Choosing an FAL


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JamesM
July 4, 2007, 02:25 PM
I finally saved up some cash and am in the market for an FAL (or two). After doing some reading on this site and others I decided to go with DS Arms.

I am leaning towards a PARA carbine model (folding stock and 16.25” barrel) but I can’t decide between the tactical series or original series. I like the look of the tactical series better, but I am concerned about the availability of replacement parts (due to the shortened gas system and handgaurd).

http://www.dsarms.com/prodinfo.asp?number=SA58CP
or
http://www.dsarms.com/prodinfo.asp?number=SA58TACP

Also, is it worth the extra money to get the SA58 series compared to the STG58.

If I wanted to buy an original series fixed stock model, what is the difference between the medium contour and the premium bi-pod cut barrel (other than the bipod cut)? Is there anything lost by going with the 16.25” barrel (instead of the 21”).

To those who have assembled an FAL, how does it compare to assembling and AR (difficulty and money savings)?

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MOSINS
July 4, 2007, 02:32 PM
Go with the standard rifle length FAL.

I have homebuilt an Entreprise FAL w/ Imbel parts kit + 922r parts and a Mega AR receiver with DPMS parts. The AR was easier to put together compared to the FAL.

Have a good day.

:)

Ian Sean
July 4, 2007, 02:34 PM
To those who have assembled an FAL, how does it compare to assembling and AR (difficulty and money savings)?

It isn't a hard build, slightly harder than an AR build. But as far as saving money building it yourself compared to buying a DSA, you may as well go with a DSA. Receivers are pricey and hard to come by and a really "good" kit to build from are getting hard to come by also.

As for barrel length, personally I like the longer barrel...it is a .308 after all, and I do like the bipods they came up with for the FAL rifles, it does add weight but is a solid functional bipod.

gunnie
July 4, 2007, 03:42 PM
good call on the DSA. with imbel made springfield SA48 mdls being scarce, and a reluctance of their owners to sell same, DSA is THE choice, with many new options added to fill one's specific needs.

BBL LENGTH: the chopper IS handier! but the longer bbls render more horsepower, and the added length tends to be more accurate due largely to a better suited vibration length. a 16" tube will develop about 300 savage ballistics.

PARA: the folders FN sold were considerably cheaper to buy used than when same was first retailed. same due to the fact they have shorter, heavier springs which will tend to reduce cycling reliability.

BIPODS: the bbl mounted bipods have hurt accuracy on ALL flavors/mdls i have used them on. and this, along with profile reduction is the cause for going prone, yes? you will get more hits at extended range from a forend rest, or from the standard prone method. if you wanna go with bipod use, spend a little more and get a free floating fore end.

congrats on making a GOOD choice on which design to get for your battle rifle.

gunnie

BrennanKG
July 4, 2007, 04:08 PM
To add my 2 cents...

I wouldn't worry too much about parts availability. DSA is a solid company. I doubt they are going away anytime soon. I had a full-sized SA58 (med barrel, free float, fixed stock) a few years back. The only complication in building is headspacing, which I had done by a gunsmith.

Have you shot a FAL with the Para stock and sights? I found I preferred the fixed stock and standard sights. YMMV, of course.

I miss my FAL, although I don't know if my next semi 308 will be another SA58 from DSA or maybe a P-308 from POF.


B.

Slvr Surfr
July 4, 2007, 05:17 PM
I have an STG 58 para with the 16.25" barrel. I love it. I was able to get my rifle for the standard price of the SA-58 with a fixed stock.

Between the 16" and 18" barrel there is a no SIGNIFICANT loss in power or range. Between the 16" and 21" barrel you will notice a loss in power and range.

I believe the SA-58 come with an aluminum lower and aluminum handguards, compared to the STGs which have both steel lowers and handguards. The STG is heavier in that respect.

I have no prior experiance with the Tactical versions. Either way if you go with DSA youll be happy. They know FALs. :evil:

Chuck R.
July 4, 2007, 05:49 PM
I've got a DSA SA58 Para with a 19" barrel, just couldn't decide between the 18" and the standard 21":D

http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a5/CFRHunter/DSASA58.jpg

The FAL para stock is probably one of the more comfortable available, and it is rock solid.

I got mine direct from DSA by sending them my dealers FFL and paying him a $10 transfer. This saved me close to $200 from list. I really like the SA58 as the aluminum lower saves a little weight and the whole package comes in at about 8.75 lbs or so.

I added a Falcon Arm's spring kit which helped the trigger considerably. While not a tack driver it' MBR accurate and very reliable.

Chuck

JamesM
July 4, 2007, 06:44 PM
Thanks for the positive replies and information so far. Unfortunately I haven’t had the opportunity to shoot or handle any FAL (hence all of the questions). The main reason I was leaning toward the PARA model with a 16.5" barrel was for its compactness (and possible future resale value). I wasn’t aware of a sight difference between the standard and PARA models. I did read (on this board) that someone got their tactical PARA carbine with an A2 sight system and liked it a lot.

I chose an FAL, despite never holding one, because I wanted a semi-auto .308 to use with iron sights (0-200 yard range). It seems there is no question about the reliability of the FALs and the mags are a lot cheaper than M-14/M1A/AR-10 mags. All the positive things people have to say about FALs doesn’t hurt either. If I did try and assemble one, I would probably buy the complete front end then piece together the rest, but if it doesn’t save much cash I don’t think I will pursue that route.

I have a few more questions now:

Is the rear sight an integral part of the lower receiver or is that something that can be changed later?

Those with PARA stocks, is it centered when extended or is it offset to one side? Could you post a picture of an edge on view? I am a lefty and I had a butler creek folding stock on a 10/22 that was so offset to one side when extended that it was very awkward to use and I ended up putting the standard stock back on.

Is the medium contour barrel “heavier” than the premium bi-pod cut barrel?

Is the weight difference the only main difference between the STG and SA models or is there a performance/reliability difference as well?

What model you would get off the DSA site for a mid range shooter?

My thought process was that if I decide to get a PARA model I will get a 16.25” barrel (keep it compact) and if I get a standard stock I will get a 21” barrel (no need to keep compact).

It looks like the price difference between a PARA STG/SA is $341.00 while the difference between STG /SA with a standard stock and 21” barrels is $445.00. Based on this, it would appear that a good compromise would be to get a standard STG with a 21” barrel and a SA58 PARA model with 16.25” barrel (keep the compact rifle lighter):D.

Thanks again for your patients with my rookie FAL questions.

James

Bwana John
July 4, 2007, 07:24 PM
I would sugest looking at "The FAL Files" websight for all the info you need.

The beauty of the FAL is the wide range of differnt parts that the rifle can be configured with.

I like metric patterns, 17 3/8" barrels with standard lenght handguards, Para rear sights, humpback stocks, folding cocking handles, no carry handle, no bi-pod, short combo muzzle device, non-bipod cut handguards, extended mag release, wide foot bolt hold open, semi-only selectors, SAW grips, and mid-mounted sling plates. I also like green furniture.
http://img64.imageshack.us/img64/9123/faloc8.th.jpg (http://img64.imageshack.us/my.php?image=faloc8.jpg)

I dont like glass or battries attached to the rifle.:banghead:

The Para folding stock has a very high cool factor:cool: and would be just the thing for a driveby, but I dont shoot them as well and the conversion kit is very expensive, however I do have one for hiding under the trenchcoat:evil: .

DMK
July 4, 2007, 10:11 PM
The main reason I was leaning toward the PARA model with a 16.5" barrel was for its compactness (and possible future resale value). Not a bad train of thought. I'd go with the 18" barrel though. I have a 17" with an additional 1" for the muzzle brake. It's only slightly longer than an AK.

I did read (on this board) that someone got their tactical PARA carbine with an A2 sight system and liked it a lot.I retrofitted my Imbel FAL with a DSA "Hampton" lower with the M16A2 rear sight. I love it. It's an alloy lower too so it gave mine a weigh reduction.


I would probably buy the complete front end then piece together the rest, but if it doesn’t save much cash I don’t think I will pursue that route.I don't think that would save you anything in time or money, unless you just wanted to do something unique and custom with the lower.

BTW, the upper is legally the 'gun' in a FAL. This is opposite to the AR where the lower is legally the gun.

Is the rear sight an integral part of the lower receiver or is that something that can be changed later?
A standard FAL rear sight can be changed, as far as there are a few different variations in FAL sights. DSA sells the lower with an integral M16A2 type sight of course. This cannot be changed. But that's a special option DSA thing.

Those with PARA stocks, is it centered when extended or is it offset to one side?Perfectly centered when extended. Folds to the right.

JamesM
July 6, 2007, 02:03 PM
Thanks Bwana John and DMK. I spent some time on the DSA section of FAL files and pretty much got the rest of my questions answered. Here is what I ordered.

SA58
Type 2 Receiver
21” Medium Contour Barrel
Belgium Short Flash Hider
Standard Stock
Hampton Lower
Robar NP3 Coating on the internals.

Thanks again for everyone’s help. I think it is going to be a long 3 months.

BigSoundRacing
July 6, 2007, 04:07 PM
Yes, a long three months but well worth the wait!!

With a 21" Medium Contour you are setup for very accurate long range, probably farther then you can see clearly - my only change to your configuration would be the addition of the Extreme Scope Mount.

I wrestled with the barrel length decision for weeks, 18" or 21", everyone seems to prefer the 18" in Medium Contour. I decided to order the 21" Medium Contour and cut later if needed. Initially she was balanced barrel heavy until I added the SPR Stock, I like the balance better now and I am going to keep it at 21". For reference, I've read that the standard stock and the para stock are almost identical in weight, so you might feel barrel heavy on the balance like I did.

Also, initially I was going to place an EOTech on top, some how the EOTech ended up on my FN FS2000 and it does not want to be removed. My eyes are no longer what they used to be, so the entire world looks better with at least 4x magnification, I'll either scope the FAL or collect an ACOG. I was far more comfortable with DSA mounting the Extreme Scope Mount in their jigs vs. my local guy drilling the holes for the mount.

My configuration:
- 21" Medium Contour Barrel
- Para Stock (original)
- SPR Folding Stock (added later in life)
- Night Sites
- Extreme Scope Mount
- Belgian Short Flash
- SAW Grip
- Brass Catcher
- Tango Down Bi-Pod (added later in life)

http://i68.photobucket.com/albums/i15/BigSoundRacing/DSC05599_75.jpg
http://i68.photobucket.com/albums/i15/BigSoundRacing/DSC05615_75.jpg
http://i68.photobucket.com/albums/i15/BigSoundRacing/DSC05744_50.jpg
http://i68.photobucket.com/albums/i15/BigSoundRacing/DSC05739_50.jpg


Be safe, BSR

AndyC
July 6, 2007, 04:24 PM
Here is what I ordered.

SA58
Type 2 Receiver
Type 2 - verrrry sexy :D

JamesM
July 6, 2007, 10:50 PM
I had the same thoughts on barrel length as you did Bigsound (nice pictures, those are two good looking rifles). I will eventually get the scope mount but I wanted to wait until I have the optic in hand. I was torn over the speed trigger but DSA said the Robar coating helps with the trigger.

DMK
July 7, 2007, 12:42 AM
Sounds like a nice rifle JamesM. Have patience with DSA. It took them like 6 months just to ship my stripped Hampton lower. However, their FAL stuff is top notch.

W.E.G.
July 7, 2007, 12:51 AM
I highly recommend that you get the short gas system model if you go with the 16" barrel. The long handguards look disproportionate in the 16" configuration.

Thin Black Line
July 7, 2007, 08:15 AM
JamesM, unless you are use to shooting big bore in short barrels (such as
the Mosin-Nagant shortie bolt action), you may find the muzzle blast a
little uncomfortable. Shooters next to you on the line will find it a little
distracting....

gunnie
July 7, 2007, 09:35 AM
first...haven't seen same firsthand, but was not aware any special machining was required for DSA's scopemount. the other units i HAVE played with just clamp onto dust cover mount groves/outside of reciever.

second...an above posting mentions aging eyes. yet another recommends 4x glass. i'd suggest a low X leopold scope, in 1(+) by 4, with the heaviest duplex reticle still available. the near one power on the low end allows both eyes open for rapid target aquisition. the top end, at 4x, is sufficient for minute of silloutte target at the 600 (+,-) yards the weapon is effective at. without an objective lens bell, these are light, yet pretty much up to any abuse standard use [tempered with TLC] may bring about. the heavy duplex will still be visible in light that still allows target identification.

if you want more outta the glass, check:

http://scopedot.com/

T. K. Lee's aftermarket reticles. does NOT void factory warranty. get a big dot for 200yds for ease of seeing same in poor light. then smaller ones in 100yd increments out to 600. will require that you chrono yer favorite load, or guess with standard ballistic tables. also, send him the distance from bbl centerline-to-scope centerline. you can choose dots of proportionately smaller diameters to subtend the same area at their respective ranges, thusly creating a ranging reticle.

http://www.nightforceoptics.com/?catid=1&viewitem=150

NOT cheap...but their "1-4x24 NXS" is the moheavierest duty unit i know of. order with an NP-R2 reticle, or mildot as prefered for long range drop calibrations. their battery operated reticle illumination eliminates the need for heavy crosshairs/dot. i have their 5.5-22X56 NXS glass on a surgical quality .338 lapua, and have nothing but praise for it.

rule of thumb...keep it on 1X, there will almost always be ample time to switch to 4X for distant targets.

the inverse is not true.

gunnie

Bwana John
July 7, 2007, 10:55 AM
I think it is going to be a long 3 months.
Are you familiar with how DSA calculates time?:confused:

If that rifle is shipped in 6 earth months I will be very surprised.:uhoh:

Thin Black Line
July 7, 2007, 11:11 AM
I've an izzy/imbel HB with the valve wide open and it's broken three scopes
--a Nikon, old US made Weaver, and a cheap china red star that survived
1000s of rds on an SKS-- so far. It's accurate enough to do hole in hole
(I kid you not) with optics. I'm not sure if other people ever have this kind
of problem with their FALs, but I've had to "settle" for iron sites as a result
and whatever MOA my eyeball is capable of that day.

BTW, yes, have used a recoil buffer which seemed to extend scope life a
few hundred rds.....

Shipwreck
July 7, 2007, 11:36 AM
Hey guys - we are trying ti build up the info in our FAL section at the Fn Forum.

It would be great if some of you guys with knowledge about these guns would come share some of it at the FN Forum. Right now, the majority of the talk is about new FN products. But I'd like to get some FAL and Hi Power folks to come share some of their knowledge.

Thanks!

www.fnforum.net

gunnie
July 7, 2007, 02:03 PM
forgot to mention...

http://www.valdada.com/vn/ior/03k

IOR valdada, have read/heard these are top notch glass, but have no personal experience to recommend them from. as with the nightforce in above posting, this is a very dollar intensive item.

also, forgot to mention that my 5x22x56 NXS does not have an intensity adjustment for the reticle illumination. is kinda bright for near dark uses. like an ACOG, same tends to wash out one's ability to view target by exposing your pupils to WAY too many lumens.

gunnie

PS---WARNING---Thin Black Line, you say,

"I've an izzy/imbel HB with the valve wide open and it's broken three scopes..."

by "...the valve wide open..." i assume you have the gas regulator set at the highest [least venting of gas] setting? is same needed to cause cycling of spent cases/stripping new round? if so, you may wanna look for a bent op-rod, and/or blocked bbl gas port. haven't heard of either, but haven't heard of WFO setting of regulator being required to cycle the action, either.

reccomend you follow destructions for adjustment in book, OR

--- from---http://www.remtek.com/arms/fn/fal/

"If the correct procedure is followed, adjustment of the gas regulator is simple. Start with the gas-regulator sleeve fully screwed up over the gas port. Then unscrew the sleeve - with either the adjusting tool or the head of a cartridge - one complete turn so that the gas port is completely exposed. If you are lucky enough to own an older FAL, the number "7" on the sleeve will be in line with the axis of the rifle. (Unfortunately, these numbers have been eliminated from the new LARS, apparently as a cost-saving device.) This is the fully-open position of the gas regulator and when a round is fired short recoil will result (the hold-open will fail to engage).

With an empty magazine fitted to the rifle, screw the gas-regulator sleeve forward one click at a time, and fire one round only after each adjustment by inserting the cartridge into the chamber through the ejection port. When the hold-open finally engages, verify by firing several more rounds single-shot. As a safety margin, screw the gas regulator forward by two additional clicks and the exhaust regulation is set."

if "wide open" setting is not required to cycle action correctly, you are hammering rear of your lower EXCESSIVELY.

Thin Black Line
July 7, 2007, 09:06 PM
by "...the valve wide open..." i assume you have the gas regulator set at the highest [least venting of gas] setting?

Gunnie, I have it set as far as I can back to show an open hole behind the
front site block --isn't this the "weakest" setting for operating the gas piston?

AndyC
July 7, 2007, 09:27 PM
Hey guys - we are trying ti build up the info in our FAL section at the Fn Forum.

It would be great if some of you guys with knowledge about these guns would come share some of it at the FN Forum. Right now, the majority of the talk is about new FN products. But I'd like to get some FAL and Hi Power folks to come share some of their knowledge.

Thanks!
Will check it out, thanks

AndyC
July 7, 2007, 09:30 PM
Gunnie, I have it set as far as I can back to show an open hole behind the front site block --isn't this the "weakest" setting for operating the gas piston?
The more of the hole you can see, obviously the more gas it's venting into the air and the less that's driving the piston, yup.

Shipwreck
July 8, 2007, 12:15 AM
Will check it out, thanks

I saw ya joined. Thanks!

Thin Black Line
July 8, 2007, 07:59 AM
The more of the hole you can see, obviously the more gas it's venting into the air and the less that's driving the piston, yup.

Maybe I should consider weak gas piston and recoil springs.

AndyC
July 8, 2007, 12:28 PM
Just a stronger scope, I think - check out the Optics section at falfiles.com ;)

gunnie
July 8, 2007, 01:39 PM
sounds like yer barking up the right tree with swapping out the old springs for new ones. would suggest some of the new chrome silicon flavors available now.

what bullet weight has been used when these problems occured, WAY over 150gr?

sorry about the misunderstanding as to gas reg adjustment.

be sure to get the spring retainer "screwdriver" for removing recoil springs (smaller ID within larger). they can be very hazardous to eyes, wear saftey glasses, just in case.

FOR---armorer's recoil spring/buttstock tool see:

http://dsarms.com/prodinfo.asp?number=632

@ 10 dollars, you may have to order extra items if they have a minimum order.

gunnie

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