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  1. #1
    Plinker ncthorn's Avatar
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    New Century Arms CETME First Impressions/Brief Review

    Seeing as how there aren't many recent reviews of this often criticized rifle, I think I will do a quick write up on my experience.

    About a week ago I placed an order with Henderson Defense Industries for one of their Century Arms CETME rifles. Henderson, along with Classic Arms lists these rifles for $599 plus shipping with two magazines. After what seemed like an eternity, I finally got a call from John Gallion at Wabash Tactical Supply letting me know that he had the rifle and that I could come by to pick it up whenever convenient. Naturally, I decided that the best time to pick it up would be right after I hung up the phone. Meeting John for the first time was a really pleasant experience, he is a really good guy and I highly recommend him to anyone in the Terre Haute area. He offers transfers for a rather reasonable $20.

    When I got home with the rifle and started looking it over, I must say that I was impressed. Century has drastically improved the outward appearance of these rifles in comparison to older CETME offerings. The paint, although relatively thick, is evenly applied and while not as durable as higher end products such as GunKote, is no less resilient than the finish on my Izhmash Saiga. The F (Fire) and S (Safe) selector markings are attractively highlighted in red and white. The US made black polymer furniture resembles that seen on H&K G3 rifles but lacks a rear sling swivel, an issue that can be easily rectified with the substitution of a German made stock, but then another part will need to be swapped in order to maintain 922(r) compliance. Overall, the furniture feels satisfactory although the stock is hollow and probably wouldn't be ideal on a true combat weapon. Seam lines can be seen rather easily on the furniture as well.



    As far as the welds on this particular weapon are concerned, they look pretty good, but I don't have a whole lot of experience with welding.

    The flash hider is similar to the one found on the G3 and appears to be either permanently attached or very very difficult to remove.



    The sights appear to be well aligned with no noticeable cant. The rear sight provides settings for 100 to 400 meters.

    Century chose to retain the original fire control parts, instead relying on the furniture, charging handle, barrel, and receiver for compliance.



    Now that the externals have been pretty well covered, let's move on to the internal workings.



    The barrel is a new production US made piece. In my opinion, this is a bonus on a rifle of this sort. Some older CETMEs have been reported as having poor surplus barrels which cannot provide satisfactory groupings. Were this an AK, I would not be pleased with a US made barrel, but I look for greater accuracy from this full sized battle rifle. The new US barrel ensures that this rifle will not likely be plagued by the same accuracy issues found in older examples. A quick look down the pipe revealed the shiny, defined lands and grooves one would expect from a new barrel.

    As I have previously mentioned, the fire control group is composed of original military parts. The trigger pull is comparable to a stock Saiga trigger in terms of tension but is a little grittier. It is noticeably heavier than an AK equipped with a G2 trigger.



    The rifle I received shows no signs of grinding on the bolt head.



    At first glance, my rifle appeared to have very acceptable bolt gap. However, I am not sure that is the case. Please allow me to elaborate on this a little. When I first charged the weapon, I noticed that it was incredibly difficult to pull the handle all the way back to the locked position. After slapping it out of the locked position and letting it slam back home, I witnessed what appeared to be gap that was towards the upper end of the acceptable range. After pulling the trigger however, this gap would close up.



    Initially, I believed this to be SOP and thought little of it. I was however, very much bothered by the difficulties associated with charging the rifle. My arms tired from repeatedly working the action in futile efforts to loosen it up, I decided this evening to tear the CETME down and give it a thorough cleaning.

    The inside of the rifle was a lubrication nightmare. Most of the internal parts were covered in a gritty black grease. My first goal was to get all of this garbage off, a task easily completed with the help of some WD40, CLP, and some rags.

    However, cleaning the rifle did little good as far as loosening the action was concerned so I decided to go over some of the internal parts with some fine steel wool in order to smooth out what appeared to be a very rough parkerization job (nowhere near the quality seen on US milsurps like the M1). The parts I hit were the bolt carrrier, charging handle, and the small tube that the charging handle attaches to. In addition, I decided to smooth out some of the roughness found on the receiver rails and trigger parts. While doing this, I noticed that my spring guide rod had what appeared to be a small bulge near its forward end. I ground this down very slightly so that the spring could move along the guide more smoothly.

    After all the cleaning/tuning was done, I reassembled the rifle and checked my gap. To my horror, my rifle's bolt gap disappeared! Scared that I may have ruined my new rifle, I tried a few more times and as long as I let the bolt slam home properly, I received the same results. I did however, notice that if I provided even the slightest bit of resistance as the action slammed closed, my bolt gap would be temporarily restored. This has led me to believe that the general grime and roughness of the rifle had initally made it appear as though the rifle had very solid bolt gap as it provided that small bit of friction necessary to prevent the bolt head and locking piece from fully engaging the trunion. Hopefully a new locking piece along with some +2 rollers will provide a much needed fix.


    Overall, I am very pleased with this rifle. Sure, it has a few issues, but these are relatively minor and can be fixed without incurring excessive expense. I hope to get it out to shoot sometime soon (after I fix the issues with the gap) and will be sure to post an AAR.


    It should also be mentioned that I picked up a few of Cheaper Than Dirt's 99 cent aluminum G3 magazines. They lock up very well in the CETME and look great for the price.











    Last edited by ncthorn; 07-04-2009 at 02:44.
    ModernRifleman.net

  2. #2
    Plinker AngryFish's Avatar
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    Great writeup. I've been debating on whether I should purchase one of these CETME's or just wait until I have enough cash for a PTR91.

  3. #3
    AK Nut Clay's Avatar
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    Yes, great writeup! Ive been pondering the purchase of a CETME for a while.

    Oh, and Wabash Tactical is about 2 or 3 minutes from my house, another plus for me!
    RIFLEMAN

    I love 'lovemywoods'' woods!

  4. #4
    Marksman r3126's Avatar
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    Congrats on the new rifle. I have one and went thru the same problems that you relate regarding the bolt gap and the hard to cock issue. Here is a shortcut to a good CETME site that I use and used to get my CETME to the point that I wanted it to be.

    Cetme/HK - Militaryfirearm

    Check the back of your bolt or measure it. I suspect it is ground down several thousands - that was Century's way of getting past the bolt gap issue. It should be between 1.834 and 1.837 long. I bought a new bolt (about $20.00 on gunbroker) and put in +4 bolt rollers and brought my gap right on and cured the hard to cock issue.

    Read all of the stickys on the site I recommend and they will tell you and show you with vids, everything you need to know and do to your rifle.

    Have fun!!!!! I am well pleased with my rifle now - a real boomer when fired but it is fun.

    Take care and stay safe.

  5. #5
    Custom Mosin Master 2cool9031's Avatar
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    Very Informative Write-up

    You got a +1 from me.
    It is better to be" Thought a Fool" then to open one's mouth and take away all doubt.

  6. #6
    Master paddling_man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by r3126 View Post
    Check the back of your bolt or measure it. I suspect it is ground down several thousands - that was Century's way of getting past the bolt gap issue. It should be between 1.834 and 1.837 long. I bought a new bolt (about $20.00 on gunbroker) and put in +4 bolt rollers and brought my gap right on and cured the hard to cock issue.
    +1. The Bolt Carrier was ground too short by the monkeys at Century. It should be close enough to the front of the rifle that the lever provides... well, LEVERAGE to pull the bolt rearward and rollers out.

    Apex has new ones for $35.

    https://www.apexgunparts.com/product...products_id/72
    BS: The smell is the tell.

  7. #7
    Plinker swissrifles1's Avatar
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    Nice write up, Its too bad that here in the US, they have to cut the rifles up and rebuild them. We wouldnt have functionability problems if that law wasnt around.
    "Hold on to your lug nuts, its time for an overhaul".

  8. #8
    Plinker 4PWW9's Avatar
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    Great review, thanks for taking the time to post it here.

    Century has improved the semi CETME somewhat. Some of the early guns would only take original CETME mags, the H&K's will not fit, which is how original Spainish CETME rifles are. On the other hand, H&K rifles will work with CETME mags.
    I'm pleased to see the original type flash suppressors now, instead of those poor quality type compensators they used initially for compliance reasons.
    Another thing about the CETME rifle is that they will damage fired casings and make them unusable for reloading. I recommend getting an ejection port buffer as this will prevent the creases from impact with the rear of the ejection port. But there are still issues from the chamber fluting deforming the brass as well. Check out Gun Parts - RTG International Surplus Gun Parts and Militaria for spare parts & accessories.

  9. #9
    Plinker ncthorn's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reps guys. Overall I really like the rifle and I feel that the gap issue will be fixed with new rollers no problem. The one surprising thing is that the bolt head was not ground down so I don't think century botched it up in that way. The chamfer (sp?) on the edges of the head are still in tact.
    ModernRifleman.net

  10. #10
    Building Bridges Between Ammo Forts
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    Superb. Please followup with a range report with even more pictures!
    Techres
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    Find us at: www.appleseedinfo.org

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