Alley-Sweeping for Skinflints: The Norinco Ithaca 37 Clone

by LF (started 2/4/01)

Were you ever a Boy Scout? Do you remember the Pinewood Derby? (There'd always be at least one kid with a total hardon for a dad who would be carrying around something that looked like it was machined out of aircraft-grade aluminum.) You can relive those days by purchasing a Norinco YL12. For just over a hundred bucks you can get what is actually a pretty nice weapon, spoiled only by the company's use of the cheapest, crappiest, shittiest stock material I have EVER seen used on a gun that does not spit BBs.

The quality of the machining is not impressive, but the AMOUNT of it is.

Extraction is positive -- so much so that my cheap Lexan snap caps were seriously gouged on the rims -- and the ejection of a loaded round is hearty enough to break a bone in your foot. This is obviously not a gun that lends itself to downloading by running the shells through the action. Learn to press the shell stops for quick clearing when you need to render the gun "cold".

All told, four licks with a file and thirty seconds with a Dremel were all that were required to ensure positive functioning.

Here's a disappointment -- a trigger disconnect. Original Ithacas allow you to go to Pump City by racking the pump while holding down the trigger. No such joy here.

A big plus is that the manual of arms is almost exactly the same as my Remington 870. The safety's at the back of the trigger guard, and the action release is at the front. The big difference is that the Norinco feeds and ejects from the bottom. No port on the side. Guess that's a good thing, since I've been trying to break myself of the habit of loading rounds directly into the chamber.

Up the spout