Century C93 5.56mm
I have had about the same luck as everyone with the hit-and-miss quality of Century firearms.
I bought two inch pattern L1A1 FAL rifles from them years ago, and neither worked for crap.
Another rifle I bought years ago was an HK-93A3. It was great, and I think I bought it for around $900 way back then.
I sold it, and missed it for years. Then, not too long ago I bought a Vector V93 to replace it.
Then President Obama became elected somehow, and I sold that fine rifle for a modest profit.
It was a deal I couldn't resist, made even more sweet because I had learned there was a slew of "like new" HK-33 parts kits hitting the U.S. shores, and that several manufacturers were lining up to make rifles from them.
Well, several months later, the only game in town turned out to be Century. A manufacturer of dubious and controversial merit. I will grant them that they make the firearms that other people want, and that they do so for very reasonable prices, but that usually isn't the final say in the cost. I have heard many horror stories about rifles being grossly out of spec, or completely non-functional. Naturally, I thought of the L1A1's I had bought from them so long ago.
I ponyed up the cash, and told myself it was a crap shoot, just like in Vegas, and I should just trust to my usual "dumb luck".
I did, and ended up winning the jackpot!
(Note matching serial numbers on the pieces above and below)
The fit and finish are beautiful. I bought it sight unseen off of Gunbroker from Phoenix Distributors, and it is quite nice.
As you can see, there is some oxidation, but for a rifle built from a parts kit, not bad at all.
The bolt gap measured out at .013" which is right in the middle of the specifications.
After my first 185 rounds (4 x 40 round magazines, and 1 x 25...I don't pluck these numbers randomly), it was working fine, but the gap had shrunk to .009".
Again, matching serial number on the bottom of the carrier.
This means nothing, as this isn't a "collectable" firearm, but it is nice to have matching pieces.
Less likelihood of wear related issues, or parts not fitting together correctly.
Bolt carrier assembly left side...
...and the right. Here you can see the worst corrosion on the whole rifle, and it isn't that bad. Not for what I paid for it.
Lower parts are much nicer than I had expected as well.
Not sure about the "U" on the hammer, but the ejector looks like real HK to me.
Some people have bought these Century rifles and received horrible, painted plastic hand guards and stocks.
Mine are very nearly immaculate original. I can't explain how I lucked out, but I am happy about it.
Inside, showing years of use, but not abuse.
These rifles were built with U.S. made receivers and barrels, so most of the metal you see here is home-grown U.S.A.
The welds all appear top notch.
However, that portion of the receiver where the bolt guide is stamped in, is not welded shut strangely.
My first trip to the range was utter frustration. Nothing but "Failure to eject" stoppages for the first four magazines. After that I had sporadic hit-and-miss reliability out of it - sometimes it worked great, other times hardly at all.
I eventually sent it back to Century after six months of procrastination. They sent it back to me in less than 3 weeks. Which was nice. It even would have been nicer if they had seen fit to fix the problems with it. They didn't. Even after replacing the bolt carrier, scuffing up my nice finish, and grinding a slew of metal off the inside of the receiver.
Eventually I found that the magazine well was too wide, and the mags weren't seating correctly. They were riding up inside the well about three millimeters too deep. The four "lobes" on the magazine (two of which you can see above), were riding up INSIDE the mag well. I don't think they used to...is this another example of Century's fine gun-smithing? Or did I just never catch that? I think they "fixed it" that way, as none of the old pictures on this site show anything even close to what I saw when I got it back. A trip out to the shop and some gentle caresses from my shop vice brought it back in spec. I don't know what the monkeys back there do for day jobs, but it sure isn't working on firearms.
It took me ten minutes, two hunks of wood, and a vice, and I trued up the bulging receiver like it should have been originally. Since then, I've fired about 600 rounds through the rifle now without a SINGLE stoppage. It eats Wolf like it was candy. Here goes 40 rounds at a local gravel pit (05/17/11):
(click here for video)
It's no HK. Heck, it's not even a Vector...
...It's a Century.
But is it a Trick or a Treat???!!!
With patience, and perseverance, it has turned out to be a great value and a fun shooter.
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