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RollTide
April 12, 2005, 07:48 PM
Hey all, I'm an Alabamian turning 15 soon, and for me that means it's time to get a gun. Being an assault rifle enthusiast, I was looking into an FN FAL, L1A1, or Galil. I wanted to know what yall think of those and perhaps get some suggestions as to what to pay for them. My max price range is $700-$800, so if anyone thinks there's a better weapon for that amount, I'd be grateful for the suggestion. Any help with this would be much appreciated.

Christopher II
April 12, 2005, 08:01 PM
The usual question here when somebody wants to buy a new rifle is, "What do you want to use it for?"

So, what do you want to use it for?
Also, what kind of shooting experience do you have?
Being 15, what kind of input are your parents going to have on your purchase?

- Chris

RollTide
April 12, 2005, 08:27 PM
I'd be using it on the range and out in the woods.

Most experience is with my Dad's AR-15, we go out to the range sproradically (maybe once or twice a month, hope to bump it up this summer). Also recoil is not a big problem, as I'm pretty big for my age.

Not quite sure what you mean, but this will all be approved by my father, he gives the final word. Both parents are gun enthusiasts. And he might make a contribution of up to $100 dollars for the purchase. Depends on how good I can butter him up. :D

jailbait
April 12, 2005, 09:02 PM
hey tide... i'm in monkey town. What range do you frequent? the fals are nice, but tend to be a tad pricy. why not a ar variant?

jonathon
April 12, 2005, 09:19 PM
I'm not sure if you can find a Galil for under $2000...

Could get a nice AK though ;)

FirstFreedom
April 12, 2005, 09:26 PM
In their "civilian" versions, the guns you mention are "homeland defense rifles", NOT "assault rifles". Please don't help the gun ban movement by giving credibility to their bogus terms like "assault rifle." Thanks for your cooperation. My only big-bore semi-auto right now is a Saiga AK-style in .308 which I like a lot so far, but I haven't wrung it out yet - in any event, hard to go wrong for a $300 rifle - it will be even better when the 20 rounders are made (supposedly forthcoming from a maker).

Death from Afar
April 12, 2005, 09:30 PM
There are many good, and a few great semi-auto .308's. I have the rarest of the rare, which is a SIG AMT, but all the rifles you name are more than adequate for range. A lot depends on personal choice, to be honest, and what you can get. I have not shot a Galil, but have shot the South African R4 varient a lot and really rate it. I have tens of thousands of rounds through L1A1's and think they are a better rifle, but that is purely an aesthetic choice. Both wil serve you well.

Christopher II
April 12, 2005, 09:33 PM
I'd be using it on the range and out in the woods. Could you be a little more specific here? What distance will you be shooting at, what kind of targets? Any thoughts of competition, or are you just going to plink? Will you use it for hunting?

Most experience is with my Dad's AR-15, we go out to the range sproradically (maybe once or twice a month, hope to bump it up this summer). Also recoil is not a big problem, as I'm pretty big for my age. Not much you can't do with a properly set up AR-15. Plus, if you get an AR of your own you can borrow your Dad's magazines.

Not quite sure what you mean, but this will all be approved by my father, he gives the final word. Both parents are gun enthusiasts. And he might make a contribution of up to $100 dollars for the purchase. Depends on how good I can butter him up. Now we're talking. I should show this thread to my Dad... ;)

I like FALs and L1A1s - good, solid semi-auto rifle, reasonably accurate. Heavy. Sights aren't the best. Lost of parts and magazines. I'd steer clear of the Century rebuilds. For $700-800, you can get a good bare-bones FAL from ARS or Ohio Rapid Fire. I've been impressed by the work of both shops.

Galils have absolutely nothing to recommend them. Clunky, overpriced AK clones.

- Chris

RollTide
April 13, 2005, 06:06 AM
Jailbait - Well I live up in north Alabama, so we go to a local FOP range and one over in Talladega. Range distances would be up to 250 yards.

Jonathon - Hehe, didn't know Galils were so expensive. I'll cross that one out. And Dad was a Cold-Warrior, so "No Russian Crap!". :D

Firstfreedom - My apologies! It always gets me when similiar weapons are listed as assault rifles in the news, that must be rubbing off on me. It won't happen again. :o And I thought about getting an AK or SKS, but see above. :(

Death From Afar - Thanks for th input, that helps.

Christopher II - Man sized targets at up to 250. No competition for me, and probably no specific hunting trips. By the way, would an FAL or L1A1 work
well for hunting coyotes?

Not much you can't do with a properly set up AR-15. Plus, if you get an AR of your own you can borrow your Dad's magazines.

Yeah, I know, but I like the FAL better (if only as far as looks) and we've already got 2 AR-15's with another possibly on the way, so I've decided to break the mold in my family and go for something a tad more exotic.

And btw, would yall recommend staying away from foreign makes of the FAL?

Sarge
April 13, 2005, 06:58 AM
In their "civilian" versions, the guns you mention are "homeland defense rifles", NOT "assault rifles". Please don't help the gun ban movement by giving credibility to their bogus terms like "assault rifle."

:rolleyes:

Adam Firestone
April 13, 2005, 07:29 AM
Couple of points -

1) Assault Rifle is not a "bogus" term. It is a term of art that refers to a weapon that can be fired from the shoulder or hip, that uses an intermediate cartridge, and that is selective fire. By virtue of the third part of the definition, all the semiauto only "civilian" versions of "assault rifles" are just "rifles." The "bogus" term is "assault weapon," something invented by the gun banners in the early 1990's and the liberal media to describe anything they didn't like. If it LOOKED evil, it was an assault weapon, and as a result we got the abortive 1994 Ban, which did nothing save increase sales of semiauto versions of assault rifles and drive magazine prices up.

2) The FAL is a "foreign" design, and almost all of the FAL's in the US today are made of foreign parts kits, with a minimum number of US parts to keep them "legal." Even the offering which launched DSA's FAL line, the SA58 was nothing more than an Austrian parts kit built on a US made receiver.

3) In GENERAL (and the caps are for all you dyed-in-the-wool FAL-a-holics out there), the FAL will cost more up front, weigh more, have a far greated perceived recoil, be more expensive to shoot, and less reliable than an AK clone of similar quality. Don't get me wrong, I love FAL's and have a number of them, but I think you'd be better served with "Russian Crap," your father's political prejudices notwithstanding.

4) Alternatively, I think you'd have more fun with something like an M4-gery. Again, lighter, easier to shoot well, less perceived recoil, and equivalent or greater reliability. But that's just my two cents.

In the end, you won't go wrong with a well made FAL, but in terms of "fun" guns, you might want to give serious consideration to an AR or AK carbine.

Safe shooting.

Adam

RollTide
April 13, 2005, 08:04 AM
Yes, let me clarify I've got nothing against Ak's or or other Russian made weaponry, but it's out of the question for me. Thanks for the reply, good info.

FirstFreedom
April 13, 2005, 08:45 AM
invssgt

Do you have a point, or are you an HCI member? Speak up loudly and clearly if you're trying to say something, please.

Rolltide, thanks, and you're on the right track with a good FAL I think - check out Ohio Rapid Fire.

Avid Concealer
April 13, 2005, 11:07 AM
Hands down I would pick up a bushmaster M4 preferably I like the 16" over the 20". It's such a fun gun with a great looks great reliability and extremely accurate. I like to keep the scopes off of them and any modded sites because that takes some of the fun out of it if you ask me. Oh yeah I'm an Auburn student and I am currently sitting in my managment class taking notes and surfing the web on my wireless. WAR DAMN EAGLE!!! : )

yorec
April 13, 2005, 11:17 AM
Nothing wrong with being an "assault weapon" enthusiast whose forced to limit himself to "homeland defense guns..." :rolleyes: I happen to fit that mold.

Sounds like your about to get a Fn Fal - good gun. Now, just from who and in what configuration? I'd go full size from DSL if I were to buy another. Save a little extra and get a custom finish job for the gee whiz factor! :cool:

FirstFreedom
April 13, 2005, 12:11 PM
Nothing wrong with being an "assault weapon" enthusiast whose forced to limit himself to "homeland defense guns..."

Ya know what, you're right! I misread his original post, apparently - I thought he was referring to the semi-auto versions themselves as "assault weapons". Sorry, rolltide (but you got the important idea of my mini-rant; thank you). My apologies to everyone. :)

Adam Firestone
April 13, 2005, 12:12 PM
With all due respect, a FAL is a FAL is a FAL. There's nothing magic or better about DSA, with the possible exception that their parts kits MAY be in nicer shape.

ORF makes a nice FAL. ARS makes a nice FAL. Heck, P3 will assemble and finish your FAL if you want to gather the parts kit and receiver yourself.

Among my FAL's is an Imbel kit on an Imbel receiver that is identical to the Brazilian military M964. It's dark grey with black furniture, more accurate than I am, reliable (assuming I keep it generally clean and lubed) and fun. And it was a whole lot less than $1000.

FAL's do not need to be name brand to be "good."

RollTide
April 13, 2005, 02:13 PM
What about buying them local, or at a gunshow? Or should I stick to the net?

Also, what differences are there between the SA58, L1A1, and FAL, besides the countries they were made in?

Avid Concealer - I was afraid I'd find a couple of your type. :D

fanoblack
April 13, 2005, 06:23 PM
I see you are looking for a FAL, but maybe another option could be a M1A with a synthetic stock? You could find one at a gunshow or maybe local. I realize these are pricey new (1000 +) but I have seem them go for fair prices at gunshows ( the guys walking around not the dealers). That would stay with the .308 cartridge, you can get 20 rnd mags pretty easy. Plus it has great accuracy potential. So take this as another option not me trying to push this on you. Whatever you find RollTide, I wish you well and safe shooting.

fanoblack

jailbait
April 13, 2005, 07:46 PM
if you want to drive down to montgomery this coming weekend there is going to be a really good gun show here. it's saturday and sunday. last time they had it at the place it's being held, they had a very large selection of weaponry, including saiga 308s, m4s, ak variants, sks's, fals, cetmes.....

JohnKSa
April 13, 2005, 09:10 PM
Even the offering which launched DSA's FAL line, the SA58 was nothing more than an Austrian parts kit built on a US made receiver.That was the DSA STG-58. All of the DSA SA-58 rifles are entirely U.S. made--receivers included.

yorec
April 13, 2005, 09:47 PM
Huh - so at least one brand name does mean something? Imagine that.

RollTide
April 14, 2005, 06:06 AM
Hey fanoblack, thanks for the suggestion, I'll look into that as well.

And jailbait, is that gunshow at the civic center down there?

jailbait
April 14, 2005, 07:11 AM
negative. it's at the alkazar shrine temple thingy. If your coming from north alabama take i65 to i85. Take i85 to the eastern bypass exit. turn left. go down till you see capitol chevorlet, and it's like two or three drive ways down on the right. it's on the service road that runs in front of capitol chevorlet. it's saturday or sunday.

email me if you want to come and i'll shoot you my phone number and give you better directions.

Adam Firestone
April 14, 2005, 08:52 AM
Also, what differences are there between the SA58, L1A1, and FAL, besides the countries they were made in?

The SA58 - as I've been so gently reminded - is a US made clone of the metric pattern FAL.

Now as far as your other questions:

FAL's come in two main flavors, "Inch" and "Metric." The original 7.62mm NATO FAL's were produced in Belgium by FN to metric dimensioned drawings. By and large, this is the type that was produced under license in many countries. When the UK, the Commonwealth and to a (very) small extent the US began to produce the FAL, they had the drawings redone so that they were dimensioned in inches. Some other changes were incorporated as well, such as the sights and the cocking handle, but for your purposes, the most important change was in the magazines. The front locking lip on metric magazines is a simple dimple punched out of the front wall of the magazine. On Inch magazines, it is a substantial welded on piece of steel. The net result is that the two types of FAL's use non-interchangeable magazines. (Some will tell you that you can use metric mags in an inch receiver, but it is far from optimal in terms of reliability!). As most FAL's were metric, the most plentiful mags are metric mags, and can be had for as little at $5.00 per for nice steel mags.

The L1A1 was the UK and Commonwealth designation for their indigenously produced inch pattern FAL.

The FAL is the generic term for all rifles of the general FN light automatic rifle pattern. It has generally been associated with metric pattern rifles.

Huh - so at least one brand name does mean something? Imagine that.

Well, with respect to the SA58, it means they produce a clone here, and not much more. While in this case American made may mean "more expensive" or "as good as" it doesn't mean "better."

As I've said before, DSA makes a nice rifle. What they don't necessarily do is make a BETTER rifle. Limiting this discussion to an "issue" style FAL, once you have a nice baked on or parkerized finish (like the originals), acceptable reliability, and 2-3 MOA accuracy, what more do you get from a DSA gun except maybe a special paint job and the ability to show people how much more money you spent?

Additionally, why would you think that a commercial copy, where production costs and shortcuts are very critical issues, would be BETTER than military parts where the only governing rule is the military specification?

You lose NOTHING by getting a DSA. I'm just not understanding what you gain.

Hope this helps.

Adam

Handy
April 14, 2005, 09:04 AM
Adam,

It has always been my understanding that you get two things of interest with a DSA SA58:

1. Better accuracy.
2. A new gun, not a gun assembled from parts.

Adam Firestone
April 14, 2005, 02:33 PM
1) If you buy one of their higher grade barrels, I can see that. But my experience with their standard grade guns is that the accuracy is on par with every other FAL, provided the barrels aren't worn.

2) I don't know that "new" vice "parts" matters, assuming that you start with parts in good shape - again, it's the terminal ballistics that are the proof, and in that respect I've yet to see any significant improvement based on DSA's "new" parts.

Handy
April 14, 2005, 03:22 PM
It may not matter on the shooting range, but some people like buying new stuff.

Adam Firestone
April 14, 2005, 04:55 PM
Sorry. You make a good point. I so often get caught up in my little "function over form" universe that I apply it to the world.

Thanks for the reality check.