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FAL - what am I doing wrong?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Father Knows Best, Jun 7, 2008.

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  1. Father Knows Best

    Father Knows Best Member

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    I put new scopes on my FAL and G3 in the last year, and took both of them to the range today to sight them in for the first time. I started with the G3, and it went smoothly. My G3 is actually an early PTR-91 (polygonal barrel, plain muzzle) made up as a "poor man's PSG-1" with a Magpul adjustable stock, wide G3 forearm with bipod, Bill Springfield match trigger, etc. I put an original HK claw mount and Hensoldt scope on it. It was on paper at 100 yards from the first shot. I used Portuguese milsurp for the first 10 or so shots, and once it was close, used 10 rounds of Federal 168 OTM Gold Medal Match to zero it. The last three shots were a nice 1" cluster around the aiming point.

    I then put the G3 away and pulled out my FAL. It's a DSA SA58 para carbine, with a 16.25" barrel and Belgian short flash hider. Last fall, I bought an IOR Valdada 1-4x tactical scope and rings from DSA and had my gunsmith mount them. Again, this way my first trip to the range with it since the scope was mounted.

    My problem is that I couldn't seem to get it to group consistently and I don't know why. When I started, it wasn't on the paper at all (my gunsmith had warned me that he hadn't been able to boresight it because his boresighter wouldn't work with the flash hider). I finally figured out that it was shooting about 15" left and 8" low at 100 yards. I dialed in a ton of windage in several steps and seemed to get that fixed, and then started working on the elevation.

    No matter how hard I tried, however, I couldn't get two shots to go anywhere near the same place! Even when I switch from the milsurp to the Federal GMM, I would put one shot two inches high and left, and the next would go 1 inch right and 3 inches high. The next one would be one inch left and four inches low. I was shooting about a 10" box around the bull!

    FWIW, I was shooting off sandbags on a bench. Conditions were warm and humid (about 76 degrees), with a very light, variable breeze -- not enough to cause the shot variation I was seeing. The ammo I used in the G3 and the FAL came from the very same boxes.

    Help!
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2008
  2. LongRangeInternational

    LongRangeInternational Member

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    Sounds like your crown.
     
  3. Father Knows Best

    Father Knows Best Member

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    Hmmmm. If I remove the flash hider can I detect crown damage just by visual inspection? Any tips for removing the flash hider? It seems to be on there pretty tight. I don't even know whether it is a left or right hand thread.
     
  4. powermad

    powermad Member

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    How does it shoot with the irons?
    If it is printing good with the irons I would lean towards the mount or rings shifting around.
     
  5. Father Knows Best

    Father Knows Best Member

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    Unfortunately, I can't use the irons with the scope mounted. I'd have to take the scope off to check how it shoots with the irons.

    Good thought, though.
     
  6. Thefabulousfink

    Thefabulousfink Member

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    The flash hider is reverse threaded, (Lefty-tighty, righty-loosey) and the notch on it to fit the wrench is an odd size. Removing a tightened down flash hider can be a little bit of work so try it last(more on that below).

    First lets take the gas system out of the equation: Close the gas system by turning the gas plug(in front of the front sight) 180* to the right, to the grenade launching position. This makes your rifle a single shot, straight pull action. If your shots start grouping better, then turn the gas back on and adjust the gas valve until your groups improve.

    Next, check the upper/lower receiver fit, there should be almost no movement. After that, try loosening the handguard screw. Improper handguard fit can put strain on the barrel. Try removing the handguards all together.

    Making a flash hider removal tool:
    The notches for the wrench are narrow, so most modern hardware store will be too thick to fit in them so you will probably need to make a specialized flash hider tool. Measure the width of the flash hider notch and the thickness needed and go to a pawn shop to find a cheap used wrench that is close to these measurements. Then take it home, put it in a vise and file it down until it fits.

    One of the resident FAL experts should be along shortly with some more ideas.
     
  7. AK103K

    AK103K Member

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    I've owned three FAL's, one an original FN, and none were what I'd call accurate. The warmer the guns got, the worse they would shoot. All of mine would "string" their "groups". Groups really isnt the correct word, lines would be better.
     
  8. iamkris

    iamkris Member

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    Using a battle rifle with a scope? :eek:
     
  9. Thin Black Line

    Thin Black Line Member

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    Try the rifle with the iron sites. If it shoots fine, then it's the scope/rings/mount.

    My FAL broke two scopes even with the gas venting wide open.
     
  10. stubbicatt

    stubbicatt Member

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    At least when I was messing around with them, FALs didn't have very good scope bases. You had to replace that flimsy metal top cover with something else.

    Based on what you are saying, I would suspect your scope base, or rings. IOR makes a great scope, so I don't suspect a broken reticle or anything, although it surely could be.
     
  11. GarandOwner

    GarandOwner Member

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    ....So take the scope mount off and try it with irons :neener:
     
  12. db_tanker

    db_tanker Member

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    most everyone has already covered the obvious stuff.

    I am guessing that you are using the DSA Para top cover/integral scope base?

    All the screws tight?

    I have found that sometimes you don't really want to crank up the windage to an extreme degree...instead you want to use shims. However I am not sure if you can shim the DSA rings...I know you can on Burris rings but they are the only ones I am familiar with and I am sure there are others.

    Did the Gunsmith lap the rings? might be a ring alignment issue...

    Might also be an issue with the flash-hider. Have you inspected the flash-hider to see if there is any copper or any other damage evidence? FH might be off center or bent.

    The main question I have is how did it shoot before you put the IOR on her?
     
  13. Father Knows Best

    Father Knows Best Member

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    Thanks, all. I'm embarrassed to admit that I never really tested her on paper with the irons before having the scope mounted. I did some plinking but never really tried to check accuracy.

    The flash hider looks fine. I'm going to remove it and inspect the muzzle. I'm also going to take the scope off and go back to the range to check accuracy with the irons. If everything checks out, I'll remount the scope and try again.
     
  14. powermad

    powermad Member

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    I am assuming this is a refinished rig.

    If you really have to remove the flash hider ( I see no need to as you can see the muzzle with FH attached) You had better look close and see if it is permanently attached. If it is soldered on you will have to hot er up to a nice cherry red. So much for the finish...

    If it is just screwed on (left hand thread) you can either grind an 18mm open end wrench thin to fit the flats, again with the marred finish. Or you can use a short 1/2" fine thread bolt, nut & washer.
    Thread the nut all the up the bolt. Place the washer against the end of the FH and thread the bolt in about a 1/2" or so.
    Now run the nut down until it makes contact with the washer and start tightening it. Since the FH threads are left hand, as you tighten the nut it will remove the FH.

    P1000786.gif

    P1000787.gif

    No damage to parts or finish..
    Myself I would take a small light and look down the FH and see if the crown is buggered.. YMMV
     
  15. AndyC

    AndyC Member

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    You bought a scope and rings but you haven't yet said what they're mounted to. What kind of mount do you have, and is it locked down tight to the receiver? Are the rings firm around the scope? Any evidence of the screws backing out under recoil?

    If a bullet is just skimming the flash-hider on exit, you should see evidence such as copper smears at the muzzle. If all those are fine, I'm hoping it's not the scope itself.
     
  16. Father Knows Best

    Father Knows Best Member

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    Scope is mounted with DSA tactical rings to a DSA Extreme Duty scope mount. Everything is tight. No evidence of bullets hitting the flash hider. I will be removing the scope and shooting with the irons (and the gas system open) this weekend, and then work from there.
     
  17. AndyC

    AndyC Member

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    Unless the scope itself is buggered, sounds like it's good to go as far as the optics-system is concerned. Will be waiting for your range-report with interest - good luck ;)
     
  18. Katigroszek

    Katigroszek Member

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    Father KB - have you been to the range? It is almost 2 months now since the last post!
     
  19. Bwana John

    Bwana John Member

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    Yep... ;)
     
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