Norinco M14 Review

Designed around the time of World War II, The Norinco M14 is a reproduction of the original semiautomatic firearm. Commonly issued to Allied troops it uses a medium caliber bullet. Retired from combat service long-ago in favor of lighter weight, smaller caliber rifles, the M14 design is now popular with hunting and sport shooting enthusiasts. Here in Canada, magazines are limited to 5, although I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Borque illegally modified his magazines to get them to full capacity. Magazines are very simple devices, making 5 round limits practically impossible to enforce on determined psychos or criminals. The majority of this rifle is almost boring in functionality. It uses the same cartridge and is similar in firing speed to something like a Browning BLR.

Notice that you’re on a hunting gear website. The Norinco M305/M14S is a popular hunting rifle here because it uses a cartridge common in hunting and is generally reliable. The Mosin Nagant and SKS are other military rifles that now enjoy “retirement” with hunters and paper target shooters across Canada. The sad reality is that rifles, even ones designed in 1954, are far superior in use to pistols. Borque could have used that BLR, a Winchester 30-30, or any one of many other common hunting rifles and had the same results.

I recently wrote an article on Canadian gun stats and if you’re looking for a less biased overview (pretty much everyone who writes on this topic is biased in some way, including me), I’d encourage you to give it a skim.

Norinco M305 Review

The Norinco M14S (also called the M305) is a popular sporting rifle in Canada. It’s a copy of the American M14 rifle available in the common NATO 7.62X51mm cartridge and is semi-automatic with a magazine capacity of 5 rounds. It’s popularity is easy to understand when you look for a comparably durable semi-automatic rifle in .308 or 7.62X51. Other rifles in that category cost $1000+ and when compared to the M14’s $600, it’s hard to stop yourself from buying two! Due to an import ban against Chinese firearms in the US, Canadians have enjoyed inexpensive firearms without having to compete against American buying power that frequently results in supply and price issues north of the border. The American made Springfield M1A is pretty comparable to the Norinco M14S in initial accuracy, and both require the same further work in order to reach their top accuracy potential. Again, the price difference with the Springfield clocking it at ~$2000 is pretty staggering. This review will be for new potential buyers of the M14S in Canada and will review what it’s like to use and feed this beast. Want to see what the “shorty” 18.5″ barrel Norinco M14 looks like? Check out the Norinco M14 Shorty Review.

Build Quality

Defining the build quality on the Norinco M14S is a difficult subject, because in some ways it’s superior to alternatives and in some ways, inferior. The forged receiver, for example, is a better quality part than the typical cast Springfield. Dimensionally, the Norinco receivers are pretty accurate. Nothing to the quality of an LRB receiver, but at $800 for just the LRB receiver, you could buy 2 complete Norinco M14S rifles and double your chances at an accurate receiver. The sight adjustments on the Norinco are somewhat dodgy and the flash hider is just downright ugly. The plastic stock that came with mine also had sharp edged corners. These issues are mostly cosmetic. The flash hider can be replaced with a nicer unit for $50-$100, the stock can be sanded or replaced with a nice walnut stock from Boyds for $100, and why not mount a scope instead of using the iron sights? For real issues with the Norinco M14S:

  • Some bolts have excessive headspace. Not really an issue if all you shoot is military 7.62X51 ammo, but it can be hard on your brass if you reload.
  • Some barrels are indexed (tightened) too far or not enough and have misaligned gas systems.

There are other accuracy tweaks that are popular, such as replacing the recoil spring guide or unitizing the gas system, but they may not be strictly necessary in your rifle.

Mounting a Scope

Although the M14 was designed to accept a scope mount, it’s not the best design. Where any common bolt action rifle simply needs $10 bases to accept a scope, you can expect to pay $100-$300 for a good M14 scope mount AND it might not fit. The dimensional requirements to attach the scope mounts, as well as the punishing M14 reload cycle add up to challenging design problems. If you want to get a scope, you’ll also need a cheek rest or a stock that incorporates one, because the standard stocks aren’t really built with scopes in mind. Here in Canada, it can be difficult at times to import certain mounts. Click here for more info on availability of scope mounts in Canada.

M14S Accuracy

An important thing to remember is that this is not a modern bolt action rifle. While I’d expect 1″ groups at 100 meters with the modern bolt action, you can expect groups of 2-4″ with your M14S. There are tweaks that you can do to improve accuracy, but the cheap ones run out quick, and the expensive ones can take your $400 rifle north of $1000 in a hurry. If you’d like to make some of those cheap or expensive fixes, check out the Main Battle Rifles forum on

M14S Usability

Usability is one of those areas where I think modern rifles have really excelled and handling a design of the 50’s seems to back that up. The safety on this rifle sucks. It’s loud, it’s stiff, and it can pinch your fingers or a glove. Pretty much any tang or crossbolt safety is better. Inserting and extracting the magazines isn’t terrible, but you can’t drop mags free just by pressing the mag release and you can incorrectly insert the magazine if you’re new to the rifle or trying to move too fast. It’s also not a light rifle. It won’t kill you to haul it around hunting, but any bolt action rifle would make for a lot more of a handy package and much more accurate to boot. But, if you’re hunting within 200 yards and you usually still hunt, the M14S can make for a potent hunting rig with a quick follow up shot and many Canadians use it to hunt deer, bear, elk, and more. When punching paper, the M14S is a lot of fun to shoot. The gas system and weight tame the recoil and the semi automatic operation makes it easy to just focus on the target and ignore the rifle while you fire off round after round. Bolt action rifles may be more accurate, but they won’t be as fun. And for all I complain about the usability, it’s not really an issue at the firing range. The bolt holds open after the last round is fire so all you have to do is pop in a new mag and tug the bolt back just a bit to release it.


The Norinco M14S is in a class of its own here in Canada. The Remington 750 is ~$800 but may have issues with wandering zero, the Browning BAR is a great 308 at $1000+, and the Winchester SXR being made by Browning is an even better deal at ~$900. But these are hunting rifles, and it’s hard to imagine that they’d handle the same abuse as a rifle originally designed for the military. Then there are the newer semi auto .308 rifles like the Kel Tek RFB, but at $2400, it’s a bit on the pricey side. There isn’t much that can touch the typical $399 price for the regular length barrel version or the $449 for the short barrel version. If you’re more price sensitive, used SVT40′s are going for $200 within Canada at the time of this writing. Considering the price, it’s hard not to justify buying one.

Other M14 Posts:


Norinco M14S Review

Reviewed by Adriel Michaud on Jul 9, 2012

An inexpensive way to get into a full power semi-auto
The Norinco M14S is in a class of its own here in Canada. The Remington 750 is ~$800 but may have issues with wandering zero, the Browning BAR is a great 308 at $1000+, and the Winchester SXR being made by Browning is an even better deal at ~$900. But these are hunting rifles, and it’s hard to imagine that they’d handle the same abuse as a rifle originally designed for the military. Then there are the newer semi auto .308 rifles like the Kel Tek RFB, but at $2400, it’s a bit on the pricey side. Simply nothing touches the typical $399 price for the regular length barrel version or the $449 for the short barrel version. Considering the price, it’s hard not to justify buying one.

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  • mickelhogg

    M14S seems cool but its price is much higher than my expectation.

  • $400 for a meaty semi auto is easily the cheapest around. You could pay $100 for a 22, or $200 for an SKS, but you won’t get close to the price of the M14S in a high power semi auto.

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  • TYgunner25

    I dont know where you got the info that you will shoot 2-4 inch groups at 100yds. I am putting them withtin 1″ at 100 yds quite easily. putting two in the same hole is not uncommon for my long barreled version. i dropped a buck at 314 yds with one shot, placing it directly in the lungs right where i put the crosshairs. they are extremely accurate guns and other than the excessive weight i would reccomend them to ANYONE!

  • You’ve got a lucky rifle then, DON’T SELL IT. If you take a look through, you’ll find that most owners experience 2-4″ 5 round groups without tweaking. With some handy skills in unitizing or shimming the gas system, installing a solid scope mount (not as straight forward as on most modern rifles), changing out the spring guide and optionally the spring, some can get to 1-2″. After replacing the bolt with a USGI unit, you can tighten headspace beyond the typically generous factory dimensions; you could also fix up the mediocre trigger, and if you also replace the barrel you may be looking at sub-MOA. Maybe. Or maybe it’ll still be over 1″ at 100. There’s a ton of info on accurizing these rifles at:
    My brother still shot a deer this year with my M14, so I’m not knocking its capability as a hunting rig. It’s just not as easy to set up and get accurate than a plain old bolt action rifle. A lot more fun though 😉

  • MrDoodler
  • Thanks for the heads up!

  • some guy

    Although my wood stock Polytech M305 looks awesome (only shot 8 rounds out of it so far), I brought it deer hunting with me and found it to be too cumbersome, too heavy and way too noisy. Might be perfect for a military rifle but, IMHO, I found that a regular “civilian” hunting rifle would have been more suited for deer hunting. Just my two cents…

    I wonder how much I could get for it of if I’d be close to fair trade if I was to replace it with a Savage Model 99 in .308?

  • I think you’d be really close. Most of the Model 99’s I’ve seen go for around $400-$500.

  • Dave

    Hey Adriel, I’m Dawson’s Friend Dave. Sweet running into you in my gun research!

  • some guy

    I changed my mind…I went shooting with it and fell in love with it again. I felt like I’d be abandoning one of my children so…I couldn’t do it…

    …but I did find a nice Marlin 336 in .30-30 that I was able to buy with all the Canadian Tire money that I saved (a pillowcase full of bills, the cashier was really impressed with me!). According to the serial numbers it was built in 1975 so it’s not a “Remlin”.

  • ArmyGriff

    I have the same rifle as the one in the top picture without the scope. I’m curious as to how much they are worth now.

  • Trevor

    I just picked up the m305, and have had problems with racking the first round. It jams on the first round being loaded into the chamber on both the 5/20 an regular 5 rnd mags. After the round is carefully taken out, the second one loads smooth, fires well, and the third, forth, and fifth load well also. I was using not cheap ammo to boot! Any suggestions on what’s happening with it?

  • The Boreal Ranger


    See if the magazines you are using will accommodate five and a half rounds (ie you can push a round halfway into a fully loaded mag). There are instances where the manner in which the mag was pinned to 5 resulted in the spring being completely compressed at 5, which causes problems with the first round. The extra half a round’s space allows the action to work properly.

    I do not have a fix for your current mags, but there are “5.5” mags available in Canada at reasonable prices and will probably solve the problem you are describing.


    The Boreal Ranger

  • Kyle

    Hello, I am going to be purchasing a fire arm here shortly, I am very new at the gun scene tho, I signed up for my fire arms license and will be taking it shortly and have been looking for the gun I will be purchasing. I have chosen this one but I would like to know if this is a good gun to start off with I read the entire review and seems like a very good gun, nice and cheap and efficient. Can anyone give me some beginner advice on fire arms and especially this one I will be buying and if it is a good choice thanks??

  • It’s not a bad choice, but ammo can be expensive. I think Tula Ammo Canada has the cheapest stuff you can find, and I found it decently accurate in my M305.

  • Babyler

    Yeah, but given the inconsistent pressures in TULA and the damage I’ve seen done to some m14’s and M1a’s over on the M14 Forum, you are taking chances with your rifle using it. Lake City M80 ball – which is basically military issue FMJ – isn’t that expensive and you can easily get it in 500 rd boxes for around $310 US.

  • Alerios

    is it possible to bring stocks for the M14 to canada? something like the Sage EBR

  • There are some ITAR regs to follow, so you’d be well off to work with a company that can handle the export/import. I know CTC Supplies wanted to import them at some point, so check in with them. Also check in with iRunGuns and see if they can bring them in.

  • streetmedic

    Hope you can help get me off the fence here. I bought the m305 a few years back for about 300 and now want to add a scope to it. I am looking at either a traditional scope or the prism scopes. I have found a good line of mounts on but can’t decide which direction I want to go. I am not looking to drop some trophy buck at 400 yards but I got it for the dual purpose of zombies and hunting should the need arise. I enjoy taking it to the range for target shooting, and have a limited budget. Can you give me some guidance in deciding where to spend the cash. Prism or traditional scope???

  • R2D3 vadar

    Why would you state and quote “making 5 round limits practically impossible to enforce on determined psychos or criminals” why and how does the number of rounds have a bearing on if someone is intent on criminal activity? That statement is as ignorant and arrogant as the anti gun sayers who literally make no sense.
    Rifle range: its nice not to have to reload every 5 rounds! So is the E- LANDER MAGAZINE for the A1A .308 which is a legal 10 round magazine for the Norinco, only for psychos and criminals? Does anyone owning a e-lander magazine fall into your nutcase description?

  • MagnumUM

    Just found this article…
    Beginning is very innacurate – M14 was never used in WW2 as it was designed during 50s, first went into service around 1960. Also it’s far from retired, weapon is still used by many forces around the world and still in use in US Army/USMC, including units like Navy SEALS.

  • Will Mathieson

    I have the longer barrelled version and accuracy is under 2″ with its iron sights and my aging eyes. I did a trigger job with valve grinding compound which did the most for improving accuracy. Then I added a round guide rod spring but I didn’t see any accuracy advantage doing this. I just installed a scope base and scope but too cold to go and try it.

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