Spain has a long history of small arms production. Some of their weapons have been very good, some not so good.
After World War II, some of the Mauser design team which had been working on the production of assault weapon designs managed to get to Spain, where they were employed by the Spanish in doing what they did best, designing small arms.
The Cetme was the result. It would later morph into the Heckler und Koch G-3. Everybody who knows anything about guns knows the G3.
In the early 1990s, Century International Arms imported some Cetme parts kits. Parts kits are the disassembled rifles, with certain parts banned by the federal government either removed or destroyed.
Initially, there were some problems with the guns Century manufactured using American receivers. People who have been dealing with Century for a long time know that you don't buy a "built gun" from them when they first hit the market. The process is this. Century puts out the guns. People buy them, and find lots of problems. People complain vociferously. Century fixes the problems. Then you buy. You have to have a sense of timing, since the number of available parts kits is not infinite and you can miss the boat.
The Century guns come with black plastic furniture. You can easily acquire the old wood furniture if you prefer, or you can get G3 green plastic but you have to do a little work to make it fit.
The Cetme uses Cetme magazines. Not surprising, but there's a twist. Because the Cetme and the G3 are so similar, some people use G3 mags in the Cetme. G3 mags are very, very cheap and easy to find. Cetme mags are hard to find now, and not so cheap.
That's a G3 mag on the left, and a Cetme mag on the right. I bought about 20 Cetme mags in the 1990's, when they ran about $5.00 each in unissued condition. My Cetme won't cycle reliably with G3 mags, but other people swear theirs works fine with the G3 magazine. I've been told to file this and that on the G3 mag and it will work. But, as I have plenty of Cetme magazines, and I also own a G3, I haven't done any of that. I have enough magazines for each rifle that I don't have to screw any of the magazines up.
My Cetme is a good rifle. To an American, used to the M14, the Cetme feels a little clunky at first but you get used to it. The Cetme chambers .308 (7.62X51). Yes, there is a minor difference in load between the Winchester .308 and the 7.62X51. My gun digests either equally well. Yes, .308 is expensive. That's why, when a good deal comes on the surplus market, I buy a lot of .308. I have Venezuelan .308, German .308, lots of the primo Australian .308, Chilean .308, and I reload my own. It goes without saying I don't fire corrosive .308 in the Cetme because the gas system is a bitch to clean three days in a row. So I shoot the Chilean and other low end .308 in my bolt guns, which are easier to clean. The "good stuff" like the German, Australian and Venezuelan is reserved for my semi-auto guns.
As an aside, the Spanish took old Model 1916 Mausers originally produced at the Oviedo factory, and turned them into training rifles for troops soon to convert to the Cetme. For a discussion of the FR-8, the resultant model, see Commander Zero's post here: