How bad are Century FAL's, Any easy things to look for?


June 14, 2007, 01:47 PM
Found one for $650. Didn't look at it much at all because I wanted to get some feedback from here first.

I have read a little about rifles imported by Century vs. assembled by Century- How do I know the difference?

Any simple things to look at to know if it will be good or bad, or are they all bad?

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Seven High
June 14, 2007, 01:57 PM
Who made the receiver? If its an Imbel, it should be o.k. I would ask to test fire it before making any commitment to buy.

June 14, 2007, 02:05 PM
I don't think I'll be able to test fire. It is a pawn shop. Possibly I could get them to give me some sort of 7 day warranty but I doubt even that...

I have read a description of a feedramp issue, anyone have pics? I think I understand it anyway. Sounds like the feedramp should look similar to an M1A's.

Are the Imbel receivers clearly marked?

June 14, 2007, 02:12 PM
Whoa, don't get me started...

1st gun: Firing pin FROZEN in bolt, not very visible but made a bang in the back yard.
2nd gun (replacement of said "1st gun"): Charging handle BROKE off
3rd gun: Gun shop traded in Belgian Lower and necessary Belgian upper parts.

Lessons learned: The owner of the local shop is a very good guy and builds much better guns the Century.
My advice: spend 300 dollars more and buy a DSArms gun.

June 14, 2007, 02:12 PM
If they're as bad as my Yugo AK, I'd pass. I had to send my Yugo AK back to Century twice (both times replaced with "new" rifles) before they got me one that had the front sight on straight enough to get the point of aim on the paper.

I don't know who Century hires for their manufacturing staff, but they obviously are not craftsmen and there is absolutely no quality control.

June 14, 2007, 02:20 PM
"...their manufacturing staff..." Unqualified monkeys. My apologies to monkeys everywhere.
"...are they all bad?..." As mentioned Century has no concept of QC. Their stuff is hit or miss. They assemble rifles out of parts bins and don't bother the ensure they're safe to shoot. A Century FAL can have 'inch' or 'metric' parts or both. I wouldn't touch any firearm that Century has had their hands on.

June 14, 2007, 02:52 PM
You will probably get the same answers from users of other boards like falfiles...

Save you money and buy a DSA, or keep looking for an Imbel.

Be safe, BSR

June 14, 2007, 03:11 PM
I dug around and found this thread that shows pics of the feedramps, I am going to link it for future searchers of this same info...

Anyone know if there were any FAL's that CAI imported and did not assemble, and how to spot them?

June 14, 2007, 05:48 PM
Don't be afraid to assemble one from a parts kit, as far as difficulty (1-10) goes an FAL build is about a 4. There still are a few Imbel kits floating around if you look hard enough.

June 16, 2007, 12:09 PM
As the others have said, it's impossible to say without shooting it - you're testing for both accuracy and feeding/ejection reliability. If it's accurate and reliable, it's good to go IMO, Century or not - but if I'm throwing over 600 clams at a rifle, I damn well want to make sure it works, especially with a rifle made or imported by a maker with a hit & miss reputation.

When I say accuracy, I'm not talking sub-MOA (because the FAL is a battle-rifle, not a sniper-grade rifle), I'm referring to the quality of the barrel (many are just sewer-pipes) as well as how much left or right of the target it shoots, which would indicate an under- or over-timed barrel (screwed too loose or too tight onto the upper receiver, throwing the shot left or right). This is curable with the right tools and know-how.

Reliability - the gas-system on an FAL is adjustable, so you can tune it for the ammunition you shoot (more gas diverted to the piston for cycling weaker ammunition). Feed-reliability depends on the magazines, the feed-ramps, etc - also curable with know-how and the right tools.

June 16, 2007, 02:22 PM
My advice: spend 300 dollars more and buy a DSArms gun.


June 16, 2007, 02:28 PM
Since nobody seems to have anything good to say about them... I feel the need to say this. It's my understanding that the century builds are very hit or miss. I happen to have one that works just fine.

June 16, 2007, 02:39 PM
Pawn shop? Walk in there with $400 cash, put it on the table. If he refuses, give hime your phone number, and don't look back.

June 16, 2007, 02:46 PM
*Remembers buying a century cetme, and having to have the barrel repressed to get the proper bolt gap*

Friends DONT let friends buy a century made monkey gun!!


June 16, 2007, 03:15 PM
Since nobody seems to have anything good to say about them... I feel the need to say this. It's my understanding that the century builds are very hit or miss. I happen to have one that works just fine.

Without saying I endorse Century or anything, I will say that my Century FAL (bought back when I did not know any better) has been trouble free and acceptably reliable (once I got the gas system dialed in well, it has had one stoppage in the last 500 rounds or so).

Is it as nice as my DSA FAL? Definitely not. But my experience with my specific rifle from Century has been positive.

June 16, 2007, 04:30 PM
Got my Century FAL for $500, its been good. Many are not. IF you don't know what to look for, I agree save your money for a metric Imbel or DSA.

The "inch" L1A1 mags are harder to find and about twice the price of the metric mags. While many people will say the metric mags work in the English receivers, my Century does not feed reliably with the metric mags, maybe that's part of the reason so may folks have problems, mine came with one metric and one English mag -- Century probably didn't know which was right and sent one of each :)


June 16, 2007, 04:39 PM
I actually got mine for about $450 when a gunshop was closing down and everything was on super sale. That was.. oh.. maybe somewhere between 9 and 13 years ago though. $650 seems to be a pretty standard rate for them nowadays for the ones you see on gunbroker and such.

June 16, 2007, 10:06 PM
Personally, for that kind of money, I'd spend not that much more on a DSA or a FAL built by a reputable gunsmith. My DSA STC58C is sweet.


June 16, 2007, 10:26 PM
My advice: spend 300 dollars more and buy a DSArms gun.
question: where are you seeing dsa fals for only $300 more ?

and also
Personally, for that kind of money, I'd spend not that much more on a DSA or a FAL built by a reputable gunsmith. My DSA STC58C is sweet.

All the DSA FALs I see are no less than $1200 for the barest model and they go well up from there. How is that "not much more" ? More than twice the price seems like an awful lot more to me.

June 16, 2007, 10:46 PM
Hexidismal, earlier this year I ordered my STG direct form DSA. I have a friend who has an FFL and recieved the rifle and transfered it for free. This usually costs around twenty five bucks in my area. The price on the rifle may have gone up since I ordered mine, but it was 970.00, shipped, at that time.

If the CAI rifle you're looking at has an Imbel receiver, that alone would be worth about four hundred bucks in todays market. However, if you have problems with it, you've got to fix it on your own dime. Have you ever checked out the marketplace on the Falfiles? There are usually some nice rifles on there. A pretty good group of guys over there as well.

Best of luck in whatever you decide to do, and I hope you have some 7.62 milsurp already put away, 'cause that stuff is like gold!


June 16, 2007, 11:02 PM
You are up in Yank country where guns cost more, down here at gun shows DSA L1s sell for 900$.

June 16, 2007, 11:14 PM
Imbel receivers are key to the builds. Though they don't insure a good build, but give you good base to "work with" if you need to.

There are a bunch of quality builds out there, and they are less expensive than trying to build your own.

DSA Stg 58s are one of the best bargains out there, if you can find them. They are well built, with quality parts kits, on a fine DSA receiver. You can find these for @$850-1000 from time to time.

Imbel builds can be had for $750 or so, quite often. These have the risk of not being built with quality and care, but offer a good way to get into the FAL platform.

Century's bulids, if they don't mess up the Imbel receiver, are not a bad price, if under $600, even if you have to put 150 into it, you are at 750. Barrel timing would be the worst case, if again, they don't mess up the receiver or grind on any other parts.

Good luck

June 16, 2007, 11:54 PM
My Century/Imbel FAL has been 100% flawless,it works just as well as any other FAL I have shot or seen.Others have had bad experiences but I consider mine a bargain.I also managed to get a Century CETME that has likewise been a great gun.Maybe I won the lottery twice or maybe their reputation is worse than it should be.

June 17, 2007, 07:28 AM
I also have had good luck with Century guns. I have a Fal and a G-3 from them and both are working fine. But I did buy these as shooters and wanted something that wouldn't upset me if it got scratched or started showing signs of wear.

June 17, 2007, 11:30 AM
I've had two, both with widow's peak feed ramps. Both ran flawlessly. Rbernie has one of them now.

June 17, 2007, 11:40 AM
As much as I hate CAI, funfaler has a good perspective.

It just sucks getting a "new" gun that may not come with working mags, and you may need to rebuild different components before you can safely shoot.

June 17, 2007, 12:09 PM
I'll have to take a look at it and see if it is an Imbel or what.

I didn't even bother to have them take it off the wall because it was a CAI and I have heard all the complaining.

I posted because most of the complaints I have read are about Cetmes, not FAL's. Some of the posts in this thread seem to reference the Cetmes too.

I had looked into DSA's awhile ago and was pretty serious about getting one but no one stocks them here and it seemed like a $1250 price tag. For that coin I would probably just get a AR10.

$650 for a 308 black rifle here in the great white north is actually fairly cheap, but I'll have to see what they would really take.

June 17, 2007, 12:14 PM
bofe, I paid less than $450 for my CAI FAL, that was two years ago, but still...

June 17, 2007, 12:42 PM
The only two receivers that I would bother with are DSA and Imbel. Look closely where the barrel mates to the receiver, as well as any other contact points on the receiver, to see if it has been "modified" to fit.

NO Hesse!

The others have hit or miss quality.

June 17, 2007, 04:43 PM
Heh, I used to own a Century built on a Hesse receiver and believe it or not, it ran just fine! Not real accurate, though, and I sold it off. Would never buy a Hesse again, but I would have no problem with an Argentine receiver FAL.


June 17, 2007, 05:22 PM
I've got one built on a hesse fal-h receiver it works great and is real accurate. My other FAL is built on a Century unibrow receiver it also worked great and is very accurate. The key with buying a Century assembled gun isn't the manufacturerr of the receiver, its having a dealer with a good return policy if you need it.

Ian Sean
June 17, 2007, 07:22 PM
Many of the Century FAL's were built on IMBEL recievers...check it...if it has an Imbel (It will say Imbel but may or may not have a gear logo)..the receiver alone is worth more than $400. If that is the case, even if it doesn't work it CAN be fixed no matter what is wrong with it and at $650 it is a steal.

Even on a Century receiver I would probably pick it up (depending on parts wear-especially the barrel), most parts are still plentiful and relatively cheap...FAL smiths and gurus are all over...even if it has problems it wouldn't cost much to fix.

Is there any way to hook up with a FAL guy near you that can go with you? Or get a quick education over a the FALFiles so you know what to look for.

Good luck and post what it is either way.:)

June 18, 2007, 10:19 PM
One of the questions asked that I did not see answered: "How do I spot an Imbel receiver?"
I would like to know myself.
I am new to the .308 world.(graduating from my AR's) All I have is a SOCOM from a member here. (worth every penny thanks coinshooter)

All I know about the FAL world is I like the 4 aperature wheel sight and not the sliding one. I would like the G3 HK (I think thats the one) but the DSA seems like it has the most bang for buck ratio. They just turned me off with the price of their 9mm plastic cobray on the cover of every SGN ($1400)

(((I like perenthecies)))))))

June 19, 2007, 09:57 AM
As stated above, Imbel receivers are marked "Imbel" somewhere on the side of the receiver. Some have a logo that looks like a Gear, some do not, but they are all Imbel that state so. Most will have an Importer stamping as well, to tell who imported it. This is not really important, just the "Imbel" stamping.

I don't know of any FAL receiver that is not marked by the manufacture. It is required by law that they be marked, so if you see one that is not, I would leave it lay

I acutally have a beat up old thumbhole Hesse FAL, with a pitted barrel (it was full of gunk when I bought it and it was my first FAL). I put some US parts on it, restored it to original configuration and it runs fine, and I can hit steel gongs out to 500 yards with it, 15 out of 20 shots, so it does OK. The Hesse receivers are just suspect, less value and are not worth trying to fix, if not operating properly. Barrel timing was a big issue with them, as I understand it. I really doubt you will find a Hesse anymore, but they could be floating around.

June 19, 2007, 11:34 AM
Century-manufactured receiver: (

Imbel receiver (with gear logo) - note that this example was imported by Century, not manufactured by them: (

Ian Sean
June 20, 2007, 12:25 AM
funfaler, The only two receivers that I would bother with are DSA and Imbel.

Dan Coonan (DC Industries) made one heck of a great FAL receiver, just not as many out there...My G-1 is on a Coonan.

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