FAL at the Range. Interesting Issue with Handguard and SA accuracy.


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Deer Hunter
December 24, 2007, 04:08 PM
Hello. I've been doing a lot of shooting these past two days, but this trip was really needed. I hadn't shot my FAL in a long time (not since getting the scope on paper), but today I decided to take it out hunting. I drove a mile and a half down the road to the lease that's been in our family for a very, very long time, and walked out the paths. I came across a large doe grazing about 120 yards ahead of me on one of the trails. So I take a prone position, extend the bipod, take aim, squeeze the trigger when it was about to step back into the woods...

And man it jumps! Runs right toward me, and back into the woods. I never touched a bit of the deer. Perfect. It's either me or the gun, and I bet it was me.

So I grab three mags of SA surplus, earplugs, the rifle, my jacket, stapler, and some home-made targets. I took six pieces of computer copy paper, standard size, and took an old CD I had lying around and sharpied in the center of the cd, then went around the CD with the sharpie.

Needless to say, I should really look into investing in some actual targets.

I stuck these on a target stand someone had placed on the end of the place I usually shoot. I went to the 100 yard mark and went prone, extended the bipod, and started shooting.

After 50 shots, I had it sighted in a bit better.

http://i180.photobucket.com/albums/x91/Captain_Kennedy/PC240133.jpg

Green X's are ones that were shot in a previous sighting attempt. Try to ignore those.

Now the circled shot is interesting. After two shots, I noticed something odd.... The left part of the forward handguard kinda banana'ed out from the gun. It turns out that the screw holding them both to the gun had worked its way out. I never bothered to check it, but now I guess I will time to time. That seemed to have helped my shooting a little bit. However, the circled shot was my first shot after I fixed the handguards.

I figure with me out of practice and the SA surplus not known for its match accuracy, the group isn't too bad. I hope to get some match bullets and take a shot at the target soon enough.

Scope was the POSP variable 2.5-5x24mm shown here

http://www.kalinkaoptics.com/detail.aspx?ID=574

No matter the group size or the weather, it's always a good day when it's spent shooting.

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HorseSoldier
December 24, 2007, 04:14 PM
Now the circled shot is interesting. After two shots, I noticed something odd.... The left part of the forward handguard kinda banana'ed out from the gun. It turns out that the screw holding them both to the gun had worked its way out. I never bothered to check it, but now I guess I will time to time. That seemed to have helped my shooting a little bit. However, the circled shot was my first shot after I fixed the handguards.

+1 on checking the handguard screw. I've had the same basic thing happen with a semi FAL I own, and have also had the handguards simply fly off on the range while firing .mil weapons on auto. It's probably a part that would benefit from some lock tite.

W.E.G.
December 24, 2007, 04:16 PM
That's a normal-size group for 50 yards with a FAL.

If your bipod is attached to your barrel, you will probably find that your point of impact will be 5-10 MOA higher when the bipod is utilized, than when it is not utilized.

The standard FAL trigger is notorious for making precision shots more difficult. You might consider putting a Falcon spring kit in it. I find it helped the trigger on my FAL quite a bit.
See http://www.falfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?postid=1621512

The suggestion for Loctite on the handguard screw is very good. I always use it.

Deer Hunter
December 24, 2007, 04:25 PM
Yes, the trigger is the worst of any of my rifles (My M44 feels better than this thing!), so thanks for the link. It's not a great group, but I'm getting a little better at shooting rifles. 50 yards? I don't think so. I'm pretty sure that the groups would go way down if I took the target to 50 yards.

I figured the bipod would affect the rifle. It's an STG58. I use the bipod for most of my shooting, except when I'm on a stand. Perhaps I should rethink that though.

silverlance
December 24, 2007, 04:43 PM
Pictures of the rifle? Inquiring minds would like to see.

W.E.G.
December 24, 2007, 05:00 PM
I'm pretty sure that the groups would go way down if I took the target to 50 yards.


On closer look at the target, I agree. Looks like you have about a four-inch group there.
That is consistent with the FAL at 100 yards.

Was that group fired with consecutive shots all loaded at once in the magazine?

Deer Hunter
December 24, 2007, 05:56 PM
Those were shot from a hot barrel from a loaded 10 round magazine at a pretty rapid pace.

http://i180.photobucket.com/albums/x91/Captain_Kennedy/PB030003.jpg

http://i180.photobucket.com/albums/x91/Captain_Kennedy/PB030002.jpg

Here you go, pictures.

Deer Hunter
December 24, 2007, 07:18 PM
I just thought of something.

WEG, you said that the bipod will make it shoot 5 to 10 MOA higher? Well I've got it zeroed in at 100 for the extended bipod. This is my reticle.

http://www.kalinkaoptics.com/graph/images/sighting_devices/posp_pso/posp_4x24_400m_4_600.gif

I'm using the top chevron. I wonder if, since if I put the bipod up, I could get some kind of bearing without having to zero again by using one of the lower chevrons. It's a longshot, but I figure it'd be neat if it would work out.

goon
December 24, 2007, 08:10 PM
I'm a bit of an amateur but I think if you use one of the lower chevrons you'd just shoot higher.
If you're shooting consistently higher with the bipod you could just learn the difference and hold lower.

Other than that, how do you like the scope? I can't afford one now but you have me interested.
My FAL could use optics...

Deer Hunter
December 24, 2007, 08:21 PM
Ok, I have that backwards. Oops. My bad, that's what I get for trying to wrap presents and type at the same time. It still seems that if it works out, it could work out ok.

That optic costs around 190 or 200 dollars and works very very nicely I'm horribly pleased with this scope. It's extremely rugged and has a variable illuminated reticle.

ny32182
December 24, 2007, 09:00 PM
If you get some higher quality commercial .308, and a good rest, and make sure everything is tightened down right, you should be able to do better than 4". I'd say 4" in standard with SA-grade surplus. My SA58 has put commercial hunting ammo into less than 3" with an imperfect rest. And iron sights. I do have an Stg 58 also, but have only ever shot it with surplus. (guess I should test it with some higher quality ammo).

Anyhow, I agree, locktite the handguard screw. I'd also make sure that mount is tightened down well, make sure the scope/mount is tightened down well, etc. If I were going to hunt with it, I'd use the surplus to get it on paper, then fine tune the zero with the exact load you will be hunting with, as the POI can certainly change significantly based on ammo.

I took the bipod and metal handguards off my STG right after I got it, but still, I'd be very... very surprised to see a 5-10 moa shift at 100yd based on resting the barrel at a different point. That sounds pretty excessive. Still, you want to rest it at the same point to the extent possible, so if you are going to use the bipod at the range, use it in the field as well.

What you are looking for of course is elimination of as many variables as possible... ie. a high degree of repeatability in all respects.

That final group looks alright considering SA surplus and field rest type conditions. I don't know that you will get a whole lot better than that without going to a bench rest of some sort and better ammo. But I think that you will definitely want to finalize your zero with whatever ammo you plan to hunt with.

Coronach
December 24, 2007, 09:06 PM
That is one fugly magazine. ;)

Also, the MOA shift can, will and does happen when you move from bipod to hand-held. I dunno about 10 MOA, but 5 is definately possible. I'd just ditch the bipod. The rifle balances and handles better without it, anyway.

Mike

enfield
December 24, 2007, 09:23 PM
That's a normal-size group for 50 yards with a FAL.

I beg to disagree. Mine (homemade) holds about 1.25 MOA with iron sights on a sandbag rest, and I'm no Annie Oakley. I can't believe I have the best one ever built.

rockinrussky
December 24, 2007, 10:14 PM
As another owner of the STG-58 I'd definitely agree that the accuracy is much better than 5-10 moa at 50 yds. I'm not the best shot by any stretch but I can still get at least 1.5 moa from using the bipod at 50. Also, I've shot South African 308 and hadn't had any accuracy issues, but I'd recommend reloading as you'll generally get better accuracy and save a lot of money on ammo. I don't know enough about the POSP scopes at this point to give any insightful advice. I'm definitely considering getting one in the future though.

p.s. Handguard? Yes, mine came off once at an embarrasing moment right as I was showing some people that have never seen a FAL up close.

Deer Hunter
December 24, 2007, 10:22 PM
Ditch the bipod? I can't, I love it too danged much. :) And I use it when I'm shooting more often than any bagged rest or offhand. I don't know, it just adds such a ncie feel to the rifle.

I've got some "ok" hunting ammo, nothing really match-grade, that I'm going to try out in the next few days. I have faith in this rifle. If I tighten everything up and get some good ammo I know my groups can shrink big time.

And hey, watch what you say about my Rhoadi mags. Got them for 3 bucks a pop and they work like a charm.

W.E.G.
December 25, 2007, 12:47 AM
enfield and rockin rusky, you guys need to go back and read the thread a little more carefully. It would appear that you quit reading what I had to say after you read my first comment about 50 yards.

BTW, 1.5 MOA at 50 yards is still 1.5 MOA at any other distance.

I want to see that 100-yard, ten-shots (all loaded at once in a magazine), 1.25 MOA FAL group fired from the magazine. That would be truly amazing.

ny32182
December 25, 2007, 01:02 AM
Actually I just went to look up my old target pics, and they were better than I remembered... both these groups were fired under the same conditions I used at the time, on a bench, with the forearm rested on a clay pigeion box, stock shouldered. Rifle is a DSA SA58 standard, which has a .308 spec barrel/chamber.

150gr Win SuperX, which has a soft exposed lead tip, which is deformed on the way into the chamber... Still not ideal match ammo... didn't seem to hurt the accuracy too much (sub 2"):

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/ny32182/win_superx.jpg

Aussie surplus, which I do believe is better than SA, or at least, I've never been able to match this with SA, and I've shot more SA than I have Aussie, sub 3":

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/ny32182/aussie_surplus.jpg

So the FAL can be reasonable, even in bone stock configuration. The STG's have a milspec surplus barrel/chamber. I suspect these may not produce quite the accuracy of the current production .308 barrel, but I've never tried hard with commercial ammo in my STG. Its on my list of things to do this coming year.

goon
December 25, 2007, 01:05 AM
With handloads mine just did 2.5 inches from a warm barrel at 100 yards yesterday, para rear sight, cold fingers, and using a gun case for a rest.
That was with six shots though, not ten and I don't know what that would be in MOA.
I shot a group before that with three shots in an inch, two touching at the same distance. I would post the targets for you but I threw them away (they got wet in the snow). They are becoming kind of common with this rifle and handloads. Accuracy is about 3" at 100 yards with SA surplus.
I think I coud do better with a scope though. Maybe some day you'll get a target in the mail. ;)

I have also decided to keep my bipod. It just adds stability and from the prone position what a half trained recruit can do with a stable weapon on a bipod is pretty remarkable. And the FAL won't really ever be a lightweight anyhow.

Maybe my next one will be a heavy carbine though. :)

W.E.G.
December 25, 2007, 10:35 AM
Small three-shot groups are only significant if you can do it repeatedly.

Otherwise, a small three-shot group is only proof that you did it once.

MOA lessson:
A two-inch group at 100 yards is 2 MOA.
A two-inch group at 200 yards is 1 MOA.
A two-inch group at 50 yards is 4 MOA.

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