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Why not the FN/FAL over the M14 and AR-10?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by SharpsDressedMan, Apr 5, 2011.

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  1. SharpsDressedMan

    SharpsDressedMan member

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    A point was made regarding weight and design being about same for the M14 and AR-10, but I think the FN/FAL might actually be the better design regarding construction and weight. Anyone familiar with all three that has an opinion with how the FAL stands against the others?
     
  2. AndyC

    AndyC Member

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    FAL is likely the least accurate of the 3 - it's a battle rifle that runs 2-3 MOA typically. On the other hand, it's a strong and reliable design, battle-proven in countless wars by over 90 countries around the globe; it happens to be my favorite.

    (I know I'm going to get someone saying how theirs was junk - whatever, too bad for you).
     
  3. iamkris

    iamkris Member

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    In it's military guise I don't think the FAL is less accurate than the military versions of the M14 or the AR10. I will grant that either can be more easily made accurate. Most military M14s will only shoot 2-3 MOA and most ARs (if the internet commandos tell the truth) will do about the same.

    As for comparisons, I own all 3 and here's my "standard" answer (with HK series thrown in as well since it is part of my cut and paste)


    M1A
    Pro
    • reliable design
    • full power cartridge
    • very comfortable (for most) stock
    • can be quite accurate
    • great sights
    • safety is convenient location in trigger guard
    Con
    • scope mounting is awkward over the receiver
    • field stripping has lots of part/not straightforward
    • can't be cleaned from chamber side with a rod
    • expensive mags

    FAL
    Pro
    • reliable design
    • full power cartridge
    • extremely good ergonomics
    • cheap mags
    • extraordinarily easy to break down, field strip, clean
    • adjustable gas system
    Con
    • sights are adequate but better A2 style sights exist
    • triggers not known to be great but they can be improved

    HK91/G3/PTR91
    Pro
    • reliable design
    • full power cartridge
    • cheap mags
    • somewhat easy to break down, field strip, clean
    • sights are adequate
    Con
    • no bolt hold open
    • abysmal ergonomics - safety selector is near impossible to reach, cocking handle is in terrible place, mag release is hard to reach
    • Triggers are absolutely horrible but they can be improved

    AR-series
    Pro
    • proven design
    • full power cartridge
    • fantastic ergonomics
    • extraordinarily easy to break down, field strip, clean
    • very modular
    Con
    • expensive mags
    • not as common...but still plenty of parts around
    • charging handle is in a silly place
     
  4. Grunt Medic TXARNG

    Grunt Medic TXARNG Member

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    The FN FAL is a Main Battle Rifle.

    The M14 was originally fielded as a Main Battle Rifle with Squad Automatic Weapon capability, and with modification has been re-fielded as a Squad Designated Marksman rifle.

    The only variant of the AR-10 platform used by conventional forces is the M110 Semiautomatic Sniper system, a dedicated intermediate range sniper rifle fielded with both suppressor and night vision capabilities.

    FNFALRhodesian.jpg

    M21A5CrazyHorse.jpg

    M110SASSsniperACU.jpg

    SO, each has its own role and capabilities - even though they are chambered for the same 7.62x51mm NATO caliber.

    EDIT: please don't assume that your experience with civilian weapons - or even weapons built from military parts - lets you evaluate the relative merits of issued weapons. You can get an AR that is a tack driver or one that barely holds minute-of-man at 300 yards - and neither is indicative of the performance of issued M4s, for example.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
  5. 451 Detonics

    451 Detonics Member

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    I choose my FAL over my M1A every time, in fact I don't think my M1A has seen the range in a couple years unless Dad has taken it out...it has been living at his house since he doesn't own a .308 MBR. I have shot the AR platforms a good bit as well when I set up the optics and triggers on my brother's. I also shoot a CETME a good bit when I want to shoot optics (I have gone to irons only on the FAL, they work great for me). The FAL has the best record of any .308 MBR with use in over 90 countries. For me the choice would be my FAL first and CETME second. I really like the ergonomics of the FAL. Safety, charging handle, magazine release...all work great for me. I know many complain about the mag release, in competition drop free mags are fine but in combat hanging onto your mags is a good idea, ammo may be available but not always magazines. Mine has been reliable to a fault since the day I bought it, it is an older Ohio Rapid Fire build btw.

    my FAL...

    fnfal1a1.jpg

    the CETME...

    cetme3.jpg

    and if I want to shoot .30 caliber in an AR I shoot my 300 Whisper...

    whisper-1.jpg
     
  6. Snowdog

    Snowdog Member

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    The only personal experience I have concerning the accuracy of an FAL is with my Springfield SAR-4800. It's has no discernible deficit in the accuracy department. In fact, I'll go as far as saying it's among the most accurate rifles I had (and I indeed have a few).

    I don't know if this is typical of the breed or something having more to do with the manufacturer, but I'm quite pleased with it.
     
  7. InkEd

    InkEd Member

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    I would go

    M-14
    CETME/G3
    FAL
    AR-10
     
  8. Fullboar1

    Fullboar1 Member

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    My father as well as other Aussie Vietnam Vets or who were in the armed forces from the early 60's to the late 80's have a soft spot for the FAL (here they were known as the SLR - Self Loading Rifle or L1A1). We made them here in Australia under contract for our armed forces and also exported them to a number of countries. I know on the day we had to hand in our Semi Auto's my father handed over 2 SLR's (as well as a number of others) and we watched as they cut them (SLR's) in half across the receiver with a metal cut off saw and I looked over at my father and he had a tear in his eye. It wasn't by accident the FAL was one the most use battle rifles in the world.

    Medic as well as the Knights M110 I thought your armed forces were trialing some other AR-10 type variant like the
    HK 417 and the Scar 17, although the Scar is more like the FAL then an AR-10 variant (Scar top receiver wont fix onto an AR bottom receiver where the HK416/17 will fit to a AR-15/10 bottom receiver)
     
  9. Tirod

    Tirod Member

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    When it came down to actual purchase, the British bought an AR10 from an American suppler. They didn't refurb any FNFAL's - they were no longer in inventory.

    We refurbished 5,000 M14's with as much M4 technology as we could, issued them in Afghanistan, and the war moved on. It's reported by units they keep them in the rack unless specifically in high country with open terrain.

    The Stoner design offers a superior scope mount on the upper, which isn't a stressed part holding the bolt lugs and barrel separately. That's handled by the barrel extension, and having the piston in the BCG with no operating handle to add weight makes the AR10 lighter and less expensive. It can also handle full power civilian .308 loads, where the military designs are actually limited to the lower pressure 7.62x51 NATO.

    The AR10 is more ergonomic, lighter, simpler, uses optics that can mount behind the chamber in a secure mount, and takes down just as easily as the FN - more so because piston access is in the bolt, not out separately on the barrel.

    Hence, the British buying the L129A1. http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2010/01/03/british-adopting-ar-10-style-sharpshooter-rifle/

    They should know, they did use the FNFAL. It's gone for a lot of good reasons.
     
  10. Fullboar1

    Fullboar1 Member

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    Our Special Forces (SAS) were using the M4 but it has been dropped for the more reliable (in sandy desert conditions) piston driven HK416 and HK417.
     
  11. Rancho Relaxo

    Rancho Relaxo Member

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    I like the FN/FAL much better than the M14 and AR-10. I like the looks and the more proven combat record doesn't hurt.
     
  12. crossrhodes

    crossrhodes Member

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    All are good

    I have to agree with iakris comment. And it all comes down to what you are issued and your responsibility to become the expert in handling that firearm, regardless of the pros & cons. I wouldn't hesitate to use any one of them i n a bad situation and a lot of bad guys are no more because of those fine firearms. I grew up on the M14 but I'm a hardcore AR guy but love my L1A1 just as much.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2011
  13. 451 Detonics

    451 Detonics Member

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    Defense Review has received reports from some of our industry contacts, the HK-416 receiver-cracking issue has led to U.S. Special Operations personnel operating under SOCOM (USSOCOM) to switch out their HK416s with Colt M4A1 Carbines, so they’re now back to using direct-gas-impingement guns. The fact is, the Colt M4A1 Carbine is truly combat proven, and significantly more so than ANY gas piston/op-rod AR out there, including the HK416, if you’re talking the total number of rounds fired through a given system/platform in actual combat.
     
  14. Fullboar1

    Fullboar1 Member

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    I am sure HK will get it fixed and there has been a number of AR's including the M4 that has had problems with the cracking receivers. Now not trying to be a smart ass but I was just wondering what you thought. Do you think Colt has been the only supplier of your main battle rifles for over 40 years because
    Colt are the only company that can make a decent battle rifle or because Colt makes massive political and campain donations and lobbies senators ect and employes truckloads of retired Generals on there board of directors and as advisors ect. Now I cant find the article I was looking for that quoted much of this but here is a couple of good ones anyway
    http://www.veteranstoday.com/2008/04/24/colt-s-grip-on-military-rifle-criticized/
    http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/the-usas-m4-carbine-controversy-03289/#hk
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2011
  15. Derek Zeanah

    Derek Zeanah System Administrator Staff Member

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    People who like the FALs seem to really like them. I bought one based on what I'd read, and I've fired a full auto "dealer sample" FAL, and I just still don't like the interface of the thing. Chambering a round with your left hand while in the prone makes all kinds of sense, but I've never gotten used to it.

    It's not a bad gun at all, but if I was looking to buy another .308 semi auto I'd rule out the FAL. Personal preference.

    As far as construction and weight go I don't think the FAL is at a serious disadvantage to the M1A or the .308 AR pattern rifles. Ergonomically though...
     
  16. M1key

    M1key Member

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    Owned or shot all on the list.

    FAL is my first choice, robust, tunable gas system, plethora of parts, cheap mags, very good battlefield accuracy in military issue.

    M1As need to be solidly bedded or double lugged to achieve levels of accuracy necessary for precision shooting (sniping), if that is an objective. In that case, a good bolt rifle would be preferred.

    I would really not choose any of the other options.

    M
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2011
  17. Sheepdog1968

    Sheepdog1968 Member

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    In a book called Boston's Gun Bible, he spends the better part of 20 pages devoted to which of these two rifles. It's worth owing this book. It's a close call either way.
     
  18. RockyMtnTactical

    RockyMtnTactical Member

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    The FAL is a great weapon. The main thing that is lacking is a good way to mount optics.
     
  19. jeepguy

    jeepguy Member

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    i have had both, sold the fal, kept the m1a loaded & then bought an 18" m1a. as much as i thought how cool the fal looked and rugged it was, i just didn't care for it.
     
  20. 451 Detonics

    451 Detonics Member

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    The DSA mount works very well but I have always considered optic to be the secondary sight system on a MBR. The FAL's iron sights work very well and I normally shoot mine sans optics.
     
  21. surfinUSA

    surfinUSA Member

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    I'm really considering getting a SCAR17 (if the price comes down) or the new Colt SP901. But since I've never had a chance to shoot either, at this point I'm just interested. But at $3K for the SCAR I'm not too interested.
     
  22. Tirod

    Tirod Member

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    I am sure HK will get it fixed and there has been a number of AR's including the M4 that has had problems with the cracking receivers. Now not trying to be a smart ass but I was just wondering what you thought. Do you think Colt has been the only supplier of your main battle rifles for over 40 years because
    Colt are the only company that can make a decent battle rifle or because Colt makes massive political and campain donations and lobbies senators ect and employes truckloads of retired Generals on there board of directors and as advisors ect. Now I cant find the article I was looking for that quoted much of this but here is a couple of good ones anyway


    http://www.nytimes.com/1988/10/03/nyregion/army-drops-colt-as-m16-rifle-maker.html

    FN made M16A2's, which is still in service in larger numbers than the M4. Colt hasn't been the only supplier. Others include the Hydramatic Division of GM, and Harrington and Richardson.

    Instead of cranking out a completely bogus rant filled conspiracy, how about sticking to the OP's thread?

    I mentioned the L129A1 recently adopted for Brit snipers, were you aware the SAS adopted the M16 decades ago? They abandoned the FNFAL because it's inferior and no longer met the demands of modern combat.

    If anything, only the AR10 pattern has survived and continues to be adopted as issue to this day. The civilian aftermarket in FNFALS and HK's exists on parts purchased from guns decommissioned. Both makers have abandoned the designs and sold off the tooling.

    It's 2011, it's an AR world.
     
  23. 451 Detonics

    451 Detonics Member

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    How did we get on .223 rifles anyway...lol...this was a .308 thread.

    As for the trigger on the FAL, Williams Trigger Specialties will do a trigger job for 80 bucks that will get you a 4 pound trigger with almost zero creep and a 70% reduction in mechanical energy needed to fire the rifle. All WTS trigger work has both a money back guarantee and lifetime warranty.
     
  24. merlinfire

    merlinfire Member

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    Why did america use the M-16, russia the aK-47, and germany the g3? variations of the "not invented here syndrome".
     
  25. henschman

    henschman Member

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    Why not the FAL over the M14 or AR-10?

    I have experience with all of the above, and the reason I go with the M-14 over the FAL is because it has better sights, a better trigger, and is more accurate. Of the two, the FAL is probably the most reliable, though not by much, and both are actually excellent in that category, so I don't consider reliability a determining factor... both are good enough IMO, and quite a bit better than the AR platform. With an M-14, it is possibly a little easier to clear malfunctions when they DO happen, with the reciprocating charging handle, ability to provide direct positive force on the bolt in either direction, and the open top receiver providing better access to the chamber area. Weight is certainly not a determining factor, as they weigh nearly the same.

    The sights are probably the biggest determining factor for me... you just can't beat the M14's nice easy 1 MOA clicks for both windage and elevation right at the rear sight, with a BDC on the elevation knob going out to 1200m, and its outstanding sight radius. A Metric FAL has pretty good sights, and definitely better than a L1A1 pattern, but they still take tools to adjust, and the sight radius isn't as good. The rear sight is in the right place, right at the rear of the receiver, but they cheaped out and put the front sight on the gas block, instead of on the end of the barrel like they should have. The FAL is probably a little easier to mount optics on than an M-14... they usually don't end up needing as high of a cheek riser. But M14's aren't as hard to scope than some make them out to be.

    As for the .308 AR's, they are more accurate than either the M14 or FAL, but not as reliable. I rate their sights in between the FAL and M14 (that's assuming a rifle length barrel and standard 20" sight radius). The triggers really vary by manufacturer, but you can put as good of a trigger as you want in it since they take AR-15 triggers. They are the easiest to mount optics on. They have no weight advantage on the FAL or the M14. It is the hardest to clear malfunctions with, with the 1-way non reciprocating bolt handle in an awkward position. The rest of the ergonomics are really good though, and mags drop free unlike on the other 2 rifles.

    The G3 platform is highly reliable and inherently accurate (though probably not as accurate as most .308 ARs). However, they have poor sights -- I rate them worse than the FAL because they require tools for any adjustment except for switching between diopters, the diopters only go out to 400m, the 100m one is a wierd notch sight that is hard to use, and sight radius isn't any better than the FAL. Also they have horrible triggers. A lot of people don't like their ergonomics. Mags drop free though.

    I rank them in this order:

    M14
    FAL
    AR
    G3

    Just my .02... everyone has their preference. The important thing is to be skilled with whatever rifle you have. Any one of these will get the job done in capable hands. The M14 just makes the job the easiest for me.
     
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