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Old October 13, 2014, 09:23 PM   #1
Banshee09
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FAL Pros and Cons

I recently acquired a complete metric FAL kit that is being assembled as this is being typed. Just looking for some insight on this weapon, I purchased it for the simple fact that I don't know anyone that has one and couldn't pass up the deal.

Anything would be greatly appreciated
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Old October 13, 2014, 09:31 PM   #2
HankC
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Watch for barrel timing. A lot of info at
http://www.falfiles.com/forums/index.php
I built 5 FALs by learning from that site.
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Old October 13, 2014, 10:06 PM   #3
MErl
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It is in the process of being assembled? Do you know and trust the person doing the work and do they know FALs? You say you don't know anyone that has one so I'm curious if it is a learning experience for everyone. Nothing wrong with that but if so take it slow to be sure of what you are doing at each step.

I'll second the idea looking over the FalFiles, there is alot of very good information there. Stick to the DIY and FN subforums for the good bits

What to know about them? A well built one will be very reliable, mags have been my weak spot. Don't expect target rifle or AR level accuracy, probably 2moa at best.
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Old October 13, 2014, 10:33 PM   #4
Limey46
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Pros: Total reliability, extreme durability, mechanical excellence, great ergonomics, good sights, quick and simple disassembly, dead-easy maintenance and cleaning, and inexpensive, plentiful parts and magazines. It was "the right arm of the free world" for almost forty years, in many people's opinion the best full-power battle rifle ever made.

Cons: It's a little heavy.

Last edited by Limey46; October 13, 2014 at 10:53 PM.
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Old October 14, 2014, 01:25 AM   #5
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Best 7.62 rifle made. Would have been even better execept for the pure stupidity of the US Army. The mistakes that 7.62 nato instead of 7mm Nato or the T48 vs the T44 that was guaranteed to win?

Had the US bought the T48 in 7mm Nato we might now be, maybe, looking for a new rifle...
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Old October 14, 2014, 08:56 AM   #6
barnbwt
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the main con is the rifle receivers are expensive
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Old October 14, 2014, 09:26 AM   #7
GBExpat
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Is that a fact? I haven't seen any advertised for a long time. I still have 2 unused receivers in my kit.

Banshee09, Welcome to the THR Community!

The primary issue that I recall reading about such FAL Variants has to do with barrel timing. If you are having it built for you, just be sure to check that.

I built several. With the first I could shoot golfballs at 100yds. The one that ended up being my favorite I chopped & recrowned (opened the gas port a bit) and left off the bipod iron. It is probably my favorite "walking around" rifle.
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Last edited by GBExpat; October 14, 2014 at 09:31 AM.
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Old October 14, 2014, 10:11 AM   #8
Robert
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From a building stand point the barrel timing is the biggest issue, but a competent smith should be able to handle that.

From a shooting stand point they tend to be heavy and a bit long. I have run mine in numerous competitions and love it. Though if you plan on shooting a lot of round in a short amount of time you'd better have and oven mitt for your support hand. I switched to the DSA "float" tube and it made a huge difference in barrel heat.
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Old October 14, 2014, 10:07 PM   #9
barnbwt
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Are we really prepared to open the can-o-worms of stating barrel timing is a con? After all, the 'greatest battle implement ever blah-blah-blah' is critically dependent on barrel orientation during installation

"I haven't seen any advertised for a long time. I still have 2 unused receivers in my kit."
That's why the FAL receivers are expensive; there aren't many anymore, and the 80% are pretty darn hard to make right for most people (that's where the barrel timing really comes into play as an issue). There's a reason parts kits for such a solid weapon are like 300$, new old stock condition

I have to imagine the costs of billet-machining new receivers, and the specialized labor involved in installing the barrels are practically the sole drivers for the FAL's consistently high price over the years. G3's have equally difficult parts (those forged trunnions aren't a garage-job to produce, nor chamber flutes), but drunk monkeys can slam them together with a hammer & angle grinder, and usually produce something that works.

I've often wondered why a company producing FAL clones can't simply rework the design to be a press & pin affair, seeing as they are likely producing both barrels and receivers in the first place. It'd be more in line with producing a VZ58 at that point, which as we know are quite a bit more affordable as far as receivers. You wouldn't have to play around with locking shoulders as much, either, since you could adjust the barrel to fit whatever was in the gun to start with.

TCB
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Old October 15, 2014, 02:02 AM   #10
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Quote:
and the 80% are pretty darn hard to make right for most people (that's where the barrel timing really comes into play as an issue). There's a reason parts kits for such a solid weapon are like 300$, new old stock condition
I didn't realize those parts kits were still available. Thanks for prompting me to look! Think I'll order one and do a 7075-T6 billet receiver. Could use a fixed stock FAL sitting next to my DSA Para.
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Old October 15, 2014, 02:22 AM   #11
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The FAL is a wonderful rifle and I used to own two. Smooth shooting and easy to disassemble. Downside would be the weight (as mentioned above) and the fact that 7.62x51 doesn't cost what it used to. The ammo cost is what got me out of the semi-auto .308 game.

Kits are out there but much more pricey then they used to be, same goes for the receivers.

Banshee09 - what kind of receiver / kit did you get and what kind of deal? You now realize that you're obligated to post pictures when you get the complete rifle.
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Old October 15, 2014, 07:18 AM   #12
GBExpat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barnbwt
"I haven't seen any advertised for a long time. I still have 2 unused receivers in my kit."
That's why the FAL receivers are expensive; there aren't many anymore, and the 80% are pretty darn hard to make right for most people (that's where the barrel timing really comes into play as an issue). There's a reason parts kits for such a solid weapon are like 300$, new old stock condition
Well, silly me for not thinking about the FAL kits & receivers for many years.

Now I will have to decide if I want to sell or build. Nice choice to have.
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Old October 15, 2014, 09:48 AM   #13
Robert
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Wait, there are 80% FAL receivers? Damn it I do not need another project...
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Old October 15, 2014, 12:32 PM   #14
MachIVshooter
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Quote:
Wait, there are 80% FAL receivers? Damn it I do not need another project...
They're cast, and would be nearly as much work to finish as starting with billet. And you'd have to heat treat the casting, where 6061-T651 or 7075-T6 is already tempered.

People claim that they're a major PITA, but I just don't see it. From what I can tell looking at my DSA, it'd easier than building AR receivers from scratch, which in 1/2 scale proved a 14 hour project after sanding out 98% of tool marks.



Build thread: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthrea...ht=1%2F2+scale
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Old October 15, 2014, 10:24 PM   #15
Banshee09
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I paid $200.00 for this kit with 6 mags and 400 rds of ammo from a friend of the family that needed $ for reasons that are more important to him than having a box of gun parts in his closet. I will post some pics of it when I get home this weekend.

The receipt he has for the receiver was well over what I paid for the whole kit.
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Old October 15, 2014, 11:43 PM   #16
evan price
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I've built a few, still have a trunk full of parts and a couple uppers to build some more. I've been seeing those Imbel kits up around $400 with the original barrel.
I'm glad I bought a crate of $4 mags back in the day, wish I had bought a truckload of $.10/round 7.62 also.

The barrel timing "issue" is really a no brainer. You have to make sure that the barrel is tightened with the sites at top dead center. No different than a revolver barrel. You may need to turn the face of the barrel shoulder down or add a breaching washer.
IMHO the hardest thing is finding the right size locking shoulder. No matter how many I have it seems like I need one that's a little different size. Sure, I should buy a master armorer's chest and be done with it LOL!
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Old October 16, 2014, 05:08 AM   #17
Phaedrus/69
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I've wanted an FN-FAL and a G3 since I was a little boy! One of these days.
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Old October 16, 2014, 07:12 AM   #18
GBExpat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evan price
The barrel timing "issue" is really a no brainer. You have to make sure that the barrel is tightened with the sites at top dead center.
Easier said than done for many/most. I think that most employed the 2-pieces-of-drill-rod&eyeballs-test ... I know that I did for the first couple. Later I got a handy little tool.

Actually, I found myself using my 2 pieces of drill rod (they still live in a protected corner of my south gunsafe) to help me to time the barrels on M14 Variants that I built.
Quote:
IMHO the hardest thing is finding the right size locking shoulder. No matter how many I have it seems like I need one that's a little different size.
All of mine needed a different-size locking shoulder. There was a site (Gunthings.com, IIRC) that, for $14, would ship you the size you needed if you shipped them the one that didn't fit.
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Old October 16, 2014, 10:22 AM   #19
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How does an aluminum FAL receiver work, Mach? The design would carry bolt thrust through the much softer metal, would it not?

TCB
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"I just took an action to change the law"
--President Barack Obama on exceeding his authority, 11/25/2014
Now, how about we get the next guy to stop enforcing the NFA in its entirety? Precedent and all that...
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Old October 16, 2014, 10:24 AM   #20
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That's a good point. I didn't think the AL uppers ever got off the ground. I know there are AL lowers but that does not have anything near the load of the upper.
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When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.- Chief Tecumseh
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Old October 16, 2014, 10:30 AM   #21
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Pros: It's a .308, mags are cheap, very reliable.

Cons: It's a boat anchor, it chews up brass (not for reloaders), it is not a sniper rifle, even though some people try to turn it into one.
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Old October 16, 2014, 11:08 AM   #22
rodinal220
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Pros:Solid rifle,good cartridge,robust and reliable.

Cons:You will want one of every variant and this gets expensive.
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Old October 16, 2014, 12:09 PM   #23
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How does an aluminum FAL receiver work, Mach? The design would carry bolt thrust through the much softer metal, would it not?
Would need a steel locking shoulder for sure, but I can't see a reason that 7075-T6 wouldn't work for the remainder. 4140 tensile strength will vary depending on temper, but the drop forgings used for FAL receivers should end up in the neighborhood of 115K PSI. 7075-T6 is 75K PSI. So it'll need to be a bit thicker from the front to the take down pin, but I see no reason the rear half can't use about the same dimensions as steel.

I know the Williams receivers failed, but they tried to use pure 7075-T651 and, unless I'm mistaken, did not alter any dimensions to compensate for the aluminum being only ~65% the strength of steel.

I dunno, I may abandon that idea altogether if I can get my hands on some hefty blocks of 4140, 4150 or D2 at a reasonable price. At the moment, though, I have a much easier time getting receiver-sized pieces of 7075-T6.
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Old October 16, 2014, 03:52 PM   #24
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If the FAL is tearing up brass to the point of it not being reloadable then you are way over gassed. I reload all my FAL brass with no issues.
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I step out of the shower wearing nothing but an AR-15 and a frown.

Superior gear will never make up for a lack of training or attitude.

When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.- Chief Tecumseh
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Old October 17, 2014, 05:17 AM   #25
vaupet
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Mine is a 1959 lee-enfield build L1A1, britisch army surplus

paid 600 for the rifles, 4 magazines, a BSA optic with mount, a sleeve and a shopping bag full of surplus ammo.

In the meanwhile I found and mounted an original SUIT optic and with this optic I regularly shoot 'mikeymouse' holes at 50 metres

pro: cheap, good ergo's, reasonably accurate, easy to clean
con: the weight

and when I shoot it, I always wonder about it's travels in the army
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