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View Full Version : FAL or M1A ... I think I need one of them. Educate me.


Sixer
July 10, 2012, 02:02 PM
Ok, "NEED" might not be accurate... But I think I've settled on my next purchase being a semi-auto rifle in .308 win.

I'd like something in .308 that has decent range, accurate at medium to long distances, semi-automatic, and won't set me back more than $2,000.

I've got the bolt action rifle covered. This will be more of a "because I want it" purchase ;) Something that would be more of a bad a$$ "battle rifle" type gun.

I prefer to stay away from the AR platform... nothing against it, love my AR-15... but I'd like to mix it up a bit.

I've been looking at an M1A as well as the FAL. I know that I want to steer clear of the cheaper FAL clones... but that's about where my knowledge stops.

Any input would be great! Thanks.

Crow Hunter
July 10, 2012, 02:17 PM
I'd like something in .308 that has decent range, accurate at medium to long distances, semi-automatic, and won't set me back more than $2,000.

Is that including optics and mount or just the rifle itself?

What is your definition of "accurate" and how much fiddling are you willing to do or $ to spend to get "accurate"?

What is your definition of "long range"?

Both of those rifles can be made "accurate" but both may require tinkering to get there and both will most likely require expensive mounts for the optics if you are wanting to do "long range".

Neither are known for out of the box accuracy over the population. Some get great ones, some get 8 MOA out of the box. It all depends on the stackup.

There will be some guys who shoot High Power or Service Rifle who can comment more.

Just be sure you don't set yourself up for disappointment.

As to brands. I think you are pretty much restricted to either Springfield Armory and DS Arms for new production. There may be others, but I don't know for sure.

5.56RifleGuy
July 10, 2012, 02:20 PM
http://www.armslist.com/posts/433309/milwaukee-wisconsin-rifles-for-sale--springfield-sar-48-match-fal

That is a non parts kit FAL. I believe it would be South American in origin.

something like that would be nice.

misterE
July 10, 2012, 02:42 PM
I absolutely love my m1a. Have never shot a fal, so I'll not be able to comment on them.

However, my m1a setup is sub moa with federal gmm and it cost less than $2000.

First, I bought a "loaded" version, slightly used for $1400. These are the ones with medium weight match grade barrels, match sights, and a match trigger. Bought it off of one of my buddy's dads and he had only put 200 rounds through it. This rifle shot 2 inch groups at 100 yards with open sights which blew my mind. So I decided to scope it to eliminate some of the human error and see just how accurate it really was. Put an aluminum sadlak scope mount on it for $180, then a Leopoldo vx1 for $240. Rifle shoe 1 1/4" groups at 100 yards. Then I shimmed the gas system - $10 in shims and an easy do it yourself job, shimmed the sides of e receiver with card stock, and put a $40 sadlak match spring guide on it.

Rifle now shoots sub moa with my best 5 shot groups measuring 5/8" at 100 off of sand bags. Cost around $1870 all together.

Like I said, can't comment on fal, and these are just my experiences with my m1a. Maybe this will help. I would recommend shooting both of course if you get the chance. I would imagine the fal may be lighter, I dunno.

Sixer
July 10, 2012, 03:54 PM
Is that including optics and mount or just the rifle itself?

The less I spend on the rifle, the sooner I can add the optic, mount, bells and whistles... etc.

"Long range" for me would be 300 - 500 yds... but even that doesn't seem all that likely on a regular basis. I just wan't something capable of getting out there. I don't expect it to shoot super awesome groups at that range... just Minute of Zombie ;)

Rifle now shoots sub moa with my best 5 shot groups measuring 5/8" at 100 off of sand bags. Cost around $1870 all together.


I would be thrilled with that. Great info.

Crow Hunter
July 10, 2012, 04:12 PM
Long range" for me would be 300 - 500 yds... but even that doesn't seem all that likely on a regular basis

Minute of person at 500 yards is probably fairly easily attainable.

Just make sure that if you are planning on optics that you budget for a good quality scope mount. Especially for the M1a (not sure about the FAL the only ones I have shot were iron sights).

A good mount is going to run you a couple $100 plus the magnified optics. And with the M1a, you need a good mount. They are rough on mounts.

Honestly, most people I know, prefer the AR-10 type after fooling with M1a's for a while. (My huge M-14 fan brother is one of them) He vastly prefers his Larue Predatar to any of the 3 or 4 M1a's that he now owns. He owned 5 at one time I think.

I only know 2 guys that have FALs and they like them. But they just use them "as issued" and don't mount optics on them.

wogpotter
July 10, 2012, 04:18 PM
Having owned both here's a "pros & cons" for them side by side.

Ergonomics:
FAL hands down. You could help the M1a with an E2 type pistol grip stock, but that won't do the whole thing.

Iron Sights:
M1a beats the FAL by a mile.

Optics addition (scope or red dot/holosight).
Fal with an aftermarket dustcover (ARMS or DSA depending on your preferences for permanently fixed/slide on slide off.) The M1a's built in mount is less than stellar.

Magazines:
FAL, comes in 5, 10, 20, 25 & 30 round versions.


Trigger:
M1a. Much nicer & nowhere as variable in feel from rifle to rifle.

Gas:
FAL. The adjustment takes a bit of getting used to (it's reversed from intuitave) but it will run about anything you can stuff into it.

Muzzle devices:
FAL. You have to have something on the barrel with an M1a, but a FAL can be fitted with many different types of flash supressor, muzzle break, or other widget, or left bare.

Operation:
I like the left-handed charging of the FAL over the M1a's Garand type system.

BHO:
FAL is a tad easier to release.

Sling use:
M1a. Dont even think of using a sling as a shooting aid with a FAL.

Bipod, if you go for one.
FAL, way better & folds flush when not in use.

Maintenance:
About even. The FALs gas system is easier to clean (no tools needed), but the M1a needs cleaning less, take your pick. The FAL is designed to be completely fieldstripped for maintenance with just an unfired bullet. The M1a needs some tools.

Accuracy:
M1a. FAL is designed for 3.5 MOA. A good FAL wil give you 2, but probably only with handloads.

Brass:
If you reload you're going to dislike both. However a well-tuned FAL will ding brass less than an M1a. The M1a makes a diagonal gash in the case as it ejects. This is caused by the square front of the sharging handle whacking the case to make it eject forward, not back. A poorly tuned FAL will beat the hell out of brass however. The big clue is brass kisses on the reciever.

Now the AR-10.....................:D

Sixer
July 10, 2012, 04:33 PM
Operation:
I like the left-handed charging of the FAL over the M1a's Garand type system.



I do everything right-handed... except when it comes to rifles :)
Great info! The FAL platform is sounding good. I'm sure you are 100% right on the AR-10... but I've wanted either an M1A or FAL for a while, so it's going to be tough to go in that direction.

Of course I plan on owning them all some day :D

GregM
July 10, 2012, 04:40 PM
Everything Wogpotter said! I own both, and you don't have to spend much over $800 to get a really good FAL. You have to know what your looking at, and it gets complicated a bit as there are inch and metric versions. I prefer the inch pattern FALs personally.

GregM

ronl
July 10, 2012, 05:26 PM
M!A. Much more accurate. Properly tuned it will easily shoot groups half the size of a good FAL. I have an M1A loaded that was built out of USGI parts and properly bedded and I very much doubt that there is an FAL around that can begin to hang with it as far as accuracy is concerned. Don't get me wrong, FAL is a good battle rifle, and very reliable, but in the accuracy department, the M1A wins hands down.

jbcricket
July 10, 2012, 06:27 PM
check out DSArms. They are making what many believe to be the best FAL's ever made. I have the 16" carbine and love it! Ergonomics are great, accuracy seems to be quite good tho i admit i have yet to sit down at a bench and ring out some 100 groups. Factory open sights leave a little to be desired but they'll do until you can make some modifications. Quite a few aftermarket items available as well. I bought a scope mount rail with attached brass catcher from dsarms and an aftermarket flash suppressor. Gonna put a light rail on the front stock, only other mod i might do is get some flip up ar style sights for it. I think you'd be quite satisfied with one of these, i know i am. Think the retail price is around $1700.00

barnbwt
July 10, 2012, 06:44 PM
FNAR

Not a FAL or "battle rifle", but still pretty bad-a$$. Based on the Browning BAR short-stroke rotating bolt action, but with 20rnd mag, nice plastic stock, and rails everywhere. I always reccomend this oft-ignored option for those seeking a "semi-auto .308". Around 1000$ (less used) gets you gar-ohn-teed MOA accuracy out of the gate.

TCB

KChen986
July 10, 2012, 07:21 PM
Wogpotter pretty much nailed it.

I think the FAL is the more user friendly rifle. M1A felt somewhat clunky in my hands. Sold my M1A, but kept my FAL.

Cue SR420 with a picture.

FrosSsT
July 10, 2012, 08:04 PM
Id go with the M1A

James K
July 10, 2012, 09:10 PM
Unless you just want to play "cool" with somethng that looks like a selective fire rifle, go with the M1A. The straight(er) line stock of the FAL is better for full automatic (and necessitates the pistol grip) but for a conventional stock semi-auto that still has a large magazine capacity, the M1A is hard to beat.

Jim

GregM
July 10, 2012, 10:34 PM
Sixer, your just a state away. Come to Kentucky, I'll let you shoot mine all you want. Trying both is really the only way to tell which one is best for YOU. You'll always get different opinions, but they're not really telling you anything. I literally had to buy both to decide. Each has it's merits. M1a with GI parts can make nice small groups. Get one with commercial parts made at quitting time on Friday and it'll be a 4-5 moa rifle. FAL is similar, you need good condition surplus parts and a good quality receiver. Either will hit man size targets at the range you want to shoot(if you get a good one).

GregM

Ridge_Runner_5
July 10, 2012, 10:53 PM
I think the M1A has the edge on the FAL with regards to cleaning it. As a piston gun, the only area getting fouled by carbon is the throat of the barrel and the gas cylinder itself. And the latter can go several hundred rounds before it needs to be cleaned (you remove the oprod and tilt the gun. If the piston slides out just by gravity, you don't need to clean it)

Yes the M1A needs tools to tear down, but they are designed to fit quickly and easily into the buttstock, if you have the standard buttplate.

Edward429451
July 10, 2012, 11:42 PM
First, I bought a "loaded" version, slightly used for $1400. These are the ones with medium weight match grade barrels, match sights, and a match trigger.

I did not get match sights on my Loaded. Are you sure? I have a match trigger, Match barrel (medium) and a Match Flash supressor (whatever that is:rolleyes:). I wish I had Match sights.

I have shot FALs and the only thing that turned me off to it was how bad it munches the brass, since I reload. My M1A has a sweet trigger and I typically get abut 3 or 4" groups @100 yds with the iron sights. Overall I would have to recommend the M1A over the FAL but that is mostly because of the brass being non-reloadable out of the FAL. My M1A gets the crease mentioned on the brass but it is minimal and totally reloadable.

Keg
July 11, 2012, 02:38 AM
I would go with the M1A..I love mine...:D

Sixer
July 11, 2012, 04:14 AM
Lots of great info guys!

Sixer, your just a state away. Come to Kentucky, I'll let you shoot mine all you want. Trying both is really the only way to tell which one is best for YOU.

I appreciate the offer Greg! It sounds like shooting them both may be the only way choose. Tough call for sure.

wogpotter
July 11, 2012, 07:18 AM
I do everything right-handed... except when it comes to rifles
You will still with a FAL. The right hand never needs to leave the grip. While still on the grip it works the BHO, fire selector, mag catch & trigger. The left dumps & fetches magazines & works the charging handle.:cool:
There must be something tothe left hand operation, just look at M1a shooters who work the righ sided charging handle by using the left hand under the stock!:D

jason41987
July 11, 2012, 01:05 PM
my vote would go M1A.. more accurate, i find the long-stroke gas systems to be more reliable, plenty of aftermarket for M1As now as well, and i guess the patriot in me likes its roots beginning in the american WWII campaign as the garand

SR420
July 11, 2012, 01:35 PM
The FAL isn't the rifle you're looking for.

The M14 or M1A is the rifle you want.

Crow Hunter
July 11, 2012, 01:41 PM
i find the long-stroke gas systems to be more reliable

I don't think it meets the definition of long-stroke piston.

The definition that I am used to is that the piston itself travels the entire distance that the action cycles. Usually this means they are attached or are part of the bolt carrier group/op rod. Like the AK.

The M-14 system has piston that isn't attached, the piston strikes the op-rod and the op-rod makes the full travel while the piston remains in place.

Those are normally called short stroke pistons.

Why did you call it a long stroke gas system?

Sixer
July 11, 2012, 01:53 PM
The FAL isn't the rifle you're looking for.

The M14 or M1A is the rifle you want.


I'm not sure about that yet :) ... but the FB page in your sig line is awesome!

Any details on the M14 in the cover photo??

SR420
July 11, 2012, 03:55 PM
Thanks!

The cover photo is of the rifle that started my modernized M14 addiction.
My pride & joy is a sub MOA Crazy Horse USN MK14 Mod 0 type SEI (https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.425969897420204.120462.425529914130869&type=3).

James K
July 11, 2012, 07:02 PM
Neither rifle uses a long stroke piston; the FAL is a medium stroke, the M14/M1A uses a short stroke. Long stroke piston systems are found in the AK-47 and the M1 rifle.

Jim

wogpotter
July 12, 2012, 08:43 AM
A clarification on gas systems is in order!

The M1a has a "short stroke tappet gas sysytem" with a seperate operating rod. The short piston strikes the front of the op-rod which then travels to unlock & operate the bolt. This is actually the system invented by Marsh Williams for the M1 carbine.

The FAL has a full length piston which is pushed rearwards by gas to directly press on the bolt carrier. Neither is a "full length gas system", but there is a variation on the FAL where the gas tube is shortened & open at the rear. The front is silver-soldered to the gas block, unlike the full length gas tube which is just pinned & screwed. Because of these 2 variations you'll find references to a "full length gas system", but this is not a ful length gas stroke, just a full length component.

wwd88888
July 12, 2012, 11:15 AM
I wear glasses and the ergonomics of the FAL rifle put the rear sight a .25" from my lens and would scratch it when firing.

This was a full size Belgian FAL from the late 70's early 80's. I've never shot the newer versions or know if the sights are different.

jason41987
July 12, 2012, 12:49 PM
ive thought about getting a FAL once, but stopped and asked myself... who wants a charging handle digging into their back when its on a sling?... also, i was really tired in my last post, confused the M1A operating system with the garands

Ridge_Runner_5
July 12, 2012, 12:56 PM
The charging handle folds flat against the receiver when it's not in use. I'd dare you to pick it out prodding into your back over any of the other lines on the gun.

You can see the charging handle just above the shooter's wrist.

http://www.defencetalk.com/pictures/data/3091/7.62mm%20FN-FAL%20Indian%20Sniper.jpg

jason41987
July 12, 2012, 01:16 PM
is that charging handle aftermarket? or was the straight charging handle on the one i shot aftermarket?

Ridge_Runner_5
July 12, 2012, 01:31 PM
Either the one you shot was aftermarket, or the spring that folds it down was weak/failed.

Sixer
July 12, 2012, 02:13 PM
That is one serious optic on that guys FAL! What is that??

jason41987
July 12, 2012, 03:07 PM
aah, then i take that back about the FAL charging handle, seems to be a non issue with the proper charging handle

Ridge_Runner_5
July 12, 2012, 03:42 PM
That is one serious optic on that guys FAL! What is that??

Looks almost like a PVS-17 night vision scope?

http://infrared.com/products/productImages/AN_PVS-17/00.jpg

kraigwy
July 12, 2012, 03:58 PM
I own both, the FAL is a good rifle, but not a long range target rifle. I shoot competition with an M1A to 1000 yards. Can't do that with the FAL. Sights wouldn't work even if the gun would.

You did mention target shooting at extended ranges.

I don't use scopes on either. I have used the M21 (M14 W/ART Leatherwood scope) in Sniper school and teaching sniper schools.....they work.

If you're not shooting past 300 yards you can get by with the FAL, past that the M1A would suite you better.

zincwarrior
July 12, 2012, 04:12 PM
Now to tear it off topic but how would these compare with an AR-10 type?

jason41987
July 12, 2012, 05:11 PM
i would mention giving a PTR-91 consideration as well, if the nature of fluted chambers in blowback designs didnt chew brass

wogpotter
July 13, 2012, 08:00 AM
Either the one you shot was aftermarket, or the spring that folds it down was weak/failed.
Regarding the charging handle.

Inch Pattern (& Indian) L1A1 /SLR rifles have a folding charging handle. Metric FAL's have a fixed one. Its nothing to do with military, or aftermarket parts, just different variants of the model.

The fixed handle does not get you in the back, even if it looks like it might, or you can make a simple modification to an Inch Pattern folding one & replace the fixed metric with one.

The rifle in that pic is an Indian variant, a reverse engineered mix & match of both designs BTW.

The scope looks like a Gen 2 (cascade image intensifier) night vision unit, possibly an AN-PVS4 or something similar copied by the Indians.
http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h29/moosp/DSCF5898.jpg

http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h29/moosp/DSCF5945.jpg

wogpotter
July 13, 2012, 08:16 AM
I'm sorry but I have to comment on the misinformation being presented here. Please verify your facts before posting as wrong info won't help the OP make a good decision.

i would mention giving a PTR-91 consideration as well, if the nature of fluted chambers in blowback designs didnt chew brass

The fluted chamber leaves sprial marks on the brass. Ugly-looking but not functionally a bad thing. However it is NOT blow back, it is a delayed roller lock system & it is actually famous for beating the hell out of brass on it's ejection port. Don't believe me? do a search for "ejection port buffers".

Please verify your statments to prevent confusion.

Actually the FAL, The G3, the PTR & the M1a all beat up brass pretty badly. Any semi-auto rifle is maybe going to get 3 reloads because of the immediate & fast extraction/ejection of the brass. This as as opposed to 10 from a gentler actioin.

kraigwy
July 13, 2012, 11:17 AM
Actually the FAL, The G3, the PTR & the M1a all beat up brass pretty badly

Thats not quite true regarding the M1A. I reload a heck of a lot for mine. I get a lot more the three reloads for it. I'm talking match shooting. Been shooting mine in competition since 1977.

jason41987
July 13, 2012, 12:12 PM
they may beat all beat up brass, but all blowbacks (g3 is a "roller-delayed" BLOWBACK, though delayed its still a blowback) and im not sure the grooves they leave in brass could possibly be more than faster weakening of the brass... but the OP was curious about the M1A and FAL

with the aftermarket available you can do anything you want with either of these rifles at any range with any configuration you want so people can argue all day about which ones better but it really comes down to what you find most comfortable, what attracts you the most, and how much work you want to put into making it do what you want it to do

there are many of examples of both the FAL and the M1A taking on the role of a tactical carbine, medium range battle rifle, or long range sniper rifles so people can talk till theyre blue in the face about which each one does or doesnt do out of the box, but who wants to keep their rifles in "out of the box" configuration?

sailskidrive
July 13, 2012, 12:40 PM
Have you considered the FN SCAR 17 instead?

Half a century step forward in engineering and materials advancement. The accuracy on my FAL isn't really that impressive and my M1A is a finicky mistress - it takes a lot to keep her tuned.

SR420
July 13, 2012, 02:12 PM
http://www.athenswater.com/images/M14EBR-RI-AFG.jpg

http://i662.photobucket.com/albums/uu342/mpeterse1/EBR019-1.jpg

Sixer
July 13, 2012, 03:01 PM
Have you considered the FN SCAR 17 instead?

Absolutely! It's a bit out of my price range though :o

with the aftermarket available you can do anything you want with either of these rifles at any range with any configuration you want so people can argue all day about which ones better but it really comes down to what you find most comfortable, what attracts you the most, and how much work you want to put into making it do what you want it to do

Like most of my other long guns... this will surely be a work in progress. Heck I'm still tweaking my AR-15 and i've had it for years :)

SR420, those pics are pretty sweet! That configuration is awesome... how much would someone have to spend for that setup, minus the optics?

SR420
July 13, 2012, 03:44 PM
Sixer, if one were a good shopper and didn't mind going with slightly
used preowned kit one could have a fully functional EBR for under $2K.

jason41987
July 13, 2012, 05:13 PM
heh, for the price of the SCAR he could nearly afford both the M1A and the FAL

wlkalong
July 13, 2012, 05:24 PM
I have a DSA SA-58, 16 inch barrel, para version. It came with the rail dust cover and Para sights, which are close to M1A sights. It is light, handy to use and built like a tank.

I went with the FAL over the M1A for a few reasons.

The short para version- not available in an M1A, though you can replace the stock, but every replacement stock I have seen significantly increases the weight.

Weight, my FAL weighs around 8.4 lbs. The M1A scout weights 8.8 and once you add scope mount, you are over 9 lbs. The M1A SOCOM II weighs 10 lbs.

Inexpensive magazines. Surplus and new.

Better base ergo's for a right handed shooter. Pistol grip, left side charging handle and release. You can get a full rail system for it.

Cost- less expensive then new M1A's and you can go significantly cheaper with Imbel kits and a good gun smith.

You can easily correct all the issues listed by Boston in his gun bible yourself, except for the trigger- which honestly doesn't bother me- it's not a target gun.

With updated sights or red dot, no real world accuracy difference between the two, except for target shooting. Prone, moving, or during rapid fire, I believe the FAL to be superior because of pistol grip.

Adjustable gas. It can fire any ammo- weak crap that won't cycle in other weapons and high pressure rounds. Recoil can be tweaked by changing gas settings to reduce it as much as possible.

Very easy to clean. Opens up to clean and bolt group comes right out. No tools needed, except for a bullet or any other pointy thing.

The legend of Old Dirty. 15,000 rounds through it in 2009, and never been cleaned. I have never found a story of an M1A doing anything like this. If someone has one, I would love to read it.

Service life- much longer then the M1A. It was used by 70 different countries at one time, all over the world. Many are still in use, even in countries in Africa, where they get no maintenance. You see FAL's all the time in pictures from foreign conflicts.

I have had it for a while. If I was in the market for a .308 semi today, I would look at the SCAR-H, it's a modern FAL. I would also look at the better .308 AR's, since they appear to have fixed the reliability issues that plagued them in the past.

Both the FAL and the M1A are getting long in the tooth and I think there are better options today, if you can afford them. Of those two, I prefer the FAL, but that is only my opinion and I know a lot of people who love the M1A. So, FAL for battle rifle, general purpose rifle, M1A for designated marksman- IMHO.

Crow Hunter
July 13, 2012, 08:34 PM
Sixer, if one were a good shopper and didn't mind going with slightly
used preowned kit one could have a fully functional EBR for under $2K.

Don't forget to price in wheels and a prime mover to haul it around.:D

Make sure you try one out before you buy it. That EBR chassis is a heavy booger. It makes the M1A very comfortable to shoot, unless you have to do it offhand.

SR420
July 14, 2012, 06:11 AM
Yep, the fully adjustable M14ALCS is the heaviest SAGE chassis, the PMRI and CV are lighter with the CV being about 2.5 lbs. lighter than the ALCS.
The Cali-legal, non-pistol grip SAGE is even lighter, but few people use them.

Read more about the SAGE EBR @ The History and Development of the SAGE Enhanced Battle Rifle (EBR) chassis stock system (http://www.athenswater.com/M1A_Scout_Squad_EBR.htm)




The lightest EBR stock is the brand new Blackfeather 'RS' from M14.ca

http://www.m14.ca/m14blackfeather/forum/M14_Blackfeather_Weigh-In_8.2lbs.jpg




The M14 may in fact be a little 'long in the tooth', but innovation is keeping the venerable United States Rifle, 7.62 mm M14 viable.





.

jason41987
July 14, 2012, 07:36 AM
ive never seen that blackfeather stock before, now that i have it seems my shopping list is getting longer.. that is a gorgeous piece of equipment

SR420
July 14, 2012, 09:47 AM
My Blackfeather should arrive in about two weeks, I'll post my review HERE (http://www.athenswater.com/Review_Blackfeather_RS.html)

wlkalong
July 14, 2012, 11:17 AM
The black feather stocks look very nice, but it is expensive. $600 for the stock, plus another $100 for a pistol grip and Rogers Super Stock or a good Magpul.

So to get some of the ergos of a FAL, your are looking at $1500.00 (if you buy new) for the rifle, plus another $700 for the black feather and then mags and scope mount.

You can get a new DSA SA-58 Tac for about $1500, so it is a significantly cheaper platform.

If you get a DSA receiver, buy an inexpensive parts kit, and pay an expert to assemble it, you should come around $1000, a little more if you get better sights for it. You could assemble it yourself for even less.

Even if you get a decent used M14 for $700, you will still spend around $1500.

If I already had an M14, I would get the stock. But, starting from scratch, the FAL gives you everything the M14 does, for a lot less money, except for DM level accuracy. With updated sights and a good barrel and trigger job, the FAL should have equiv. accuracy to an M14, though a M14 set up for accuracy will out shoot the FAL, all things being equal.

I would look at getting a more modern weapon if you are planning to spend $2500 and up. Just my 2 cents.

SR420
July 14, 2012, 12:12 PM
From the get go the FAL fails at giving you the excellent trigger, iron sights and accuracy the
M14 gives you and I don't what it would cost to bring the FAL up to speed or if it's even possible.

wlkalong
July 14, 2012, 04:24 PM
FAL trigger can be improved with a falcon trigger spring set, or by a FAL gunsmith like Bill Springfield (FAL all models - Pull weight reduced 2 to 3 lbs, very short, smooth, clean break, over travel significantly reduced $39. I can also accept the complete lower, but add $13 for the extra return postage).

I don't want a match trigger on a drag around rifle- so mine is stock. It is heavy, but has a crisp break and short consistent take up.

Hampton Lower from DSA with integral M16A2 rear sight- $199.00. My para site is similar, but no windage adjustment. Not a big deal since I use an Eotech.

The FAL can be tuned to be accurate enough for SASS rifle trials, and DSA submitted the SA58 SPR- meaning it met the official entry qualifications. So the FAL can be brought up close the the accuracy of an M1A, though I still believe the M1A would be slightly more accurate.

In stock configuration, in my opinion :) the FAL is the better general purpose battle rifle. Almost as accurate as base M1A, better ergos. Fulton Armory only guarantees 2.5 MOA on their base model M1A's, and a well built FAL will do about the same for a lot less money.

One thing that really bothers me about FAL's is the amount of disinformation about them one runs into. People go to the range, shoot a poorly assembled parts rifle and then lump all FAL's into the same boat. A well built FAL is an exceptional battle rifle, as is the M1A.

If you want to learn more about FALs go to the Fal Files. There are a couple of M1A vs. FAL threads there, a lot of good info. Honestly, you can't go wrong with either of them.

bozzman3
July 14, 2012, 08:08 PM
Both are awesome rifles.I own both and enjoy shooting them.You should own both!Be warned!You could catch the FAL bug.Once you get one you have this strange desire to get more FALs in different flavors.Do go to the FAL files and m14 forums for more info,or ask us we have lots of opinions :)

SR420
July 15, 2012, 06:04 AM
The FAL is a nice rifle. I have tried, but it's not one I have been able to warm up to.

wlkalong Fulton Armory only guarantees 2.5 MOA on their base model M1A's, and a well built FAL will do about the same for a lot less money.


A well built M14 will shoot MOA or better and Fulton Armory would not be my 1st or 2nd choice for an M14 build.



.

wlkalong
July 15, 2012, 08:00 AM
I'm curious SR420, what brand M1A do you use? I have always heard that Fulton Armory makes some of the best. What did you do with your M1A to bring it up to that level of accuracy or did you purchase a high end version already set up to shoot sub MOA or have one specifically built for you?

SR420
July 15, 2012, 09:49 AM
wlkalong, all of my M14s are custom built by Smith Enterprise, Inc. (http://www.smithenterprise.com/index.html)
I supplied the forged Norinco and Poly Tech receivers, USGI parts etc... and specified what configuration I wanted built, they did the rest.

sailskidrive
July 15, 2012, 10:20 AM
have always heard that Fulton Armory makes some of the best.

They do and are quite popular at Camp Perry. They are right up road from me here at work; unfortunately their "pick up" policies are not very good so I've stopped ordering parts from them. I have two Fulton builds, they source quality materials and do an excellent job with fit and finish.

Make sure you also check out LRB.

SR420
July 15, 2012, 11:09 AM
LRB is a good choice.

wlkalong
July 15, 2012, 12:35 PM
That's nice to know. I always thought the M14/M1A to be a beautiful rifle, so who knows, some day I may get one. Most likely I will go with the SCAR-H if I get another 7.62 if the price comes down, but that does not seem to be happening. Right now, I am really in the mood for a .357/.38 lever action. Must be all those cowboy movies I watched as a kid.

SR420
July 15, 2012, 01:56 PM
Love the .357 Mag/.38 lever action rifles, but I'm not so sure about the thin barrel on
the SCAR-H though... the price & availability of extra mags is also a limiting factor.

wlkalong
July 15, 2012, 03:46 PM
Yes, I would want at least a med barrel on it, and I thought you got some options, but couldn't find any. So it looks like pencil thin only so far. Maybe in another year or two things will change. It seems far too expensive right now, especially with all the plastic. The profit margin must be huge and I am certainly in no mood to add another platform to support.

Fastercat
July 15, 2012, 04:28 PM
I have a Brazilian inch pattern FAL that despite being pretty to look at with it's restored Aussie furniture, does well to shoot a 6" group at 100 yds scoped on a sandbag. My M1A does much better than that with it's iron sights.
Both are easy takedown, but the M1A is easier to put back together. Both are exceptionally reliable, but I've had problems with ejection on the M1A with a scope mounted to it. if the day comes when I have to grab one and run, I'm grabbin the M1A.

http://i190.photobucket.com/albums/z80/Fasterkat/001.jpg

http://i190.photobucket.com/albums/z80/Fasterkat/003.jpg
;)I like showin off:D

____________________________

It's always better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

wlkalong
July 15, 2012, 11:23 PM
FasterCat, you might want to go to the FAL Files and post some questions about your FAL, it should be far more accurate then that. Possibly the bi-pod (I remember something about bi-pods causing problems, but not sure) or something else is severely hampering accuracy with the rifle. It is a beautiful gun by the way. Love your Garand as well.

Skans
July 16, 2012, 02:43 PM
With the stock options they have out there now for the M1A, I might choose that over a FAL. Don't get me wrong, I love the FAL - especially imported Belgian, Israeli, and Australian configurations - i.e. forged receivers. But, for what you will pay for a quality imported FAL, you might be able to find an M1A built by Smith Enterprises on a forged receiver.

gggplaya
July 16, 2012, 02:52 PM
Have you considered the FN FNAR? It's based on the browing BAR design which still sells today. They pretty much come 1MOA right out of the box for about $1000. The cons are the mags are expensive, and not too much in the way of aftermarket parts.

Also, Robinson Arms offers a SCAR H like alternative under your price ceiling. It's called the XCR. He's pretty much worked out the bugs over the years and has a very reliable platform now. Gas block has like 5 settings based on your ammo, so you can shoot the weakest, crappiest surplus ammo you can find.

wogpotter
July 16, 2012, 03:23 PM
I have a Brazilian inch pattern FAL that despite being pretty to look at with it's restored Aussie furniture, does well to shoot a 6" group at 100 yds scoped on a sandbag.
That long add on unthreaded flash supressor held with grub screws has to be a horror for accuracy as does a bipod that far out on a slim FAL barrel. Even folded the weight causes a huge change in barrel harmonics! Try taking both off & seeing if accuracy improves drastically.

The "Fail" point for accuracy (that is to say the minimum acceptable standard )for a FAL is 1 1/2" horizontal & 3" vertical for a 10-round 100 meter group, remember that is the low end "fail" limit, there are many out there more accurate than that. So you have a failed FAL. I'd try checking some stuff to see if you can't get an improvment to minimum acceptable at least.

JAG06
July 16, 2012, 03:41 PM
I'm going to throw a monkey wrench into this comparison. The M1A and FAL are great - I have owned both. But if you want a rifle that will give you out of the box 1 MOA accuracy for about $1k, I would recommend you also look at the DPMS LR-308.

wlkalong
July 16, 2012, 05:48 PM
gggplaya is right. Robinson Arms makes the XCR-L (5.56, 7.62x39, 6.8) or the XCR-M (.308 or .260). I almost bought the XCR-L, planned to shoot 6.8 as my sort-of battle rifle, but the cost of 6.8 is just too much. The M was not available back then, but today it would be under serious consideration.

barnbwt
July 16, 2012, 06:30 PM
Check out the FN 49, I just shot mine (in 30-06) and I'm now singing its praises. There is a Columbian. 308 variant with a 20rnd removable magazine that would be right up your alley. You may be able to find one under a grand if you're lucky. I'll recommend the FNAR as well (again) as a more modern, practical package, though.

The FN49 is your Grandaddy's FAL :D

TCB

GaryOlson
July 28, 2012, 02:12 PM
Now the AR-10......
Is now the next item on my list to budget for. Thanks, you are a bunch of enablers...

Gary

wogpotter
July 28, 2012, 03:21 PM
If you think the FN 49 is nice in 30-06 try one in 7mm. I think i'm in :eek:love

G.I.DAVE
July 30, 2012, 02:17 PM
I have fired many rounds through both. I had a Springfield M1A and had to sell it to pay for a wedding :(

The FAL is not bad. Solid rifles.

M1A, I consider to be one of the finest rifles ever made. Ive seen some cheaper FALs, but the only "cheap" M1A type rifles I see are Norinco KOs. I would take an M1A over an FAL any day of the week, Just on the terms of taking it out and shooting.

SR420
July 30, 2012, 02:25 PM
Those Norinco/Poly Tech rifles are KOs of USGI M14s, not M1As.

Stevie-Ray
July 30, 2012, 04:59 PM
I went with the FAL all those years ago when for me it was between the SA M1A, the SAR-48, or the SAR-3. SAR-3s were vaporware at the time and the M1A just didn't quite do it for me. I've never been sorry as it's my favorite rifle to this day. HB models also seem far more accurate than the norm, or maybe it's just mine.
http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s66/GitchiManitou/100_0499.jpg?t=1242728177

10mm4ever
July 31, 2012, 06:11 AM
Great discussion thus far but I think the PTR91 should be a candidate. The HK G3 was/is one of the most influential designs ever and it gave birth to an entire family of roller locked weapons, from the MP5 to the PSG1.