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N I C K H A RV E Y J O H N RO B I N S O N

The Chinese-made boltaction Norinco JW-15A .22 LR won't win a beauty contest but, it's a bargain-basement gun, strictly utilitarian, robust and reliable.

Norinco JW-15A and JW1 5E

mong the more economical rimfire models, the Norinco JW-15A has one thing going for it that sets it apart from its competition ­ it's basically a copy of the Czech CZ ZKM452 ­ well sort of ­ since most parts are not interchangeable. The Chinese chose a good rifle to copy; the CZ still fondly referred to by the Aussie shooting fraternity as the "Brno" has long enjoyed an envious reputation for not only its rugged traditional construction but excellent accuracy. The Norinco is homely looking. The stock is plain, some kind of hardwood stained to resemble walnut, and un-checkered. The classic design with rounded forend and straight comb handles well. Stock furniture is a pair of fixed 32mm sling swivels, a plastic butt-plate and grip cap. The barreled action is held in the stock by a pair of screws situated at the front and rear of the magazine well. The steel trigger guard assembly remains attached to the stock by a wood screw through the rear of the trigger guard. The tubular steel receiver is grooved for scope mounts and while reasonably smooth on the outside, internal surfaces are not as well finished. The upper surfaces of the magazine well on which the bolt rides, combined with

The timber stocked Norinco JW15A.

Bolt-Action Rimfire

A

uneven surfaces on the cutaway front portion of the bolt make it a bit gritty to operate. The stamped trigger guard is oversized, presumably for use with gloves in colder climates. The trigger is nothing like the adjustable Model 70 type found on the ZKM452, but the usual simple rimfire design which has the sear hinged at the front and tensioned with tiny coil spring, while the trigger blade is pinned

JULY / SEPTEMBER 2009

at the back of the sear. As the trigger is pulled to the rear, a screw at the top rear of the trigger blade makes contact with the receiver bottom. Continuing to pull the trigger pivots the sear out of engagement with the firing pin, allowing that part to be propelled forward under spring pressure. The trigger is pulled back to allow removal of the bolt. The bolt cocks on the uplift. The root of

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LEFT: The JW15E is a much better looking outfit with the addition of its well designed polymer stock. Two groups shot at 50 metres with the JW15E with Eley Club target ammunition. The top group is 5 shots and the best on the day. The bottom group is 10 shots.

LEFT: The Norinco JW15 trigger is a military style design with limited tuning options.

the bolt handle and a lug on the opposite side of the bolt sleeve form dual locking lugs. Twin extractors are located on either side of the bolt face, and a fixed ejector protruding from the bottom of the receiver is an integral part of the magazine well. A wing-type safety on the rear of the bolt is pushed forward for "SAFE" and points straight out to the side when the rifle is ready to fire. When the serrated tab is rotated 45 degrees counterclockwise, the firing pin is blocked and the bolt handle locked down. The 600mm barrel is medium weight for a rimfire and the muzzle is threaded for a muffler. A knurled cap screwed onto the muzzle acts as a thread protector. Open sights comprise a simple "U"-notch rear with a ladder for elevation adjustment. The sight is drifted to either side for windage. The blade front sight is mounted on a ramp and protected by a hood. On removing the stock the inletting was quite rough and the inletted area inletting

AC C U R AC Y R E S U LT S N O R I N C O J W-1 5 A Ten consecutive 5-shot groups at 50 yards, fired from benchrest .22 LR Cartridge Highland RX Solid Highland RX H.P Highland RX Subsonic Highland RX Target Velocity (fps) 1185 1245 1020 1130 Smallest (mm) 20 25 28 20 Largest (mm) 28 30 32 26 Average (mm) 25.4 28.6 28.6 23.4

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SPECS

Norinco JW-15A and JW15E

M AC H A N I S M T Y P E

RIGHT: The JW15 bolt action is a direct copy of the original Brno Model One. BELOW: The Norinco JW15 is all steel construction and is held in the stock with two action screw.

bolt-action rifle with dual locking lugs

CALIBRE

.22 Long Rifle

OV E R A L L L E N GT H

105mm

B A R R E L L E N GT H

600mm

WEIGHT

2.5 kg

M AG A Z I N E C A PAC I T Y

5

TRIGGER

BELOW: The new polymer stock on the JW15E is very well made and also of classic design and is much more precise with respect to bedding than the timber version.

two-stage, 3.175kg pull

SIGHTS

blade front, ladder adjustable rear

S TO C K

Chinese hardwood; length of pull, 349mm; drop at heel, 63.5mm; drop at comb 38mm or Black polymer.

L I K E LY P R I C E

$ Shop around

TRADE ENQUIRIES

The JW15E

by John Robinson For various reasons, publication of Nick's review of the JW15A Norinco was delayed, and this turned out be a good thing, as a more recent manifestation of the JW15 arrived at my door as an accessory from Highland Sports. This was as a rifle on which to put one of the new model Nikko Stirling Mountmaster scopes for a product review. The rifle was a JW15E, which is basically identical to the A Model reviewed above, with the addition of a new polymer stock in place of the timber version that attracted some criticism. The Norinco JW15 is a copy of the Brno Model 1, and shares many of the Brno's good features such as dual locking lugs on the bolt. Unfortunately, the Model One, unlike the Model 2, has a fairly basic military style trigger instead of the adjustable and crisp trigger of the Model 2. For this reason, it is not possible to get a crisp and creep free trigger on the Norinco, as minimal sear engagement on a single stage trigger is potentially unsafe. For those keen enough, it is possible to upgrade the trigger system (with the help of a gunsmith) to a Model 2 system, but significant modifications are required to make this work. The main feature of the JW15E is its polymer stock. It is very well made and addresses any criticisms that arise from the timber versions, as can be seen in the photographs. In Highland Sports latest (March 2009) product catalogue, only the polymer stocked version of the JW15 is listed. In addition, the polymer stocks can be purchased separately at a very reasonable price (under $100) if an after-market upgrade is required. The JW15E was fitted with a new Mountmaster 3-9x40 AO scope and shot off the bench at 50 metres. Accuracy was quite acceptable for a rifle in this price range, and its functioning was 100%. Some of the groups are shown in the photos and those shot by Nick are listed in the table. I have a custom-made Brno Model 2 outfit used for target shooting, and this proved a little recalcitrant with respect to feeding through the Brno's steel magazine. It has therefore been used with a plastic magazine that comes with the later model CZ/Brno rifles. Out of interest, I tried the Norinco magazine in the custom gun and it worked perfectly. As Nick stated, the Norinco magazines are very heavily constructed and like the rest of the rifle, are well suited to hard work. The cost of the Norinco JW15E remains unchanged, and there are some good package deals available that include a Mountmaster scope and mounts that almost work out at the cost of the basic rifle. It is worth shopping around for a JW15E package deal if you are looking for a rugged rimfire.

Highland Sports Website: www.highlandsports.com.au

has been painted over with some kind of thick, brown-coloured stain which was patchy. For testing the rifle was equipped with a Nikko Gold Crown 3-9x42 scope. The Norinco was sighted-in 12mm high at 25 yards and fired for accuracy with Highland RX ammunition. The accuracy results are shown in the table accompanying this article. The trigger has some take-up and a lot of overtravel. While the overtravel can be eliminated to some extent by use of the screw at the rear of the trigger, the let-off has a fiar amount of creep. The magazine is made of heavy steel rather than pressed tin like some other cheap guns, so the magazine should not suffer the kind of lip deformation that plagues many rimfire rifles. But after this one malfunctioned a couple of times, it was replaced with another which solved the problem. The Norinco JW-15A is lacking when it comes to quality and fit and finish, but it's a rough-and-ready utility .22 for plinking and small game hunting, intended as a tool rather than a showpiece for the gunroom. It's as accurate as rifles costing nearly twice as much and certainly rates inclusion into the Bargain Buy category. Selling for such a low price, it will do a workman-like job for any task to which the .22 Long Rifle is suited.

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