Let me warn you right off the line....this is going to be a long photo essay. And bear with me in this first post because a fair amount of commentary is needed before we get to the gun porn. This write-up is really intended to be a detailed look at the recently released Cetme L by MarColMAr Firearms (MCM). In truth, this rifle is more of a reproduction than a semi-auto rebuild of the Spanish Cetme L from a parts kit. I say that because much of the rifle is newly manufactured including, but not limited to, the receiver, barrel, furniture, trigger pack, magazine and a few other bits (we'll get to the full list of US made parts in a bit). Now, that's not a put down of this offering in any way. In fact, according to the owner of MarColMar, Dave Bane, this new rifle is actually superior to the original because of various upgrades including modern polymer furniture, a hammer forged barrel, better quality springs, and a host of other small changes intended to make the design more robust and reliable. Given MarColMar's track record, I tend to take Mr. Bane's word for it. I'll find out though once I get it to the range for testing and I will update this essay at that time.
Ideally, I would have an original rifle to compare this one to but, unless one of you guys has one lying around I can get my grubby paws on, we'll have to settle for one of the Hill & Mac Gunworks (HMG) specimens released back in late 2016. Unfortunately, only 100 of those were made by HMG, although for a while they did also offer a "build from your kit" service and a "builder's kit" if you wanted to do it yourself. So, while they only officially produced 100, there is a fair, albeit unknown, number more than that floating around. These rifles were essentially a kit gun built from very good condition imported parts sets using only the minimum number of required US parts. As such, they looked fairly used right out of the box with scratched up furniture and worn finish on many of the parts. For many, myself included, that was OK though because you knew you were getting something as close as possible to the original form. Besides, a little patina added to the looks if you ask me. The best part of all is that, despite the slightly used appearance, the HMG rifle is very accurate (I get more accuracy with mine than I do my HK93) and generally very reliable. Mine is over 99% reliable so long as I use GI magazines with strong springs. However, old worn magazine springs is another matter causing all kinds of weird misfeeds or even no feeds when the magazine is near empty. But Brownell's will fix you right up with new springs cheap and your AMG (it's painted green so it's an Army Man Gun) will run like a top again; at least mine does.
Now, simply putting a parts kit back together to make a legal functioning rifle was not good enough for MarColMar. They have built a reputation over the years for crafting what could essentially pass for a new firearm out of a decades old retired and torch cut pile of surplus parts. They only select the best parts kits its to begin with. Then they carefully modify the design to make it an ATF compliant semi-auto while preserving the look and feel of the original. This includes in-depth testing and ongoing development until they are satisfied that the end product will look, feel and function at least as well as the original was intended to. While sorting through the kits and developing the prototypes, any components which do not meet their aesthetic or functional standards are reproduced using the best possible materials so that they are as good or better than original factory parts. Only once they have everything finalized and sourced do they move on to production. MCM feels it's far better to delay a release date in order to work all the bugs out of design and logistics than it is to release a flawed product on time. Production itself is done using the most modern methods (including a welding robot on the Cetme L) and materials. The end result is a firearm that looks and functions as good or better than the originals did decades ago. According to Dave Bane, that's always been their standard way of doing things and that's the standard they've held their new Cetme L to as well.
So, did MarColMar succeed? Well....I don't fully know.....yet; but I will once I get some rounds through it. I will say though, it LOOKS very, very nice; not perfect mind you, but it's pretty darn close. So far, I have no regrets about how I spent my money. There are a few things to nit-pick and believe me, I will. But that's my self-appointed job, to show every little detail, both good and bad, so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not you want to spend your hard earned money on one. I will not be discussing price. You can easily look this rifle up in any search engine and find both MarColMar's website and any vendors selling them. As stated, my intention is to show you this rifle in detail so that you can make up your own mind about whether or not you wish to purchase one. Also, as stated, the HMG rifle is no longer in production or available from HMG. I include it here for comparison purposes only so that you can see the obvious difference between a rifle put together out of a parts set and one remanufactured to be as new.
This pre-firing write-up will take some time and multiple posts to complete so keep checking back to see new material. I'll let you know when I'm done and I'll update with range reports once I get my wussy butt to the range.....I hate the cold and there's no revolution currently going on so I can be picky about weather. Let's get started shall we?