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Thread: MarColMar and HMG Cetme L a Detailed Comparison

  1. #71
    Senior Veteran Combloc's Avatar
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    Today, I received a box of goodies from the good folks at MarColMar! They found a small quantity of first pattern handguards in Spain and managed to get them imported and up for sale on their website https://www.marcolmarfirearms.com/ . I've been wanting one of these for a long time but they have been impossible to find. A little History is in order.
    When the CETME L was first designed and produced in the early 1980's, certain features such as the rear sight and handguard were very similar to those found on the HK33/93. Very early on, perhaps even during the trials period, the rear sight was changed to the simpler and less expensive to produce flip sight. At some point, the handguard was redesigned too but I suspect that was done a little later than the rear sight change because many of the law enforcement rifles in Spain still have the first pattern handguard. Apparently, the first pattern did not dissipate heat well enough. After now having the first pattern in hand, I'd be willing to bet it was also more expensive to produce. Whatever the case, the military switched out all of their early handguards for the more heat efficient second model we see today and apparently scrapped the originals making them quite rare these days save for rifles issued to the Guardia Civil. Most of their L's still have the first pattern because they generally don't use their rifles much to begin with, let alone in a full-auto capacity, so melty handguards aren't an issue for them. The moral of this story is that it was believed that almost all of the first pattern jobbers were long gone......until MarColMar hit gold because they refused to give up the search. Yeah, it's just a handguard to many but, to me, it's a little bit of treasure. These have never been documented in detail until right now and I get to be the guy to do it. Let's take a look!


    Five examples of the original issue CETME L handguard :



    A closer look at them:

    Notice the one on top is a different shade of green. If you look at the picture of a bunch in a box over the MCM's website, you'll see quite a palette of colors were produced.


    Left side view:



    Right side:

    The little circle towards the rear is a rivet head.


    Bottom view showing more rivets:

    Notice that it was molded in left and right halves. That's not a mold seam running the length of the bottom but rather a line created where the two separate halves meet. At first this puzzled me. Why would you mold two "L" shaped halves instead of one unit that is "U" shaped?? Well, the answer revealed itself when trying to install and remove it from the rifle. You have to flex the handguard a little bit to install it and a lot to remove it. If it were one piece, it would crack lengthwise eventually. Molding it in two halves and riveting them to steel and aluminum subcomponents allows the entire assembly to flex without stressing the polymer. This complicated construction quite a bit but it's a clever solution.


    Top:

    Note the aluminum heat shield. It probably doesn't do much because it's essentially lying flat against the polymer it's meant to protect. If there is any airspace between the two, it's got to be very little.


    Front:



    Rear:

    Notice the various rivets and the small steel plate at the far rear for strengthening.


    A detail of the rear showing the strengthening plate and the round sheet metal mounting point that engages the front trunnion on the rifle:

    When removing the handguard, this area flexes the most. I assume the round mounting point would crack eventually were it not for the strengthening plate taking some of the flex load.


    A front view of the rear mounting point:

    Note the clean stamping and rivet detail.


    Rear inside view of the nose cap showing how the heat shield disappears underneath it:

    The fuzzy bits you see are stuck to cosmoline. None of the five a bought show evidence of ever having been mounted on a rifle.


    Nose cap detail:

    Notice the sloppy black paint on the rivet head contrasting with the rough phosphate finish on the steel.


    Welds holding the front mounting point to the nose cap:



    One of the five also has what looks to be spot welds too:



    The nose cap with spot welds (shown on the right below) also has slightly different nose rivets:

    They are more flat as opposed to the ones on the left being domed.


    Detail of a recessed rivet head on the right side of the handguard body:

    Its painted with green paint.


    All of the rivets other than those on the nose cap are recessed and painted green:

    You can see where they slurged some paint out of the holes. No, "slurged" isn't a word you'll find in a dictionary but it's my word and now you know what it means. "Awwww man, you put too much jelly on the sandwich and it's slurging out the sides! What a mess!!"


    You can clearly see the slurgy paint job on this different shade of green handguard:

    The green paint is the same shade on all five examples.


    Detail of a Quality paint job on the bottom nose cap rivets:

    Meh, it's fine. Think of it as abstract art.


    The one that has spot welds in the nose cap and different rivets also has a shiny aluminum heat shield where the others have dull aluminum:

    I have to say it because somebody will ask if I don't....the shiny one is on top.


    Detail shot showing where the aluminum meets the polymer:

    Again, this is not a very good design as there should be an air gap. I'm sure I'll never get it hot enough to matter though so hey, it's neato!


    To beat a dead horse on the heat issue, here we see the rear view of an HK33/93 handguard:


    Compared to the CETME L:

    Notice how the heat shield on the HK is held off from the body by the rear mounting point creating an air gap between the two, especially along the bottom. In the CETME design, the shield is simply folded into a "U", dropped into place and the rear mounting point is then riveted in place actually sitting on top of the heatshield, sandwiching the shield between the mounting point and the polymer. Not only that but the CETME shield is actually riveted to the body of the handguard farther forward, pulling them tight together. I guess it's better than nothing but probably not by much. OK, we're done talking about hot stuff.

  2. #72
    Senior Veteran Combloc's Avatar
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    An interesting thing I noticed on the polymer parts of all five handguards is that there is absolutely NO molding differences among them. All five left sides are absolutely identical and all five right sides are absolutely identical. This means that only one mold was used. Let me show you:

    Although only two are shown here, the other three are identical. Look closely at the angled vertical line. Notice the little blob at about the midpoint where the single horizontal line intersects. That blob is identical on both handguards. Now look at 7 o'clock position from the blob. See the little tiny indent in the angled vertical that you might mistake for a scratch. Notice that mark is there on the other handguard. Farther up the angled vertical line is another similar little dent in exactly the same place on both handguards. I'm not going to insult you by pointing out each and every little indicator but keep comparing all the details between the two and you'll come to realize that both came out of the same mold. I find it astounding that you would mass produce something like this and only use ONE mold! Of course, a sample of five is not a good statistical set BUT......it is not unreasonable to infer that there was probably only one manufacturer making this part. That means color variation is due to polymer batches and not to different manufacturers.


    Here are two more pictures showing two different hand guards with absolutely identical mold details:



    We're mainly focusing here on the little blob in the center of the pictures but compare the edges behind the strengthening plates and other minute details. Clearly, these came from the same mold. I know you probably couldn't care less but I think this stuff is neat!


    Although the same molds were used, I did find a slight difference and is was, once again on the handguard with the different nose cap and shiny heat shield. On that one, there is a a squared notch along the top towards the rear where it rests against the side of the receiver. On the other four, that notch is relieved and the contour is angled instead. They were molded that way, not ground so there must have been a change made to the mold at some point. This leads me to believe that the different handguard is earlier production than the other four. In the picture below, the different "earlier" one is depicted at the bottom:



    Here are two first patterns compared to a second pattern:

    Three handguards, three shades of green.


    Rear ends compared:

    The second pattern exhibits better heat dissipation, is simpler in design from an overall manufacturing standpoint, is built of fewer parts and is much easier to install and remove from the rifle. However, the polymer part on the second pattern required a MUCH more sophisticated mold. To me, it's clear that the second pattern must have taken less time to assemble and cost less to produce too.


    Front ends compared:




    Top rear view:



    Gee, I wonder where Spain got their inspiration from?

    To be fair, both the HK33/93 and CETME L are of such similar mechanical design to begin with, it IS only logical that you might arrive at a similar form with regards to furniture design too.

  3. #73
    Senior Veteran Combloc's Avatar
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    So let's see what the first pattern actually looks like installed. This picture shows a MarColMar with one fitted and an HMG AMG with the second pattern:

    I'd like to show you a picture with one installed on the HMG rifle but, despite my trying all five handguards and spending a half hour doing it, I simply could not make one fit. No matter how much I fiddled with it, I couldn't get any of the handguards to slide far enough to the rear for the mounting pin holes to align with the corresponding hole through the front sight base. So while I can pretty much guarantee you that one of these will fit your MCM CETME L, I cant say the same about the HMG offering. Now, you can probably grind the rear mounting point on the handguard down until it fits but that's not something I'm willing to experiment with on an accessory that's made of near unobtainium. Your mileage may vary.


    Installed on a MCM rifle:





    I should touch on what it takes to install one of these things on your rifle. The second pattern handguard is notoriously fiddly to install and remove and this one is no different. It's almost as if the Spanish didn't finalize the design and someone said "Good enough. I'm tired of messing with it." And of course, I have no literature telling me the proper way to install this on a rifle so my method was arrived at by experimentation. Having said that, take the following with a grain of salt. Here's what worked best for me.

    Installation.
    1. Hold handguard at a 45 degree angle to rifle with rear of handguard higher than front.
    2. Place rear of handguard over barrel. Slide to the rear while engaging rear mounting point with front of trunnion.
    3 Wrap hand around top of trunnion and bottom rear of handguard. While squeezing rear tightly, rotate front of handguard up and over front sight base while pushing entire assembly to the rear, thus lining up handguard mounting holes with hole in front sight base.
    4. Insert mounting pin until seated.

    Removal.
    1. Remove mounting pin.
    2. Rotate sling mounting ring up and out of the way.
    3. Pull handguard forward as far as it will go.
    4. Pull rear of handguard down until it is clear of trunnion. It will flex as it passes over the trunnion.
    5. Continue to rotate rear of handguard down while also pulling entire assembly down and to the rear until it pulls off the front sight base.

    While thee above sounds straight forward, you'll find it can be a fidgety process getting it up over the front sight base during assembly. It can also be a bear during installation getting it far enough to the rear for the pin holes to line up. In fact, I had to hold the rifle by the handguard and bump it on the floor several times to get it to seat properly. It helps if you're squeezing the rear tight onto the trunnion while doing this. It got easier after a few times on and off but it's still enough of a fight getting it on that I have no desire to remove it for a while. I think the main problem is getting the mounting ring to pop into the front of the trunnion. As I said, I never could get it fully seated on the HMG rifle. This just might be another reason the entire assembly was redesigned. Still, it WILL seat with a little work and I think it looks pretty nifty. Being that it's flat on the bottom, it should be pretty stable on a rest at the range too.


    These last photos just show details of how nicely it fits the contours on the MCM rifle:



    Notice that the Cetakote on the rifle is an almost exact match with the original Spanish paint on the rivets. Nice!






    The little angled feature on the handguard near the end of the charging slot is what we were previously comparing to the same feature only squared off on what I believe is an earlier version of the first pattern handguard.






    This concludes the first ever detailed look at a first pattern handguard for the CETME L rifle. MarColMar discovered only a small number of these and I wouldn't be surprised if this is the one and only time these will ever be available in what is essentially new and unissued condition. I can tell you that, despite my best efforts, I've never been able to find one before in any condition beat up or otherwise so I was absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to get these pristine examples. They aren't cheap but MarColMar says they had to shell out quite a bit of dough to get them in the first place because the source in Spain knew what they had and how rare they are. In my opinion, if you have a CETME L for collecting purposes, you really need to buy one of these because this may well be the only time you ever see one for sale. Likewise, shooters will enjoy this model because the flat bottom will set very stable on a rest. So whether you are a shooter or a collector, this extremely rare first patter handguard is likely one of the nicest CETME L accessories you're going to find.
    Last edited by Combloc; 08-25-2019 at 09:12 AM.

  4. #74
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    As usual, fantastic write up... you found things I didn't even see!

    Dave Bane
    Owner
    MarColMar Firearms LLC

  5. #75
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    Outstanding post again!

    Those handguards are pretty neat.
    14EH AIT Instructor-PATRIOT Fire Control Enhanced Operator/Maintainer

  6. #76
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    Excellent !

  7. #77
    Senior Veteran Combloc's Avatar
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    Thank you kind sirs!

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