CETME troubles

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So, always wanted a wood furnitured CETME. Found one at a great price and got it. It's a century build, but still, I figured I'd give it a try. Looked clean and well oiled and greased so I loaded up a mag and went out back. First shot locked it up. As in it didn't cycle. Couldn't get the cocking handle rearward to expel the brass. Took it in the garage and with some judicious attention with a block of wood and a hammer, got the bolt rearward and the brass out. Brass looks like a torx bit at the case mouth, not just the normal gas lines from the flutes. And I had a few case head separations.

Anyways, loaded up more ammo and it would fire 3,5,7 times but still get stuck not ejecting. After some reading, it seems that really scrubbing the chamber/flutes fixes a lot of these issues. So I scrubbed the bejesus out of this thing, then scrubbed some more. And scrubbed it again. I scrubbed out the chamber as well as the inside of the receiver with a shotgun bore brush. Liberally oiled everything and put it back together.

A concern for me was my reloads. This batch according to my records is on its 4th load. For a rifle that notoriously hard on brass, maybe I should be shooting new, or at least once fired brass.

Anyways, bought some 7.62x51 today to try it out, at least rule out my loads, but maybe the cleaning helped. I also sat on the couch and cycled the thing 100's of times, I've read of people doing that as well.

Anyways, any CETME owners care to chime in?
 
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were your reloads 308 or 7.62x51 cases?
They were/are primarily LC 7.62x51 brass from a machine gun shoot. So the brass has had a tough life lol. I run this same load in my FAL's and M14 with no issue. Just a plain 155gr FMJ doing 2,400fps. I like this load cause it dopes well with the sight adjustments on my other 308 battle rifles.

ETA: 150gr bullets.
 

greencobra

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don't own one but first thing that came to mind was that's why you got at a great price. I dunno....[angry]
 

jpm

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don't own one but first thing that came to mind was that's why you got at a great price. I dunno....[angry]
I'm kinda thinking this too but I think trying it with that new ammo you bought will tell us a lot.
 
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don't own one but first thing that came to mind was that's why you got at a great price. I dunno....[angry]
Well, good price was really retail, it's just a typical century build, nothing crazy, new from century, I didn't buy it off a budy or at a swap meet or anything for fire sale prices. Seems with these rifles you either get a complete turd or an awesome rifle. At the minimum you'd think century would do a mag dump through one before it got sent out the door but we've all seen century rifles and know they have a well deserved reputation.

I'll rip through a few boxes of factory rolled here soon and see if that changes anything.
 

jpm

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So it was new? I would be on the phone with Century tomorrow telling them to make it right. It should function properly straight from the shop.
 
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So it was new? I would be on the phone with Century tomorrow telling them to make it right. It should function properly straight from the shop.

Oh I agree. Just trying to remedy it myself based on what I've seen and others experiences. I'd hate to send it back and they just slap oversized rollers in it or grind down the bolt to create a false acceptable bolt gap or whatnot.

Right now this is all speculation, I've done everything that is recommended, cleaned the hell out of it, cycles hundreds of times, and now have fresh new ammo and a couple mags. Just gotta get home before it gets dark and give it a whirl.
 

Sweeney

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If fresh ammo isn't the remedy there may be an issue with the chamber flutes. If not cut correctly they can latch onto brass and lock it in place.
 
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I've got a couple things going on I need to remedy first. I have zero bolt gap, that needs to be fixed. I'll measure the bolt and bolt carrier to make sure they weren't ground down or are excessively worn, then add +2 or +4 rollers, see if that changes the gap, well, it will, it has to, provided all of my bolt assembly is in spec. Once a proper bolt gap is achieved, I'll determine the gap for my cocking lever support, make sure the carrier isn't slamming into it.
 

jpm

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I don't know why you'd want to f with it when you can have the manufacturer repair or replace it. Once you start f'ing with it, you're going to void your warranty!
 
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I don't know why you'd want to f with it when you can have the manufacturer repair or replace it. Once you start f'ing with it, you're going to void your warranty!
Very valid and reasonable point. To me, It's kinda like the devil you know vs the one you don't. This is Century here, there's a good chance they'll just replace the rifle with another shody build or do incorrect repairs as a stop-gap. What I'm saying is I just don't trust them. The shop I bought it at stands behind it and said if I wasn't happy for any reason he'd refund 100% of my money. I told him of my plans to check it over and try a few things, and he said "fine" but if your still not happy with it I'll refund your money. So I really got nothing to lose.

Been reading up on it all day and have some good info. There's many components I can measure and test to see whats in spec and what isn't. Parts are plentiful and cheap so I can know whats going into it. Plus I have a spare parts kit I can mess with to compare and test fit components. I'm not altering anything permanently. There's plenty of reputable builders out there that can do anything from simple adjustments and repairs to full on builds. If I can figure it out, even if it costs me a couple bucks, I'd like to go that route. If this was a new Winchester or another factory rifle I'd have a different take. Its a parts build thrown together with surplus parts.
 

mac1911

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Very valid and reasonable point. To me, It's kinda like the devil you know vs the one you don't. This is Century here, there's a good chance they'll just replace the rifle with another shody build or do incorrect repairs as a stop-gap. What I'm saying is I just don't trust them. The shop I bought it at stands behind it and said if I wasn't happy for any reason he'd refund 100% of my money. I told him of my plans to check it over and try a few things, and he said "fine" but if your still not happy with it I'll refund your money. So I really got nothing to lose.

Been reading up on it all day and have some good info. There's many components I can measure and test to see whats in spec and what isn't. Parts are plentiful and cheap so I can know whats going into it. Plus I have a spare parts kit I can mess with to compare and test fit components. I'm not altering anything permanently. There's plenty of reputable builders out there that can do anything from simple adjustments and repairs to full on builds. If I can figure it out, even if it costs me a couple bucks, I'd like to go that route. If this was a new Winchester or another factory rifle I'd have a different take. Its a parts build thrown together with surplus parts.
I dont get it, you dont trust them but you bought something from them in the first place.... anyway Maybe check your reloads. I have reloads that worked in all my garands except one. I had to put a little more squash on the resize die and get my brass back to min SAMMI spec...
 
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Well, I had always wanted one. When I had the funds, I couldnt find one, when I found one, I didn't have the funds. So now that I have one, I'd like to fix it if I can instead of mailing it back and forth hoping its "OK" Thats all. Besides, I'm learning a lot about this rifle and its workings. If I come across something that can't be fixed, like a barrel thats pressed in too far or bad welds, sure, I'll send it back 100% as I received it. I'm not taking a dremel to it or anything.

I have a CETME parts kit, so for shits and giggles, I swapped out the bolt head for the one in the parts kit and got an in-spec bolt gap and my cocking tube gap is still good to go. The locking piece and bolt look to be good, not ground down and no excessive wear. Roller windows in the bolt head are good. I get a slight resistance when cocking the rifle at the last 1/3d of the stroke but I suspect this is from the carrier passing over the FCG.

Ive just gotta get home while I still have some daylight and run it, or bring it to work with me and jam out to the range during lunch.
 
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I'm really curious to hear what you find!

Well, most of my googling for info and specs kept taking me to militaryfirearm.com. I read the stickies there for hours and hours and learned a ton. Then joined up and asked more specific questions now that I had an idea of what I was talking about and looking at. If you need detailed info and build/repair, or any advice on any military firearms you'll find it there.

Anyways, I used the bolt head from my parts kit to achieve a bolt gap of .009. Spec for bolt gap is .004 - .02, my original bolt head had a gap of .002, so almost no gap. The gap can be adjusted by replacing the rollers in the bolt head up or down in size to achieve an in spec bolt gap. Too little bolt gap and the bolt unlocks easily and recoil get dodgy, to much bolt gap and the bolt has difficulty locking up. Rollers are pretty cheap and it takes maybe 5min to change out.

So, if bolt gap is good to go, then check cocking tube gap. Not enough gap there then the carrier slams into the cocking tube support and will beat the rifle up to a point where the welds on the cocking tube to the receiver start to come apart. Too much gap and the cocking lever can't cam over the bolt to unlock it.

My cocking tube gap is good, bolt gap is good, so I'm set I think. If the aforementioned are out of whack and cant be brought back in, then we start looking at how the barrel is pinned into the receiver or if the cocking tube was properly installed.

The good thing in all of this is that parts are plentiful and cheap, and easy to work on/replace with a minimal of tools.

So, fingers crossed, I ordered some LC 7.62 x 51, I'll give that a whirl and see how it goes.
 

KMM696

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Sounds to me like you're headed in the right direction. I ended up with one of the CETMEs with the bolt Century ground - the barrel on mine does need to be reset. Not an impossible job, but I've been putting it off for 15 years now. Maybe the post retirement project list will pick it up.

Hope it works out - also curious to see what happens next!
 
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I'm also interested to find out how this works out. I'm intrigued by these and have considered getting one but I don't know a lot about them. Are the Century CETMEs that much of a crapshoot?
 

KMM696

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There were some early ones (mid-2000s) that Century ground the bolts to set headspace when assembling the used parts, which was not an original manufacturing method. There was a lot of discussion and arguing over whether this was an acceptable practice, or if the Century CETME failures were just their usual marginal quality.

Example of the arguing going on then:
Cetme Ground Bolt Heads and Safety Issues
Cetme Bolt Gap and Headspace

I don't recall any definitive answers coming out of the discussions - ego and internet worked then just like it does today. My conclusion was that until I could return it to the original CETME specs, I wasn't going to shoot it.

And what to look for:



I have one with the ground bolt head, that I bought 'new' back then. I have fired it, prior to finding out about bolt grinding with no issues, but stopped using it after finding the ground bolt. The fix is to replace the ground bolt, unpin the barrel and reset it in the trunion correctly, then reset headspace with the bolt rollers. I bought the parts for this, and it's about #267 on the project list - maybe after I retire. Century never really talked about this issue, but at some point the ground bolts just stopped showing up. Who knows what they decided to do in the end.

Which leaves Century's inherent quality levels - which are not great, but are better than they were back then. Their guns (the ones they assemble, not just distribute) can be fine - but more of theirs have problems than more reputable manufacturers will. This is reflected in their price, which I consider a fair tradeoff. It's not the only rifle they have sucked at building. If you search for their quality problems over the years, you'll find them. I'm not going to say I'll never buy from them again, because they sometimes get items that no one else has. I will always be cognizant that their reputation is not great, and there are reasons they are cheaper than anyone else.

Why you should be careful when buying from Century Arms

CenturyMonkey.jpg CETME.jpg
 
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Well, still haven't shot it yet to see if there are any improvements. Any free time I have, I've been hanging deer stands and reloading, trying to decide on what I'm going to hunt with this year.
 

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I just bought a "new" (renewed?) Century 308 w/plastic furniture, and looked over the manual when I got it home that night.

Their recommended break-in procedure (which I'm following) is this:
Step 1) Fire 10 shots. After each shot, wet a patch with solvent and push through bore. Then wet a bronze brush with solvent and stroke the barrel 5-10 times.
Follow with another wet patch, and then enough dry patches until patch comes out clean/dry.
After completing the above for the first 10 rounds,
Step 2)Fire 10-20 shots and then repeat the cleaning process used above (wet patch, brush, dry patches).
Repeat step 2 until you have reached the suggested 200-300 rounds.

So far I've completed step 1, using Aguila 308/150 grain. While I had no FTE/FTF, that's pretty much irrelevant since there was only one round loaded in the mag.

I'll be trying a couple of different loads for the next step, and recording feed/eject results.

I have my suspicions that the break-in procedure was written for reasons other than technical (lawyers?).
 
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Well, I got some surplus 7.62x51 and ran through all of them with zero malfunctions, brass still looks abnormally chewed up around the neck. I'm familiar with how hard these rifles are on brass but this is not normal, the case mouth looks like a torx bit.

Aside from functioning as desired, its shooting about a foot to the right at 100yds. There's no provisions for windage adjustment.

I contacted fairfax firearms repair. They come highly recommended by anyone with a jacked Century build, as well as many other platforms. Talked to the guy and he was very helpful and was familiar with all of the problems I was describing and assured me he could fix just about anything from a bad barrel press, too shallow flutes in the chamber, to a tweaked receiver or remove and re-weld the rear sight. Said it'd be at most $250 including shipping and a few weeks. That's the route I'm going to take.

Of course I'd love a reliable and accurate rifle out of the box but I guess its a gamble with parts kit built guns. I am really thankful though, out of the hundreds of guns I've owned, I can't recall ever having to send one back in or sent off for repair. So I guess its bound to happen at some point.
 
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have you adjusted the windage via the front sight yet? How do you adjust the sights on a CETME?
Well I'll be dipped in poop! Thanks Weasel, learn something new every day! I had thought that the front sight post adjusted for height like most other front post sights, didn't know about the unique windage adjustment. But to answer your question, no, I didn't mess with it. Bigger fish to fry with this rifle so Its going out.
 
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