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Old 12-22-2010, 01:14 AM
Leviathan Leviathan is offline
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Thumbs up Review of Century FN FAL



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I've had my rifle for about 3 weeks by now. I was really impressed when I got it. It appeared well assembled. The bolt release doesn't work worth a crap, but from what I have seen that is the case with all FAL rifles. Your have to pull the bolt back a little to get the bolt to drop after it is caught. This is with all FAL rifles, and is a nuisance to someone who is used to the M-16 platform such as me. I am sure DSA has fixed this issue. My bolt catch is also worn, so I will be replacing it with a DSA unit. I have 300 rounds through it so far, 200 of which after working on the receiver without a jam Ė which brings me to my next segment.

The finish on the Century is pretty tough. I found out just how tough. I was having failures to feed from the left hand side of the mag regardless of ammo used or gas setting. I handloaded some dummy rounds so that I could safely observe the mechanical function of the rifle with the receiver cover off. I noticed that the action was extremely choppy and moved in three stages. I completely degreased the rifle and worked the action many times with no lubricant. I then disassembled it again and looked for wear marks. There were hardly any at all. But I could see that the very coarse and porous protective finish on the inside of the receiver was preventing smooth movement of the bolt carrier. So I polished the absolute hell out of it, beginning with 100 grit sand paper needed just to break the finish to get to the metal. Holy smoke, that is an awesome finish on that receiver. What a pain in the backside to wear through. But finally when I got to the metal I used progressively finer grades of sandpaper until it felt like glass and reflected like a mirror. The rifle now runs like a sewing machine on all gas settings except the highest.

That is one seriously tough finish on the receiver. I don't know if it is some kind of two part epoxy like a more coarse Duracoat or what, but that stuff is nearly indestructible. I am never going to be worried about the receiver rusting. The parts that are numbered do not match, but they are all made by Fabrique Nationale-Herstal. The parts that were part of the supply rifles that went into the kit appear to be in great shape, with the exception of the bolt catch. It feels loose and the individual parts seem like they are loose and they wobble quite a bit. However, function is not impeded and the rifle never fails to lock open on the last round. The original rifle kit parts are parkerized very nicely, as should be expected from any quality firearm from a reputable company like FN. I guess I got lucky with every part except for the bolt catch because these parts all look virtually new. The only part that shows significant wear is the rear aperture sight, but just from adjustment. I am just thankful that it doesnít rattle like I have heard some of them do when they get older. It is tight as a drum, and actually takes some effort to adjust. The brand new barrel and appears to have a moly coating, as it looks precisely like the finish on my M-4 that I know is moly coated. I canít attest to itís hardiness yet but in time I have hope that it will prove durable. Modern finishes are cheap, so I can assume its good stuff.

Now we get into the unfortunate stuff. The malfunctions were annoying and had me concerned about my investment. But that proved fairly easy to fix. As happy as I am with the finish on the receiver, I donít know how anyone in his right mind would have thought that machine would have functioned with that thick, porous, coarse stuff all over the receiver rails and feed ramp. The friction created by heat and the eventual loss of oil through spray from function would make even one that ran great new fail to feed. Even a mentally handicapped person would have known that rifle would not have functioned. This has lead me to believe that the famous trained monkeys at century still just donít give a crap, regardless of their recent image whitewash. First of all, if my rifle was test fired at all they would have known that the thing did not function. This simply was not done. I received it with traces of cosmoline inside the rifle and with metal dust from their shop all inside of it. Sorry will the moron be that does not clean this new rifle before he shoots it, as most average Joes donít. To be honest, I think I just got lucky and got a great rifle. Maybe it was hand picked by the guys at Centerfiresystems.com because I was super polite when I called them, as is the custom where I am from in the South and lead to a friendly but brief conversation. My FFL dealer, also my boss, was just as polite and pleasant when he called to make the final arrangements. Or maybe perhaps I just got lucky that day and they picked a great rifle. I doubt, given the lack of attention to the assembly, that every one of their rifles looks as nice as mine or contains as many pristine parts. One more thing that annoys me is a gap in-between the receiver cover and the upper receiver where they come together. It is as if the upper receiver was cut for a different measurement that was different from the FN spec shape of the receiver cover. This leaves a small, crescent moon shaped gap in-between the upper receiver and the receiver cover. I am buying a UTG picatinny rail receiver and if it does not fit and leaves a gap I am going to add some metal on with my welder, fit it and grind it smooth, and Duracoat it black.

Another thing that I was very disappointed about is furniture. How cheap is it? You are not going to believe this. Imagine the steel FAL handguards, about 2mm thick steel, right? Well, imagine 2mm thick plastic handguards made to look like the steel ones. Lamentably worthless. Woefully pathetic, even. I can squeeze the handguards and watch them cave in and hear a slight cracking noise and the plastic stresses. The best I can describe it is the plastic that is on one of those small portable bottles of hand sanitizer. Yes, itís that soft. That is cheapness to the point of negligence, in my opinion. The buttstock is a little more robust, but not much. I think it is stronger mainly because the oval shape lends it more able to withstand pressure. If you buy this rifle you WILL have to replace the handguards and buttstock. I am replacing that garbage with OD green furniture from Tapco and am currently awaiting its arrival. It will also have handguard and the SAW buttstock and pistol grip, also awaiting arrival. I canít wait because it is going to look so deliciously evil. I would not give the original handguards an estimated life of more than 500 rounds as a gun safe decorator and as a real working field rifle not very long at all. You just have to feel these things to understand how cheap and worthless they are.

Range results were surprising. With crappy Winchester 7.62mm white box NATO stamped brass reloads and Barnaul softpoint I managed to get about 2.5 inch grouping out of my best 5 round string at an outdoor range at a known distance of 100m. I had no high dollar rounds or handloads available. To be honest I donít care what it shoots with them because I donít know anyone who has a head smaller than 2.5 inches. I am not one of these mall ninjas or tacticows obsessed with sub MOA accuracy. You arenít going to shoot that well under stress any way. And what are you going to shoot at beyond about 300m any way? If you canít be satisfied with accuracy fair enough to fit in someoneís skull at 300m then you are probably somewhere you shouldnít be. So I am very happy with the accuracy of this rifle. It does shoot 2 inches low at 100m with the front sight adjusted all of the way to the lowest setting. I did not have a file on hand, but next trip to the range I am bringing one to wear the sight down until I am hitting bulls-eye. I will perform this task carefully and conservatively. It is easy to take metal off, but a huge pain to add it.

In closing if you were considering getting a 7.62 rifle and you chose FAL platform I would suggest you buy a DSA STG-58. I called them when I was shopping around and asked them how much that rifle was. The cost, $945 shipped. This would have been my only cost because FFL transfers are free for me. However, they warned me of a 5 month build time. RightÖno thanks, or so I reasoned then. Hearing all of the white washing hype about Century lead me to decide to trust them. When you consider that the new furniture cost me $120 plus $10 for the buttstock tool I could have spent $70 more and got a DSA STG-58. And of course that $70 could easily have been spent accounting for my time in fixing what should have been a working rifle out of the box. Then again, my Century runs quite well now. And now it is going to look exactly the way I want it to. To outfit the DSA would have cost even more. So my synopsis is buy a DSA, honestly. Or an Entreprise. They offer Tapco furniture already on their rifle out of the box. To be honest, I gave up on Entreprise because they are completely uncooperative with speaking to you about prices, even when you can get someone on the phone. They encourage you on their website to just purchase online, and pay the full ridiculously inflated price. Do not buy a Century unless you want to work on your rifle to get it running. And I can almost guarantee you that if will not look as nice or shoot as straight as mine out of the box given the sorry craftsmanship. My FAL is very nice and so far pretty reliable, but only after considerable extra money invested and time spent fixing it.

Levi
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Old 12-22-2010, 08:55 AM
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Century is hit or miss, I tend to think different, I know that there are very few FAL Factory guns in the USA, most are parts guns that are being assembled, If I would buy a Fal today, I know that the best I can hope for is a 80% gun, I know most times you will have to do the other 20% to get it running like it should. There were way too many parts sets sold in the last 20 years to expect any less. Thats what gives the best designed battle rifle (IMHO) ever built a bad name today.

I know people who can't change there own cars oil, but are building AR's-AK's-Fal's. I have ran into 5 known excellent Fals built by Century, all I believe were built before
1994.

It's sad when you buy a weapon and have to troubleshoot it before you get it right, but thats chance you take with the FAL parts gun today.

If I had to use my FAL's to protect myself and my family, I would not have any issue in doing so, my Century FAL's are flawless in there operation and have been from the start, the only malfuctions we have had have all been magizine related, and with the millions of different magizines out there you would expect some issues with some mags.
Old 12-22-2010, 09:24 AM
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Good review, thanks.
Old 12-22-2010, 11:37 AM
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You get what you pay for.
Old 12-22-2010, 08:42 PM
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great review.....thanks
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Old 12-23-2010, 01:55 AM
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I don't think the century aks are that bad functionally. But the finish sucks go figure.... the first time I shot it in the rain it had a light surface rust before I got home. But great review I've wondered about a century fall or cetme but I never knew how good they were
Old 12-23-2010, 05:20 AM
Leviathan Leviathan is offline
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UPDATE:

By the way, this review was written earlier this spring. I have made some changes to the rifle. I replaced the FN receiver cover with one from DSA. It no longer has a gap. It has picatinny rails and will never come off like other ones that people have complained about.

I also mounted a Burris Timberline 4x20 scope on it with Burris rings. The scope is very clear and it seems almost as if the light transference is better than the naked eye. I am not a scope expert and I am not sure if this is just my perception, but it is very clear and bright and everything in the lens seems to stand out like when you wear polarized sunglasses. Whenever I bought a scope before I would look around through it in the store. I never saw the difference so I always got budget optics. But after seeing through this glass in the open natural light and shooting with it, I will never buy cheap optics again. I went with the best I could afford and I am happy with the results.

My FAL is incredibly accurate with the German silvertip, berdan primed ammo that is available on surplus right now. I haven't rested it and tested MOA yet because I haven't had the opportunity or the inclination for anything that extensive and think that stuff is an obsession of mall ninjas anyway. What I care about is: can it punch a hole through the middle of a tin can at 100 yards? Sitting at a bench, this one can. It goes where I aim it, and all rounds will go well inside a tangerine at that distance. Apply whatever scientific term to that you want. My name for it is "way more than good enough", but I assume it is a little more than MOA - with milsurp. I shot the Russian fodder and it did OK, but it really loves the German stuff.

I got a bunch of Israeli never issued surplus mags. They rock. I will use those while stripping the others down to the metal, replacing the springs, and refinishing. Some of the 4 that came with the rifle fed horribly. The Israeli ones are top notch.

The place I ordered the forearm from screwed my order so I bought a quad rail on it but this made the rifle extremely heavy and ungainly. I duracoated the handguards in OD green mixed with crushed walnut shells for a positive grip. I then took a piece of inner tube and cut it out to the proper shape with a template and epoxied it to the bottom of the hand guard for the positive grip I wanted. I didn't care if I ruined it because it was just something I wanted to try. Trust me, it looks better than it sounds. And it works until I get the wooden handguards I want.

I got a factory blemished, but in perfect working order, SAW butt stock from Tapco. The dye did not mix into the plastic well enough and the color was not uniform. I bought it for next to nothing. I then duracoated it with the walnut shells and it looks terrific. I love the rough finish. It is very coarse and you will never loose your grip. I prefer rough gripping surfaces on any weapon I own. I ended up keeping the original pistol grip because it is solid. That was duracoated the same way as well.

Over all, I love my rifle. After I polished the interior of the receiver the only jams have been from the worn out and cruddy magazines. I am sure the STG-58 from DSA would have been less frustration initially, but I am not sorry for my purchase. I have a very reliable, very accurate and unique rifle that I am proud of. If I wanted to defend against a long range threat would grab it without hesitation over my AR. As much as I love my AR, I've been shooting it less since getting this FAL. That nice thump against your shoulder is a very reassuring feeling that I am sure I would think of if I ever needed to grab a rifle.
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Old 12-23-2010, 06:56 AM
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thanks for the update but you forgot the pics
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Old 12-24-2010, 05:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue123 View Post
thanks for the update but you forgot the pics
Pics here are with the old quad rails that made the rifle entirely too front heavy. I am a big guy, 6'2" and fairly muscular with some "survival reserve" on my stomach, and this damned thing was heavy even for me. Unless it was rested with the bipod it was almost unusable. I will put it this way, I have put 500 rounds through an original WW-2 Browning BAR and it was as ungainly as this rifle, no more.

This is also before I painted the furniture green. And also before I installed the DSA receiver cover/rail. I had the hold the camera upside down because for come reason the brightness settings were not working right and that was the only way I could keep everything from looking too bright without wasting time bothering with the camera. Anyway, here you go. I am a very busy person and I will try to get current pics ASAP.

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Old 12-24-2010, 05:15 PM
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