View Full Version : What should I do with this CAI sporter?
Hello all! Newby here; I've read this forum a bit and decided to come on board and ask for some advice. I've always thought the FAL was a cool rifle and figured some day I'd have one. I picked this up a couple of weeks ago at what I thought was a pretty good price. It's marked:
L1A1 Sporter (sporter is in smaller font)
CAI - St Alb VT
Ser. # 107XXX
It came with 4 mags-2 inch, 2 metric and seems to prefer the metric magazines. I've fired it and while it functions fine, I really hate that thumbhole stock. I've been reading forums and looking on the net, but there's not a lot of information about these Century sporters. Can anybody tell me who made the receiver and where the parts kits came from?
I'd like to keep it but think it would be a better rifle if changed to a more 'normal' appearance with a pistol grip stock. I've been told the lower receiver on these was damaged to install the thumbhole work. What do I need to do to save this? Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated. Also, if any advice is given that needs 922 compliance, please help me with that too.
So, people, what can I do to make this a rifle I want to keep?
--Thanks in Advance!:bow:
April 01, 2008, 23:39
Here is a link to a current thread. You are certainly not the first person to look in to making changes to Century's thumbhole configuration.
There is lots more information you'll find of interest in the Gunsmithing Forum as well as in the Reference and Data Forums.
L1A1 mods (http://www.falfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=224900)
April 02, 2008, 07:53
These early rifles were built with primo British kits and either Imbel or Argentine FMAP receivers. They get no respect, but I bet that will change in the future. They shoot really really well for the most part, but make sure you do a good cleaning and copper removal first.
You can either convert the rifle yourself by finding a stock, popsicle stick and handgrip, and rebuilding the parts Century butchered to make the stock fit. Or find a complete L1A1 lower, they sell for around $125 give or take. Remember the 922 compliance parts, you can find FSE inch trigger sets, US cocking handles and pistons, and use magazine base plates and followers to get you up to 6 US parts.
April 02, 2008, 07:59
Restore that puppy.
April 02, 2008, 08:05
Check the parts it has for origin. Most of the thumbhole sporters have little to no US parts. But I've seen some that have the century forends, or muzzle brake. Can't see if yours has a mb or not. If you don't have a MB you will need 6 US parts, if you have a MB you'll need 7. Some people go the route of adding a US made mag. floor plate as a US part. While technically legal, I don't recomend it. 2 reasons. #1 If you plan on having any real number of mags, the floor plates will end up costing as much as other US parts (like MB, HTS, PG, etc.). so IMHO you may as well get one of the other parts and use whatever mags you want. #2 If a LEO wants to be a jerk, they can swap your compliant mag with a non-comp and you're stuck trying to prove you were compliant. This would be unlikely at best, but why take the chances. Assuming you have 0 US parts now, and won't be adding a MB, the cheapest way is likely as follows. Hammer, Trigger, Sear, Butt stock, Pistol Grip, Forend. Put a WTB on the marketplace and I'm sure the fine members will hook you up.
April 02, 2008, 12:02
I'll trade you a milled Norinco AK for it.
If you want it "correct" you will have to:
1. replace lower & stock & PG
2. replace barrel & receiver
3. Put in US made 922r compliant parts
April 03, 2008, 05:33
wow, can't believe these are still out there. I converted one, same markings, about 16 years ago, with a pristine brit L1A1 kit ($150). I locked it up till U.S. parts became available. Still remeber the big debate on if these were post or pre.
bykerhd Thanks for the link, I'm still figuring out where things are here, and that gave me a lot of good information.
hagar You can either convert the rifle yourself by finding a stock, popsicle stick and handgrip, and rebuilding the parts Century butchered to make the stock fit. Or find a complete L1A1 lower, they sell for around $125 give or take. Remember the 922 compliance parts, you can find FSE inch trigger sets, US cocking handles and pistons, and use magazine base plates and followers to get you up to 6 US parts.
Thanks, I've not seen a 'popsicle stick' listed anywhere, but I'm thinking buying a complete lower and going from there may not be a bad idea.
vmtz I don't know how far I'd go in a total 'restore' but I'd like it to feel more like the original design.
dominus Great info, you answered the magazine for compliance parts question before I asked it! Thanks for the list of parts to get.
Abominog I've not had it long enough to feel attached, so I might consider a trade. Otherwise, I'm pretty sure I'll not follow all your advice.
duey I don't want to have to lock it up, I want to play with it!
Thanks for the replies people. You've helped me find more info on the site and given me some leads on what to do. I've got under $400 in it so far, so I don't mind spending a bit more. Any further advice that would help me make this more pleasurable to shoot will still be greatly appreciated. :wink:
April 06, 2008, 01:15
April 05, 2008 00:17 Post #22
I bought a late 90s thumbhole sporter L1A1 on Gunbroker last December 07 for $430 delivered! Turned out to be a hardly shot British L1A1 kit in original like new condition.
The upper receiver was an Imbel, marked "Made In Canada". Which is just one of the many forged steel receivers Imbel built.With and without their name on it. This is the truest most perfectly machined FAL receiver I have ever seen. I stripped it down. Found a pristine Argentine Imbel Kit with grenade sights . Re-parkerized with a follow up of Gunkote dark grey parkerizing bake on finish. Detailed the number and safety lettering. Restored the stocks with a semi-gloss black Brownells Alumahide followed up with 2 final coats of flat black alumahide. Looks exactly like a factory finish.The two finishes dry to a perfect non painted look. I really loved doing this build. Everything went perfect. I swear this rifle put one in the center of the target at 50 yards on the first shot. Shoots 1-2 inch groups at 100 yards with open sights. My trick DSA SA-58 couldn't do much better with a scope!
I sold the excellent British L1A1 KIT on Gunbroker for $480 and the like new thumbhole stock for $25 My Total for a beautiful shooting like new Argentine FAL
$400 bucks. Granted the skilled labor by yours truly, would add another $400 but who counts that. It was fun!
Get the fever while it is still affordable.
April 06, 2008, 01:21
Yours appears as nice as mine did.Yours has the imble receiver also. I highly reccomend my course of action. It you want to change the Thumbhole, you will need 6 US compliance parts to be legal. 7 if you use a flash hider. Century has the stock, pistol grip and forearm, trigger,sear,hammer. The seventh parts can be a us mag floor plate, charging handle or gas piston. A US flash hider will count as the 7th also. Check with the gun parts guy and tapco for the parts also
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