The good, the bad, and the not so ugly…
Century International Arms, is well known in the industry for importing and rebuilding firearms. There are many reports of quality control issues, however, I have tested two of their rifles and both performed flawlessly.
Today we’re going to take a look at the Golani 5.56. It is basically a rebuilt Israeli Galil.
The Galil was born on the battlefield after the Six-day war between Israel, Syria, Jordan and Egypt in 1967. At that point in time the Israeli military was equipped mainly with the FN-FAL. The FAL proved to be a poor performer in the sand and dust of the desert enviroment. Also, the 7.62 NATO round was deemed overpowered for most situations. The Israeli military set out to find a replacement for the FAL.
Yisrael Galili, the designer of the Galil, placed his rifle in competition with the M16A1, the Stoner 63, the Kalashnikov AK47, HK-33 and a design by Uzil Gal. Heavy emphasis in the test was placed on performance and reliability in arid desert conditions. The modified AK design of the Galil eventually won. The Galil was adopted by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in 1972. The first batch of rifles was delivered in September of 1974. The Galil was issued in several variants, Squad Automatic Weapon, 7.62X51, however most were the select fire 5.56 version with a standard 35 round magazine.
Make no mistake, the Galil is an evolution of the AK47. Many things about it’s design and function are the same. However, there are various improvements. The safety/dust cover on the right side is identical. The Galil also has a safety on the left of the pistol grip that can be manipulated by the shooters right thumb.
Also, the standard bolt design was changed; the Galil uses an upturned bolt handle. This can be operated with either hand. Not very comfortable if you have any type of optic mounted on the weapon.
The magazine rocks into place, AK style. The magazine release is also an AK style paddle.
The tubular, solid steel side folding stock unlocks by pulling downward. It is very sturdy and heavy.
The whole weapon is very heavy, as in 8lb 10 oz. A few factors come into play here, first the milled steel receiver. Because the IDF went with 5.56 instead of 7.62X39 the receiver had to be upgraded from the stamped and pinned design. Second, the folding stock that we discussed earlier adds to the heft.
The IDF has since moved on, and the Galil has served it’s purpose. However several foreign militaries have used or still use the Galil. Century arms purchased quite a few of the demilled rifles to rebuild into the Golani.
Century International Arms now offers their version to the civilian market. At first glance, the rifle seems well made/rebuilt. One must keep in mind that it is a used weapon. Each one is assembled from parts that have seen action, with new parts added to stay 922R compliant. Obviously some items are refinished, as well as possibly reused. I recommend comparing several, if possible, before buying. The fit and finish seems fine for something in this category, everything works as it should. Sights are original IDF items, the rear aperture is an L shaped affair. It has 300 and 500 meter marks. Also, there is a set of 100 meter flip up front and rear sights. Found these a bit useless. Originally they were Tritium, however all that is left are indentions where the vials were.
The stock locks up tight, almost no wobble. When it’s folded to the side, that’s another story. There is more play than I like. It will mostly stay in place under rapid fire while folded, still flops a little.
Trigger pull, very crisp. Very little takeup, no grit and broke clean at 4lb. Seems quite light for a combat rifle. I will compare to others if I get a chance, and update the article.
The safety lever is a great improvement over the AK design. As stated earlier, it can be worked with the shooters right tumb on the pistol grip. It has a very positive feel. Just like the AK design, when engaged it blocks the the bolt from moving rearward as well.
All other aspects seem fine for what this is intended to be. So, lets see how it runs.
We setup initially for an accuracy test at 50 yards and then moved on to 100. The flip up sights provided for close range proved almost useless. They nearly blocked the entire silhouette targets we were using, even at 100 yards. We decided to use the 300 meter aperture. That worked very well, groups were nothing stellar, however they were consistent. 2″ at 100 yards right out of the box. We used American Eagle 5.56 55 grain M193. The group was consistent, consistently a little left and a few inches below point of aim. Plan to order a sight tool and make the proper adjustments. We have put over 400 rounds through this rifle with zero malfunctions. No FTF or FTE to report. Dwaine Upperman and Chris Ward from War Angel Arms were on hand to help with the test.
They were both impressed with the relibility and combat accuracy of the rifle. Build quality? Well you must keep in mind it will always be a rebuilt Milsurp rifle. Mismatched parts, some new and some used.
The Century International Arms Golani is a solid performer. Lot’s of fun at the range, accurate enough and reliable. If you’re in the market for something out of the ordinary, it’s certainly worth a look. Keep in mind, aftermarket accessories are hit and miss. Your choices are limited, not like the AR world. Make sure to check the rifle thoroughly, as if you’re buying a Mosin Nagant.
Would I buy another? Yes, but only for something to take to the range occasionally. Simply because I like my AR15. Sadly it seems C.I.A has exhausted their supply of parts kits. This rifle is no longer listed on the website. A quick check of a few internet gun sites confirmed that pricing is all over the place. Anywhere from $500 – $800.
As a side note, the sling on this particular rifle is an original IDF item, it has seen action. A friend in Israel sent it to me.
Length stock extended: 38 1/4
Length stock folded: 29 1/4
Barrel length: 16 1/4 1:9 twist rate, chrome lined
Weight: 8lb 10 oz
Tom Foster: Theslidestop.com
Chris Ward: Technical assistance
Dwaine Upperman: Technical assistance
David Funderburk Editor
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