Century fal l1a1 thumbhole sporter + parts kit ,what to do?
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Thread: Century fal l1a1 thumbhole sporter + parts kit ,what to do?

  1. #1

    smile Century fal l1a1 thumbhole sporter + parts kit ,what to do?

    HELLO and greetings

    I have A Century FAL LA1 Thumbhole Sporter Plus a FAL L1A1 Parts kit I bought at The same Time . I have Fired it at the range a Good many Times though not so recently . I Like the FAL Concept Obviously Though I can't say I care for The Goofy Thumbhole Stock !!!! And The Muzzle brake/ Flash Hider Being redacted/ lopped off ? I can handlle recoil Just Fine{ I'm a Big Boy ! }But as is this rifle Rares more upward Than Back and Is really Uncomfortable to shoot because of it !!! I had a similar problem with My Mak-90 But once I installed a Ak-74 type Muzzle brake she purrs like a kitten !!! So I think the L1A1's Problem may be the same or similar issue? I know a Bit about Firearms Though I would opine not half as much as the other members here ! So please Bear with me as I humbly try to explain my conundrum !!! And Thanks by the way !!! I would ideally like to Restore My Century L1A1 to Original style/ Configuration with The full length barrel & muzzle device / muzzle brake and the regular Millitary style /pistol grip stock with whatever 922 made in USA parts I would need installed ? My question or Questions would be , Would I come out better off / Cheaper & less Headaches To Just sell off , trade ,swap whichever works The Rifle and parts Kit for a Century G-1 or G-1 with the Saw style Buttstock ? and If so how do you guys & gals Feel These Compare to The L1A1's Other Than The G-1 Being a Metric and the Older L1A1's Bieng inch pattern & or Franken-FAL'S ? Also I know that Price Depends on Condition and availability and market value ? So if I did decide To sell both the Sporter & the Parts Kit As a package what would be a Good ballpark Price to ask ? or either Individually ? Also from My Limited research online it Appears That DSA & quite a few of The Smith's that do sell parts & or Do FAL builds do not deign to work on Centurys So Being I'm Not really a Gunsmith Myself If it's worth doing could you possibly recommend some Gunsmiths / companies that do ? Or Should I just forget about the whole thing and Swap off/ trade sell the FAL & Parts Kit and get an Ar-15 of some sort { Parts easily available , magazines inexpensive {relatively anyways } ammo ? well All ammo is a little High right now but it's not too bad Besides I've got about #1200-1500 rds, of .223 that I loaded when I had my Mini-14 years ago so ammo isn't an immediate problem in that case! Also and this is Just a Thought If I can make 1 STD. L1Al out of The Rifle and Kit ? would it be possible to Make The old barrel & leftover parts into a Para / folding stock model ?? I understand in that case i'd need an extra receiver & possibly other parts But it's just a thought at present ! What Do you Think people ? I thank everyone for Their Patience and help and I apologize if I was a little too wordy & ran off at the keyboard ??? Thanks again !!!! Peace !!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 1969


    You might contact Mark Graham, of Arizona Response Systems, in Surprise, AZ. I seem to recall that he does FAL builds and custom work. He just finished an AK74N build for me, and I couldn't be happier with it. His workmanship is TOP-NOTCH, and mine looks better than a brand spanking-new AK74!!

  3. #3


    kabanchik- Thanks for The Information will consider contacting Mr. Graham Could'nt hurt right ? all He could say is yes no or not cost effective ?// Anyway thanks again for the speedy reply !!!! Ciao !!!

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  5. #4


    it appears I would be out of Luck according to Arizona Response Systems !!!! here is a Link to their websites page Concerning Century FAL's http://www.arizonaresponsesystems.com/notes/notesfal/falcai/pagefalcai.shtml#ancho
    to wit what I Understand of it is That Although He Might Work with The parts Kit & new Receiver The receicer on My current Rifle would end up being either Scrapped or Just sold off with the Current Rifle ? But kabanchik and everyone thanks so much anyways Peace !!!

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Rural Bluegrass


    Have you thought of buying one of those thread kits and threading your barrel for a FH ?. Not terribly difficult and since your rifle works fine that would be a good fix. I have a pre '94 Enterprise L1A1 and love it to death. I just got a new type 3 metric Enterprise and it works fine. Only thing I had to do to it was add some weld onto the rear locking tab on the receiver and file to shape to effect a tight lockup.
    Please email directly..I don't always get the PM's !.

  7. #6


    The Great Billdildoe

    1st . off Thanks for Your Help and Reply ! And Good Morning all !!! I contacted ARS= Arizona Response Systems / Mark Graham Via Email yesterday and after 2 to 3 emails I am of the understanding that He would or will Indeed work On My Century FAL L1A1 Sporter !! According To Him This model usually Has a Imbel or Argentina made Receiver so From My limited understanding I should have a decent base to start from ? So Now I am In the Further Research mode ! I understand that With Imported Firearms Like FAls , L1Al's and Ak's and the Like There is 922 Compliance To Deal with So Out Of The 17 or so parts no More Than Ten can Be of imported Origin correct { On FAL's atleast } ? So I am Thinking HST {HAMMER ,SEAR ,TRIGGER= 3 Parts } { Furniture - BUTTSTOCK, PISTOL GRIP, & Handguards = 3 Parts } and maybe a Gas Piston as The seventh part If they're all U.S. Made & Mr. Graham & I come to agreement On what I want Do Then I would assume I am legal ? IN theory being as I Already Have a Parts Kit and the SpoRter Functions well Should'nt it Be just a matter of Swapping out THe Parts I mentioned and then Removing The Current barrel and Replacing it with The Full length Barrel & Flash hider&Muzzle brake From The Parts Kit ? I'm sure It's not as easy As I made it sound and I would have it Done buy someone who knows how { Mr. Graham ect... } One question Is how does one Go about showing Provenance/ proof That The 922 Compliance parts are Actually U'S'A Made assuming that Not every part will be marked made in USA ? Just wondering ?Also And this is just Pipe dreaming at the moment ! After I Get The Sporter L1A1 redone To original style That would still leave me with the short Sporter barrel & All or Most of a Parts kit So Would it be Possible To Use those parts for a para/ Folding stock Build again with the 922 compliance parts installed of Course ? and would I have to Buy a Complete para lower ? Or could I have one made From The Old Sporter Receiver { Thumbhole Stock } and just Ditch The Thumbhole part and add the appropriate parts as needed ? And Again I'm sure that it isn't as easy as I made it sound ? That's just a pipe dream for now though! I just have to Price out the Compliance parts & Build Cost and decide on if doing a Build /rebuild with what I have is cost effective I suppose again Thanks Peace and have a Good day Friends !!!

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 1969


    Falcon makes USA made mag followers and mag bottom plates: thats 2 for the 922 count and far cheaper solution than some 922 compliance parts. Of course, if you got 20 mags : they all got to be so altered with USA mags.

    Before you begin the 922 parts hunt, make sure your looking for Metric parts and not Inch parts. Inch parts are more difficult to find, at least they were for me.

    If you install a USA made flash hider as you want one on the barrel , that one part, add USA made stock, fore arm and pistol grip for 3 more, trigger, sear and hammer for 3 more and I think you are 922 compliant but like I said: go the follower or mag plate route and you can reduce those other parts by 2.

    You do have a stock decision to make: USA after market (3 compliant part count) or go for original military issue stock set. If you go original, then you got 3 parts to chase in the math for 922 again.

    Ariz Response Systems: High praise from my fox hole on this owner ! Straight shooter and trust worthy.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 1969


    I believe this proposed restoration project is worth the $$$ and efforts PROVIDED the end product is a basic rifle and not something superkool tactical.

    Further, we all noticed how the anti-Gaddafi tribal "fighters" seemed to really give available FN/FALs a workout during the recent unpleasantness. That strikes me as a real world endorsement.

    So, Bigtoxy69, keep it simple and you'll do fine by us and by yourself.

  10. #9


    Thank You for Your Help & reply . I would have No problem Going with The U.S.A Made Furniture as long aas it's of equivalent quality to The Parts I already have ? Also I would be amenable to a U.S.A Flash Hider / Muzzle Brake Device as long as it's Functional If it's just gonna hang on the parrel end and look nice and not Do anything well I suppose then that I would rather keep the original Or perhaps Go with Something Like the Ak-74 style Muzzle brake whicvh seems to work well on MY mak -90 ? I don't Think that anyone makes one like that specifically for the FAL Rifles But assuming That the Brake is For 7.62X39 and the fal Barrel could be Threaded to fit I don't see why it should'nt work ? And as to your Opinion of Mr. mark Graham / Arizona Response Systems ! Having Only Corresponded so far with Mark / ARS via Email about 3 times He seems to be a Straight shooter and trust worthy.As you said ! Just going by First impressions and word of mouth around here ? YeS I could redo the magazines with U.S.A parts but then unless I have More USA parts Than I need to Be Compliant with 922 Let's say 10 parts instead of 7 if I am using The mag Follower and bottom plate as part of My 7 required Compliance parts {2 parts } plus Five Others If I grab a Non converted mag and put in in the rifle I am Now non compliant The way I understand the rule anyways ? Though depending on parts cost I could just Convert all my mags and not worry ? Points to ponder i suppose ? anyways Thanks my friend And Good day !!!

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Baltimore MD


    Mark Graham has had a good rep over on the FAL Files for nearly two decades. You could do much worse.
    As to your rework. I have the same gun, a British L1A1 kit built on an Argie receiver (later thumbhole models were built on Imbel receivers). Other than the lopped off barrel threads and the god awful Bell & Carlson thumbhole stock it's a nice gun (built before the "angry beavers" took over FAL production at Century). I'd recommend looking at Ironwood Designs for your US furniture. I've gotten some very beautiful wood from Matt for both FALs and AKs and never been disappointed with the quality. He even offers "fancy" wood upgrades for L1A1s that's just pretty enough but not too over-the-top.
    The problem with the rat race is that even if you win you're still a rat!

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2009


    What Mawkie said. I had a similar one as well. My was a Brit kit (Brit lower) one a Imbel (Brazil) upper. They are not the new Century made one. You could rebuild it yourself and depending on your skill level, thread the barrel and put a brake/hider on it.

    For 922 You need 7 parts:
    pistol grop
    cocking handle
    Flash hidder
    floor plates

    Some stuff like floor plates, triggers, hammers, pistons....you can find here

    Ironwood makes Stocks, grips and handguards.

    Its harder to find accessories for the L1 now. They were popular years ago but now things have shifted over to the metric FAL.

    Personally I ended up selling my because of the way the safety functioned for a lefty. It got in the way! Im now buying a metric FAL because their safety levers are slightly different and I dont end up hitting it all the time. Also, for me, when all was said and done it cost me more to turn the rifle into a normal looking FAL without all that butthole stock crap then it would have to just buy a nice used one.
    Last edited by Arik; 09-09-2011 at 07:45 PM.

  13. #12


    mawkie & ARIK & friends when

    Sounds like a Scandinavian kiddie cartoon show !!! Just Kidding you Guys well everyone so far have been real troopers So Thanks so very Much ! And Yes Arik That is the Current quandry I appear To be In ? The Ugly { imho } Thumbhole Beast Has potential I don't Doubt That ? It's just to quote Arik -when all was said and done it cost me more to turn the rifle into a normal looking FAL without all that butthole stock crap then it would have to just buy a nice used one. Here is what Mr. Graham said in my email-

    So thumhole
    pistol grip
    shoulder stock with sling
    flash hider
    7 US parts
    $295 for a complete rebuild and barrel thread (same price for new build
    or rebuild)
    $495 with refinish in Metacol III satin black over parkerize. I'm Not balking at those prices that seems fair as far as I know Compared To a Century G-1 or A DSA Build Being The Sporter & Parts Kit are paid for already!It's How much my Total endds up after 922 parts and I understand It depends what you replace ? and where You buy from But If I'm Spending $295.00 for a rebuild or $495.00 for rebuild & refinish And I have to pay out a few more C-notes for my 922's parts then what do you call that phrase again ? Point Of diminishing return ? Kind of like when your Old car , truck , Or Motorcycle is paid off and still runs but Breaks down and cost you as much as a New car , truck or Bike note would ? well then time for a new one Right ? Well I kinda thought about that Too Like what I would say to explain To the wife I'm selling My old Rifle to Buy a Newer Rifle That's basically other than cosmetics the same as the old rifle ? Iunderstand what I mean But it even sounds Highly Illogical To Me to quote Mr. Spock !!!!- But It's One of a number of Possibilities I suppose ?

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2009


    Well you have a few options

    1 sell

    2 pay the $295 to convert. Do you really need it refinished? Is the original finish really that bad?

    3 keep as-is. If it fits you and functions like it should then who cares how it looks like.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    savannah ga


    If im not mistaken i had the same type rifle you did...heres what i did with a Brit L1A1 kit, had a smith i know install the barrel (inch pattern barrels can be installed on metric rec if you know what your doing) i bought a hammer , trigger and sear from FSE (us made) installed a tapco gas piston, bought an Iron Wood Design butt stock, pistol grip and handguard set, installed a tapco Isralie charging handle, this rifle is now called my FRANKENFAL , I could not be more pleased with how it turned out. just some ideas you may want to think about as all this except the barrel was done at home and belive you me im no gunsmith.

  16. #15


    hutch isle term

    Yes In essence That's what I'm Kind of thinking Of assuming I Can get The Proper number of 922 Compliance parts together at a reasonable price I Could Do The Furniture replacement I'd probably need The Buttstock removal/ Installation tool/ tools? But the hand guard should'nt be too much trouble The Pistol grip ? Actually Hutch The finish on the parts kit is rather good As I originally Had that in mind restoring the{ l\L1A1} aeons ago when I bought them both The SpoRter Is In excellent Shape operating wise But has a few Dings and scrapes Nothing maJor Though ! I suppose I could always get it Tefloned / Moly-coated or whatever external fnish that would be Durable / Attractive and easy to maintain ? later after The Esteemed Mr.Graham works his restorative Gunsmith magic on it ? So Does anyone have a ballpark Idea Of what My Compliance parts will cost - As Pretty as The Ironwood Wooden stocks are I am Kind of partial To The Black Plastic / synthetic / Polymer or Whatever The original {type} stocks were made From Though Laminates Might Be an Option The Synthetics should be less expensive and equally or More Durable than wood Besides as far as I know Plastic does'nt sweell when it's damp ? and though I know That This will not be a Cutting edge Rifle accuracy wise ! I live in The Swamplands of Louisiana so Moisture Could present Problems ? The rifle will be Scoped for Informal target shooting , Possible Deer Hunting and all that sort of thing !!!and will be stored safely in the safe otherwise ! Well I'm starting to wander a bit due to lack of sleep so hutch isle term and all my new friends Thanks again and Good day !!!

  17. #16
    Join Date
    May 2009
    N.E. US


    Converting a Century thumbhole "Sporter" to L1A1 configuration turned out to be an expensive project for me. However I wanted an "inch" FAL type. My home state restricts the possesion of arms marked "FAL" or "FN", magazine capacity, and muzzle devices. However "L1A1" is not on the banned list, ( or is DS 58 ). The Century made "Sporter" had only two U.S. made parts that I could use, the trigger and the sear. The receiver is an import, Imbel from Brazil. I used a three piece U.S. wood set (Old South Gun Wood), a U.S. hammer, replacement grip screw bushing, U.S. metric floorplate, and grip screw ( GunThings ). A U.S. made piston, short clip guide top cover and 10 round magazine ( DSA ). I have an inch Enfield made magazine someone converted to metric, I had it blocked to lawful capacity, rivited closed and I marked it "L1A1 / 15". A British carring handle has been added since the photos were taken.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by tommatt3; 09-13-2011 at 09:32 AM.

  18. #17


    Tommatt3- 1 st Off Thanks For you courteous & rapid Reply ! I'm still In The Research /decision making phase at present ? And The Infernal Magical Information Thingie ? { read Internet/Computer here } Keeps distracting / Tempting Me with More Ideas ? To Compete with The FAL/L1Al ReDo/ Build For My Time & limited Funds ? A cople of Thoughts I had are / were ? - Used LE- Glock 22 . 40 cal. About $360.00 ish I could get a few Korean Mags reasonable $ Then add a Lone Wolf Conversion Barrel or 2 { I'm Thinking 9mm and or 357 Sig } I could use the Glock 22 Mags for The 357 sig barrel and order some 9mm Glock mags for The 9mm Barrrel ! Almost like getting 3 Guns for the price of 1 ? Almost anyways ! Another idea/ Thought I had was Getting a Plum Crazy Ar-15 Complete lower & Getting The rest of the Rifle later ? kinda Thinking Heavy barrel - 16- 20 inch- Something A little more Accurate Then a Mini-14 which I have owned before But If I'm Gonna Buy a New one I may as well Go AR-15 More choices - Mfrs. parts accessories ect ? Somewhat along similar Lines of Thought I see Century has { Century I know Boo , Hiiss ,Boo !!!!!] Saigas - .223 rifles with converted magwells and Ak- type Buttstock& pistol Grips 0 Takes Galil / Golani magazines !!! Saiga = New Rifles Not Piece & parts surplus!!! Guns And if all Century is Changing is The magwell & stock How bad Could the Drunken monkeys mess that Up? Basically It would be a Ak in 223/5.56 Without Having To pay the Boutique Prices That SGM wants for Hi cap saiga magazines ? Granted with This setup I'd probably Be stuck With The Saiga Sporter Handguard rather Than a ak Style / type handguard But I kinda like The Looks of The saiga Sporter handguard anyways so no Biggy there I guess ? And to distract me further ? I see That saiga has a 5.45 X 39 That Takes Regular Ak-74 magazines !!!! I bought a Bulgy - Ak-74 last Xmas So I'm sorta Covered there ,but it's still a Thought ? I'm so Confused !!!!!! LOL -sad but true ? That happens when you gets old & have'nt been firearms shopping for awhile - The Bulgy was the first Firearm I bought In like 15 years - Other expenses /distractions , Bills , Marriage ect... My wifes Cool With The whole Firearms Thing , Not anti- Gun or anything !! But I can't See Going Into major debt Right Now to Buy a Super expensive Firearm !!!! - Like If I were Going To Buy a Arsenal ak- For The Money They want I could buy a really Decent AR-15 and Ammo !!! not knocking Arsenal they male Good stuff But it is after all is said and done an AK- well made / Well Finished But Not worth The Ducats they're asking IMHO !!! For The record I think A lot of the Ar-15/M-4 ish Rifles are overpriced Too , To an extent anyways { Cheapskate here !!!} But You've got a lot of selection in that arena as I said earlier! - And Finally { thank God } I apologize for venturing /wandering of the FAL topic But This is sorta were I'm at Now !!!! Again Thanks TOMMAT3 and all The Great Gunboards Gang for you Help & Support !!!! Cool Pics of The L1A1 By The way - later friends Ciao !!!

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