14 March 2012

Fusil Automatique Légerè de la Belgique

FALs are almost as bad as ARs when you have tools.

The rifle has been made continuously from the early 1950's until the present in just about every nation that didn't make or adopt the AK (and some that did!).

Jasmine is a DSA SA58 Standard that the lovely Harvey bought me just in case Obama tried to ban evil black rifles.

Here she is the day we brought her home.

Because I did not intend to put a scope on her, I replaced that part with a bog-standard top cover.  She came with a spacer in the cut for the carrying handle, so I took that part out and added a carrying handle.

I also bought a bayonet!

I was pretty happy here.  Then I got the Israeli gun bug, again.  First it was the handguard and stock.  This change also required changing the short gas tube to a long one.

Then the charging handle and take-down latch.

Then my confidence in the aluminum DSA trigger housing was disturbed by their recall.  That made me start really detesting the black anodizing.  So I got a steel trigger housing.

Then I made the mistake of weighing her.  She'd gone from a svelte 9.9 lb. loaded to a tubby 11.4 lb.!  The steel lower was a half pound heavier than the aluminum.  The furniture was a full pound heavier.  The scale does not lie.  This also made me re-examine what I was trying to make.  My Romat clone had many things wrong with it.  Virtually all of Israel's FAL's have a plain barrel with no muzzle brake.  The front sight housing was wrong.  The lower was wrong. The selector was wrong.  The sights were too low.  Le sigh.

So I put the black plastic furniture back on and changed the charging handle to the standard one.  I can live with it being 10.4 lb.

The soul searching that led me to discover I'd made a poor Izzy clone also caused me to look at what DSA had done.  The buttstock is the Austrian Steyr pattern.  That makes sense because DSA was founded by buying all of Steyr's FAL parts and tooling.  The thing is, the handguards and muzzle brake are pure Belgian.  You can see where this is going, can't you?

I got a replacement buttstock!  I've also changed the horizontal take-down latch to the more common vertical.  This is known as a humpback stock and is common to pretty much every FAL that's not a Para, Austrian or British (including Canada, Australia and India).

I ditched the bipod cut handguards for some conventional ones.  Looking very generic now!

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