7.62 NATO Carbine shooters -- need your advice quick!


February 25, 2007, 04:13 PM
Need some opinions and rationale on barrel length.

Unfortunately my mom passed away about a month ago. Our family doesn't have much but she did name my brother and I as beneficiaries of her rather meager insurance. Rather than pay a few bills with it or make a very small contribution to my family's investments, I've decided to use the funds to buy something to both give myself pleasure as well as something that will reasonably hold its investment value. I've already purchased a Finnish Luger, now it is time to get the Para FAL I've been pining for.

I will call DSA and order a Para FAL tomorrow morning. However, I was all decided on a 16-1/4" bbl but in the last couple of weeks I've been waffling towards an 18" because I've heard so many people complain about muzzle blast. I also know people have "religious" opinions about them. I already have a full sized StG58A and a M1A National Match, so I'm not looking for a full sized rifle. In fact, one of the key reasons I'm buying this rifle is for a very compact .308 carbine (also, I have plenty of M4-geries and folding stock AKM's so please don't suggest those).

Here's the pro/cons of 18" vs. 16-1/4" as I see them

18" Barrel - Pros

Less muzzle blast than a 16" bbl
Slightly (~50-100 fps??) more velocity than 16"

18" Barrel - Cons

Less handy than 16" bbl

16" Barrel - Pros

Super compact for the rifle type

16" Barrel - Cons

More muzzle blast than 18"
Less velocity than 18"

The issue is that this rifle is being purchased primarily for compactness...not for maximizing velocity. Maybe it comes down to the muzzle blast? So -- two questions -- in your experience 1) is the muzzle blast SIGNIFICANTLY worse in a 16" than a 18" (as compared to a full sized rifle?) 2) is the velocity drop off SIGNIFICANTLY more in a 16" than a 18"?

Thanks in advance.

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February 25, 2007, 04:41 PM
If you can swing the $, buy the 16.25" carbine and a suppressor.

February 25, 2007, 04:53 PM
I really do not have much experience with short barreled rifles but if its anything like shooting a pistol then another 1.75 inches can make a world of difference as faras controlability. I'm not sure if that translates to rifles, but its something to think about.

February 25, 2007, 05:43 PM
Go with the 16.25"... as the shooter, the muzzle blast you notice won't really be any different than any other length. Those sitting next to you 90 degrees from the muzzle might notice a slight difference between that and an 18".

Its already shooting .308, so its got plenty of punch. I went with 16.25 and don't regret it in any way.

Thin Black Line
February 25, 2007, 05:45 PM
I have a Franken FAL Izzy HB and a G3 clone. I'm going to stick w/ 18"+
cals for the big bores since shorter barrels have one helluva muzzle blast.
The 7.62 nato is not the 5.56 or the x39 and there is a big difference when
you're shooting it. You'll have a para folder so you'll save enough space as
it is. You (and the guys next to you on the line) will be thankful for the
slightly reduced blast and you'll enjoy your shooting more.

Order your mags from DSA while you're at it.

Sorry to hear about your mom.

February 25, 2007, 06:00 PM
I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your Mom.

Chuck R.
February 25, 2007, 06:10 PM
I dunno, to me 2" doesn't make a rifle all that much more or less "handy".

I too find the muzzle blast from the 16" guns pretty annoying. My DSA Para has a 19" barrel on it, as I wanted to get the most from the cartridge.

I have yet to run that last 3 inches of barrel into anything. I also suspect that 2 inches of thin FAL barrel doesn't weigh all that much.

IF you're going with the standard gas tube setup, I'd go for an 18" barrel.


Thin Black Line
February 25, 2007, 06:32 PM
I have yet to run that last 3 inches of barrel into anything.

If I did that w/ my izzy HB, the barrel would survive. Besides, nothing like a muzzle
thump from something that big for some less-than-lethal encouragement :D

February 25, 2007, 06:56 PM
If an extra 3" of barrel doesn't bother you, then another 2" shouldn't either, and then you are back to 21" to start with.

The guy is looking for a carbine; he's already got a full length. If you want a carbine, IMO, you might as well get one. The maneuverablility difference between 18/19/21 isn't all that much, but taking it down from 21" to 16.25", and you know you've got a carbine.

February 25, 2007, 07:30 PM
I've got an AR-10A2 carbine (16") and a Century G-3 (18.5"). Muzzle blast is similar, velocity difference is less than 100 FPS with any load I've tested, save the 110 gr. V-max's.

Whichever one feels/looks better to you is the one you should get.

February 25, 2007, 07:32 PM
Thanks for comments to date.

Hmmm...apparently my search capabilities are failing me...don't know why these didn't come up the first time I looked. Some good discussions here:



Which of course doesn't help me. :p People still seem to be split in the 18-in-slightlymorevelocity-lessblast and the 16-in-notmuchlessvelocity-shorteroverallcarbine camps.

Maybe sleeping on it overnight will help.

Anyone who can give me first hand experience that has shot both, I sure would appreciate your opinions.

February 25, 2007, 08:17 PM
One thing that I forgot and no one else has mentioned so far; Last time I checked (Decmber), DSA was saying 6-8 months on everything. If you want a 7.62mm carbikne before Christmas, you might consider an HK91/M1A/AR-10 pattern rifle. Much better availability from various makers.

February 25, 2007, 08:19 PM
Yeah, 10-12 weeks was what they quoted to me last fall...yowza, though on the 6-8 months. I'm not in a hurry, though.

February 25, 2007, 08:38 PM
My STG58C came in 10 weeks last summer, fwiw. Don't recall how long my 21" SA58 took.

Ned Flangers
February 25, 2007, 08:51 PM
I would go for the 16" since you are looking for compact and already have the others.

As an aside, what happens if the ban occurs while your rifle is on order? :confused:

February 25, 2007, 08:53 PM
Then we will be very sad.

...and strike up in armed revolution :neener:

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