DSA FAL Float Tube Review


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Robert
April 29, 2013, 11:57 PM
So as promised I ran my FAL at the latest tactical rifle match down at Pueblo West. Once I got the rifle gassed right it ran like a charm but that is a different thread.

So over the winter break I installed one of these on my franken FAL kit gun:
http://www.dsarms.com/SA58-FAL-Free-Float-Tube----021FFSC-A/productinfo/021FFSC/

The install is easy enough, but you will have to remove the rear stock hand guard ring. And when I say remove I mean cut it off with tin snips or the like. They are not a true float tube like you would see on an AR but they are close. The base clamps to the barrel at the thickest part near the front of the receiver and flush to the receiver.

There are two rods that thread into the base that act as the guides for the tube body. The end cap fits into the tube and the rods align with holes in the end cap. Once you screw on the threaded rod caps the whole thing becomes amazingly rigid and tight.

So fast forward to the match on Sunday. We run a field position style match, meaning you are not shooting from a comfy bench off a rest the whole time. The tube made it very easy to rest on obstacles or the ports in the VTAC wall.

Now as far as making the rifle more accurate, I am not 100% sure but I do know that it vastly reduced the barrel heat compared to the stock hand guards. And less heat means more accuracy. So no it may not be a .5 moa sniper rifle but it is easier on the hands and the obstacles. So all in all I am happy with it and the results on the rifle. I will try to get some pics of it on the rifle when I can.

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1858
April 30, 2013, 09:38 AM
Thanks for the update. I have one of these on order for my DSA PARA. DSA shipped the M249 pistol grip which makes for a good upgrade but the "free float" handguard is a week away. My DSA is shooting around 2" groups at 100 yards so the handguard can only improve that. I'm not expecting MOA accuracy but it's not going to make it shoot worse, and any reduction in contact between the handguard and the barrel near the gas port has to help.

1KPerDay
April 30, 2013, 02:19 PM
sounds cool, literally. :) pics!

1858
May 9, 2013, 10:33 AM
I received a DSA free float tube (021FFSC-A) yesterday and am extremely disappointed. The tube is HEAVY but I could live with that. However, after I removed the factory handguard and cut off the rear assembly cap, I discovered that there's no way the clamp can mount to the barrel. I called DSA this morning and emailed them a photo and am waiting for a call back to discuss what I consider to be very poor engineering. The clamping system simply won't work as designed so either it's a crappy design or there's something very odd (atypical) about my barrel. I have a DSA built SA58 PARA so I would have thought that their free float tube would work with their SA58. I'll post photos this evening.

DeMilled
May 9, 2013, 02:36 PM
DSA sells three different free float tubes for three different barrel profiles.

Do you know which profile your barrel is?

Robert
May 9, 2013, 05:42 PM
Yup, mine is a standard profile... I promise pics are coming. Work is, well terrible right now.

1858
May 9, 2013, 06:41 PM
Here's my barrel and the "clamp" end of the free float tube from DSA. Notice how small the area is on the non tapered section of the barrel resulting in minimal contact area between the clamp and barrel. Then notice that the screws for the clamp are well forward of the clamping section. There's no spacer between the upper and lower halves of the clamp so the halves don't want to remain parallel as the screws are tightened. As the screws are tightened, the clamp wants to separate at the rear ... duh!! I spoke with someone at DSA and will be returning the free float tube. He mentioned that it took him five or six attempts to get the clamp mounted when he tried to install a tube on an FAL. I still don't see how it's possible to get anything approaching good contact between the clamp and barrel with the current design.

http://thr.mcmxi.org/rifles/dsa/sa58_para/photos/dsa_free_float_tube_01.jpg

http://thr.mcmxi.org/rifles/dsa/sa58_para/photos/dsa_free_float_tube_02.jpg

http://thr.mcmxi.org/rifles/dsa/sa58_para/photos/dsa_free_float_tube_03.jpg

DeMilled
May 9, 2013, 08:20 PM
Yup, mine is a standard profile... I promise pics are coming. Work is, well terrible right now.
Sorry, should have been more specific when I asked the question. I was asking 1858 if he knew what barrel profile he has since he cannot get his tube mounted.

You seemed to get your mounted just fine.

Robert
May 9, 2013, 10:42 PM
Hey, my thread...

1858, I will take mine apart tomorrow when I get home and take pics of the whole thing.

Hopkins
May 10, 2013, 01:28 PM
I'm hoping that this type of modification can restore my FAL's previous accuracy. It vanished suddenly without an obvious reason. My gun would consistently deliver sub MOA performance with a number of different hand loads and several factory loads. Before I invest in the DSA forearm I intend to shoot the gun minus the forearm and with the hand guard ring free and loose.
A retired gun smith who has a lot of FAL experience going way back told me once that the forearms on the stock rifles could prevent a return to a consistent battery harmony.
The DSA page's explanation and photos of installation and design leave a lot to be desired.

fireside44
May 10, 2013, 02:06 PM
Before I invest in the DSA forearm I intend to shoot the gun minus the forearm and with the hand guard ring free and loose.

Not really sure why this would make such a difference. It has a gas block attached to the barrel so it's not like there are perfect barrel harmonics even without a handguard. The factory handguard attaches through the gas block. If you were slinging up or using a bipod it might be pulling your shots.

1858
May 10, 2013, 02:41 PM
1858, I will take mine apart tomorrow when I get home and take pics of the whole thing.

Thanks.

Hopkins
May 10, 2013, 02:58 PM
I have sorted through the mounts, the optics, the loads and the barrel's condition with a borescope. I can eliminate all of those factors to explain away my rifle's accuracy deficiency. I know that bedding in military semi autos is infinitely more complicated than a bolt gun free floated from the recoil lug forward and attached to the receiver with pillar bedding. I am trying to determine if my barrel in a more independent state will return the rifle to a sub MOA performance.
I wasn't referring to barrel harmonics per se. I'm more trying achieve an unfettered barrel with a repeatable state of battery.
I have used various forearm rest points on the bench and discounted that as a factor also.

Robert
May 11, 2013, 09:07 AM
Ok, as I promised sometime last year... PICS!

Robert
May 11, 2013, 09:12 AM
To get the base on you have to take the gas tube off, take the base apart and place it on the barrel finger tight. Reinstall the gas tube and then move the base into place against the receiver then torque it down.

Hopkins
May 11, 2013, 09:37 AM
Thanks for the photos. They illustrate the product much better than DSA does.

Robert
May 11, 2013, 10:04 AM
Also, when putting the whole thing back together take the nose cap off, thread the tube around the barrel and gas tube and then reinstall the cap on the threaded rods.

1858
May 11, 2013, 12:54 PM
Robert,
Thanks for the photos which help to explain why you have a different opinion of the free float tube. I notice that the upper and lower halves of the clamp aren't parallel on your rifle either (see arrows) but I also notice that your barrel is a heavier version than mine. With your installation there's virtually no gap between the clamp and barrel at the front end whereas there's close to an 1/8" gap all the way around between the barrel and clamp on my PARA (see photo), therefore the clamp on your barrel is making contact at both ends. When you consider that the clamp is supposed to mount to the small non-tapered section of the barrel, a parallel sided cylinder, it's clear to me that this is a poor design for my barrel regardless of its "proven track record". There is simply no way to keep the clamp halves parallel as designed but that's less of a problem with your barrel than mine. DSA has seen the photos of my barrel, they built my PARA and they claim that it should work but it doesn't. Anyway, they're giving me a full refund and at this point I will happily revert to the original handguard and < 2 moa performance with factory ammunition. I'll be using the PARA on a pig hunt or two this year so < 2 moa is more than good enough.

http://thr.mcmxi.org/rifles/dsa/sa58_para/photos/01.jpg

http://thr.mcmxi.org/rifles/dsa/sa58_para/photos/02.jpg


DSA PARA with standard barrel

http://thr.mcmxi.org/rifles/dsa/sa58_para/photos/dsa_free_float_tube_04.jpg

Robert
May 11, 2013, 01:18 PM
Holy cow that is a massive gap. It almost looks like that one is for a medium contour or bull barrel.

1858
May 11, 2013, 01:52 PM
Holy cow that is a massive gap. It almost looks like that one is for a medium contour or bull barrel.


DSA supposedly shipped me the 021FFSC free float tube which is for standard and carbine contour 21", 18" and 16" barrels. DSA doesn't provide information on the dimensions of the carbine, standard, medium and bull barrels so I don't know how they differ.

DeMilled
May 12, 2013, 02:52 AM
Well, at least you got your money back, 1858.

It's a shame you didn't have one that matched up to the barrel you have...

DeMilled
May 12, 2013, 02:58 AM
DSA supposedly shipped me the 021FFSC free float tube which is for standard and carbine contour 21", 18" and 16" barrels. DSA doesn't provide information on the dimensions of the carbine, standard, medium and bull barrels so I don't know how they differ.

The general break down is that the standard is skinny all the way down the barrel, the medium is fat until it gets to the gas block and then goes skinny, the bull is fat all the way down to the muzzle.
I don't have the numbers but that's the gist of their differences.

Oh yeah, carbine and standard have the same profile but the carbine is shorter.



Hope that helps someone else out there

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