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The Century Arms G-1 is a copy of the Fn-Fal that uses surplus parts from metric versions as well as American made parts to comply with US gun laws. Century makes two types of the G-1. The only difference between the two is the buttstock. This particular example has the M-249 type stock. The stock is heavier than the standard and has a foldup wire shoulder support. This wire support was not used in this review.
After WWII the major powers all began the search for updated infantry weapons. Dieudonné Joseph Saive was the primary designer for FN. That name may strike a chord with readers since he worked with John Browning on the Browning Hi-Power design and completed it after Brownings death.
Saive team first designed the FN-49 in 1947. When work began on the Fal much of the action was taken from the 49. Strangely enough the decision for the caliber was a point of contention between the potential customers. FN wanted to use, of all things, the 7.92X33 Kurzt the Nazi’s used in the STG 44 assault rifle! The British wanted their new .280 cartridge while the US wanted the new 7.62×51. When all was said and done NATO standardized on the 7.62×51 cartridge.
Another hurdle was which countries would adopt this main battle rifle. The most heated competition was in the US where the Fal was pitted against the T-44 that was later officially named the M-14. Of course we all know what happened the M-14 won and was adopted by the United States military. After the Korean War they adopted the M-14 as did various other countries. By a wide margin the Fal won out with 90 nations adopting it for military service. Even into the 21st century smaller nations still use the Fal. In fact if you keep track of world events you’ll see Libyan rebels using the Fal as the primary weapon in the fight against Khadafi.
Now some may be wondering why the British named their version the L1A1 while others used Fn-Fal. The answer is pretty simple the British used the inch system of measure while European countries used metric measurement. There really is very little difference between the two rifles. One important fact to note is the inch version can use metric magazines as well while the metric rifle can only use metric magazines. I would discourage using metric mags in a British model since they tend to be rather loose fitting.
The Century G-1 model is a metric version. All of the controls and internals operate in the same manner as the inch models. The gas system can be regulated by rotating the ring, that is located just behind the front sight. This is a handy arrangement. When other rifles are very dirty or become fouled with sand, mud etc. they have to be cleaned to stay in the fight. With the G-1 you simply adjust the gas system to allow higher gas pressure in the system that allows it to continue working in adverse conditions. With the gas system off rifle grenades can be used. The standard gas setting is set on the number three. The adjustment ring goes from 1 through 9.
The front sight is adjustable for elevation only. Once set it needs no further adjustment. The rear sight is adjustable for Windage and elevation. When sighting in the rifle the first time the rear sight should be set at 200 meters. The front post is then adjusted until zero is achieved at 100 meters. The rear sight slides on a ramp with markings to indicate 100/200 through 600 meters. A small spring loaded plug in depressed allowing the shooter to move the rear sight forward and to the rear. To adjust Windage the rear sight moves on a track. There is one screw on the left and one on the right. The user loosens one screw and tightens the one on the opposite side to make windage adjustments.
This Century model featured in these pictures is the metric with an M-249 buttstock. In the above picture shown just under the windage adjustment is the takedown lever. When the user pulls it back the rifle breaks open. Remove the receiver cover by sliding it to the rear. The bolt assembly can then be pulled straight back and out of the receiver. Then clean the bolt and carrier as usual. This also gives access to the barrel for cleaning.
One thing Century did was to attach an American made flash suppressor rather than the original long suppressor. This is much more effective at reducing recoil and flash. The thumb safety is standard for most military rifles these days. It’s located on the left side just under the shooters left thumb. Up is safe down is fire.
|Country of origin||Belgium|
|Weight||11 lbs (with laoded 20 round magazine), 9.5 lbs (without magazine)|
|Action||tilting breechlock/regulated gas system|
|Twist||4 groove, RH, 1:12″|
|Cyclic rate||650 rpm (full auto, military FN FAL)|
|Muzzle velocity||(21″ FAL with SS 77 rounds): 2754 fps|
The Century G-1 has a carry handle above the ejection port as well as a steel bi-pod which is standard on the heavy barrel versions. The bi-pod also rotates to the left and right allowing adjustment on uneven surfaces.
When I received this test rifle from Century I disassembled it, cleaned and lubricated it. The surplus parts which are mainly the internals showed little wear. I reassembled the rifle and headed for the range 🙂
I set my targets up at 100 yards and sighted the rifle in. I laid out my shooting mat and got down to business. My ammunition was 147 grain FMJ Winchester white box.
The Fn-Fal is known for average accuracy. The research I did showed an average of three to four inches with iron sights at 100 yards. I fired several groups of five rounds then measured. The average group size after 80 rounds was 3.5 inches showing this example to be right with the established groups. This is certainly good enough for a main battle rifle. There were no failures or malfunctions of any kind. This example was pleasant to shoot with only moderate recoil thanks to the gas system and the standard number three setting on the gas regulator. Brass was ejected approximately four yards directly right. When I retrieved the brass there was a dent halfway back on the case. This would keep me from attempting to reload these used cases. This is nothing unusual in a military rifle. The H&K family of rifles does the same thing.
I’ve owned an inch version of the L1A1 British rifle and always enjoyed it. This metric Century model was no different. The rifle was 100% reliable, reasonably accurate, the internal parts were not overly worn insuring many years of life left in the rifle. The fit and finish was very good with no defects noted.
In all likelihood I would change the stock back to the standard version even though this model was comfortable to shoot. I’m a bit of a traditionalist I guess 🙂 I do like the bi-pod. When folded it fit snuggly against the metal heatshield and in no way interfered with a good forward grip. Magazines are very reasonable in price. Century includes two twenty round mags with each rifle. These mags appeared to be new surplus.
With the reasonable price of approximately $600 and performance of this rifle I would have no problem recommending the Century G-1 to the military rifle enthusiast or casual shooter.