The FAL


PDA






MachIVshooter
March 16, 2013, 02:50 AM
I've had a hankering for one ever since I first saw a DSA mini-OSW quite a few years ago. Many a gun has come and gone in the mean time. Well, last Sunday, I got a response for an offer I made on Armslist several weeks ago, so I raided the piggy bank and finally pulled the trigger on a DSA SA58 Para carbine. Not quite the OSW, but to be honest, I'm not so sure I want an 11" .308 anyway - such a short tube really handicaps the cartridge.

Anyway, I now find myself wondering why I waited so long! While it's not going to supplant my AR-10, it is a very likeable rifle. Slender, fairly light, very ergonomic. I'll never be able to reload it as fast as the AR-10, but I'm getting used to the knock-it-out, rock-it-in drill, and the slightly sore firing hand index finger that goes along with manipulating the stubby, stiff mag release for quick reloads.

It was box-stock as received, the only upgrade being the Duracoat finish. Initially I was thinking quad rail, but decided to affix a piece of uncut picatinny I had to the existing handguards. Took a little doing, but it worked out. Also had to ditch the stock grip for a Tapco SAW grip. Mucho better. Today's project was the arduous one; Fitting a standard FAL top cover/scope mount to the para rifle. It's not that I couldn't afford the $110 DSA cover-DSA's ship times S_U_C_K!. So I ordered an Aim Sports cover on Amazon for $40, had it in 3 days. Package was totally non-descript, I'm sure it's imported. But the overall quality and fit & finish were quite good, and it slid onto the receiver snugly but smoothly. However, the Para's bolt and recoil spring set-up are quite different from a fixed stock FAL. In addition to having to mill out quite a bit of material for bolt clearance, there was the serious challenge of creating a captive spring guide rod/retainer piece, and locking it in place. A section of long mechanic's pick, a fender washer, a pair of cut-down and slotted #1-72TPI machine screws and a couple hours of manufacturing and fitting, and it's a go!

http://i110.photobucket.com/albums/n117/Hunter2506/FAL_zps33e9aab1.jpg

Unfortunately, I didn't think to snap before pictures, and right now I'm too lazy to tear it back off and photograph the modifications. I may spring for the DSA mount later, but given how long I've been waiting on AR parts from them, I'm inclined to let it ride with my custom job for some time.

Now I just need a cheek pad and a different flash hider. As well, my ATN Mk 390 sits at a decent height on this rifle, so it may very well go pig hunting next month. Woohoo!

I'm excited for our next informal match in a couple of weeks, anxious to see if I can get anywhere near my times with the AR-15 running a heavier gun with heavier recoil and more difficult mag changes. Anyone ever run one of these in 3-gun or a carbine course?

If you enjoyed reading about "The FAL" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
JShirley
March 16, 2013, 03:01 AM
FALs are great. :) I know Larry Correia has run them, but Larry is BIG.

I ordered an X stock and a stock removal tool from DSA. They cancelled the X stock, but sent the stock removal tool...which I don't need without the replacement stock!

PM sent.

MachIVshooter
March 16, 2013, 03:24 AM
I know Larry Correia has run them, but Larry is BIG.

Yeah....I'm not. lol. 5'10, 180#. I do have a 6'5" armspan, though!

Dealing with DSA is frustrating. If their quality and pricing (especially AR pricing) wasn't so good, I'd write them off completely. I've had an order in on an upper since Oct. 15th, keep being told "end of month" (being the current month, whatever it is). Oh well, I'm (reasonably?) sure I'll see it sooner or (much) later:cool:

meanmrmustard
March 16, 2013, 07:57 AM
Yeah....I'm not. lol. 5'10, 180#. I do have a 6'5" armspan, though!

Dealing with DSA is frustrating. If their quality and pricing (especially AR pricing) wasn't so good, I'd write them off completely. I've had an order in on an upper since Oct. 15th, keep being told "end of month" (being the current month, whatever it is). Oh well, I'm (reasonably?) sure I'll see it sooner or (much) later:cool:
You'd make a helluva welterweight!

Good looking rifle, sir.

M1key
March 16, 2013, 11:20 AM
FALs are great. I own or have owned six over the years. Everything from a German issue G3, Steyr, SAR-48, pair of DSAs and a Hesse CAI. Even my supposedly crappy CAI is a great shooter. Five shots with a 4x scope at 100 yrds...

M

fireside44
March 16, 2013, 01:49 PM
Initially I was thinking quad rail, but decided to affix a piece of uncut picatinny I had to the existing handguards. Took a little doing, but it worked out.

I would really appreciate it if you took the time to tell me how you did this. Are the handguards still easily removed? Is it solid? I've wanted an AFG on my FAL for a long time but I didn't think what you did was practical or possible considering the handguards split down the middle. But apparently it was, so an explanation would be great!

fireside44
March 16, 2013, 01:53 PM
So I ordered an Aim Sports cover on Amazon for $40, had it in 3 days. Package was totally non-descript, I'm sure it's imported. But the overall quality and fit & finish were quite good, and it slid onto the receiver snugly but smoothly. However, the Para's bolt and recoil spring set-up are quite different from a fixed stock FAL. In addition to having to mill out quite a bit of material for bolt clearance, there was the serious challenge of creating a captive spring guide rod/retainer piece, and locking it in place. A section of long mechanic's pick, a fender washer, a pair of cut-down and slotted #1-72TPI machine screws and a couple hours of manufacturing and fitting, and it's a go!

I had a foreign one on a FAL sometime ago. It was around $65 but was very quality and held zero fine. Another nice mod you did there!

Now I just need a cheek pad and a different flash hider. As well, my ATN Mk 390 sits at a decent height on this rifle, so it may very well go pig hunting next month. Woohoo!


If the flash hider is an Imbel combo device I'd say you have one of the best ones already. For a cheek rest I just did a nice paracord wrap on my PARA and it worked well. If your cheekbones jut out more though it might not be comfortable enough or you may need a raised one for use with your optic.

MachIVshooter
March 16, 2013, 02:16 PM
I would really appreciate it if you took the time to tell me how you did this. Are the handguards still easily removed? Is it solid? I've wanted an AFG on my FAL for a long time but I didn't think what you did was practical or possible considering the handguards split down the middle. But apparently it was, so an explanation would be great!

Yes, the handguards come off easily. Just have to loosen picatinny mount screws. It's quite solid. You can tweak it a little if you try, but that's the guards themselves flexing. With an AFG, you'd be hard pressed to put that much torque on it.

The rail itself was a piece of picatinny blank I had ordered on Amazon to play with:

http://www.amazon.com/Uncut-Blank-Picatinny-Handyman-Gunsmith/dp/B006KTY5CO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363457308&sr=8-1&keywords=uncut+picatinny

I cut it to length, drilled the holes, milled the recesses for the button head allens. The holes I drilled align with the large holes in the handguards on my DSA. I used M5 washers to shim the OD of the screws to the ID of the handguard holes, 3/4" fender washers inside the handguards, followed by tabbed nuts. I loosely attached it to one side of the handguard to keep everything in place, then fit the handguards to the rifle and tightened it down. The non-profiled rail did start to spread the top of the handguards when I tightened the screws, so I took a steel drum brake backing plate inspection plug, cut the tabs off, bent the ears and then clipped it across the top side of the handguards through the middle vent slot.

http://i110.photobucket.com/albums/n117/Hunter2506/FALhandguardscrew_zpscece79ec.jpg

http://i110.photobucket.com/albums/n117/Hunter2506/FALhandguardclip_zps8196d4a9.jpg

If the flash hider is an Imbel combo device I'd say you have one of the best ones already.

It's just long. I'm thinking YHM Phantom.

MachIVshooter
March 16, 2013, 03:04 PM
OK, got unlazy.

Underside of the handguard. Please ignore the oopsie when my end mill started walking out of the chuck. Fortunately, I caught it before it went through the top!

Had to remove almost 1/8" radius of material!

http://i110.photobucket.com/albums/n117/Hunter2506/FALscopemountunderside_zps162d80f2.jpg

The guide rod fits into a slot I cut at the rear:

http://i110.photobucket.com/albums/n117/Hunter2506/FALguiderod_zps925bf8ce.jpg

And is retained by two #1-72 machine screw shanks with tiny slots cut into them using a jeweler's coping saw (1.4mm eyeglass screwdriver size):

http://i110.photobucket.com/albums/n117/Hunter2506/FALscopemountrear_zps276bc52d.jpg

Initially I had planned to use a single pin at the top, but after drilling the hole, I realized I didn't have enough meat on the washer above the hole. I had also tried using pins where the screws are, but they weren't quite enclosed with the receiver locked down, and would have fallen out. So I tapped them and used the screws. Always nerve racking using tiny taps like 0-80 and 1-72 on blind holes in aluminum! They bind and break very easily.

My initial plan was to use another, smaller washer on the back to take up the distance between the washer that fits in the slot and the rear of the receiver, but decided it would be easier to just build up the weld and grind it flush. A little ugly, but it works, and that part is concealed except when the receiver is opened.

fireside44
March 16, 2013, 07:34 PM
I loosely attached it to one side of the handguard to keep everything in place, then fit the handguards to the rifle and tightened it down. The non-profiled rail did start to spread the top of the handguards when I tightened the screws, so I took a steel drum brake backing plate inspection plug, cut the tabs off, bent the ears and then clipped it across the top side of the handguards through the middle vent slot.

Very interesting. Is it reasonably easy to remove? I had thought maybe I could get it set up with the method you listed but didn't think it would hold up because it only has attachment on the one side of the HG to begin with. The clip across the vent slots is something I hadn't considered. Nice job and thanks for the explanation.

JShirley
March 20, 2013, 08:34 PM
Had a chance to shoot it yet? Wondering how comfortable that stock'll be. I think it's the type of thing that's handy to have while in your vehicle, but not fun for shooting many rounds at a time. But I could be wrong.

John

fireside44
March 20, 2013, 08:42 PM
Had a chance to shoot it yet? Wondering how comfortable that stock'll be. I think it's the type of thing that's handy to have while in your vehicle, but not fun for shooting many rounds at a time. But I could be wrong.


Depends on the person. I wrapped some paracord around the cheek weld area of mine and it's no problem but I let a couple AR fans shoot it and they whine about it driving into their cheek. I've shot 200 round in a sitting and didn't think twice about it. As for the actual butt of the rifle, as long as you don't chicken wing it it's not bad at all. Even if you do there ain't much to complain about. Keep the meat behind it and no problemo. The FAL is not a hard recoiling rifle, even in Para form. I was amazed the first time I shot one, a regular stocked model. It was like a pillow.

Gordon
March 20, 2013, 08:56 PM
Way back before they had "3 gun " matches (the earliest of which I entered at S.O.F. 2 in Las Vegas, IN THE DAY, we had IPSIC Practical Rifle. It ran to 300 yards down to 25 yards. I started using a tuned HK91 maybe 1980 or so and then went to a M1A (by Smith Ent.) in the latter 80s. In 1984 , I believe I put a variable Schmidt and Bender on an HK 93 with a Williams Trigger job and by the end of the year won a regional tournament at the old Fort Ord with it! I was one of the first in the area to campaign (sucessfully) a .223 platform (the .308 M1a ruled) .
My point being, allthough I love me some FAL for a fighting gun,and yours is one of the purtiest ones I have yet seen, the .223 has some advantage to "3 gun" as played buy the CARBINES and besides that FALs are not match game accurrate, tho they , like the AK47, tend to always work when you need them.

MachIVshooter
March 21, 2013, 11:27 AM
Had a chance to shoot it yet? Wondering how comfortable that stock'll be. I think it's the type of thing that's handy to have while in your vehicle, but not fun for shooting many rounds at a time. But I could be wrong.

Yeah, I've got about 100 rounds downrange so far. Honestly, the stock doesn't bother me at all, but I am getting a cheek rest, because the red dot height leaves me with a chin weld. Had to use the /6" adapter, though, or the rear sight interfered.

It's not quite as soft shooting as my AR-10, but is more pleasant than my G3 or the SCAR-17 I played with. 'Bout on par with M1A, I'd say, though with a more solid overall feel during recoil.

My point being, allthough I love me some FAL for a fighting gun,and yours is one of the purtiest ones I have yet seen, the .223 has some advantage to "3 gun" as played buy the CARBINES and besides that FALs are not match game accurrate

Oh, I agree. The almost non-existent recoil of 5.56 makes for much lower split times. I just want to run the FAL for fun. These are informal competitions, and the FAL's ~2-2.5 MOA accuracy is plenty good enough for what we're doing.

I plan to use my 12.5" BCM almost exclusively once the stamp comes back, which should be any day now. I could run it in it's current form, but a stock and VFG will be much preferred.

http://i110.photobucket.com/albums/n117/Hunter2506/101_1472.jpg

1KPerDay
March 21, 2013, 04:04 PM
FALs are great. I own or have owned six over the years. Everything from a German issue G3, :confused:

My point being, allthough I love me some FAL for a fighting gun,and yours is one of the purtiest ones I have yet seen, the .223 has some advantage to "3 gun" as played buy the CARBINES and besides that FALs are not match game accurrate,
Perhaps, but FALs aren't running head-to-head with the poodleshooters in 3-gun. FALs run in "Heavy Metal" class against M1As, etc. The sight radius is the only thing that may be a hinderance, IMO... though if you're quick it'll probably be a wash.

Enjoy your FAL, MachIV! I'm very jealous. I've lusted after them since I got to shot my dad's friend's SAR-48 as a kid... but I've never owned one or shot one since.

JShirley
March 21, 2013, 04:13 PM
Might have meant "G1".

M1key
March 21, 2013, 05:32 PM
^yes...G1

M

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