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GUNS Magazine August 2011 Digital Edition - Page 32
HOLT BODINSON The receiver and barrel are new and most other parts are from original Spanish CeTMes. The long operating handle opens the bolt and when released, feeds a round into the chamber. The operating handle lies flat against the handguard until needed (below). Century International Arms’ Outstanding CETME. delayed, blowback, roller-locking system for small arms was a radical concept in its day. Invented by Mauser engineers during wwII and incorporated in part as the locking system for Germany’s superb MG42 machinegun and a prototype assault rifle, the StG-45, some of those same Mauser engineers with their rollerlocking designs next popped up in Spain in the 1950s at the government’s Centro de Estudios Tecnicos de Materiales Especiales (CETME) in Madrid. CETME, as a preeminent Spanish research facility, has been the hotbed of many intriguing firearms and ammunition designs over the years, most of which were never placed into full commercial production. By 1952, the Spanish and German engineers working at CETME had developed a prototype for a new rifle made largely from stampings and incorporating the Mauser retarded blowback, roller-locking action of the StG-45. In 1954, after developing the initial design, Spain turned to the German firm of Heckler & Koch to assist them in setting up production and refining the CETME design for international licensing. Heckler & Koch GmbH was formed in 1949 by three former Mauser engineers: Edmund Heckler, Theodor Koch and Alex Seidel. Ironically, at the time of the discussions with CETME, H&K was housed in a former Mauser Works factory building and was manufacturing sewing machine parts, that is, until Germany ordered 400 CETMEs in 7.62x51 NATO in 1956. From that initial order, the rest is history. The Bundeswehr adopted the CETME in 1959 as the G3, replacing the German G1, which was the FNFAL, following a breakdown in negotiations between Germany and FN Belgium regarding a satisfactory licensing agreement. The importance of the involvement of Heckler & Koch in the story of rOLLEr LOCkING WONdEr A the CETME and the retarded rollerlocking system can’t be overstressed. It was H&K that aggressively marketed the rifle and the system. The H&K G3 version of the CETME has been adopted by at least 50 countries and manufactured under license in 14 of those. In addition, H&K went on to incorporate the roller-lock in such well-known designs as the MP5 and P9, and to introduce semi-automatic versions of the G3, the HK91 in 7.62 NATO and the HK93 in 5.56 NATO. In fact, in my part of the country, if you drop over the Mexican line, you will find the Mexican Army still carrying homegrown G3s. Century International Arms’ outstanding CETME is composed mostly of original CETME parts with the exception of a new barrel and new semi-automatic receiver and fire control system. It’s a tough, robust rifle and simple to fieldstrip. With a lineage stemming from the German MP43 and StG-45, it makes use of extensive stampings in its production. The receiver is a heavy stamping with a trunnion carrying the locking recesses welded into the front end. The barrel is a press, fit into the trunnion and pinned. holt favors a battle-rifle shooting fullpower cartridges. CIA has replicated the famed CeTMe in 7.62x51 nATO. 32 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • AUGUST 2011