Gun Review: Century International Model 39 AK

NOTE: This product review was made possible by GunsForSale.com.  To get up-to-date information on where to find cheap Century rifles for sale, please visit GunsForSale.com.

For those readers who may not be familiar with Century International Arms they are a company that imports most of the AK family of weapons into the USA. Of course the company also imports many other military type rifles combined with US made parts. Chances are if you own a Romanian AK it was imported by Century regardless of where you purchased it.

Century Arms recently released a new version of the AK designated the model 39, which is made entirely in the USA. The goal was to manufacture a higher quality rifle without using the standard stamped sheet steel receiver and parts from eastern European companies. All of the parts used in this rifle have been designed and manufactured by various companies in the US and assembled at the Century Arms facility. Century is the only company making an AK variant entirely made in the USA.

The receiver is CNC machined from a eleven pound block of 4140 ordnance steel. The left side of the receiver is machined for a side scope mount. The flash suppressor is a proprietary Century Chevron Compensator design with V cuts on the top surface that direct gases up and to the rear somewhat reducing recoil and of course muzzle flash.

The barrel has a nitride finish in dark gray. The receiver itself is finished in a dark gray almost black in color. The trigger is a Tapco G2 which I particularly like. While the release isn’t crisp it is a smooth trigger. The buttstock is made of a polymer material with the front rails composed of nylon. The two front barrel covers have four rails for mounting red dot sights, flashlights etcetera. The buttstock was designed for the American shooter and measures one inch longer than the normal European stock. The charging handle has a simple soft rubber cover.

The sights are a variation on the standard AK. The front sight controls elevation while the rear initially looks the same it’s made of a heavier piece of steel with a hex head wrench adjustment in the center rear for windage adjustments. The grip has finger grooves molded into the front surface with a diamond pattern molded into the sides. The rifle is setup for a two point sling.

Stats

Barrel: 16.5” with a 1:10 twist
Overall: 37.25”
Weight: 8.2 lbs
Comes with two U.S. made Tapco 30 rd. mags
MSRP $800.00

When I received the model 39 it was packaged in a foam lined box which included the two Tapco magazines mentioned above as well as a sight adjustment tool and owners manual.

My initial impression after disassembly of the rifle is that it is well made with better than average fit and finish. An overall comparison between the stamped steel AK’s and the model 39 shows the Century rifle to be a much better rifle. Honestly it’s difficult to even compare the two. The potential buyer just has to decide if the higher price is worth it to have increased accuracy a solid steel receiver as well as the other features mentioned.

Range Time

The range portion of the review was shot using Yugo M76 surplus ammunition with a brass case loaded with a 124 grain bullet.Thanks to one of the readers for correctly identifying this ammunition. This ammunition is much hotter than Wolf or most other commercial ammunition I’ve used in 7.62×39.

Over several sessions I fired approximately 700 rounds with only one failure to eject. I examined the case and noticed a dent in the case near the lip. Whether this was present or caused during firing I’m not sure. In any event reliability is excellent. I didn’t clean the rifle until the test was complete. I did occasionally add lubricant to the interior rails.

I fired many groups at various distances. For the purpose of accuracy testing I mounted a Vortex red dot scope on the forward rail using an included 2x convertor. The Vortex is a great buy at $179. The scope includes the convertor as mentioned. The scope is also capable of use with night vision equipment. I know of no other red dot near this price that has this feature.

Groups were fired at 100 yards. The best groups of two rounds were the size of a half dollar the other slightly larger than a quarter. I attribute this to the CNC machined receiver making for a much stiffer barrel to receiver fit. Another factor is most likely the American made barrel. Higher quality ammunition certainly had a bearing on the range results I’m sure. These accuracy groups were fired from a sandbag rest.

Conclusion

I also did a little varmint hunting. Two of the Muskrats I downed using the Vortex 2X were past 125 yards. Hitting them was no trouble at all from a kneeling position. Of course this isn’t a varmint gun and wouldn’t be a rifle I would use for that purpose on a regular basis since some shots are a good deal further in some instances.

This rifle has been a solid performer since I’ve had it. I think most shooters wanting to step up from a Romanian rifle would be satisfied with the Model 39. I certainly enjoyed shooting it with an optic or with iron sights. One of the big positives for me is the fact it’s a rifle made in the USA by American workers!

Update 10/16/2011

As an update to the previous target and the comments concerning it I shot additional groups. The target below was shot at 100 yards with a 4X scope. The upper left corner was one group with the rest of the target another group. The circle is 2 1/2 inches across.

Brass cased 140 grain ammunition used



Phil White

Retired police officer with 30 years of service. Firearms instructor and SRU team member. I still instruct with local agencies. My daily carry pistol is the tried and true 1911. I’m the Associate Editor and moderator at TFB. I really enjoy answering readers questions and comments. We can all learn from each other about our favorite hobby!


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  • Raoul O’Shaughnessy

    assembled hammered together by drunken monkeys at the Century Arms facility”.

    Fixed it for ya.

  • john

    looks great, except the safety lever, which looks just as cheezy as ever.

    • Phil White

      john,

      It is in fact the same no change on that part.

  • When do they offer an SKS for Kalifornia?

    • Phil White

      Henry,

      That I don’t know—-sorry.

    • Cymond

      Henry, I’ve seen SKS-s here. I saw a modified Yugo 59/66 at a Big 5 (replaced the grenade launcher with a compensator). The SKS is generally pretty legal in the PRK as long as it still has a fixed 10 round magazine and no grenade launcher.

      • Phil White

        Cymond,

        Thanks for passing that along. I have a friend in “that” state that told me the only problem is price. Pretty expensive there aren’t they? I’ll email your response to Henry in case he misses your response here.

  • Nater

    For $800 I’m getting an Arsenal.

    • Nater

      Sorry, but I don’t see a milled receiver as an advantage, so I don’t care about getting a SAM-7. I can get a SGL21-67 with a Izhmash stamped receiver, AK-103 furniture to include the correct length buttstock (Warsaw Pact), and a muzzle brake known for it’s effectiveness (scaled up version of the AK-74’s brake). For another $150 or so, you can get a side folding polymer stock. The exact same one you’ll see on an AK-103 or 105.

      They also throw in a 40-round Bulgarian Circle 10/21 magazine if you live in a free state. The only mags that compare with the Bulgarian Circle 10/21 for reliability in 7.62×39 are the various (super heavy) steel magazines and the US PALM mags (the only American AK mags worth paying money for). The Soviet Bakelite 7.62×39 magazines are good as well, but they’re pretty rare and not quite up to the durability of the previously mentioned.

      Izhmash has only made probably 10 million stamped AK receivers, so I’m sure they’re good to go. I’d trust one over a milled CA receiver any day.

  • The writing on the receiver isn’t straight. If they can’t even get that part right, I don’t know how much I’d trust one of those guns.

    • Phil White

      flowmaster,

      I thought so as well but my photo is at an angle to it. I replied to the Rev. and it is indeed canted.

    • Tuulos

      From the looks of it the text is canted because of the pins. Besides, the text is pretty much the least important part of the firearms.

      Now they should consider making one with either the AK-74 or Ace skeleton stock and a free floated handguard.

      • Phil White

        Tuulos,

        I’ll forward your suggestions on the choice of stocks and see what they say about any future upgrades.

      • Phil White

        Tuulos,

        I received an email reply and there are no plans to add any further stock options at this time.

  • Stu C.

    very nice, i thought I.O.inc produced an AK that was made in America as well. They’re a little pricey for AK’s, but I have an affinity for things made in America.

    • Phil White

      Stu,

      No they tell me it’s the only one.

      • I.O. states that their AK-47 is 100% US made. Don’t know if I believe them or not, but that’s what they’re claiming.

        Unless I.O. has made some recent improvements, their AK’s are poorly made.
        I had to return 3 of them over a period of about 2 months, and finally had to give up on them.

        The recurring problem was that the rivets connecting the receiver to the rear trunnion would continue to bend with repeated use. This caused the intra-receiver distance to increase (the distance between the front trunnion and the rear trunnion). Eventually the distance was so long that the bolt carrier would jam backwards and would not return, causing the rifle not to fire.

        Others have reported a similar problem with the IO AK on other forums. I don’t exactly what defect caused this problem. Maybe it was poor riveting. Maybe the gas pressure was to high and was causing the bolt carrier to hit the rear trunnion too hard.

        The rifle worked well on the 1st couple of hundred rounds. But on the last IO I purchased, it was non-functional by around the 500th-600th round.

        I think a lot of people that bought them didn’t fire them very much or very often, and didn’t get to their 500th-600th round before the warranty expired.

        I certainly would not recommend the allegedly American-made IO AK-47, unless they’ve changed their design enough to resolve this problem.

        • Phil White

          Wayne,

          I appreciate the information. It could be poor riveting as you said or even poorly made steel in the receiver but that’s a possible but rather unlikely cause I would think. I would imagine a riveting problem with inferior steel would be most likely since they seem to fail at 500 to 600 rounds. Returning 2 out of 3 is pretty scary!

    • Rev. Clint

      straight compared to what though? the top of the receiver or the bottom?

      • Phil White

        Rev.,

        You guys are right it is canted. It does look like the bottom rear pin is keeping it from being stamped straight. I’ll see if this is an isolated case or what we can expect from all of them. Even though it’s a minor thing if you spend a good chunk on a gun you want the stamping straight. There appears to be plenty of room to stamp the information higher.
        Not making excuses for them by any means but this rifle is from the initial run.

  • Rev. Clint

    id rather have a stamped receiver to save weight but over all this is a great idea. They should have included a modern rear peep sight instead of the 120 year old rear sight design.

    • Phil White

      Rev.,

      I’d prefer a peep also but at least it’s an improvement.

    • Lych muhcak

      I totally agree that 100 year old firearm designs have no place in today’s world so would everyone please throw out all their 1911s.

      • Phil White

        Lych,

        When you throw those 1911’s away send them to me:-)

      • John Doe

        I’ll be glad to take those wonderful 1911s of your hands.

  • Canthros

    I’ve been kinda wondering why nobody’d done this already, but I think the price answers the question. Seems like a hard sell, price-wise, compared to an imported WASR or AMD.

    Any idea how consistent things like barrel threads and dimensions are from gun to gun? Knowing whether or not they’re manufactured to tighter standards would be interesting, as it seems to be a problem with parts interchangeability on some other AK-pattern guns (e. g. Saiga-12).

    • Phil White

      Canthros,

      The price can sure be a factor. Since I’m a retired police officer $800 for an AK is kinda high for my budget. I’d most likely pick a Century WASR and lose some of the increased accuracy and looks. Since this is something new I imagine the threads etc are all US rather than those of some of the imported rifles. I would think once they have been out for awhile the price will come down to the $600 range. Even now I saw one in an auction site for $675.
      As far as consistency from one gun to the other on this model it should be very consistent since the same company makes the receiver and barrel. I’ll contact Century and see about compatibility with other brands and let you know the first of the week.

  • Patrick

    Are they going to make an AK74 too? I’d be very interested if they did (not that I’m not interested here too mind you).

    • Phil White

      Patrick,

      I haven’t asked if that’s in the works. I would think if this one sells well they would be inclined to. I’ll be glad to ask and let you know since I’m calling them the first of the week for an answer to Canthros question.

    • Phil White

      Patrick,

      I got an email reply earlier and at present there are no plans to add other calibers. That doesn’t mean after a year or so they won’t.

  • john

    anybody else seeing everything twice? It even comes up double in the preview as I’m typing…

    • Phil White

      john,

      No I haven’t seen that happen but I’ll email Steve about it. Everything posted ok last night.

  • subase

    Would be cool if they made a modernized U.S made AK. But I’m sure gun makers are afraid (and rightly so) that it will eat into their AR rifle sales.
    ps
    Also have double posts on Opera.

    • Phil White

      subase,

      You bring up a good point. I bet it would indeed eat into AR sales with the right design.

  • Lance

    I like there Polish AK make and I like the milled receiver but there no bayonet lug or flash hider kind of a MAK-90 type gun then.

    • Phil White

      Lance,

      No there’s no bayonet lug on this one. I doubt there’s a good way to attach one of any type.

  • drewogatory
  • Lych muhcak

    You do know that the gray plastic cover over the charging handle is something they put on for shipping only and is meant to be removed before use. AK charging handles have a way of poking through the boxes during shipping and thats why they put that on there.

    • Phil White

      Lych,

      Yes they do. Almost every AK box I’ve opened had a hole in it. I asked Century about the rubber piece the day after I received it. They said it is meant to be left on. It’s a very snug fit as well which made me think it was meant to leave on. That’s also why I called them about it and a couple of other questions I had at the time.

      • Lych muhcak

        Seems really ridiculous to have a bright gray squishy piece of rubber attached to the charging handle of a weapon. Gotta make sure your hands are comfortable while you rack your weapon to defend your life. Considering the one on my Draco fellreef while I was taking it out of the box. really can see no advantages to having a condom on your charging handle.

        • Phil White

          Lych,

          For that use I hope I already have a round chambered:-)

        • SinjinSix

          Seemed goofy to me as well, which is why I took mine off.

  • Lych muhcak

    Also where do you get brass cased Russian surplus ammo with a 140 grain bullet? I have never heard of brass cased Russian surplus. Copper washed steel case maybe, but never brass.

    • Phil White

      Lych,

      I don’t know where Century purchased the ammunition I used. It is brass no doubt about that. I can send a picture if you like as well as confirming with Century the origin of the ammo. I do know the ammo was made in the 1980’s from what they told me when I asked about the rubber cover. It comes in 15 round cardboard boxes with cyrllic writing. The brass case has a red sealant around the primer. The round is without a doubt 140 grain. Since the printing is cryillic I figured it was made in Russia prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

      I emailed you a photo of the ammunition with the box they came in. I also edited the post with the same picture I sent you. It’s the last photo in the post.

  • Lance

    @ Phil White

    Tell me where you can find Soviet military era 7.62×39 ammo?

    • Phil White

      Lance,

      This came from Century. Did you see the picture I added to the post? Pretty nice ammo for it’s age. I’ll be verifying the origin Monday with Century. Eastern European languages aren’t my forte:-)

    • Phil White

      Lance,

      I searched the Century website and located ammo that is similar to what I received. It doesn’t have all the information I received but the box looks the same as does the printing. I still don’t know if the language is Russian or not but here’s what it says. Yugo mfr., 80’s mfg. Berdan primed Mine is 140 grain as apposed to the listed 124 on the ad I found. Whether it was made by Yugo for the Soviets or made for the Yugoslavian army will have to wait until Monday when I can talk with Century. Either way it’s good stuff.
      The origin of Soviet era ammo can be pretty hard to nail down.

      • Lych muhcak

        That is yugoslovian ammo not Russian. It is highly corrosive. I hope you cleaned your gun. Russia does not use brass cases. And it is m67 bullet and I guarantee you it is not 140 grn. It was not made in Russia for Yugoslavs it was made at the same factory that makes zastavas and prvi partisan ammo. Ask century all you want and while your at it ask them to make guns that actually cycle.

        • Phil White

          Lych,

          I’ll take your word for it. One thing that I wish I could document are the comments about guns not cycling etc. I’ve tested a Golani, Romanian AK which was mine, the copy of the FnFal and now this model 39. None have had any problems to speak of. One FnFal mag failed after much use but the issues have been few and far between and of that nature. This one has had 700 hundred rounds through it with just the one malfunction which may or may not have been a bad round. I’ll go ahead and blame the gun so 699 out of 700 worked fine.
          I just haven’t experienced anything to warrant some of the complaints about poor performance. I’m really curious what your experience was with cycling issues. I sent that picture of the ammunition so you have my email. I would be very appreciative if you would email me with the details of the problem you experienced. I’d like to start documenting problems from actual owners.
          I believe we can put the ammunition issue to rest and go back to a discussion of the gun.

    • Nater

      You don’t find Soviet/Russian military ammunition for sale anymore. Some companies felt they had to make AK “pistols”. The steel cored Soviet ammo is illegal based on ATF language. As far as I know, all Soviet and Russian ammo has a steel case. This ammunition is probably Yugo M67. It’s quite a bit superior to the Soviet stuff, which has pretty poor terminal performance compared to just about anything.

      I really hope no one makes 5.45mm AK pistols, I’d hate to not be able to buy that super cheap 7N6 Soviet surplus.

  • noob

    Is the forward optics rail bolted to the barrel like the Ultimak AK rail? or just held in by the usual hand guard retention catch?

    • Phil White

      noob,

      The standard catch holds it on.

  • W

    This is exciting news. hopefully there will be more US-made AK’s in the future. a 5.45 and 5.56mm variant perhaps? oh the possibilities 🙂

    • Phil White

      W,

      I’d sure like to see it happen so we can have a variety to choose from.

  • MATT

    Milled reciever is a nice tuch but as far i know current stamped recievers are lighter and stiffer that the old milled ones.So no accuracy improvments are to be expected from that. AK has unfunded bad rap on accuracy ,based on crap surplus rifles that might have been bastardised from parts kits to comply with US laws,shooting surplus ammo.

    What the point of all these crap muzzle brakes ,as there are very few muzzlebrake designs that come close to equaling AK74 muzzlebrake for efficiency,that in not that suprising considering the design effort that went into designing it ,now days it seems muzzle brake design is driling holes and making good looking chunks of iron that are barely efficient at all.

    • “What the point of all these crap muzzle brakes ,as there are very few muzzlebrake designs that come close to equaling AK74 muzzlebrake for efficiency”

      Matt,

      Since you brought up the topic of muzzle brakes, what muzzle brake would you recommend for an AK-47? I have the standard slant brake that comes with the rifle.

      Do you know of any that are significantly better? I’d like to get a better one, but I don’t want to waste money or time on one that’s not going to do any good.

      • Phil White

        Wayne,

        Now that is a real question with no perfect answer. If I had to give my best guess I’d say most of the new ones you see are made for looks or someones idea of what might work. I can’t imagine hiring an engineer to do the proper test for effectiveness. This one works well. If I were going to buy one I’d most likely buy the AK74 version which they do make for the 7.62×39. At least we know that’s been tested and I have done this replacement in the past on the stamped steel Century AK I own. Tapco model 14×1 LH thread Make sure you get the correct threads for yours. MidwayUSA LINK

  • Two round groups tell less than nothing about accuracy.

    http://www.the-long-family.com/group_size_analysis.htm

    “By intuition, it is obvious that a total aggregate of three shots is clearly not a large enough sample size to accurately determine the true distribution of a rifle and load. The lesson here is to shoot many shots, usually in multiple groups of five, and average these to get the aggregate.”

  • SpanishInquisition

    I think is funny that an 100% american made AK is is featured as something desirable. Specially when a lot of complaints in the Internet about bad AKs, are almost always sourced to american parts and magazines. Let’s not even mention Century’s reputation of bad QC.

    Compare this “Model 39 AK” to an original russian made AK with US tactical rails and furniture for $925:
    http://www.arsenalinc.com/usa/product.php?productid=4&cat=8&page=1

    • Nater

      This.

      I don’t want a Russian AR, why do I want an American AK? That’s not 100% accurate, if a company like KAC or LWRCi started making AKs, I’d be interested. That, however, isn’t going to happen.

      There are some good US-made AK parts. K-Var’s stuff is good, as far as I know it’s made to the same specs that the Russian stuff is. US PALM’s magazines, grips, and accessories are also top notch. The same goes for Midwest Industries. They’re the exception, not the rule, unfortunately.

  • Samopal

    I like the note at the top of this article considering neither the rifle nor the ammo mentioned are available at Guns For Sale. :B

    • Phil White

      Samopal,

      What they meant by that is the caliber is available. Guns For Sale does carry Century Arms just not this model yet. When any gun is pretty new they can be difficult to obtain. I imagine if you contact them one can be ordered.

  • Nathaniel

    “[I]t is well made with better than average fit and finish.”

    Crooked stamping is “better than average” now?

    “An overall comparison between the stamped steel AK’s and the model 39 shows the Century rifle to be a much better rifle. Honestly it’s difficult to even compare the two.”

    I owned a $600 Century Yugo AK with a foreign barrel, and it would shoot 2-3 inches at 100 yards firing 10 shot groups with irons with some regularity. 4″ was no problem at all. I used Yugo M67 ammunition nearly exclusively, due to its low cost. I’ve had a number of experiences with Arsenal stamped AKs (SGL-20 series rifles), and they tend to hold 2-3″ as well. AKs with Century barrels tend to shoot 6″ or even more. Century barrels usually are actually worse than import barrels, due to their extreme cost cutting measures.

    “The range portion of the review was shot using Yugo M76 (sic) surplus ammunition with a brass case loaded with a 124 grain bullet.Thanks (sic) to one of the readers for correctly identifying this ammunition.”

    You seriously didn’t know what ammunition you were using for your review? How do you expect anyone to take it seriously, then?

    “Over several sessions I fired approximately 700 rounds with only one failure to eject.”

    I never had a failure to feed with my Yugo, and in my experience one malfunction in 700 is mediocre reliability for an AR-15 (my Colt 6920 is currently running at 4,000 rounds with 1 failure, towards the 3.5K mark), much less an AK.

    “The best groups of two rounds were the size of a half dollar the other slightly larger than a quarter.”

    And let me guess, the zero mysteriously wandered around the bullseye in a 6″ pattern…

    http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_3_118/279218_.html

    “This rifle has been a solid performer since I’ve had it.”

    No, it hasn’t.

    “One of the big positives for me is the fact it’s a rifle made in the USA by American workers!”

    I wasn’t aware that gibbons were native to America.

    To TFB, Phil White really does degrade the quality of posts on TFB. It’s sad to see the good, unbiased quality I’ve come to expect from writers like Steve and Andrew superimposed next to Phil White’s thinly veiled, unconvincing sales pitches.

    • Nathaniel, Phil reported the failure, so you can make up your own mind, you don’t have to agree with him. I am much more cynical than Phil is, but its ok that Phil is more positive/optimistic about the guns he uses.

      • counsel dew

        If the text is canted due to the placement of the pin or stamping, would you be happier with the stamping on the pin?

        Personally, I just want it to shoot each time I pull the trigger 😀

        • Phil White

          counsel,

          Go bang every time no doubt:-)

    • Phil White

      Nathaniel,

      No problem as far as I’m concerned with your opinion of the gun or myself. The difference between what people see and experience is as varied as the people who use these guns. I’m a positive person and I frankly refuse to nit pick any product. If I wanted I could probably find some problem with any gun you can name and make some people happy. If there is a problem with a pistol, rifle whatever the case may be I’ll say so but it won’t be because I had one failure out of 700 rounds.
      When I write a review the idea of somebody buying that particular gun doesn’t even cross my mind. I get nothing whether someone buys one of these guns or not. I have no special allegiance to any brand nor do I condemn a brand unless I shoot that model rifle, shotgun or handgun.
      I have never used this ammo prior to this review. Rather than being embarrassed I appreciate the reader who corrected me by not only telling me all about this ammo but the history of the company and what ammunition they produce today. I made a mistake and said so. I’ll not be dishonest or try to hide an error. We all make them.
      The only comment that rather puzzles me is calling an American worker a monkey. That tired old saying is disrespectful to them at best.

      • Nathaniel

        In my opinion the critical difference here is between being cynical and being honest. While yes, I’m confident that you experienced no malfunctions other than the one you reported, and yes, that your two shot groups were indeed quarter sized, the way it was presented still isn’t honest. Three shot groups are extremely misleading, and not at all reflective of what a rifle’s capable of, and two shot groups will only be more so. Why shoot two shot groups at all? The ammunition you were using wasn’t expensive; M67 is some of the cheapest centerfire ammo on the market at about $.16 a round; why didn’t you shoot ten shot groups that would have given readers a real idea of the rifle’s accuracy? This baffles me. Three shot groups are a common mistake; using them wouldn’t have caused me to claim dishonesty. They’re an unfortunate standard for accuracy on the Internet. But two shot groups are not a common standard, possibly even less frequent than ten shot groups. Those can only beg the question: What is Phil trying to hide from me?

        As for the gibbon comment, I was referring specifically to the Century employee, well known for their “monkey model” guns with canted gas blocks, crooked receiver covers, incorrectly pinned assemblies, and extremely rough and sloppy finish. It would be one thing if the Centurion 39 was an example of them cleaning up their act, but the stamping on the side of the receiver isn’t even placed straight! That’s not a functional aspect of the gun, but it’s entirely not reflective of a hypothetical Century that changed their game and raised their standards. I had owned a Century AK for some time, but it was important to me that as little of the weapon as possible was made by Century, the barrel, for instance. It’s unfortunate, but their name has just become a byword for shoddy quality, poor fit, rough finish, and poor performance.

        But I suppose I have an opportunity to be positive here, so I will. Phil, you’ve been given an opportunity many of us here would give a certain portion of our body parts for. I know I’d love to write for The Firearm Blog on a regular basis. So now you’re here, and from your perspective that’s good. Now, what you need to do to make TFB even better is to sharpen your eye a bit, displace some of your enthusiasm and give people what they’ve come to expect from TFB: Honesty. That’s why we come here day after day; Steve set a pattern of honesty, not of blind enthusiasm. And you can do it, you can make TFB a better place. You’ve got the position, now let’s work with it. The next time you take a rifle to the range and shoot two shot groups, think “does this reflect the honesty I’ve come to expect from TFB? Do these two shot groups, which are wildly variable in size, give my readers an honest view of this rifle’s accuracy?” Do this in everything, and you won’t hear anything but praise from me again.

        • Phil White

          Nathaniel,

          I won’t make this long because some readers are probably getting a bit put out with it and I can cover it pretty fast. I assure you I will never ever be dishonest or hide anything from you the readers. I have an obligation to the readers that I take very seriously. It’s not blind enthusiasm but you could say more enthusiasm than a cynical view.
          Anyway enough of that but I do appreciate your taking a more positive attitude in addressing your concerns. It’s much more productive for both of us and sets an example for others. You’ll not see groups of this few rounds fired again. Some of the readers want more rounds fired and that’s my job to present what you prefer within reason. Mutual respect and some give and take go a long way to satisfying all of us and making it an enjoyable experience for all.

  • My son loves your show. He has modified many of his Nurf guns. will you please send me an autograph photo. I would love to give it to him for x-mas. Thanks Becky
    PS His name is John Roberts
    3234 Pringle RD SE APT1
    Salem OR 97302

    • Phil White

      Becky,

      I sent you an email to clarify your request. The only thing that comes to mind is Colby at “Top Shot”. If that’s the case I do have a contact at Pilgrim films. I’m sure they would be glad to take care of that for you. If your referring to Will Hayden on “Son’s of Guns” which is more likely I can contact them about that as well. Just let me know.

    • Phil White

      Becky,

      I spoke with the right folks and an autographed photo of the crew at Red Jacket will be sent to your son:-) They will also sign it to John.

  • Phil,

    Thanks for posting your evaluation.

    My understanding is that the Century 39 comes with a non-chromed barrel. Since you were using reportedly “corrosive” surplus ammunition during your test, how are you cleaning the corrosive salts out of the barrel?

    Some state that standard cleaning will not clean these salts out, and that you need to use either water, or a water-based cleaner to remove them.

    • Nater

      You need to use ammonia.

      • Nater,

        Thanks for the suggestion. I might just try that.

    • Phil White

      Wayne,

      Your’e very welcome my pleasure! It does indeed say corrosive. Your’e correct the barrel is not chromed. I don’t think corrosive these days or in the 80’s when these were made means the same as it used to many years ago. I used Militec on this AK after scrubbing it out with soapy water. Nater is also correct that a cleaner with ammonia such as a black powder rifle cleaner will do the job also. By the way the owner of Militec told me their product works on corrosive ammo residue because of the base they use.

      • Thanks for responding. I’m always concerned when I hear a suggestion to put water down into the inside of the rifle. But I did it anyway.

        I’m not sure what Militec is.

        I’ve been putting Break Free CLP in after washing with water. I’m hoping that this is getting the water out and preventing corrosion, but I can’t tell for sure.

        • Phil White

          Wayne,

          Here is Militecs website. http://www.militec.com It’s supposed to displace any contaminant and actually penetrate the steel leaving a long lasting protective film. They have used it a good deal overseas and actually give it away to the troops. Once you use the soapy water just swab it dry then apply the CLP you have or Militec. Really any quality lubricant. Slip 2000EWL also comes to mind. http://www.slip2000.com. I’ve used both Militec and now use Slip 2000 EWL. I sent both types with my son when he went to Iraq. The guys he shared it with liked the Slip 2000 EWL the best.

  • Nathaniel

    For whatever reason, I can’t reply to the comment in question, but I’d like to publicly thank Phil for promising not to shoot groups of such small size in any further reviews.

    I’ve posted really biting comments in the past, and I think that sometimes that’s productive, but I really do want good content to come from TFB, and Phil agrees, and I’m quite pleased to see that he takes my criticism seriously.

    My hat’s off to you, Phil.

    • Phil White

      Nathaniel,

      Thank you sir I really do appreciate it. I know we found some common ground here during this review:-) Hey I can’t promise not to shoot small groups–LOL– but I’ll sure put more bullets into that target. No more MOA’s just a target picture with the size listed and a bunch of holes. Let the reader decide. Just a little lame humor for Sunday morning:-)
      In all seriousness though I want the kind of content you guys can use to evaluate a certain gun and enjoy the review!

      Have a great day!

  • Lucho

    You say the left side of the receiver is machined for a side scope mount, I own this rife and do not see how this is so, could you clarify what it is you meant?

  • Free state Arizona

    It does not have one. Too bad too. It is the only thing keeping me from buying it right now.

  • Jonah

    Phil
    what about the left sided scope mount?

  • Froggywentacortin

    Where is the side scope mount on this rifle–not talking about pictinnie–on side of receiver -centurian model 39

  • Corey Moran

    Why the heck would they not include a left side scope mount?

  • jay

    In response to the accuracy of the 39, I read (maybe incorrectly) that your scope was mounted on the forward rail. While looking at a 39 in my local gun store I noticed the forward rail on top of the hand guard shifts slighty back and forth as well as side to side. I have never fired one but I would think that the movement of the rail could have an impact on the grouping.

  • Jason Lewis

    I was hesitant to buy due to Century’s import problems with loose mag wells and canted sights but since it’s 100% American made I had to have it. I oiled the bolt and put 300 rounds thru it right away with no problems at all. Everything was tight and smooth. I did file and polish the hammer to make it smoother but most people have told me that’s a normal practice with most AKs. Other than that I did upgrade to a AK-74 style brake and a Mojo rear peep sight.About 1000 rounds thru it now. Solid shooting firearm for $600. I would put it up there with the Arsenals I’ve shot.

  • lookinoutforu

    I bought one of these rifles about 3 months ago (new, paid $750). I’ve fired over 500 rounds through it (Wolf Poly HP’s), and have had no failures whatsoever. Using the irons, I’ve been able to get 1 1/2 to 2″ groups (5 shots) at 100 yds. easily. I’m quite adept at shooting irons as I competed in HP Rifle for several years (Master). I’m quite impressed with this rifle, to say the least. My AR carbines can’t do any better with M193 or M855 ammo and they cost me quite a bit more than the 39. Mine is a definite keeper!

  • Don’t buy

    I purchased one of these so called American well made AK’s. The firearm was defective out of the box. The bolt action was not smooth and it stuck twice while I shot the first two mags out of it. I contacted the manufacturer within 7 days of purchase to get the fire arm replaced, and all I had asked was for them to send my new replacement quickly. It took almost a week to send the firearm to them w ground shipping so I asked their rep to see about next day shipping my replacement so I don’t have to wait much longer to get my new firearm, but they would not . Their customer service team leader promised me that she was gonna personally take care of this, and it’s been 7 days since they received my defective new gun and they still have not even shipped my new one yet.(Very disappointed should’ve bought a Romanian one)

  • DUDE

    WHAT SIZE TREADS ARE ON THE C39 AND ARE THEY LEFT HANDED

  • DUDE

    IM WANTING A NEW MUZZLE BRAKE