What problems to watch out for on a FAL?


John C
March 12, 2005, 06:40 PM
I've been shopping for a battle rifle lately, and came across a FAL in a local gun store.

It's an Austrian STG 58 built on a an Entreprise Arms receiver. It looks good and tight, with a great bore, but I'm concerned about other problems that might not be readily observable. What should I check for? I

'm worried some doofus (like me) built it in his garage and bondo'ed in some critical part before selling it to the shop. Did any reputable manufacturer build these on Entreprise Arms receivers?

It's marked $499, but I think I can talk them down $25 or $50.


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Derby FALs
March 12, 2005, 07:12 PM
Headspace is the biggest problem.

March 12, 2005, 07:13 PM
Look for a loose gas tube. Also look for a cheap two piece gas rod made by century intl arms.


March 12, 2005, 07:42 PM
The parts alone are probably worth at least that much, unless something is really screwed up I would get it. Especially if you can talk them down in price.

March 13, 2005, 08:34 AM
What to watch out for?

They are addicting.

Bwana John
March 13, 2005, 08:38 AM
Failure to feed due to bolt over base of cartridge is a big problem with some Entreprise recievers.
Headspace is the biggest problem.
Headspace is the easyest thing in the world to fix on a FAL.

Derby FALs
March 13, 2005, 09:16 AM
Headspace is the easyest thing in the world to fix on a FAL.

Easy to fix but the most dangerous problem to the shooter.

Some FAQs (http://www.derbyfals.com/faq.htm)

March 13, 2005, 12:09 PM
What problems to watch out for? Anything with Century stamped on it...

Derby FALs
March 13, 2005, 01:44 PM
My first FAL was a Century Centurion 58 built on an early IMBEL. Great rifle and the only real problem was gas piston.

March 13, 2005, 01:54 PM
Any problem you're likely to face on a FAL is end-user addressable. At least as long as everything was drilled and machined correctly to begin with - not always the case with a Hesse or Century receiver. Imbel, DSA, Coonan, and Entreprise receivers are all well made.

I have a gun built on the Entreprise receiver, and was experiencing the bolt-over-base problem. 5 minutes with a piece of emery cloth taking the sharp edge of a section of the receiver and it's been great ever since.

March 13, 2005, 03:06 PM
Biggest problem I have had is trying to keep .308 in stock in my garage.

If you don't ration yourself you can shoot half a case in a single afternoon.

Be careful!

PAC 762
March 13, 2005, 10:43 PM
Why not offer full price under the contigency that you can return it within a week if in doesn't work? $500 for an STG on a good receiver is a great price.

March 14, 2005, 12:31 AM
I sold one last year for $750. Thought that was a great price.

March 14, 2005, 05:41 AM
Provided you hand inspect (which you did) century arms guns can be a great value. Go for it.

March 14, 2005, 10:20 AM
Entreprise Arms is suspect by some.


Derby FALs
March 14, 2005, 05:02 PM
The Type III receivers were generally OK. They had issues with the Type I. One fix entailed a spot of JB Weld in the notch for the mag, to prop it up a bit higher. This seemed to help with the bolt over problem.

John C
March 15, 2005, 12:03 AM

Thank you for your replies. I went and bought it today. They wouldn't come down on price, said it hadn't been on the rack long enough (which I agree, but I didn't want to loose it).

I think the guy behind the counter was a little wistful he wasn't taking it home. We had a little chat about it, and said that the guy who traded it in said that it was actually built to Entreprise Arms. One of the guys who works at the shop took it out for a test run this last weekend and apparently it functions fine. I bought 300 rounds and an extra mag and I'm going to shoot it tomorrow.

Three questions:

1) the trigger is a little stiff, are there any easy fixes for lightening it (safely)?

2) what's a type III receiver, and how can I tell what kind I have?

3) where can I get cheap metric FAL mags? I had to shell out $10 for a new, all steel Austrian. I'm looking for the oft-talked about $2.99 ones.



March 15, 2005, 02:31 AM
www.falfiles.com will be your new friend for awhile. It's a good website (like THR).

The trigger pull can improved by judicious surface polishing of trigger engagement surfaces and replacing the trigger return spring with something lighter (that doesn't cause function problems or safety issues). Don't forget it was primarily built as a rugged, reliable, battle rifle and never intended for MOA accurracy or sniper duty. I wouldn't plan on going safely below 4.5-5 pounds without serious effort; FALs are not known for light triggers, but neither are M1s or M14/M1As.

Pressure on the barrel, such as a tight sling (or using the factory bipod, if equiped) will shift the point of impact unless a free-float handgaurd tube is used and those don't seem to be common on FALs. Maybe it's because people (rightly) don't consider them target rifles. They are fine battle rifles though and actually beat what would become the M14 in US amry tests, but the M14 was selected anyway.

Unless the upper reciever has scallop-type routing along the edges, it's a type 3 which is very common. Type 1s weighed slightly less and looked more decorative.

$3 FAL mags in decent condition are going to be tough to find. $5 mags in used-but-good-condition are much more common. In fact, anything under $5 each should be looked at very carefully. $10 for a brand new FAL mag isn't a bad deal especially if you didn't have to order it and pay shipping.

March 15, 2005, 11:59 AM
You can polish up that trigger sear to a real good finish...some have actually drilled, tapped then put in a set screw to help out with trigger creep.

As far as mags go...gunshows will be your first try...then start looking in the Shotgun News...thats the best place...also all kinds of surplus ammo to look for...

Now...suggestion....take and spray down the gas piston with some spray dry-moly...not exactly for lubrication but for ease of cleaning...because after a few hundred rounds of fun and frolic, that thing will be crusted up...same for the gas block and plug.

Congrats on picking up the "Right Arm of the Free World" :)


March 15, 2005, 04:13 PM

Used mags for $5 each, tough to beat. All of the ones I've seen are in great shape and work fine.

I got 4 used steel mags from Inter-Ordnance a few years ago and they've been working fine ever since, and the finish wasn't too terrible either. I got some new aluminum mags from CDNN a while ago. One works fine, the other I gave to a friend because it wouldn't seat correctly in my rifle but it works fine in his.

March 15, 2005, 04:47 PM
Your biggest problem will probably be the urge to spend all of your money on surplus .308 ammo.


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