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M1A or FAL?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Averageman, Jun 12, 2011.

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  1. Averageman

    Averageman Member

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    I am considering buying a 7.62 rifle and have narrowed it down to these two choices. I am weighing the pro's and con's of each and thought I would ask here for opinions.
    What is important to me is the reliability, strength and adaptability. I would like to be able to scope the rifle with both glass and a red dot sight.
    Which would you choose and why?
    Thanks
    A/M
     
  2. jobu07

    jobu07 Member

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    Averageman,

    You will find all three of those in the two weapons systems you've listed. The most expensive one, however, will be adaptability. The FAL (thanks to DSA) and the M1A (thanks to groups like Sage) can be made into highly adaptable platforms. Neither one will start that way, though. I can be expensive, but you can get rails suitable for mounting accessories forward and you can get a rail suitable for an optic on both. You can also get a form of adjustable stock on both of them as well. Retrofitting to make yesterday's .308 MBR into something similar to today's 5.56 AR is fairly common and easy to accomplish nowadays, sometimes it just isn't affordable.

    What this decision will come down to is what you find more comfortable ergonomically. From there you modify to your heart and wallet's content.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2011
  3. jeepguy

    jeepguy Member

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    i second what jobu said, i would also say try & find some people who will let you try them at the range. see by first hand experience which one is best for you.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2011
  4. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    I own examples of each, and both are excellent rifles. They are also both obsolete in many ways, particularly modularity, ergonomics on the M1A, and scope mounting options on both.

    That said, I personally like the FAL better for all-around purposes, but would quickly choose the M1A for using iron sights to punch paper targets on a known distance range in bright daylight (i.e., CMP service rifle competition).

    I agree 100%. Also an M1A kitted up with rails and stuff weighs 14-15lbs typically. A fully outfitted FAL will end up in the 11-12lb range. The .308 ARs are generally a bit lighter after all is done if you want a lot of accessories and mounting options.
     
  5. TexasPatriot.308

    TexasPatriot.308 Member

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    My Springfield Armory M1A standard loaded I bought about a month ago reminded me of why I love American made Garand type rifles, I already got enough saved to get me the Scout Squad version in a few weeks....I have shot the FAL and I think the M1As outshine em.
     
  6. Vaarok

    Vaarok Member

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    Just follow the conclusions of the Ordinance board during the trials... before they rigged them. FAL all the way. It's an old warhorse, not a lego-block AR, but it's the better rifle in most all regards than a battle-rifle-turned-target-rifle-if-you-spend-twice-what-you-paid-to-start like a M1a.
     
  7. The-Reaver

    The-Reaver Member

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    Having both and loving both equally. I will say that.

    " If you have the money, the M1A is the way to go 100%. But at $55.00 a magazine and a crazy amount of money for that sage stock and or some other after market version. It's a No-Go.
    It's much more affordable to run the FN, I am in the works of turning my Socom 16 into a safe queen, and the FN into the go to rifle. "

    That is my opinion, basically what you can afford I cant do the M1A no matter how much I wan't to I just can't so. FN it is. Was easy for me.
     
  8. Kliegl

    Kliegl member

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    M1A mags are more like 20 a piece where I am.

    I like my M1A a bunch, but, part of the liking is the iron sights. I would not put a scope on it due to the shell ejection path, and I am not too sold on the scout scope style up further front. A red dot out front might be neat.

    I think though, for optics, the FAL solid dustcover replacement mounts let a scope sit lower than one on an M1A.
     
  9. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    M1A mags are only $27, free shipping, for true new USGI mags at:

    http://www.44mag.com/category/m1a_m14_magazines_usgi

    FAL mags are becoming scarce and heading toward $25 for good ones. The old mag price equation has reversed.

    M1A iron sights are far better, but FAL sights are good enough for most uses other than CMP style competition. Both designs are mediocre at best for scope mounting, where a flat top AR is in a whole different (better) category. The FAL is somewhat less mediocre with the quality dust cover mounts, but they aren't perfect. Scoping an M1A is a challenge and eliminates the top-loading capability that I really like, plus it will generally screw up your cheekweld requiring a riser, making overall ergonomics a bit strange, etc.
     
  10. The-Reaver

    The-Reaver Member

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    When I collect my things that are worth collecting I don't waste on Non factory, I don't care if they are " USGI " I am a US-GI 11Bravo and I know how Checkmate industries crap works. I'm perfectly ok with denying them.

    Springfield Armory Mags are http://www.springfield-armory.com/store/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=22_33

    $55.00

    FN Doesn't have a " Factory Magazine " so I go by what is best " IMHO " I actually prefer the Isreali one.
    http://www.gunthings.com/falmag.htm

    You guys can take it as you wan't it.. I'm not going to use korean junk in a Springfield Armory rifle. Nor the " USGI " junk.
     
  11. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    Checkmate makes the Springfield Armory magazines, which SAI then charges nearly 3 times as much for. Buy whatever you want. I have over a dozen CMI mags bought over the last few years and they are all well made and work fine in my M1A.

    I can't tell if you're saying that you've used an M14 in military action. If you have, obviously you have experience with the platform and mags under worse conditions than the rest of us are likely to try. However I don't know what to say when you report that true USGI mags made by CMI are junk, while the SAI mags, which are 100% identical and also made by CMI, are the thing to buy.

    I have FAL surplus magazines from at least four countries and all work great. I've never heard of an FAL magazine made by an FN-licensed manufacturer (most of them state-owned like IMBEL) that didn't work. Oh, some of my magazines were made by FN Herstal in Belgium (the shiny blued followers are the main sign of this). I don't know how that could not be a "factory" FAL magazine.

    I've never actually seen a Korean M14/M1A magazine. I own some of the Taiwan T57 mags and they work pretty well, although I think CMI is better.

    Oh, I do have a couple of the new Korean-made FAL magazines, and those are poor.
     
  12. USSR

    USSR Member

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    If mounting a scope is your intention, then I believe the FAL has a slight advantage. The DSA heavy duty scope mount is a good one and allows for mounting very low with the right scope and rings.

    Don

    FAL1.jpg
     
  13. dprice3844444

    dprice3844444 member

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  14. fragout

    fragout Member

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    Have you fired both types in thier relative "stock" format to find which type you prefer?

    I have owned both examples in the past ( DSA FAL, SAI M1A, NorincoM14S,, along with an HK91.... and had them for several years comparing them, and getting familiar enough with both to make a decision on which one me and mine preferred and why.

    This is what we came up with, and most of it is based on personal experience/preference.

    RELIABILITY : All were very reliable, and no hassles with them here. Being U.S. Army Infantry myself, I have more first hand experience with the M14 service rifle vs the FAL, and have confidence that this type of rifle can handle any types of extremes in relation to climate, terrain, etc..... ( I have used it in several different extremes across the globe, ranging from Iraq, Afghanistan, Panama, and Africa... so my confidence with this type of rifle is fairly high because of this.)
    FWIW, our M1A/M14's did seem to reliably feed a wider range of ammunition better than the FAL.... even though the FAL had an adjustable gas system.

    ERGONOMICS/ MANUAL OF ARMS/OVERALL BALANCE : The M1A/M14 was the definite winner in this category for me and mine.... and by a long shot. The location of the safety in relation to the op-rod handle was a big reason for this, along with mag changes. The design of the M14 lends itself very well as a "point and shoot" type of rifle, and it felt better balanced as compared to the FAL.
    Unlike others, I dont believe that a pistol grip is a mandatory item for rifles such as these, but with the M14/M1A...... one has the option of using either or.
    The M1A/M14 works well for shooting right or left handed from my experience, and is something I do consider to be important when it comes to a rifle.

    LONGEVITY/DURABILITY : Either would make the cut here from my experience. ( Provided that both are maintained properly)

    CURRENT/FUTURE PARTS (magazines) AVAILABILITY : Several companies are now making quality parts for the M14/M1A as of now, and to include magazines, but I don't see alot of Fal components, other than milsurp kits/mags that are quickly drying up stateside. If something were to happen to DSA, they might become so scarce that it wouldn't be worth the trouble.
    We have no issues with the current production checkmate Industry mags, or 60's era GI mags. This includes M14 government rifles as well as the semi auto clones. CMI 20rd GI magazine NSN = 1005-00-628-9048.
    NOTE: This same 20rd magazine is also the same magazine that Springfield Armory Inc (SAI) sells at 55 bucks a pop. The only difference is the logo stamped on the side. Calling USGI crap, then calling SAI mags wonderful equates to lack of knowledge regarding this...since they are both one and the same.
    I cant comment on the Korean mags, as I don't have any. Norinco/Polytech mags that I have had since the early 90's still work fine.

    IRON SIGHTS : We preferred the M1A/M14 here. They can be dialed more precisely fo a given load, are less prone to damage, and has a wide range of options to choose from depending on the application. ( Examples include different sized rear sight apertures and different sized front sight post widths.)
    FWIW...... There is quite a big difference in the irons sights of a Socom vs a Super match for example. This, combined with the difference in sight radius will show a big difference when actually looking down them prior to firing.

    OPTICS MOUNTS/STOCKS : Both have plenty of ways to mount optics nowadays it seems. It all comes down to where a body wants them, and the costs involved. I'm currently running 2 different receiver mounts for the M14/M1A.
    The ARMS #18 split rail, and 2 different versions of the Bassett mount. Both types have their pluses and minuses, but I prefer them over the SEI/Sadlak mounts.
    As with most things made out of rails, the more one adds to the rails, the more weight one ends up with in the end. I don't care for alot of rail space, as I simply do not need it for adding things to, nor due I need the additional weight that comes with it.....but others mileage seem to vary a great deal when it comes to adding things to rails.
    As I mentioned before, I am rather picky at what should or should not be added to a rifle because I like the way it feels and handles as is (overall balance), but also like to use optics. This really comes down to personal preference to such an extent, that one really needs to try it out for themselves at this point. (Just my .02 here)

    OVERALL COSTS : Nowadays, the FAL costs less, and is the clear winner here.If this is the end-all factor in a decision on which to purchase, then it should make decision easier I would think. In our case..... we went with what worked the best for us

    END STATE :
    I sold off the Fal's and HK91, along with several other rifles of various design...... and haven't regretted it since.

    I like the 18 "ish" inch variety personally.........
    SANY1252.jpg
    SANY1245.jpg

    The one at top is an M1A-A1 Bush rifle built from the factory with an SAI (Wilson) std weight 1/11in twist non chrome lined bbl, and all USGI parts.
    The rear sight aperture is std GI, while front sight is 0.062 in (NM)
    (I use a Bassett mount with this rifle when I want glass) Sight radius = 22.75in
    Weight (as pictured) = 8.5lbs
    SANY1267.jpg


    The other is a custom build using a Norinco M14S receiver, and Criterion (Kreiger) 18.5in chrome lined std contour 1/12in twist bbl. Parts makeup is a mix of GI/SEI/OEM ...along with ARMS #18 split rail receiver mount. Rear sight aperture = std GI, and GLFS-H = 0.062in.
    Sight radius = 21.25 in. Weight = 8.9lbs.
    SANY1262.jpg



    LRBM14SABushrifle.jpg
    This one was built by LRB ARMS using their M14SA receiver.
    All NIB/like new USGI parts with same bbl as the M14S mentioned above. SEI GLFS- DT 18. Std GI rear sight aperture. Front sight post = 0.062in
    Weight will be about the same as the M1A-A1, and sight radius will = same as the M14S..... or very close.

    Im thinking about installing an Ultimak M8 rail/red dot sight on the M14SA, but haven't quite made up my mind yet. This combination should allow for co-witness with the iron sights, but wont know for sure until I get my hands on it all. I also will use a Bassett mount for a more traditional scope, as well as a 3gen Raptor NVS.
    http://www.bassettmachine.com/prod_smpr.htm


    My next one will be built off an LRB Arms M25 receiver..... which might be of interest to you regarding optics mounting.
    http://www.lrbarms.com/m14receivers.html

    11B
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2011
  15. TexasPatriot.308

    TexasPatriot.308 Member

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    just wondering....I see lots of troops in Afghanistan with M14s with scopes mounted, any info on what they use as far as mounts and optics?
     
  16. fragout

    fragout Member

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    I have an issued SEI mount on my M14 over here now.(NSN = 5855-01-56-5750

    The scope is a Leupold.

    I changed out the Sage stock/op-rod block for a GI synthetic.

    The SEI mount required me to build up the cheek weld. I was using a velcro cheek piece, but it went to crap, so made my own.

    Brought a Bassett mount as a back up, but haven't needed it as of yet.

    I have a few pre 60/s issued mags, but most are the newer CMI. All of them work fine with exception of one OM marked mag that sustained damage due to shrapnel.

    11B
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2011
  17. bergmen

    bergmen Member.

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    I have a walnut Scout Squad I bought NIB about a year and a half ago. Man, do I love this rifle, can't believe I went this long without one.

    BTW, good write-up on the Scout Squad:

    http://thetruthaboutguns.com/2010/07/bryan-hyde/gun-review-springfield-armory-m1a-scout-squad/

    One other point that I find important (at least to me). The Springfield M1A's are made right here in the United States of America.

    Dan
     
  18. ripp

    ripp member

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    Williams Trigger Specialties always used to say that FAL lockwork was made of soft metal and couldn't be given a trigger job that would hold. Dunno, maybe the newer ones have addressed that issue? if I wanted a hunting rifle, I'd get a Remington, used, for $400 or so. Have you considered what you want it FOR? The AR in 223 is THE match rifle, varmint rifle, defensive rifle etc, and it offers a $150, 3/4 lb, 20 second caliber-swap .22lr conversion unit for low cost, low noise plinking, small game and varmint taking, and training.
    I believe that the M1A receivers are made in Brazil, or at least, they used to be.
     
  19. Strykervet

    Strykervet member

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    I've own or have owned the M14, SR25, FAL, and G3. I can say that the FAL is the most "rounded" choice. The SR25 is the most accurate, but most prone to reliability problems (from my experience, and this was whether or not it was clean). The G3 seemed to be the most reliable, but you gotta get a good one --more junk out there than not these days. It will chew brass up, practically bending it in half, so if you reload, keep that in mind.

    The M14 is rugged, and more accurate in general, than the FAL. The FAL on the other hand, is a well designed and reliable battle rifle. Not a sniper rifle, a battle rifle. While you can scope it (and the DSA mount is the best around) the M14 will provide better accuracy. The M14 will make a good SDM rifle. The FAL will suffice, but I'd rather have the M14 in that role. On the other hand, if I had to kick in doors and live with the rifle, I'd rather have the FAL, mostly for ergonomics. It feels better and it is very well balanced.

    The FAL and the M14 have a lot in common. Both are built TOUGH. They aren't built like that anymore. The FAL has a heavy trigger, and there isn't much you can do about it unless you are crafty (I have mine worked down to about 5 lbs., but I won't go into that here). The M14 trigger is better, but not much so. However, a little work will yield a better trigger than the FAL.

    Magazines. There are more M14 magazines, quality ones anyway, at a better price now than before. Used to be that FAL mags were real cheap and plentiful --good ones too. Now they are mostly junk and costly. The real good ones are getting harder to find and even more expensive. I bet this is mostly due to the fact that there are lots of rifles made now that accept FAL mags, made by manufacturers that don't make magazines. DSA makes a lot of FAL stuff, good stuff too, but they also have had magazines on backorder now for almost a year. A year. I doubt they'll pull it off.

    M14 or FAL? Could be all in the flip of a coin. But if accuracy is important (and I mean here 1 or 2 MOA vs. 3 or 4 MOA) then go with the M14. If a tough battle rifle with good ergonomics and balance is optimal, go with the FAL.

    If money is no option, the M14 with about $1000 worth of upgrades will get you a 7.62 without peer. .5 MOA or less. I also hear you want to get the Springfield rifles of a certain vintage... Supposedly they used to build them using all military parts, but ran out a decade or so ago. Keep that in mind if it is important. Also, believe it or not, the Norinco rifle has a very good reciever (the rest of it is junk though).

    If you want to spend $1000 on a rifle and be done with it, the best all around choice is the FAL. I slapped a rail, scope mount, adj. stock, and reflex sight and ended up with a better battle rifle than the M4, but less accurate. Probably 2-3 MOA. If you go with the FAL, save the good scope for something else.

    You can spend big money on an FAL, but don't bother. Diminishing returns is why; it won't get much more accurate, and it is about as reliable as it can get.
     
  20. Averageman

    Averageman Member

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    Went to a shop here in Colorado Springs and handled both.
    Selling a Sig 556R to get the Scout Squad.
    Seemed the best overall.
    Thanks
    A/M
     
  21. Stevie-Ray

    Stevie-Ray Member

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    I wanted either a HK-91, an M1A, or a FAL over 20 years ago. I ended up with the FAL. (SAR-48HB) I've never been sorry and it's still my favorite rifle to shoot.
     
  22. Averageman

    Averageman Member

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    Going to go with a Scope mount and the forward rail on the Scout-Squad and move between an EO Tech and a 3X9 scope.
    I dont need a lot of extras and looking at everything over all the M1A just felt better in my hands and I dont want to go down the uber tactical road.
    Minimum to get the maximum.
     
  23. bergmen

    bergmen Member.

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    Wait until you go out and sight it in. You are really going to love this rifle. I have shot only Winchester white box ammo so far (until I get set up for reloading of this round) and it has performed flawlessly once a few hundred rounds went through it.

    Dan
     
  24. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer member

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    I own a FAL. I love my FAL. It's just a superb rifle in so many ways.

    Yet, when I pick up an M1A, it just feels better. It has the right "hang" to it. It shoulders better, the sights fall on the target more naturally.

    I'd swap my FAL for a decent M1A without much prompting.
     
  25. bergmen

    bergmen Member.

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    That is exactly what I found as well. Two of my rifles are best at this, my marlin 336 and the M1A. The M1A pulls up to my shoulder as if it were custom made for me and the sights just fall right into place. It is a natural shooter and is exactly what I want in a rifle of this type.

    Dan
     
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