21 March 2015

This Again

DSA has apparently changed over to a casting for their receiver.

There is a predictable outcry about forging being better.

If they are using the same steel as they did when they were making forgings then, yes, a casting will be weaker, wear faster and fail sooner.

For a given composition, forging will tend to be stronger and more ductile.

But there are many many grades of steel.

There are cast steel compositions today that are just as strong and tough as the forgings from the 1950's.  There are cast compositions that are much better than the old forgings too, and some of them end up being a lot cheaper.

There are compositions that cannot be forged without losing desirable properties, so they're cast only.

You want to know something we don't know?

The exact composition of the steels that DSA is using.  Unless we know that, we don't really know if the casting will be a worse part than the forging.

Before we panic we should remember that the forging for an FAL receiver is nearly entirely discarded during finish machining.  A casting actually lets them get closer to the finished part before finish machining, so less material is wasted.

If the finished properties of the cast metal is similar to the forged, this is all win.

All that said, they might have gotten cynical and decided that their customers aren't ever going to shoot enough to ever stress the receiver and it being 50% weaker is acceptable.  They definitely have to be looking at what the market will bear for cost per rifle.  If the customers won't buy a gun because it's too expensive, it does you no good to make the best one ever made!

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