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Thinking about an FAL

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by eldon519, Jul 20, 2007.

  1. eldon519

    eldon519 Well-Known Member

    I'm looking into DS Arms FALs and was wondering if anyone really knows what the difference between the SA58 and STG58 rifles is besides one has an aluminum lower and one has a steel lower.

    Also, is there any real difference between the STG58 carbine and standard besides the flash hider length? I can't tell if the barrel on the standard is actually longer or if the flash hider just makes up the difference. Also if it is just the flash hider being longer, would there still be any kind of velocity advantage?

    Finally, is there any other brand I should be looking at? I've been going through the FALfiles.com website in the FAQ, but can't find the answer to all of these.

  2. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Well-Known Member

    I'm supposed to know about this sort of stuff, but I can't answer for sure about the differences. I'm inclined to say the SA 58 contains many (very good) parts from decommissioned foreign-made rifles, whereas the STG-58 has considerably more US parts. Not that one combination is necessarily "better" than the other. More a matter of taste than anything else.

    Muzzle brakes have become very "fashionable" on FAL rifles since the AWB expired. I can't say I'm impressed with them on the FAL. I can't tell any significant difference in recoil. Athough the muzzle-blast is amplified considerably on rifles so-equipped. The prong-type devices are much less nasty than the port-type devices - if that helps you think about it.

    As for velocity, a few inches on a FAL barrel makes little difference. About 50 fps velocity loss per inch chopped off the standard 21" barrel. The zombie will never notice.

    What do you want the rifle for? - a representative sample / collector's specimen, or a target rifle, or an all-purpose shooter? Your answer will dictate significantly different choices.
  3. USSR

    USSR Well-Known Member

    Actually, the other way around. SA58 uses a U.S. made lower and barrel, while the STG58 uses the original Austrian military parts.

  4. JamesM

    JamesM Well-Known Member

    The STG contains many Austrian parts (the lower receiver and barrel are US made) while the SA contains 100% US parts.

    I don’t think the muzzle brake length is factored into the barrel length.

    I think DSA is the way to go. I just ordered my first FAL from them.
  5. Rugerdog

    Rugerdog Active Member

    I just got my first FAL last week. It is in PARA configuration and it rocks! I also own a HK91, M1A,and AR's and this rifle is on par with all of them.- Art
  6. DMK

    DMK Well-Known Member

    Muzzle devices: OK, just to clear things up. Flash hiders/flash suppressors reduce muzzle flash. Muzzle brakes reduce felt recoil. As far as the length of the device, a longer one generally isn't better or worse. The STG58 is patterned after a Austrian military issue battle rifle (The SA58 is more customized with modern tech.). The muzzle device is accurate to what the STG58 was issued with, but it's 1950's technology. If it were me (assuming you want a flash suppressor), I'd ignore the flash suppressor and replace it with a Phantom or Vortex. These are modern designs that suppress flash much better than those older units.

    I have a short muzzle brake on one of my FALs. It's very loud, but does reduce recoil over my other FAL with a naked barrel of similar length.

    Lower material: Go with the alloy lower. FALs are heavy beasts. Save weight where you can.

    Barrel length: It's generally offered that an 18" barrel is the best compromise length for .308/7.62x51. It gives you reasonable handiness without sacrificing too much velocity. 20" or 21" might be better if you want to shoot out past 300 yards regularly, but at the expense of weight out front. Would probably throw the balance off when combined with the alloy lower.
  7. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Well-Known Member

    I'm not so sure.

    Even the DSA web site specifies that the STG-58 has a US barrel. And it has to have at least 7 US-made evil parts.

    Then, on the SA-58, I understand that it has a fair amount of US parts on it. But what about the smaller parts? Is EVERYTHING really a US part? Even the gas block, rear sight, bolt carrier, bolt, etc?

    DSA's comments (at least those I have seen) have been rather circumspect about this US/foreign origin issue on the parts that don't get so much discussion.

    I think I did read a magazine article recently where the AUTHOR asserted that his DSA test specimen was 100% US. Yet, he didn't cite his source for that comment. :cool:
  8. DMK

    DMK Well-Known Member

    They have to have at least some US parts or they'd run afoul of 9.22r. However, I wouldn't be surprised if they are using surplus (or probably New Old Stock) parts where ever possible to save money. Either way, I trust that DSA is using quality parts. Who cares if the parts were made by DSA, Imbel or Steyr? It's the way they are put together and the final product that counts. DSA knows FALs, probably better than anyone in the US and they own original blueprints purchased from the Austrians.
  9. USSR

    USSR Well-Known Member

    The STG-58 may be wearing a U.S. barrel now, as DSA is rapidly running out of Austrian military parts. In the past, the barrel was Austrian military.

  10. funfaler

    funfaler Well-Known Member

    Think of the Stg-58 as a DSA build "kit" gun and the SA58 as a US manufactured rifle. The Stg-58s are a great bargain, as the rifle is every bit as good or better than the SA-58, at a lower cost. The only real draw back is that the buyer will have to keep in mind the required US parts count if they start changing out parts.

    The "longer flashider" does not extend out, or lengthen, the barrel length at all, the threads for the muzzle are well inside, toward the muzzle end of the device, it "shrouds" the barrel for about 4-5 inches, thus, it looks longer, it is really just slipping over the barrel more. It works as a grenade launcher and wire cutter, so that is one of the reasons it was designed as it was. I have taken mine off (just unscrew it, but the it has backwards threadings, Righty/loosey) and screw on a new one. If you get an Stg-58, remove the flashider, replace it with an US made one, you add another required US part.

    Good luck.
  11. iamkris

    iamkris Well-Known Member

    That is a very new development on the StG...just 6 months ago they were using "excellent condition" Steyr barrels (basicially new old parts...mine was pristine when I bought it).

    It makes sense if you actually know the DSA story. First they were an AR parts dealer. They thought they'd start carrying some FAL parts when that rifle became popular. They found that Steyr (Austria) was selling out their stocks...when they inquired a deal was struck to buy the blueprints for the StG, the machinery and a HUGE warehouse full of parts. Thus they've been building StG58As ever since with many original Steyr parts meant for rifles in the 1950-1960s, with US ones only for the upper receiver and to meet 922a or when the old ones dry up.

    The SA58 is all new parts with some more custom options. The aluminum lower really makes the rifle handy with a shorter barrel.

    I just bought my second FAL from DSA...they are hands down the best. The first is a StG58a and the second a SA58 Para http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=289742

    +1 to what DMK said on the Phantom...although I've spoken to the DSA online rep, John, and he believes the Belgian short flash hider does as good a job as the Phantom or Vortex. I like the look of the newer ones better and they are proven to work so I went with the Phantom.



    Last edited: Jul 20, 2007
  12. AndyC

    AndyC Well-Known Member

    From the DSA site:

    STG58 Austrian FAL Carbine Rifle, .308 Cal. - New U.S. produced 16.25", 18" Barrel with Steyr Short Flashider

    STG58 Austrian FAL Standard Rifle, .308 Cal. - New U.S. produce(d) Barrel 21" Barrel with STG58 Long Flashider or Muzzle Brake
  13. eldon519

    eldon519 Well-Known Member

    It's kind of this information that's got my confused. For the Carbine listing, they have two barrel lengths and the way it's phrased makes it sound kind of like the barrel is 16.25" long and 18" overall with the flashhider. Maybe I am reading that wrong or maybe it means I have a choice. Also in the pictures, the standard and carbine rifles look almost the same up to the flashhider/muzzlebrake which makes me wonder if that makes up for the difference in barrel length.
  14. iamkris

    iamkris Well-Known Member

    No, that means you have a choice. For a FAL, the most common barrel lengths are 16, 18, 21
  15. eldon519

    eldon519 Well-Known Member

    Does anyone know if the StG58 bipods fold or are removable?
  16. AndyC

    AndyC Well-Known Member

    Both. They do fold up quite neatly into slots in the handguards (see Kris's last pic above - the bottom rifle has the bipod stowed); they're not removable in the quick-detachable sense, but you can take them off if you like.

    Personally I'm not fond of them - they add a lot of weight up-front and using a bipod attached to the barrel isn't great for accuracy.
  17. Father Knows Best

    Father Knows Best Well-Known Member

    Kris, those are fine looking FAL's. I have almost the same SA58. I don't have a pic of just my Para handy, but here's a shot with two other rifles in my collection:

    Question for you -- have you thought of any use for that rail on the underside of the forearm? I've thought of experimenting with a QD bipod that I would put on occasionally, but I haven't found one with QD picatinny mounting that I like.
  18. cameron.personal

    cameron.personal Well-Known Member

    The DS Arms, Inc. STG58 is made with Austrian surplus (but not used) parts the SA58 is a totally US made rifle.

    Here is my SA58


    DSA makes the best FAL type rifles ever made. The SA58 I have comes with a Badger Custom Target barrel and is extremely accurate and of course reliable.

  19. cameron.personal

    cameron.personal Well-Known Member

  20. iamkris

    iamkris Well-Known Member

    Thanks, FKB...in addition, all your praises for the PTR91 finally convinced me to buy an HK-pattern rifle. After my love-hate relationsihp with a now-not-owned Century G3, I picked up a lightly used PTR and a collapsible stock. I've sent the trigger to Bill Springfield (and it is SWEET now) and I have a TacLatch but haven't installed it.


    In addition, I have that same ITC cheekrest on mine now as well...2 cushions seem to have a good weld for the EoTech but when I take it off, I can still get down to see the irons.

    I was going to "AR" it all up...vertical grip, weapons light. But in the end, that is just wrong on this rifle. I've now moved the rail up to the left hand side cooling vents and I'm going to mount a Viking offset weapons light holder on it. That puts the rear intermittent switch right by my thumb when I'm holding the forearm properly. I'll take a pic when I've got it fully set up.

    Last edited: Jul 21, 2007

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