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Posted: 7/11/2003 10:38:32 AM EDT
Well, I built three rifles last week and documents the party here. Well, on Wednesday night, I had my first chance to shoot two of them. The third is awaiting installation of the correct LS. In a word... perfect.

First, was the Imbel built on the take-offs from my SAR48. Gas setting at what would be 5 if it were not an Imbel. It never even hiccuped during the whole range session. I fired about 80 rounds through it without a single FTF or FTE. The only glitch was the BHO. It worked fine but when I inserted a new magazine, I couldn't release it. I could still get the bolt forward by pulling back on the charging handle. I am pretty sure it was just new parkerizing causing it to stick. I have since polished it.

Next was the lightweight. That one took a gas setting of 2 and I'll probably be opening up the gas port a bit. There was a single FTE when it was on 3 but other than that, there were no malfunctions through 80 rounds. It did kick a bit, but nothing too abusive.

On each, I did some slow fire, some rapid fire and shooting from a sitting postion. Both shot the main groups at 2" at 50 yards (longest range at the NRA), which is about as good as I could expect from iron sighted battle rifles when shooting without the aid of a bench. Neither required much windage adjustment.

To say the least, I'm pretty happy. Not only do they look like new factory production rifles, but they shoot like it as well.


Link Posted: 7/12/2003 3:38:32 PM EDT
Cliffy, great report. I noticed your FAL build party pics both here and at FALfiles.com.

A friend of mine purchased a DSA carbine (at Virginia Arms, if you've heard of them). I fired it a bit at the range, and was very impressed. It is a very nice rifle in finish, heft (heavy enough to feel solid, but not too heavy), recoil (not nearly as bad as I though, very easy to control), and just looks nice! I'm hooked, and would like one myself.

Curious about info on what is out there regarding kits, parts, etc... Admittantly I am not clear on the regulations regarding some of them, as it seems you must have a certain number of US made parts???

It's hard staring from the beginning. I'm exploring FALfiles a bit, but any info you can give me on what specifically to avoid and what is generally considered good (quality, kits, COTS, etc...) would be appreciated.

Maybe I'll see you at the range sometime.
Link Posted: 7/12/2003 4:41:58 PM EDT
You have no idea just how big a question that is. It really depends on how much you want to spend and what you want to accomplish. If you are looking for a replica of a military arm, it is one thing. If you want shooter, its another. Beauty queens can be done as well. You can spend as little as $500 or as much as $1000 on parts for a build. You also need to actually build it which means either buying about $300 worth of tools or shipping it off to somebody who will build it (generally around $100) or finding somebody with tools to help you.

If you are looking for the easiest build, get an STG kit from DSA for $300, a Coonan receiver from FAC and 5 or 6 other compliance parts from Tapco. Best bet is to get the hammer, trigger and sear made by FSE for $52, a new pistol grip and charging handle and a brake. You can leave off the US brake if you cut the threads off.

If you are serious about this, I suggest three things. First, go to the Hometown forum here and look in the VA section. Read all the posts from me, 300whisper and Curt and see what we went through preparing for this. I did a post where I gave 4 suggestions for different configurations and what kits you need. Next, play around more at the FALfiles. Finally, e-mail me for my phone number. I'll be glad to talk your ear off on your different options and what can be done.

Hopefully, I'll have pictures of my STG build up tomorrow. It will knock your socks off. Its a beauty.
Link Posted: 7/12/2003 8:53:04 PM EDT
Thanks! Sounds like there are many options to go with, so this will take some research.

I'll start checking into the post archives you mentioned this week. Unfortunately I don't have the money on hand to start right now. Fortunately, I am doing some major house cleaning (old ham radio stuff, etc...) to make "room" for this. It will also give me some time to do the necessary homework.

I have an idea of where I want to go first, with more of a practical rifle that is reliable without much worry to cosmetics (but I haven't seen an ugly FAL yet). I have an idea that my collection will include more than one eventually!

I'm sure I'll be talking to you more soon!
Link Posted: 7/13/2003 8:22:45 AM EDT
Technically, you can build only one but good luck! I couldn't decide on a configuration and ended up with three. 300Whisper tried the same thing and did two but is already looking into a third. These things are addicitve.

If practical is the goal, I suggest a lightweight. The parts you will need are the following:

-STG front end from DSA for $95
-Spare parts kit from Dans sporting goods for $50. This includes bolt, carrier, bolt hold open, mag catch, HTS with springs and such.
-handful of parts from Tapco including locking lever and lug, rear sight, tang screw, rear swivel with screws and a hinge screw. This will run about $40 worth of stuff.

For US parts:

-DSA aluminum lower $95.
-Penguin economy stock and butt pad for $30ish.
-Tapco aluminum charging handle for $30
-Tapco cheap shit for end for $15
-Tapco M249 pistol grip for $20
-Coonan receiver for $200 from FAC

The end result will be a bad ass battle rifle that weighs in at just 7.75 pounds and shoots like a champ. You'll have to cut the barrel back to 17 or 18 inches as well.

An alternate method is to skip the misc. parts from Tapco and Dans and just get a full STG kit for $300. That way, you know you have all the various little parts you need.
Link Posted: 7/15/2003 7:31:41 PM EDT
Cliffy, do you know of an online source of a good exploded diagram? It would be nice to get an idea of the number of parts involved.

Been reading up on some of the posts here and at FAL files. Truly lots of info to digest. Inch, metric, Type I, II, III, parts counts, etc.... I like the idea you listed above, and think it is along the idea I had for my first. Are you planning another build soon? I'd be happy to bring some burgers or beer to stand by and watch.

Still reading...
Link Posted: 7/16/2003 4:49:39 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/16/2003 4:54:22 AM EDT by davidp14]
im dying to finish my imbel. i just need the HTS from fse and my upper reciever now. ive pretty much refinished the whole thing and im waiting on the money to finish. i used the duplicolor method that bandit form falfiles used. it came out really nice, i went to the range the other day and i happened to have the lower in my range box and a old guy there saw it and started asking me all kinds of questions about how to build a fal, when he saw the ar15 i built he aked if id help him build one and got my number. i think i hooked another...

oh squib, in case youe interested
$99 imbel kit from tapco
$25 set of US furniture from a guy @ falfiles.com
$49 HTS by fse from tapco
$290 for FAC reciever, cut & recrown and barrel reciever by www.heavyarmsllc.com
$3 can of duplicolor paint from wally world
$20 for five mags at tapco

for comparison i spent almost twice that building my AR15. you cant beat that!

diagram:
www.fototime.com/{20B8156A-53B3-41DD-880C-E6CA95309D63}/picture.JPG
Link Posted: 7/16/2003 10:30:06 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/16/2003 10:38:23 AM EDT by cliffy109]
Kits are a bit scarce now. The $100 ones are history. If you look at the Marketplace in the FALfiles, Double G Gunsmithing is about to relaes about 100 R1 kits. These are Rhodesian units and should be in decent shape. He is going to be selling them for $170 delivered. He is asking for e-mails to be on the list for this batch. For $170, you can't beat it right now.

If this is something you are considering, buy kits NOW. If you don't want to bother with refinishing, get an STG kit. The STG kits also have the best barrels.

There is another member at the Hometown VA section who is interested in a build party. I'm done spending money on the FALs for a while but I've offered technical assistance if he can round up a few more guys.
Link Posted: 7/16/2003 10:36:04 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Squib:
Truly lots of info to digest. Inch, metric, Type I, II, III, parts counts, etc....



A good rule of thumb here is to not bother with inch kits. There isn't a good source for quality inch receivers. As for receiver types, unless you spend the money for a DSA, your choice is types 1 or 3. Coonan is a US part and is a type 1. Imbel is a type 3 and is not a US part. Personally, I'd match the upper to the type of lower you get. Its not required but the finished product looks better. Most (but not all) Imbel kits are type 3 and all STG kits are type 1 (there are some type 2s out there, but you can't tell the difference on the finished product). The R1 kits are type 1 and R3 (Rhodesian) are type 3.
Link Posted: 7/16/2003 7:43:34 PM EDT
I'm assuming that any "upper" will fit a receiver of any time, provided that they are both either metric or inch (understand your previous statement regarding inch designs).

Davisp14: I am very interested! I've been TDY all week, and this is all I have been thinking about other than work. I have resolved to free some cash once I return this weekend so I can either get a rifle or the necessary parts. I found the post that Cliffy mentioned...maybe I'll be able to get some parts together by then.

Also Davis...is there a legend somewhere to the pic you sent? Thanks for the diagram, just what I was looking for, but would like to be able to identify the parts.
Link Posted: 7/17/2003 4:44:22 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Squib:
...is there a legend somewhere to the pic you sent? Thanks for the diagram, just what I was looking for, but would like to be able to identify the parts.



sorry, i tried to remember where i got it from but couldnt..ill keep looking.

i would also suggest you get one or both of these
www.tapco.com/product_information.asp?number=BK2483&back=yes&dept=150&last=18

www.tapco.com/product_information.asp?number=PST2401&variation=&back=yes

i got the book, it has a complete disassembly with pictures and i found it very helpful so far. it shows you how to launch greandes too.
BTW last night i refinished the last of my small parts and put the lower together. except for trigger mechinisim. the only thing was the bolt to the butt tube did not come out so i had to put the butt on backwards, it was hell fighting that spring! my arms are sore today. but i got it together and it looks really good!
Link Posted: 7/17/2003 4:52:27 AM EDT

Originally Posted By cliffy109:
Kits are a bit scarce now. The $100 ones are history.
If this is something you are considering, buy kits NOW. .



very true!
you can still "piece" one together though. (i hope to do this for my second FAL)
i think you could go through sveral places to do it. dont forget FAC still has STG kits for 250 that they say are in excellent shape.
Link Posted: 7/18/2003 8:11:25 AM EDT

Originally Posted By davidp14:
BTW last night i refinished the last of my small parts and put the lower together. except for trigger mechinisim. the only thing was the bolt to the butt tube did not come out so i had to put the butt on backwards, it was hell fighting that spring! my arms are sore today. but i got it together and it looks really good!



Huh? I think I understand the problem but not your cure. I had something similar happen with my STG from DSA. The tube unscrewed unstead of the nut at the en. After destroying one spring while trying to stuff it in, I learned the trick. If you don't have a stock tool. use a .30 cal cleaning rod. First, get the nut off. Then, screw the tube into the receiver. Put the stock on. Put the nut through the 30 cal rod and then put the spring on the rod. The 30 cal rod keeps the spring in place while you stuff it down the tube. Use a large screw driver to finish the job.
Link Posted: 7/18/2003 3:39:20 PM EDT
cliff, nice information on the recoil spring installation, i have always used a straightened out section of a coathanger, but everyone always asks about how to do it, really easy, the only tool really useful to buy is the tool to remove the extractor
Link Posted: 7/19/2003 5:02:27 PM EDT
i do have the tool. the spring was half way in and half way out and the tool was not long enough. the rest of the spring just sort of flopped out the end of the tube. i put the recoil tube with the nut still on it and the tool on the nut through the stock and rested the stock on my knee and tried to push the spirngs into the tube. every time i got it close to all the way compressed it slipped out of my hands and shot upwards. luckily i didnt ruin it. i cut the crap out of my thumbs though. and i think i taught my 3yr old son a few new words.
Link Posted: 7/25/2003 11:00:19 AM EDT
OK... here is the final range report from my builds. As you know, I was unable to shoot the STG with the zebrawood stocks because I needed the correct LS. Well, I got that in a week ago and was able to shoot it for the first time on Wednesday night.

The results of build #3: Perfect again! Not a single malfunction of any type. The sights didn't even need drift adjustment. Its dead on, reliable and accurate. At least accurate enough for a battle rifle which means 2.5" 10 shot group at 50 with irons, milsurp and fired from sitting on the floor (not from a bench).

I was also able to shoot the other two that I built and was able to correct the two extremely minor issues from them. The carbine was using a nearly closed gas system but I drilled it out. It is now firing, ejecting and locking open on a gas setting of 3. The Imbel was having problems with the BHO. It wasn't that it wouldn't lock open. It wouldn't release when pushed down. It turns out it wasn't a rifle problem but a BHO problem that was cured with a replacement that I had at home.

You may or may not appreciate how satisfying it is to build three rifles and have each one of them work flawlessly. I can tell you that if you even decide to build one, the pride is awesome and worth the time and money spent. Add to that the fact that you now possess one of the best battle rifles ever designed and you've got a genuine bargin on your hands.
Link Posted: 7/25/2003 12:19:11 PM EDT
GREAT NEWS!!
thanks for the encouraging words for those of us who are a few steps behind you.
and congradulations!
Link Posted: 7/25/2003 1:19:41 PM EDT
I was lucky enough to catch Cliffy coming in before I left the range. The rifles look great, and the carbine is definitely a treat to shoot.

If I hadn't decided before that I was going to build, I've definitely made the decision now. Hopefully I will have his luck regarding a problem-free build.

Time to look at parts...
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