I have the newer one - have not shot it lots, but it's significantly better than the mid 90's one I had and sold off years back.
Bladite - I totally agree with you on not buying into a platform I don't like "just because all the cool kids have them".
for example, not a huge fan of the AK, but love the SKS.
Love the M1A - but can't afford it.
OTOH, with a little tuning a Cetme can be as accurate & reliable a platform as a PTR91 or HK91 - and can be found under $600 on occasion. FAL doesn't cost much more.
.22lr -- whole lotta fun for nottalotta $$.