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Advantages of the FN FAL?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Lucky Strike, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. Lucky Strike

    Lucky Strike Well-Known Member

    So I'm debating whether i want to buy a semi-auto centerfire "battle rifle".

    I was talking to a coworker who seems to be a pretty knowlegable gun guy (was a USMC weapons instructor and current Appleseed instructor).

    He seemed to say that if you're going to buy just one (i'm assuming he has probably a wide variety of various rifles) then to get an FN FAL.

    I'm pretty new to guns and had never really heard of the FN FAL...a quick google search gave me an abbreviated history of the rifle (right arm of the free world)...just wondering from you guys what the advantages would be of getting an FN FAL over a AR15, AK47, etc
  2. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    The main advantage is that of the more powerful cartridge, compared to the AR or AK. Other than that, it's personal preference.

    I've messed with an HK-91, an M1A and I still have a Garand. Never toyed with the FAL.

    I've been messing with the .30-'06 for over half its life-span, so I reckon that's a large part of why I'm partial to the Garand. After all, the uber-low probabilities of me ever having to use a battle rifle as a battle rifle make it silly to buy something just because other folks use it. (I started shooting a Garand some 57 years ago, contributing greatly to my uselessness as a tax-paying citizen.)

    Back to the question: I don't know of any reason NOT to get the FAL. Lots of folks dislike the bolt lockup and trigger on the HK, and other EBRs of that general sort have arguments back and forth about parts-fit and ensuing reliability issues. Haven't read of such problems with the FAL.

    :), Art
  3. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

    Well, .308 over the smaller "intermediate" rounds is the main factor.

    That's just a philosophical question you have to ask yourself, regardless of what gun you end up with.

    If you are following the traditional definition of "main battle rifle" then you won't be looking at ARs or AKs anyway.

    FN-FAL, PTR91, AR10 style and M1A's are going to be your popular short list for that in the magazine fed style in "full power" cartridges.

    The decision between whether to get an FAL or an AR/AK shouldn't be so much about the gun as the ammo they fire. That's where the big difference is.

    If you do decide you want the bigger cartridge the FAL is an excellent choice, but not the only one.
  4. Dutchman01

    Dutchman01 Well-Known Member

    Let's see; made outta steel, .308 cartridge, 20 round mags, obama not in office yet!!! I'd say go for it. :D
  5. navajo

    navajo Well-Known Member


    I suggest you look at all of them if you can.
    Many FALs have been assembled from parts kits, which is OK if the assemblers knew what they were doing.
    DSA manufactures them from scratch but they are a little pricey.

    I went though basic with the M-14 and and very partial to that weapon. Never had a malfunction with an M-14 or an M1A. Ever.

    One of my AR 10s is the most accurate gas gun I have ever seen.

    Find one you like and get it.
  6. rangerruck

    rangerruck Well-Known Member

    Fals, are everywhere, I mean EVERWHERE!!!! parts, mags, etc., can be found on every continent. they , like ak's, allways work, they are pretty stable and accurate, they can take a serious beating.
  7. dscottw88

    dscottw88 Well-Known Member

    I'm not an expert, but My personal preferance would be the FAL just based on the track record compared to the others. Not that they dont come close, but each to his own. My second pick would be an AR10 carbine, followed by the M14, and then the HK 7.62 model last.
  8. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    Bill Springfield put a trigger job on my PTR 91 that is the equal of my M1a match triggers.

    The rear sight is simple, and it does not wobble. An issue I have with my FAL's.

    > wspringfield@comcast.net wrote:
    > I can set you up with a pull that has virtually no creep in the 4.75 area. I
    > also remove all the take up slack. Price runs $54 and return postage is
    > included. Only the trigger pack is needed, personal check is fine. My address
    > is:
    > Bill Springfield
    > 4135 Cricket Ct.
    > Colorado Springs, Co 80918

    As for the FAL, a gunsmith friend of mine built up two for me. My critieria was "best fit", I did not care for "all matching". But the trigger was not so good. He gave me a handfull of triggers, sears, etc, and I mixed and matched. One combination actually had hammer following problems. What I ended up with is something with just a little creep.

    The BATF required removal of the safety sear, a device which is used in fully automatic fire, but one that also prevents hammer follow in semi auto. So I believe the BATF made the design less safe. What they don't know about guns would fill all the libraries of the world.

    The safety sear is the device on the left in the picture.



    Picture came from http://www.militaryfirearm.com/

    I don't know anyone, and I would like to know, if someone can put a clean crisp trigger of 4.5 pounds pull on a FAL.

    The sights on a FAL are adequate for a battle rifle. They are not target sights, and the M14 has them all beat.

    I would certainly not buy a put together by Century, or any other massive importer of FAL's. The fit and finish I have seen on rifles assembled by those guys were awful.

    However, if you were to get a DSA, those that I have seen were excellent.

    The FAL is a proven battle rifle. It was adopted by hundreds of countries. It almost was adopted by the US, but the Army decision makers were very conservative and chose the M14, which is very similiar to the rifle they liked: the Garand.

    The FAL is an expensive rifle, which is why it is not in service with first world countries anymore.

  9. Al Thompson

    Al Thompson Moderator Staff Member

    Big advantage for FALs - magazine costs. M1A - expensive magazines, but better trigger and (depending on your tastes) "different/better" ergonomics.

    I'd vote for the FAL both on personal preference and after purchase costs, I.E., magazines.
  10. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

    Bill does FALs too. Much improvement. Not as noticeable as the PTR but much better. I'm going to send my parts to him soon. Friend of mine has his done and it was really nice.

  11. BobOfTheFuture

    BobOfTheFuture Well-Known Member

    Its def. a toss up between the FAL and M1a...

    Example- im a little bigger then my father. i shoot excellent with an M1A, he shoots excellent with the FAL. We both like both rifles, but our accuracy comes naturally with diffrent rifles.

    I have noticed that in a "battle" situation the FAL seems to have the edge. ive completly half assed a whole clip and still turned nice groups at 100 and 200 yds, where you have to consentrate more with the M1A (but the result is a tighter group, but again, battle situation)
  12. AlexSpartan

    AlexSpartan Member

    If ergonomics are more important to you than trigger or sight quality (and you'd be stupid to say "yeah, it is"), then a FAL is the rifle for you. Not to talk bad about the FAL, but it has a bad trigger and bad sights. It is very reliable, very rugged, and very powerful. But, truly, the M14 is slightly better rifle.

    Boston provides a nice analysis of it in the latest edition of Boston's Gun Bible.

    However, good M14s are very expensive. You'll spend at least 2k for a good one. You could be happy with an M1A if you found a good one (and not all that Springfield Armory turns out are the best quality that they could be), but if you bought an STG58 from DSA and get a replacement synthetic handguard, it would serve you pretty well, and would only set you back about $1,200. Then, you could maybe get a trigger job from Arizona Response Systems or DSA or someone else who does FAL triggers. Then better sights if you can find them, or something. You know, slightly add on to it and improve it later.
  13. B.D. Turner

    B.D. Turner Well-Known Member

    With the current political and economic situation if you want one don't wait. I have built several FN's from kits using Imbel uppers and all have been 100% functional and reliable. I would get a metric rather than an inch pattern based on availability on mags.
  14. The Wiry Irishman

    The Wiry Irishman Well-Known Member

    DSA's "Speed Trigger" is just that - mine breaks at a hair over 4 and is pretty crisp to boot. Huge improvement over the typical FAL trigger.
  15. MyRoad

    MyRoad Well-Known Member

    FALs are great rifles, and DSA makes a great FAL... but nothing is perfect. My brand new DSA STG58 has major issues, and since mine has problems I started to research them, and quite a few people have had problems with them.

    Here's a link to one thread on FalFiles.com titled "failure to feed"

    In case you are not signed up there and/or don't feel like signing up, here is a post from that thread which gives a comprehensive overview of the most "common" failure to feed issues and causes:

    Lots of good information... and it seems that the vast majority of DSA FALs do work properly right out of the box. As a side note, in my unofficial and unscientific observation, all three people (including myself) who have *recently* posted of feed problems all had STGs, and not SAs. Might be a coincidence, might not.
  16. goon

    goon Well-Known Member

    I'll do you one better and just list the only disadvantages:
    - Ammo for them is expensive
    - They are a little on the heavy side

    Other than that, I can't think of any reason to not buy a FAL.
  17. Deer Hunter

    Deer Hunter Well-Known Member

    My FAL is actually pretty handy. It's got an 18" barrel, though.
  18. Deer hunter, what are the specs on your FAL? Thanks.
  19. H2O MAN

    H2O MAN member

    They can be had for less than a nice M14.
  20. everallm

    everallm Well-Known Member

    I cut my teeth on the L1A1 (British Army variant of the FAL) and yes it is not a lightweight beast, usually 9 lb 9oz unloaded, 10lb 10 oz with a mag of 20.

    It does what it says on the box.

    It is designed as a battle rifle which means it's full calibre, rugged, reliable, easy to clean and maintain. It is NOT designed to punch one ragged hole at 600 metres.

    It will however, in the right hands, comfortably put all 20 of those rounds in a man sized target at 600 meters........

    I would definitely look into an optic mount capable top slide if you do want to shoot at range.

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