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Old November 24, 2019, 00:48   #1
Combloc
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MarColMar CETME LC (Carbine) In Detail

No, this isn't technically an HK but, as we'll see by n by it's close enough.

In this post, we'll be taking an up close and personal look at MarColMar's recently released CETME LC in 5.56/.223. For those of you not familiar with the CETME Model L, it was made in Spain and served as their standard 5.56mm infantry rifle from about the mid 1980's through the mid 1990's until being replaced by the German manufactured G36 rifle. BUT, this is not a History lesson so I'll leave it at that.
Fast forward until a few years ago when a little north of 10,000 5.56mm CETME rifles were removed from storage in Spain, scrapped and sold to the US market as parts kits. Of these, MarColMar ended up with approximately 10,000 kits in three versions. They are, from top to bottom, the LV, L and LC:

The vast majority of the kits were the standard fixed stock "L" version designed to be used primarily with iron sights and although many (but not all) did have a rear sight tower capable of having a scope mount attached, the optic mount seems to be vanishingly rare at this point. If you have one, please let me know as I'd LOVE to document it. If you are interested in the standard "L" version rebuilt by MarColMar, I wrote about one of those in-depth earlier this year and compared it to both a Hill and Mac kit rebuild and an original intact Spanish specimen. Just type the following into your favorite search engine and you'll immediately find links to it on multiple sites:

MarColMar and HMG Cetme L a Detailed Comparison

Also acquired by were a very few (145) of the "LV" version. The CETME LV was intended to be used as a marksman's rifle and had a STANAG scope mount permanently welded to the receiver. I'll be looking at one of those shortly.
The third version, known as the "CETME LC", is what we will be looking at here. The primary difference of this version compared to the standard "L" model is a collapsible butt stock intended make it more compact for movement or stowage. Of the approximately 10,000 kits acquired by MarColMar, only 645 were of this variety.
SO...who is MarColMar? Well, rather than get it wrong, I'll just quote their website:

"MarColMar Firearms is an FFL / SOT / and Class II Manufacturer that specializes in bringing important historical military firearms back to life - for both collectors and shooters. Founded by Dave Bane in Richmond Indiana in 2007, MarColMar has been committed to merging modern manufacturing methods and materials, with surplus military parts, to recreate the most accurate, high quality, and reliable firearms available to the consumer market.
Our past projects and collaborations with other fine industry leaders, has resulted in some of the finest semi-auto firearm shooters and collectables, all of which have rapidly increased in demand and value – such as the Semi PKM, the Bulgarian AK-74, our milled Uk vz 59, and the UKM. Our latest project, the CETME L, will now expand our limited production – high quality philosophy - to a broader market, allowing many other enthusiasts to access our products and designs, and enjoy them for generations."

And here is a link to their site:
https://www.marcolmarfirearms.com/

Now, if it sounds to you like I'm advertising for MarColMar (I often use MCM for brevity) that's because I absolutely am. BUT I'm not advertising because they asked me to or because they are paying me to or because they are giving me free stuff. NOPE. I'm doing this of my own accord because I bought one of their CETME L's and was so absolutely Impressed with the Quality of their product, the Quality of their customer service and the Quality of who they are as people and a company that I feel compelled to get the word out about what kind of feast they are bringing to the firearm hobby's table. If you want to learn more about that, I again invite you to read the article I did earlier about the standard CETME L by typing the following into your favorite search engine:

MarColMar and HMG Cetme L a Detailed Comparison

Have you read so much at this point that you're ready to go to sleep? Well wake up because it time to start looking at pictures. We'll start at the beginning.....the box:

When your new rifle arrives, this is the first thing you'll see. There isn't much to say....it's a cardboard box. But it's a nice sturdy one.


On the end of the box, you'll find a sticker letting you know what's inside:

The Serial # line should be pretty obvious as to what it is. MCM started the serial numbers in the 26000 range on this model because all of the LC kits were in that range. I think that's kind of nifty!
The next line is the model. Notice that there is a fourth one (TAC) I haven't mentioned. That's because it isn't available yet. I'm pretty sure we all know what a "TAC" version will be though. Just know that such an animal, while I'm sure it will be the bomb, didn't originally exist. Tacticool is as American as apple pie!
Next is color. I chose green because that's the color they all were originally. But you can also order your rifle in Black, Grey or Flat Dark Earth.
Next is furniture. Again, I chose green because it's what would have originally been used in Spanish service. You can also order black or Flat Dark Earth.
The next line is marked "Rail". I chose no rail because....you guessed it....that's how an original rifle would be. But if you choose to have one, MCM will ship your rifle with a perfectly aligned picatinny rail mounted on top the top of the receiver running from the front of the rear sight all the way to the front of the receiver.
The last line is marked "HB". You can specify either an original style pencil barrel or a larger circumference heavy barrel.


Upon opening the box, you'll find your new buddy well packed in form fitting high density foam:

In addition to the rifle, you also find some other stuff which I have laid out for the picture. At the extreme left is the manual. We'll get a closer look at that in just a bit. In the column next to the manual and starting at the top we have a warranty card, break-in directions and a tag that was attached to the trigger guard informing you that you might shoot your eye out if you aren't careful. Continuing right, we have a small bottle of lube, an action lock, a flash hider and lock washer (more about that later) and, finally, a standard US GI aluminum magazine made by Okay Industries.
The stickers inside the box top are contact information for MCM and another warning label. You can never have enough warning labels.


Here's a detail shot of the break-in information:

While I haven't shot this rifle yet, I have shot my L model quite a bit since purchasing it in early 2019 and it has yet to give me any problems. It's run like a Singer sewing machine since day one.


Let's take a closer look at the manual. I'm not going to post every page but trust me, it's well done. It's actually two manuals in one. The first half was done by MCM and covers some really interesting stuff. Besides the usual how to disassemble and how to clean sections, there is one on the History of the original rifle and some really informative text about the production of this new AMG including which parts are new US made. The second half is an English translation of an original Spanish manual complete with lots of pretty color pictures.
Some examples of the MCM half:












Some examples of the translated Spanish half:





After checking out the extra stuff, it's time to take a look at the rifle. we'll start with a right side view, stock extended:


It's playing coy and trying to blend into the stone wall so here it is in the living room where it has a harder time blending in:

Please ignore the embarrassing unfinished shelves in the background. They'll be prettier when finished.


And the left side shown with the stock retracted:

At this point we need to address what you are looking at. I mean, is this a kit build or a new made reproduction. Well, it's both really. If you refer to the pictures of the manual above, you'll see on page 11 just which parts are original Spanish and which are new made in the US. To paraphrase my earlier piece on the standard model:

"Simply putting a parts kit back together to make a legal functioning rifle was not good enough for MarColMar. They have built a reputation over the years for crafting what could essentially pass for a new firearm out of a decades old retired and torch cut pile of surplus parts. They only select the best parts kits to begin with. Then they carefully modify the design to make it an ATF compliant semi-auto while preserving the look and feel of the original. This includes in-depth testing and ongoing development until they are satisfied that the end product will look, feel and function at least as well as the original was intended to. While sorting through the kits and developing the prototypes, any components which do not meet their aesthetic or functional standards are reproduced using the best possible materials so that they are as good or better than original factory parts. Only once they have everything finalized and sourced do they move on to production. MCM feels it's far better to delay a release date in order to work all the bugs out of design and logistics than it is to release a flawed product on time. Production itself is done using the most modern methods (including a welding robot on the Cetme L, LC and LV) and materials. The end result is a firearm that looks and functions as good or better than the originals did decades ago. According to Dave Bane, that's always been their standard way of doing things and that's the standard they've held their new Cetme L/LC/LV's to as well."

The only caveat I would apply to the above quote is that the MCM rifle actually exceeds the original rifle in Quality of both build and function. When I originally wrote that, I hadn't actually held or fired an original example. That is no longer the case.


That's it for this post. In the next, we'll begin looking at details starting at the muzzle. Now I gotta go get some beauty sleep. Judging by the way I look, I'm not getting enough by a long shot!
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Old November 24, 2019, 08:03   #2
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Great post, I've been sweating one of these and you may have just pushed me over the edge
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Old November 25, 2019, 01:14   #3
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You won't regret it.


As promised, we'll begin the details at the muzzle:



That's a nitride finish on the barrel. Pretty isn't it?
Yeah.....very nice.
It's not real. Well, the nitride finish is real but the barrel isn't.
What??
It's just an extension.

Let me explain. If my research is right, early LC's did in fact have a standard length 15.75" barrel but that was quickly changed to a 12.6" barrel. Almost certainly, the parts kit this one was rebuilt from had the shorter barrel. And that's exactly what MCM installed. That way, you can order your LC as an SBR. Or, you can opt for what I've pictured here which is the same barrel with an extension installed to bring the length to 16".
When you look closely at the rear of the flash hider, you'll notice that there is no gap between it and the barrel because it's all machined from one piece of steel:

Ordering your rifle this way increases the price $75 but it's clear that MCM put a LOT of work into this to make it almost indistinguishable from a standard barrel so the slight price increase is justified if you ask me.They were initially considering just installing an XM177 style flash hider. That would have been less expensive but it also would have been completely inauthentic looking. In the end, they decided to go this route in order to keep the rifle more original looking. I couldn't be more pleased with the result! While we are talking about barrels, ALL Cetme barrels manufactured by MCM, short or long, standard weight or heavy, are cold hammer forged and sport a nitride finish. Neither of those things can be said about an original barrel.


For legality reasons, the extension had to be semi-permanently attached and MCM used a blind pin method. This detail is clearly seen on the bottom of the extension just in front of the front sight base:

Understanding that some customers would prefer to submit their own Form 1 instead of waiting for a Form 4, MCM did not dress the weld so that it would be easy to find for removal when the end user's Form 1 was approved.


So now you know why there was a spare flash hider included in the box. It's an original Spanish part refinished by MCM. Earlier ones were a three prong design and later they switched to a birdcage. If you ask nicely, MCM will include whichever your prefer. Otherwise, it's luck of the draw. I was fine with either and received a three pronger:



It's most likely never get used because I have no intention of making an SBR out of this jobber.


Next up is the front sight assembly:

This part is different on LC than the one installed on an L or LV and it's proof that the rifle this part came from had a short barrel when it left the factory. Do you see what's different?


Here is another illustration with a standard L rifle in the background:

In case you still don't see the difference, the LC does not have a bayonet lug but the L/LV models do. On the CETME, the bayonet mounts over top the barrel and attaches to the little rectangular lug sticking out from the face of the sight tower. This lug is absent on the LC because the barrel is too short to mount a bayonet. Whether the LC sight tower is just a standard one with the lug ground off or is an entirely different forging, I cannot say. If you look carefully at the contours of the reinforcement rib running down the front of each sight tower, you'll notice they are quite different. This lends evidence to the different forging line of thought. But, there is considerable variation in some other parts of the rifle over time so it is also possible that there were variations in sight tower forgings anyways and the LC sight tower is still just a modified standard one. How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop? The world may never know. Man, that's a whole lot of words right there!


On the L and LV models, MCM has modified the front sight to make them both easier to adjust and more precise. One is pictured below:

The original front sight blade with its coarse threads was removed and a new one with finer threads was manufactured by MCM. Consequently, the sight tower was rethreaded. Additionally, the sight was also redesigned so that the adjustment detent indexes with notches cut into the base. This means the four holes in the sight base are only there for fitment of an adjustment tool (it's designed for an AR-15 tool but a bullet tip works just fine too) and have nothing to do with locking the sight in place.


And here is the same view on an LC:

Everything you are looking at here is an original Spanish part only refinished by MCM. Notice that the detent locks into the adjustment hole to lock it from turning. Also, there are only two adjustment holes (the second one is hidden from view by the sight post) instead of the four seen on the MCM sight. This arrangement is harder to adjust and less precise but it's 100% original. MCM chose to not modify this assembly because of the rarity of it. I would have made exactly the same decision. Schweet!


In the next post, we'll keep on rolling. We'll start by talking a little bit about color shades and finish hardness and then we'll look at pretty much every single weld to see if MCM does good work or is as sloppy as a two year old with a box of dull crayons. Spoiler alert......their little welder robot dude is A-OK in my book. See you soon!
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Old November 25, 2019, 19:44   #4
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Another great in depth review! I did notice on mine that they changed the color somewhat, the new finish looks a lot closer to what is seen on most parts kits. I'm not sure if this is because people complained about the finish on the earlier rifles look too brown or if they figured the LC model is just meant to be greener.

Quality is superb as usual, blows the HMG version out of the water IMO, my only complaint is that the finish is just a bit too glossy.
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Old November 25, 2019, 23:53   #5
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Fantastic thread!!

Thank you for taking the time to document this for us. I’m actually interested in this rifle now.
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Old November 27, 2019, 15:44   #6
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Love this, they do excellent work. They could have took a few more seconds to find and remove that huge burr in the front sight though.
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Old November 28, 2019, 01:08   #7
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My picture makes it look worse than it is. It's OK.


Next up, I feel I should briefly touch on color shade. For some, this seems to have been a big deal since the beginning and I talked to the folks at MCM at length about this subject when I spent the day with them last spring. Quite simply put, with regards to original rifles, there was a LARGE spectrum in terms of shades of green both in the plastic furniture and the paint used on the steel parts. In fact, many of the plastic parts were even shades of grey. I went into quite a bit of detail on this topic when I wrote about the standard rifle so I'm not going to rehash all of that. But, I do want to post one picture of a very few original pistol grips just to give you an example of what I'm talking about:

I feel confident that it is obvious..... there are at least two different shades to be seen. I didn't take pictures of a bunch of the original finish painted bits so you'll just have to trust me when I tell you that they vary quite a bit as well. MCM cannot be reasonably expected to reproduce every shade so they had to settle on one and they arrived at that by picking and average of all the shades they had. Personally, I was quite happy with the colors they picked for both furniture and paint but, like everything in life, no matter what you do, some folks will complain. Go figure.

Once the LV and LC kits were unpacked and laid out, MCM discovered that all had a remarkably similar shade of paint so, in the spirit of recreating these as closely to original as possible, it was decided to have Cerakote mix a special shade of green to perfectly match the kits. The result was "MarColMar Green". While they were at it and although it was expensive, MCM decided to upgrade to Cerakote's Elite Series, the strongest firearms coating offered by Cerakote. MCM liked the resulting color so much they decided to use it on all models, not just the LV and LC. Let's take a look.
Here is an indoor shot of an early production MCM (at top) compared to a newest production LC:

It's hard to capture an object's true color in photographs but we can clearly see that the LC is a different shade. While I am perfectly happy with the earlier shade, it is kinda' neat to know that the newest shade is no longer an average but rather an exact duplicate of a shade actually used by Santa Barbara in Spain.


Here is another picture taken outside in which the color gradient is even more noticeable:

In this case, we have a Hill and Mac example at the top, the new color MCM LC in the middle and the older MCM L at the bottom. Are you tired of hearing about colors? Are you tired of reading the word "shade"? I know I'm tired of typing it. OK....we'll move on.


Next, we're going to look at every single weld I could find that was done by MCM. After paint shade, welds are the number one question I get. MCM uses and fancy dancy high tech robot for all the welds and then, if I understood correctly, touches them up by hand where necessary. The result is some very nice work if you ask me. Referring back to my first MCM CETME last winter, other than the top cocking tube weld, I was very pleased with MCM's work and even the weld in question was not bad. But, my self appointed job is to scrutinize so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not you wish to spend your hard earned dough so I'm pretty picky. I'm happy to report that the welds on both the LV and LC I recently received meet or exceed those on my first purchase. But rather then read my blather, you'd rather see what I'm talking about wouldn't you? Fair enough......let's go!

We'll start with the left side rear sight welds:

Are they as good as what is on my HK? Nope. Are they as good or better than an original Spanish made CETME? Yep. And we are talking about a reproduction here aren't we? Yep. Would you like to see what these welds look like on an original rifle? Well, I took pictures of that. Just refer to the article I mentioned earlier and you can check 'em out.


Left side button weld:

While it doesn't bother me, the less than perfect finish on the magazine catch may be a gripe for some. On standard rifles, MCM refinishes all parts regardless of how the original finish looks. Mr. Bane told me that all of the LC and LV kits looked to be in unissued or near unissued condition but he did not mention whether or not all of the small bits was refinished. However, I think it a safe bet to say that they were as that would be standard MCM practice.


Rear of magazine well:



Rear of trunnion:

This is one weld that continues to vex me. On every original rifle I've seen, this weld is actually two welds. One is at the top and it's so well finished that it looks like a flat ramp. Then there is a bottom weld which also looks like a flat ramp. The middle is left unfinished. To illustrate, here is a picture I took of an original:

Now, MCM explained to me that to weld this area as was originally done allows some gas blowback and I did witness that first hand when shooting the rifle pictured. To remedy this, they weld the entire area, in effect sealing it. It IS a reasonable and smart decision and it works. Still, I wish they would dress it a bit better to make this weld look as spic and span as an original. I'm sure I'm in the minority but I'd personally pay 50 or 60 bucks or whatever it cost extra to have this particular weld hand done to look as clean as an original. This is the ONLY gripe I have (and have had since the beginning) about MCM's welds. But I guess it's a small price to pay for such and otherwise exemplary reproduction.


Left side cocking tube:



Front of magazine well:

The raised bead is original correct.


Right side cocking tube:



Right side of trunnion:



Right side button welds:



Right side of rear sight:

If you are familiar with an original rear sight adjustment wheel, the one shown above may look slightly different than what you are used to. That's because MCM has redesigned and manufactured this part and the axle screw new, replacing the originals which were prone to breakage. If you plan on actually shooting your rifle, you'll be happy they did this.


Top of cocking handle tube:

This is the weld that was a little wonky on my early rifle. It appears MCM has addressed this as it looks A-OK now.


Rear of magazine well again:



And finally, the strengthening block at the rear of the receiver:





The work here is on par with my Swiss made 551.



That's all for tonight. Next time we'll start by looking at pictures of some receiver details that really impress me and continue from there. Until then.....HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you all!!! I sincerely hope each and every one of you feels as blessed as I do. May God bless you all and this Great country we live in!
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Old November 28, 2019, 08:12   #8
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Thanks for doing all this cool work Combloc. It's really nice and has only increased my interest in one of these. The price is a substantial sum for me and I don't often make buys like this. But, I am beginning to think it might be a good gun for me. Happy Thanksgiving to you too sir!
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Old November 28, 2019, 20:14   #9
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Excellent pics! I sold my original green CETME L to help fund my LC and LV but have a grey L from last year. I also have an Enosa F scope on the way. Great rifles all around.
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Old November 28, 2019, 20:33   #10
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Combloc,
GREAT review!
Thanks man..Ive been after one of these for a while.
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Old November 29, 2019, 02:21   #11
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Thanks guys!


Howdy everyone. I hope you all had an nice Thanksgiving and your feast was such that you needed to loosen your belts. I know I did and I also had a nice nap afterwards. Tonight is going to be a relatively short post covering some details about the receiver that I really like and they illustrate just how detail oriented MCM is with these builds. But before I get to that, I'd like tell you about an email I received on Thanksgiving day. Apparently, somebody at MCM is reading my review because I was contacted by their customer service department and they offered to send me a new magazine catch free of charge. I declined their generous offer because it's fine the way it is but I gotta say...THAT'S customer service! And it's also a perfect example of why I am so enthusiastic about their products. Alrighty.....lets get to looking at some stuff.


We'll start off by looking at how well the rear sight base, an original part, fits the contours of the receiver, a new made part:

Notice that the rear sight base is relieved to accommodate the reinforcement rib running atop the receiver. And also note how perfectly the MCM rib fits that relief cut. Schweet!


Here's a shot illustrating the rear of the sight base:

Again, the MCM reinforcement rib perfectly mimics the shape of the relief cut. Also interesting is the little divot in the sight base to accommodate a clamp on scope mount. Not all rear sights have this feature but many do. I'd love to get the chance to document one of those mounts. If you have one, please contact me. I promise you'll get it back in the same condition you sent it.


Here we see the empty case deflector flare:

If you're familiar with the Hill and Mac CETME L, you'll know they omitted this feature entirely. It's the hardest part of the stamping to pull off and MCM has done a great job at it. For comparison, here's an original:

MCM did a fine job at recreating it.


Here is the front of the trunnion:

The barrel is pressed in and a cross pin holds it in place. This should look very familiar to all you HK guys.

On the right side of the receiver, MCM has placed their logo (filled in with white enamel) and manufacturer's mark:

It captures the spirit and compares nicely with the original Santa Barbara logo:



The serial number and selector markings are also finely rendered and filled with enamel, just as original examples were:

The scratches in the finish around the selector are unavoidable and caused by rotation of the selector switch.
Again, here is an original for comparison:

If you use it, its gonna get scratched. There's just no way around it.


A closeup of the markings and reinforcement ribs on the magazine well:

And an original:

I do not know but I suspect that the slight variation in nomenclature was due to ATF regulations. Otherwise, I'm quite confident that MCM would have copied it perfectly. Notice how well the reinforcement ribs and general contours have been recreated. Schweet!!


Let me pull back so that you can see more general view of the magazine well while I go over a couple things pertaining to magazine fitment and reliability:

The original rifles used a proprietary magazine that was intended to be a direct copy of an FN FNC magazine. Generally, an FNC magazine will work just fine in an AR-15/M16 and vice versa. And so, theoretically, a CETME magazine will do the same. Still, there ARE differences between CETME/FN magazines and the ubiquitous STANAG magazine available to the US consumer. Add in the fact that original CETME's suffered somewhat from poor quality control and the magazines were even less up to snuff. The resulting sum of these various factors combined is a recipe for less than stellar reliability with regards to original rifles. Marcolmar understood that this would be totally unacceptable to customers so they redesigned the magazine well just enough to guarantee reliability with an in spec US GI magazine while keeping the receiver looking visually original. The tradeoff was that the magazine well was so tight that only perfectly in spec magazines would seat and even they would not drop free when the magazine release was pressed, meaning the magazine had to be physically pulled out instead of dropping out from their own weight. OKAY industries produced in spec magazine so that's what MarColMAr has supplied with each and every rifle since day one.

Realizing that this was a less than perfect solution, MCM recently redesigned the magazine well again, loosening the inner dimensions, changing the angle a magazine sat at slightly and raising it in the well a few thousandths of an inch. Raising the magazine necessitated relieving the bottom of the bolt carrier slightly too. They are calling rifles with these modifications "GEN 2" and it's how all models will be built going forward. So now, pretty much all US GI magazines should fit AND feed reliably. Additionally, most magazines will drop free when the magazine release button is depressed. We'll look at the bolt carrier relief cuts later on. In case you are wondering, GEN 1 rifles work perfectly fine (at least mine does) but you need to know that not all magazine will fit and pretty much none will drop free. My advice if you have a Gen 1 rifle is to buy yourself a few OKAY industries magazines directly from MCM specifically for use in your Gen 1 CETME and you'll be perfectly happy. That's what I did and I've had 100% reliability to date.


The last thing I want to bring to your attention in this post is the collapsible stock in situ on the receiver:

You might be thinking that, just like an HK, you can swap just out stocks between the L and the LC and keep on a rollin'. You would be wrong. The internal bits are different. Specifically, the recoil spring assembly, bolt carrier and cocking tube support are mutually exclusive between the two rifles. We'll go over that in detail when we look at the stock and insides of the LC. But that's it for tonight because I'm tired. Bye for now!
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Old November 30, 2019, 00:56   #12
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Before we look at the innards, there are just a couple more things I'd like to show details of on the exterior of the rifle.
The first thing is the front sight attachment pin:

I've removed the handguard so you can see it. It's not much to see, just a heavy duty multiple wound pin. I'm sure there is a technical name for this thingee but I'm no engineer. It's a little surprising that one pin is all that holds the front sight on but that's how it was designed and it seems to work just fine. The larger hole above is for the handguard retainer pin.


Speaking of hand guards, the originals (and all the plastic furniture for that matter) were pretty beat up and deteriorating on most of the kits so MCM decided to make their own from Nylon 66, sourcing them from, of all places, a casket manufacturer in Indiana! In the piece I did on the L model, I went over every little minute detail when comparing original furniture to reproduction but I'll spare you that here. Rather, I'll just go aver the highlights. The MCM handguard is on top in the following three pictures:





Pretty good job huh? I'd go so far as to say an almost perfect job. Beat up the MCM one a little bit and you'd be hard pressed to tell which is which until you saw the MCM logo and "MADE IN USA" print. Also, the MCM brass fittings are threaded for standard screws.


Two more shots with MCM on the left:





Pistol grips with MCM on the left:







MCM on top:



Schweet!!


The same steel wrapped in rubber butt pad was used on both the rifle and carbine and MCM has reproduced that as well.
Which is which?:


The usually unseen underside reveals the answer:

Also MCM uses hex instead of flat head screws.


Excepting trails and very early production rifles, all versions used a simple flip aperture for the rear sight with settings for 200 and 400 meters. MCM has reused the original flip sight but they ever so slightly relieved the 200M aperture to give you a better sight picture.
Here is the 400M:

And the 200M:

Original specimens had the numbers filled in white, a detail I would like to see MCM reproduce. I guess it's easy enough to do at home but I'm sloppy and I'd have to disassemble the sight to prevent making a mess with the paint so I'll just leave it alone.


Something interesting I noticed on this particular sight that I've not seen before are the two little recesses above the 200M aperture:

This is only a guess but I wonder if that's not for luminescent paint? Verrrrry interesting...….


I'm not going to go over how you disassemble this thing. That's not really the point of this review but, just like an original, it's very easy until you get to removing the selector lever; then it can get quite fidgety. But it gets much easier with practice and familiarity. Anywho, if you want to learn before buying one, head on over to marcolmarfirearms.com and you can download the entire manual for free.


There are four what have come to be known as "HK style" pins that hold the whole rifle together and they come in three lengths:





The two on the left hold the stock on (and one of those also passes through the rear of the trigger box). The next holds the front of the trigger box in place and the one on the for right secures the front of the handguard. In case you are wondering, the rear of the handguard locks into the front of the trunnion, just like an HK.


Unlike an HK where you remove the selector switch and the trigger box (complete with the trigger group) can be removed from the trigger housing, the CETME has no separate box. Instead we just have a trigger box that contains all the mechanical bits. Here is the left side:

Rather than modify original trigger boxes to semi-auto only, MCM has opted to manufacture their own box. Both new and originals are made of aluminum. The trigger group itself is modified original with new made springs. The mechanics of it are very similar to an HK.


Right side of the trigger box:



At the front you can see that part of the side is relieved:

This mates with a piece of steel welded into the receiver designed to prevent the insertion of a full-auto trigger box:

You nefarious types might be thinking, "what's to keep me from just modifying a select fire box to fit?" Well, you can do that but you'll be milling away the area where the trip lever needs to be in the process. MCM really thought this out so just enjoy it the way it is.


Part of the modifications to the trigger group included modifying the selector switch:





In addition to reducing the circumference of the end of the axle (their trigger box will only accept this reduced size axle), it was also modified so that it cannot be moved to the full-auto position.


The rear of the receiver:



Notice how perfectly uniform the two sides are, each a mirror image of the other. MCM clearly spent money on quality jigs.


Here we see the left side of the receiver with the trigger box removed:

The reason the hole for the selector lever is oblong is because the trigger box must be slid to the rear during disassembly for the selector to be removed.


A view from the rear of the receiver showing, from top to bottom, the faintly visible rear of the cocking tube support, rear of trunnion and breach face and the rear of the milled and welded in place magazine well:

The spring near the bottom of the picture is wound around the magazine catch axle.


Here, we are looking up through the bottom of the magazine well:

I have illuminated the left side locking roller recess. The right side is directly opposite. One drawback of a delayed roller blowback is that is gets DIRTY. When cleaning, do your best to clean these recesses plus the whole inside of the trunnion and breach face but understand that you'll NEVER get it perfectly clean. In fact, if you do, you're overcleaning and probably doing more harm than good. Just use a few solvent soaked patches and your finger. It's fidgety and it kinda' hurts but that's all you need here. Continue with this until the patch comes out reasonably clean and then follow up with a dry patch. You're done at that point. If you go back and stick your finger in there the next day, you're 100% guaranteed going to find more funk. That's OK and it's normal...just leave it alone. Like a good woman, they're supposed to be a little dirty, even when clean. Remember that and you'll get along just fine.


Like an HK and unlike most modern self-loading rifles, the CETME has no automatic bolt hold open but it does have a manual one. To engage it, use the charging handle to pull the bolt assembly all the way to the rear, press the serrated button shown below on the right side of the rear sight and then return the charging handle to its forward position:

The bolt will now remain locked to the rear.


To release the bolt group, you can pull the charging handle all the way to the rear until you hear an audible "click" and then release the handle but the preferred and proper way is to press the button shown below located on the left side of the rear sight:

Releasing the bolt group this way ensures that it will drive home with maximum force which is necessary to reliably remove a round from the magazine and lock the bolt head in battery.


In this shot, we are looking up into the receiver from the bottom and seeing the bolt hold open in the resting (non-engaged) position:



And here, we see it in the engaged position:



When depressed, the bolt hold open mechanism catches this step machined into the rear of the bolt carrier:

As much as I respect Ian McCollum, the hole you see towards the front of the bolt carrier IS NOT designed to be used as a forward assist. It's actually the hole where the locking lever pin is fitted. While I guess it works, absolutely nowhere in the original manual does it tell you to use this hole in such a fashion. Generally speaking, if a bolt does not go into battery naturally, forcing it is most likely only going to make the problem worse.


Okiedokie. That's it for this post. In the next one, we'll start looking at the bolt group and we'll also discover why you can't simply convert a CETME L to a CETME LC by switching out the stock. Unlike an HK it's a bit more complicated than that. Later, we'll also go over the most neato feature of the LC, the sliding stock. Until then, do your best to anger a liberal, buy a modern sporting rifle!
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Old December 02, 2019, 00:47   #13
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Next up is the bolt group.
Front 3/4 view:



Rear view:

It looks like Eric Cartman.


Oblique top view showing the locking lever:



Disassembled:

If you are familiar with an HK91 or HK93, this will immediately look familiar to you because, while NONE of the parts will interchange, the mechanics themselves are absolutely identical and they disassemble in exactly the same way. If you hare or are familiar with a CETME L, something might look a little off. There's a reason for that.....


Below is a comparison of CETME L (top) and LC (bottom) bolt groups:

They are different because, on the L, the recoil assembly is housed in the stock. The collapsible stock on the LC precludes such placement of the recoil assembly and so it (the recoil assembly) had to be redesigned. This also meant that the "tail" at the back of the standard L bolt had to go and the resulting loss of mass was compensated for by lengthening the nose. The longer nose necessitated a shorter cocking tube support. In short, lots of stuff had to be redesigned. However, the trigger group remained unchanged. Now, you might say, "Wouldn't it have been simpler to just omit the cavity in the fixed stock and use the LC design in the L?" Wellllllll…...yes and no. Yes, it would have been logistically simpler to do so because both models would then use common internal parts. But the much beefier recoil assembly on the L model makes for a significantly more controllable rifle in full-automatic mode. Having shot both a CETME L and an HK33 (select fire version of the civilian HK93) in both full auto and semi-auto modes, I can tell you from experience that there is a marked difference in both recoil and controllability between the two rifles with a definite slant towards the CETME. Although I haven't shot the LC, I expect it to feel pretty much identical to the HK93.


Here we see the stock, recoil assembly and bolt from both an L and LC laid out in approximately the same position they would rest if the rifle were assembled:

The LC recoil assembly is longer than we see here but part of it is hidden within the bolt carrier. Notice that the L has two springs, a long recoil spring and a short (and very stout) buffer spring. The LC has a buffer spring too but it's built into the stock and not visible unless the stock is disassembled; something we are not going to do.


I mentioned earlier that the cocking tube support is not interchangeable between the two rifles. That part is not normally removed from the rifle unless a repair is necessary so, in order to show you those bits, I'm going to recycle a picture of a pre-production MCM LC I took a while back when I visited their factory:

Starting from the top left, we have an LC cocking tube support, bolt group and recoil assembly. Then we have the same parts from an L. The receivers are identical between the two rifles with only the internal parts varying. SO, you CAN convert one rifle to the other if you have the right parts but sourcing the parts might be a bit of a challenge. I think it far easier to just buy the one you want preassembled or, better yet, buy one of each!


Here is a comparison of just the two recoil assemblies:



The white part at each end is some sort of polymer/pvc/plain ol' plastic of some sort:

One of my ends was a bit chewed up. Consequently, the assembly will only fit into the bolt carrier one way but I believe it's supposed to be able to fit in either way. No biggie so long as it works.


Earlier, I briefly explained that MCM has executed some changes to the rifles since they were first introduced. Reliability wasn't the issue but rather magazine fitment. As a result, MCM refers to rifles before the changes as "GEN 1" and rifles after the changes as "GEN 2". So how do you know which one you have? That's easy. All GEN 2 models have relief cuts in the bottom of the bolt carrier:

That's the GEN 2 on the bottom. This was necessary because, on a GEN 2, MCM has raised by a few thousandths of an inch where the magazine sits in the magazine well. I should point out here that on both GEN 1 and GEN 2 rifles, you will most likely notice over time that the finish near the front of the feed lips is worn away. This is normal.


Here is a more detailed shot of the recesses on a GEN 2 bolt carrier:



A full bottom view of just the bolt carrier:

Notice the marks on the bottom of the nose. Let's take a closer look at those:

These are brass kisses form when the rifle was test fired. I don't know why but I like stuff like this.


The front of the carrier after disassembly of the bolt group:

Many will say that all of this is copied from HK. The fact is that, while I have no doubt the Spanish evaluated an HK33 during the design phase of this rifle, you have to remember that the original 7.62 HK was developed from the CETME C which preceded it. While this may seem blasphemy to some, I find that the CETME L/LC/L is, in many subtle ways more refined than the HK33. While HK chose to simply scale down the 7.62 rifle to create the 5.56 one, Spain decided design the 5.56 from the ground up AS a 5.56 rifle. While exploration of exactly why this may actually be the better solution is beyond the scope of this article, I recommend that you keep an open mind and do some research of your own to arrive at an unbiased conclusion. You should also keep in mind that the 5.56 CETME was also designed exclusively for Spanish government forces with no eye to export.


The locking wedge:





Firing pin and spring:



Just the tip:

Get your mind out of the gutter please.


And the bolt head:

Usually, you see these with a phosphate finish but, according to Dave Bane, almost all of the LC kits came with this part in the white and almost all of the LC kits appeared to be unissued. He has also found that some of the standard kits also have bolt heads with no finish. This has led him to believe (but he cannot prove) that a phosphate bolt head denotes a refurbished part. If that is true, then ALL 5.56 CETME rifles had bare steel bolt heads when they initially left the factory. Normally, MCM refinishes all of the steel parts including this part but it was decided to leave it unfinished on the LV model for the sake of originality.


Front showing the bolt face and extractor:

Just as MCM replaces all of the other springs during the rebuild process, they replace the extractor spring as well. For this part, chrome silicon which I am told is the best available in the industry.


Rear:



Top:



Bottom:

The machining leaves something to be desired but it works just fine. My L model runs like a top. While I didn't take a picture of them, the rollers are smooth and finely machined.


And that's it for now. The last thing we need to look at for now is the stock so I'll leave it to you to figure out what we'll be looking at next time. See ya then!
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Old December 05, 2019, 00:20   #14
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The only thing we haven't looked at yet is the stock so that's what we're gonna do now.


Here, it's shown in the extended position alongside an HK93 stock for dimensional comparison:



And retracted:



The butt pad is steel wrapped in rubber and is the same one used on both the L and LV. As mentioned earlier, it's manufactured by MCM and is identical to an original when mounted:

It's held on by two hex screws (originals were probably slotted) and, because the stock itself is of original Spanish manufacture, the screws are metric threaded.


They are also NOT interchangeable with those found on the L and LV, both of which use a screw that is longer and has standard threads because their stocks are US made:

That's the LC screw on the left in case you were wondering.


A close-up of the butt with the pad removed showing the forge line:



The other side has a reinforcement rib:



The top mounted sling swivel is a separate welded on part that is either cast or forged:



The stock arms are attached bar stock with nicely dressed welds:



There is a cavity molded into the butt allowing it to telescope around the buffer tube when the stock is closed providing a more compact package:

The circle seen in the middle of the cavity is a raised reinforced area that rides against the open-assist plunger built into the backplate. The who that rides against the what?? Keep reading and all will be revealed in the next picture.


Here is the backplate:

The large round bit houses the buffer spring and the little round rod sticking out of it is the spring loaded extension-assist plunger. If you're familiar with an HK A3 stock, it has one too. When you close the stock, the raised reinforced area we saw in the butt cavity pushes against the this rod and forces it into the buffer housing compressing its spring (NOT the buffer spring but a separate spring). Then, when you press the ribbed lock button on top the back plate to extend the stock, that little spring loaded rod pushes the butt plate back a few millimeters to assist you. The point of this is to allow you to extend the stock with one hand. If it wasn't on there, you would have to depress the lock button with one hand while pulling the stock to the rear with the other hand. This way, you press the button, the assist rod pushes the butt back a bit, you release the button and then you extend the stock...all with one hand. Nifty thrifty!!


Here's a detail shot showing the rear of the buffer housing:

I assume all the guts are held in by a threaded cap. The four holes are most likely for a special tool to fit into for unscrewing it. While I'd just LOVE to rip this thing apart, my better judgement tells me to just leave it alone so that's what I'm going to do...….I mean, it should be pretty obvious what makes this thing tick but I still realllly want to disassemble it and see.....we'd better move on now.


Going back to this picture:

You can see a vertical line running down from the lock button. That's nothing more than where the two stamped sheet metal parts that comprise the main body of the backplate meet. Then the buffer tube is welded on. You can see this weld and it's very nicely done.


A bottom view showing the weld:

Note the reinforcement where the stock pins fit.


A bottom three quarter view showing again how neat and clean the buffer tube weld is:



A closeup of the lock button:

If you ask me, this setup is more ergonomic than the paddle arrangement on an HK stock.


A view inside the backplate:

The hollow tube in the center is the buffer plunger. When the bolt carrier nears the limit of its rearward movement during recoil, it contacts this plunger and through it compresses the buffer spring. The round hole at the top of the backplate is where the rear of the recoil spring assembly nests.


Here, we see a cutout in the right side stock arm just forward of the butt:


The left side stock arm has one too:

These are engaged by magical lugs hidden deep inside the back plate, securing the stock in the closed position until the lock button is pressed. MAN....I wanna tear this thing apart so bad.


Logic would dictate that if you have cutouts in the arms used to keep the stock closed, then you also must have cutouts that are used to secure it open. As Spock has shown again and again (or will show...you know...in the future), logic is almost always correct:



I forget which is which above but one is the right side arm and the other is the left side arm. The CETME LC stock only has two positions, open and closed. There are no multiple tacticool positions for the use of body armor. Open and closed......a simpler stock for a simpler time.


This last stock picture shows a CETME LC stock arm on the left and an HK93 on the right:

Now, I'd be lying if I said the LC stock felt as sturdy as an HK. When removed from the rifle it actually feels pretty wobbly and rickety. But when assembled onto the rifle, the wobble goes away and it's actually plenty rigid for any use you or I are ever going to put it through. And frankly, the HK stock is overbuilt. Not that that's a bad thing but it is a fact. If you squeeze the stock arms on the HK, they don't move at all. On the LC, there is some slight flex (a study of the above picture and it should be obvious why) but it's minimal. Again, it's more than adequate for normal use. Just don't use it to bash doors in and you'll be fine.


One last picture before signing off showing the MarColMar CETME LC with it's siblings, the L (in the middle) and the LV (at top):

I haven't taken this to the range yet and, truth be told, I may not. With only 640 or so being manufactured by MCM, it's sure to skyrocket in value as the years go by so new in box is a nice way to have one and, judging by the serial numbers I've seen, I think mine just might be the first series production example. Besides, my eyes are getting older and my iron sights days are numbered. But if I do end up taking it out for a spin, I'll post the results here. In the meantime, my recommendation to you is that you buy one now, while they are available. My MCM CETME L runs like a singer sewing machine. After disassembling the LC and carefully scrutinizing every little detail, I can honestly say that it's at least as well built as my L so I would expect it to perform as well too. Buy one.....you won't regret it. Thank you for your time, God bless you and may you have a wonderful Christmas! Bye!!


I love you and I miss you mom. Please keep lighting my path; you're doing great.
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Old December 05, 2019, 17:49   #15
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Next time your looking at huge boxes of CETME parts would love to have one of those rear sight assemblies. Would cut the tack welds holding the rear on one of my drunken monkey rifles and have my TIG guy properly square and weld it on in place of the original. In fact a few other cosmetic parts that would be a relatively minor swap to make a hybrid would be cool. How much of the new MCM furniture (not the collapsible stock on unit reviewed in this thread) would fit a Century CETME? Just the rear sight and a set of furniture would motivate me to pull all the wood off one of the three wood furniture units I have (if can make it fit), Cerakote rifle while apart then reassemble as a true mongrel worthy of confusing the most discerning CETME collector.

Edit:
Found the rear sight set on their website for $60. All of their furniture sets said "pictures coming soon" and had no information on comparability with existing rifles assembled by other companies but sure it will eventually float out into the www.
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Old December 05, 2019, 20:29   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hueyville View Post
Next time your looking at huge boxes of CETME parts would love to have one of those rear sight assemblies. Would cut the tack welds holding the rear on one of my drunken monkey rifles and have my TIG guy properly square and weld it on in place of the original.
Are you sure the height is compatible with the front sight? May be creating a problem here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hueyville View Post
In fact a few other cosmetic parts that would be a relatively minor swap to make a hybrid would be cool. How much of the new MCM furniture (not the collapsible stock on unit reviewed in this thread) would fit a Century CETME?
None.

You seem to be set on mixing up parts between these MCM CETME rifles and the CAI CETME rifles of old but to include the C308. There are no compatible parts, the only possible exception being the locking rollers, and I'm not sure they'll even swap. You should probably revisit the web in search of more info before you hatch a plan to build a super-cool hybrid.
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