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

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vicpinto
I have been waiting 3 months for a DSA H/T/S group...if it takes to much longer I will cancel my order and go with Falcon Arms

I waited 4 months, through repeated promised ship dates. Yesterday was the last straw. I called and was told "it should ship in about 30 days" this was after I was told it would ship in 10 days, when I called two weeks ago. I canceled it and ordered from Midway.
The initial price was $5 more from Midway, but with their lightweight shipping deal, the total price was actually less. Within hours of ordering it, I got an email from them stating that the FCG had shipped by USPS Priority mail. I'll have it Tuesday or Wednesday.
 
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Vic,

I did not see this one on your list. This is the bible of FAL building. I highly recommend it.

http://www.arizonaresponsesystems.com/
dvdfal.jpg
 
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I waited 4 months, through repeated promised ship dates. Yesterday was the last straw. I called and was told "it should ship in about 30 days" this was after I was told it would ship in 10 days, when I called two weeks ago. I canceled it and ordered from Midway.
The initial price was $5 more from Midway, but with their lightweight shipping deal, the total price was actually less. Within hours of ordering it, I got an email from them stating that the FCG had shipped by USPS Priority mail. I'll have it Tuesday or Wednesday.


Midway now showing out of stock no backorder...that was quick [sad2]
 
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Midway now showing out of stock no backorder...that was quick [sad2]

Try Gun Parts Guys. They have the Falcon Arms HTS group sets for $61.99. They also have imported metric sets - mostly Imbel or FN for $17.99. You may get away with the imported ones. It all depends on how many other Made In The USA parts you have.
 
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Midway now showing out of stock no backorder...that was quick [sad2]

Wow, You have no idea how quick that was.
Midway has a feature that will notify you when a back ordered part becomes available. Yesterday I received notification that they had come in, that's what prompted my call to DSA.
That means they sold out in one day. I don't know how many they got in, but they must have all gotten scooped up by folks that were on the notification list.
 
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Nice! I may have to pick that up.

I don't know if you know who Mark Graham is, but he is the owner of Arizona Response Systems. One of the premiere FAL builders in the country.
Even though I was well versed in building other types of firearms, when I built my first FAL, I knew little about them. I bought one of his building guides (mine's so old it's on VHS lol) It had all the info required to walk you through the build step by step. It also goes beyond that with trouble shooting guides and other tips.
 
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I waited 4 months, through repeated promised ship dates. Yesterday was the last straw. I called and was told "it should ship in about 30 days" this was after I was told it would ship in 10 days, when I called two weeks ago. I canceled it and ordered from Midway.
The initial price was $5 more from Midway, but with their lightweight shipping deal, the total price was actually less. Within hours of ordering it, I got an email from them stating that the FCG had shipped by USPS Priority mail. I'll have it Tuesday or Wednesday.

Midway came through for Me once again, I received it this morning. I love dealing with those guys. They and Brownells have never let me down.
 
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Stupid Question time

I've searched the legal threads for this information, and come up dry, but since I'm looking at pretty much the same hardware... what are the legal rules for parting out a FAL build? The couple of shops I talked to about ordering a new DSA *at all* said that I couldn't do it.

I was thinking of getting a imbel receiver online, then building it up, but my understanding is that I'd need to prove it was part of a rifle pre '94 if I wanted to slap anything besides a 21" bull barrell on it.

Yes/No/Maybe so?

(I really tried search, guys, I really did)
 

KMM696

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I've searched the legal threads for this information, and come up dry, but since I'm looking at pretty much the same hardware... what are the legal rules for parting out a FAL build? The couple of shops I talked to about ordering a new DSA *at all* said that I couldn't do it.

I was thinking of getting a imbel receiver online, then building it up, but my understanding is that I'd need to prove it was part of a rifle pre '94 if I wanted to slap anything besides a 21" bull barrell on it.

Yes/No/Maybe so?

(I really tried search, guys, I really did)

Short answer - yes, you can.

2 issues to worry about:

Federal: Title 18 USC § 922(r) - governs number of imported parts allowed your rifle. Summary http://thegunwiki.com/Gunwiki/LegalFederal922rParts. This is why you see FAL parts advertised as 'US Made' - those parts typically count. Not every part on the federal 922r list exists on a FAL, so look at the FAL version of the checklist.

You don't say if you're in MA, but assuming you are, you need to follow the assault weapons ban rules. A semi-auto rifle with a detachable magazine and 2 or more of the 5 'bad' features (bayonet mount, folding stock, pistol grip,flash suppressor or threaded barrel, grenade launcher) is a banned assault rifle.

An FAL is a detachable mag, pistol gripped rifle, so you need to eliminate the rest of the prohibited features. A muzzle brake in the wrong external diameter for rifle grenades and bayonets, permanently attached to the barrel, and no folding stock, and your FAL is not banned.

There should be plenty of info on the FALFiles forum on both 922r and the assault weapons ban. Well worth visiting. If you want one from DSA, give them a call. They built rifles all through the ban, I'm sure they could point you toward something MA acceptable, which may not be in the catalog your local shops have.

Oh, and preban high-cap mags are pretty common, which you'll need for MA as well. Greater than 10 rounds, must be built before Sept 1994.
 
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The couple of shops I talked to about ordering a new DSA *at all* said that I couldn't do it.


(I really tried search, guys, I really did)

There is no reason why you can't buy a DSA. You can order from them in such a manner that would make it MASS legal. Those shops don't know what they are talking about.

As far as 922r parts requirement are concerned, that is not an issue with a brand new DSA FAL since the whole rifle is made in the USA . It comes into play when building a parts gun.
 
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I was thinking of getting a imbel receiver online, then building it up...

Good luck finding an Imbel receiver and prepare to dig deep if you do. I've used Imbels on previous builds, back while they could still be imported. You could pick them up for the same money as a DSA. As soon as they were banned from import, they dried up and the price sky rocketed. I haven't seen one listed lately, but I'll bet they are in the $550-$600 range nowadays. The build I just finished is on a DSA receiver, it went together very nicely and you can still get them for $350, just be ready to wait a while for it.
 
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Called DSA yesterday. Receiver is at least another 6 weeks out. Order number 1 on my spreadsheet is at least 3 weeks out. Ugh!
 
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I don't know if you guys were aware, but Dan Coonan is producing receivers again. They are also very reasonably priced and in stock. I paid $299 which included shipping and time between order and arrival was about 2 weeks. DCI has/had a great reputation from all my research and the price and availability are unmatched. This sure beats the 80% receivers on GB going for $165 + that I have seen in the last few weeks.

Now I have to round up all the tools for the build.

Great thread. I am looking forward to the results.

odie70
 
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I bought my own tools. You can check out the spreadsheet to get an idea of what they cost. I broke out the cost of the tools from the rest of the rifle because to me they are an investment and will be used for other FAL rifles. I got a feeling this is going to be an expensive hobby - FAL collecting and building that is.

BTT, with some nice updates.
 
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Does anyone know a gunsmith who can headspace my metric FAL?(and might have locking shoulders instock?) I'm in southern NH.
 
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Does anyone know a gunsmith who can headspace my metric FAL?(and might have locking shoulders instock?) I'm in southern NH.

If you are willing to travel to SE Mass I will gladly headpace it for you. Once you know the correct sized locking shoulder you can order one from DS Arms and install it yourself using a vise. I don't recommend installing the locking shoulder using a hammer.
 
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UPDATE: 3/4/2009
Wood! No, not the morning kind but the Ironwood kind.
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I got a slight discount on the buttstock and it is probably due to the weird looking grain as seen in this picture. I can live with it for the discount I got.
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I was surprised to see the extra storage compartment. I didn't think that Ironwood bothered. This allows me to pick up a surplus G1 buttplate with a trap door. Nice!
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Pistol grip.
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DAY 1 OF STOCK FINISHING
I decided to follow Ironwood's stock finishing directions faithfully since I have never stained anything in my life...
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Today I sanded the pistol grip and buttstock with 150 grit sandpaper and then again with 220 grit sandpaper making sure not to round out any edges. I then took a very wet sponge and rubbed both pieces down with water. This will raise the grain and make the wood feel fuzzy. Both pieces are drying right now and I will continue tomorrow.

UPDATE: 3/7/2009
I got a couple major components on Thursday - the barrel and the upper receiver. I also got my STG handguards back from Mark over at Zero Hour. He did a fantastic job dura coating these for me.
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One of the things that someone building a FAL has to check is the timing of the barrel to the receiver. The small cutout in the barrel shoulder for the gas tube nut needs to fall at around 30 degrees before top dead center. Any more and you will not be able to apply enough torque to time the barrel and you'll end up having to shave some metal off of the barrel shoulder . Any less and you will not have tightened it enough and you risk embarassing yourself at the range when the barrel gets loose on you. As can be seen the barrel times to about 11 o'clock or 30 degrees before top dead center and should not be a problem when it comes time to install the barrel. Perfect!
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Admit it... that charging handle is damn sexy on a FAL.
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UPDATE: 3/10/2009
DAY 6 OF STOCK FINISHING
After sanding with 150, 220 and 320 grit sandpaper, 4 coats of Watco Exterior Stain and 2 applications of Tung Oil I get this.
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I may go a couple more applications of Tung Oil before finishing it off with some Feed-N-Wax.

Since I got a nice bonus from work I decided not to split out the final order (order 12) into 2 separate and smaller orders. I placed that order last Friday. The only 2 remaining issues are: 1) DS Arms sent me the wrong top cover. They sent me a cover capable of accepting stripper clips. I had to RMA the old one back, wait 2 weeks for them to get around to verifying the return, get credit for shipping, etc, etc... It was a pain in the ass. The correct cover is on it's way. Issue number 2 is the fact that the lower is still on back order.

I also received an authentic G1 sling from a guy on eBay.
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I am itching to start this build. I have a big old box of parts in the safe that I cannot do anything with. Without the lower I cannot assemble anything. I also cannot assemble the upper because the final order I placed was for all the parts associated with the upper. I cannot even assemble the barrel to the receiver because I am missing the handguard retaining ring. Doh! The wait is killing me.

UPDATE: 3/23/2009
The last order from DS Arms has been received. All orders have now been placed and received. The only 2 remaining backordered items are the lower receiver and the standard length gas piston.

I barreled the receiver today. I ended up having to sand off the parkerization on the end of the barrel where it contacts the inside of the upper receiver. I also had to sand the barrel shoulder down a little bit in order to hand time the barrel to 11 o'clock. Once this was accomplished the final torquing of the barrel was easy. Total time for this was about 3 hours. I also assembled the rest of the upper. It was fairly simple and took about 50 minutes. Here it is.
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Now I wait for the lower to come in...

UPDATE: 4/22/2009
HEADSPACING THE FAL
Well, another month has gone by and still no sight of the lower. In the mean time I got around to headspacing the FAL. Below from left to right are the 3 items needed to complete the job: Set of gauge pin rods, Clymer GO/NO-GO headspacing gauges and a FAL extractor removal tool. The tool is not needed but your fingers, nails and/or eyes will thank you if you use it - that spring is under some serious compression.
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The tool is simple to use. The right end wraps around the firing pin and the left end hooks into a small hole located on the extractor.
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Success!
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Headspacing is a no brainer. The bolt and chamber are cleaned. The GO gauge is inserted into the chamber and the smallest rod in inserted.
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Close the bolt on the rod.
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Continuing inserting bigger and bigger rods until you can no longer close the bolt using 2 thumbs pressure. Back off to the previous rod size and add 0.001 inches for setback. This is the correct sized locking shoulder to use. Since the rifle is new I will take setback into account. Basically it allows for the parts to wear in. In my case the locking shoulder size ended up being .256".
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Before installing the locking shoulder I made sure that it seated correctly in the receiver - I learned this trick from a thread on FAL File Forums.
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A couple of healthy hammer blows later with the aid of a pin punch and the locking shoulder was installed. This is about the time I ran into some problems.

I again inserted the GO gauge and expected the bolt to close. It did not even when I put a lot of pressure on it. I removed and reinstalled the locking shoulder and it still would not close. I again removed the locking shoulder and inserted the .256" rod gauge. The bolt closed on the rod gauge. The only assumption I can make that makes sense is that the locking shoulder I purchased from DS Arms is the wrong size. I will verify the size with a micrometer.

On another note I made a mistake when I installed the bipod legs. It seems I should have looked inside the bag a little more carefully as I forgot to install a small diameter rod that sits between the top bracket and a notch cut out of the barrel. This rod prevents the bipod from swinging more than 30 or so degrees to either side of the barrel. In my case the bipod could swing all the way around. I had to order a small rod online as the parts bag for the bipod legs is now somewhere in a landfill... The bipod now functions as it should.
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2 items remain - the lower receiver (should be in my hands on Friday) and the butt stock swing swivel.

UPDATE: 4/23/2009
I bought myself a digital fractional caliper today. I measured the locking shoulder and it turns out it's a .258" locking shoulder and not the .256" one I ordered. It's no wonder the bolt didn't close on the GO gauge. Grrr, guess I'll call DS Arms tomorrow for my third RMA.

UPDATE: 4/24/2009
What can Brown do for you? Well he delivered a lower receiver today!
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However, the pistol grip screw is missing! Grrr! That's strike 4 against DS Arms. Once again, I placed another call to them and they have a pistol grip screw on it's ways to me. Somewhere in that pile of parts is a FAL lower... trying to get out.
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After about 2 additional hours of tickering around I have myself a completed lower. Oh baby. Getting the z spring into the bottom of the rear sight was a bitch. So was the hammer return spring assembly - I managed to launch the whole assembly clean across the living room twice because of the force of the spring under compression.
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A closeup of the hammer return spring assembly, a.k.a. Living Room Rocket.
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With the exception of the pistol grip screw, the locking shoulder and the buttstock swing swivel this build is complete. All that's left when these 3 parts come in is a trip to the range to pop it's cherry, adjust the gas system and sight it in. Thanks to everyone who offered advise on the build and offered to lend me parts and tools. A special thanks goes out to Mark from Zero Hour for doing the FFL transfer and for duracoating the STG handguards. I will follow up with a range report soon. Here are some pictures of the completed, built from scratch, G1 look alike FAL
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It's really starting to come together nicely.
Have you determined what size locking shoulder you need yet? I've only got a couple of sizes, but maybe we'll get lucky and I have the one you need.
 

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Vic this look great. I think the Ironwood stocks look awesome! I love following the progress on this thread. It makes me think I need another FAL, but this time with wood instead of plastic.
 
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It's really starting to come together nicely.
Have you determined what size locking shoulder you need yet? I've only got a couple of sizes, but maybe we'll get lucky and I have the one you need.

Not yet. Do I need the lower attached to the upper to headspace it? I would think not but I want to make sure.
 
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Vic, did you get that headspaced yet? I am interested to hear how those pins from MSC worked out for you. The are a real bargain over the headspace rod that Brownells sells
 

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VC
Absolutely Beautiful work there.

I hope my self build will be even half as nice as yours is when I'm done with it.

Building a FAL Pistol and a G1 style Metric FAL.

I'll start my own build thread but have not documented my progress any where like you have.

A few pics along the way and receipts from DSA and other suppliers.

BTW in case it wasn't mentioned in your thread already DSA type 1 and 2 receivers can be bought for 350.00 plus shipping if your a WWW.FALFILES.COM member.

I bought 2 of them about 3-4 months ago and have been building my pistol out of one and the rifle out of the other.
 
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