Hill & Mac Gunworks CETME-L and CETME-LC Update | SHOT 17

Hill & Mac Gunworks’ flagship is their ambitious project to create an affordable, shootable reproduction of the WWII-era German StG-44, but another thing they have been working on is a recreation of the CETME-L Cold War era Spanish assault rifle. Unlike their StG, which is being made from the ground-up, the CETME-L effort centers around the use of parts kits, now available relatively inexpensively on the surplus market.

HMG’s goal with the CETME-L project was to provide kits to consumers so that they could create their own rifles at home, from scrapped surplus parts. To that end, the complete CETME-L set includes a parts kit, new receiver to be bent and welded, disconnector, barrel, and weldment kit for just under $800. A CETME-L welding jig is also available on their site for $125, allowing any enterprising homebuilders to get into their own Spanish roller delayed rifle for about the price of a mid-tier AR-15.

Complete CETME-Ls were available from HMG in a very limited run of 100 guns, but all of those have been shipped. Moving forward, the way to get an HMG CETME-L will be to buy a parts kit and make your own, but HMG’s representatives told me that another small run of the compact version, the CETME-LC, could be made available, depending on the interest and how busy HMG is with their other projects.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • dnepr0mike

    i started my build last weekend. so far receiver bent. next step demil my trunnion so i can weld the shell shut. i’m putting videos on youtube as i go, so anyone’s welcome to look and enjoy and get inspired to build their own.

  • tts

    Ian and Karl over at InRange did a awesome series of videos on how to assemble a CETME-L parts kit if you want to see all the steps involved guys.

    It didn’t look easy but it also didn’t look all that hard either. I wish you didn’t have to buy the jig to get a good bend on the receiver though. Doing it without one looks difficult unfortunately.

    • HMGUNWORKS

      Cross between an HK & AK build I would say. Best chocie would be get a couple guys together and split the cost of the bending jig!

  • SPQR9

    Now we can all emulate the rabid monkeys of Century AI that made those old CETME receiver abortions for the US market. Hooray!

    • Rob

      If you know what you are doing the flats that HMG put out look rather nice.

  • Harry’s Holsters

    I’ve got one and it’s a cool gun. You can see why there were some issues with it as a service weapon. The issues that Karl had I’ve had and then some, but HMG is helping me resolve those.

    One cool thing is it recoils like a 10/22. Makes an AR seem like it has harsh recoil.

    I’ve used DSG USGI magazines and OAKY magazines but on the brownells with a standard follower come close to even working.

    • Rob

      I have one of these waiting for me at my FFL. What issues did you have? What else should I be aware of?

      • Harry’s Holsters

        Lots of failures to feed both on the first round and in the middle of the magazine. This has lessened when using the Brownells mag that shipped with the gun. Only 1 or 2 in a magazine loaded to 20. When I pull down on the magazine about half of the time the stuck round will chamber.

        Lots of light strikes that HMG has told me is a common issue due to worn out hammer springs.

        I was having misfires also but that also doesn’t happen at all now with the brownells magazine. I’m suspecting the magazines affect the bolt velocity with some sort of interference causing the bolt to not fully seat thus causing the misfire.

        Most of this is a guess.

        When using the other USGI magazines mentioned in my above post I was pulling the trigger or charging the gun 3 times for every shot fired. Before using the Brownells’ magazine the gun was a PITA. At least now I can get strings of fire and burn through a magazine with minimal issues.

        • Rob

          Interesting. I just picked mine up but haven’t shot it. Initial impressions are mixed. Mine is number 47 and definitely looks like it was in military service for a decade vis-a-vis the stock photos on copper custom and Atlantic showing guns that look in fairly good shape. The stock in particular is has a lot of dings/cuts/ gauges and discoloration. A different stock I have wont fit. All of the small metal parts are silver with very little finish left.

          There are some other issues out of the gate that were revealed during a detailed inspection. I will give HMG a call to see what they think about some of them.

          • Malthrak

            Mine (#35) had a fairly dinged up handguard but a mostly ok (though obviously used) stock. The metal parts weren’t too bad and the internals looked good if dirty (cleaned up well enough though). Haven’t had a chance to properly take it through it’s paces yet, only put a couple through to test functionality in the last 10 mins the range was open.

          • Harry’s Holsters

            My experience mimics yours minus functionality.

          • Malthrak

            I havent put too much through mine yet, hoping to fix that on sunday XD

          • HMGUNWORKS

            Rob feel free to give us a call or shoot myself an email and I would be more than happy to help you through any issues you may have. 770-686-3875 ext 102 or travis@hmgunworks.com

            We did our best to choose the best looking surplus parts. We made 100 guns out of 150 parts kits and unfortunately the quality varied so much we could not guarantee pristine looking condition. Quite honestly though I kinda like the rugged look, makes owning a CETME a little more realistic and true to the originals.

          • Rob

            Shout out to Travis. So far my interaction with him and HMG has been awesome.

          • Harry’s Holsters

            I’ve got number 25. My stock and hand guard are also in rough shape. But I wasn’t expecting an excellent grade gun. My receiver and most of the metal parts are in pretty good shape but the small parts have probably 80% finish. $1500 for such a unique gun is a good value in my opinion.

        • HMGUNWORKS

          The number 1 issue with these guns is springs. Between the recoil, firing pin spring and hammer spring you can have a great looking gun that simply doesn’t work. Thankfully this has been identified and is being fixed going forward. We have new production hammer/firing spring springs on the way. The recoil spring may be pre-tensioned too much. On the back there is a small nut, looses that and you can get as much as 5-8% more spring rate out of it.

          • Harry’s Holsters

            I’ll play with that on my next range outing. Can’t wait for the new Hammer and Trigger springs. No telling what the originals have been through of if they suffer some of the same problems as issued M9 magazines with varying quality. The hammer does feel weak when I’ve had misfires.

            I saw that copper custom is going to have the collapsible stock version available and I look forward to purchasing one of those if you all take long enough for me to build up more play funds!

  • LGonDISQUS

    HMG is one of those companies that I want to applaud for their niche work… but 25% of me often wonders why.

    Their passion is crazy and legit.

    • HMGUNWORKS

      We entered this industry wanting to do cool stuff. Period. There is a quote hanging on our engineers wall from Henry Ford “If I had asked my customer what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse”. We do what we think is cool and thankfully you guys think the same!

      • LGonDISQUS

        AMEN!

  • Malthrak

    I picked one up, it’s a fun piece, though very hinky for a military gun (particularly the bold hold open and especially reassembly with the infuriating fire control group pins).

    • HMGUNWORKS

      The selector switch and bolt hold open designs are enough to pull your hair out for sure. Minus those it really is a neat gun

      • Malthrak

        Definitely neat, but I can see why it was replaced relatively quickly even without the reliability issues. I can’t imagine having to strip and reassemble that rifle under stress XD

  • krinkov545

    Another company that I will blame for putting me in debtors prison. Now I have to order a flat, bend kit, and Apex parts kit. Hope someone gets barrels out again.