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Old January 28, 2002, 11:47   #1
barths
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Century Arms L1A1 WARNING

I have recently purchased a new Century Arms L1A1 and would warn others to run not walk away from this manufacturer. Problems with this weapon were as follows:Remember, this is a new gun right from the factory!!!!

It failed to manually or otherwise chamber any rounds.

The bolt hold back failed to engage manually because the bold failed to reach its rearmost travel.

In order to open it up I had to use a block of wood striking it with a mallet against the lever. Once open it failed to close.

My story ends well tho. I was fortunate enough to live near the dealer. This Saturday I went to his house and exchanged the weapon (not for another CA weapon).

When I arrived I saw that the dealer had a pile of about 5 other Century Arms FALs in various stages of brokeness which he was sending back to the factory. I don't think he is going to continue bussiness with them and I will NEVER buy another Century Arms product!

If you are considering a Century Arms FAL, Please beware!!!! the old addage of "you get what you pay for applies"

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Old January 28, 2002, 12:38   #2
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I guess I got lucky, mine worked perfect right out of the box. The sights were dead on too. The only thing I did was have the head space checked and it was fine.
Like I've heard I guess it's a crapshoot.
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Old January 28, 2002, 12:47   #3
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Well Duh!! Did you buy it before or after reading the hundreds of posts here on CAI quality?

FWIW, you are lucky - the Inch pattern are dramatically better than the metric.
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Old January 28, 2002, 12:56   #4
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And just when I was beginning to think they might be cleaning-up their act.

"5 other Century Arms FALs in various stages of brokeness." That's gotta be the quote of the week and its only Monday!

MMMBWAHHHHAAHAHAAAAHAAA!

(Um, sorry brother, I feel your pain. Really, I do...)
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Old January 28, 2002, 13:26   #5
barths
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Quote:
Originally posted by gunplumber:
Well Duh!! Did you buy it before or after reading the hundreds of posts here on CAI quality?

FWIW, you are lucky - the Inch pattern are dramatically better than the metric.
Mark:

Unfortunately, I purchased prior to hearing all the bad press about Century Arms. I did end up getting a MUCH better FAL for just a few extra bucks. What's your opinion on muzzel brakes for the FAL. My new barrel doesn't have one. Are they really benneficial or just something to waste your money on?

Thanks,
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Old January 28, 2002, 13:30   #6
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My L1A1 is a Inch pattern. Fit and finish also great. Like I said I was lucky!
Terry
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Old January 28, 2002, 13:46   #7
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Well it sounds pretty typical of CAI but.
Did you break it down and clean it prior to doing anything else with it?
Also the Bolt Hold Open on all l1A1s dont work they were ground off by the service countries they came from. (this is just one reason century needs to include a manual)
With all fal's hitting the charging handle to free a frozen action is a bad idea putting pressure on the charging handle (with muzzle in safe direction)while holding the rifle by the handguard with your other hand whomp the butt of the rifle on the ground straight up and down should free it up.
CAI dunks em in cosmo or some other crap before they leave the factory often times the bores/chambers are plugged up I am surprised no-one has blown up rifle yet due to this.
As with anything -- Know what you are buying. And with all guns clean and check em prior to going to the range --a headspce check is a good idea too.
I have had my CAI L1 for probably better than a year now with very few problems to speak of, aside from melting the Handguards off but that was my fault.
Caveat Emptor

[ January 28, 2002: Message edited by: Offctr ]
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Old January 28, 2002, 14:09   #8
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I bought my century l1a1 prior to finding this sight, but I guess im lucky to. I have had no problems other than the finish is awfull but im gonna send it to azexarms for the redo.
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Old January 28, 2002, 14:14   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by gunplumber:
Well Duh!! Did you buy it before or after reading the hundreds of posts here on CAI quality?

FWIW, you are lucky - the Inch pattern are dramatically better than the metric.
It's really true, no matter what Mark says in any of his posts, that damn picture of him always seems appropriate.
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Old January 28, 2002, 15:51   #10
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Mark would probably shoot me if I were in range, but for the people who bought Century and don't have a friendly dealer, ship it to the Gunplumber and see if he can make a silk purse out of the proverbial sow's ear. He's the best at what he does, and if anyone can salvage your investment, it will be Mark.
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Old January 28, 2002, 16:06   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rifleman44:
Mark would probably shoot me if I were in range, but for the people who bought Century and don't have a friendly dealer, ship it to the Gunplumber and see if he can make a silk purse out of the proverbial sow's ear. He's the best at what he does, and if anyone can salvage your investment, it will be Mark.

Not to take anything away from Mark as he has done wonders on my wife's Sig and hopefully my HB soon, but Derek at AZEX turned my CAI crackhoe into a moderately attractive, slightly aged call girl.
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Old January 28, 2002, 16:37   #12
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I wonder what the gas setting was. It sounds like it needed more. Might be a decent shooter.
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Old January 28, 2002, 18:26   #13
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Chiming in - my CAI l1a1 worked great, too. I haven't had any problems other than the the mag well being too tight for inch mags but OTOH, that means it works great with the cheaper metrics.
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Old January 28, 2002, 18:35   #14
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Sounds like it just needed a good cleaning.

I've been lucking, I bought my first L1A1 (Hesse receiver) prior to finding this board. I probably wouldn't have bought it if I read some of these posts. However, it works great and is very accurate. I liked it so much I bought a second one built on a Century receiver. The money I saved paid for a lot of ammo and range fees.

I know I sound like a sales rep for Century and I'm sorry that yours didn't work right but I couldn't ask for more than I got out of mine. They shoot great and look cool. I'd buy from Century again if I needed another L1A1. Nothing against the better named guns and smith built guns but I don't see how they would work any better than what I have.
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Old January 28, 2002, 19:45   #15
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I thought Century was starting to get their act together somewhat...That was the best story yet!

Actually I had a similiar experience when I bought the first butthole L1's came out in '92. Looks like not too much has changed in 10 years or so.

So much for the beater $375 throw-away L1A1 Century WECSOG project I was planning!
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Old January 28, 2002, 22:52   #16
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I wonder if that dealer with the pile of Century rifles would consider a fair offer. Maybe $ 100 each for the FAL/L1A1s ?
Just kidding, unless of course he would take it.
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Old January 29, 2002, 08:05   #17
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CAI can't be that bad after all I think they stopped useing Hesse as a receiver!

Well...then again this is Century Arms
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Old January 29, 2002, 09:01   #18
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Then why is my Hesse still rocking and rolling after 5000+ rounds? I must have a 'bad' Hesse! Or are there just rumours, and more rumours. That rumour needs to die.

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Old January 29, 2002, 09:13   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by EMDII:
Then why is my Hesse still rocking and rolling after 5000+ rounds? I must have a 'bad' Hesse! Or are there just rumours, and more rumours. That rumour needs to die.

I have not got that many through my Hesse/CAI yet but I am working on it. Of all the FALs I have, I like it best. I had it blued and a TAPCO brake put on the STG barrel.

The only problem was the bent gas piston and last month the cocking handle froze up from bluing crud still moving about.

It always is such fun to take to the range and horrify everyone.
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Old January 29, 2002, 10:03   #20
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Think I must have been one of the lucky CAI L1A1 purchasers as well. Other than it being shipped to me with the gas plug set for grenade launcher I have had no problems. (but don't think that initial problem was any fun for me ) LOL
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Old January 29, 2002, 10:15   #21
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It seems that some people may have actually gotten CAI FALs that actually worked!

But still, receiving a weapon set to grenade launcher, recieving a weapon with barrel filled with hardened grease, a weapon with such bad finish as to have to spend another $200 to send it away for a re-finish?

All of these things to me are inexcusable. If I purchase a firarm that I have to spend another $200 bucks on to make it work or meet my expectations what good is it?

One of my favorite quotes is " When we lower our expectations, we will not be dissapointed."
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Old January 29, 2002, 11:30   #22
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It doesn't hurt knowing how the weapon works. The problem described could happen using two different types of milsurp ammo. Setting up for some hot Chilean ammo and then firing some British ammo, for instance. CAI really needs to ship a manual with the rifles. If Tapco can sell one for $4 they can't cost much.

Basic Information For Operation Of The FAL Rifle

You might surf around the old The Old FAL Files
Century Arms Rifle Manuals

[ February 07, 2002: Message edited by: DerbyFALs ]
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Old January 29, 2002, 23:34   #23
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I bought an Inch thumbhole sporter three years ago. Built with excellent cond. parts, on an Imbel. Other than needing three good cleanings I've had no problems. I love it. Of course, I scoured this site and the old board first! I knew what to look for and what to avoid. The first question I asked the dealer, when I first took it off the rack was..."What's your return policy?"

OO
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Old January 30, 2002, 00:01   #24
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My CIA L1A1 works great and the iron sights happen to be dead on out of the box.

I did polish a few things with the dremel:
feed ramp, some part of the bolt like the bottom and where it makes contact on the sides.
other than that any gun I ever bought got a cleaning and inspection before I shot it.

I orderd the Tapco wood set for the L1A1 and can't wait to refinish the wood. I wanted ironwood, but a new baby told me I am on a budjet. (amazing she can't even talk yet) I will post pictures in a few weeks when I can get the wood done.

I thought about the 223 conversions they are doing, save money on ammo, mags and all http://www.falfiles.com/cgi-bin/foru...c&f=3&t=004687

but I wanted a 308 for a reason, I will let my wife shoot the 223 and stick to a decent round. I do like the hirt ammo. does an excellent job for range work.
Thank god for Tapco
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Old January 30, 2002, 00:34   #25
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I got my first CAI L1A1 a couple of weeks ago. It was an impulse buy, and I am ashamed to admit that I didn't really do my homework first. But I guess I must have lucked out. It worked fine with commercial .308 win Federal stuff, and surplus Belgian 7.62 NATO. Accuracy was quite good as well. FAL's are a little out of my genre and I will be sure to do more research in the future before laying out my money, but all in all, I'm pretty pleased with my CAI.
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Old January 30, 2002, 01:41   #26
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Hmmm , after reading all the post about Century Arm's FALs I think I'll pick up one directly from OlyArms tomorrow , they are actually are giving a life time warranty on the ENTIRE weapon (including the kit parts). I also own a CAI/Hesse Cetme that shoots beautifully despite the warped magazine well .

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Old January 30, 2002, 07:05   #27
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Mortech - you should check Oly Arms reviews here from the last few months. It might cause you to reconsider.
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Old January 30, 2002, 09:50   #28
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Yes, Mortech, they have a bad habit of bad mouthing our fellow board members.
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Old January 30, 2002, 09:57   #29
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Moretech-

http://www.falfiles.com/cgi-bin/foru...c&f=7&t=000431

and especially:

http://www.falfiles.com/cgi-bin/foru...c&f=7&t=000445
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Old January 30, 2002, 11:17   #30
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Quote:
Originally posted by barths:
It seems that some people may have actually gotten CAI FALs that actually worked!

But still, receiving a weapon set to grenade launcher, recieving a weapon with barrel filled with hardened grease, a weapon with such bad finish as to have to spend another $200 to send it away for a re-finish?

All of these things to me are inexcusable. If I purchase a firarm that I have to spend another $200 bucks on to make it work or meet my expectations what good is it?

One of my favorite quotes is " When we lower our expectations, we will not be dissapointed."
Barths you are correct about that but CAIs practices are well known and they(century) dont seem to have any expectations at all. The alternative is to buy a FAL from a custom gunsmith or DSA and pay full price. Buy an OLY and have a firearm of questionable legallity. there are a few other options (IAI M444 etc)you can go too or buy a reciever and kit and build one yourself. That way you will know exactly what you get for your money.
I did get a century that worked good so did an associate I work with but as expected they both bent gas pistons within a few mags, and needed serious cleanings right out of the box to complete a function check of course I did not have the money at that time for a DSA or I would have bought one right off the bat. I was willing to accept some work on my part to save cash on the purchase.
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Old January 30, 2002, 21:20   #31
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The one pictured in the review is DEFINITELY a piece of crap , I went ahead and bought the one at the dealer and it looks vastly better than the one pictured . The only thing I can say is someone really f**ked up by sending that one to be reviewed . the one I have is beautiful by comparision . All I have to say is thanks guys for he warning , if it had looked like the review model I would not have bought it . Also would like to thank Larry of Larry's Guns here in Olympia for letting me detail strip it the at the store , I've been buying guns there for nearly 8 years and his never steered me wrong . I will post pictures on my web site this weekend for you all . Oh yes , for some rason there is a real shortage of these weapons right now and OlyArms no longer has a forum on www.ar15.com , makes one wonder .

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Old January 30, 2002, 23:38   #32
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bill:


I have not got that many through my Hesse/CAI yet but I am working on it. Of all the FALs I have, I like it best. I had it blued and a TAPCO brake put on the STG barrel.

The only problem was the bent gas piston and last month the cocking handle froze up from bluing crud still moving about.

It always is such fun to take to the range and horrify everyone.
I thought you said in the Entreprise bashing thread you liked one of those best
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Old February 04, 2002, 23:48   #33
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Got lucky too I guess. Got a Century R1A1 "frankenfal". Inch lower, Metric upper. Before I found the FAL files. Feeds flawlessly with good mag. gas on 3.
I did have to clean the shit out of it. Cosmoline and rust. Got the tools and did a complete disasembly short of removing the barrel. But that wasn't so bad. Great way to learn the rifle. Got the armourers manual for $2.00 from Olympic arms. got ametric holdback, Belgian hooded sight, Entreprise MB, Tapco scope rail/dust cover and did camo job with airbrush on the plastic furniture. The rifle looks and shoots great. If I got one that was like new I do not think my learning curve would have been as sharp.
I am very happy with it. But next time.......
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Old February 05, 2002, 10:43   #34
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I bought a Century/Hesse L1A1 and have had zero problems,other than it needed a good cleaning when I bought it.
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Old February 06, 2002, 13:28   #35
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I first fell in love with the L1A1 at the US Army Foreign Weapons School in Aberdeen, MD...

I was going to build my own and was looking for an inch pattern receiver. My gunsmith/FFL pal told me that Century was actually producing some good homegrown receivers now and that I may as well buy the entire rifle for the price!

He steered me right! The fit and finish was superior to any weapon I was ever issued in the military. I had to completely tear it down and clean the hell out of it to get the cosmoline off, but I was happy that someone coated it to protect it. I set up the gas setting (on 5--functioning reliably); and I deburred and polished the feed-ramp with some crocus cloth.

It's a real 'shooter'. I've put about 1000 rounds through it over the past 2 months--even in 'combat courses'.

I'd trust my life to it--Sorry I sound like a commercial for CAI, but every word above is the dead truth.
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Old February 07, 2002, 11:43   #36
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I bought a Century Cetme at my local dealer the rifle has never failed to function and it has always printed a tight (for an H&K type) group.The bad part is the group is 11" left and there is no more adjustment left.I will send it back to century but why can"t they get it right the first time? maybe they have to change the monkeys diet
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Old February 07, 2002, 18:28   #37
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Real common and they can fix it quick. Look around on this board for more info H&K Clones
Funny though. They should call the HK Forum CETME Clones, MUHAHAHAHA...

[ February 10, 2002: Message edited by: DerbyFALs ]
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Old February 07, 2002, 20:36   #38
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I am a newbie to this weapon and glad that a freind checked it out first.I bought my Cent. Arms R1A1 for a good price(less than my J&T kit AR' w/lower)after a good cleaning and told how to put the gas plug in the right position(duh!!)I was so happy to take the day off and shoot this treasure.For the money I guess it all turned out well.Many new parts throughout but the furniture sucks(the wood is on order)I would hope that Century makes the quality control more upshot than the horror stories I've heard.
Also who can deny the authoritive 7.62x51 impact report compared to my 5.56 at 400yds.(guess I'm a horse power junkie at heart!)
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Old February 07, 2002, 21:28   #39
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Hello everyone. I'm new to this forum and I don't have a clue about the L1A1. I received a Century L1A1 as a gift this past Christmas and just getting to function testing it before I take it to the range.

Here are the things I've been experiencing and I'm not sure how to resolve them.

1). The magazines that came with the rifle fit really tight.

2). There is a magazine bolt hold open, but it doesn't hold the bolt open on an empty magazine.

3). It consistently fails to feed.

Has anyone else experienced these problems? The gun is new and I've cleaned it up pretty much, but the problems I've experienced occur on both magazines that came with.

I'm also wondering if the metric mags will work better in the rifle even tough, as I understand it, the Century L1A1 (R1A1) is an inch pattern FAL variant.

I'll appreciate any input anyone may have.
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Old February 08, 2002, 07:40   #40
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Hammer3100,

You should have received 1 metric mag and 1 inch mag. I did with mine. Inch mag fits tight but loosens up after putting in and taking it out a few times. Metric mag fits loose but still functions.

The Last Round Bolt Hold Open feature doesn't exist on the L1A1's. What ever country they came from grinds the pins down. Pull it, measure it and replace it if you feel the need to have it. It should function if you manually push the pin up with the bolt open.

Fails to feed ? Is this during firing ? Or just trying to chamber a round from a full mag ? Does it happen with both mags you have ? Could be weak springs. If trying to chamber a round and it won't feed have you noticed any shell filings around the feedramp ? If so, you could polish that down a bit. If it won't feed during firing (LOLOL- and this happened to me it could have been shipped to you with the gas plug set in the "grenade launch" position) remove plug and put in the right way. You should be able to see a line on top of the plug.

Hope this helps.

Regards,

erthmun
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Old February 08, 2002, 10:31   #41
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Well, I've had a CAI built L1A1 since July. I had a problem in the beginning - the gas tube plug was set at the grenade launcher setting when I purchased the rifle, but I didn't know about that until a friend pointed that out. Since then, I had a FTF problem due to cheap mags, but have no other complaints. I love this rifle.
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Old February 08, 2002, 10:55   #42
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NC_Rebel,

ROFLMAO ! ! ! I thought I was the only one that went through that ! ! ! How the hell can a company send a rifle out set for grenade launch ? ? ? As it goes, glad to know I wasn't alone .......

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erthmun
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Old February 08, 2002, 13:06   #43
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Erthmun, I thought I had a bolt action FAL for about a week before a guy told me about that plug! I know how you feel, buddy.
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Old February 09, 2002, 09:50   #44
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bolt action FAL wouldn't have been so bad but the damned thing was on the wrong side ! heeheehee

NC_REBEL - you goin to that shoot today up at Riverside ? I wanted to go but after pissin' my foreman off last week I couldn't miss a day this weekend Wish they'd have some shoots during the week !

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Old February 09, 2002, 13:35   #45
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my first fal was a century, hesse metric receiver with inch parts, would not feed from the left side of the magazine, tip of bullet kept catching on the edge of the barrel. took it to the dealer and he traded for another, same problems. fortunately he refunded my money and then had a hell of a time getting his money back.
century = a very big crap shoot
had an imbelstg58 built with no probs
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Old February 09, 2002, 14:44   #46
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Quote:
Originally posted by erthmun:
Hammer3100,


The Last Round Bolt Hold Open feature doesn't exist on the L1A1's. What ever country they came from grinds the pins down. Pull it, measure it and replace it if you feel the need to have it. It should function if you manually push the pin up with the bolt open.

Hope this helps.

Regards,

erthmun
Does tapco sell the pin? I think the bolt hold open feature is kind of handy.
Is it that easy? I have not done much more than clean and shoot.
I did buy ironwood for it, just will take some time for me to finish the stock once it gets here.
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Old February 10, 2002, 23:06   #47
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To fix the bolt hold open buy a 3/32x3/4 roll. it will have to be ground down. A 3/32x1/2 may work as is. They cost $0.15 at the hardware store.

This web page tells how to install it

HTH

[ February 10, 2002: Message edited by: withergyld ]

[ February 10, 2002: Message edited by: withergyld ]
Bolt holdopen project

[ February 10, 2002: Message edited by: withergyld ]
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Old February 11, 2002, 00:00   #48
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You know, most everyone I talk to is jazzed about their wanna be Fals, like me. New to the Fal but learning fast. I traded in my Mak90 and a 10/22..... for this Imbel Metric receiver with a 1"lower L1A1 and I'm in love with her! I put 600 rounds through her this week and average 1" to 3" shot groups with what looks like cheesy iron sites to me. Barrel seems to heat up and drift on me! I've got some work to get done to her and appreciated gunplumbers (short answers) null
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Old February 13, 2002, 01:12   #49
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by withergyld:
[QB]To fix the bolt hold open buy a 3/32x3/4 roll. it will have to be ground down. A 3/32x1/2 may work as is. They cost $0.15 at the hardware store.

This web page tells how to install it

HTH

Bolt holdopen project

Thanks, I think I can pull that off.
Nice website.
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Old February 13, 2002, 15:39   #50
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I'm seeing a lot of new guys asking good questions in this thread.

Here is what I suggest. Please start a new topic in the appropriate forum for each of these questions. It becomes way to confusing to follow the thread if several guys are talking about several different problems, involving several different rifles, in one thread. I know I can't help you if I can't focus.
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