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Old August 27, 2017, 13:02   #1
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Newb Century Sporter Conversion Questions

Just joined but I was furiously reading before I got approved so I could learn a bit about the L1A1/FAL.

I decided I needed to have "one" so I could see what all the fuss was about. (I'm sure it will turn into more than "one")

When trying to decide between a kit build or a working rifle for my first purchase it struck me that many were saying that other than a new Imbel receiver any new made uppers were a lot of trouble. Pricing out a new Imbel receiver and a kit put me over the $1000 mark pretty quickly. Then I was also finding others speaking highly of early Century guns that were built as Sporters on imported receivers. I decided that converting one might be a cheaper way into the game for my first gun.

I hit upon an auction on Gunbroker and will be into this gun for not much more than the price of a new Imbel receiver.

I read the excellent article on converting these on the ARS website but I'm such a newb I don't know what parts I need for the conversion. What furniture is right for the kit? Does it matter since it will always be a metric/inch mutt? What flash hider should I get?

If i'm honest I want wood. It also looks like the hand guards might be black painted wood. If so I imagine those could be refinished.

Thanks in advance for any help and info you can pass along.

I'm sure I will have more questions after I get the gun (these pics are from the auction)
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Old August 27, 2017, 13:10   #2
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First you have to decide whether you want it inch or a hybrid.....I had one like that that had an Indian may have to tear it down and see what you have before you make your decision ....those hgs may be kinda beat up....mine were and they were painted black like that....
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Old August 27, 2017, 15:52   #3
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Give Ernst Armory a look. They offer a conversion service that is worth checking out. I had a Cenrty just like yours and sent it to them and had it back in a week from door to door. They change all of the parts that CAI butcher with a new pistol grip and gently used stock and but plate for less Than $300.00. If this is your first and you don't have the stock tool and all of the parts it's well worth the time and cost. I am extremely pleased with the end result. They have wood kits, but I think he may have plastic as well. It even looks like you have the paint wood for end just like mine. Stripped the paint off to fing fairly nice walnut wood underneath.
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Old August 30, 2017, 15:40   #4
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Here's the link to the Ernst Armory L1A1 Conversion. Its available for both wood and plastic furniture.

Welcome to the world of FAL addicts.
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Old August 30, 2017, 20:24   #5
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Look at the pictures in the following L1A1 thread to give you an idea of a close to original L1A1 configuration.
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Old September 09, 2017, 21:04   #6
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I finally got the gun in my hands. I'm not finding any numbers that match.

Since it is a mutt I think I want to convert it back to a real pistol grip and get some wood furniture for it.

The hand guard on this thing looks really nice and is just painted black over the original finish.

What flash hider should I get for this thing? Something like this?

Last edited by BigRix; September 09, 2017 at 22:30.
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Old September 10, 2017, 13:33   #7
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Some pics of the numbered parts.

Australian L1A1? I think that is what I have.

Hand Guards. Any method you know of to clean the black paint off and leave the original finish?

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Old September 13, 2017, 07:46   #8
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For the paint on the Handgards. I would use citrus strip. But you will have to refinish the wood after. PS try APEX gun parts there L1A1 Flash hiders are about $20 or so. Nice forged reciver by the way.

Last edited by JD42; September 13, 2017 at 08:03.
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Old September 13, 2017, 10:29   #9
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I used some stripper I had laying around. Three coats and a trip through the dishwasher. (That smelled up the kitchen a bit)

They look like the monkeys at Century sanded them to death before painting them.

Any suggestions for a stain color that is close to original? I was thinking stain then oil finish. Will that get me in the ball park?
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Old September 13, 2017, 13:47   #10
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Just Tung oil will recondition and darken those, bringing them towards that correct orange-ish color -- the originals were just oiled. Any sort of lacquer would have been nitrocellulose, not polyurethane. Grime mixed with gun oil is what creates the darker colors in older stocks, LUKAS 2314 "Patina" varnish is a damn good match. Maybe mix with a little bit of carbon or black artist oils, perhaps some umber to match laterite soils.

It's the same concept as those furniture "antiquing" kits from the 70s and 90s, or weathering a scale model; it's a varnish, you apply a wash, then wipe away as little, or as much, as it's drying to get the desired effect. I would do the bulk of the refinishing first -- oil, sand, oil, sand, varnish, oil.

Consecutive passes with 150, 220, 320 sandpaper should help smooth the contours and clean out the last bits of black paint from the grain and pores, as well as smooth out where the wood starts to rehydrate and swell. Finer grits will bring out the grain and increase gloss.

Nitrocellulose lacquer will give you the shine and protection, with the proper qualities, unlike polyurethane -- doesn't look like the wood is set in thick plastic, yellows/crazes appropriately with age, doesn't feel like plastic, and isn't a huge pain in the ass for the next person to refinish.

Last edited by nounnoun; September 13, 2017 at 14:24.
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Old October 05, 2017, 19:02   #11
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I have one that looked exactly like that one, it doesn't now. Your numbers won't match, no biggie. The important thing is the receiver. Mine is about 11000 from yours. It's an Imbel rcvr which you will see referenced here as a NGL (non gear logo). But it is an Imbel . Question for you, what does the magazine cutout look like? Is it rounded or squared (for the locking lug of the mag)? The lower starting with AD signifies Adelaide IIFRC. You say that it's a metric/inch mutt - it's really not (with the exception of the receiver). It's only a slight bastard - but for your first you did exceptionally well. This is a 'diamond in the rough'. This is what you could have. Your barrel will always be just a bit shorter than it should be, no pun intended. That's a front sight protector on it, and yes it has a bayonet.
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Old October 06, 2017, 22:45   #12
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My Century "rescue"

I wasn't as fortunate to have an Imbel receiver... but she goes "bang" when I pull the switch.

She's a hybrid.

When I took the pic, didn't yet have the pistol grip screw but liked how she looked.

All the hard work was done by Mark - a/k/a Gunplumber.

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Old October 08, 2017, 14:08   #13
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Here's another Century Thumbhole rescue that went through AZEX's Century REDO after the 1994 Sunset. It takes metric mags, so it matches well with my other metric FALs.

Good luck with your restro.
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Old October 24, 2017, 18:45   #14
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Newb been there

I had the exact same rifle and just converting it over. I purchased mine in the early 90's and tucked it away until 3 years ago.... I had to learn 922R and purchased a few wrong pattern parts. My 7 US made parts are: Furniture, 3 pieces of black walnut from Ironwood. I did purchase a "conversion" furniture kit that did not fit, lesson learned . Muzzle brake, 1 part, had to have the barrel threaded. Gas piston, 1 part, this gave me 5. The last 2 were tricky, Inch trigger, very hard to find. Sear, difficult to find. Hammer, difficult to find. I went with the magazine. Thermold required a file or dremel to fit correctly, but since it was US made it had 3 more US parts. Moses Magazines were much better but have gone MIA for a while. So I changed out the floor plate and follower with US made parts on my metal imported magazine body and it is by far the best fit.
Ive been a wall flower here for years and learned a lot. I finally had something to say so I jumped in. I also did 2 MAK 90s with slant receivers so I paid my dues. hope this help....
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