Which FAL to buy?


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Koblenz
February 11, 2008, 08:48 AM
I am considering buying a FAL, or perhaps some similar rifle in 7.62 Nato. I believe there are several companies producing these from surplus parts. Which are reliable FALs for the lowest possible price? What about alternatives? I see the Saiga rifles in .308 for around $400, but the extra magazines are quite expensive. Also, I don't like the way the AK 47 action does not leave the bolt open on the last shot. Is this a feature (or deficiency) of the Saiga as well?

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BozemanMT
February 11, 2008, 09:19 AM
DSA if you want a new one.
There are tons of ones floating around used, also ones built up from IMBEL recievers are fine.

do not even think about looking at a century <insert picture of monkey at desk assembling parts>

Koblenz
February 11, 2008, 10:20 AM
Thanks for the advice. I am familiar with CAI's reputation, so I would avoid anything they make. I got burned once buying a French MAS that had been converted to .308 by the monkeys at Century.

AndyC
February 11, 2008, 10:35 AM
DSA rifles are excellent. Entreprise used to be something of a pariah in the FAL community, but have done a lot of good work of late to try and rectify that - time will tell.

Another alternative is to buy a kit, look for an upper receiver and find someone local to you with a few tools - barrel- and receiver-wrench, headspace and pin-gauges, etc. It's really not that difficult and is extremely satisfying, but is not always cheaper - depends on the kit and receiver you buy and you'll also need 7 US-made parts. Check out the falfiles.com forum for more info.

W.E.G.
February 11, 2008, 10:41 AM
As Andy indicated, you won't go wrong if you just buy a DSA.

They aint cheap.

If you want to spend more time with the rifle, (and probably spend more money too in the long run) you can buy just about anything that can be honestly called a FAL, and tinker with it endlessly.

Just depends on your budget, your time constraints, and your needs.

I started tinkering with FAL's eight years ago, and I'm nowhere near done yet.

Vaarok
February 11, 2008, 10:44 AM
Ohio Rapid Fire. Same STG kits as ORF, same quality, lower price.

Deer Hunter
February 11, 2008, 01:20 PM
An FAL built by CAI on an Imbel receiver should be fine if everything checks out. Not all are junk.

silverlance
February 11, 2008, 02:58 PM
double post doh

silverlance
February 11, 2008, 02:59 PM
* DSA makes all new FALs - as in, everything on the gun is new. ~1600$+
* EAI (my company) rebuilds FALs using new receivers we make ourselves and IMBEL (Brazil on an FN license) surplus kits. ~900$
* CAI makes FALs off of either Hesse/Vulcan receivers or IMBEL commercial receivers. A CAI (or any rifle for that matter) on any receiver, whether IMBEL nor not, may not be a good rifle. Those who build FALs know that the vast majority of the quality of a rifle is not so much in the particulars of a part (given a certain degree of acceptable quality) but rather the skill of the builder and his expertise with the parts and tools used. I have a CAI with an IMBEL that runs great. I have another where the handguards don't fit and were slammed in anyway, the locking shoulder is wrong, and the sights are buggered as well as the barrel beneath. ~800$

All my personal FALs were built by:
* Entreprise Factory
* DSA Factory
* Arizona Response Systems
EAI offers a lifetime warranty on their factory-built rifles. I believe DSA does as well (but I'm not sure). Don't know about CAI. Expect accuracy to be about 3-4.5" with both DSA and EAI models, and same for a well built CAI.

Here is a picture of mine, and a video as well. The video was an experiment, so excuse the amatuerish quality. Prices are CA prices. Oh, and BTW, if you decide to order let me know and I can hook you up with free shipping.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiTJYnJFwO0
http://i32.tinypic.com/dpbae8.jpg

JonB
February 11, 2008, 03:19 PM
Nice accessories.....

silverlance
February 11, 2008, 03:39 PM
I know, I'm hot :neener:

AndyC
February 11, 2008, 03:57 PM
Rofl :D

Dr. Dickie
February 11, 2008, 06:41 PM
I know, I'm hot

You were in that picture?

W.E.G.
February 11, 2008, 07:02 PM
The rear sight on the rifle on the left is giving me extra elevation.

You "pinch" those things to adjust???

islandphish
February 11, 2008, 08:15 PM
People should know that the bolt hold open on a FAL is not a magical your gun is empty flag. The FAL charging handle is not reciprocal, meaning that the charging handle does not move each time the bolt moves.

Also the charging handle is on the left side, it is designed to be used to charge the gun and then it will stick in the closed position, presumably to keep out debris, until the rifle needs charged again.

The bolt hold open does keep the bolt and carrier back but the only way you can tell is if you look on the ejection port on the right side opposite of the charging handle.

What does this mean? Right handed shooters won't even be able to see that the bolt is being held open unless they crane around to look at the right side of the rifle. The bolt will be held open but the charging handle will be forward and closed.

I can't see how this form of bolt hold open is any advantage over an absent hold open like on Saigas or PTR-91's.

Since you can't see that the hold open is indeed holding open you are about as likely as with any non-hold open rifle to squeeze and find yourself with an empty rifle.

W.E.G.
February 11, 2008, 08:44 PM
I think like the Brits.

I believe the bolt hold-open is a potential liability. If it hangs up on the mag follower, you in a heap'a trouble boy.

My experience with the bolt hold-open blues: http://www.falfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?postid=1282110

A FAL is more reliable WITHOUT the BHO feature.

Koblenz
February 12, 2008, 07:43 AM
I appreciate all the advice. Unfortunately this weekend I had to write a very big check to the IRS, and I don't think I can afford a $900 rifle at this time. The Saiga sounds like a good rifle and reasonably priced, but then the high cap magazines for them go for $50-$60 each, so a Saiga well-equipt with extra mags will end up costing as much as an FAL.

I do have one larger caliber rifle battle rifle than my AR-15 and AK-47. It is an FN49 in 8mm. The surplus 8mm ammo is pretty cheap so that may have to do for my large caliber rifle until better times financially arrive.

Based on the comments above I think I would still avoid anything made by CAI. Even if some of them work fine, I don't think they put on the tags, "This one works", or "This one is junk". So buying one is still a gamble.

Ash
February 12, 2008, 09:25 AM
Buying one may be a gamble, but if it has an Imbel receiver, not that much of a gamble. You can save hundreds of dollars on an Imbel-receivered FAL and end up with an excellent rifle. Century-built FAL's have two main areas of problem. First, the US-made receiver that is out-of-spec with improper feed ramp. If the rifle has an Imbel receiver, no problems there. Plus, the crappy two-piece gas piston. That can be changed out with a Tapco and you have no problems. Other than those two, it's hard to mess an FAL up. If I could get an Imbel FAL for $500 (got mine for $400) I would.

Ash

kfranz
February 12, 2008, 11:04 AM
People should know that the bolt hold open on a FAL is not a magical your gun is empty flag. The FAL charging handle is not reciprocal, meaning that the charging handle does not move each time the bolt moves.

Also the charging handle is on the left side, it is designed to be used to charge the gun and then it will stick in the closed position, presumably to keep out debris, until the rifle needs charged again.

The bolt hold open does keep the bolt and carrier back but the only way you can tell is if you look on the ejection port on the right side opposite of the charging handle.

What does this mean? Right handed shooters won't even be able to see that the bolt is being held open unless they crane around to look at the right side of the rifle. The bolt will be held open but the charging handle will be forward and closed.

I can't see how this form of bolt hold open is any advantage over an absent hold open like on Saigas or PTR-91's.

Since you can't see that the hold open is indeed holding open you are about as likely as with any non-hold open rifle to squeeze and find yourself with an empty rifle.

Speaking strictly from a "shooting at the range" perspective, you can feel the difference when the bolt locks back. I've emptied a few mags over the years, and have always been able to tell when the bolt locked back.

HorseSoldier
February 12, 2008, 11:18 AM
+1 what kfranz said. On the FAL, like the M16/M4, the sensation of recoil is different when it locks back. I've had a couple "click-and-nothing" experiences with AKs and some other weapons that don't have a bolt hold open, but haven't ever missed the bolt locking back on a rifle with one.

silverlance
February 12, 2008, 01:25 PM
I do have one larger caliber rifle battle rifle than my AR-15 and AK-47. It is an FN49 in 8mm. The surplus 8mm ammo is pretty cheap so that may have to do for my large caliber rifle until better times financially arrive.

The FN-49 is the direct predecessor of the FN-FAL (Fusil Automatique Leger). The guns are very, very, similar. I have an FN49 too, and I like it a lot - but I hate how the gas tube extends only halfway under the handguards. When you want to shoot corrosive ammo, this becomes a huge problem.

If you look in the background of my pic (and yes, there is a background), you will see an EAI FAL that we have converted back to the FN49's loading system (10rnd fixed magazine, top stripper clip loading). This was done for California residents. Incidentally, if a CAL-FAL rifle owner moves out of the state, we will replace the 10rnd mag with a detachable 20 and ship it back to them for free.

Oh, one more thing. You can definitely tell when a FAL gets "slide lock". An AR15's BHO works the same way - you can't tell it's locked back unless you look into the receiver since charging handle is not reciprocating (and it better not be if you are behind it). With both, you can feel it. Sort of a slam, lock kind of feel.

The SAIGAs are excellent rifles, but they are not in the same leage as the FAL. The AK design is prized primarily for its ridiculously low cost of production, then for its durability, reliability, etc. The FAL has it the other way around.

PS: WEG, AFAIK the rear sight is just the standard IMBEL sight on those two rifles. it may be a trick of the light - that, or something else is "giving you extra elevation" :neener:

PPS: Yes, Dr. Dickie, that's me in the pic. But I don't blame you for not noticing me. :neener:

outofbattery
February 12, 2008, 02:44 PM
My CAI-Imbel FAL has been flawless.

islandphish
February 12, 2008, 08:14 PM
I realize that some of you were talking about range shooting and bolt hold opens.

It is true that sometimes you can tell, like when you are not distracted.

However, the FAL is a battle rifle and as when being used as such the chances of you noticing the differences in the action is greatly reduced.

oh and which FAL to buy? I say get a homebuild with a good receiver and a nice looking parts kit. Then learn to take it apart and put it together again.

The more times the better, learn your rifle.

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