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Century Arms is a company that has done a great job in preserving some excellent military type rifles and making them available to shooters in the US. How they’ve accomplished this is straightforward: they use a combination of original and American made parts to comply with federal laws regarding importation of foreign arms. Otherwise, we would only be able to buy those rifles imported before these laws went into effect.
If you’ve priced an honest to goodness used H&K 93 you’ll find they are upwards of $3500.00 at least! The Century C-93, which is an H&K 93 for all intents and purposes, can be purchased for less than $600!
I purchased an H&K 93 in 1984 new in the box for $400. Yep, why didn’t I keep it? Hindsight is 20/20 and of course we all know about that when it comes to trading guns.
When Century sent this example of the C-93 I looked it over closely and the only difference in this model and the 1984 H&K 93 is the trigger group. The Century version uses what is called a Navy trigger group. These are plastic over a steel box frame rather than a stamped steel outer body. Other than that it’s an H&K 93 top to bottom.
The parts I inspected were assembled from decommissioned German rifles. All of these surplus parts were in excellent condition with most appearing brand new. The buttstock had very minor blemishes on it otherwise the rifle appeared to be brand new with excellent fit and finish.
The C-93 comes with a bayonet and two 40 round steel H&K magazines. A carry handle is mounted at the center of gravity on all Century C-93’s.
The C-93 operates using the delayed roller lock system. I won’t go into a lot of detail but this system has it’s roots in the MG42 of WWII. Following the war the system was used in the Cetme and later refined by H&K. The same action is still used in almost all H&K rifles.
Rather than a rotating bolt the C-93 uses two rollers in the bolt head. When fired the rollers recede into the bolt head to release the action and allow recoil into the bolt head carrier. This action causes the bolt carrier to complete recoil under gas/ spring pressure chambering another round as it moves forward into battery. When the entire assembly goes into battery the rollers move out and lock the action for firing.
It’s a unique and very reliable system. It’s also a very expensive design to build requiring very precise manufacturing. This is one factor that makes these very expensive when buying an original.
As seemingly complex as this system is it will run forever without cleaning. Over the years I’ve owned many original H&K’s and they are as reliable as any military rifle I’ve ever owned. This also applies to the C-93. During this review I fired over 700 rounds of Wolf steel cased ammo without cleaning. I’ve had zero malfunctions of any type. Believe me it’s very dirty in there. I intend to keep going until I hit the 1000 round mark. I have no doubt it will complete the test without any problems.
Construction of the C-93 receiver is a simple process compared to the bolt mechanism. The rifle is made of stamped heavy grade sheet steel. The barrel is hammer forged of course. The buttstock and foregrip are made of a durable plastic type material.
Disassembly is simplicity itself. At the lower front of the buttstock just above the pistol grip is a large pin which the user simply taps partially out. The pin is then removed by hand and placed in one of the two holes conveniently machined into the stock for safekeeping. The user then pulls the buttstock to the rear and off the receiver. The firing mechanism is then removed by pulling down on the pistol grip removing it and setting it aside. One then simply grasps the recoil spring and pull it out along with the attached bolt mechanism. That’s all there is to it. Clean as usual.
The sights on the C-93 are also unusual in comparison to other military rifles. I certainly do like them though. They are easy to adjust and maintain zero even under pretty rough handling. The front sight is a covered post while the rear sight is a diopter type. The turret on the rear sight rotates from a “V” shape to progressively larger peep sizes up to 500 meters.
Some think rotating the turret adjust elevation but this is not the case. To adjust for elevation a special tool is inserted in the top and rotated lowering and raising the turret. Windage elevation is adjusted with a small Phillips head screwdriver. The screw for adjustment is on the right side of the sight. Turning this screw clockwise moves the sight to the right, counter clockwise to the left. This type of sight is very easy to zero.
The thumb safety is one an AR15 shooter would be right at home with since it operates in the same fashion. One difference is the lever is a good deal larger which makes operation with gloves much easier. The magazine release is also positioned in the same place as an AR. Magazines fall free without having to pull them out.
Trigger pull is typical of most military rifles being a bit on the heavy side. Break is fairly clean however. There are gunsmiths that specialize in H&K/C-93 trigger and action work.
With all the optics mounted on rifles these days several companies make several mounts to fit the C-93. A standard picatinny rail mounts in the same location as the claw mount H&K makes but much less expensive.
Shooting the C-93 is a real joy. With the delayed roller lock system recoil is very light allowing the shooter to get back on target quickly. Most of my range sessions have been at 100 yards although I have practiced movement drills much closer. I found the C-93 to be quick handling. It really feels lighter than the listed eight pounds.
As rifles of this type go the C-93 is very accurate. In fact more so than any other stock military rifle I’ve shot. The target below was fired from 100 yards with iron sights from a sandbag rest. The group size is three rounds into ½ inch! I was honestly shocked at such a small group using Wolf ammo in a military rifle at that distance.
The next picture down is my second and third group from 100 yards. I aimed slightly higher than the first group and placed two rounds into slightly less than ½ inch. I fired in the same manner for the third group firing two more rounds again the group was under ½ inch. Now I’m no Carlos Hathcock by any stretch of the imagination but on this particular day with no wind these are the groups! This is one accurate rifle.
When I received this rifle I honestly expected it to be pretty standard. My expectations were groups of three or so inches at 100 yards with fit and finish to have some rough spots since some parts are surplus. This wasn’t the case either.
For a rifle that sells for less than $600 most places this is a very good buy! The rifle showed accuracy I hadn’t expected and 100% reliable. I would recommend this rifle to any shooter without reservation.