Converting the Norinco Thumbhole Stock
Submitted by UZI Talk Member Dan0341
NOTE: The following article was written during the Assault Weapons Ban and folding stocks were not permitted at that time. Since the ban expired in September, 2004, folding stocks can now be used.
I had originally bought my Norinco Model 320 (UZI type rifle) new in the box several years ago. After buying it, I immediately began working on a modification where I could legally remove the thumbhole stock and replace it with a separate pistol grip and fixed buttstock. The following information is how I modified my Norinco UZI to legally possess a separate pistol grip and fixed buttstock. Even though I carefully researched this process, I do not claim to be an expert. Nor is it my intention to give legal advice on the subject. If you attempt to do the same conversion, and are unsure of the process, I highly recommend you contact the ATF Technology Branch.
The first step, in trying to legally modify my Norinco UZI, involved a letter to the ATF Technology Branch to confirm the imported parts count on the Norinco Model 320/UZI rifle. (Click here for a copy of the letter from the Technology Branch.) To summarize this letter, ATF states there are 14 imported parts on the Norinco Model 320/UZI. BUT, it is important to remember that ATF states there is no pistol grip found on the Norinco UZI rifle. This is why 5 parts must be added when installing a separate pistol grip and fixed stock. To state it another way, an UZI clone with a thumbhole stock has 14 parts found on the ATF list of 20 parts. An UZI clone with a separate pistol grip and fixed stock has 15 parts on the list. Of course, if you add a ‘permanently’ attached muzzle break you have added an additional part found on the ATF list. *Remember*, it does not matter how many USA made parts are added to the rifle. It matters how many imported parts (as stated on ATF's list) are left remaining on the rifle.
Important Note: Currently, if a folding stock is placed on the Norinco UZI it would make this rifle an illegal assault weapon since it would violate 18 USC 922(v). At the same time, a bayonet lug, grenade launcher, threaded barrel, and flash hider would also be a violation of 18 USC 922(v). If you are not aware, this law will sunset in September, 2004. Further, if no other legislation replaces this assault weapon ban, a folding stock could be attached to this rifle legally (as long as the required USA Made parts have been added so as not to violate 18 USC 922(r)). Only time will tell if folding stocks, flash hiders, threaded barrels, and grenade launchers will become legal on Norinco UZIs.
To clarify the ATF letter, the following 14 parts are found on the Norinco 320:
|1) receiver||8) sear|
|2) barrel||9) disconnector|
|3) trunnion||10) buttstock (does not include pistol grip)|
|4) bolt||11) forearms|
|5) operating rod||12) magazine body|
|6) trigger housing||13) magazine floorplate|
|7) trigger||14) magazine follower|
Here are the 5 USA Made parts I used, to comply with 18 USC 922(r), when I was assembling my Norinco UZI with a fixed pistol grip and separate fixed buttstock (refer to pic below detailing these parts) :
(1) Quality Parts (Bushmaster) barrel
(2) Group Industries pistol grip (D and D Sales)
(3) Group Industries forearm (D and D Sales)
(4) operating rod/recoil spring (D and D Sales)
(5) ProMag floorplate
At the time of buying USA made parts, D and D Sales did not have triggers or disconnectors. Maybe they do now? Contact D and D Sales to check their current stock.
Details regarding USA Made parts and conversion:
The first thing I had done was to acquire all 5 USA Made parts and a fixed stock. Some of these parts will be stamped by the manufacturer – other parts will not have a stamp. It is obvious that all sales receipts should be kept on file to prove your purchase of USA Made parts. After verifying the weapon was unloaded, I field stripped the Norinco UZI (top cover and bolt assembly removed). I then disassembled the thumbhole stock by removing the four screws as shown here.
Once the four screws had been removed, I pulled the
mounting plate/bracket to the rear while moving it side to side. It may not be
easy, but it will separate from the receiver.
At this point, I fitted the IMI wood stock to the bracket to ensure a proper fit. As I found out, the machine screws are too long to use with the IMI wood stock and must be cut to the proper length with a hacksaw or rotary type tool with cutting wheel. After the screws had been shortened, I attached the mounting plate/bracket to the UZI receiver. The stock nut must be at the rear of the receiver so the stock nut screw can be tightened. Next, I positioned the IMI wood stock and tightened the remaining three screws.
Important Note: Do not use a quick detachable stock with this conversion, while using a 16 inch barrel, as it will be considered an illegal short barrel rifle. A quick detachable stock has a lever that is pushed to remove the stock from the UZI. A quick detachable stock is not mounted to the receiver with screws like the IMI stock pictured here. Using the ATF letter as a reference, you can place a quick detachable stock on the weapon as 18 USC 922(v) only forbids folding/telescoping stocks - not detachable stocks. *BUT* it must have a barrel long enough so as to ensure the UZI type rifle does not fall under the overall length of 26 inches (not including the quick detachable stock). Since it is a quick detachable stock, the UZI type rifle will be measured from the front of the barrel to the rear of the receiver (EVEN IF THE QUICK DETACHABLE STOCK IS MOUNTED). Don't get caught with a quick detachable stock on your weapon with a 16 inch barrel. You may be able to get away with this if you buy an 18 inch barrel from Quality Parts?? Call Bushmaster/Quality Parts and ask about them about the measurements of an UZI with their 18 inch barrel installed. It is advised that you contact ATF before attempting to use a detachable stock on your semi auto UZI rifle.
With the buttstock complete, I then proceeded to attach the Group Industries (GI) grip halves to the grip frame/trigger housing. After this, I removed the Chinese forearm and replaced it with the GI forearm. Refer to the picture above (in the white circles) to see the letters “GI” stamped into the grip and forearm halves. These are the only USA Made parts that have manufacturer stamps.
The GI grips and
forearms are available in two colors: black and green. I didn’t care for the
lighter color of the IMI wood, so I purchased green stain to apply to the wood.
Here’s how I did it: I took one of the forearm halves to Home Depot and they
matched the green stain to the forearm (as best they could). After applying a
few thick coats of stain, I used clear coat to seal it. It’s not perfect, but
it turned out well enough that I would do it again. But be advised, if this
wood stock sustains harsh treatment, it will show nicks and dents.
After the furniture replacement was completed, I moved on to replace the Chinese barrel with a Quality Parts/Bushmaster barrel. I found the barrel nut fixed to the receiver with three small welds. These welds were located at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock. A few minutes with a rotary cutting tool (example: Dremel) and the welds were cut and barrel nut removed. Then the Quality Parts barrel was inserted and barrel nut replaced. Since this will be an UZI type rifle with 10 imported parts or less, it is not legally required to have the barrel nut permanently attached.
Now I was ready to put the Norinco UZI back together (without magazine inserted). During the assembly, I replaced the Chinese recoil spring/operating rod with my USA made recoil spring/operating rod.
Finally, the IMI magazines had to be modified to include one USA Made part. At first, I tried using a USA Made ProMag magazine. It worked good, but certainly not 100%. I suspected the reason for this was that the feedlips of the ProMag magazine were not as well shaped as IMI magazines. I thought about trying a USA magazine, but after numerous complaints from others I never tried one. Since I only needed one more part, I inserted the ProMag magazine plastic follower into the IMI magazine body. After a range session, I realized this would not give me the excellent reliability I was looking for. Reason: the angle of the ProMag follower would rock back and forth during feeding because it did not have sufficient front and back support. Then, I took one of the floorplates from the ProMag magazine and tried to attach it to an IMI magazine. The ProMag floorplate was a little too wide and would not attach to the IMI magazine body. To correct this problem, I bent/warped the magazine floorplate slightly (see red arrow in picture). This allowed for a secure fit. The ProMag floorplate worked excellent after this modification.
Later, I tried to modify the ProMag magazine plastic follower. I was able to successfully do this by removing a portion of the underside plastic and install a piece of metal in its place (see picture). It may not look pretty, but the metal keeps the angle of the follower consistent for reliable feeding in the IMI magazine body. This metal was attached to the plastic follower by epoxy. Not only did these followers work in the Norinco UZI, but they worked flawlessly in a Mini UZI subgun. By modifying the plastic follower, I was able to have a 6th USA Made part (although, I did not need it for my parts count). But, this modification will not allow a “full” magazine. The metal prevents the last couple of rounds from being loaded. I did not find this to be an issue for me, especially when using 32 round and 40 round factory magazines. ProMag magazines come with plastic and metal followers. Do not buy the ProMag magazine with the metal follower as these followers are unusable in an IMI magazine body. Stay with the plastic if you want to use a follower for your conversion.
To make my conversion complete, I wanted to use a fixed folding stock to have that preban look. To legally use a folding stock, it must be permanently altered so it cannot fold. To make this a fixed stock, I had the stock mig welded in two places (see photo). I then smoothed the welds with a rotary tool and painted the stock black. This process turned out well and the welds are not easily seen.
At this point, the Norinco UZI possesses 10 imported parts and is allowed to legally have a fixed buttstock and separate pistol grip. Of course, with the parts discussed above, only magazines possessing a USA Made part can be inserted/used in the Norinco UZI legally.
Pictures of the final conversion:
(1) Loose pistol grip: When I removed the thumbhole stock and placed the separate pistol grip and stock on the rifle, I found there was "play" between the pistol grip lower and the receiver (when you remove the thumbhole stock, this may be an issue). I used a pair of pliers to bend the tab on the pistol grip that inserts into the receiver. By bending the tab downwards, the receiver and the lower pistol grip become completely solid.
(2) Failures to feed: The feed ramp was parkerized resulting in numerous FTF. I was able to solve this problem by using steel wool to make the feed ramp shiny and slick.
Once those two problems were fixed, its reliability was 100%. Before I sold it (bought a Vector subgun to replace it), I ran about 2,500 rounds through the rifle. Not only was it completely reliable, it was extremely accurate. I was able to hit pie plate size objects regularly at 100 yards. As one would expect, the Norinco UZI will not “measure up” cosmetically to an IMI UZI. But, with a little attention to detail, they can be made into an excellent UZI clone.
People often describe the design at the rear of the receiver as being the “Star of David.” This is not true. The “Star of David” has six points, not seven as found on the Norinco UZI. The seven pointed star is a symbol/design that was part of the original markings. You can easily see that the inside of the star had something milled out/removed. From what I've heard from multiple people (have not verified this myself), the part that is "ground off" (in the star) stated “Officer's Nine.” Supposedly, the Norinco 320 was originally called the “Officer’s Nine” and was in preban configuration with a folding stock. Supposedly this preban configuration was changed to post ban due to the implementation of the Import Ban of 1989. I think this may be possible as all the Norinco 320s I’ve seen possess a manual that shows the Norinco Model 320 with a folding stock. No where in the manual does it state or display a thumbhole stock. Furthermore, I’ve read comments on the internet that some people have actually seen a preban Norinco with a folding stock possessing the “Officer’s Nine” logo on the receiver. Is it possible that some of these preban “Officer’s Nine” UZIs made it into the country? I don’t know. But, I won’t believe it until I see one.
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Last Modified: October 12, 2003