MarColMar and HMG Cetme L a Detailed Comparison

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Combloc1, Feb 9, 2019.

  1. Combloc1

    Combloc1 Member

    Oct 8, 2017
    Let me warn you right off the line....this is going to be a long photo essay. And bear with me in this first post because a fair amount of commentary is needed before we get to the gun porn. This write-up is really intended to be a detailed look at the recently released Cetme L by MarColMAr Firearms (MCM). In truth, this rifle is more of a reproduction than a semi-auto rebuild of the Spanish Cetme L from a parts kit. I say that because much of the rifle is newly manufactured including, but not limited to, the receiver, barrel, furniture, trigger pack, magazine and a few other bits (we'll get to the full list of US made parts in a bit). Now, that's not a put down of this offering in any way. In fact, according to the owner of MarColMar, Dave Bane, this new rifle is actually superior to the original because of various upgrades including modern polymer furniture, a hammer forged barrel, better quality springs, and a host of other small changes intended to make the design more robust and reliable. Given MarColMar's track record, I tend to take Mr. Bane's word for it. I'll find out though once I get it to the range for testing and I will update this essay at that time.

    Ideally, I would have an original rifle to compare this one to but, unless one of you guys has one lying around I can get my grubby paws on, we'll have to settle for one of the Hill & Mac Gunworks (HMG) specimens released back in late 2016. Unfortunately, only 100 of those were made by HMG, although for a while they did also offer a "build from your kit" service and a "builder's kit" if you wanted to do it yourself. So, while they only officially produced 100, there is a fair, albeit unknown, number more than that floating around. These rifles were essentially a kit gun built from very good condition imported parts sets using only the minimum number of required US parts. As such, they looked fairly used right out of the box with scratched up furniture and worn finish on many of the parts. For many, myself included, that was OK though because you knew you were getting something as close as possible to the original form. Besides, a little patina added to the looks if you ask me. The best part of all is that, despite the slightly used appearance, the HMG rifle is very accurate (I get more accuracy with mine than I do my HK93) and generally very reliable. Mine is over 99% reliable so long as I use GI magazines with strong springs. However, old worn magazine springs is another matter causing all kinds of weird misfeeds or even no feeds when the magazine is near empty. But Brownell's will fix you right up with new springs cheap and your AMG (it's painted green so it's an Army Man Gun) will run like a top again; at least mine does.

    Now, simply putting a parts kit back together to make a legal functioning rifle was not good enough for MarColMar. They have built a reputation over the years for crafting what could essentially pass for a new firearm out of a decades old retired and torch cut pile of surplus parts. They only select the best parts kits its to begin with. Then they carefully modify the design to make it an ATF compliant semi-auto while preserving the look and feel of the original. This includes in-depth testing and ongoing development until they are satisfied that the end product will look, feel and function at least as well as the original was intended to. While sorting through the kits and developing the prototypes, any components which do not meet their aesthetic or functional standards are reproduced using the best possible materials so that they are as good or better than original factory parts. Only once they have everything finalized and sourced do they move on to production. MCM feels it's far better to delay a release date in order to work all the bugs out of design and logistics than it is to release a flawed product on time. Production itself is done using the most modern methods (including a welding robot on the Cetme L) and materials. The end result is a firearm that looks and functions as good or better than the originals did decades ago. According to Dave Bane, that's always been their standard way of doing things and that's the standard they've held their new Cetme L to as well.

    So, did MarColMar succeed? Well....I don't fully know.....yet; but I will once I get some rounds through it. I will say though, it LOOKS very, very nice; not perfect mind you, but it's pretty darn close. So far, I have no regrets about how I spent my money. There are a few things to nit-pick and believe me, I will. But that's my self-appointed job, to show every little detail, both good and bad, so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not you want to spend your hard earned money on one. I will not be discussing price. You can easily look this rifle up in any search engine and find both MarColMar's website and any vendors selling them. As stated, my intention is to show you this rifle in detail so that you can make up your own mind about whether or not you wish to purchase one. Also, as stated, the HMG rifle is no longer in production or available from HMG. I include it here for comparison purposes only so that you can see the obvious difference between a rifle put together out of a parts set and one remanufactured to be as new.

    This pre-firing write-up will take some time and multiple posts to complete so keep checking back to see new material. I'll let you know when I'm done and I'll update with range reports once I get my wussy butt to the range.....I hate the cold and there's no revolution currently going on so I can be picky about weather. Let's get started shall we?
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  2. Combloc1

    Combloc1 Member

    Oct 8, 2017
    I spent so much of my extremely limited intellectual capital crafting the previous post that this first round of pictures is going to be limited! I have somewhere around 100 to post though so prepared to be bored out of your mind. Also, when referring to MarColMar, I will often use the abbreviation MCM and, when referring to Hill & Mac Gunworks, I will often use the abbreviation HMG. Also, because these rifles are green and my favorite toys when I was a kid were army men with little green rifles, I will often refer to the Cetme L as an Army Man Gun, or AMG for short. Hey, the facts that it's green, is made out of stamped metal (AKA origami gun), and is a roller lock are the top three reasons I wanted one in the first place. It also has a cool '80s angular look and I had a blast back in then! I'm strange.

    So, when you get to the gun shop and it's gun Christmas (any day you go to the shop to pick up a new firearm is gun Christmas day), this is the sight that will greet you:
    Yay!!! It's a brown cardboard box!

    Opening the box reveals your new toy well nestled in foam with a bunch of other stuff:
    The magazine is a current production aluminum one made by Okay Industries, a government contractor as far as I know. Also included was a warning card telling you that you can shoot your eye out if you aren't careful, a warranty registration card, sample bottle of gun lube, a gun lock and the owner's manual.

    Let's take a closer look at the manual. I'm not going to post every page but trust me, it's well done. It's actually two manuals in one. The first half was done by MCM and covers some really interesting stuff. Besides the usual how to disassemble and how to clean sections, there is one on the History of the original rifle and some really informative text about the production of this new AMG including which parts are new US made. The second half is an English translation of an original Spanish manual complete with lots of pretty color pictures.

    Some examples of the MCM half:




    Some examples of the translated Spanish half:


    Next up is a general side view of both the MCM AMG (top in each picture) and the HMG version (bottom in each picture):


    That's it for tonight. I'll be back at it tomorrow evening. See you then!
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  3. saiga308

    saiga308 Member

    Jan 18, 2018
    trucker long hauling everywhere LOL
    Combloc1 likes this.
  4. ifit

    ifit Member

    Sep 28, 2008
    Awesome, can't wait for more pics and opinions. Cool you got both
    Demi-human and Combloc1 like this.
  5. saiga308

    saiga308 Member

    Jan 18, 2018
    trucker long hauling everywhere LOL
    ill like mine to have it with a rail and foregrip also like this
    Combloc1 likes this.
  6. Combloc1

    Combloc1 Member

    Oct 8, 2017
    Before we get into looking at the rest of the AMG, lets start with magazines. It is well known that the Achilles heel of the original rifle was the steel magazines. Apparently, quality control on them was less than stellar and it was common for troops to try and get ahold of as many foreign magazines as they could when on field exercises with other nations. It seems to me that part of the problem also comes from the fact that the magazine well is so deep and has zero flare to it. I imagine it's kinda like wearing a pair of skinny jeans....there isn't much room down there for anything larger than twig legs. Consequently, there is very little tolerance for a magazine less than perfectly sized. Polymers generally won't work. Theoretically, steel magazines should work (remember that the original ones were steel) and any properly made aluminum GI magazine should as well. Now, according to my research, which could well be wrong, the geometry on original Spanish magazines was ever so slightly different than the geometry on magazines used by other NATO countries. MCM says that they have changed the design ever so slightly to accommodate US made aluminum GI magazines but they recommend in the manual that "new AR-15/M-16 STANAG magazines be used with your CETME L, from the same provider we have packaged with your rifle." An OKAY Industries magazine is what was provided and, while it is a bit snug and will not drop free, it pulls out pretty easily once you depress the magazine release button and there is no discernible rock when seated. Sooooo let's see what we get when we try other GI magazines made from both steel and aluminum in both AMG's

    Including the magazine provided by MCM I tested a total of 28. The breakdown was as follows:


    FN x4
    Beretta x2
    CETME x2
    FN x1
    Colt x5
    D&H Tactical x2
    Sanchez Enterprises x1
    Center Industries x4
    Adventure Line x5
    Parson's Precision Products x1
    OKAY Industries x1

    Below are the results of my HIGHLY SCIENTIFIC and NASA QUALITY testing facility.

    In the HMG AMG:
    All 28 fit and locked in. All 28 ranges from almost drop free to ever so slightly snug. All ranged from zero to minimal rocking when seated. Will all 28 reliably function? NO. I have no interest in testing all of these magazines for function. I've put about 300 rounds through this rifle so far. 100 of them were through 5 random used magazines. I had one or two stoppages but the main problem was that the rifle simply stopped stripping rounds out of the magazines when they were down to about 2-4 rounds left in them. The other 200 rounds were through new D& H tactical magazines. I had 2 stoppages and had no problems running the magazines down to empty. I have some new springs on the way from Brownell's and I'll start trying them out in in used GI magazines in the spring. I also plan to try the steel FN and CETME magazines out too.

    In the MCM rifle:
    13 aluminum and 3 steel magazines seated. They ranged from slightly snug, through pretty tight to gorilla tight. The OKAY Industries one fit the best of all. None exhibited any rocking when seated.

    12 would not seat, including both original Spanish magazines. Some would almost seat and couple I could probably force to seat but I would pay hell trying to get them out. Some would barely start into the magazine well.

    Here's the front of the OKAY Industries magazine after a few insertions:

    And the rear spine:
    The finish is already worn down to the metal.

    Here are a few view into the magazine well of the MCM after trying out all the magazines:



    And the magazine well of the HMG after a whole lot more magazine insertions:



    Notice that, while both show rubbing, especially along the front surface, the MCM one shows a lot more overall black marks from rubbing the finish off the magazines whereas the HMG shows more wear to it's own finish. Also, there seemed to be no rhyme or reason to what would and what would not fit into the MCM well. For example, two of the Center Industries magazines fit while two would not. Some of the Colt magazines fit while others would not. Three of the steel ones fit while five did not. The fact is that the MCM rifle has a substantially tighter magazine well than the HMG offering. The good thing is, OKAY Industries magazines are cheap and readily available. Besides, this is a range toy, not something you are going to take into combat and MCM recommends that you use the OKAY magazines anyways. So just buy yourself a few and forget about it. That should eliminate any problems regarding magazine fitment and save you a lot of potential frustration.

    In the next post, we'll start taking a close up look at the furniture.
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  7. Combloc1

    Combloc1 Member

    Oct 8, 2017
    Next up is furniture. When I heard MCM was going to replace all of the furniture with US made bits, it did not sit well with me because I was concerned they might try to "improve" the ergonomics or make some other change for one reason or another. According to Dave Bane, much of the original furniture was not only beat up but was degrading. Obviously, I didn't see any of it but I can understand his position and take him at his word. Plus, MCM wanted to bring a new condition product to the market, not something that looked like it had already been used right out of the box. I get that. While I personally like patina on a firearm, I understand that many people expect to receive a new condition item when they pay new condition prices. Well, I'll say right here before even posting the comparison pictures that, in my opinion, MarColMar has knocked the ball out of the park with their reproduction of original CETME furniture. In the end, I was worried about nothing and the final result exceeded my expectations. Let's start with the stock.

    In these first two photos, the MCM part is shown below an original:

    I included the recoil springs too in the first picture. I know that MCM had new springs produced and I believe that the HMG springs were new made as well. The rubber butt pad is shaped a little differently but I have seen slightly different butt pads in pictures of original rifles so there must have been some variation including ones that looked like the one MCM has produced. The color is slightly different but I have seen all kinds of variation on originals too so the MCM color looks fine to me. The MCM exhibits less shine but it's not made of the same polymer either so I can't expect it to have the same shine now can I? Look at the form though! As far as I can tell, every single angle, every nuance of the various edge radii has been reproduced perfectly.

    Here, are looking into the front of the stocks with the MCM on the right:
    Again, everything is perfectly reproduced.

    One is a mirror image of the other. MCM is on the right:
    Besides the geometric features, this picture also illustrates the slight difference in surface texture between the two. While the Spanish stock is not perfectly smooth either, the MCM is just a hair more textured. Without both in hand though, I doubt most people would notice a difference.

    This picture illustrates the fact that even the mold ejector pin markings or in nearly the same place:
    If you look very carefully you may notice that an original stock has a perfectly uniform color while the MCM does exhibit just a hint of hue variation here and there.

    Even the sprue mark is in about the same place along the bottom of the stock:
    This shows some real attention to detail and things like this really matter to purists. A big thumbs up to MarColMar here!

    The MCM butt pad is at top:
    MCM used allen screws for attachment. The flat head screws shown on the original pad are HMG replacements. Originals would have been slotted too but with a phosphate finish.

    Butt pad removed:
    The "80" seen on the original stock was put there by HMG and denoted the rifle serial number. Both stocks have brass inserts for the screws with the originals being hex shaped and the MCM one being round. The lower cavity is identical between the two but there is some slight variation in the shape and size of the upper two. Meh, you never see it anyways.

    Manufacturer's mark:

    Interior side of butt plates:
    Both have steel inserts.
  8. Combloc1

    Combloc1 Member

    Oct 8, 2017
    Next up in furniture on floor two we have handguards. Before we look at the handguard itself, I want to say something about the finish on the steel heat shield and the take down pins.

    Here is the heat shield with the MCM above:
    Both have a phosphate finish but the MCM one is a dark grey while the HMG is much lighter. I'm positive that the HMG one has the original finish but I don't know about the MCM and the manual is silent on this point. There are a very few scratches here and there on the exposed surfaces (not shown) so I am inclined to believe that it is sporting the original finish too but your guess is as good as mine.

    The take down pins look awfully good too:
    Compared to the HMG pins on the left, the MCM pins look new. Maybe they were from an essentially unissued rifle or maybe MCM refinished them. Maybe some poor lost HK is out there in the wilderness looking in vain for its take down pins with absolutely no idea that they were stolen long ago by the Spaniards. I don't know. The two longest ones are for the stock and the shortest one holds the front of the trigger box in place. The remaining one is for the hand guard.

    Moving on to the polymer part of the handguard, here we see the rear with the MCM on the left:
    Notice that the mold is clearly different from the original as is evidenced by the mold lines. However, unless you are crazy detail oriented like me, the two are going to look identical. Again, MCM has done a wonderful job here at staying true to the original form.

    Front with MCM still on the left:
    Mold lines between the two are near identical but the left ventilation hole on the MCM is slightly smaller than the one on the right. No biggie.

    Right side view. MCM is on top:
    Notice that the mark where the sprue attached is in almost the exact same place.

    Left side view MCM on top:
    As with the stock, the mold ejector pins are in the same area. The various details are almost dead on with the largest difference being the ends of the small finger grooves. The ends of the MCM grooves rise up like ramps to meet the main surface of the handguard while the original ends stop abruptly in a 180 degree radius. This is an example of one of those things that matters not one bit but I did say at the beginning of the write-up that I was going to nit-pick.

    Interior of handguard:
    Again we see that the original used hex shaped brass inserts as opposed to round ones on the reproduction. I didn't bother to take a picture but the heat shield is held in by hex screws on the MCM and simple slotted screws on the original. They will not interchange as originals used metric threads as opposed to standard on the MCM. I didn't try them out but I would wager it's the same story with the butt pad screws.

    Manufacturer's mark:

    That's it for tonight. I'll pick it back up tomorrow. Have a good night!
  9. bfoosh006

    bfoosh006 Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Excellent review. Thank You for your time and effort... seriously.
    <*(((>< and Combloc1 like this.
  10. HB

    HB Member

    Dec 18, 2007
    St. Louis, MO
    Very good write up and very imformative. Ive never hears of these rifles.
    Combloc1 likes this.
  11. ifit

    ifit Member

    Sep 28, 2008
    Wow....awesome job and very much appreciated
    Combloc1 likes this.
  12. Combloc1

    Combloc1 Member

    Oct 8, 2017
    The last piece of furniture we need to look at is the pistol grip. As with the rest of the polymer parts, they did a fantastic job and only real sticklers for detail will notice any differences between the MCM made part and an original.

    First up is the left side. MCM part is on the left:
    The raised ribs between the grooves are slightly rounded on the original while they are flat on the reproduction. Also notice that the original has a mold ejection pin mark starting in the fourth groove down, running over the fourth rib and into the fifth groove while the MCM has no such mark.

    Right side:
    The MCM grip has two ejector pin marks, one large one above the grooves and one small one at the bottom front. The original has no such marks.

    Looking down into the top of the grips, we see that they are pretty much identical. MCM is still on the left:

    Front of grip. MCM is on top:
    Both show a mark in approximately the same place where they were removed from the sprue.

    Bottom and bottom/rear 3/4 view of grips with MCM on top:

    Mold lines differ somewhat between the two but all of the contours are dead on.

    Last grip picture showing the manufacturer's mark. The star shaped pattern around the allen head bolt hole is where a star shaped lock washer digs in: P1160587_zpsmpgnwang.jpg

    Moving on to some internal parts now. I'm not going to tear the bolt assemblies apart and show you each part because both are original and, as far as I can tell, both have an identical rough phosphate finish which leads me to believe it's the original finish as applied in Spain. There are a couple things of note though.
    First up is a picture looking at the bottom of the bolt assemblies with the MCM one on top:
    Notice the HMG milled away the right rear corner of the carrier while MCM left it alone. This is the part of the carrier that trips the full auto sear. Interestingly, pretty much every roller lock manufacturer removes this area on semi-auto only firearms whether it be made by HK, MKE, or POF but MCM decided it wasn't necessary and the ATF clearly approved it this way so it's good to go.

    In this picture, we again see the MCM unit on top:
    The salient thing to notice here is the fact that the finish on the extractor springs differs between the two with the HMG being in the white while the MCM is either blued or nitrided. I assume that both manufacturers have replaced the factory springs with new ones. Although it is not shown, I believe both have replaced the firing pin, recoil and buffer springs as well. The "80" on the nose of the HMG carrier was put there by them and is the serial number of the rifle.
    <*(((>< likes this.
  13. Combloc1

    Combloc1 Member

    Oct 8, 2017
    Next up is the fire control box. HMG used an original box and simply modified it to semi-auto only purposes. Conversely, MCM went full bore and manufactured an entirely new box body while still using original internal parts (except for the springs which are new) which were modified to operate in semi-auto only mode. The intention of both manufacturers was to make sure that an original full automatic box would not fit into the receiver. This was, of course, and ATF requirement. Let's see how they did it.

    First up is a left side view with the MCM on top:
    Both are aluminum and both look almost identical except that the MCM looks brand new because, well, it IS brand new. Look carefully at the HMG box and you will see an illegible ghost of the original factory serial number starting just behind the hammer pin and running just above the trigger pin. Looking at them from this side, both look in form as the did from the factory.

    The right side is where we see just how much both boxes deviate from the original design:
    How? We will consider each one separately in a moment. But before we do, notice that, other than the aesthetic condition, there is one obvious difference between the boxes. Notice that the empty hole where the fire selector axle fits is smaller on the MCM box. This was done so that a full auto selector switch will not fit into the box. We'll look at the MCM modified selector lever in a bit. I also want to bring to your attention the two tabs, one sticking out the front of both boxes and another at the rear, with holes in them. These holes are where retaining pins pass through the receiver to hold the box in place. The rear pin also passes through the front bushing in the butt stock.

    First, is the HMG box close up:
    If you look at the top edge of the box, you will see that it steps down starting slightly rear of the trigger pin and continues all the way to the front of the box. This was done by HMG to create clearance for a blocker bar that was welded up inside the receiver.

    Here is a picture of the blocking bar:
    We are looking up into the bottom of the receiver. To the left is the rear of the magazine well. The spring we see to the left provides tension for the magazine release mechanism while the spring seen on the right is the tensioner for the bolt hold open device. The blocking bar is in the middle of the photo. If you were to try and fit a select fire box up into the receiver, it would hit this bar and stop. The step HMG cut into their semi-auto only box allows it to seat without hitting the blocking bar. Got it?? I hope so. While we're looking at this picture, I want to point out a design detail; one that is part of the original rifle as designed by CETME. Notice that the area where the fire control box retaining pin and magazine release bar passes through the receiver is strengthened with additional metal for durability. If additional steel had not been added in this area, it wouldn't hold up to use for very long. In fact, the entire rear of the magazine well is a milled block welded in place and these strengtheners are part of that block. A lot more goes into the design and production of origami firearms than meets the eye. I love little details like these.

    MCM did essentially the same thing but went about it a different way. Here is a closeup of the front right side of their fire control box:
    Notice that, instead of milling away part of the top edge, they milled away part of the entire front side of the box.

    And here is the corresponding area within the receiver:
    Instead of a bar, MCM chose extend the milled strengthener block toward the rear of the receiver thus creating what I call a "restrictor plate" because it restricts an unmodified select fire control box from fitting into the receiver. In addition, it (in theory) does double duty as an aid in reassembly of the rifle. The idea is that there is supposed to be a precision fit between the restrictor plate and the corresponding cutout in the fire control box. When they are fit together, the holes in the receiver and the hole in the box should align perfectly so that the retaining pin pops right through. I say "in theory" above because it doesn't quite work out all the time with my rifle. It's close and sometimes the retaining pin presses right through the holes and seats perfectly. But sometimes, it just ain't going for love nor money. Then, you have to remove the pin and wiggle things around a bit before reinserting the pin. With enough fidgeting, it goes together. Whatever you do though, DO NOT beat on the retaining pin if it doesn't easily slide through. It's not designed to be beat on and you WILL screw up your rifle sooner rather than later. You have been warned!
    To be fair, my rifle is new and clearly pretty tight. I expect things to loosen up with use and maybe this issue will correct itself as things wear in. Whatever the case, it is far less fidgety to reassemble than the HMG design but some amount of frustration is always going to be there. It's just an artifact of the original CETME design. When you buy an AMG, you just have to embrace the fidget...….no matter who made it!

    Here is a detail shot showing the milling marks on the side of the MCM box:
    I like it because it reminds me of the purely aesthetic jeweling you see on the inside of many nicer Quality mechanical watches. Whether they did it this way in order to cut production costs or for some other reason I do not know. I only know that I think it looks neat.

    Here is a comparison shot of the finish difference on the steel trigger guard between the MCM on the left and the HMG on the right: P1160577_zpskuhaz6wx.jpg
    I know without question that the grey phosphate finish on the HMG part is original. I do not know if the much darker finish on the MCM is original or whether it has been refinished. What I do know is that it matches the finish on the handguard heat shield.

    The last things we are going to look at in this post are the safety selectors.

    Here is the HMG:
    As far as I can tell, this is exactly as it left the factory.

    And the MCM:
    Theirs appears to be modified in two ways. The first thing was the addition of a pin running parallel to the axle shaft. I assume this was done so that it will not interact with full automatic parts should they be fitted to the fire control box. The second modification was turning down the circumference at the end of the axle where it fits into the right side of the box. This precludes fitting of an unmodified full auto selector switch into the box.

    This last picture of the night shows the two selector levers side by side for easier comparison. MCM is on the left:

    That's it for this post. The last things we will be looking at are all external. This will include receiver details, sights, barrels and a couple o few other things. It will probably take two or three more posts but we'll get there. As always, thank you for your time!

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
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  14. jobu07
    • Contributing Member

    jobu07 Contributing Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Adams County, PA
    Awesome write up. I've often toyed with picking up the L.
    shoobe01 likes this.
  15. Combloc1

    Combloc1 Member

    Oct 8, 2017
    Alrighty then. I've been drinking whiskey this evening and I'm feeling a bit like Jim Morrison but we're going to make a go at it! Let's look at some stuff!!

    We'll start with the 3 pronger flash hider thingees.

    This first picture has the HMG produced jobber in focus:
    It works fine and looks nice but it's nowhere near what an original looks like. It came loose the first time I was out at the range so I put it back on with blue Loctite and it hasn't come loose since.

    The one on the MCM rifle is an original:
    It's clearly different than the HMG offering and, because it's original, it's more neato!

    Tis is just a general shot of the barrel finish. The MCM is on the right:
    I don't know much about the HMG barrel but I can tell you, it's more accurate than my HK93 in my hands. The MCM barrel is hammer forged, nitride and has a 1in 7 twist. I expect it to perform admirably.

    Here we see the new made MCM front sight post on the left and an original on the right:
    Notice that they have made it thinner for more precise aiming. They have also modified the design so that the adjustment detent engages only along the bottom of the post instead of running up along the side. I haven't taken it apart but I assume there are more positions built into the post so that it can be dialed in more accurately. It's a nice feature.

    While we are looking at sights, here is an original rear sight aperture set to 200 meters:

    And the MCM aperture set to 200:
    Notice that it's larger. That's because MCM has reamed it out a bit to give you a better sight picture. It's a small thing but trust me, it's nicer with the slightly larger aperture. The 400 meter apertures are both as they left the factory. I wish MCM had painted in the "2" and "4" like it was originally but they did not. It's an easy fix though.

    An interesting difference between my HMG and the MCM is the fact that the MCM has retained the divot in the rear sight base allowing the mounting of a scope rail while HMG filled this space in.
    Now, it's entirely possible that HMG had nothing to do with this and the sight base on my HMG rifle may simply have never been cut for a scope rail to begin with. I simply do not know. Whatever the case, I can mount a scope on my MCM rifle with the proper scope mount but I will never be able to do so on my HMG. That's OK though as I really don't plan to mount a scope anyways.

    But I'm getting ahead of myself. I'm supposed to be starting at the front and working my way back. so let's get back to that plan, shall we?

    Here we see the cocking handles. The MCM, is at the top:
    Other than the fact that the MCM is either refinished in a darker phosphate or has a better darker original finish, notice that both plastic bits, while original, are different. The plastic on the HMG slightly wraps around the steel front part of the handle while the plastic on the MCM stops at the handle. One is not better than the other and it's an insignificant thing but it is a variation. Neat!

    Here, we see a comparison of the welds on the two rifles. To be specific, we are looking at the weld where the cocking handle meets the front of the receiver. The MCM is at the top:
    Notice that the HMG has a better weld here. Not only is the MCM weld aesthetically inferior, but it also shows an ugly void. I'm sure it's plenty strong but it is unsightly. In fact, it's the most unsightly weld on the entire rifle. While we are on the subject of welds, let me say that, in my opinion, the rifles are equal. In some places the HMG is better while in others the MCM is the winner. I'm not going to call out each and every detail but I am going to show the same areas on each rifle so that you can make up your own mind about who has done the better job. I will say that I think both exhibit sufficiently strong welds and I have no worries about failure on either rifle.

    Here is a shot of both rear sight bases from the oblique front with the MCM on the left:

    The rear of both receivers with the MCM on the left:
    Both are shaped pretty much identically but MCM has taken the time to fill in the voids along the lower edge and at the corners where the reinforcing block sits. While it has nothing to do with the overall strength of the receiver, attention to little details like this are both noticed by consumers and welcome. Good job MarColMar!

    Let's stay at the lower rear of the receiver for a moment and look at there the stock mounting pins pass through. Here is that area on the HMG rifle:
    Notice that the holes are egged out. It works but it shows less than perfect jig alignment. Its just the kind of thing you would half expect to see on a kit gun. I did a write-up about this rifle a while ago and, after corresponding with various owners, have come to understand that some rifles have egged holes as seen here while others do not. Again, it works but it's evidence of a less than perfect build.

    Here is the same area on the MCM rifle:
    No egging; it looks as good as an HK. I would bet that all are this way. If you have an MCM Cetme that has egged out holes, I'd like to hear about it. Now, I will say that sometimes these holes do not line up perfectly with the stock and I have to fidget them through a little bit and sometimes they slide through slick as anything. I NEVER have this problem on any HK I have; they consistently slide home perfectly. BUT, they do fit and maybe they will fit better when things wear in; time will tell. Regardless, MCM seems to have done a much better job here than HMG did.

    Here is a view of the bottom rear with the MCM on the left:
    There is simply no comparison which looks more professional.



    That's it for tonight. That whiskey is catching up and I'm a little too dizzy to type striaght! HAHA!! I'll pick this up and continue on in the next post. Nighty nite!!
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  16. Combloc1

    Combloc1 Member

    Oct 8, 2017
    Well, we're in the home stretch. One more after this post and we're done for a bit. In this post, we'll look at and compare various receiver details. I wish I had access to an original for comparison (I'm working on that) but using the HMG for that purpose is still useful because they are out there on the second hand market and available to us average guys. So, this will at least give you a basis for comparison. We'll start with the markings.

    Here we see the right side showing the manufacturer's marks:
    The HMG has crisp easy to read markings but I guess they were laser etched because they are so shallow. The problem is, they are so shallow you can't really fill them with paint. I only care about that because originals were filled in so, if you ask me, the reproduction should be too. MCM seems to understand that and their receiver shows nice deep roll marks well filled in with paint just as an original was. I also like that they didn't fill in the writing below their logo because that stamp wouldn't even be present on an original. I do prefer the looks of the spot weld near the takedown pin hole on the HMG over the arc weld on the MCM. Also, while all of the reinforcement ribs on both rifles are quite crisp and very well executed, the HMG stamping is ever so slightly more crisp throughout. The various ribs also differ slightly in detail between the rifles. I do not know which detailing is more accurate though I will figure it out once I find an original. But I assume the MCM is the more accurate since they had an original in hand while working up the dies.

    Serial number and selector markings:
    The HMG markings were not filled in when it was new. I did that but they are so shallow that it took me several tries to get even the marginal quality shown here. Fortunately, the pathetic paint job is not so obvious in hand because the letters are much smaller in the flesh. There is no such problem on the MCM. In fact, it's no problem at all since it came that way. Yay!

    Magazine well, left side:
    The MCM marking are again far superior to the HMG ones. MCM even stamped it "5,56" just as it should be.
    While we are looking at this area, I want to point out some other things of interest. These two pictures are the best ones I have showing the fact that the HMG reinforcement ribs are more crisply stamped. Notice especially the upside down "L" shaped rib running in front of the script parallel to the front edge of the magazine well. On the HMG, the main "field" of the magazine well is perfectly flat until it reaches the edge of the rib. On the MCM, the field slightly curves up to the edge of the rib. This is accentuated (on purpose) by the glare . Still, this in no way diminishes the MCM work in my eyes. It's still extremely well done; I'm just nit picking again. Also notice the bottom of the rib that runs up to the magazine catch. The MCM has the proper rib on top of a rib detail present in all pictures of original rifles I have seen. This is completely absent on the HMG unit.
    There are significant differences in weld patterns/techniques too. It appears that HMG used spot welds on the side of the trunnion whereas MCM used an arc welder and then ground the welds flush. MCM also filled in the exposed area at the back of the trunnion where it seats against the guide rails while HMG did just the slightest tack weld at the top and bottom of this opening.
    Lastly, you can clearly see the barrel retaining pin hole on the MCM AMG. This detail is completely lacking on the HMG AMG. While it's true that the chances of ever having to fiddle with removing the barrel are pretty remote, it still should be there. That's the kind of goofy thing Century Arms would do.

    Magazine well, right side:
    Here again, we see a big difference between the two with regards to the area where the trunnion seats against the front of the guide rails. HMG has placed only a tack weld at the top and bottom of the opening while MCM has filled almost the entire thing in. One of the biggest oversights HMG did was to exclude the flare around the top and rear of their ejection port. Why in the hex did they not put it on there? I'm not going to wade into speculation about why it was omitted but the fact is.....it ain't there. MCM put one on there though. Do you know why? I do. It's because there is supposed to be one, that's why.
    Here's another view of the flare on the MCM:
    It has a little waviness to it along the top edge. And, comparing it to the original rifle shown in the Forgotten Weapons video titled "CETME-L History & Disassembly", it might run forward a little farther than an original but hey, at least one is present. It looks fine to me.

    Weld along front of magazine well:
    Again, I have purposely placed a glare on the weld to accentuate it. While the HMG looks cleaner, the more pronounced weld on the MCM looks more like what I have seen in pictures of an original. Notice the little defect at the bottom corner of the MCM magazine well right where the front turns to become the side. This is steel, not a defect in the cerakote and it is sharp; sharp enough that you can easily cut yourself on it. Mr. Bane, if you're reading this, check the bottom edge of your magazine wells just closer before sending them to the paint shop and dress them if necessary. Thank you sir.

    Front of trunnion where the barrel plugs in:
    Note again....no exposed pin on the HMG. What the hell were those guys thinking??

    Rear of magazine well:
    As explained earlier, this is a milled block welded into the receiver shell. So, three sides of the well are formed from stamping and the rear is a block. You can see the machining marks on the MCM. I like machining marks. They give a rifle more of an industrial, no nonsense look. It also reminds me of a late war German rifle......maybe something designed by Mauser......maybe something that operates in a very similar or even identical manner as the Cetme L. Are you listening here MarColMar? A guy can dream can't he??

    That's it for this post. One more and we're done until I get to the range. See you soon!
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  17. Combloc1

    Combloc1 Member

    Oct 8, 2017
    Well, we've arrived at the last post until I get this jobber to the range. I wanted to go today but it's just too BLAH outside. I'll get there though.
    The original rear sight windage adjustment on these rifles (elevation is done with the front sight) was not well thought out and prone to breakage. In fact, the HMG one was broken right out of the box and could not be adjusted. CETME generally copied the early rear sight on the M16/AR15 but, instead of having the roll pin passing through the shaft of the axle pin as on the AR, they decided to simply cut a slot in the end of the axle shaft for the roll pin. This created two fingers that tend to snap over time. So when you try to adjust windage, instead of the adjustment dial turning with the axle, it instead either tries to screw farther onto the axle or it simply unscrews and falls off. In effect, you can move the sight leaf to the right but not to the left. How nice.
    Here's a closeup of the original CETME arrangement:
    Look closely and, in the center of the adjustment dial, you can just make out the cross pin with the two ears of the axle shaft on either side. Both of those ears have sheared off the axle. What I did to fix it was to disassemble, degrease, slurge some blue locktite in the back, reassemble and then let it sit for the night. BLAMMO!! Good as new. Not really but it's worked so far and it'll probably continue to work until I'm dust. How often do you readjust your windage anyways? Not very often.

    Here's another picture including the hold open button and the welds holding the sight base to the receiver:
    And roughly the same area on the MCM AMG:
    Notice that MCM has designed the adjustment dial in order to correct the breakage problem. There is no longer a pin and ears arrangement.
    What we now have is a hex screw that either tightens into or against the axle shaft:
    I have not taken this apart nor do I intend to. But my guess is that, knowing MCM is generally known for attention to detail, there is a divot in the axle for the hex screw to fit into. That would be a much more secure arrangement than to have it simply have tighten against the axle. Other than this change, the rest of the rear sight design is the same as on an original.

    Here is the other side of the sight base with the HMG illustrated first:

    The focus of the last two pictures is the single roll pin that holds the front sight base to the barrel. The handguard has been removed. First up is the HMG:
    First off, CETME should have designed a longer base with more contact along the barrel. Second, they should have used two pins. And third, they should have been solid pins NOT roll pins. BUT, that's how it was designed so that's how it was rebuilt. The front sight base on my HMG AMG wobbles side to side pretty badly with the handguard removed. With the handguard in place, it's much less evident but it's still there. However, the rifle holds zero fine so I don't worry about it too much but it still bugs me. It's not evident in the picture but the barrel does bulge in this area so that the pin has a little more purchase. It didn't seem to work on mine though. Other owners have told me that theirs does not wobble so I guess I got a lemon.

    And here is the same shot showing the MCM unit:
    Now, I cannot say for sure and I'm not smart enough to own a micrometer but I think MCM has used a slightly larger diameter roll pin to provide extra purchase on the barrel. You can clearly see the thicker contour of the barrel here. Again, the HMG barrel has the same contour but it just doesn't extend to the rear as far so you can't readily see it. Whatever the case, the front sight base on the MCM is solid with no perceptible movement.

    And that's it. We're done until I get to the range. When I do, I'll update.
    I know some of you are asking, which one is better? In fact, I've already received emails asking me which one do I prefer and whether or not they should buy the new MarColMar CETME L. I'm not going to tell you to either buy or not buy one rifle or the other but I am going to tell you my personal thoughts about the two rifles I own. I'll start with the HMG.
    I love this rifle. Yes, it looks more like a kit build done in someone's garage as opposed to something built in a factory. Well, that's because it is a kit build done in Hill & Macs garage or some such other building. Wherever HMG built them, it definitely wasn't in a factory. Yes, the egged out assembly pin holes at the receiver are unsightly but they work and you can't see them anyways when the rifle is assembled. Yes, the front sight base wobbles but it still outshoots my HK93. Yes, the furniture is scratched up but it's original. Yes, the rear sight was broken right out of the box but it was repairable. Yes, the markings are so shallow you can't fill them in with paint but at least they are there. Yes, the original factory parts show considerable wear but mechanically, they work fine. I'm sure there are other things I could point out but they escape me at the moment. So, with all the above, why would I want this rifle? Because of all the things above. It's as close to original as you can get without having an original. I like the patina on the parts and the wear on the furniture. It looks like a used rifle and I like the looks of a used rifle. It's acceptably reliable so long as I use magazines with strong springs and, as I've pointed out several times, in my hands, it's more accurate then my HK of the same caliber. It's green. My favorite toys when I was growing up were army men, a whole lot of which were green and holding green rifles. Now I have my very own full size and operating Army Man Gun aka AMG. In the end, this thing is a range toy. It doesn't have to be perfect; it just has to be FUN! My HMG AMG is that in spades.

    So, what about the MCM?
    I love this rifle. It looks like a brand new factory made rifle. Not one part on it looks like it has ever seen use. It feels like a new factory made rifle. Everything is tight and the entire build just feels like Quality. All of the pin holes are right where they should be and they are all perfectly round, just as you would expect of a factory made rifle. No, I haven't had it to the range yet but I know that MarColMar put thousands upon thousands of rounds through their development/test rifles to ensure that the finished product would be a Quality AMG. They invested in high speed cameras to observe what was going on throughout the firing cycle and used this information to tune the new made springs to their design. They obviously put a lot of time, effort and money into the receiver dies because the finished product is absolutely beautiful; every bit the equal of my HK's. And they finished it in a tough cerakote finish, guaranteeing that it will hold up to real use. They installed a hammer forged barrel with a nitride finish to guarantee long service life. The sights are redesigned to be more durable with increased ergonomics. They manufactured new furniture using the latest polymers and kept it looking so close to original you can only tell a difference upon the closest inspection. The front sight base doesn't wobble. It's green! If green wasn't my thing, I could have ordered it in black, grey, or flat dark earth instead. I could have ordered furniture in the same colors or even ordered the rifle in one color with the furniture in another. I could have ordered one with a picatinny rail on top the receiver so that I could add an optic. It's made right here in the United States of America by a company with a known reputation of producing Quality firearms that history has shown only go up in value over time. So, with all the above, why would I NOT want this rifle? I can't think of a reason, that's why I bought one!

    I want to thank you all for taking the time to read this and I hope you learned something useful to you. I enjoy writing these things, partly because they give me a creative outlet and partly because I enjoy talking about and sharing this stuff with others. I was a History major in college and my mother always wanted me to get into journalism. I'm not sure I would have made a good writer but I do think I do an at least semi-competent job writing this stuff even if it is replete with grammatical errors. Besides, I write it on the fly with my dog Sasha as my proofreader and she's not much help. In the end, I think my mom would be proud so I guess, ultimately, I write it mostly for her. I miss you mom and you know I love you! Thanks again guys. Maybe I'll see you at the range!
  18. Combloc1

    Combloc1 Member

    Oct 8, 2017
    Well, I finally got the chance to get the MCM rifle to the range this past weekend. I was really looking forward to this because, having had the HMG one for a while now and enjoying how reliable and accurate it is, I was expecting more of the same from the new MCM. It was the first decently warm day we've had here for months so that, coupled with it being a Sunday, meant a full range. Normally, I start a new rifle at 25 yards to make sure it's on paper and walk it out from there but, because it was so busy, I didn't want to bother people so I just set my target out at 100 yard and hoped for the best. I guess I could use a spotting scope but I don't own one, You see, I'm a pretty unsophisticated guy and I enjoy the walking back and forth as it's good for me. Besides, the range I use is often pretty deserted so I just fire a few rounds, walk down to check the target, adjust the sights and repeat. The disadvantage to this way of doing things is that it's pretty much unworkable with a busy range. That's ok, it just gives me an excuse to go to the range more often!
    Anywho, I set the target up and commenced to shooting 100 rounds of plain ol' Lake City M855 ball as recommended by the manual.
    Let's start with reliability. I had exactly zero problems. In fact, it was quite obvious that MarColMAr put a lot of effort into tuning the springs just right. I own a fair number of roller locked firearms from Switzerland, Germany, Turkey and Pakistan so I am used to how these things usually eject the casings into orbit and mangle them while doing so. The only exception to this rule until this past weekend has been my SIG 510. That rifle almost drops the casings out at your feet because the design is so perfectly balanced.....it's Swiss.....that's what they do. But I digress.
    The HMG rifle ejects casings just like my HK93, violently and destructively. The MCM AMG is in direct contrast to that and is more like the SIG. Casings were uniformly ejected at about 2 o'clock and landed about 8 feet away.

    Let's take a look at a random sampling of ten spent cartridges:
    It's hard to tell from my terrible washed out picture but almost every single one is dented (from slapping against the receiver) in almost exactly the same place. I used to seeing cases so mangled (again, with the SIG being a notable exception) they look like they were beat with a hammer. I'm no engineer but the uniformity of marks on the brass tells me the system is almost perfectly balanced.

    Here's a closeup of the dent's I'm talking about:
    I'm assuming that, if you're reading this, you already understand about flutes on roller locks and why spent rounds are so dirty so I won't bother discussing that.

    However, just for fun, I want post a picture illustrating how the brass expanded into the flutes a little which is, of course, perfectly normal:
    I just love looking at these things. Roller locks turn each spent casing into a miniature work of art. I wish I could keep them all.

    Here we see that only the case on the far right shows any sign of neck deformity. Usually, these things are pretty smashed in:

    And the base:
    Not much to see here.

    So, so far, reliability is perfect!

    Next up are some thoughts on the front sight. As I pointed out earlier in this thread, the front sight on the MCM is much thinner than the one that came on my HMG rifle so it should be more precise. While I'm sure it is, that is lost on my aging eyes. I'm sure that I could have made better use of the front sight 20 years ago but it's just too thin for me now. It's so blurry that much of the time I was guessing about where the top of it was. If I REALLY concentrated, I could sometimes make it out but the fact is, at my age, a wider front sight post would be better. Of course, MCM makes a version with a rail on top the receiver so I could but one of those and mount an optic but I'm a purist and wanted my AMG to be as close to original as possible. This precluded a rail. My advise to MarColMar is that they offer front sight blades of different widths so that us older dudes can tune our sights to our geezerish peepers.

    I'd also like to say something about the trigger pull. As I said, I'm not very sophisticated so I don't have one of those fancy-dancy trigger pull weight thingees. This means I have no idea what weight the pull actually is. What I do know is that, at round number 1, the MCM rifle had a trigger pull almost identical to my HK93 and 91, which is to say it's kind of heavy and creepy. I can also tell you that the HMG rifle has a pull significantly less heavy and less creepy than any of those three. The good news is, by round number 100, it was much lighter and smoother. It still isn't quite as good as the HMG trigger but it's now better than my HK's which have had a metric ton of rounds through them over the past 30 years. They are most definitely NOT getting any better at this point. SO, kudo's to both MCM and HMG on besting the Teutonic gods!

    Let's move on to accuracy.
    I'd love to tell you how accurate this rifle is but I can't. After I fired all 100 rounds I waited for the range to go cold and headed down to retrieve the target, curious as to how well it grouped. To my slight surprise, the target was as whole as when I hung it up. Not one round touched it. I thought, "that's damned odd" and headed home, hoping to head out the next day when the range would likely be much less busy.
    I was in luck as the next day there were only a few of us at the range. So, I set my target out at 25 yards, loaded three rounds into the magazine, took aim and fired. Of the first three shots, only one was on the very far left. No problem. Crank the rear sight to the right five or six clicks and try again. The next three were farther right but still nowhere near the center of the target. Lets crank it farther right. Click, click, click, stop. Oh crap....the sight is buried as far right as it will go! Let's try three more rounds. Nope, still well left of center. We have a problem.

    Here's the 25 yard target:
    The single hole circled in blue was part of my first three rounds. The next set is circled in green. By the third set of shots, circled in red, you can tell I beginning to get frustrated as the shot dispersion is opening up. Disheartened, I cleaned up and headed home to take pictures.

    Here are a few pictures of the rear sight as it currently sits:



    Having been shooting for more decades than I want to admit now and having owned the HMG Cetme L for some time as well, I think I'm pretty good on knowing how to aim a rifle but, just to be sure, I took the rifle to the range again today and recruited two random guys to try the rifle out at 25 yards. One was an older gentleman whom I often see at the range so I know he shoots a fair amount. The other was a younger guy who I have only run into one other time but he obviously knows what he is doing as well. I still had 9 rounds of M855 ball left from Monday when I tried to zero the rifle so I asked one guy to fire five rounds at the bottom of the black using a six o'clock hold. I then asked the other shooter to fire six rounds at the colored dot using the same six o'clock hold. Below is the result with the first guy circled in red:
    I hate to say it but, at this point, I have a beautiful green rifle that cannot be zeroed. I guess I need to contact MarColMar. It's under warranty so I have no doubt that MCM will do whatever is necessary to correct the problem. I will report back.
    NIGHTLORD40K likes this.
  19. HB

    HB Member

    Dec 18, 2007
    St. Louis, MO
    I’ve never fired 100 but i know the feeling. Sorry to hear about the sight in issues.

    Very awesome right up. Do you have a website or youtube channel?
    Combloc1 likes this.
  20. ifit

    ifit Member

    Sep 28, 2008
    Sorry to hear about the sights on your mcm, I have yet to zero my iron sights...but I can confirm on my rifle shooting at a paper plate at 50y I'm hitting slightly low n right.
    Combloc1 likes this.
  21. Combloc1

    Combloc1 Member

    Oct 8, 2017
    No biggie. It'll get fixed, I'm sure. HB, I do not have a website or youtube channel. I have considered the website idea but technology is like high magic to me, I don't understand it!
  22. Combloc1

    Combloc1 Member

    Oct 8, 2017
    MCM has already contacted me and I was told that they have changed their production methods to make sure this won't be an issue going forward. They have also told me that they will do whatever it takes to fix the issue with my rifle. Stellar customer service! I'll be reporting back once it's taken care of.
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  23. Combloc1

    Combloc1 Member

    Oct 8, 2017
    I just got back from Indiana on Friday after touring MarColMar's facility. MarColMar owner, Dave Bane, generously invited me out after reading this write-up. It was neat seeing all the racks of rifles, the production line and how it all came together. I also had the chance to try out an original CETME L, one of MarColMar's post samples and even check out Dave Bane's tank collection. In short, it was a fun and entertaining trip! I gotta' tell you, the folks at MarColMar are not just dedicated manufacturers but they are First Class folks too! I'll be going into more detail with some pictures and posting it in my CETME L thread in a few days. I'll also be filling you in on the status of my rifle.
    In the meantime, here are a few preview pictures:



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  24. Combloc1

    Combloc1 Member

    Oct 8, 2017
    I've wanted to update this thread for a while now but I've been kinda' busy. And because I've not been at it for a bit, a lot of information has piled up so this is going to take a few posts. This first post is gonna' be a lot of text. Sorry about that but you can't tell a story without words.
    I'll start just a bit before I left off. It turns out that Dave Bane from MarColMar has been reading my posts about the rifle so he contacted me (prior to the zeroing problem) and offered me the opportunity to tour the factory, look through parts for interesting variations and just generally hang out to get a feel for what MarColMar is as a company. Dave even offered to pick me up at the airport. Would you pass up an opportunity to hang out with a manufacturer for a day and play with guns? Neither would I so I eagerly accepted. I asked if I could bring my rifles along and he said "Bring whatever you want. Frank (one of the designers who it turns out looks an awful lot like Hooper from "Jaws") likes Swiss stuff so we'll have some of that here for you to check out too." SO, rather than mess around with airlines, boxing up rifles and all that jazz, I decided to just drive out rather than fly. It's only about seven hours from my place and my Honda hasn't been on a road trip for a while.

    Then, just a few days before I was to head out to Indiana, I took my rifle out for its first range trip and discovered the zeroing problem. I contacted MCM and they couldn't have been more pleasant. "Make sure you bring it along and we'll do whatever it takes to make it right." Good customer service is key to a happy customer. So, I packed up the ol' Hondoonie on a Wednesday morning and headed out six hours to Springfield Ohio to spend the night with a lifelong friend before getting up bright and early Thursday morning for the last hour to MCM.

    I had no trouble finding the place and the first person I ran into was Jeff, who through the course of the day I discovered is wicked smart (and good looking too!). I introduced myself and asked for Dave. Jeff said he wasn't there and I grinned. Jeff grinned back and motioned me in so I followed along. I knew right away this was going to be fun! On the way through the front office, I met Charlie, the resident Golden Retriever. His main job seems to be saying "hello" with a big wagging tail and instant love. I've never met a dog I didn't like!! Upon entering the factory floor, I was introduced to Dave and Frank (Hooper drives the boat chief). As Dave put his hand out for a shake, I noticed he had working man's hands. He was also wearing a t-shirt with stains and jeans. I liked him immediately. After asking me how the trip was and exchanging niceties, we headed back through the factory to the final assembly and storage room for a very nicely informal meet and greet. As Frank pulled out a stool for me to have a seat on, I looked around the room and admired all the Cetme's sitting on racks. It was part of an order they were getting ready for shipment to a distributor:



    We sat for a bit, Dave, Frank and me and just talked; about MarColMar, the Cetme, firearms in general, manufacturing, politics, things unrelated to any of those things and just stuff in general. I think they were feeling me out to make sure I wasn't a nut or a weirdo and I guess I passed the test (HA!! I fooled them!!) because in no time, I felt like I was among friends. When we came around to the topic of my rifle Dave said, "pick any rifle off the rack you want; it's yours." Now THAT'S customer service!! I was tempted as I saw number 112 sitting there but I didn't feel that would be right and my mother raised me better than that. So I declined and asked Dave to try to repair my rifle first. He couldn't sell it as new anymore and I couldn't in good conscience ask for a brand new rifle if mine could be reasonably repaired. He said, "I know you wanted a low serial number so I'll take 112 out of the shipment and set it aside for now. If I can't repair yours, I'll sent you that one." Fair enough. I was also told that, after they read about my problem, they went back and rechecked every rifle they had in stock. Although none were off nearly as much as mine was, they did find a couple that were off more than they would have liked. They tracked the problem down to a misaligned jig and had since made adjustments to correct the problem. Next, we went for a tour of the factory.

    As we walked around, Jeff met back up with us and walked me through the process of manufacturing various things step by step. I was welcome to take pictures of some things and I was asked not to take pictures of others. Just to be safe, I took pictures of nothing. Here's why. It was obvious within seconds that MarColMar isn't just putting parts kits back together with a new receiver and barrel. Rather, they are MANUFACTURING an essentially new rifle using highly automated (and outrageously expensive) machines and top Quality materials. The automated machine used to produce the trigger boxes looks like something straight out of NASA and it's as clean as a contraption they would use too! The number of jigs that must be used simply to weld the receiver was amazing and each one had to be designed and built from the ground up. Because of the massive amount of time, energy and money invested, I wouldn't be right or fair to MCM for me to post pictures of all that. It's far, far easier to copy someone else than it is to use your own brain to figure out a problem and I have no interest in helping someone else steal what amounts to industrial secrets from MCM. Go figure it out yourself! I'm not exaggerating when I tell you, this ain't as simple as you think it is. Anyone who has any experience at all in the manufacturing industry knows what I'm talking about. Cost took a back seat to Quality and the amount of engineering that was put into the project must have been considerable to say the least. Dave ran through some of the costs involved. All were high but the one that stuck with me the most was the cost of the dies to make the rear sling swivel. I had wondered if they used originals and simply refinished them but I was told (and later saw first hand) that the originals were in too poor a condition to suit MCM so they decided to reproduce them. When MCM met with the die maker, they were advised that they could be made much cheaper if they were slightly simplified.
    "Will they look just like the originals?"

    "Not exactly but that is actually a pretty complex part to stamp out the way it is. If we make some subtle changes, it'll really save you some money."

    "Nope. We want it to look as original as possible. What'll that cost for dies?"

    $75,000. SOLD!!

    An original picked at random(there are variations):

    A MarColMar reproduction:
    Think of that $75,000 price tag for such a seemingly simple part the next time you admire your Cetme. If MarColMar sells 10,000 rifles, just the cost of the dies to make this one part accounts for $7.50 per rifle and that's considering neither the steel the swivel is made from nor the finish applied. An entire M1 Carbine cost the US Govt. about 45 bucks back in WWII. I often hear folks balking at the cost of new firearms these days. Quality ain't cheap folks, especially when you are trying to recreate something that was made decades ago with different technology. I was told the cost of the receiver dies but I didn't retain it. It was sky high though. I can tell you that.

    It was much the same with the furniture. A local casket manufacturer was contracted to provide all of the polymer bits. They explained to MarColMar that technology had changed considerably since the original furniture was made and that the molds used to make them back then were very complicated and expensive by todays standards. If they would just simplify the part a bit, e.g. remove the cooling cavities on the bottom of the handguard, the price to produce would drop considerably. Nope...….it's got to be as close to original as possible save for making it out of better polymer.
    The examples above illustrated two things about MCM that really impressed me and I discussed that with Dave, Frank and Jeff. First, they are extremely detail oriented. They want to produce a rife that looks as close to original as possible yet is superior to an original both in materials and Quality of build. They also re-engineered some aspects of the design to make it more reliable than an original; little things you'll never even notice like the spring K factors (look up Hooke's Law) and magazine to trunnion feed geometry. The extractor springs are made from (IIRC, I'm no engineer) chrome silicon and the aluminum used for the trigger boxes is of a particular alloy that is superior to an original. The barrels are cold hammer forged and the Ceracote finish used is far better than the original paint.
    Second, they are committed to making as many parts as possible in the US and as locally as they can. In fact, ALL new made parts on the rifle, the manual and all of the packaging are made in the United States with most of them being sourced in Indiana. The only exception is the gun lock that ships with each rifle. That part was literally 10x as expensive if sourced in the US. MCM figured that, since most people circular file that thing anyways, save a bit of dough on that one. I'd have made the same decision as I can honestly say I've never used one in almost forty years. Do you?

    Another thing I asked about was the finish on the non painted parts, specifically, how did they acquire bolts and bolt carrier that looked as new. I was told that not one part on the rifle has the original finish. Every single original part is stripped to bare metal, inspected and refinished. Where possible and prudent, the original finish is recreated as closely as possible.

    I mentioned earlier about the new springs being tuned to the design. This was done using a special high speed camera and a modified receiver. I took a few pictures of the test receiver:



    The lines you see on the receiver and bolt carrier are indexing marks. The camera takes thousands of pictures per second and they can figure out the proper spring settings by knowing where the action is in the cycle compared to time elapsed.

    This window allows them to see how far the bolt carrier has moved to the rear at the end of its stroke. Too far to the rear and you are beating the rifle to pieces because the springs are too soft. Too far forward and the springs are too stiff which will create feeding problems. It's gotta be juuuust right! Judging from my experience, this was money and research very well spent.

    I've got a lot more to post but it's late and I gotta' pay the bills tomorrow. I'll be back with some more.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019
    NIGHTLORD40K, <*(((>< and shoobe01 like this.
  25. Combloc1

    Combloc1 Member

    Oct 8, 2017
    Picking up where we left off......

    One of the rifles I spotted sitting on a rack was a short barreled version with a collapsible stock, known as the CETME LC. It's still in semi-prototype stage as they are still optimizing some of the details but I was told that it will be for sale in the near future. Unfortunately, not a whole bunch of these rifles were produced to begin with and even fewer have survived. Out of around 10,000 kits acquired by MarColMar only about 645 of them were this version so they will be offering this version on a limited basis. To quote Dave from this past December,
    "...…..to be fair to our customers and those that have been on board for the last two years... we are going to supply to each buyer of the CETME L a card to register their desire to buy an LC. We will then draw in order and contact the customers. Those that want them will have the opportunity to buy. If we get to the end of the list and there are some left, we will leave them available to the open market.

    On the LVs (that's the version wit a scope mount in place of the normal rear sight), we are working with the awesome guys at APEX to try to find original ENOSA scopes for the guns, if that does not work, we will be working with a couple scope manufacturers at SHOT to see if we can't get quality copies made to do this rifle justice. We will then do the same thing with an "opportunity lottery" to sell them.

    I know its not a popular course of action with some... and it may even make some mad... but I believe it is certainly fairer than just dropping them on the website and letting it be first come first served... and frankly if we work through the list and there are some still available, they will STILL be available for sale to those that just want the LC or V.

    Finally we will build the LC in either the 16" or the SBR type, that will be up to the buyer. We will offer it in SBR form (Efiled) or will offer it with a pinned extended flash hider that you can remove after your Form 1, AND you get to keep your CETME while you wait."

    Like a moron, I didn't take any pictures of the assembled rifle but I did get some pictures showing it disassembled and the internal differences between the LC and the standard L. I also got some detail photos of the stock. Let's check it out!

    In the photo above, I have placed a normal L model recoil assembly, bolt group and cocking handle support in front and the same components from an LC behind. It should quickly be obvious that it's not a simple as switching out the stock between the two rifles. The use the same receiver and trigger group but the rest of the guts are different. On a standard rifle, the recoil assembly is housed in the stock but that's not possible on the LC so the bolt carrier was modified to house it. This necessitated a longer nose at the front of the carrier similar to that found on an HK. Consequently, the cocking handle support had to be shortened. Also notice that while the standard rifle has the buffer built into the recoil assembly, there is no such buffer on the LC recoil assembly. Instead, it's built into the stock, again, just like an HK.

    Here's an above shot better illustrating the length difference between the two bolt groups:

    And a 3/4 rear view of the LC bolt showing the cavity for the recoil assembly:

    The stock:
    The butt pad appears to be identical to the L model. Notice the button on top of the back plate. Depressing that allows you to extend and retract the stock. There are only two positions, open and closed. Also note the sling swivel welded on top of the stock fork. We can also see a little pin sticking out the rear of the back plate. Just as on an HK, this is sprung to pop the stock open just a bit when you press the release button (lever on an HK). I like the mechanics of this stock better than an HK but the arms are relatively thin stamped steel so it feels flimsy in comparison. It seems to work fine though. I just wouldn't use it as a hammer.

    Here's a closeup of the opening assist pin at the rear of the back plate:
    Nice welding! You can see that the release button is serrated as opposed to checkered. Not that it matters but......details!

    A view into the front of the backplate:
    Top is to the left of the photo. The upper hole is where the recoil assembly nests and the tube looking thingee in the center of the back plate is the buffer rod which is just like...….you guessed it......an HK.

    While I was taking pictures, Frank was puzzling over my rifle trying to figure out whether or not he could get it fixed that day so that I could take it home with me rather than having it shipped back. He had determined that the front sight base was slightly canted on the barrel and had made some adjustments. He had a laser bore-sight star trek thing sticking out the muzzle and asked me to take a look. It still looked like it was a bit left but the only way to be sure was to test it. At this point, is was about lunch time and the gang offered to take me out to lunch and then head to the range which was at Dave's house. Let me tell you right now. I will NEVER, EVER turn down a chance to have lunch and go shooting with firearms manufacturer dudes....never....ever. So, we grabbed my rifle, an original CETME L and a post sample made by MCM and headed out.

    Lunch was at Little Sheba's in Richmond Indiana and oh my was the food ever good!! If you're ever passing through Richmond, Little Sheba's is home cooked goodness and the staff is mid west friendly!! Check em' out:
    I highly recommend the BLT and their potato salad!! And the best part of lunch was Dave saying grace before we ate. God bless the US of A!!

    After lunch, we headed to Dave's for testing but as we pulled into the driveway, he stopped at a nice sized barn. He said he knew I liked Historical military firearms and he had a few interesting ones I might like.
    Do you remember when you were a little kid and it was Christmas morning? I do. I especially remember the Christmas of 1978. I've always been a big fan of Star Wars since I saw the first one at a drive-in in the spring of 1977. I was so young that I didn't fully grasp what I was watching but I knew I loved it anyways. I still do. Anywho, I woke up that Christmas morning not knowing what to expect and wandered groggy eyed out into the house. There, underneath the tree were a bunch of Star Wars toys. I was so excited, I really didn't know how to act. I mean I was dumbfounded. Do I open up the Death Star first or the X-Wing Fighter? WoW!!! Look at all those figures!! Maybe I should check them out first!! I'm not kidding. I was so in awe I just kinda' stood there not knowing what to do!
    Well, that's pretty much how I felt when we went through the side door on this pitch black modern barn and Dave switched on the lights. There, right in front of me was a Chieftan tank:
    I was pretty much speechless.

    Then I saw a T72:
    I've seen them in books and I've seen them on film but I've never stood there staring at one in the flesh. Dave said that, to his knowledge, it's the only example in private hands in the US. I probably seemed like a weirdo because I was just standing there almost speechless. Dave said, "Climb on up and take as many pictures as you want." Well, I just stood there. The only tanks I've ever seen in person have been in museums and you can't just climb all over them. I didn't know what to do.
    "You aren't going to hurt it. It's a tank. Climb on up there." says Dave.
    So, I sheepishly climb the ladder and stepped up on the back deck of the T72 looking down as I went so as not to step on anything I shouldn't although I have no idea what that might be. I mean, I'm standing on an armored vehicle made for combat. What could I possible break by stepping on it?? Again, I was a little dumbstruck and really didn't know what to do. While up there, I took a few other pictures.

    Of the Chieftan again:

    And a T62:


    And a T55 that was captured by the Israeli's and is now being put back in running order:

    And a BMP:

    In another part of the barn was a Czech BMP:
    To the right of the picture is an East German BMP which I didn't take a picture of.

    And a BTR60:

    There was a bunch of other stuff I didn't take pictures of because I'm sure I was not acting normal. This was just so outside my normal realm of experience and I was on information overload. One thing that did get through though was Dave's generosity and just how humble he was. I told him that I didn't mean to pry but how did he afford all these things. His answer was pretty simple. In essence, he said, "God has blessed me with a wonderful wife, great kids and a wonderful life." And here he was, talking to a nobody like me and sharing all these wonderful artifacts. He didn't have to do these things but he did. I've worked in law enforcement for a number of years now so I've learned to be a pretty good and quick judge of character and I can tell when someone is trying to blow smoke. I can tell you after months of correspondence, phone calls and finally, spending the day with him, Dave Bane is a good and decent human being. He strikes me as nothing but sincere when he says that he is trying to build the best rifle he reasonably can and that he will back it up with the best customer service he reasonably can too.

    When I drove out to Indiana, I was of the mind set (remember my profession) that, if this dude is offering me unfettered access to his company and offering to do whatever it takes to make my rifle as perfect as he can, he's going to want something in return. Everyone does. They don't offer something unless they expect something back. So, while I was there I asked Dave, "What would you like me to write about your company and your rifle?"
    His answer told me everything I wanted to hear. He said, "Write whatever you want." Period. End of sentence. He asked me for nothing other than honesty.
    Some people really do do things out of simple kindness. He said, "Your write-up gave me the impression that you were really interested in the CETME L. So I figured you might like to come out to take a look at some of the neat variations in parts and see how we build them." It turns out it really was that simple. If for no other reason than that, I hope MarColMar sells every single rifle they build.

    In the next post, I'll tell you about how my rifle fared at Dave's test range and how the Spanish built rifle stacked up against the MCM on full auto. we'll also look at some furniture color variations. A closer look at an original Spanish built rifle is on the way too. Thanks for taking the time to hang out and read this. I'll see you soon!
    NIGHTLORD40K and shoobe01 like this.
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