Sunday, September 18, 2011

Century Arms C93 (An HK 93 clone)




I was, for the longest time, a die hard HK (Heckler und Koch) fan. I loved their rifles and USP pistols until they became out of reach for my budget. They are great firearms. The other unfortunate part is HK USA themselves and their attitudes (http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2007/10/09/hk-because-you-suck-and-we-hate-you/)



Now, with that said, that didn't stop me from spending $500.00 for a new Century made C93 carbine. Now Century Arms has a reputation for building weapons of, lets just say, “questionable” craftsmanship. Since this is my first Century manufactured weapon, I can ONLY tell you from personal experience about this weapon. I have both read in the W3 and spoken to a few “weapon whores” that have had both good AND bad experiences with Century manufactured weapons.
Before I plunked down my $500 out of my “slush fund”, I did a bit of research on the W3 and spoke to two close friends who are HK gurus. Both gave me the “oh I just threw up look” when I mentioned this rifle. Now they are “HK snobs” so anything not made in Germany by HK is NOT an HK. My reactions was, “And a POF is not made by Colt so what's the deal?”. They reiterated the Century Arms reputation and basically said I'd might be buying a lemon. The consensus on this, and Century Arms in general, is that they can't pattern, lack of accuracy, and reliability problems.



OK back to my HK rant. Even though I've owned several USP pistol which I enjoyed very much (until I became a fan of Mr. Glock's invention), I had never owned an HK long arm. I've trained with many variants of the MP-5 and UMPs. I've put many rounds through HK G3 variants, HK33 variants, G36 variants, and one or two of their S.A.W./L.M.G variants All very cool weapon systems but VERY pricey (HK= High Kost, or Huge and Klunky).



Back to the review. My C93 - HK 93 clone – arrived in a very nice box with a well thought out owners manual, a carrying handle, and a single 40-round aluminum magazine. The weapon had a nice finish except for the plastic furniture. The stock and forearm looked like a monkey had taken a can of spray on bed liner and went to town. Not too happy. The polymer/plastic lower looked like an HK but it was not. This must be a part Century built themselves to make it compliant with 933r manufacturing laws (I THINK thats the correct law). Anyways, I'm not too happy with the pistol grip as I have gorilla hands and this sucker's grip fits my 5-year old just fine. Sucks to be me.



The metal finish and fit on the rifle was nice. No complaints for a $500.00 range/field/truck rifle. I field stripped her down and cleaned her up. As you may or may not know, most of Century Arms rifles are parts kits. This was definitely a parts kit and showed some wear but nothing too bad. One of the concerns with HK-style weapons is head space If headspace is too tight, not good. If headpsace is too much, not good. If you ever purchase an HK go on the W3 and do a search for HK and head spacing It will explain how to check it and how to resolve any issues Mine didn't have a problem. Everything internally checked out. The welding was a bit rough but nothing I could not live with. I was happy with the purchase so far. I put her back together with some Miltech (aka: Astroglyde for guns) and grabbed a hold of the magazine.



Ahhh yes, the famous 40-round magazine. This thing reminds me of the magazine from an STG/MP-44. I think it might be a direct copy. The magazine was “previously owned” but looked pretty good. I stripped it down, gave it a good cleaning, and checked out the spring for tension. Everything looked good.



So I headed out to my local shooting spot with my two buddies, both weapon dudes, and test fired her. I loaded the first 40 rounds with some older reloads I had that had given me problems. Why I did this I don't know. The first 40 rounds were a bit frustrating but I thought I may have certain issues so I was patient. About 50% of the rounds either didn't fire or failed to eject or chamber. No biggie. From what I read these C93s need a bit of break in, anywhere from OK out of the box to 200 rounds. We spent about 2 hours shooting and we all tried the C93. This one pretty much worked when we got good ammo though it. Every once in a while we had a failure to extract or fire but that was attributed to the ammo I had reloaded (Note: I got a batch of rounds with contaminated primers – my fault). At the end of the day I loaded up my single 40-round mag with some 60 gr. Hornady V-Max factory ammo and she sang like a German parade march. Not one hiccup. We probably put 200-300 rounds though her. Accuracy was good, about 4-5” groups at “100 meters” off-hand. No problems other than what was mentioned above. Trigger was your typical military trigger. Long and gritty. Nothing a trip to Bill Springfield at http://www.triggerwork.net/hk9xrifles.html won't cure. I'm still debating whether a carrying handle is worth the weight or not.



I got her home, cleaned her up and determined she was a keeper. This gun would be just fine for 3-gun matches in my area using open sights. Well, being the gear whore that I am, I went online to look for accessories. Yes, be ready for sticker shock. I purchased a collapsible stock – NOT HK - from Gunbroker ($150), a M1913 rail, and a case deflector.



The stock. OK so this thing was/is made by the guy that made the original Vector's, I think. It's definitely NOT an airsoft knock off as it pretty beefy. The fit was good on my weapon with no mods needed. The stock needed a little “nudge” to close on my receiver for the first two or three dozen times but after that it settle in.



The M1913 rail was an inexpensive $30 piece. I had NO illusions that this thing would be good enough for Afghanistan or even a Zombie attack. But I wasn't about to spend $200 for an HK claw mount. I think this might BE an airsoft piece. Anyways, I put it on the rifle, plopped a generic box scope on it and put it though its paces before going out again. This mount has four claws that attach to the upper receiver and has both spring tensioner and a set screw for tension. After I got everything bolted in it actually feels pretty solid. I had to later modify the mount, which is aluminum, to make both it and the case deflector work.



The case deflector is for an HK G3/HK-91. According to the W3 site I purchased it from (for $10.00), all you had to do was cut 1/2” from the front of the deflector. Now a little fact about the HK rifles. If you have Zombies coming in at 20 meters, if you time it right you can try to “take one out” with an ejected casing. HK rifles are notorious for ejecting cases WWWAAYYY out there to the 1-o'clock position. This case deflector is supposed to “drop them by your feet”. So I got the old Dremel tool out and cut off 1/2”. Sucked fit on there perfect but I also had to modify the M-1913 mount. I had to chop about 1” of rail, no biggie since I was planning on putting a small red dot scope on it anyways, and shave down some of the rail underneath.



So next outing to the range I had it all put together and threw on a LUCID red dot optic on the HK. Hmmm, slight problems. I didn't get through a 40-round mag without 20 jams using good ammo. A little frustrated, I pulled off the rail and scope and messed around with the case deflector. Yup, more trimming is required but not from the front of the deflector. The back of the deflector is too long and wont work with a scope mount on the weapon. I pulled off the deflector and she worked just fine. I would recommend getting one of these and having them modify your mount. http://www.hkportbuffer.com/index.html



Now back to the magazines. I purchased several 40-round magazines. Now you're asking, why not 25-rounders or 30-rounders. Well there aren't that many choices. Quality 40-rounders, made of aluminum, run between $25-$40 and those are surplus. If you can FIND 25-rounders they run about $90.00. New 30-rounders run about $75.00. Yeah, that's what I said. RTG International Surplus Parts http://www.robertrtg.com/index.html makes new polymer 30-rounders ala G36 magazines but I have not read anything about these. There is also the option of using PMAGs and using the CTREE plates (see web site above). This might be a better option and I may do a review in the future if I purchase any.  RTG also has pretty much everything you need for ANY HK or clone with good prices.



OVERALL IMPRESSIONS:



If you simply cannot justify the cost of an original HK 93, about $2000.00, and you simply want one in your collection or armory, you simply cant beat this clone. You might have some teething problems but for $500.00 you can't beat the deal. Accessories are pricey but there certainly is many out there. Would I use this as my Zombie rifle? With a few spares and a good red dot, yea I'd use it as a Zombie rifle. After I got the kinks out of it and figured out it's little quirks I think it is a reliable rifle. It is no “tack driver” but I never expected this 1960's vintage rifle to shoot sub 1” groups. It is heavy for its size but it's also bionic and “beefy”.





STATISTICS:



Caliber: .223/5.56x45 (chambered for 5.56x45)

Barrel: 16.1” non-chrome lined 1/9 twist

Weight: About 8 lbs with collapsible stock




ARtistinCA


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