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Has ANYONE had a good experience with a Century Fal or CETME

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Golden Hound, Sep 10, 2008.

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  1. Golden Hound

    Golden Hound Member

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    I have heard and read nothing but bad things about Century's FAL and CETME. Cheap, low quality parts, unreliable, worthless, etc. Not a good thing anywhere. I'm not contemplating buying one but I do wonder of the opinions of those who do own them. Can anyone refute these, or is it true what they say?
     
  2. rfurtkamp

    rfurtkamp Member

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    I worked at a shop locally during the last half of the ban during the heyday of clones, and was the go-to guy in fixing them and their mistakes.

    I wouldn't buy a Cetme. Failure rate was just too high, and inability to use accessories etc plus just general clunkerdom ruled it out. Problems were often multi-systemic - you've get trigger packs/shelf issues plus bolt gap plus alignment problems all in one rifle, and diagnosing and fixing was a nightmare at best.

    The FALs, I never saw one I couldn't fix with $20 worth of parts or less and a half hour of time. Most often it was bad gas FSB/regulator/tube issues. I bought and sold a bunch personally, and still own several plus my beloved unissued STG-58 kit builds.

    Would I pay $650 or whatever market is on Century guns now? Yes, if I didn't already own several.

    Don't expect wonders out of Century FALs, in that the compliance buttstock/furniture is horrid. Don't expect great fit/finish. Expect to tweak the gas to fit your ammo more than, say, a new DSA. For the money, you'll likely get a working rack-grade equivalent rifle.
     
  3. foghornl

    foghornl Member

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    Century Ass-embled CETME?

    Quoth the raven "Nevermore!"

    Had one for 18 months. 17-1/2 of those months were spent in 1 of 3 places
    (1) In transit to Century Service
    (2) On the bench at Century Service
    (3) In transit from Century Service
     
  4. Golden Hound

    Golden Hound Member

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    Grr...sounds like they're the Jennings of rifles.

    Myself, I'm going for the Springfield SAR-3...Greek-made, early model HK91 clone. They say it's literally an HK91 that happens to say Springfield.
     
  5. HorseSoldier

    HorseSoldier Member

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    I have a Century FAL, bought back before I was familiar with their reputation. I've honestly had no problems with it. I've only had one stoppage (after getting the gas tube set properly) in over 1000 rounds through it, and that was a minor one corrected by pogo-ing the rifle on the spot.

    It is definitely not as nicely made as my DSA para, but it runs.

    I don't know that I'd recommend Century though -- lots of people seem to have had problems with them, and I guess I've gotten luckier than many.
     
  6. gotmine

    gotmine Member

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    The only problem with cetme is century's inability to install parts that are up to spec and do it correctly in the rifles they produce. If you want a good one DIY or find an experienced smith.
     
  7. rklessdriver

    rklessdriver Member

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    Century did assemble some of the L1A1 FAL Sporters on IMBEL recievers.

    I bought one back in 1996-97 or so. Never had any problems with it. One of my favorite rifles infact.
    Will
     
  8. kcshooter

    kcshooter Member

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    Like many other mfgr's, you can get a good one, and it's good for life. Or you can get a bad one and it's a consistant nightmare. There seem to be more good than bad.
     
  9. Rio Laxas

    Rio Laxas Member

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    I had an excellent experience with my Century CETME. I bought it for a low price and then traded it for a Ruger #1 in .45-70.

    Seriously though, the one I had didn't have anyting major wrong with it. I just didn't like the ergonomics of the rifle.

    I also had a FAL breifly. That rifle was just fine, though I only shot it on two occasions and then traded it for a Kimber 1911.
     
  10. HGUNHNTR

    HGUNHNTR Member

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    Do yourself a favor.....DSA or PTR91

    Avoid the hassles and headaches.
     
  11. snorko

    snorko Member

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    Yes, I have a Century FAL and it has been flawless with one exception. If I install a DSA scope base/dust cover and tighten down the screws, I get FTE's. Otherwise, in stock condition, it has been flawless over 500-700 rounds. Pretty accurate, though I have never benched it.

    This is my "play" 308. You know, empty five mags as fast as possible, blow up cinder blocks, etc.
     
  12. geojap

    geojap Member

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    I had one of each. Neither one would cycle. It's a shame as both are incredible rifles when they are put together well. The CETME especially showed some real potential, but it was a single-shot Century rifle.
     
  13. surfinUSA

    surfinUSA Member

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    My Century FAL is built with the dreaded Hesse receiver and has still never had a problem since I purchased it in 2001.
     
  14. onebigelf

    onebigelf Member

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    I have a Century "Black Widow" CETME. I've never had a single problem and it's now my "ladies gun" as it is the most pleasant shooting .308 I've ever fired. I personally prefer my kit-built FAL, but wouldn't hesitate to grab the CETME at need and it gets shot quite a bit. I've heard lots of complaints about them, but other than the fact that it eats up brass and throws empties with excessive authority and range it's been great.

    John
     
  15. rbernie
    • Contributing Member

    rbernie Member

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    I have owned two CAI CETME rifles, and two CAI FAL rifles. All four have been 100% in my limited use. I have not poured 10K rounds thru them in a continuous torture test, but each has seen usage and been quite satisfactory.

    Having said that - it is worth noting that I picked these four out of a larger potential pool. I simply did my homework before I bought, and made sure that the CETMEs has an adequate bolt gap with an unground bolt and that the FAL has the widows peak feed ramps, etc. One of my CETMEs had a miscontoured magazine catch, but it was a simply fix to remove the catch, taper it such that the magazines would slide into the mag well properly, and refit the pieces.

    You can find decent CAI rifles, if you are willing to be picky. Not all of their production was crap, but their QA was sufficiently bad that an observable percentage of them were.
     
  16. ftierson

    ftierson Member.

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    I have a couple of CAI CETME rifles...

    Both work very well indeed...

    Having said that, I've seen some real lemons too...

    But mine aren't...

    Forrest
     
  17. SCPigpen

    SCPigpen Member

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    I have seen and heard the horror stories of the Century Cetme's. I'm glad I did not hear about it befor I got mine. The CETME I have is a sweet shooter and was only $350. No bolt problems & accurate as hell. Plus I got an ass load of 762x51 when it was going for 109.99/1k.
     
  18. Ash

    Ash Member

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    Century FAL's are typically okay, not really all that bad, if they are assembled on Imbel or Argentine receivers. Nothing to look at, but they shoot. The Hesse receivers could have feeding issues, but mine did not when I had it. The biggest problem with Century FAL's was the two-piece gas piston, which was a cheap and easy replacement to make.

    CETME's, on the other hand...

    Ash
     
  19. WoofersInc

    WoofersInc Member

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    I have a Century FAL. It is the L1A1 version assembled by Century. I have had no problems with it other than figuring out where to set the gas regulator. Other than that it has run nonstop for me.
     
  20. Ash

    Ash Member

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    The L1a1 sporters were actually pretty good, if not very pretty, rifles.

    Ash
     
  21. Drakejake

    Drakejake Member

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    At present I have two Century Cetmes and three FALs, one of them assembled by Century on their receiver. I think the CETME is a poor design using poor materials, compared to the FAL. But there are many gun nuts with infinite patience and and gunsmithing skills who love the CETME. More power to them. If you must have a CETME, get one with a stainless receiver. You are likely to have fewer problems with these. If you get a Century FAL, get one with an Imbel receiver--this is the heart of a good, solid FAL, in my opinion. To get my FAL with Century receiver to feed properly, I had to spend many hours modifying mags. Century FALS are often out of spec and simply do not allow the rifle to work reliably. My two FALs with Imbel receivers--neither assembled by Century--have been trouble free. In my opinion, the FAL is superior in design and more durable than the CETME, which uses stamped receivers and other more cheaply made parts.

    Drakejake
     
  22. stubbicatt

    stubbicatt Member

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    I had a CETME back in the late 90's, and like one of the previous contributors, I spent as much in shipping as I did for the rifle in sending it back repeatedly to get it to work right, and the sights would just not align.

    That experience has cooled me from ANY CAI rifles ever since.

    Until my Yugo AK, which was accurate and reliable.

    I disagree with the previous poster's comments that the CETME is constructed of cheaper parts and such than is the FAL. A Mars Cetme is a thing of beauty to behold, as is a custom built Cetme. The bolts, carriers, and other small parts are made to exacting tolerances and are very durable. Just 'cuz it's a milled receiver doesn't make it more durable... Several Garands have out of tolerance receivers due to wear. If you can wear out a CETME stamped receiver, I will tip my hat to you. It bears no loads at all sufficient to cause any wear. Any wear in the stamped receiver isn't in the receiver itself, but the trunnion or locking piece or bolt head. ;)

    Enjoy!
     
  23. Janos Dracwlya

    Janos Dracwlya Member

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    I, too, got a Century FAL before I had heard their reputation. Mine was built with an Imbel receiver. It has never given me a single problem and is at least adequately accurate. I'd buy another like it if I could.

    I'd love to have a CETME someday.
     
  24. Cmdr. Gravez0r

    Cmdr. Gravez0r Member

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    Heard a guy talking last weekend about how his Century FAL was stretching in the receiver area and he kept having to to some kind of build-up to keep the head-space right. Hadn't fired it recently for fear of KB.
     
  25. sadp40

    sadp40 Member

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    mine is a imbel receivered century

    never a problem. works like it should. feeds everything i throw at it. is just as good as my buddy's DSA that he paid 3 times what i did for.
     
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