Century Arms Golani Sporter, a faithful recreation of the famous…

Century Arms Golani Sporter, a faithful recreation of the famous 5.56mm Israeli Galil rifle, featuring a skeletonized folding stock and distinctive pistol grip.

Thanks to the upswing in sales over the last couple of years, the majority of American gun owners equate the .223 cartridge with the myriad Stoner-based rifles now available. Nonetheless, the AR is not the only .223 game in town. A number of manufacturers are building self-loading rifles chambering the .223 and 5.56mm NATO cartridge.
No, the .223 and 5.56x45mm are not identical. The rule is that .223 will work in 5.56mm guns but not vice versa. Think of it like .38 Special and .357 Mag. The 5.56x45mm is akin to a magnum version of the .223.

Gun Details
Chambered in the 5.56mm, the gas-operated Golani battle rifle has an 18-inch barrel with a 1-in-9-inch twist. A “birdcage” muzzle brake/compensator is found on the business end. Like the original Galil rifle, the Century model has a skeletonized folding stock and distinctive polymer forend and pistol grip.

The finish on the rifle is completely in black (parkerized) and each gun comes with two, 35-round magazines and one 5-round “sporting” magazine. Empty weight is 8.13 pounds. Overall length is just a bit more than 38 inches. With the stock folded the rifle’s storage length is 29 inches.

Running the Golani through numerous training drills, the gun performed like a true, proven battle rifle. The Vortex “StrikeFire” red dot optic provided quick reference for rapid target engagement. PHOTO COURTESY PAUL MARKEL

Sling mounts are found on the left side. The manual safety lever is ambidextrous. On the right side of the frame it operates like a standard AK. On the left side the safety is a lever—forward for safe, back to fire. This particular version of the rifle does not include a bayonet lug, as older models did.

The charging handle on the left side, attached to the bolt and reciprocates with it. Note that the manual safety and mag release is ambidextrous.

The magazine release catch operates again like an AK, but has a guard to prevent accidental engagement if that should be a concern. This guard, however, prevents rapid one-hand reloading where the shooter uses a fresh magazine to unseat the empty one. AK operators know this technique well. To install a magazine, first hook the forward lip of the magazine and rock it back in place like the AK. As it is found in the center, the magazine release is ambidextrous.

The charging handle is attached to the bolt and reciprocates with it. Rather than protruding out of the right side, the handle points upward and can be operated with the with the supporting hand reaching over the top of the receiver.

Load Comments
  • paninja

    The only problem I have had with it is it is denting the cases upon ejection. I have been told that once it is broken in this will not happen. Any comments?

  • Andrew

    This is a poor attempt by Century Arms at a Galil. The ORF receiver that it uses had hardening issues. The receiver is also not to original specs creating problems for some with magazine & scope mount fit. The fit & finish is poor (haven’t found one yet that didn’t have a loose front hand guard), & while not a major issue the barrels are not chrome lined. Save your $$ & get the real thing.

  • ibn Abu

    Oh and it is definitely chambered for 5.56, notwithstanding the .223 ramp. The shop owner is wrong.

  • ibn Abu

    I had a similar problem with ammo jamming on the feed ramp.

    Thought it was a problem with the magazines first, as they weren’t clicking in to the mag well. Century sent me new magazines, but the problem continued. So Century took the rifle back and gave me a new one, which works fine.

    A little irritating but can’t complain about their customer service.

  • Kay-Clough

    This is extremly similar, if not just like the South African Vector R5, which is standard issue to the South African Police Service And the Defence Force. The Vector is a great weapon and im sure Golani is aswell.

  • Mike T

    Looked at a Golani at my local gun shop yesterday. While this article and Century’s website say the Golani is chambered for 5.56, the model I handled had .223 stamped on the receiver. Shop owner stated it was NOT chambered for 5.56. So whats the deal – is it .223 or 5.56? It doesn’t appear they make differentmodels for this…


    its old soviet ak 47!

  • Pat Cosgrove

    I have owned two of these for over a year as an investment. After taking them out to check them, i tried to cycle some ammo through….ramping is not right…rounds jam at the end of the bullet against the butt end of the chamber. I can only hope Century will help me with them. More to come.

  • T E Holmes

    Picked up this issue just today, and read this great review! I have proudly owned one of Century Arms Golani “Galil” Sporters since January 2009.
    I love it!