Got an FAL, seems like a good rifle but I think I hate it?


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handloader357
March 7, 2013, 12:52 AM
Ok, so with all the crap going on lately I figured it was time I picked up a semi auto, detachable box fed 308/7.62x51. I narrowed my choices down to an AR-10, M1A or FAL. The only one I've been able to find in the flesh is a carbine length DSA FAL SA58. It handled nicely from a balance perspective and I can get a sight picture very quickly and comfortably when shouldering the rifle. All in all it seems like a reliable and well built piece of equipment. The part I think I hate is the ergonomics of all the features. So far here's what I've noticed...

- Having the charge handle on the left side seems foreign to me
- Mag release is awkward
- Removing/inserting a mag under stress seems like it could be a problem
- The sling swivels seem oddly oriented to each other
- Slide lock is kind of a pain to operate
- The adjustable gas block thing seems like it could cause problems, why isn't it a fixed configuration like the AR or the rotating bolt Garand based guns?

Admittedly I'm an FAL noob and I haven't spent much time with this rifle - but the 1st time I picked up an AR, a Mini14 or an M1 carbine it felt right. The FAL just seems foreign to me. Looking for some opinion here, do you all think an AR guy can warm up to an FAL or should I hunt down an AR or M14 type 308? Maybe there's some mods that can take the weirdness out of the mag release and slide lock?

I don't want this to turn into a which gun is more accurate thread or anything like that. The purpose here isn't to be a target tack driver, its for end of the world type defense. I already have my favorite tried and true pistols, shotguns and rifles for home/personal security and hunting. The 308 I'm looking for is strictly for zombie apocalypse type applications and a little fun at the range.

I really want to like the FAL more than I do... Thanks in advance for any words of wisdom you all might be able to offer.

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Eb1
March 7, 2013, 01:26 AM
Just shoot it a lot, and the oddities will become second nature.

TexasPatriot.308
March 7, 2013, 01:31 AM
maybe you should have bought American, I love AR10s and the M1A Springfield stands out.

Sheepdog1968
March 7, 2013, 01:37 AM
Assuming you are right handed, by having the charging handle on the left means you won't be tempted to remove your trigger hand from the pistol grip to charge it. Take a rifle class and learn how to run it. I certainly wouldn't get rid of it.

Telekinesis
March 7, 2013, 02:17 AM
maybe you should have bought American

DSA is in Illinois.



The charging handle is on the left so you can access it with your support hand instead of loading a mag with your left hand and then charging the gun with your right. It is a much quicker way to charge the rifle.

Paddle mag releases are pretty standard when looking at older combat rifles (especially ones made/designed at the same time as the AK, FAL, and M1A). It isn't quite as easy as an AR mag release, but it works well. On my FAL I am able to use my trigger finger to push the release forward and drop the mag. Though I will say that I have long fingers so it may not work for you. Rocking the mag front to back is also a standard design feature of the time. Again, not as simple as an AR, but it is easy to do quickly with practice and is a much more robust way to lock a mag into place.

IMO the adjustable gas block is better than a fixed gas block. For general use, open it all the way up and load one round in the mag. Fire the round and if the bolt doesn't lock back on the empty mag, increase the gas setting by one notch. Continue this until the bolt locks back, then dial 2 more clicks of gas and you should be good for almost anything short of burying the gun in mud. And if that happens, just dial in more gas to make the gun function.

Another advantage of the adjustable gas block is that you can change it to suit your individual situation while shooting. Throwing brass into the face of the guy next to you at the range? Lower the gas setting and you won't hit him (or at least not as hard). Or if you have a recoil shy shooter just starting out on .308 rifles, you can dial down the gas system so it doesn't hit them as hard. It also allows you to use suppressors (increased back pressure) without overgassing the system.


Most of these issues are things that are just unique to the rifle and are not detriments or flaws of the design. Just spend time handling your rifle and it will feel more natural. Hell, there may even be a time when certain aspects of the FAL seem "right" and you start thinking your AR is the one in the wrong :D

Girodin
March 7, 2013, 02:30 AM
Most of your objection can be overcome simply by learning to run the rifle properly. Investing in training will get you further ahead than investing in another rifle.

Ignition Override
March 7, 2013, 03:59 AM
Look at how many countries' military branches used it around the globe.
The FN-49, which (as you might know) was the forerunner is sometimes called one of the very best military semi-auto rifles ever built, but the timing was not the best.

The photo of the farmer next to his son in Zimbabwe (former "Rhodesia"), holding their FALs while living under threatening conditions, and photos of South African commandos with their FALs in the long Border War caught my attention.
Effective use in the Falklands War by the Royal Marines (or Argentinians) also made an impression.

Texan Scott
March 7, 2013, 05:33 AM
I'll gladly cover the cost of your FFL shipping to my FFL for umm... proper disposal. :p

Ash
March 7, 2013, 07:40 AM
The idea of an adjustable gas port/system has positives and negatives. It means you can adjust your rifle to suit different ammo, true, but it also means that if it gets adjusted the wrong direction or gets worn, it can turn the rifle into a bolt-action only. They also can, with wear, begin to leak causing problems with cycling. In addition, many can be installed upside down turning the rifle into a bolt-action only again. Lastly, they add complication to the design - one more thing to break.

There are pro's and con's with adjustable gas systems. Ever notice that most combat rifles in use today do not have them?

Otherwise, I liked the other features of the FAL. I consider it to be a fine combat rifle - obviously most free nations felt the same. I prefer the M14 type rifle because of the traditional stock. However, should I wish to go with a pistol grip, I would prefer the FAL - though I like the L1A1 flavor variety over the metric.

Hollerpoint
March 7, 2013, 08:44 AM
Just went down the M1A road and while it handles nice, it is a nightmare to scope and all parts are Exxxxxpensive. My advice is AR10 or PTR 91. But then again, I like the FAL.

Robert
March 7, 2013, 09:28 AM
If you are coming from and AR pattern rifle the FAL may seem goofy but I promise you, shoot it and work with it and you will come to love it.

The charging handle is on the correct side and is easier to use than an AR.
I have short fingers and can still release the mag with my trigger finger while gripping the weapon.
If a mag hangs in the well during change I just whack it out of the way with a fresh mag. Rock and lock is just as fast once you become familiar with it.
What's a sling?
The slide lock is rather easy to use, not as easy as an AR for sure, but not difficult. Again, training and usage is the key.
Once I find the happy spot in the gas system I leave it alone. No issues there.

Shoot it a while, heck take it to a competition, and see if these problems don't sort themselves out.

SaxonPig
March 7, 2013, 09:31 AM
Your post proves that all things are based on individual perception. You find the FAL clumsy while I find it the most ergonomic of any battle rifle I have held. If you are unimpressed with it the shed yourself of it and get something you like better.

The FAL is the rifle I enjoy shooting the most. Designed in 1954 it looks futuristic today.


http://www.fototime.com/FF983AFD4AB1451/standard.jpg

amd6547
March 7, 2013, 09:38 AM
"Buy American?"...
I guess the poster doesn't know how close America came to adopting the FAL instead of the trouble prone M14. We would have, if the competition had been fair.

stubbicatt
March 7, 2013, 12:20 PM
I understand OP's reaction to the rifle. It is certainly a good rifle, but for some people it just isn't "right."

I had in the 80s or 90s a G1 FN FAL, select fire. Try as I might to like that rifle, it just never worked for me. I think the steel fore end was what did it to me. Traded for a G3, and never looked back.

I have friends who HATE the G3, like it was Satan's spawn... they have NOTHING good to say about it, but heck, it works for me. Now, years later, I'm using a PTR91 and am very happy with my choice.

If I understood OP correctly, it is a Para FAL side folder from DSA? About 5 years ago I had an opportunity to shoot one of those. The sling swivel gave me a fat lip, as it is at the left rear of the receiver near the folding stock, and something in that rifle would ring like a bell with a long, clear, tone each time it was fired. I thought it might be the flash hider, as I had one which used to vibrate or ring when the rifle was fired, but I never was able to isolate that sound.

Personally the mag changes and the BHO were really nice features of the FAL, I thought. I never did much care for the adjustable gas system, it just seemed unnecessary, and it was a pain in the sit upon to clean that device. The trigger was very narrow, and my finger would hurt after a short while shooting that thing, not to mention the impossibility of using my support hand on the handguard as it was so darned hot after a mag or two.

Stevie-Ray
March 7, 2013, 05:13 PM
If you are coming from and AR pattern rifle the FAL may seem goofy but I promise you, shoot it and work with it and you will come to love it.I have to agree. I bought my FAL almost 20 years before my AR. I still prefer the FAL. Love the left side charging and love the gas system. Mine spits out normal surplus so lightly, it falls to my right side in a nice pile. Recoil is practically non-existent, less than that of my AR. A day with my FAL is so relaxing it is eclipsed, for me, only by a day with a bolt-action .22.

adelbridge
March 7, 2013, 05:25 PM
I enjoy them as a historical military classic but they are old technology. AR-10 is a superior rifle in most respects. If you wanted to unload the DSA it shouldnt be hard in this market as long as you didnt pay crazy for it you should be able to turn a little profit.

handloader357
March 7, 2013, 07:25 PM
Thanks everyone for your valuable input. I think I'll just have to take this rifle out to the range and see what I can do with it. I guess just like anything else, practice practice practice...

I got a good buy on it and could turn it for a profit on gunbroker right now, but in all honesty I've only ever parted with 1 gun and I still miss it!

Now I've just got to score some ammo. what a PITA that's been lately! At least I've got some brass and dies coming for it...

-v-
March 7, 2013, 08:29 PM
Take some time to practice running it and doing magazine changes. One you get used to it a bit, I think you'll like it a bit more.

I'm no FAL expert, but it seems to me that magazines could also be hammered out with a spent mag, like an AK. Just use the fresh mag to hit the mag release and the back of the spent magazine to knock it out, and rock a fresh one in. Done.

Also, I understand the comment about the gas regulator getting worn out, but here's a better question: Who here has ever had or heard of a gas regulator getting worn out? Gas rings in an AR have a life-span of about 6,000 rounds. I would wager that the gas regulator on a FAL has a lifespan many times that of the barrel.

Ash
March 7, 2013, 08:31 PM
The AR-10 is no newer tech - it was designed largely at the same time. A positive aspect of the FAL or M14 over the AR-10 is that the previous two are standardized rifles with military parts available plus complete interchangeability of magazines between types. Sure, FAL's have either inch or metric magazines, but that is as complicated as it gets. Magazines are easy to get and are cheap.

I've dealt with worn-out FAL gas regulators from a batch of Rhodesian FAL's as well as some German G1's from Turkey.

I find nothing in the AR-10 that makes is more appealing than either the FAL, G3, or M14.

bozzman3
March 7, 2013, 09:16 PM
Does yours look like mine??
http://i777.photobucket.com/albums/yy59/BOZZMAN3/2011-05-11_13-20-31_199.jpg

SaxonPig
March 7, 2013, 10:42 PM
I think his feet are smaller...

handloader357
March 7, 2013, 11:00 PM
Pretty similar....


http://dl.dropbox.com/u/17372866/Untitled1.png

Robert
March 7, 2013, 11:07 PM
My FAL and AR.

handloader357
March 7, 2013, 11:10 PM
Very Fancy, Robert....

How do the rails work on the FAL? Is it just a replacement for the dust cover? Or attaches to one?

BruceB
March 8, 2013, 05:16 AM
I'm not Robert, but.....

My DSA SA58 has the DSA "Extreme Duty" top cover scope mount. It works VERY well, having seen over 500 rounds since I mounted the Bushnell 3200 sight and no problems do far.

Note that this replacement cover is NOT a slide-on, slide-off item. It's held to the receiver by no less than TEN screws, which use Loc-Tite to keep them where you put them. The Picatinny rail on the cover is thus located very solidly in place, and if you remove the scope for whatever reason, it returns to zero quite reliably when re-mounted. ( I use QD rings... maybe Burris? I'd have have to go look, but anyway they do return nicely to zero.)

Without the scope, the iron sights can be used effectively. It's a matter of seconds to remove or replace the glass sight..... best of both worlds.

Robert
March 8, 2013, 09:26 AM
Like Bruce, I have the DSA Extreme Duty scope mount. It replaces the dust cover and locks into place very securely. I also have the DSA float tube on my FAL. I use my rifle in a few competitions and am hoping to keep the barrel, and my hand from burning up. Though it is a heavy rifle now because of the add ons it is not so heavy it is unusable.

bozzman3
March 8, 2013, 09:56 PM
Handloader your barrel looks fluted?Is that a US barrel?

Robert
March 8, 2013, 10:26 PM
DSA does that on some of their barrels.

handloader357
March 8, 2013, 10:29 PM
Yep, its a fluted barrel. Thought it looked pretty slick... The whole gun seems to be made by DSA, so I would guess its a US barrel as they are in Illinois?

Chuck R.
March 8, 2013, 11:22 PM
Here’s mine DSA SA58 Para, Type 2 receiver with DSA Extreme Duty scope mount and Larue mounts. The top cover/mounts retain zero, and the para spring removes easily for cleaning while the top cover remains in place.

http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a5/CFRHunter/Shooting/DSC00051.jpg

I was an M1A guy, but really found the FAL ergonomics more to my liking. The charging handle to me is a great feature as it does allow you to maintain your firing grip. I generally set the gas on 6 for my reloads and 4 for surplus and just leave it alone. I’ve yet to have any issue with my folder, probably one of the better designed folding stocks IMHO.

Handloader, yours looks like the “tactical carbine” with 16” fluted barrel and shortened gas system/forearm.

Chuck

handloader357
March 8, 2013, 11:32 PM
Yeah, its a 16" barrel and the handguard does seem shorter than the one in your pic. I did notice 2 holes in the underside of the handguard. Wonder if I could rig up a small rail down there for a flashlight or laser.

Edit: I should google more often....

http://www.dsarms.com/SA58-FAL-Tactical-Accessories-Picatinny-Rail%E2%80%93%E2%80%93%E2%80%93%E2%80%93H4355/productinfo/H4355/

Gunner11
March 9, 2013, 12:27 AM
Carried one in the army for several years, became like an extension of my hand, telekenisis summed it up well, left hand cocking leaves your master hand free, and the charging lever folds flat leaving nothing to catch in the bush. It's also dirt water and mud friendly cover it in crap,pull the trigger and it'll still go bang, though water in the barrel makes for an awful thump in the shoulder. Our instructors called it a thoroughly reliable, gas operated semi automatic weapon, and that's what it is, in my opinion at least. Bought two when they sold them off and moved to the styer AUG.

1858
March 9, 2013, 02:06 AM
- Having the charge handle on the left side seems foreign to me
- Mag release is awkward
- Removing/inserting a mag under stress seems like it could be a problem
- The sling swivels seem oddly oriented to each other
- Slide lock is kind of a pain to operate
- The adjustable gas block thing seems like it could cause problems, why isn't it a fixed configuration like the AR or the rotating bolt Garand based guns?

I have a number of ARs and only one FAL but I like the ergonomics of the FAL. I also like the different ergonomics of the AR despite some of the flaws. I like the effortless accuracy of the AR platform and the vastly superior trigger in the form of a Geissele. I'll have to post a photo of my PARA this weekend. I have the scope sitting quite a bit lower than others shown here. Cheek weld is perfect. I'm going to order an M249 grip and a free float tube.


Charging handle is more ergonomic/practical than the AR platform

Mag release isn't as good as the AR platform


Dropping/inserting mags is easier/faster with the AR platform for sure


Never thought too much about the sling swivels


Slide lock is more ergonomic/practical than the AR platform


Adjustable gas block has never been a problem and I consider it to be a desirable feature

leadcounsel
March 9, 2013, 02:40 AM
I have a lot of trigger time on most modern and even historic battle rifles.

I was a skeptic on the FAL until I got one. OMG I love the ergonimics. Better than nearly every rifle. Charging handle is on the left, which is perfect. Mag change is simple. Stock, trigger, sights.... fantastic rifle.

If you decide to sell it, let me know!

HorseSoldier
March 9, 2013, 02:46 AM
+1. I'm a big fan of the FAL, though its ergonomics are generationally kind of midway between the older, less optimized pattern of weapons like the Garand/M14 and the AR.

The left hand charging handle is where it should be for a right handed shooter to run a fighting rifle, though on the metric guns I've used (real StG-58, plus a Rhodie parts kit gun and a DSA Para) the charging handle can dig and bruise as you move with it using a modern sling. The mag release is more awkward than an AR, but workable, as are the rock and lock motion required for mag changes versus the direct in/out of an AR. The sling swivels aren't anything I've ever used -- with a VTAC or Vickers sling, I use the front swivel and then attach the sling to the wrist of the stock.

The adjustable gas block is kind of over engineered for a military service rifle where you will only ever be shooting M80 ball or its equivalent (though it does allow for the rifle to keep chugging along if it gets really crudded up), but it's a nice feature for a civilian rifle where you might want to shoot a range of bullet weights, loads, and such. Plenty of Garand shooters have had to retrofit adjustable gas systems onto their rifles to avoid bending an op rod.

Andrew Leigh
March 9, 2013, 03:39 AM
I carried a FAL for many years in combat in the Southern African arena, Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe to be precise. You have one of the finest combat weapons EVER produced for bush war. You ask why?

- They outperform the AK47 in the hitting power department.
- The AK47 magazines were too long, this resulted in geurillas laying prone to shoot over our heads. Our magazines allowed us to shoot low and parallel to the ground resulting in more kills.
- The guerillas were petrified of the FAL.
- Small trees used as cover would stop an AK round but we shot straight through them.
- They NEVER experienced stoppages.
- They are accurate.
- You can dial in variable recoil on the gas setting. Removed all the oil from mine, from the slides, from everywhere and used talcum powder as a lubricant. Don't laugh, did this on my Bren as well. Used to shoot my FAL on a gas setting of 5.5, no recoil.
- Extremely comfortable to shoot, the forearm is both solid and comfortable as is the stock arrangement.
- Easy to strip and clean, solid construction, you had to be very special to break one.
- The smaller peep sight at the back allowed one to use this in initial contact situation as an open sight and at close range you did not need to look through the peep to get a kill.
- We later were issued with 5.56mm weapons just as I was leaving the military, a huge step backwards for any bush war. Our FAL's shot 150gr. bullets at 2750fps, this assured minimum deflection in the bush, the 5.56 simply was not in the same league. In an urban setting would opt for the 5.56.

Now don't you be talking bad about my FAL see:D.

handloader357
March 9, 2013, 10:00 AM
You've all got me excited to go to the range... Just wish my ammo would get here already!

madcratebuilder
March 9, 2013, 10:26 AM
Just went down the M1A road and while it handles nice, it is a nightmare to scope and all parts are Exxxxxpensive. My advice is AR10 or PTR 91. But then again, I like the FAL.
What's hard about scoping the M1A. You remove the charger bridge and install the scope mount with two or three screws, depending on the maker. You now have a Picatinny rail to attach the scope too.

DesertVet
March 9, 2013, 02:26 PM
Makes me want to get my FAL L1-A1 out of my safe and go to the range!!!!!

Caliper_RWVA
March 9, 2013, 09:12 PM
My only big gripe with my FAL is the shape of the stock. That silly bump up to the receiver smacks me in the cheekbone each shot. And, that's even with a 1" buttpad to add to the LOP so the rear sight isn't resting against my glasses. I guess I've got a long neck though, because the rear sight on mt AR hits my glasses when shooting cross legged seated... I'm about ready to get a chunk of lumber and make a straight line stock for the rifle then figure out how to get the sights higher up.

Regarding the charging handle, I guess the left side handle works well for some types of shooting, but is awkward elsewhere. When shooting prone it is much easier and less disruptive to your position to do mag changes and work the charging handle with the right hand because most of your weight is on the left elbow (assuming right handed shooter). It gets more inconvenient when using a sling as a shooting aid. I guess since the FAL is a .308 battle rifle, mostly with a 20" barrel, I see it more suited to longer range stuff, shooting from field positions or rooftops vs the room-to-room kind of combat where an intermediate caliber carbine and the "firing hand never leaves the rifle" strategy works better. Of course, there is room on the right side of the receiver for a charging handle as well. Wonder how hard it would be to have ambi charging handles? Inch style preferrably, to keep the rifle slim.

Rail Driver
March 9, 2013, 09:19 PM
I've wanted an FAL for years... Seems everyone wants $1200+ for them though, and that's out of my budget.

InkEd
March 9, 2013, 11:22 PM
They are good designed rifles. I never really liked the ergos. Bought a M1A Scout Sauad instead of the FAL. If you don't warm up to it, at least right now, you can get your money back in full or trade it for something else.

SpentCasing
March 9, 2013, 11:24 PM
FAL was adopted by over 90 some countries. If you cant get it done with a FAL well.. thats not the rifle's fault. However, if it isnt for you thats fine, but a FAL is a darn fine battle proven rifle.

Andrew Leigh
March 10, 2013, 01:14 AM
All the FAL's I have ever seen here had the cocking lever on the right.

We made our FAL's under license to FN. We called it the R1 and used it from the 1960's.

R1 = Standard FN FAL
R2 = FN FAL with tubular folding butt.
R3 = Standard FN FAL with semi auto mode only, for police work
R1HB = FN FAL with heavy barrel and bipod for support fire, never saw one.
R1 Sniper = Accurized FN FAL, never saw one.
R1 Para Carbine = Shortened and more compact version with IR sights

In 1975 we introduced the R4 which was a 5.56mm based on the Israeli Galil assault rifle. The R5 was the shortened carbine version.

On the side some trivia, an unofficial test of strength among the soldiers in the SA Army was to take a standard FAL with empty magazine and to grip it in the hand on the flash eliminator only with the arm straight and unbent. Then one had to lift it to parallel with the ground and back again without snatching or dropping it, without arching the back, basically being in the "attention" position.

BruceB
March 10, 2013, 06:02 AM
Andrew;

If you will go to

www.FALfiles.com/forums and select the very first forum on the list

there is a "sticky" on that page, about seven from the top, devoted to the South African and Rhodesian FAL rifles.

There are quite a few photos there of SA R1 rifles, and every single one of them has the cocking handle on the LEFT, just like every other FAL I've seen or handled. take a look.

GBExpat
March 10, 2013, 08:35 AM
I bought a couple a dozen years ago. They were not what I was used to ... but quickly became a favorite of mine. Shortly thereafter, I built-up a few from kits+receivers.

I still have 3 (one of them my original FrankenFAL acquisition) and enough parts to build-up 2+ more.

Here is a pic of my favorite, my "carbine". I shortened the barrel and, because of that, had to open the barrel vent a bit:
http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y285/Jungesblut/Stuff/FALCarbine2.jpg

Andrew Leigh
March 10, 2013, 09:16 AM
Andrew;

If you will go to

www.FALfiles.com/forums and select the very first forum on the list

there is a "sticky" on that page, about seven from the top, devoted to the South African and Rhodesian FAL rifles.

There are quite a few photos there of SA R1 rifles, and every single one of them has the cocking handle on the LEFT, just like every other FAL I've seen or handled. take a look.

The last time I handled a FAL was in 1980. I phoned my brother and we had a long debate, his first reaction was also that it was on the right. We then went through lying on the range etc. and realised that it was indeed on the left. Bolt action rifles have muddled the memory. I cannot believe that I could have got it wrong, was also a weapons instructor :confused:. Ah the ravages of time 33 years later and i'm useless :eek:.

Will go to the site for interest, thanks for pointing the site out to me.

BruceB
March 10, 2013, 11:09 AM
"the ravages of time..."

Boy howdy, I know EXACTLY what you mean. I was first issued an FAL in the Canadian Army in 1961 which is a few moons ago. I still keep a very nice DSA SA58 for old times' sake, and always enjoy using it. This one has lovely semi-fancy walnut in butt, pistol grip and hand-guards; much prettier than most issue rifles.

The British South Africa Police were recruiting me pretty hard when I left the Canadian Army in the '60s, but I don't do very well in heat so declined the invitation. Could have had some interesting times in Rhodesia (or gotten my young *** killed .....).

Robert
March 10, 2013, 11:46 AM
I play bagpipes with a gentleman that was Rhodesian SAS, he has very fond memories of the SLR as he calls it.

Andrew Leigh
March 10, 2013, 12:18 PM
Love the bagpipes, can be especially moving during military organized events.

Andrew Leigh
March 10, 2013, 12:20 PM
"the ravages of time..."

Boy howdy, I know EXACTLY what you mean. I was first issued an FAL in the Canadian Army in 1961 which is a few moons ago. I still keep a very nice DSA SA58 for old times' sake, and always enjoy using it. This one has lovely semi-fancy walnut in butt, pistol grip and hand-guards; much prettier than most issue rifles.

The British South Africa Police were recruiting me pretty hard when I left the Canadian Army in the '60s, but I don't do very well in heat so declined the invitation. Could have had some interesting times in Rhodesia (or gotten my young *** killed .....).
Did some special ops in Rhodesia, a wonderful place and wonderful people. I have very fond memories of my time there. Still do business in the now Zimbabwe.

Hopkins
March 10, 2013, 05:03 PM
I noticed mention of a DSA float tube for a FAL. Do you feel that it makes a significant contribution to the gun's accuracy when different point of rest are used on the guns forearm?

Robert
March 10, 2013, 07:24 PM
It is not a free float tube in the true sense of the term. It clamps to the thick part of the barrel just forward of the receiver. Though one could argue that that is the perfect place to clamp it of one must clamp to the barrel. Though I do imagine it should help improve the accuracy. I have only shot my from the bench and only enough to get zeroed. The first match is on the 24th so I will report back then.

It is much larger around and looks to offer better cooling properties than the stock hand guards.

-v-
March 10, 2013, 07:42 PM
Robert: Keep us posted. This thread has made me want a FAL as well, edging out getting another AR-10. I'm curious what sort of average accuracy one can expect with a FAL. <2 MOA?

Robert
March 11, 2013, 11:51 PM
Average is 2-3 moa. They are not bench rest, super accurate rifles. They are field accurate, hit what I want at just about any reasonable range, tough as nails combat rifles. The AR10 will be more accurate and will have more aftermarket support. But it lacks the soul.

MachIVshooter
March 12, 2013, 12:49 AM
The FAL will not displace my AR-10 carbine, but is definitely a favorite. I just acquired a DSA para carbine, now just have to add the extreme duty scope mount, cheek pad, SAW grip, extended mag release and a custom folding charging handle:

http://i110.photobucket.com/albums/n117/Hunter2506/FALAR-10_zps4a292e95.jpg

(Sorry for the pic quality; quick snap, and I think the lens is dirty)

I've wanted an FAL for years... Seems everyone wants $1200+ for them though, and that's out of my budget.

$1,200 might get you a century gun or some cobbled together thing. Think more like $2k for a good rifle. DSA rifles start at about $1,800.

GBExpat
March 12, 2013, 08:48 AM
<sigh> And to think that only a dozen years ago new semi-auto Imbel receivers could be had for ~$200 and excellent-condition FAL "Parts Kits" for ~$150.

Robert
March 12, 2013, 10:19 PM
Yup I got my kit for something like $150 but by the time I got around to it the Imbel receivers had all dried up so I went with a DSA.

shuvelrider
March 12, 2013, 10:33 PM
http://i307.photobucket.com/albums/nn295/shuvelrider/005-1_zps152fdb1b.jpg

Been enjoying mine, traded a used Winchester Mod 71 for it. Just put on a Elcan Specter scope I brought home from Afghanistan recently.

http://i307.photobucket.com/albums/nn295/shuvelrider/001-2_zpsf865d172.jpg

4 in the chest and 1 in the head at 200m after a quick sight-in.

jamesbeat
March 14, 2013, 10:34 AM
When I lived in the UK, I had a deactivated Stg 58 (Austrian FAL).
It was really well made, but it was HEAVY!
I liked it, and it would have been great as a range rifle (well, if it wasn't deactivated :D) but I don't imagine it would be pleasant to be a soldier and having to carry the thing around all day. It was also very long!
The Austrian version may be heavier than its brethren because it has a steel front handguard and a substantial built in bipod, but even taking that into account, it was still a long, heavy rifle. More like a light machine gun.
Ergonomics of the controls etc seemed ok though...

MachIVshooter
March 14, 2013, 02:37 PM
It was really well made, but it was HEAVY!

The FAL isn't any heavier than a typical .308 battle rifle, ranging from 7.75 lbs (AR-10 flat top carbine) to about 10 lbs (HK G3). My Para carbine weighs 9.97 lbs with a loaded 20 round mag (150 gr. ball ammo).

The rifles themselves aren't that much heavier than their 5.56mm counterparts; it's the ammo that makes for a heavy load out.

lykoris
March 14, 2013, 07:53 PM
http://img197.imageshack.us/img197/4664/img0648m.jpg

got two for the price of one, one a BSA L1A1, other is an RSAF L1A1

British govt has been selling them off to civilian market on continent these past years given their own population cannot be trusted:rolleyes:

ol' scratch
March 15, 2013, 08:11 AM
I shoot both AR 15 rifles and FAL's. I like them both. The gas system on the FAL is adjustable and is battle proven. It also allows you to tune the system and in the case of my DSA STG 58 can be locked out and used as a straight pull bolt action rifle. The system allows you to shoot ammunition from many different parts of the world without damage to the system. It also allows you to use different powders when reloading. The M1A doesn't allow you to do that and it is pressure sensitive. You can bend the op rod on an M1a if you don't watch the pressure of the load you are working with.

Given some problems I have read with the AR 10 and like rifles in the price range of the DSA FAL, it seemed a better choice for me. Also the magazines are the same for metric FAL rifles. If you have a Century, the same mags work for the DSA. Surplus mags can still be found and they won't break the bank. The AR platform in the larger round has no standard magazines.

ol' scratch
March 15, 2013, 09:28 AM
maybe you should have bought American, I love AR10s and the M1A Springfield stands out.
Wow that is funny. Your beloved M1A uses a cast receiver that is made in Australia. DSA makes thier rifles in the United States on a forged steel receiver made in the USA, actually in Illinois. Their barrels are 4150 OG steel and also made in the USA. They make 100 percent rifles over here and some that use surplus parts on their receivers and barrels. The AR-10 is the old Eagle Arms company and will sell firearms to New York LEO's that civilians can't own. That means I don't buy their product anymore. It also uses a magazine that is specific only to the AR10 and is VERY expensive. If you had said something more constructive like an M1A that is match tuned or the AR10 are more accurate, I could stand behind that. Please educate yourself sir.

B!ngo
March 16, 2013, 12:43 AM
maybe you should have bought American, I love AR10s and the M1A Springfield stands out.
This. Or rather, none of the things you list seem like real show-stoppers to me. You will be able to accomodate those variances from other rifles in short order.
The real question is 'how does it shoot?'. When I saw the name of the thread, I thought I would be reading about only modest levels of accuracy (more specifically, 'repeatability'), the heavy recoil, the damaged cases landing in far-flung places.
What's with that stuff, because that isn't 'getting-used-to' kinds of stuff?
B

GBExpat
March 16, 2013, 08:36 AM
the heavy recoil, the damaged cases landing in far-flung places

None of my FALs suffer from either of these issues. I have the gas (properly) adjusted so that the cases are deposited (almost) right beside me, undamaged.

What you have described sounds like a case of WAY too much gas being ported.

thump_rrr
March 16, 2013, 10:53 AM
The idea of an adjustable gas port/system has positives and negatives. It means you can adjust your rifle to suit different ammo, true, but it also means that if it gets adjusted the wrong direction or gets worn, it can turn the rifle into a bolt-action only. They also can, with wear, begin to leak causing problems with cycling. In addition, many can be installed upside down turning the rifle into a bolt-action only again. Lastly, they add complication to the design - one more thing to break.

There are pro's and con's with adjustable gas systems. Ever notice that most combat rifles in use today do not have them?

Otherwise, I liked the other features of the FAL. I consider it to be a fine combat rifle - obviously most free nations felt the same. I prefer the M14 type rifle because of the traditional stock. However, should I wish to go with a pistol grip, I would prefer the FAL - though I like the L1A1 flavor variety over the metric.
Most combat rifles do not have adjustable gas systems for a reason.
The ammunition and rifles are built to spec. to compliment each other.

As civilians we do not have to conform to such constraints and can purchase or load ammo to suit our own needs.

I wish I could own a FAL in Canada or an AK for that matter.
The only one of the rifles you were looking at that I could purchase and take out to shoot anywhere would be the Springfield. The AR 10 is a restricted firearm which means range use only and the FAL is Prohibited.

fireside44
March 16, 2013, 02:59 PM
Most combat rifles do not have adjustable gas systems for a reason.
The ammunition and rifles are built to spec. to compliment each other.

Most of them don't have it for several reasons. The reason you listed plus they consider the servicemen that carry them too dumb to adjust them properly and disposable junk has become more and more a part of the firearms world. An adjustable gas system is an expensive to manufacture addition.

BruceB
March 16, 2013, 04:54 PM
At least in the Canadian Army, the VERY FIRST thing they taught in our initial live-fire day on the range, was how to properly set the gas regulator.

It's dead simple, and as long as the ammunition supply is unchanged, needs almost no attention beyond normal cleaning.

handloader357
March 17, 2013, 12:18 AM
Update: I love this thing! :)

Thanks for all the positive feedback! Had a great time @ the range!

MachIVshooter
March 17, 2013, 04:04 AM
Update: I love this thing!

Thanks for all the positive feedback! Had a great time @ the range!

Good to hear! They're nice rifles, second only to the AR-10 for me, and not by a big margin.

Get an optic on it, you'll find it even more agreeable. DSA's mounts are really nice, but if you don't want to spend that much, the Aim Sports mount ($40 on Amazon) is also well made. Just got one for my para. I had to do extensive modification due to the para's bolt & spring arrangement, but it should be a drop-in part for you with your fixed stock.

http://www.mountsplus.com/mm5/graphics/00000001/Aim_Sports_FN-FAL_Picatinny_Scope_Mount.jpg

Oh, and most people seem to prefer the SAW grip to the stock one. I certainly do.

Ash
March 17, 2013, 08:25 AM
Regarding Adjustable Gas Systems, most combat rifles are designed for combat and the men who carry them. The more complexity the more likely a problem will occur. Complexity is the enemy of reliability.

I own adjustable gas-system rifles. They make it easier to select different loads. But, a combat rifle is designed to fire a certain range of combat rounds designed around certain specifications anticipated in combat. Nations go through phases in auto design, and except for the US, most adopted adjustable gas systems at one point or the other. The Soviets were the first, and they discarded it when they stopped making the SVT-40. It returned a generation later in the SVD - but that rifle was always to be issued to a more competent shooter rather than a conscript - most of whom never held a firearm in their life. The Belgians with the FAL and its pappy did, obviously, as did the Egyptians with their Hakim adaptation of the Ljungman (yes, they did issue the SAFN prior to the Hakim).

Now, virtually nobody issues a combat rifle with the feature anymore because its advantages were outweighed by its negatives. Sure, cost is one of them, but what that says is any advantage conveyed by the system could not overcome the added cost of the system.

We desktop warriors might have a greater use for it, but not having it is not so major an issue, either. My M14's seem perfectly fine without it, and my NDM-86 has never seen it adjusted. When I owned FAL-type rifles, all of which I really enjoyed, I found I never messed with the gas systems on them. Ditto for the two SVT-40's I have owned. I did play with the system on a Hakim I once owned, but found it adjusted back to the setting it had when I bought it.

1858
April 6, 2013, 06:21 PM
Here's my DSA PARA with a DSA ED scope mount, Seekins rings and a Leupold Mark 4 1.5-5x20mm with the special purpose reticle (SPR). I used a mill to remove the back four or five lugs on the Picatinny rail so that I could get the scope as close to the receiver as possible. I used Cerakote to paint the exposed aluminum. The scope is perfect where it is with no need to add a cheek riser. I'm going to order the SAW grip and "free float" forend from DSA.

http://thr.mcmxi.org/rifles/dsa/sa58_para/photos/dsa_sa58_para_01.jpg

http://thr.mcmxi.org/rifles/dsa/sa58_para/photos/dsa_sa58_para_02.jpg

handloader357
April 6, 2013, 06:36 PM
Good to hear! They're nice rifles, second only to the AR-10 for me, and not by a big margin.

Get an optic on it, you'll find it even more agreeable. DSA's mounts are really nice, but if you don't want to spend that much, the Aim Sports mount ($40 on Amazon) is also well made. Just got one for my para. I had to do extensive modification due to the para's bolt & spring arrangement, but it should be a drop-in part for you with your fixed stock.


Oh, and most people seem to prefer the SAW grip to the stock one. I certainly do.

Took your advice and headed over to Amazon, as luck would have it I had a $35 credit with Amazon that I had forgotten about. So for 5 bucks the mount is on it's way. I have a cheap BSA 3x-9x scope rattling around in the basement I'll put on it right away. If I like the "feel" of an optical sight I'll probably invest in something nicer with a range finder type reticle. Already picked up extra mags (before that wonderful bill our worthless governor just signed kicks in), the stock/gas tube tool and the handguard undermount rail from DSA. This is turning out to be quite a fun project.

Hopkins
April 6, 2013, 06:46 PM
Has anyone seen improvement in accuracy with the addition of the DSA free float forend ?

Robert
April 7, 2013, 10:00 AM
Hopkins, the March match was snowed out. I will either post something or send you a pm after the April match to let you know how it works.

Hopkins
April 7, 2013, 01:31 PM
Robert, looking forward to a full report. Good luck in your match.

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