What FAL?


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bkjeffrey
January 8, 2011, 05:44 PM
Im looking at two FALs right now and cant decide between the two.

1) L1A1 Sporter built using original FN parts and a new US made reciever and barrel. 21" barrel with folding bi-pod and carry handle.

2) Century FAL with bipod and carry handle

Both are the same price and I cant find a difference between the two. Instinct tells me I should be looking at the L1A1 but I dont know.

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Dionysusigma
January 8, 2011, 05:49 PM
My vote lies with L1A1. Going with my gut here, too. :p

onebigelf
January 8, 2011, 06:08 PM
Inch mags are getting hard to find and pricier. Century FALs CAN be OK. I wouldn't buy one on a bet unless the shop is willing to let you return it if it doesn't function properly. Some run great. Some never run worth a d@mm.

John

http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm96/onebigelf/S1051613.jpg

451 Detonics
January 8, 2011, 06:48 PM
DSA does make more sense...

Shear_stress
January 8, 2011, 07:01 PM
Neither. I'd hold out for a DSA, Springfield SAR, or one of the many, many FALs put together by reputable smiths such as Arizona Expert Arms (AZEX), Arizona Response Systems ("Gunplumber"), etc.

Z-Michigan
January 8, 2011, 08:51 PM
L1A1 Sporter built using original FN parts and a new US made reciever and barrel. 21" barrel with folding bi-pod and carry handle.

This is a very odd description. The L1A1 was built in the UK and commonwealth, and does not use FN parts - the parts would have been some UK manufacturer or govt armory. Also, while a folding bipod was common on metric FALs, I have not seen one on an L1A1 - doesn't mean they don't exist, but definitely not common.

I suspect you either have an incomplete description, or an extreme "frankenFAL". I would get more info.

It IS fairly common to find L1A1 parts kits assembled onto metric receivers, which gives you most of the look and feel of an L1A1 but allows use of the more common metric mags.

Century FALs range widely from fine to terrible. I can't quickly summarize how to determine which it is. Some searching here and on FAL files would help you if you're interested.

bkjeffrey
January 9, 2011, 03:35 AM
check www.centerfiresystems.com for both of the FALS im looking at. The L1A1 I mentioned is listed there.

Z-Michigan
January 9, 2011, 08:10 AM
You don't want either of those. Both Century, both overpriced for what they are, both extreme frankenguns.

Best bet is a $900-1000 "IMBEL Rifle" from DSA. Runner up is an $800 Entreprise FAL (uses IMBEL parts), which Atlantic Firearms has in the past called generically an IMBEL Rifle (NOT the same as DSA's IMBEL Rifle). Both are vastly better rifles than the CIA assembled stuff you're looking at.

Oh, and that "L1A1" is what I suspected - an extreme frankenFAL. It appears to be mostly metric parts (which could be FN) but with L1A1 type sights. Unsure if it has anything else from an L1A1, and don't want to find out.

Fat John
January 9, 2011, 11:31 AM
This is your best bet in regards to getting an FAL, I paid that price and didn't get all the accesories. If you will recall I did have problems with mine but all it needed was the bore polishng and replacing the sear spring with an ar15 magazine release spring.

http://www.aimsurplus.com/product.aspx?item=F1DSAIMBEL

These Korean mag work great all of mine feed reliable.

http://www.aimsurplus.com/product.aspx?item=MRWBFAL&name=FN%2fFAL+20rd+Magazine+New+(metric)&groupid=4

M1key
January 9, 2011, 03:19 PM
I would agree with Z, skip both and go with a good Imbel DSA.


M

figment
January 9, 2011, 03:23 PM
Yep, DSA.
Loved my Congo before it sank into the murk off the western coast of Afrika.

Vaarok
January 9, 2011, 04:33 PM
DSA costs too much for what they are. Basically any FAL that works is equal, and DSA just hypes that their FALs work and some don't.

TexasRifleman
January 9, 2011, 04:42 PM
DSA costs too much for what they are. Basically any FAL that works is equal

Well that's sort of the problem isn't it? Many of the other sellers rifles don't work.

Fat John
January 9, 2011, 06:40 PM
Hmmh, 300.00 dollars difference between a monkey or human being putting together FAL's. I'll stick with and by my DSA STG58 over any monkey put together frankenfal.

By the way I have several century (monkey) firearms but they are all AK varaints, when it comes to FAL's its another game.

Dobe
January 9, 2011, 06:58 PM
DSA costs too much for what they are. Basically any FAL that works is equal, and DSA just hypes that their FALs work and some don'tThat about somes it up for me. I bought a Para DSA. I fired 10 rounds through it, and the bolt ruptured. DSA has had a lot of quality control issues as of late. http://www.falfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=289622 The belief of this forum: Build it from suplus parts, or buy the parts and have someone make it for you.

Good luck with your decision

BloodyCactus
January 9, 2011, 08:20 PM
if you want a FAL, hit the falfiles marketplace and get a GOOD gun.

Z-Michigan
January 9, 2011, 08:28 PM
With an FAL, the upper receiver is absolutely crucial because of the design, and it's expensive to make. DSA's upper receiver is by far the best one currently made, and arguably superior to IMBEL and even original FN Belgium production. In contrast, all other currently made upper receivers are castings, with quality varying from good (Coonan and current Entreprise) to OK (older Entreprise) to iffy (Century) to poor (Hesse, etc.).

Dobe, I read your story and see you had a bad experience, but that is not the norm with DSA. Yes, they also are doing a recall of lowers they made in the last year or so - for excessive wear potential. That recall is free shipping both ways and a $20 credit. To me that's pretty good service.

Anyway, the DSA "IMBEL Rifle" is mostly IMBEL (Brazilian state armory) parts, so it sure won't be any worse than someone else's assembly of such parts.



DSA costs too much for what they are. Basically any FAL that works is equal,

You could say the same, silly and wrong, thing about AR-15s, 1911s, or pretty much any firearm or other mechanical device. And be wrong.

kayak-man
January 9, 2011, 08:31 PM
if you want a FAL, hit the falfiles marketplace and get a GOOD gun.

I think we have a winner.

Chris "the Kayak-Man" Johnson

Dobe
January 9, 2011, 09:51 PM
Dobe, I read your story and see you had a bad experience, but that is not the norm with DSAIf you search FALFiles, you will find that the many members feel that same as do I.

DSA needs to get their standards up.

BloodyCactus
January 9, 2011, 10:15 PM
DSA's upper receiver is by far the best one currently made, and arguably superior to IMBEL and even original FN Belgium production.

well imbel spot harden, and last I heard DSA fully harden (so do coonan as well iirc).. but honestly I'll take an imbel or an fmap over a dsa anyday...

let me know when dsa figure out how to build a working 20rd magazine. how hard can it be right?

evan price
January 9, 2011, 10:38 PM
@bloodycactus: lol for the DSA FailMags.

The last couple of FALs I built were on Centurys and went together well. They had a great run of them from 2004-2007 or so by Caspian Arms and they were the most in-spec Centurys I've ever seen. By way of comparison the DSA I built on last year had barrel and gas tube threads so tight they screamed, some chatter marks here and there AND needed a weird locking shoulder size to headspace. One borderline DSA does not mean that they are all bad (however there's been numerous complaints recently) and they are a good upper generally.

If I had my druthers I'd build on gear-logo IMBELs every time but those are almost impossible to find now. Century guns built on IMBEL and good Century receivers will run just fine.

Problem was Century hired people to bolt parts kits together and they were mechanics- the Century guys weren't gunsmiths and knew nothing about FALs really; plus they didn't live-fire test the guns. The buyer got to be the final QC inspector. Lots of Century rifle problems were really very minor things that any builder would have identified and fixed before it left the shop; since the Century assemblers had no real idea what they were doing they never got fixed.
There were a lot of simple things like gas piston holes misaligned, barrel mistimed, pins fitting tight or loose, bolt carrier running rough, burrs, metal flash, machining marks, and also problems with the parts in the demilled kits that were just reinstalled. Weak springs, stuff like that.

Z-Michigan
January 9, 2011, 11:04 PM
well imbel spot harden, and last I heard DSA fully harden (so do coonan as well iirc).. but honestly I'll take an imbel or an fmap over a dsa anyday...

IMBEL and original FN receivers are 1060 steel. You don't want to through-harden 1060 because it would be too brittle, so the original inductive spot hardening makes sense. DSA uses drop forged 4140 steel, which can be through hardened without any brittleness, so DSA's decision to through-harden makes sense (and probably both costs less and results in a stronger, more durable product). Coonan and Entreprise use investment cast 4140 steel - same steel, cheaper and slightly less desirable process, still a good result.

I don't know of any modern military arm with a 1060 steel receiver. 4140 is quite common (AKMs and modern successors use 4130 or similar, a slightly lower carbon but otherwise similar steel, but stamping is a different process from casting or forging). What made sense in 1950 or whenever my grandfather was a teenager isn't necessarily the best process today.

I have no proprietary interest in DSA. Really, if you're budget conscious one of your best bets is finding an older Century built on an IMBEL receiver - IF you know enough to inspect it and be sure you're getting a good one. But if you don't want to spend time getting up to speed and just want a quality rifle out of the box, I think DSA is the best current offering, regardless of some highly publicized recent QC issues.

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