“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

― Frank Herbert

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Cetme


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:


14 comments:

  1. Not belittling your other types of posts, but I really enjoy these types. I generally learn something every time.

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    1. I enjoy doing them, but they don't really appeal to most people who read the blog. Women in general don't find the gun posts interesting and most Europeans and Scandinavians aren't very interested in guns. I don't think that many shooters come by here. You, Zero.Ryan and a few others. At least gun posts aren't generally controversial, unless someone decides to give me a big ration of heartburn over the difference between .308 Winchester and 7.62 X 51, which I have tried to preempt on this post. I appreciate the comment.

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  2. i agree with Matt so + to him. i love learning the history of the various weapons and Harry, you know your weapons. but don't get me wrong - i enjoy ALL of your posts!

    your friend,
    kymber

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  3. I appreciate the history aspect and the info about the rifle(s) imported into the US. I never really knew the difference between the CEMTE and the G3 other than looking a lot alike.

    CENTE's were dirt cheap even in the early 00's. Think confusion about how they were (and were not) compatible with the G3 stuff turned me off of them. If I could go back in time instead of other things I purchased like lever guns, revolvers, AR's etc I would have gotten a squad worth of SKS's, a team worth of AK's and a FN-FAL or two while they were all relatively cheap. Oh well you can't go back in time.

    A PTR-91 is on my radar as a potential option that is a fairly decent value. Then again the AR-10 market has a lot to offer and that gun's tendency towards accuracy gives it a more viable niche.

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  4. The PTR-91 has a good reputation. I think now Cetme's are hard to find, though they occasionally turn up when somebody dies and the wife empties out the guy's closet. I haven't seen Cetme mags on offer for some time. I suppose it's like the MAS 49/56, they're available for a short while, then gone.

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  5. Nice write up. No gas system to clean though. The g3 and CETME are delayed blowback. Glad you have a couple of these fine guns. And, as always, thanks for the link.

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    1. I should have written that I didn't want corrosive primer residue blown all over the internal components of the gun. Technically, you are quite right.

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  6. Interesting stuff. I have a Spanish shotgun. It's not ever going to fool anyone into thinking its a high end gun but it's solidly built and performs well.

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    1. Nothing wrong with a good shotgun. I have a single shot, break in the middle Baikal shotgun that's worth it's weight in gold to me, though it's low end and was cheaply purchased.

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    2. Mines an over under break barrel. I know you guys like your pump action but they're not popular over here.

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    3. Sorry miss read yours - a single barrel shotgun doesn't sound like the type of thing I'd expect from over there! Normally we'd expect Americans to have a huge magazine multi shot jobbie!

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    4. I got the Russian gun about 20 years ago. It was brand new, cost $65.00 . It's a good gun within limitations.

      Can you still own pump shotguns there? I read in the British papers about "sword violence" and it seems like your firearm availability is pretty slim.

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    5. On my licence , which is just a shotgun licence I can own a pump action but only with a three shot magazine. If I had a firearms licence (rifle) I could have one with a six shot magazine. But they're not allowed in competitions or on proper shoots.

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