FAL DSA .308 build


PDA






Motega
February 4, 2011, 07:29 PM
I have been doing my homework and before placing the final order wanted to run this build by some experts. It's a FAL .308 from DSA- their SA58 which is all new parts.

1. 18" barrel- I'm a short guy and want something handy. From what some pros tell me the short gas system on the carbines (under 18" barrels) is louder, kicks harder, and is nonstandard (in the event replacements need to be purchased).

2. No quad rails, but a 2" section of rail to mount a flashlight. Really, I just don't see how all the other stuff guys put on rifles is practical and I plan on carrying this around a lot.

3. Aluminum upper and lower- steel is heavier with no benefit

4. Type 2 receiver. Just personal preference on this choice.

5. ACOG mount. Yes I'm putting an ACOG on it. A TSA11 3.5 X 35 with red crosshairs. I'll add the RMR later.

6. ROBAR NP3 finish on internal parts - but I am not putting the duracoat on it. My personal opinion is that duracoat looks fruity on a battle rifle and anyone that spends enough time in the woods understands the folly of carrying camo gear. Put it down and walk out 10 yards and you get to play hide and seek with you gear on occasion.

7. SAW grip, but also going to get an ergo grip with the palm rest to see how that feels and for bench shooting

8. No carry handle, just putting some spacer washers there but I can add a handle later.

9. Upgraded trigger ('speed trigger'). Supposedly breaks at 4.5-5 pounds. Better than the stock 8 lb pull.

10. No para stock. I want to shoot this thing, and the para stocks don't seem to offer the same cheek weld and comfort a regular stock does. Also, regular stock provides a better surface to bash if necessary.

Also, no bipod to start with- I find them rather irritating and this isn't a sniper rifle. That's what bolt actions are for. No desire for any fully auto or fancy flash hiders.

Style (coolness, tactiCOOL, oohs and ahhs) earns zero points.. practicality, durability, reliablity is the goal.

I thank you folks for taking the time to read and to post any useful comments.

If you enjoyed reading about "FAL DSA .308 build" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Motega
February 4, 2011, 07:45 PM
One last thing... OK so this IS a bit of cool factor vs. function but I doubt I'll spend an extra $130 to have it...

http://www.dsarms.com/DSA-ZM4-Forged-Stripped-Spartan-Lower-Receiver---DSZM4RS/productinfo/DSZM4RS/

LOL, neat right?

TexasRifleman
February 4, 2011, 08:38 PM
9. Upgraded trigger ('speed trigger'). Supposedly breaks at 4.5-5 pounds. Better than the stock 8 lb pull.

I have never used the DSA trigger upgrade but you might look into having Bill Springfield do the trigger after you get the rifle.

His work is outstanding.

http://www.triggerwork.net/fal.html

USSR
February 4, 2011, 08:42 PM
...you might look into having Bill Springfield do the trigger after you get the rifle.

His work is outstanding.

+1.

Don

Motega
February 4, 2011, 09:16 PM
duly noted

Motega
February 4, 2011, 09:19 PM
DSA does the job for a lot more money but the end result is the same reduction in trigger pull- plus no shipping or waiting. I'd guess that a simple thing like reducing poundage on the trigger pull is not something that one gunsmith can do much better than another.

paulo
February 4, 2011, 09:44 PM
I belive that the upper is steel.

Motega
February 4, 2011, 10:10 PM
No the STG (recycled parts) are steel the DSA made parts are not.

USSR
February 4, 2011, 10:34 PM
Motega,

The upper on a FAL is the receiver, and all DSA receivers are steel. The recycled STG parts do not include the receiver.

Don

Motega
February 4, 2011, 11:29 PM
I was confused because they offer STAINLESS uppers and blackened stainless as well as 'upgrades'... foolish of me to assume it would otherwise be aluminum. I guess that it would just be blued steel if you don't go for the stainless.
What do you think of the selections Don? Would you do anything drastically different from a practical standpoint?

Z-Michigan
February 4, 2011, 11:40 PM
Here goes:

I own a bunch of FALs including several DSAs, one of which is an 18" barrel SA-58 (fixed buttstock). I love it and would highly recommend that setup. So far so good.

Some specific comments:
-like others noted, FAL uppers are always steel. The SA58 lower is aluminum and that saves a few ounces. (*there was once an aluminum FAL upper from a fly by night company. They were bombs, literally blowing up. You don't want one.)

-A 2" short rail on standard handguards is very practical.

-I like type II receivers also, and as you said it is only a preference thing.

-Robar NP3 won't hurt anything but is not in any way necessary. Do what you like.

-Get the SAW grip and don't bother playing with anything else. I had the standard Ergo grip for the FAL and it interfered with the safety. I sent it back.

-I would get the "speed trigger" from DSA and not a Bill Springfield trigger job. DSA will warranty it and should really know what they're doing. While I've never heard of problems with the Springfield trigger job for an FAL, I have read (on M4C) of his trigger jobs going full auto on AR-15s. While that may be unlikely due to the different way an FAL's trigger works, it has spooked me plenty. My SA-58 has an uncommonly good trigger for an FAL; I didn't order it so I don't know if it is the "speed trigger" but I'm guessing it might be, as it's noticeably better than the triggers on other DSA FALs I have.

You'll really like the FAL. Be sure to buy some spare mags too.

Dobe
February 5, 2011, 01:23 AM
And then there is the flip side to every coin.

My advice to the OP is to get back onto the FALFiles, and do the research, before you spend the money. You may just decide to buy a kit.

Motega
February 5, 2011, 01:34 PM
I have been waiting for 2 weeks for the "FAL Files" to let me start posting; frankly if the message board is that neglected I really don't have any interest in being part of the online community there.

Dobe
February 5, 2011, 01:41 PM
You do not need to be a member to search. Use google. Never search a forum with the forum's search function.

Wait a moment, and I'll send you some query scripts for google.

Dobe
February 5, 2011, 01:47 PM
Plug this into Google:
site:falfiles.com broken.bolt cracked.bolt +dsa quality.value
another to try: site:falfiles.com dsa.bolt broken|fractured|chipped
Start with this. If you need something else specific, send me a pm, and I'll build the query for you.


I have been waiting for 2 weeks for the "FAL Files" to let me start posting; frankly if the message board is that neglected I really don't have any interest in being part of the online community there.I don't know why you are having a problem. I have found everyone to be very helpful. There is a lot of FAL talent and knowledge on that site.

Motega
February 5, 2011, 05:08 PM
I have read about the bolt issues and this should not be a deterrent from buying from DSA... I mean any company that hasn't had a recall just hasn't been in business long enough. They made good. I sincerely doubt any pieced together FAL is going to be superior to a brand new rifle from DSA.

Dobe
February 5, 2011, 05:41 PM
Read about the overall quality. If you are then still content with your original decision, you should purchase a DSA. I own one DSA; I'll never own another. I will purchase a kit.

Motega
February 5, 2011, 06:01 PM
I'm totally confused- as far as I can tell DSA has had ONE issue that they readily serviced. They also warranty their rifles. I'm curious as to how piecing together a rifle is superior to buying one from the leading producer and presumably experts. I've seen numerous accounts of sub 1/2" MOA rifles from DSA.

Dobe
February 5, 2011, 06:56 PM
The quality of the parts - It isn't unusual, really.

BTW, DSA also has a recall on some of their lowers.

In the search string I gave you, swap out for QC | Quality Control

Motega
February 5, 2011, 07:14 PM
Again ONE issue in the decades they have been in business- and from all the folks that have have been affected they have posted that DSA paid shipping both ways and gave them a few extras for the trouble.
Virtually every company in any business from auto makers to baby food have recalls - it's how they handle the recalls that defines whether or not it's a problem.
the guy I have been working with from DSA gave me his personal cell phone number so I could work on the build over the weekend when the shop was closed. That says something about customer service. If I were a gunsmith, perhaps scouring the internet and gun shows for the next year for the right parts might be a fun project- that doesn't sound like fun to me. I want to be shooting this rifle, not looking for puzzle pieces.
I'm not closed minded or stubborn on the subject though- what is your argument for piecing together a rifle? Do you have any facts to support your opinion?

Dobe
February 5, 2011, 07:29 PM
Then you should make your purchase.

I'm not closed minded or stubborn on the subject though- what is your argument for piecing together a rifle? Do you have any facts to support your opinion?According to many of those who have had DSAs and have kits (from FALFiles - again continue reasearch), the kits provide higher quality parts. That is part 1. Part 2 is their service. When my bolt cracked after 10 rounds, I sent some of the brass with the gun to my gun dealer, and informed the dealer of the ammo I was using (mil. surplus). They contacted DSA. DSA claimed I was using machine gun ammo, and balked at servicing the weapon. After that was cleared up, it took almost 6 months to get that rifle back from DSA. DSA (to my knowledge) never had a recall on those rifles, which had poorly heat treated bolts. My dealer informed me that another DSA rifle was brought into to them with the same type problem (shattered bolt) soon after I brought my DSA back for repairs.

USSR
February 5, 2011, 07:46 PM
Motega,

I think you are approaching this in a good and logical way. Despite any problems DSA has had, they are still the "gold standard" to which other companies hope to compare to.

Don

Dobe
February 5, 2011, 07:58 PM
This is a quick look into the "gold standard"

site:falfiles.com .dsa.quality

LKB3rd
February 5, 2011, 08:01 PM
You do not need to be a member to search. Use google. Never search a forum with the forum's search function.

Wait a moment, and I'll send you some query scripts for google.
You can use:
site:falfiles.com your search here
Works to search any site. Usually better than the site's built in search.

Dobe
February 5, 2011, 08:02 PM
Yup

Motega
February 5, 2011, 09:56 PM
You seem to be saying the bolt issue was different from the recall... it isn't... as far as my research has determined. DSA knew about the heat treating issue and that's the recall that we are talking about. It's seems to me you have an axe to grind with them... I would too if I waited 6 months for service, that sucks. But "DSA (to my knowledge) never had a recall on those rifles" yes they did in fact but it was tough to tell which were covered ... was yours an STG or an SA58?

As far as FALfiles goes I wish I could use them but again it has now been over 2 weeks and no one over there has even bothered validating my request. I wonder how much info isn't getting on that site from users like me that can't even post stuff?

I see it like this- you may be able to save a few bucks by buying all the parts to a Toyota and putting a truck together but I'd still rather buy one brand new from a dealer. Yeah, there may be a recall on it but what are the risks of buying from 20 different dealers? What about what my time is worth? What about all the shipping and subsequent time spent dealing with returns if necessary?
This isn't a hobby for me. If it were I would see the merit in scavenging parts for a project.

Z-Michigan
February 5, 2011, 09:56 PM
I would completely agree with searching comments on the FALfiles, but I don't think it will or should change your mind.

Most parts-kit FALs are built from used military parts. At the moment there are Argentine parts kits available from SARCO that are unused (though previously assembled) and, combined with a new receiver, would give you an essentially new FAL.

But you need a receiver. DSA's FAL receivers are by far and away the best FAL receivers currently available, or frankly ever made by anyone, ever, including when compared to FN itself (true FN-made receivers are not readily available and command ultra-premium prices when found). The next best thing is an IMBEL receiver, which is an FN licensee and an oddball as it's a forged type III, whereas most type III receivers are cast. As such IMBEL's receiver is among the strongest FAL receivers ever, though not necessarily any better than a DSA, which is also forged and uses a tougher, more expensive alloy (4140 vs. 1060) and a different heat treatment process. You would not go wrong with an IMBEL however. No new IMBEL receivers are currently being imported. You can occasionally find as-new IMBEL receivers on the market for premium prices. You could also get an early Century FAL with an IMBEL receiver and dispose of all parts except the receiver. This might not cost much more than buying a bare IMBEL receiver.

I have FALs built on DSA, IMBEL and Entreprise receivers. All are good. I think the DSA is the best.

My SA-58 was in the recall group. I shipped it in a week ago Monday and should have it back Monday (two days from today). They were absolutely terrific to deal with, and literally couldn't have done any better unless they had someone drive to my house to inspect the gun on the spot. (Mine turned out not to have the issue that they were inspecting for.) From this small hassle I got a $20 credit and a free plastic rifle case for shipping. Really, the customer service has been unbeatable.

I've also called DSA several times in the last year on a couple different questions, and have always been able to reach a knowledgeable person and get useful, accurate answers. This is better than I can say for some other fairly big name companies.

DSA is the only company in the US, and I believe also the world, currently making every part of an FAL new. A few other companies are making cast receivers, two or three are making trigger sets and/or furniture, and otherwise you're looking entirely at the mil surplus used market. DSA's presence is a huge plus to all FAL owners in keeping the platform alive, instead of a fading ex-military rifle like, well, nearly all other western rifles no longer in frontline military service, other than the M1A which is kept alive in a similar way by Springfield Armory, Inc. and a handful of boutique builders.

paulo
February 5, 2011, 10:07 PM
I have a DSA type 2 on an Imble kit, its a great gun. DSA is fine.You can build your own or buy one pre built. Either way you win.

Z-Michigan
February 5, 2011, 10:10 PM
You seem to be saying the bolt issue was different from the recall.

Actually the "bolt issue" is different from the current recall, which is for lower receiver hardness issues. The "bolt issue" I've only ever seen reported on FALFiles, but there are apparently some, like Dobe, who got rifles with weak bolts, probably due to improper heat treatment or alloy.

A weak bolt is an issue, but at least you would typically discover it quickly. It's worth noting that a number of AR manufacturers have also had issues with weak bolts, as has (supposedly) Springfield Armory, Inc. for the M1A. Bolts are usually highly stressed, and weaknesses result in failures.

If someone was going to worry about this, you could buy a new, unused military surplus bolt and install it in your FAL, although headspacing would be required. But that would give you no benefit unless you happened to get a lemon bolt from DSA, and if you just shoot the rifle you should discover any lemon bolt within a few hundred rounds anyway, then DSA's lifetime warranty gets you a replacement. A possible nuisance, but nothing is for absolute certain.

Assuming you don't get a lemon, FAL bolts (often referred to as the breech block for the FAL, but it's the same thing) usually go 10's of thousands of rounds. This compares to the M14/M1A, but an AR15 bolt is basically considered a wear item and often fails in 10k or less, and many people replace them "on schedule" at 5k or so.

Dobe
February 5, 2011, 10:12 PM
It's seems to me you have an axe to grind with themIf I had an axe to grind, I would not have waited for so many post before I told of my personal experience.

When you post on a forum, you must and should expect comments, and even warnings. Mine was a warning. It is your money, your research. I'm sure you will be happy with your purchase.

Dobe
February 5, 2011, 10:13 PM
Actually the "bolt issue" is different from the current recall, which is for lower receiver hardness issuesI kept hoping he would catch this. I alluded to it above. The bolt issue was NEVER a recall, even when it should have been.

Z-Michigan
February 5, 2011, 10:17 PM
Dobe - how many bolt failures have you heard of, and is there any pattern of year of production or configuration? I've heard of one or two other than yours, but haven't been following closely. Whether or not it should be a recall really depends how common it is. I've read more reports of bolt breakage on SAI M1A's than I have for DSA FAL's.

Dobe
February 5, 2011, 10:20 PM
There is a log of bolt failures on Falfiles, with serial numbers. Mine is one.

Motega
February 6, 2011, 12:48 PM
I did a search and I found only ONE quality issue which was the one we have been talking about regarding bolts that weren't properly heat treated. It's a shame that a company with decades of experience and tens of thousands of quality rifles produced could get so thoroughly trounced for a single recall- which they promptly rectified. It is completely inexcusable that you waited 6 months for your rifle and I'd like to hear DSA's side of that story for sure, but so far this company has had an A+ from me in service. Like I said my sales guy gave me his personal cell phone number to talk about my build when the shop was closed. It's not like I am awarding them a lucrative contract here, it's a single rifle purchase. It's like everything else, go to a restaurant and have a decent meal, you are probably not going to mention it or maybe tell a friend... have a BAD experience and you will be telling everyone you know until the end of time.
Anyway, the "FALfiles" you mention STILL haven't had the courtesy to activate my account, and I frankly don't know if I want to be part of an online community whose moderators are so disinterested.

Dobe
February 6, 2011, 01:33 PM
This will be my last post on this matter, as I believe that you have completed your research to your satisfaction, and I have stated my opinion.

have a BAD experience and you will be telling everyone you know until the end of time. True, but there are companies out there with stella customer service reputations. One is Smith & Wesson and another is Springfield. Regarding the former, I once had to send a Smith Mod 19-3 back twice (that's three trips) for repairs on the same initial problem. Yet, if you go to one of the two Smith forums, there isn't a lot of clamor about Smith's quality control or their service. Things happen, and I do not throw up a red flag everytime someone mentions Smith & Wesson.

tens of thousands of quality rifles produced could get so thoroughly trounced for a single recallThere was never a recall, thus a problem. If DSA finds there is a problem with poorly heat treated bolts within a series of serial numbers, then DSA should recall those rifles. If DSA does not find a correlation between a range of serial numbers, then it denotes a pattern of poor quality control.

In reference to the kits I suggested, I need to clarify something. The Argy kits are complete with the exception of a few parts, one being the receiver. You don't have to build it your self. There are plenty of people who will build it for you for a nominal fee. Any warranties after that are between you and the builder. It's just an option. One that I will use in the future.

As to your inability to access FALfiles, I will PM a moderator in regards to your problem, if you would like. You will need to let me know, if you wish for me to do so. I would hope you will give them the same consideration you are giving DSA. There are some very knowledgable FAL folks on that forum.

My DSA is going back to them (or so I believe) due to their receiver recall. I didn't mention that one did I? I wonder how long they will have it.

JShirley
February 6, 2011, 01:43 PM
Motega,

Most of your choices look good. The one thing you might consider is LOP. I noticed you said you're a shorter guy- me too. :D The length of pull could be too long on this. If you can handle a similar rifle before your build is completed, you should know if that fixed stock will work for you.

I would personally prefer a 20" barrel, but if you're always using ear pro, that won't matter much. Enjoy.

John

Motega
February 6, 2011, 04:30 PM
Dobe- and others- PLEASE excuse my almost "double post" which came off as being insistent and stubborn... I;m an idiot- the only other forum I regularly post on, the Leatherwall traditional archery board does NOT group posts into multiple pages. So I somehow thought that my first page 1 post did not get onto this thread and basically reposted the same info again, which no doubt seemed redundant and like I have blinders on. Once I realized this message board software does the multiple pages thing I saw that my post yesterday did in fact get on the thread and my following reply probably seemed rather insistent to Dobe who took the time out of his life to type a few threads for me. SORRY Dobe!!!!!!! I didn;t mean to seem disrespectful, arrogant, or rude and being one of the guys that answers noob questions on the Leatherwall, I know that each post is like 10 mins. out of your life to a stranger so when they don't listen or seem like they are just skimming over a response it's rather insulting.

Thanks so much, and please let's continue this discussion because this is the most important gun purchase I probably will ever make.

THANKS ALL and let's keep it going and again please forgive the noob THR message guy... I've learned a lot so far here and don't want to let this thread die quite yet!!!

I like this board you fellas are great. PS- please DO PM the mods at FAL files for me.

Dobe
February 6, 2011, 07:37 PM
You are a true gentleman, and I take no offense. Actually, I don't know if there is anything else I can add. You seem to have no problem doing leg work, which is great. Many will simply impulse buy. I am occasionally guilty of that myself.

If you purchase a DSA, I have no doubt that if you have a problem, they will eventually make it right.

I feel that we all as shooting consumers have the obligation to criticize those manufacturers who fall short of expected and advertised quality. There is a difference between criticizing and simply throwing darts. Make no mistake, the internet is a powerful tool. These manufacturers listen when the volume is appropriately loud.

My hope is that DSA will get their quality control in line. They are the only manufacturer of FALs and FAL parts. Therefore we should all hope they will stay in business.

I have a 16" Para, and eventually ( hopefully after the lower is replaced ), they will make it right.

PS- please DO PM the mods at FAL files for me.Consider it done.

Edit: I've PMed a mod. See your PM.

Edit: Mod has responded, and I have PMed you. The fix is simple.

Edit: Fix is in the works. Enjoy your FAL and FALfiles.

Motega
February 8, 2011, 02:51 PM
still no response +3days... what gives with those guys?

W.E.G.
February 8, 2011, 02:57 PM
All pending user-requests on FAL Files are validated.

Dobe
February 8, 2011, 03:20 PM
W.E.G would know. He's the administrator.

Motega
February 8, 2011, 09:34 PM
My thanks for getting it taken care of.

I did consider the length of pull on this build, and that I'm a tyrannasaurus-rex-armed oompah-loompa statured fella but the short gas system kinda turned me off jkust becuase it's nonstandard. Also, a well-respected FAL gunsmith in Arizona, no names please, seemed to suggest that while a 16" barreled FAL works fine it is pushing the design to it's limits ... that is, the rifle as designed was not made to scale down that far. At least that's what I took away from the conversation but I may very well have misunderstood why he said to steer clear of anything under 18".
I can't have a folding stock in the people's republic of New Joisey and the collapsible stock always struck me as looking like someone dropped a full stock into a piranha tank and that's what was left when they got done with it.
I guess I can always put a collapsible (or if I move out of NJ folding) stock on it later, right? Or no?
I placed the order today by the way! Mike and Taylor must have spent a combined total of 2 hours talking to me about this rifle and putting the order together. 4 Half hour phone calls - and I know cause my phone has one of those call timer counters on the screen. So far so good.

Now I guess I start the hunt for some good prices on a variety of ammo. Is that a subject beat to death here or has it been long enough to warrant a fresh thread?

Again, thanks for everything guys!

Z-Michigan
February 8, 2011, 10:00 PM
I guess I can always put a collapsible (or if I move out of NJ folding) stock on it later, right? Or no?

Possible but a lot of work. The standard FAL has the recoil spring and related parts inside the buttstock. To use a folding stock, you need to swap out:
-buttstock
-bolt carrier
-recoil spring assembly
-top cover
-possibly other parts I'm forgetting

I believe DSA has a kit for these "para" parts, it's in the $220 range IIRC not including any buttstock (another $200 or so).

As for ammo, any quality .308 or 7.62x51mm (not exactly the same thing, but close enough where an FAL is concerned) will be fine. Check out AIM Surplus and Palmetto State Armory for best prices. DAG German surplus is good if you don't plan to reload.

Dobe
February 8, 2011, 10:02 PM
Good luck. You'll do well.

JShirley
February 8, 2011, 11:57 PM
Class act. Glad you're here, Motega. :)

Thanks, W.E.G. and Dobe!

John

Motega
April 14, 2011, 09:58 PM
I picked up the rifle today and overall I am very pleased with it. The photos I took were not very well composed or anything, I was losing light fast and just snapped a few quick ones. I'll post a range report early next week. let me know if the link isn't working

http://photobucket.com/SA58

If you enjoyed reading about "FAL DSA .308 build" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!