M1A and FAL - ultimate decision - I need an answer ASAP!


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Timradcliffe345
October 18, 2008, 09:25 PM
Please convince me to get a M1A or a FAL. I need to get one ASAP!!

How does the M1A and FAL serve as a MBR, in terms of reliability, accuracy, and access to parts and magazines? Which one would YOU take into the woods when the SHTF? Thanks and vote for McCain.


http://www.angusarms.com/images/other_fal_pic_tn.jpg



OR


http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c341/Brauer/M1AScout.jpg

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Cannonball888
October 18, 2008, 09:32 PM
I could never decide so I got both. I can't tell you which I prefer because I haven't shot them yet :(

MikeKeyW
October 18, 2008, 09:34 PM
Strongest choice, the M1A, it was designed for the 7.62x51 from the start(or downsized from the M1/30-06) while the FAL ( a robust weapon in its own right) was a stretched version of an intermediate round design. That being said, I love both.

Vityaz
October 18, 2008, 09:43 PM
Go with the M1A. ;)

navajo
October 18, 2008, 09:57 PM
Have both. Prefer the M1A. Zero malfunctions in 30 years of owning 7 different M1As. Can't say that about the FAL.

az_imuth
October 18, 2008, 10:03 PM
Get the M1A... or you'll always wish you had.

benEzra
October 18, 2008, 10:31 PM
I had a friend who shot a National Match M1A for a while, and have shot matches next to FAL's on occasion.

Personally, I like the FAL better. I like pistol grip stocks, and my friend's NM M1A was finicky (he eventually sold it and bought an AR).

natescout
October 18, 2008, 11:00 PM
both are great MBR, i have a M1A, and my brother has a FAL, never had a problem with either one

Roadwild17
October 18, 2008, 11:08 PM
As long as were comparing apples to apples here I dont think it will really matter. (By apples to apples I don't mean a century fal compared to a Springfield NM loaded model)

Personally they both have strengths and weakness, but I think the m14s strength give it a SLIGHT edge over the fal. Think like spare parts avability, I doubt your going the find m14 parts hanging around, but im pretty sure you'll find more m14 parts than fal parts. Same thing for mags and so on.


Either way buy quality and you shouldnt regret it, or you can give me the $$$ and I can suprise you, you know so you dont have to make the choice. :p

BammaYankee
October 18, 2008, 11:49 PM
M1A all the way! Why asap??? You know something we don't?

H2O MAN
October 19, 2008, 12:17 AM
M14 :evil:

http://www.athenswater.com/images/M14HDW_08.20.08a.jpg

Marcus L.
October 19, 2008, 12:31 AM
I consider the DSA FAL to be the best .308 MBR out there at this time. When Robinson Arms brings its new .308 XCR-M out early next year, I am willing to be it will be a contender for the top spot.

Relax and catch your breath. You've got probably a year or so before any seriously restrictive gun legislation gets passed if Obama wins and the House and Senate have Dem super majorities.

Rifleman 173
October 19, 2008, 12:40 AM
I'd go M1A over the FAL. M1As are a LOT more accurate and can outdistance a FAL in shooting range. They can use the same ammo. FALs have a minor problem with barrel harmonics that limits their maximum distance in some cases. A good M1A can do a 900 meter shot in many cases. FALS are often limited to about 550 or 600 meters for a maximum shot distance.

MTMilitiaman
October 19, 2008, 03:45 AM
In my experience, which isn't extensive by any means, they are both fine weapons and in some areas, the FAL might be the better weapon, but the M1A/M14 is the better rifle.

Both are reliable and durable enough that a well built example of either rifle should have many problems in either category.

The FAL might have better parts availability and cheaper magazines. The FAL can be taken apart for cleaning without tools.

But I find the ergonomics and balance of the M1A to be better than on the FAL. The controls are better placed for me as a lefty as well. The M1A has much better sights as standard, as usually has the better trigger. Everything on the M1A is where it should be and works as it should, and its combination of mechanical accuracy combined with its balance and ergonomics means that many will find it easier to hit with. I don't think either rifle will have much of a problem concerning effective range. While the M1A should have a theoretical advantage, either will be about equally effective to the same ranges given the limitations of most shooters. It would take an exceptional rifleman and probably decent optics to appreciate any advantage in effective range offered by the M1A. But the shooting qualities of the weapon show the care that was given to its design and separate it as a true "rifleman's rifle." Take that for what it is worth.

Aftermarket mounts will probably have to be used to mount optics on either rifle, but these mounts can be cheaper for the FAL.

Those who prefer the M1A/M14 usually do so because of its shooting qualities, predominantly. It is just a sweet shooting rifle. So here's another vote for the M14:

http://i99.photobucket.com/albums/l308/MTMilitiaman/Guns/M1Aleavesclose.jpg

RockyMtnTactical
October 19, 2008, 03:50 AM
I prefer the FAL of the two.

powermad
October 19, 2008, 04:13 AM
There are two types of gun owners. Those that have a FAL and those that don't.

Golden Hound
October 19, 2008, 04:15 AM
Personally they both have strengths and weakness, but I think the m14s strength give it a SLIGHT edge over the fal. Think like spare parts avability, I doubt your going the find m14 parts hanging around, but im pretty sure you'll find more m14 parts than fal parts. Same thing for mags and so on.


How can this be? The FAL was used by like 20 different countries - the M14 was used only by America, and only briefly, at that. There have got to be more FAL parts around than M14 parts.

VE2RF
October 19, 2008, 04:36 AM
For less than $1200, you can probably get a better FAL copy than you can an M14 copy. You can get a nice Para or even a Greek made SAR8 for that kind of money. Under $1200 you can get a Federal Ordnance M14A or an Armscorp import.

If you have more than $1200 to spend, go ahead and get the M14 copy. You can get a Springfield with a lifetime warranty.

The first .308 gun I had was an HK91-copy with a Greek receiver and all the rest of the parts were real German HK's. I priced it ridiculously high(I paid $600 for it) and someone actually bought it.

That's when I decided to get a SHTF rifle that would double as a range plinker.

For what I sold the HK-91 for, I bought a Federal Ordnance M14A and an Armalite AR-10 complete upper and complete lower.

The Fed Ord gun is an early production gun with the only non-MilSpec part being the Federal Ordnance receiver. Fulton used to have a page up describing two problems they believed to have endemic to the FedOrd guns, and I printed off that page and had my gun inspected by two different smiths who retired from the Armory at Fort McClelland, and they found neither of the faults that Fulton specified. Basically, for the same price as a MilSpec parts kit, I bought a firing rifle in excellent condition.

I started to buy another FAL copy, and was set on getting an STG Para. I tried out a couple and found out I didn't like having to tune the gas system to my ammo, and even worse, I found that guys who'd owned the guns several years still had difficult tuning the Para gas system. Oddly, this wasn't a problem with a beat-up FN, or one of those "icky"(at least to the purists) parts-kit guns built with Portugese and South African parts or even a Dan Coonan receiver gun.

I'm not attacking the Para's, it was just something I didn't want to deal with, and I'm describing how I ended up going with the AR-10. It put me off the PARA and I found it odd that it wasn't a problem with three really beatup or "low cost" FAL copies.

So I started looking for an AR in .308 platform. I tried a DPMS and I learned of some of the owner's problems with the receiver and overall I just wasn't impressed with the DPMS- especially as a $1000+ gun.

Next I hunted down a couple of Bushmaster BAR-10's and they all had some common quirks and issues. The FAL/L1A1 mags didn't seem to seat right and the guns had common problems with feeding. The bolt being less supported and one of lugs being deleted to get the FAL mags to work was also a bit of worry issue for me.

Now that RRA is producing the BAR-10 as the LAR-8 they said they have all that fixed, but a friend of mine owns BAR-10 and his brother bought a LAR-8 and when we stripped them they looked exactly the same, piece for piece inside the lower. Ironically, during teardown Tim discovered the BAR-10 had a problem developing with the way the bolt was traveling and he was able to get that fixed(for the time being).

So finally I found an AR-10B to try, and I really, really, really, really, really, really liked it.

I couldn't afford a "finished" AR-10 and I sure couldn't afford the 10B model, so I bought a pair of lowers, and a guy named Brent gave me the deal of a lifetime on a part of new, never used complete Armalite AR-10 uppers.

If I could get my money back out of the Federal Ordnance M14A, I'd build a third and fourth AR-10, that's how much I like them.

The AR-10 carbine keeps up with any M1A or M14 that comes out to the local firing range, and the one I have with the competition barrel can knock all but the very best($2500+) out of the water.

A lot of people still look down on the AR platform, but it has developed into a splendid performer and it's earned much if not all of the legend that it has built up.

I know that I originally wanted an M14/M1A because I looked down on the AR guns. Had I had enough sense to fire them all before I made the purchase decision, I would have three AR-10's, and wouldn't have bought the M14A. Still, the M14A is a classic, and it's a lot of fun to shoot. However, dollar for dollar the AR-10's are superior in my experience and perception.


So between the FAL and the M1A, buy the AR-10, :p If an AR-10 isn't happening, go for the M1A.

Best of luck. The nice thing about the decision you're making is that you're sure to enjoy your purchase no matter which one you choose.

steveracer
October 19, 2008, 04:46 AM
I bought the M1A scout/squad model (18" barrel) and it ate and ate and ate and ate and ate whatever ammo I fed it. I LOVE this rifle.
I have a couple of ARs, and I had a DSA FAL para, and liked it a lot, but as was previously stated, the M1A is just a sweeter shooting rifle. I have shot whitetail, black bears, and 600 meter steel plates with it, and they all went down the same. Mine has a 2X scout scope on it, which enhanced its utility a bit, but the sights on this rifle are so nice that it's hard to get excited about optics. All told, a fine, fine rifle. I carried an M-16A2 for a year in Iraq, and if given the choice, I would have carried the M14. In a New York minute.

BIGRETIC
October 19, 2008, 05:48 AM
I love the Fal....shoots great(head shots on zombies @100 yds are no problem LOL)I do have a M1A that I have not shot much.I really need to dial it in.Either way ...buy one and shoot it...save up cause you will want the other one!!!!!:evil:

woodybrighton
October 19, 2008, 07:05 AM
top of the range m1/m14 is better than a FAL for accuracy
but depends what you want SLR/fal will hit day in day out to 600metres and your more likely to run out of ammo on you before it jams.
theres going to be more m14 spares floating around the states than fal spares but if your that worried buy an m16 type
or several aks:evil:

The SLR is an infantry rifle
The m1 is more or a marksman/sniper / target shooters rifle so its easier to fit a scope etc
I'd buy an SLR if it was legal here but for match winning I'd want am m1

akolleth
October 19, 2008, 10:04 AM
I am by far a Fal man myself. I have owned two so far and love them.

H2O MAN
October 19, 2008, 10:20 AM
I FAiL to understand why you would look beyond the M14 type rifle.

Wolfgang2000
October 19, 2008, 11:37 AM
I've had both, I still have the FAL. The key is to decide if you want a match or a combat rifle.

The M1a is a better match rifle. This is only true if you get the NM version which start at the $1500.00 mark from Springfield.

If you want a combat rifle choose the FAL. When you compare a service grade FAL and M1A the FAL has a edge. It's action is better protected for the elements, and IMO just a easier to handle rifle.

All that said you will be well served with either. JUST GET ONE!!!

front page
June 20, 2009, 04:24 AM
Regarding m1a vs fal - m1a more reliable and a dream to shoot. National match best way to go. Alittle heavy to tote around, but what a secure feeling when all alone in the woods.

front page
June 20, 2009, 04:26 AM
Has anyone tried the sand cut bolt carriers on the fal? Does it make a difference in reliability?

Kind of Blued
June 20, 2009, 04:37 AM
I feel like I NEED two of each. Unfortunately, I have none of either. :(

But really, as with many other classic rifles, I'd like to have one "classic" variant (for ogling and shooting with iron sights) and one "modernized" variant.

front page
June 20, 2009, 04:41 AM
Two is always good, but one low maintenance rifle, a semi auto pistol, and a revolver is about all you can carry, plus ammo, water, and some mre's.

HorseSoldier
June 20, 2009, 04:43 AM
This is the zombie thread a new poster decides to raise from the grave for a first post? :confused: What, were the pro-life/pro-choice debate threads too friendly and polite?

Has anyone tried the sand cut bolt carriers on the fal? Does it make a difference in reliability?

The British Army seems to think it did, but various other users never saw the need.

iamkris
June 20, 2009, 09:28 AM
Regarding m1a vs fal - m1a more reliable

I don't know what FAL you've been shooting but from my very extensive usage I'd say you don't have the full picture. FALs are superbly reliable. The only issues I've every seen with one are some piece of crap FrankenFAL that some moron cobbled together using random parts. Do that to a M1A and you'll see the same issues.

H2O MAN
June 20, 2009, 09:45 AM
Both can be equally reliable, but the M14s iron sights are superior to those on the FAL.
I know the M14 can also be tuned and installed in an EBR stock for reliable sub MOA accuracy, I'm not sure the same can be said for the FAL.

TNThomas
June 20, 2009, 02:00 PM
I will start off with my experience for both. For the M14, zero, but it seems to be a very reliable and accurate rifle. As for the Fal, i do own one, and have shot many rounds in her.
1.) I have had ONE stoppage in the rifle, and it is because for 1) I was trying to take the cheap route and shoot indian surplus ammo (very dirty), and 2) i had the gas turned down almost all the way on the gun for the least possible recoil. But i almost feel as though that the Fal could have an advantage in reliability because you can adjust how much gas is used/bled off from the barrel. this way if you are shooting unreliable ammo, you can turn it up, or if you are shooting reliable ammo, you can turn it down for reduced recoil.
2. Another great thing about the FAL is how stinking easy it is to clean, its AWSOME!!!!!!! you just flip the lever on the back, and the whole thing hinges about where the magazine is at (you can see the circle piece). then you can just pull the bolt out, and clean out the barrel, then do whatever you please.
3. I also have grown fond of the pistol grip on the Fal, it has at a greater angle than many pistol grip weapons. The nice thing about carrying an fal is that it also has the side folding carrying handle, this may not seem like too much of an advantage for a target shooter, but if the SHTF, then you are going to be lugging this thing around alot, and that one little feature is handy.
4. Also the controls on the FAL ave very fast, the left sided charging handle allows you to stay holding the gun with your right hand, and recock with your left. Also the bolt is held open on the last shot, so all you have to do after you reload the next magazine is to hit the bolt release lever, and you are ready to shoot.
5. As for parts you probably wont find much just from walking into your local gun store (maybe a gas rod or stock sets), but if you look online, there is alot out there. As somebody mentioned previously, i would seem more likely to find m14 parts in the USA, but you also have to consider the fact that tons of countries implemented this gun all across the world. look on youtube, or google it to find official numbers past "a ton of countries" hahaha
6. Buy both

jpwilly
June 20, 2009, 02:05 PM
Thread back from the dead? Oh well I'll chime in too M1A!

Polar Express
June 20, 2009, 02:55 PM
I went through this same decision 5 months ago. The fever was Red-hot back in January, and I had caught it. I was considering an Armalite AR-10, a Rock River AR-10, a DSA-FAL, and an Springfield M1A. I decided on those brands for quality. I didn't want to risk buying junk. At one point, I had basically decided to purchase the first one I could find in the configuration I wanted. Dangerous decision. Then, all in one day, I found an Armalite AR-10, a DSA-FAL and an M1A.

If all other things are equal, (and they NEVER are, there is always a variable), the AR design may be the most accurate. However, plenty of folks have competed in 1000 yd matches with an M1A, and been competitive, so in my humble opinion, it's mostly the user. (for my tastes, if I NEEDED that much accuracy, my plan was the bolt gun and monster scope.)

During my search, I was told the FAL had been dubbed 'the right arm of the free world'. Many countries used the FAL as the Main Battle Rifle (.308 caliber). So, that being said, the rest of the world was using FALs, while USA was using the M1A. (I had been told that originally the USA had committed to going with the FAL, but re-nigged on the agreement for political reasons, can someone confirm this?)

I did decide that if I was going to go with the FAL, it would be one built to the Metric standards, not imperial (inch). I liked the adjustable gas valve, and one of my 'musts' was a collapsing stock. At least some parts are not interchangeable between the two, should you decide to go that way.

Sure, the AR design guns are all over, made by many, and have lots of interchangeable parts. And while I have zero facts to back this up, it's my hunch (and it's my money, so I'm entitled to my hunch) that the FAL and M1A would require less parts over the long haul. Anyone else confirm or deny this?

It also seemed to me that the M1A was able to be worked on and serviced by a lay-person with a good book, decent tools and a general mechanical knowledge. (I am blessed to have all three, others may not.) The FAL seemed to require more specialized tools and specific smithy training.

One thing I liked about the Rock River product, is that they are supposed to use the FAL mags, and that's worth considering. The Armalite mags were going for upwards of $80 each, and I have been told they are propitiatory. FAL mags were the least $$ of any of them - but you had to make sure to get the correct ones (imperial vs. Metric).

On that magical day (03Feb09), I followed my gut, and went with the M1A. I got a brand new, Springfield M1A standard for 1200.00, ordered the SAGE EBR stock, and waited for UPS. With very common tools you can buy from Home Depot, you can totally disassemble your M1A, and re-assemble it. (Can't do that with the FAL) Field stripping it requires no tools, they have a great reputation in unfavorable conditions, (so does the FAL, but not the AR), the design is plenty accurate

Here's a quote I lifted from my post in the thread I started about this decision:
In summary, from all the replies here and other readings, this is what I came up with: And keep in mind, this is WITHOUT Gunsmiths-type work --- out of the box with simple mods, (stock, accessories, that kind of thing)

Out of the box accuracy:
1st place) AR style 2nd place) M1A 3rd place) FAL

'environmental resistance'
1) FAL 2) M1A 3) AR

Easy to work on for lay-person
1) AR 2)M1A 3) FAL

Mag avail: (and this is debatable with the imperial vs. metric issue)
1) FAL 2) M1a 3) AR

Avail of parts in USA
1) AR 2) M1A 3) FAL
* again, debatable because of proprietary components in certain AR platforms.

While the M1A appears to be 2nd place in just about every category, with what I could find, in each category, While the M1A was in second, it was a very close second, and good arguments could be made why it should have been equal to #1.

Some would argue that the M1A is a marvelous concept, not just a great gun. (all of the ones mentioned are great, IMHO) The idea that every part on the M1A's original design does at least two jobs, sometimes more. Very few moving parts, and it does the job so well. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the FAL. I still very much want a couple: a DSA-Para model to shoot, and an original for historical interests. But on my current budget, I had to start with one.

So, all told, I'm into my M1A about $2500.00 (don't tell my wife ;)) I have the action, the stock, and 20 20-round mags. I don't have optics yet, but I am more concerned with guns that are likely to be restricted right now, so, and with the great iron sights, the need is not as great.

So, that's the direction I went. I'm very happy I did.

HorseSoldier
June 20, 2009, 02:57 PM
I know the M14 can also be tuned and installed in an EBR stock for reliable sub MOA accuracy, I'm not sure the same can be said for the FAL.

My understanding is that the DSA submission for the SASS/M110 program met their accuracy requirements, though I'd guess it involved a good deal of work (judging by DSA's price tag for them).

Acera
June 20, 2009, 03:22 PM
I need to get one ASAP!!

Well I hope the OP got the info he needed, since he was in a hurry. Not too sure how pertinent this info is for him after this thread had been dead for 1 year and 8 months.

H2O MAN
June 20, 2009, 04:26 PM
Quote:
I know the M14 can also be tuned and installed in an EBR stock for reliable sub MOA accuracy, I'm not sure the same can be said for the FAL.

HorseSoldier My understanding is that the DSA submission for the SASS/M110 program met their accuracy requirements, though I'd guess it involved a good deal of work (judging by DSA's price tag for them).

Yeah, the Crazy Horse M21A5 (http://www.smithenterprise.com/support05.03.html) also met the accuracy requirements with a substantially lower price tag.

Air,Land&Sea
June 20, 2009, 05:24 PM
The only way to resolve this is to get a .45-70. There's no other way.

FlyinBryan
June 20, 2009, 08:35 PM
Please convince me to get a M1A or a FAL. I need to get one ASAP!!

well, if almost 2 years from the date of your question is a fast enough answer, id go with the m1a, and i wouldnt have to think twice about it.

Jaws
June 20, 2009, 10:46 PM
The FAL has a history the size of mount Everest.

Nothing in the west comes close to it.

MTMilitiaman
June 20, 2009, 11:53 PM
I don't think it is accurate or fair to say the FAL has any more history than the M1 Garand/M14.

That mechanism has been serving this country very well since WWII, and still sees limited use, by some reports, esp in the mountains of Afghanistan, where the rifle's accuracy, range, and power are most needed.

Heck, on the same token, the AR has a good deal of history itself--at least enough to compare to any "Euro-trash." And I say this fully acknowledging the FAL is an awesome battle rifle with a lot of honorable service to its credit. But in terms of history, I don't see how it has any more of it than a number of designs, several of them from The West (BTW, I thought Belgium and other western European nations were still considered "The West").

Winston_Smith
June 21, 2009, 12:10 AM
Everyone will have a preference. I found this article to be fairly objective.

http://billstclair.com/DoingFreedom/gen/0702/brifle.html

Jaws
June 21, 2009, 04:55 AM
I don't think it is accurate or fair to say the FAL has any more history than the M1 Garand/M14.

I wasn't comparing it with the Garand. Garand is a different rifle from another time. Apples vs oranges. actually even M14 is not exacly in the same generation with FAL. More in a generation with SKS, FN49, MAS-49, VZ.52.

Heck, on the same token, the AR has a good deal of history itself--at least enough to compare to any "Euro-trash." And I say this fully acknowledging the FAL is an awesome battle rifle with a lot of honorable service to its credit. But in terms of history, I don't see how it has any more of it than a number of designs, several of them from The West (BTW, I thought Belgium and other western European nations were still considered "The West").


I was considering western Europe when I was reffering to the "West".

While the AR has a long history it still didn't come near the wide aceptance that FAL enjoyed over time. In the second half of 20th century, it was accepted as main battle rifle by more countries then any other rifle except the AK.

ElToro
June 21, 2009, 05:54 AM
the FAL has seen service all over the planet and i think its service record stands for itself. getting into a quality rifle is cheaper than a m1a

the m1aalso had a brief but distinguished service and is still used in some units and its reliability and accuracy potential is very good as well.

if i lived in free america, id buy a DSA in a minute

but i live in PRK and can only have rifles with no evil features like pistols grips. so i will have to live with my socom and m1a

if you have a choice, get the one that fits you better

JohnKSa
June 21, 2009, 05:56 AM
How can this be? The FAL was used by like 20 different countries...Not quite. The number is actually closer to 100 countries....the FAL ( a robust weapon in its own right) was a stretched version of an intermediate round design.So was the M1 Garand. It was originally designed around a .276 caliber round. The army made Garand "stretch" it to fit the .30-06.I don't think it is accurate or fair to say the FAL has any more history than the M1 Garand/M14.I'm curious to know what you believe the history of the FAL is.

ROCK6
June 21, 2009, 10:40 AM
Tough call, but I think it really comes down to how it feels in the hands for the individual...sure you can get the Sage stock set-up for the M1A, but I think that detracts from the original clean lines whereas the FAL is made for a pistol grip stock.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v440/ROCK-6/Bush.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v440/ROCK-6/FAL-1.jpg

I like both...easy decision:evil: Unless I was heading off to an urban fight where I knew .308 was needed, I would opt for the FAL. Even though I have three and they are incredibly stout and reliable battle rifles, I think the M1A (mine is an original "Bush" model) gives you a better all-around rifle. I don't think iron sights is an advantage anymore with the aftermarket sights for the FAL's...my AR-style para-sights are just as accurate as my M1A sights. I do agree that the FAL is a much easier weapon to break down and clean in the field, but that's a minor issue that can easily be rectified with good habits and practice.

Scoping a FAL is just as easy as an M1A and although I think I'm a little more accurate with my M1A, I don't think you'll see much difference inside of 400-500 meters which is more than adequate for 99.9% of SHTF/combat use.

If I'm going to a fight, I'll take my FAL. If I'm going to the woods for SHTF where I'll be hunting along with a good possibility of a fight, I'll take my M1A.

ROCK6

bk1
June 22, 2009, 11:15 PM
Rock6: Is that a Fehrman blade I see??

Nice!

Art Eatman
June 22, 2009, 11:21 PM
Condition Yellow: "Be alert and aware of your surroundings." All that good stuff.

Y'all weren't aware that the OP wanted his answer in October of 2008.

You're late.

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