Received my Centurion after 6 weeks on layaway. While I consider myself an avid gun guy, this is only my 2nd AK style rifle (the other is an Zastava M-77 in .308). I got the Centurion after looking over hundreds of different models of AK's from the world over. Different brands and countries of manufacturing really boggle the mind especially when you consider that the design is 67 years old. I consider myself a value shopper, in that I don't really look for cheapest, or the unconditional best (i.e. expensive), but I look for the best price-to-quality ratio I can find that will produce a reliable firearm that I can use as I please for decades.
Most of the tolerances are really tight. The stock, the grips, the barrel and gas systems all seem to be 100% in spec. The muzzle brake, however, has a slight wobble to it. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to get a crush washer and make up the slight difference between the landing on the barrel and the base of the brake. I did some comparison with the brake I put on my M77 and the problem is with the threading on the brake not, the threads on the barrel. The brake wobbled on both rifles while my aftermarket replacement was perfect on each. It's in no danger of coming off but I'm either going to replace it or talk to Century about getting it replaced.
The Tapco G2 trigger has a little left/right wiggle if enough perpendicular pressure is applied, but the trigger pull itself is outstanding with no creep and crisp break that will surprise you. I don't have a tool to measure the pull, but I guesstimate around 3-4 lbs and it is A LOT cleaner than most mil-spec AR-15 trigger pulls (that I'm much more familiar with). It is also a lot cleaner than my M-77. I did notice when breaking the rifle down for the first time that the trigger spring is not the twisted wire that you see in most of the AK's out of the eastern block nations, but a solid, single strand, spring type like the AR series uses.
The safety lever was adequate, but it did not come with the bolt-hold-notch that gun ranges like to see. It's not a big deal since this part is easily replaced for less than $30, it just seems more like oversight than cost cutting on this rifle. Also, the lever that did come on it was not the same finish as the rest of the rifle (I'm guess it was powder coated instead of anodized like the rest of the rifle). Speaking of the finish, it was good, but not great. I could definitely see some wear on the edges from shipping/storage (it ships with 2 awesome Tapco mags and an instruction book, but no case - just a plain padded brown box).
I love the extended magazine release. I didn't know I was missing that on my M77 until now!
The stock and handguard are both black polymer. The stock feels like it is mounted solidly and being a taller guy (6'4") I appreciate the extra inch they give you with this custom stock. Despite that, it looks and feels cheap. The hard, serrated, buttpad comes off with two phillips screws and reveals the hollowness that is this stock. It's skinny, feels a little small, and would be much better suited with a rubber buttpad instead (not so much for recoil, but general comfort for shooters of all ages). The sling attachment on the stock is also very basic, and would much rather of had something with a QD ability. The polymer handguard also leaves something to be desired. The bottom guard seems sturdy enough but is uncomfortable to hold because of the picatinny rail that is utterly useless because it's polymer. Furthermore, the top polymer guard is only slightly loose, but that's still too loose to trust any type of optic (since that is the only place you can put one on it out of the box since it's missing a side mount). The front handguard is going to be the first piece that I replace. The polymer pistol grip seems adequate enough for a stock grip, but I'll probably replace with a rubberized Hogue at some point.
I have not had a chance to shoot it yet but my initial impressions give me no reason to doubt it's ability to perform as expected.
Overall, for $630, I feel I got my moneys worth. I love the fact that it's American made, and has most of the niceties that I wanted. The few complaints that I did notice, and dictate above, I consider minor as I plan to customize the rifle to my liking anyway. A better handguard, pistol grip, a notched safety lever, an optic and a few extra tapco magazines and I think she'll be a Grade-A piece of hardware.
Buds layaway helped me a lot and as with all the new firearms I purchase from them I got the lifetime warranty for $30. I hope I'll never need it, but we'll see once the time comes.
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars!