Cetme v. G3?


January 22, 2004, 10:10 PM
What difference is there between these for range shooting? Who has the best condition Cetmes for sale? Thanks!

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AZ Jeff
January 23, 2004, 12:37 PM
Before I provide an answer, let me emphasize that I will be speaking about the two rifles as originally manufactured by their European factories, NOT as they are "recreated" once the various parts arrive over in the US and are mated to a US-made reciever, etc. Of course, both of these rifles, in the original form, are selective fire, so any version you purchase in the US will be altered to eliminate this feature.

The CETME design PREDATES the G3 design by a few years. Consider it the "father" of the G3 for all practical purposes. It is of Spanish origin, and, when used by the Spanish military, was intended to fire a reduced-power version of the 7.62x51 NATO round. (Later on, most CETME's were upgraded to fire the standard 7.62x51 full-power NATO round.) The CETME featured wooden furniture, and a flip type rear sight. It also had some minor differences in trigger housing attachment methods, and magazine well features when compared to the later G3. Spain was the only major user of the CETME, so these rifles are not as prolific, but none the less, they are quite servicable, and mechanically equivalent of the G3. I am not certain if G3 magazines can be used in the CETME, perhaps others can comment.

The G3 is the H&K derived variant of the CETME. It's primary difference from the CETME is that it was never fitted to fire anything but full power 7.62x51 ammo, it has a different, rotary type, rear peep sight, and plastic furniture. Due to H&K's marketing approach, NUMEROUS countries either bought G3's or became licensee's of H&K that did domestic manufacture of the rifle. Thus, a "G3" could have come from any number of factories, but all of them are built to H&K specs, (on H&K provided tooling). Among the countries who had licenses to build the G3 were: Greece, Portugal, Mexico, Iran, and Thailand(?).

If G3 magazines will work in a CETME, there is no real practical difference in the two rifles. However, if the magazines are NOT interchangeable, then the G3 is a better choice, due to the MUCH greater proliferation of the G3, and hence greater availability of magazines for the rifle.

January 23, 2004, 03:41 PM
CETMEs use a 3-position selector switch where the middle position is safe. So, in a semi version, that puts down for safe and up for fire - odd.

The early Santa Barbara CETME model A were chambered in the odd 7.62x51CETME cartridge. All of the parts kits being imported these days are of the model C variety and were designed from the beginning to use 7.62 NATO ammo. So there's little need to worry about that.

The Santa Barbara CETMEs were unable to accept G3 mags, but most of the current US-made versions seem to use a G3 spec magwell. G3/HK-91s can readily accept CETME mags.

You can say the CETME and G3 are close cousins. The Mauser STG-45 design was refined by Mauser and CETME engineers in Spain after the war. Those refinements produced both rifles (the G3's final refinements were made in Germany when the Mauser engineers returned to form HK).

Here's a site with .pdf manuals on each:


AZ Jeff
January 23, 2004, 04:05 PM
Thanks, Destructo6. You are obviously more current on the subtleties of the CETME than I.

I was unaware that there was actually a model change when Spain began using the full power 7.62x51--I thought it was just a conversion of existing stocks of weapons. Interesting......

January 23, 2004, 04:14 PM
If one gets a CETME today, they can also buy CETME 20 round magazines for $5.00, compared to $15 for G3 magazines.


January 23, 2004, 08:43 PM
G3 mags are in the $2.50-$5/each range these days, depending. New alloy versions can be had for $5 from Interordnance, used steel are $6. It's a great time to be buying G3 mags.

January 27, 2004, 11:13 PM
What is your opinion of the Cetme? ~$300 for a semi-auto .308 battle rifle seems to be a good deal.

January 27, 2004, 11:34 PM
Provided you research them and inspect many of them *thoroughly* until you find one that`s exactly what you want they can be an awesome buy. I passed over a dozen of them or more before I found the one I finally bought. Many of the others may have shot fine but had shoddy looking welds,poor finish etc. Mine is pretty darn good for a Century CETME. In fact a friend of mine has a pre-ban HK-91 and the difference in looks and functioning (once I cleaned it REALLY REALLY WELL and put a few hundred rounds through it) is very small and the CETME is every bit as accurate. Once cleaned and broken it it`s been 100% reliable even with $3 surplus mags. It`s a keeper for sure! Marcus

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