legal fees to see this test through.

    What I'll probably do is paint the receiver and leave it at that. The finish on it is some weird crappy semi-gloss gray anyway, so it could use a refinish. I'll use crappy paint so if $hit hits the fan, I'll have a bottle of paint thinner ready to reveal the evil "Norinco Made in China" markings.
    Last edited by mister donut; 03-15-2018 at 02:08 PM.
    “The greatest happiness is to scatter your enemy, to drive him before you, to see his cities reduced to ashes, to see those who love him shrouded in tears, and to gather into your bosom his wives and daughters.”

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Surrey, BC
    Posts
    339
    Personally I wouldn't touch the markings, each firearm is identified using a combination of manufacturer, model and serial number, by removing the manufacturer and model, the serial number is not unique enough to identify the firearm, replacing it with the Colt logo that would make it even worse, because You will no longer have registration certificate with the correct information for that rifle. I am pretty sure you might be committing fraud as well.
    I am not an animal I am a human bean!

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Troglodyte View Post
    Personally I wouldn't touch the markings, each firearm is identified using a combination of manufacturer, model and serial number, by removing the manufacturer and model, the serial number is not unique enough to identify the firearm, replacing it with the Colt logo that would make it even worse, because You will no longer have registration certificate with the correct information for that rifle. I am pretty sure you might be committing fraud as well.
    Yeah, that's what I figured. Just going to paint it and call it a day.
    “The greatest happiness is to scatter your enemy, to drive him before you, to see his cities reduced to ashes, to see those who love him shrouded in tears, and to gather into your bosom his wives and daughters.”

  9. #9
    Well number 6 pretty much covers changing the markings or defacing by spoiling the surface or appearance. Even though it’s not in effect yet you won’t be grandfathered unless something is changed or case law is created. That being said I would want to read it through including the regs. For instance with body armor you need to read the regs to find out that it’s legal in BC if you have a PAL. The actual Act reads it as not being legal. Plus good luck proving when the change to the lower receiver was done.

    My guess is this is part of the UN marking scheme.

    Trog brings up a good point regarding identifiers on the registration certificate since it’s restricted. It wouldn’t be fraud but it would be a charge under the firearms Act.
    Last edited by Full Metal Jacket; 03-15-2018 at 08:10 PM.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Full Metal Jacket View Post
    Well number 6 pretty much covers changing the markings or defacing by spoiling the surface or appearance. Even though it’s not in effect yet you won’t be grandfathered unless something is changed or case law is created. That being said I would want to read it through including the regs. For instance with body armor you need to read the regs to find out that it’s legal in BC if you have a PAL. The actual Act reads it as not being legal. Plus good luck proving when the change to the lower receiver was done.

    My guess is this is part of the UN marking scheme.

    Trog brings up a good point regarding identifiers on the registration certificate since it’s restricted. It wouldn’t be fraud but it would be a charge under the firearms Act.
    Yup, both you guys brought up good points. I'm just going to refinish the thing in flat black to cover up the semi gloss gray it is now.
    “The greatest happiness is to scatter your enemy, to drive him before you, to see his cities reduced to ashes, to see those who love him shrouded in tears, and to gather into your bosom his wives and daughters.”

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •