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Posted: 7/29/2003 3:35:43 PM EDT
I got a chance at an fal with some mags for $300
and have not seen it yet.What do i look for?what recievers,barrels,stocks are desirable?I plan to use it for 3 gun stuff and can i find reliable 30 round mags for it too?
Link Posted: 7/29/2003 3:43:45 PM EDT
For that price, its got to be a Century rifle. Even for a frankenfal assembled by the angry beavers at CIA, that's a pretty good price. For that money, you really can't loose. Even if you have to send it off for a major make-over, you'll be ahread of the game.

The Century guns are known for being nightmares. Some folks have great luck with them but others can never get them shooting right without sending it off to one of the better FAL smiths. They are pieced together with a mix of metric and inch parts. The good thing is, most use both mags. There are some factory 30 round mags for the inch. Tapco has them. DSA also sells them for the metric but they get pretty spendy.

Get the details on the gun. If it has an Imbel receiver, buy it. There is nothing that can be done to one of those that can't be fixed later.
Link Posted: 7/29/2003 3:48:11 PM EDT
Thanks,i'll get more info about it tomarrow.
So....if its not a centry arms and does'nt look beat to death i'm good?
thanks for the fast reply
Link Posted: 7/29/2003 4:32:25 PM EDT
For $300 buy it, its rare that even a Century gun can't be made to sing with a little TLC.
Link Posted: 8/1/2003 4:57:35 PM EDT
OK gotit
L1A1 on an imbel reciever with 10 mags
gas adjustment is free and rifle has a cheeseball thumbhole stock that i hate and the trigger feels about 10#
nothing looks beat up or loose,final deal was
$260 and an SKS that i wanted to dump.
I want it for three gun matches,am i nuts?
Howd i do?
What do i need to look at before test fire?
Can i lighten up the trigger?
Whats a good source for reliable surplus ammo?
and and and......i'm really wantin to shoot this baby!
Link Posted: 8/1/2003 5:08:42 PM EDT
Not a bad deal. IIRC, the lower is probably inch and most of the rest is metric. I could be wrong on that though.

One thing you are going to run into here is a big issue if you want to replace the butt hole stock. When that rifle was imported, it was in a legal configuration. Since then however, the rules have changed. That means that if you want to install a normal stock, you've got to comply with 922r which is the import ban. You'll have to replace enough parts so you have fewer than 10 of the parts from the imported parts list. The most common ones are the hammer, trigger and sear (which yours might already have), butt stock, pistol grip and your choice of forend, charging handle or gas piston.

As to lightening the trigger, be very careful. A lot of guys attack the sear with a polishing wheel but you can really screw things up in a hurry like that. Don't change any angles and don't remove any metal from this area.

You may be able to lighten things by removing the trigger return spring and replacing it with a sear spring. This works in most rifles and will take a good 2 pounds off the pull. On some rifles, your trigger will not go forward when you release it. The spring only costs $2 from Tapco so its worth a try.
Link Posted: 8/1/2003 8:44:10 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/1/2003 8:46:23 PM EDT by powerstrokedit]
so its ok to change the furnature.
i'm there.
When is this magic trigger i'm reading about gonna come?
Can i run gobbs of surplus ammo through this thing?
the matches i shoot don't pass 50 yards.
and thanks for the input
how do i tell whats metric and what ain't?
And does that matter what mags i buy? i want some 30 rounders for 3 gunnin.
Link Posted: 8/2/2003 4:30:23 AM EDT

Originally Posted By powerstrokedit:
so its ok to change the furnature.
i'm there.
When is this magic trigger i'm reading about gonna come?
Can i run gobbs of surplus ammo through this thing?
the matches i shoot don't pass 50 yards.
and thanks for the input
how do i tell whats metric and what ain't?
And does that matter what mags i buy? i want some 30 rounders for 3 gunnin.



You can change the furniture but if it is an inch gun, i'd swap it with inch furniture.
You can shoot surplus through it but I wouldn't shoot surplus in a match, I'd stick with .308 Win. and save the surplus for blastin'.
On an inch gun, the cocking handle lever folds down and the pistol grip screws in from the inside of the lower receiver. The rear sights also flip up and down. be warned, if this is an inch gun, the upper receiver is made by Century and that would scare me off, possibly made by Entreprise but I doubt it for the price. On a metric gun the cocking handle has a fixed knob, fixed rear sights and has a nut that fixes the pistol grip to the lower receiver via a threaded stud. If I remeber correctly, the trigger/hammer pin retainer plate does not come out on an inch gun, that one I will defer to my fellow FAL junkies, it's bee ahilw since I have had an L1A1. Many times, these guns, especially the cheaper ones have a hodge-podge of parts. i.e. metric cocking handles on inch guns, etc. Some guys will say the metric mags go in an inch gun but wobble around. If at all possible, unless you are a super FAL junkie like us poor souls, I'd go metric for my first FAL but I wouldn't pass on a $300 L1A1 either. Tapco and DSA sell 30 round metric magazines will will prove troublesome for bench shooting. FALS like to get super hot like an old Pontiac, that 30 round mag will only make it hotter faster. I recently passed on a Hesse for $400, just too scary for me, I don't want to blow my face off. I would highly recommend you check the headspace on this gun before you fire it. If you are unsure on how to check headspace you can get a video from AGI that lays it out pretty clearly. Otherwise most gunsmiths can do it quickly and easily for you. There are also some very cool FA scenes in the AGI tape made by DSA right here in the Peoples Republic of Illinois. Now, with all that being said I must warn you the FAL is habit forming. One will not satisfy you, you will have to have many. I bought my first kit 10 years ago and I'm still addicted. Now I'm thinking about dishing out some serious money for a DSA free float stainless set-up. Enjoy your new rifle, there is really nothing quite like a FAL. My AR's pretty much collect dust. When a FAL is put together right, it will never ever fail or jam even when dirty. Can't say that about my AR's.
Link Posted: 8/2/2003 6:14:40 AM EDT
The Century models are hard to figure out. Patriot is correct about how to identify an inch lower but I think the uppers are mostly metrid that have been modified to accept the folding charging handle. They are the ultimate Frankenfal. There is a way to figure that out as well, but I couldn't tell you what it is.

You mentioned that it is an Imbel receiver right? Like we said before, with an Imbel receiver, there is no wrong that can not be righted by a good smith.

Shoot the thing a bit and see if it needs any attention. It might not need anything but a new furnatire set.

BTW, the 2 state triggers are "a couple of weeks" away but the inch sets are two months behind the metrics.
Link Posted: 8/2/2003 8:13:31 AM EDT
Uncle Hiram to the rescue!

MOST Century guns are either complete metric (STG kits) or L1A1s (inch kits with metric uppers).

I'll focus on the L1A1 since that appears to be what you have.

Likely you have a complete inch kit with a metric receiver (Imbel). Tell me what your upper receiver is marked with. Also, is your takedown lever horizontal in orientation or verticle? That will tell me which pattern lower you have.

The best compliance parts would be. Hammer, Trigger and Sear from FSE ($50), gas piston ($30), US L1A1 furniture ($30) all from Tapco.

Anyway, pics would help us help you... But this should get you started.
Link Posted: 8/2/2003 8:29:28 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/2/2003 8:30:56 AM EDT by DavidC]
I know HiramRanger is a youngun', and I hate to correct him but...

Most of the thuumbhole stocked CIA Imbel receiver guns are from the 1990-1995 time period. The vast majority of them actually do have inch lowers and metric uppers (I've owned quite a few of these frankenfals). The receivers have a cut milled so that they can use inch mags, but the parts combinations are suspect at best.

If the front sight has solid ears, there's a good chance that it's a metric upper, if the ears are open, it's probably inch, since the open ear argy barrels weren't coming into the country back then.

For the price that was paid for the gun, getting the correct lower to match the upper, along with enough 922r parts (nothing except the TH stock is US made on the file now, unless a previous owner swapped in US parts) is cheap enough.

Pictures would help

Edited to add:

TAPCO currently has 30 round mags on sale for $30 (usually $50) but 20 round mags are the standard for 308 rifles; 30 round mags are really unweildy.

Link Posted: 8/2/2003 8:46:27 AM EDT
David, did you read what I said? I said MOST fit into those two categories and that the inch pattern kits are built on a metric upper... That would mean an inch pattern barrel assembly mated to a metric upper with an inch pattern lower... Which is exactly what you said when you "corrected" me.

I have a former thumbhole variant that was converted over. In its original incarnation it had a complete inch upper assembly (except for the metric receiver). The only thing on it that is metric is the upper receiver, otherwise it is a complete inch gun.

Were you saying that most of the Century guns had a complete metric upper including front sight, barrel, handguards to receiver? I must have an oddity then as mine is inch through and through except for the upper receiver which is metric - and thank GOD because I can use metric mags.
Link Posted: 8/2/2003 9:00:36 AM EDT
HR -

I guess I wasn't clear enough.

You have one of the rarities; I've seen about two dozen of the early post-89 guns and almost all of them had a complete metric upper with a complete inch lower.

Made for some interesting problems when sighting the guns in.
Link Posted: 8/2/2003 3:22:00 PM EDT
Well a rarity for an oddball... seems appropriate to me, lol!
Link Posted: 8/2/2003 3:59:27 PM EDT
Shot 15 or so rounds of remington core loct through it today after a match and played with the gas adjustment.I was amazed at the change i got in the way it shot.
i'll try tonight to post some pics ,i'm still learning how to compress the file for posting.
Thanks for the help everyone
Link Posted: 8/3/2003 7:22:11 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/3/2003 7:25:26 PM EDT by powerstrokedit]
the reciever says
L1A1 sporter CAL. .308
Reciever made by IMBEL-BRAZIL
Imported by CAI.ST.A1B VT
can't post pics but the release lever that was asked about is vertical and this does'nt have a comp(i want to shorten it add a comp,lighten the trigger and swap the furnature)
So is this thing metric or an inch gun?
What mags do i use?
How can i tell a metric gun from an inch?
This does have a folding charging handle
The rear sight folds down
the front post wings have holes(if that make any sense)
Link Posted: 8/3/2003 7:33:54 PM EDT
That sounds like an inch gun on a metric receiver... very much like the one I have. This is a very early Century import and from my experience, some of their best work. I bought mine used. The original owner never had a problem, and neither did I. Enjoy! Buy yourself a weaver dust cover from Tapco - on sale for $29.95 and mount a scope or a red dot and enjoy. You can get the furniture and a fire control group for around $80 and have all your compliance parts. Everything you need is available through www.tapco.com. Enjoy and keep us posted!
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