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FAL Build In Progress !UPDATED 4-22-2009!

vicpinto

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11/07/2008
I decided to document my FAL build. This will not be a build from a FAL kit so to speak but, a built from scratch using individual parts. I am doing this partially for Raoul Duke. He had PM'ed me showing an interest in building a FAL after I had mentioned on a thread somewhere that my next rifle was going to be a FAL.

I have liked the FAL ever since I was a young kid living in South Africa. There the FAL went by the designation of R1 and to me the R1 always had that certain coolness factor associated with it. The urge to own my own FAL has been gnawing at me ever since I got to shoot one at the Shirley Independence Day shoot. Mark from Zero Hour was kind enough to bring one for me to try.

Since then I have done a lot of reading and online research. Inch versus metric, Belgian versus Commonwealth, interchanging of whole assemblies between metric and inch in some cases is possible but not individual parts in those assemblies, Type I versus type II versus Type III receivers, lightening cuts, magazine interchangeability, 922(r). My head was going to exploded from all the information available about this fine rifle. It's taken 3 months to barely get my hands around the subject and to be able to talk "FAL".

BUY COMPLETE RIFLE, KIT OR BUILD FROM SCRATCH?
From my online research I have noticed that most FAL kits are pretty banged up. This is assuming you can even find one at a reasonable price or, find one at all. They are used and in some cases abused. You also have to deal with 922(r) parts compliance which means you will have to replace certain parts in these kits with a certain number of US made parts. Replacement of old, used and damaged parts is also highly recommended. Why pay for something and then have to buy certain parts again? To me this is a waste of time and money. These kits are great if you are a collector and are looking for something specific. These FAL kits do not come with upper receivers either so this is an additional item you still have to buy. I decided that this was not the way I wanted to go - at least not for my first FAL.

Then I found DS Arms and I felt like a kid in a candy store. They make brand new rifles - SA58's as well as Austrian STG-58's. To me however, buying a complete rifle is not much fun at all.

DS Arms sells just about every single part needed to assemble a FAL. It dawned on me that building my own rifle from scratch would be the way to go. Sure it will cost a little bit more than buying a complete rifle but that additional cost will be well worth the satisfaction I get from building it myself. I will also be able to:

  • Spread the cost of the rifle out over 3 or 4 or 5 months
  • Customize the rifle furniture
  • Customize the rifle muzzle device and
  • Scour the internet to find the cheapest FAL parts

One caveat, DS Arms does not sell the bolt as a stand along part. The reason they told me for this is that all newly machined bolts go towards their complete rifles leaving none to be had as a stand alone part. No worries, I found another place online that sells refurbished Imbel bolts and bolt carriers with matching serial numbers for about the same price as DS Arms charges for their bolt carrier alone!

ORDERED A TYPE I UPPER WITH CARRY HANDLE CUT.
0291CHC.gif

Today I ordered my upper receiver from DS Arms. Since this part is the controlled part it will be shipped to Zero Hour Arms. ETA for arrival is at least 10-12 weeks. Ouch! I didn't even have to put any money down or give out a credit card number. The lady took my information and gave me my order number. I can pay when it is ready to ship. Nice! This way I get the ball rolling and hopefully beat out AWB part deux. This fortunate event leaves me with this extra money in my pocket I though I would need up front to pay for the upper. What to do? Well, I will be placing an order from DS Arms for the lower receiver and its associated parts and will start building it once those parts come in.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE: 1/21/2009
I have included a list of links that I have amassed over the past 2 months.

ASSEMBLY/DISASSEMBLY

PARTS & SUPPLIES

Well, with Thanksgiving, 6 birthdays (including my own), Christmas, New Years and the death of my farther-in-law I have not had the time to update this thread much. I have finished looking over the DSA FAL schematic and grouping my parts buys into manageable $250-$350 chunks from the same company so as to minimize shipping costs. I came up with the spreadsheet below. Some of the parts may change i.e. the furniture as I may go with wood. The upper receiver is on week 10 of my supposed 12 week wait - I won't hold my breath that it will actually ship on week 12.
459105438_PKdgg-O.jpg



481395260_Gasam-O.jpg


UPDATE: 1/28/2009
I have ordered all the tools and supplies I will need to build the rifle along with some parts. I have also learned a couple of things in the last week.

First, while DS Arms prices stayed constant, that cannot be said for the other vendors. For example, the FAL tools from Midway are slightly more expensive. On the flip side the matching serial number Imbel bolt and bolt carriers from Gun Parts Guys is now $10 cheaper... go figure. Remember, the original list I made was only about 2 month old - these things change quickly.

Second, parts become discontinued - the Tapco FAL metric spring set from Midway is no longer available. Neither is the B-Squared barrel vise jaws. I had to find another source for the spring pack. I'll hold off on a barrel vise/jaws until I get the barrel.

Third, waiting for backordered receivers is one thing. Waiting for backordered parts is downright frustrating. Case in point is my order #1 which is a mix of pins, screws and springs... backordered 3 weeks.

Fourth, after scouring the internet looking at different pictures of FALs I really like the look of the German G1 and will build a look alike. I found a source that sells fake G1 flash hiders. Ray, you'll be proud of me, I am even getting an authentic German G1 sling for it and not some crappy reproduction. [wink]
g1.jpg



UPDATE: 2/3/2009
I got a call from DS Arms today. Apparently order number 1 will ship tomorrow. The lady on the phone told me that the Hammer, Trigger and Sear set were back ordered though and that I would have to wait. They apparently had finished machining a whole bunch of them and were now starting to back fill orders from 3 weeks ago. I inquired about my Type I receiver which I have now been waiting 14 weeks for. She talked to someone and came back and said that the receiver "would be shipping soon" - whatever that means. Anyway, she then tells me she has a Hammer, Trigger and Sear Set in her hand and will be including it in my order. Yipee! Good news for once. These sets are very hard to get from DS Arms.
481393718_Lj8Dk-L.jpg



Today I also received my Imbel bolt and bolt carrier with matching serial numbers from Gun Parts Guys.
481393854_m5yYq-L.jpg



481393867_kVTQH-L.jpg



481394061_BZsGK-L.jpg



And verified that it is indeed matching. What a nice bolt and bolt carrier. It looks brand new.
481394047_eJMvM-L.jpg



I have also received the remainder of my tools and miscellaneous supplies that I will need for this built. As of today orders 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 14 have been received. Next up, when I get the cash, is order 11 which includes the stripped lower. This way I can start putting something together. I have heard from different gun boards that this part is extremely back ordered from DS Arms. [thinking] Let's hope the wait is not that long.

UPDATE: 2/26/2009
My search for a fake threaded G1 flash hider is over. I was not able to find to find one. There are plenty of sleeved fake G1 flash hiders that fit on a G1 barrel thought. The 3 year old DS Arms catalog that I have showed that at one time DS Arms made replacement military barrels for the G1. These barrels are chambered in 7.62 NATO and not .308 like the standard barrels they use for their SA58 rifles. The replacement G1 barrel are also chome lined. On a prayer I called DS Arms and asked if they had any of these G1 barrels left. To my surprise they had one left! I bought it and it is on it's way to me.

The downside to this barrel is that it is $45 more expensive that a standard DS Arms barrel. It also only comes with a gas block unlike the standard barrels which includes the gas tube and a completed front sight assembly. All in all the G1 barrels will end up costing about $80 more than a standard barrel when you factor in the gas tube and part neede to assemble the front sight.

Now that I have a G1 barrels I can use a fake sleeved flash hider that quick connects and disconnects to the barrel. I also obtained of those today from a guy over at Calguns.net. Here are some pictures of the fake flash hider.
481393660_EuSgo-L.jpg



481393702_uK2E9-L.jpg



481393713_C2HWp-L.jpg



Closeup of tack weld of the flash hider to the sleeve.
481393752_Jbanf-L.jpg



I also purchased a G1 charging handle complete with the aluminum knob. I want to make this look alike G1 as authentic as possible.
481393676_4HKrW-L.jpg



481393668_T8NeC-L.jpg



With the exception of order 12 all orders have been placed. All others orders have been received with the exception of the lower receiver and the upper receiver which are still on back-order and the top cover (they sent me the wrong kind). I cannot start any assembly until I get a receiver. All I have at the moment is a big box full of parts...[frown] About the only thing I have to look forward too is the fact that my claro walnut buttstock and pistol grip from Ironwood will be arriving next week and I can at least start sanding and staining the furniture.

For all you camera junkies out there here's the setup I used to take the picures. A piece of cardboard curved to make a cheap cyclorama. A Nikon SB800 off camera with a miniture Photoflex diffuser set to Slave Mode. Another Nikon SB800 mounted on my Nikon D200 set to Master Mode. The lens used was the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 macro lens.
481394147_mPDTN-L.jpg


UPDATE: 3/1/2009
I got an email on Friday from DS Arms. My credit card has been charged for my upper receiver! That took 16 weeks to the day and is very good new indeed. It should be on it's way to Zero Hour Arms sometime next week. I also stopped by Zero Hour Arms on Saturday to drop off my STG58 handguards. Mark is going to be Duracoating them for me in flat black. Since the upper is on it's way the priority now is to order the remaining parts need for the upper. To do this I have decided to split order 12 into 2 separate orders as it alone totals over $350 - one for the remaining upper parts and the other for the remaining lower parts. By the looks of it it looks like I'll be waiting 16 weeks for the lower too.

Apparently I exceeded the maximum number of characters for one post. The build continues at post #51.
 
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ranger4-7

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Can't wait to see the progress. I think the FAL is the ultimate .308 Battle Rifle. As kids, my brother and I used to dream about getting one ( and a jeep in a crate and a surplus PT boat, etc.) He always wanted the Para version, but I fell in love with the L1A1. I love the slender, almost elegant look of the rifle with the full stock and long flash hider. Reminds me of a grey hound in full stride.
Great choice!
 

ScottS

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Welcome to the wonderfully addictive world of FAL's, and building FAL's. I hope your research took you to The FAL Files Forum, which is an unbeatable source for information on all aspects of building, maintaining, owning, shooting, etc FAL rifles. They also have a thriving Marketplace, where you can find everything needed for your FAL, including kits, upper receivers, and build tools.

As far as kits go, I think you'll find parting it out completely through DSA will break your budget. If you keep an eye out, you can usually find an StG58 kit on the 'Files Marketplace for around $500, which includes everything except the upper reciever (and, of course, your 922r compliance parts). These kits are in excellent, even like new condition, and frequenetly feature all matching serial numbers. You can also find them on GunBroker like this one (not mine).

pix824006984.jpg


The Marketplace is also a great source for DSA Type I and II receivers, ready to go. No 12 week (that always goes longer) wait.

Other great sources for parts are GunPartsGuy and GunThings. Both are outstanding dealers.

I also recommend you get "Gunplumber's guide to FN FAL Home Gunsmithing," put out by Arizona Response Systems. Get both the DVD and workbook. It's the best $60 you can spend on your FAL build. It covers "all aspects of building a FAL with your receiver and FAL parts kit. Includes tools, selecting and preparing parts; barreling and timing; adjusting headspace; tuning gas system for optimal performance; customizing; complete disassembly & reassembly, function testing and troubleshooting." You can get it at GunThings.

When the time comes, if you need any build tools (receiver wrench, pin guages, go/no-go, etc) let me know. You can borrow mine.
 

vicpinto

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Thanks for the info Scott. I have been lurkin in the Fal Files Forum for a couple of months now. They have excellent information in there.

GunPartsGuy is the source I found for the Imbel bolt carriers and bolts with matching serial numbers that I mention in my first post - much cheaper than DSA.

I will take you up on your generous offer to borrow your pin gauges and go/no-go gauges when it comes time to headspace. I appreciate that.
 
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According to the tracking notice I got from DSA, the locking shoulder and remainder of the US parts that I need to finish my current FAL build, should be here today.

Vicpinto, When you go to headspace your build, LMK what size LS You need. I've got a a couple different sizes and might be able to help you out.
 

vicpinto

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According to the tracking notice I got from DSA, the locking shoulder and remainder of the US parts that I need to finish my current FAL build, should be here today.

Vicpinto, When you go to headspace your build, LMK what size LS You need. I've got a a couple different sizes and might be able to help you out.

Thanks for the offer but I am going to let Mark over at Zero Hour install the barrel, muzzle brake and head space it for me. Hopefully he has an assortment of different sized locking shoulders and can do the job right there. Otherwise, I'll have to order one from DSA once it is determined what size is needed.
 

vicpinto

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I don't feel comfortable doing it especially after reading what happens if it isn't done right. I am leaving it to an expert. Since I need someone to solder on the brake I figured they could install the barrel and headspace it as well.
 
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I don't feel comfortable doing it especially after reading what happens if it isn't done right. I am leaving it to an expert. Since I need someone to solder on the brake I figured they could install the barrel and headspace it as well.

Wow looks like you have been busy. I would love to see it up close when your done.
 
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Thanks for the offer but I am going to let Mark over at Zero Hour install the barrel, muzzle brake and head space it for me. Hopefully he has an assortment of different sized locking shoulders and can do the job right there. Otherwise, I'll have to order one from DSA once it is determined what size is needed.

Post or PM me once you know what size LS you need (I have a couple stashed away).

You might luck out and I'll have the correct size, or you might really luck out and the one that came with your parts kit will be the right size.

Kind'a sucks that such one small simple part can be so expensive.
 
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All this stuff is very do-able. Silver soldering a brake on is child's play.
All you need is some 1100 silver solder paste and a acc/oxy or mapp/oxy torch. You're giving up on your build from scratch dream way too easily. The FAL is one of the easiest rifles there is, to HS
 
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Vic, listen to 7.62, you will get the satisfaction of building it yourself, there is no better feeling.
I don't have the tools anymore, I sold them about a year ago, sorry.
I am running a 4 to 5 month backlog right now, and i'm a lazy bastard so it's not going to get any better.
If you need the barrel threaded I may be able to squeeze it in for you.
 

vicpinto

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You guys are right. There is nothing to it. I have been reading up about barrel installation in general and it's not bad at all. I had a look at the price of the tools needed to do install the barrel and built the FAL myself. The 2 most expensive items are the receiver wrench and good Go/No-Go gauges (See Clymer). Those 2 items alone will set me back about $140.00. Add in the other FAL tools needed: Gas/Sight adjustment tool, buttstock removal tool and the bolt extrator removal tool and the total approaches about $200.00 with my Midway/Brownells discount. I'm probably better served buying my own tools than borrowing since I am sure at some point I will need to borrow them again...

I also came across this article. He uses pin gauges from an industrial supply company to determine the correct size of locking shoulder needed. A complete set of these gauges will set you back about @25.00. Brownells wanted over 3 times that for a similar item (Item # 997-100-100, FN/FAL Headspace Rod by Vulcan Arms)
 
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You guys are right. There is nothing to it. I have been reading up about barrel installation in general and it's not bad at all. I had a look at the price of the tools needed to do install the barrel and built the FAL myself. The 2 most expensive items are the receiver wrench and good Go/No-Go gauges (See Clymer). Those 2 items alone will set me back about $140.00. Add in the other FAL tools needed: Gas/Sight adjustment tool, buttstock removal tool and the bolt extrator removal tool and the total approaches about $200.00 with my Midway/Brownells discount. I'm probably better served buying my own tools than borrowing since I am sure at some point I will need to borrow them again...

I also came across this article. He uses pin gauges from an industrial supply company to determine the correct size of locking shoulder needed. A complete set of these gauges will set you back about @25.00. Brownells wanted over 3 times that for a similar item (Item # 997-100-100, FN/FAL Headspace Rod by Vulcan Arms)

No receiver block?

I'd highly recommend using one.

I made my own barrel wrench by cutting one end off an old crescent wrench then slipped a 2' section of steel gas pipe on it for leverage.

I also bought my pin gauges from MSC (12 I believe). Excellent service (arrived 2 days later), and pricing.

You should see the catalog they send you if you request one.

The thing weighs about 15lbs and has over 4,500 pages of every shop doo-dad imaginable.

For original milsurp and hard to find parts check Gun Parts Guy and Gun Things.

I've gotten excellent service from both.
 
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ScottS

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I recommend you buy a butt stock removal tool and extractor tool. You'll use both in routine cleaning/maintenance.

You can borrow my receiver wrench, barrel vice, and pin gauges when it comes time to rebarrel/HS if you'd like. Personally, I'd "do" one before I bought the tools.
 
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Isn't that the same thing as the receiver wrench? That's what DSA calls it.
603.jpg

Ahhh, so it is.

The one I have doesn't have the square cut for a breaker bar or ratchet.
It clamps on the receiver and then is secured in a bench vise and another wrench is used to tighten the barrel.

If you use the DSA one as a wrench, you'll also need a barrel block to hold everything down and keep it from moving (barrel is secured and receiver is tightened).

Or, you could use it to tighten it on the receiver and secure it in a vise (like I did), and use the correct size wrench to tighten and time the barrel (receiver is secured and barrel is tightened).
 
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While the sight/gas and buttstock/PG combo tools are cheap and good to have, don't waste your money on an extractor tool, It just isn't necessary. removing the extractor (which you will want to do B4 headspacing) is very easy to do without one.
I bought my pin gauges from Enco. I got one of each size from .256 to .268 for under $30 shipped.

I'm glad you decided to do it yourself. You've got plenty of folks here willing to help you out.
I would however recommend that you abandon your idea of procuring each piece individually. There are a lot of parts to a FAL, sourcing each piece individually will cost a lot more than a kit in the long run.
 
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Please don't take offense but $1600 to build a FAL is insane. There are still some Imbel kits around. Granted they have doubled in cost over the last couple of years, but they can still be had for around $300. That would give you everything you need minus the receiver and US parts. Those kits show a lot of handling wear (who cares, you're going to refinish it anyway) but most have very nice bores. As they say, they were carried a lot, but shot very little.

Here's a link to a FAL I just built two weeks ago.
http://www.gunco.net/forums/f254/fal-carbine-finished-42991/

I spent around $700 total. (not including tools or parkerizing solution, since I already had all that stuff)

Here's a link to a kit for sale. (typical Imbel kit)
http://www.gunco.net/forums/f259/imbel-fal-kit-fs-price-corrected-43654/
 

vicpinto

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No offense taken. I want a DS Arms FAL but I want to built it myself using parts. I know I can get a parts kit cheaper. That's not the point of this exercise...

If you look at the total it comes in way under what I would pay for a complete rifle from DS Arms. That's the point...
 
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I've just bought one FAL and have another on order from DSA (3-6 month waiting list). What spare parts/tools are good to have in case of a ban?

My amateur opinion so far:
extra barrel
extra magazines and extra springs for all
extra firing pin
extra front and rear sights with tools to change them
 

vicpinto

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Besides the upper receiver everything else is just parts. I doubt you will have to worry about those during a ban - permanent or not.
 
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