The Norinco Sporter Hunter, or Hunter, or Sporter, or Hunter Sporter. Yeah, it was known by a lot of names depending on when it was imported and by whom. But it’s an interesting AK pattern rifle by any name. Mine is marked as the Sporter Hunter.
These are real oddball Chinese AK rifles made specifically for the post 1989 Bush “sporting purpose” import ban. The Sporter Hunter is about as demilitarized as you can get.
The receiver is unlike most other AK receivers. Norinco copied the Valmet receiver, taking a solid chunk of steel and making what is considered about the best pattern out there. The same one used for the Galil.
Unlike the later imported Russian Saiga rifles, it uses bog standard AK magazines right out of the box. No need to modify the thing, though the magazine catch is a bit wonky. It’s more like a SKS magazine catch.
Then again, this rifle shipped from China with only two five-rounders. It was never intended to be a gun for quick magazine changes. It was intended to be a semi-automatic hunting rifle.
Internally the Norinco Sporter Hunter is every bit a normal Chinese AK design with a standard AK bolt carrier group, safety, hammer, and sear.
The rifle came with a standard Chinese pattern front sight, too. But since it was imported after 1989, the muzzle is left bare. No threading for any muzzle device like a canted brake.
The right sight is completely different though. It is a simply a two position express style leaf sight.
The three threaded holes in the receiver are for a scope mount that, strangely, Norinco sold separately and no one imported into the country. So most folks used an aftermarket B-West mount.
As I said, depending on who imported them, they were stamped and marked differently.
Customizing is a problem with this gun. You can get a Galil parts kit and build a 7.62x39mm Galil, but that involves cutting into the receiver, chopping the barrel, etc. Any aftermarket customization without cutting into it isn’t really an option. It makes a square cut receiver MAK-90 look like a dream since you can get a Type 56 stock set and drop it right in without a problem.
While the Sporter Hunter isn’t exactly the best AK out there, they’re rare birds since they were only imported between 1990 to 1993 and even then, in very limited numbers. This rifle shoots well, but the length of pull is too long in my opinion.
My wife also found it too long.
In the end, if you like oddball guns and you’re an AK fan, then this Norinco is something that would be right up your alley. Or you can always have it built into a Galil clone by folks like CW Gunwerks which isn’t a bad way to go. Here’s one of their builds . . .