Is there any such thing as a pre-ban Norinco MAK-90 Sporter? The one in question was shipped with a thumbhole stock, but the owner thinks he bought it right before the ban. The serial number is 93601xx. It is also marked with "KSI Pomona CA, Made in China."
Any help is appreciated.
There's no such thing as a pre-ban MAK90. (Modifed AK 1990).
While some of the earliest MAK90's were indeed altered pre-bans, the 1989 Assault Weapon Ban enacted by GWB senior is the reason they came in and were sold in the thumbhole configuration. Most MAK90's lack important little details that set them apart from the pre-bans and altered rifles. (ex. lack of bayonet retainer/groove on the bottom of the gas block, no provision for the locking detent pin on the fsb assy.)
It is quite possible that your friend picked the rifle up in '94 prior to Clinton's executive order halting the import of Chinese firearms/parts or the Crime Bill passed later that year.
MAK90's that were altered to comply with the '89 ban oftentimes show signs of where military features were removed. (ex. ground off bayo lugs/ cleaning rod retainers or a hole in the rear of the receiver to mount the under-folding stock. Some MAKs exist that have both the under-folder installed along with the thumbhole stock which keeps it from working as intended).
The NHM90 rifles in particular tend to exibit the traits mentioned in the last paragraph. The very first MAK90 I ever saw had it's cleaning rod and a threaded muzzle with a blue plastic thread protector installed---probably the very closest to a pre-ban I've ever seen.
You should be able to find the year of manufacture in the MAK's serial #. (ex. 92,93,94...)
The MAK you decribe would have been made in 1993. Pre Crime Bill, but not Pre-Ban.