Learning to love my FrankenFAL


May 20, 2006, 08:45 PM
I have a FrankenFAL.

For you non-FAL types, that means an FN-FAL type rifle built out of miscellaneous parts.

Mine is an STG-58 kit from Austria, with an Imbel receiver from South America, and the required 10 US-made parts because of the idiotic import ban......oops, I mean wise initiative to keep our streets safe.............:rolleyes:

Anyway, I built my FAL back when I was still very poor.

Instead of being "very poor" now I am merely poor, and have added to my major caliber semi-auto collection. I've gotten much better, more accurate rifles.

My FrankenFAL has always frustrated me.

I've had to put the extra-long buttstock on it, because of my extra long hairy ape-arms.

I tried a SUIT scope, but the darn thing kept smacking me in the head because of my long ape-arms. I sold it over on FALFiles.

I had to get a different front sight because with the old one, I was about three feet high at 100 yards.

I'm still high at 100 yards, but only about 13 inches, not the three feet any more.

After all this effort, my FrankenFAL is still not as accurate as I'd like it to be.

From all my research over at FALfiles.com (where I put in over 1000 posts before moving to THR) my FrankenFAL will never get much more accurate without my spending lots and lots and lots more money....which I am unwilling to do.

So, following, are some pics of me at the range, trying to come to terms with the limitations of my FrankenFAL, and deciding that for what it is, and what it cost me, it really isn't that bad.

Heck, it's a "battle rifle." It's not a precision rifle. It's not even my M1A with the Kreiger barrel and the glass bedding job.

It's just my FrankenFAL.

Following are pics of my groups. I was using South African military surplus ball ammo.

All targets were shot off a bench using a six o'clock hold on the bullseye.

Even with the new tall front sight, this thing is 13 inches high at 100, and about three feet high at 300 yards, even with the rear sight slid down to the lowest 200 meter setting.

First, 100 yard group.

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May 20, 2006, 09:01 PM
Here are the rest of the pics.

In order, they are:

FAL at 200 yards. It was a 10-shot group, but after the first five shots, when I realized some were still going high, I put up another piece of old sketch pad to record the high hits. So first five. Put up piece of paper, second five. You can see seven of the 10 holes.

Next will be the FAL at 300 yards. I was using a six o'clock hold on the bullseye at the bottom of the pic. Rounds were impacting about three feet high. 10 shot string.

Third pic is closeup of the seven-shot group out of the 10-shot string at 300. My hand is in for scale on the blank paper.

Fourth pic is all shots fired at 300 (with exception of two low fliers) I put a Sonic medium drink cup in for scale.

Fifth pic is my 200 yard target again. Only this time, you can see all the extra little holes. Those little holes were all caused by a Ruger 10/22 with open sights. Yep, Ruger 10/22 at 200 yards. Because wind, I had to hold on the top right corner of the target frame, but 11 out of 15 of those little suckers got in there. They're scattered around on the paper, but they're there.

May 20, 2006, 09:03 PM
Last pic....Just because.

My FrankenFAL in profile

May 20, 2006, 11:11 PM
Sounds like the front-sight is a touch too short - get a taller post if the one you have isn't already cranked all the way up. I believe 1 click = 1cm @ 100 metres, if that helps.

Please post another pic of your FAL so we can see it more clearly (I just got my first kit sans receiver).

May 21, 2006, 12:10 AM
I almost choked when I glanced over this thread's title, and momentarily thought it read, "Learning to love my Al Franken..."


Your FrankenFAL looks pretty good now, huh?

May 21, 2006, 01:28 AM
You did the same build that I did. Only difference is that I ended up with a DSA barrel and brake because of some funkiness that happened during the build.

When I had a red dot on mine I had a 3 shot one-hole group at 75 yards, so I know that the FAL is capable of better groups than the ones you showed. Once I took the red dot off, my groups spread to about what yours are at 100 yards since I can hardly see that far. Do you have the standard rear sight on yours? I've heard that the DSA hooded rear is a pretty good setup, thinking about getting one.

I spent a lot of time on FALFiles before I built mine, as well. That site is an excellent resource.

Bwana John
May 21, 2006, 02:00 AM
How many different countrys parts can you count on your FrankenFAL?
I've got one with at least 10:
USA-Receiver (& 6 more :banghead: )
Belgium-lower receiver
Germany-top cover
Brazil-most little parts and pins
Austrailia-bolt and carrier
UK-gas tube
South Africa-fire selector, short combo devise

May 23, 2006, 05:05 PM
I took the FrankenFAl back out again. This time with the M1A for company.

As requested above, here's another pic of my FrankenFAL. It's in the rack with the Norinco M1A.

May 23, 2006, 05:15 PM
And here are some pics of comparative groups.

First, I did dig around and found my FAL front sight adjustment tool, and got the groups dialed down.

Then I set that front sight so that it was on at 200 yards when the rear sight was slid down to the 200 yard setting. So at 100 yards, the groups should be a bit high anyway.

Yes, the targets are old political stickers. I put duct tape over the stickers to keep from offending viewers of a certain political persuasion.

But what else are you gonna do with a big roll of perfectly round, dark stickers that were otherwise useless the day after the election?

The circles are exactly three inches in diameter.

Both rifles were shot off a bench using the exact same ammo.

In fact, I broke open one cardboard box of 20 rounds, and put 10 rounds in the FAL mag and 10 rounds in the M1A mag.

Check out the difference in the 10 round groups.

The last pic is a 10 shot group and a 9 shot group from the M1A at 300- yards.

The holes marked by red crosses were fired using a six o'clock hold. The unmarked holes were fired using a center hold.

At 300, you can really see the affect of a left to right wind. It was gentle, with gusts every now and then that were quite stiff.

May 23, 2006, 05:29 PM
I'd be pissed with that kind of accuracy because it is a battle rifle. It is chambered for a full power legitimate rifle cartridge and is supposed to be able to reach out to 600 yards or so and touch something. That is the point of getting a battle rifle, at least in my book. My AK can do better than that--in fact, much better.

Thing is, most of it looks like vertical stringing. I am by no means a FAL expert, but my understanding is that vertical stringing can usually be attributed to pressure on the barrel. My first culprit would be the forend. I think it might be worth it to get a free floating handguard for DS Arms and see if that helps. Then you could maybe invest in their scope mount. It might be nice to see what the rifle is capable of if it borrowed a scope from a hunting rifle.

Bartholomew Roberts
May 23, 2006, 07:51 PM
That is some fine shooting with the M1A. My AR is capable of similar groups at 300yds if I bag it; but sadly the groups that I am capable of from prone look more like the FAL side of the target.

May 24, 2006, 05:01 PM
Took the FrankenFAL out one more time.

This time, I took the handguards completely off.

The first photo is of the third 10-shot group at 100 yards. Yes, they were all about that size.

I fired using a six o'clock hold (note the "12" and the "6" I drew on the target in the appropriate clock-face positions).

The second pic is of the FAL with handguards removed.

While still not as good as my M1A, the FAL is shooting groups at the most half the size as it was with the handguards installed.

Based on today's results, I feel a lot better, and think it might be worth getting free-float handguards.


May 24, 2006, 07:46 PM
no wonder you asked if I could come up and give shotgun lessons to you and the wife. :p

I am kidding.

I am not familar with the FN/FAL, I can admit this.
I met hillbilly more formally via phone today, great gentleman, one I have always respected from reading his posts.

I learn from him and from posted replies, for that I am thankful.

I can get you up to speed with a shotgun and get better patterns, and slug groups...really I can. But I ain't gonna do it from 600 yds out.
Wait until you start needing bifocals...:D


May 25, 2006, 05:25 PM
Good info and pics, hillbilly. I've got the same situation with my present FAL (IMBEL receiver and G-1 parts kit). It's reliable and I like the looks and feel of it,...but groups just like ithose illustrated in your pics for your FAL. My plan was to get a good FAL and shoot it against the ARs and M1As at our local High Power matches. The matches I go to are all shot at 200 yards and I was confident that the FAL and I could stay in the 10 ring at 200 yards. Nope, heck, right now it's tough to even keep it in the black. I'd take 2 MOA. All my shooting uses a rifle sling for support (prone and sitting) or nothing for support when shooting offhand. I learned that the sling causes wild variation of shots due to pressure placed directly on the barrel (stock sling swivel clamped to the barrel). I bought a swivel that attached to the thru bolt of the handguard...and that helped...but, I'm still not getting anything better than 4 MOA. I'm shooting handloads with 168gr Sierra Matchkings and 4895 powder. My groups seem round...just too large...which makes it tough to pinpoint the problem.

I've had FALs that would hang with ARs and M1As...at least at 200 yards, but this one won't and I don't know why not. I'm going to try some groups without the handguard. Thanks for the idea. I'd like to read more about your work with your FAL...maybe I'll learn something that will help mine.

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