FAL: How's it handle commercial ammo


May 26, 2003, 10:31 PM
I was going to ask this at the FAL Files, but I got the "server is too busy" message.

Anyways. To date, all I've shot through my FAL is South African and Portugese military surplus. How does the FAL design handle commercial hunting ammunition? I'd specifically like to try some 168, 175, and 180 grain soft points.

Also, is it strong enough to handle hotloads, like Hornady Light Magnums and such? (I'm not rich enough to afford a lot of this ammo, I'm just curious.) If not, why not? Is it typical of autoloaders in general, or just a weakness particular to the FAL design?

Can anybody recommend some soft point hunting type ammo in the weights I mentioned?

Oh, my FAL is a DSA STG58A "Austrian" FAL, 21" barrel.

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May 26, 2003, 10:48 PM
I have shot a bunch of Georgia Arms .308 loaded with 150gr. Ballistic Tips out of my two DSA's. I stuck with the lighter bullet because I didn't want the POI to change too much but they offer the heavier bullets.
Excellent groups and it functioned fine once I closed the gas setting by one click.

May 26, 2003, 11:23 PM
Doesn't Hornady LM state that it's not to be used in semi-autos?

Anyway, as long as you adjust the gas system properly, you should be able to shoot most commercial stuff. Just remember you have to go through the whole song&dance each time you switch loads.

May 26, 2003, 11:35 PM
The gun should handle standard pressure commercial loads ok. Stay away from light magnums. The FAL, like all semi auto and full auto guns was designed around a certain bullet weight and presure curve.

The adjustable gas system is used to increase gas pressure to insure reliability in harsh or dirty environments. It will not compensate for over pressure rounds the gun was not designed for.

Soft pointed commercial bullets may not feed reliably either.

Although the .308 Winchester and the 7.62 nato share the same heritage they are not the same, they are similar enough to use interchangably for the most part. 7.62 brass may cause extraction problems in some bolt guns.

Unlike the AR15/M16 which has a free floating firing pin, the FAL has a firing pin spring that should prevent slam fires even when using commercial ammo with primers that are softer than military spec primers.

However, The FAL like any other semi auto should only be charged by loading a round from the magazine (The bolt should never be allowed to slam home on a hand chambered round) and of course the muzzle should always be pointed in a safe direction.

May 26, 2003, 11:51 PM
So, the Hornadys are really overpressure, huh? Are typical box-stock bolt guns really that much stronger than semiautos that they can handle this type of stuff, or do the Hornadys require a special bolt gun too?

Andrew Wyatt
May 27, 2003, 12:05 AM
they have a different pressure curve than milspec ammo.

May 27, 2003, 08:40 AM
The Hornady LM will thrash even the FAL, don't try it, go buy a 300 if you need more power.

Soft point ammo works fire in mine, but the tips do get damaged and accuracy suffers somewhat. I have shot Remington Corelokts, and Winchester Powerpoints in 150 grains, and a Federal Deepshock or something like it in 165 grains. All worked fine.

Look for a polymer tipped or a hollowpoint configuration in a bullet that will do what you want it to.

May 27, 2003, 02:56 PM
Shot Fed Classic 150 SP Sat through my G1 w/ no problem. Similar POI.


May 27, 2003, 08:05 PM
I've shot Federal Gold Match 168gr threw my STG58 and it shot 1 MOA.

I've only put about 60rds threw my FAL though.

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