Cetme


PDA






Ironclad
November 9, 2012, 12:37 AM
Does anyone here own a CETME?

I'm considering getting one. Are they reliable and accurate? Are replacement parts available and reasonably priced?

I want a reliable semi auto .308 to shoot quite a bit. AR10s seem a little too steep to me. Would I regret buying a CETME?

If you enjoyed reading about "Cetme" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
nwilliams
November 9, 2012, 01:08 AM
Parts are readily available, most HK G3 parts work on the Cetme. The problem with the CAI built Cetme is their reliability, there are many unhappy Cetme owners out there (myself included) and you will find more negative reviews on them then positive ones. If you can get one for the right price, under $500 then it might be worth the risk but I would make sure that whoever you buy it from will honor a return if it turns out to have problems.

Personally I would look for a PTR-91. They are more expensive than the Cetme but you will be getting a better built gun and stand less chance of being disappointed.

creeper1956
November 9, 2012, 07:20 AM
I want a reliable semi auto .308 to shoot quite a bit. AR10s seem a little too steep to me. Would I regret buying a CETME?
Unless you're a risk taker, inveterate gun tinkerer and want to spend a lot of time here (http://www.militaryfirearm.com/Forum/forumdisplay.php?23-Cetme-HK)... do what nwilliams tells you and go right past the CAI guns and directly to PTR-91 Inc (http://www.ptr91.com/products).

GBExpat
November 9, 2012, 07:39 AM
I own 2 CETMEs (one, each, cast & stamped receiver) that I purchased a little over a decade ago. On one of those (stamped) I had to do some minor fitting prior to it working reliably.

Quite frankly, I would not buy one now unless it was from a friend and, preferably, one with which I had had some range time.

They are, however, sweet-shooting rifles. A bit heavy, but recoil is surprisingly low, especially compared to their HK cousins.

Jeff H
November 9, 2012, 08:16 AM
I want a reliable semi auto .308 to shoot quite a bit. AR10s seem a little too steep to me. Would I regret buying a CETME?

My brother has owned a couple over the years and all of them seemed to have their quirks and not quite run right. The last one he had was very cantankerous about ammo selection and wouldn't cycle correctly without a heavy grain bullet. It was sent off to a gunsmith once and still wouldn't work 100% all the time. The sights were also off pretty far thanks to Century.

He owns an Armalite AR10 now and is very happy.

Lloyd Smale
November 9, 2012, 08:43 AM
I had two. both good guns. But then i knew what to look for when buying them. the qualtiy control on them is all over the place and theres some real junk out there and some that are even dangerous.

UKWildcats
November 9, 2012, 09:05 AM
I had one from CAI -- it was reliable for me, but maybe I was lucky -- Issues:
-- destroys brass by the fluted chamber, so reloading for it is useless (at least mine did)
-- hard to scope, upper receiver is thin sheet metal and just is not stout to clamp to

For the price of the PTR you could find a M1A or a AR10 style rifle (Rock River/DPMS/etc)
-- I picked up a M1A a couple of years ago for $1100 and sold off the extra to get the price to $850
---- USGI M1 Cheek Pad for $50
---- E2 Birch Stock for $200 (that was dumb of me)
---- It came with a Eagle Gun Bag, which was a big plus since it is a dam nice bag.


If you want the CETME bring feeler gauges -- the bolt should have 0.01" to 0.015" gap with the bolt in the fired condition.

Mags are cheap -- I purchased 20rnd mags for about $5 back then

The CAI butt stock is crap -- mine broke. The butt stock is one of the US made parts that is required to get the US made part count up the minumum ATF requirement.

It was fun to shoot though -- when I had it 7.62 ammo was cheap at about $0.15/rnd (dam those were the day)


UK

animator
November 9, 2012, 10:12 AM
Got several of them. They're fun to shoot if you have a cheap source of ammo.


I have one Century that has run flawlessly. I have built quite a few more from 80%s that also work amazingly well.


They're fun for what they are, but they're not going to be as accurate as an AR in 308, or the M1a. Don't take that to mean that they are not accurate though, because they certainly are accurate for a battle rifle. And if you find one with an American-made barrel, those barrels have actually been quite impressive in my experience. I put a PTR-91 barrel on one of my builds, and that one has been tack-sharp in terms of performance.


If you can look before you buy, bring a feeler gauge and set of calipers. Feeler gauge is to check bolt gap. Calipers are to check the length of the bolt head. Some century cetmes had their bolt heads ground down a bit to make an in-spec gap. This is wrong, and bolts with ground heads should be replaced.


I forget the overall length of the bolt head, but it's easily available on the internet...


If the bolt gap is off, it's not necessarily a deal-breaker, just know that you'll need to get the correct +\- size rollers to bring the gap back into spec. Do not use headspace gauges when checking bolt gap.

primalmu
November 9, 2012, 10:24 AM
If I could afford to shoot a .308 semi-automatic I could also afford to buy an AR10.

Driftertank
November 9, 2012, 10:52 AM
I also think money'd be better spent on a PTR-91 GI. New rifle, fairly reputable manufacturer, no monkey work in the build. But then i'm kinda biased.

trigga
November 9, 2012, 11:18 AM
i bought one for $150 two years ago from my cousin, what a great gun. Very reliable and still in great shape. One mag is bad but they are cheap. My only complaint is that it's heavy.

armoredman
November 9, 2012, 11:44 AM
I bought a CETME from Century some years ago, through J&G. It fired one full magazine, and quit working, wouldn't seat a magazine, nada. I called J&G who referred me to Century. I bought this rifle brand new, and was told it was OUT of warranty. See, the warranty starts when the rifle is BUILT, not when it is SOLD, so it ran out it's one year warranty sitting on their distributor's shelf. Century was massively unhelpful. I found a tinkerer who gave me almost what I paid for it, and I heard he did get it running again some years later, but I expect a new rifle to work out of the box, and a manufacturer to provide support. Silly me.
I wouldn't touch anything that says CETME on it unless it's a MARS import rifle.

adelbridge
November 9, 2012, 12:13 PM
I owned a CAI Cetme and i shot it a few times. I had one case head separation and needed to buy a broken shell extractor. I am guessing excess head space due to poor build quality. They are heavy and have a nasty military grade trigger and not the most accurate gun. I would highly recommend you save a little longer and get Browning BAR variant SX AR or FN FAR. You could probably build an AR-10 for under $1k as well. Seems like you had your heart set on AR-10 and you probably regret buying a Cetme.

DeMilled
November 9, 2012, 12:23 PM
Does anyone here own a CETME?

I'm considering getting one. Are they reliable and accurate? Are replacement parts available and reasonably priced?

I want a reliable semi auto .308 to shoot quite a bit. AR10s seem a little too steep to me. Would I regret buying a CETME?



Have you taken a good look at the FN FAL?
They have a lot going for them!

Acera
November 9, 2012, 01:13 PM
Sold my Cetme, love my FALs.

Never could get comfortable with that gun.

wojownik
November 9, 2012, 01:29 PM
Had a CETME many moons ago. Probably the least reliable rifle I have owed (so far).

My pet name for the rifle was the "UPCETME" ... because it had so many dang issues.

animator
November 9, 2012, 01:42 PM
I owned a CAI Cetme and i shot it a few times. I had one case head separation and needed to buy a broken shell extractor. I am guessing excess head space due to poor build quality. They are heavy and have a nasty military grade trigger and not the most accurate gun. I would highly recommend you save a little longer and get Browning BAR variant SX AR or FN FAR. You could probably build an AR-10 for under $1k as well. Seems like you had your heart set on AR-10 and you probably regret buying a Cetme.
Cetmes headspace on the breech face, so there is no headspacing that can be off. They are either in spec or not in spec by what their bolt gap reads.


Broken cases in a CETME suggest commercially-loaded hunting rounds were fired through it. These cases can be much weaker than mil-surplus, and are more likely to rip apart on extraction.


Another possible cause could be dirty chamber fluting. If the chamber fluting is filled with buildup, the gases in the chamber cannot help "float" the casing out of the chamber during extraction, and will result in a ripped case.


A third cause could be a bolt gap that is too large, causing inadequate lockup, allowing the bolt to unlock before pressures have dropped to a safe level for extraction.

jr_watkins
November 9, 2012, 02:30 PM
I bought a used CAI CETME for $500 a few years ago and have been overall happy with it. Mags are really cheap and I managed to stock up on a bunch of milsurp ammo before the price went nuts. Shoots the Russian steel, WWB, Hornady steel, as well as the better Federal Gold Medal match.

I did replace the rollers to increase the bolt gap into spec. Doing so was a learning process that I enjoyed and I now really understand the mechanism (delayed blowback). Parts have been easily obtained.

Scope mounting is possible using several methods, but all of them mess up the balance of the arm. My conflict was that the rifle shot too well for just iron sights, so I did mount and still have a 4X12 scope on it and just deal with the top heavy annoyance.

Mine also destroys brass (big gouge on one side) on extraction as the process is so violent, but it works 100%.

Loud! Not for the shooter, but anyone on either side at the range tends to migrate away.

IMO, if you can find one in the $500 price range, it is worth the gamble. Even better if you can shoot it first.

Giterboosted
November 9, 2012, 10:12 PM
Ill be honest with you, mine is the only one I've ever shot and have no real experience other than with mine, but I came across one in the back room at work that had been there over ten years, needed minor repair, so I talked to the boss and took it home and fixed it, took maybe twenty minutes, boss said "you fixed it its yours for 200$"

I've been very very pleased with mine, it is quite a bit older tho, don't know if it makes a difference but it shoots good enough that I'd have been pleased had I paid 500 or 600

mf-dif
November 9, 2012, 11:18 PM
Is the main issue on these the rollers like the c93?

Lloyd Smale
November 10, 2012, 07:41 AM
another ammo related cause that few know about is the fact that these guns werent designed to run at the pressure level comercial 308s are loaded to. the ammo that they were designed around runs at about 45000 psi. Run ammo at that level and they will run flawlusly and they are near so hard on your brass either. If your going to run comercial ammo youd best tape a stuck case remover somewhere on the gun. YOUR GOING TO NEED IT!Cetmes headspace on the breech face, so there is no headspacing that can be off. They are either in spec or not in spec by what their bolt gap reads.


Broken cases in a CETME suggest commercially-loaded hunting rounds were fired through it. These cases can be much weaker than mil-surplus, and are more likely to rip apart on extraction.


Another possible cause could be dirty chamber fluting. If the chamber fluting is filled with buildup, the gases in the chamber cannot help "float" the casing out of the chamber during extraction, and will result in a ripped case.


A third cause could be a bolt gap that is too large, causing inadequate lockup, allowing the bolt to unlock before pressures have dropped to a safe level for extraction.

303 hunter
November 10, 2012, 09:39 AM
My Cetme was decent,but had a few issues. My FAL and Saiga 308 are very reliable and more accurate. The Saiga's are getting hard to find,but you can get one in the $500 range. Mine has the side scope mount and 4-12x40 Nikon.

armoredman
November 11, 2012, 12:36 AM
The biggest problem with a Century CETME is the ground bolt. Century gunsmiths didn't want to replace worn bolt rollers, so instead they ground off the back of the bolt to achieve proper bolt gap. You can see if yours is ground by pulling it off, and if the back is perfectly flat, it's ground. Unground will have beveled edges. This "solution" works, but poorly. +4 replacement rollers are what's usually needed to rectify the situation, IRRC. There was an excellent surplus rifle site with a big section on CETMEs, and how to fix them.

MachIVshooter
November 11, 2012, 12:59 AM
I'm one of the lucky ones. I bought a CIA C91 Sporter in 2004 for $399 new at a gun show. I picked up a few mags and a B-Square mount, then took it home and plopped an extra 4.5-14x scope I had on it. With most ammo, the thing is 1-1.5 MOA, and it has printed clover leafs @ 100 yards on several occasions. It's also proved quite reliable.

However, it seems that for every success story like mine, there are dozens that didn't shoot or run so well.

http://i110.photobucket.com/albums/n117/Hunter2506/Rifles2.jpg

HorseSoldier
November 11, 2012, 01:20 AM
Every gun that Century builds and ships isn't screwed up, but they have a decidedly poor track record compared to higher end manufacturers and, as was noted earlier in the thread, sketchy customer service. The CETME seems like a particularly noteworthy example of poor workmanship, poor QC, and poor customer service from them. I'd consider it a two-strike sort of situation and would only consider buying one of them if I was able to go over it in detail for the issues that have already been discussed in the thread.

US Cavalry (Retired)
December 23, 2012, 09:18 PM
I would have to agree that a HK 91 would be a better deal although I bought a CETME and I was lucky to get one that just doesn't seem to have any problems just needed replacement of parts that do wear out (rollers).

If you enjoyed reading about "Cetme" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!