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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Seems like FALs don't even make half of your lists. I won't ask for a comparison with the illusory XCR-M, but what am I missing? It's a proven design for .308, folding stock, piston action. Unlike the KelTec RFB and FN products you can actually buy them right now. Unlike the POF it's not based on an action built for lighter rounds. The M1A design seems archaic by comparison (though I admit I have no experience with it).

Does DSA's implementation come up short?
 

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What lists?

I have two, I like them for the most part. Unfortunately they have been mostly safe queens for me so far, but I plan to change that one day when I have the time to concentrate on some FAL shooting.
 

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I own three FALs...... and LOVE em. However, don't put down the M1A (M-14) as it does have better sights and has the trophies to prove it. I also own a Match Grade M1A and a SOCOM II. Either an FAL or a M1A is a great choice for a battle rifle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Since I haven't had experience with either M-14 or FAL, can you point me to a good comparison?

Are sights really an issue? I will probably put at least an ACOG on whatever I get, and I assume I could get either with rails to accommodate a good BUIS?

Most important to me is ease of cleaning and maintenance. Are the M1A's direct gas, or do they use a piston? I've had it with direct gas impingement!
 

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The FAL is near perfection. There is not one part on the FAL that could cause catostratic failure. On the FALfiles there is Ole Dirty, thrown in muddy waters and soaked for half hour, no cleaning and 16,000 rounds later she is still going strong. But for a modern small arms weapon of today it needs to be more modular. Here is what the FAL needs:

- M1913 rails should be part of the reciever. Actually better yet, make the whole upper Reciever and Hanguards one piece, ala XCR.

- Quick Barrel Change: Changing the barrel on the FAL is pretty easy but still not as easy as an AR, with AR's you don't have to worry about headspace, the FAL you do. Better yet is have a quick barrel like the XCR. Change from CQB to DMR in and instant, slap her in and go.

- Easy caliber conversion: see above, should be able to slap in a cabliber conversion kit and go, ala XCR.

- Mag changes: This one is a nitpick, but the FAL's mag changes are kinda archaic and not as easy as an AR.

- Modularity again: Should easily be able to accept grenade launchers, lights, different optics, coffee maker, etc


But I am with you all the way, just make slight tweaks to the FAL, and you have yourself a modern weapon into the 22nd century. No need to re-invent the wheel with the SCAR when we already have the ultimate wheels with a BMW.. aka FAL.
 

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I have a fal and carried one for part of my service. It is a solid reliable rifle and accurate enough. It isn;t an MOA tool, but with good ammo can get to 1.5-2MOA. It hits hard and rarely fails to run.
 

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I have a fal and carried one for part of my service. It is a solid reliable rifle and accurate enough. It isn;t an MOA tool, but with good ammo can get to 1.5-2MOA. It hits hard and rarely fails to run.
Lucky! I wished we would have carried FAL's. But then again I own 2 now so I get to experience the awesomeness of the FAL whenever I want ;D
 

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When we converted to 5.56, the first time I pulled the trigger I thought i'd had a misfire! the other thing I noticed was that when you hit someone with a 7.62x51, they didn't get up. If they hide behind a block wall, you just shot them through the wall. Interesting times.
 

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When we converted to 5.56, the first time I pulled the trigger I thought i'd had a misfire! the other thing I noticed was that when you hit someone with a 7.62x51, they didn't get up. If they hide behind a block wall, you just shot them through the wall. Interesting times.
I never seen first hand the damage a 7.62 NATO can do. But I'll take your word for it ;)

I don't mean to sound like a panzie, but sometimes I glad that I never shot anyone, or at least see it. In Gulf War I, I did empty about 100 rounds of a SAW into an occupied bunker, but I am pretty sure I did not hit anything...also we never stopped to see the damage.
 

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The only real weakpoint in the M1A is the length of the op-rod. Overpressured ammunition can bend the rod and prevent the rifle from working. Most other issues are monor and have workarounds, such as scope mounting etc.. for ultimate accuracy though the M1A has more potential than the FAL. for betting your life, I can't speak for the M1A but I have done it with a FAL and am still here.
 

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Part of the reason for the short-stroke piston on the M14 is that it is "self-regulating" to an extent.

Extremely similar to the AK, once the piston passes a certain point, all remaining gas is vented through a hole in the gas cylinder. Instead of venting to the side like the AK, the M14 vents straight down - although this is diffused within the stock itself to prevent a dust signature.

It was easy to 'overpressure' a Garand with slow powders. In the old days, I remember getting ahold of some IMI ammo spec'd for the 1919 beltfed - seems like within the first half of the first clip, the oprod came off the track. Didn't ruin it, but surely beat it up! That was my "learning experience".

I've never seen an M14 that had a ruined oprod from ammo though. In my family, the M14 is a 3-generation tradition - I've been around a few. Heck, I've even got good trigger time on an M14E2!

Will slow powder batter the M14 system? Surely. People like me obsess about getting the charge and burn rate down pat, such that the oprod comes back and kisses the receiver nicely. But if I were in harms way, or thought my life was on the line, I wouldn't hesitate to load any commercial ammo in my mag and run it.

I've taken ammo that was plenty fine at the temperatures I tried it at - and ran it in the hot-hot. The rounds were hot enough that I had several primers just flatly fall out - this was in new Lapua brass, not worn out federal. No damage other than a discolored ring on the bolt face.

My gunsmith ran the M14 in service rifle competitions. He never did as well in across the course as he did in other venues (he was Palma 20 for 3 years running for instance) but he did very well. His load of choice was Vihta N140 - which most folks will readily realize is a bit too slow for the M14. I asked if it battered the system, and his reply was simply "if something ever breaks, I'll just fix it - I want the extra velocity".

With this kind of track record, I wouldn't hesitate to put anything in the mag that would chamber. It won't be optimal, but it surely won't "damage" the rifle.
 

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I have heard of few M14's oprods being damaged by using heavy bullets. Like 180GR and heavier for extended periods of time.
 

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I have to start by saying this is just my PERSONAL OPINION so no one gets angry and gets butt hurt. Also I want to add I am not insulting their M1A or M14, I am only insulting my own :D

I really like the M14 platform, but I think it is a really an outdated design. If the FAL is outdated then that means the M14 is really really outdated. Lots of small bolts, and little specialty parts. I take my next door neighbor shooting, he use to be a machinist, he does not know much about guns but he is a pretty handy guy and he does help me Smith my own guns sometimes. He commented how the AR probably only cost about $150 to make while the M1A must cost about $1000. Makes sense to me, and is probably the reason why everyone and their mom makes AR's and only SAI makes mass produced M14-types and why the M1A's are made in Brazil and not here.

The guy who I bought my first M1A from had it dialed it in pretty good. Sub-MOA all day long with 5 shot groups at 100 yards with match ammo. This guy came from the WECSOG but was also pretty handy and really into M14's, basically worshipped them, he even owned select fire USGI M14's, as well as M1A's and Chinese ones. He told me to stay away from hot ammo, that he even bent a couple of USGI oprods. Said they are hard to notice they by looking at them with the naked eye, but you will know right away because your gun will not be able to cycle properly, either failure to feed or failure to eject. It is no secret that you should keep your loads of 168gr SMK with Varget to under 42 gr's or you risk bending the Oprod. Also you should try to stay away from anything over 168gr.

M14's are also kind of hard to Smith, you can't just slap a bolt or barrel in the M14's and go. You have to lap and headspace, not really difficult if you know what you are doing, but a hell of alot more difficult than an AR, where you can just slap it in and go, and the XCR is even easier than AR's.

I think this guy said it best:

by another forum member:
To all my dear M14 clone friends... I love my M1A, but it's a relic of the past...

Take a peek at your M14 op rod. The little tab is 0.1" thick and about 0.25" long. It slides in a narrow channel in the receiver. The entire operation of the M14 depends upon this little tab staying in tact. For operational M14s, with a supply chain, they can be replaced any time. But the last USGI contract for new op rods has passed a few years ago. There are no more in the chain or in planning... Civilians must pay upwards of 0.00 for a new op rod if that little tab wears too much and the op rod "dismounts" from the receiver. Sure, there are a couple firms who claim to be making new op rods, but they have yet to appear... and nobody can tell what their quality will be.

Then there is the bolt roller. That thing is nearly impossible to replace if it gets damaged. One more moving part that was not necessary on the Garand. So you need at least another complete spare bolt in case the firing pin breaks, the bolt roller disassembles itself, or the extractor decides to jump out of the bolt. Happened to me more than once.

Face it... I know it's hard... but just sit back and try to relax about it, it is coming and you can do nothing about it:

The M14 and it's clones is becoming extinct.

It's OK, I'm sorry, and I feel for all those who will beat their chests and gnash their teeth over it.

I used to get m14 op rods for .00 from the CMP. They're all gone.

Bolts were .00. They're 0.00 now.

Folks say they can re-weld op rods... my my...

There is a flurry of anticipation of new forged parts.

Maybe so... maybe not... The ones I’m aware of are form Korea… not exactly USGI…

Good forged FAL receivers are available and relatively cheap. Parts are cheap. I can think of no critical component of the FAL that will cause a catastrophic failure.

Sorry, just try to get over it. The M1 Garand has a lot more available parts and is the original JCG design. You can get 2 of those for the price of an M1A, plus a case of ammo from the CMP. Same operating system, same generation... but oroginal USGI weapon with history...
 

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I have heard of few M14's oprods being damaged by using heavy bullets. Like 180GR and heavier for extended periods of time.
My M25 is about ready for a new barrel. The throat is far-far out there...... it's still MOA at 900 (barely), so I'm not changing it out yet. I doubt it will go another full year though. I'd like to go ahead and change out the barrel now -in the off season- but Barnett turned Kreigers are a touch expensive, and I've got other stuff that needs to happen before it's too late.

The ONLY bullets that have been down the tube are 175 SMKs and 178 AMAXes. Just a few hundred of the AMAXes 'cause I couldn't get them to shoot at a decent velocity for me, regardless of the powder I tried. The 175 SMKs though, they were all Good To Go, 8 fps standard deviation on 2685 fps.

Why did I feel the need for that velocity? Simple - to match the bullet drop compensator on my scope. If you've got a Leupold Mark 4 M3, that would be the 30-06 dial designed around the 180 grainer. Where I'm at, that's the velocity that tracks the dial like the pill rode on rails. Dial 1, hit at 100 precisely - dial 10, hit at 1K, beautifully.

Anyone should understand that 2685 fps is a "pretty warm" load for a 175 grainer. Just as a note, that's with a touch over 45 grains of Varget in a Lapua casing, COAL at 2.820" to keep 'em feeding from the mag. Velocities and stats come from my old Oehler 35.

I ran the first sniper course with this rifle, essentially that load, and the M308 dial - designed around the 168 SMK doing between 2600 and 2650, depending on where you're at. I found out just how much flatter the 175 flew, once past 500 yards, and "went up a notch". That's where the rifle has run the last several thousand rounds, and that's exactly what I did the advanced sniper course with.

I'm not saying that someone hasn't bent an oprod, but if he did, he's running some mighty stiff charges. Nothing SAAMI spec. My stick has seen several thousand (my log shows over 6K now) rounds of fast 175s. And I'm not concerned in the least, 'cause my gunsmith's load is much more abusive than mine. He's run several barrels with his load.

Not that I don't have an FAL - and mine isn't for sale. This one (my current FAL) was built up on a Dan Coonan, using selected choice bits. Got it done the way I wanted it.

Back when the developed Belgian FAL was put up against the M14 that was being developed at the time (the T44/T48 tests), the weaknesses of both designs were found. ALL designs have a weakness. ALL designs have their strengths. Pick your poison, and drive on. Weaknesses are fine, if you know they're there and can work around them. Pick the rifle that plays to your personal strengths - that's optimizing performance both the operator and the stick.

For 99.947% of what I would / could / do / have used a rifle for (excluding precision shooting competitions - including practical rifle competitions), the FAL and the M14 are interchangeable. In the end, it's all about operators, not designs. It's about skills, not calibers. I'd feel fine with either one - because I've used 'em enough to know what they'll take and what they won't. Confidence - derived from DOING, not READING - is worth the price of admission by itself.

"Amateurs talk hardware. Professionals talk software. It doesn't matter what's in your hand or between your legs. It matters what's in your heart and in your head." - Lt. Col. Dave Grossman
 

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and mall ninja's talk fun, because to them this is a hobby and nothing serious. mall ninja's have also heard of all the corny sayings :ninja:

"wise men makes proverb, fools repeat them" -- Samuel Palmer

Ok I admit, I am a fool because I just repeated Samuel ;D
 

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just because some guys do get away with loading hot loads in their M14s, don't think it is the general rule. Don't believe me? Just hang out at any M14 forum long enough and someone will say "my M1A won't cycle", or "my M1A won't feed" cough cough cough, bent oprod due to hot loads.

i was wrong about 168gr max above, the Military actually uses 175gr for their M118LR, but then again whats 7 grains between friends? ;)

Supposedly M118LR only has about 42.5 gr of RL15, I don't have a round in front of me to see first hand if this is true. M118LR use to be loaded higher but because of over pressure problem it was lowered. Guess what was being over pressured? you guessed M14s! M118LR is also goes only about 2550 fps, which is the same I am getting for 168gr Federal Gold Medal Match out of my 20" AR-10.

It is your gun so you do what you want, Load it hot if you want to. Me I'll go light.
 

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I used to shoot matches at Fort Benning, my old eyes won't allow it anymore, but you show your happy ass within 500 meters and I will crease your cheeks with my M-14. I can probably do the same with my Aussie FAL. You have to BELIEVE you can make the shot..... and take it. I reload and firmly believe the most accurate round WILL NOT be a max load. Each barrel will have its sweet spot...... you as a shooter must find what it likes. :2cents:
 

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I reload and firmly believe the most accurate round WILL NOT be a max load. Each barrel will have its sweet spot...... you as a shooter must find what it likes. :2cents:
AMEN!

I could go into great detail about the development of the M118LR round, 'cause a couple of the guys I know actually did it. One from the shooter end (same guy that developed the M24, M25, Leupold Mk4 scopes, etc) and the other was a buddy at Olin -on the manufacturing side- back when they ran Lake City.

Funny thing..... when Olin ran Lake City, all the M118LR was premo. No problems with pressure at all, and all high velocity. Of course, that's where I got my development info (anyone else have a gas port pressure measuring gauge?), and help in developing my load. That was great ammo, and Winchester has always made good stuff.

But then ATK got the contract, and took over LC. My buddy at Olin warned me about what would happen to the great ammo - he was 100%. Not that I needed a bunch of convincing..... care to guess who supplies ATK with their propellant base? Yeah.

ATK didn't care about sweet spots, loading for precision, or anything else. Just meet the contract specs for velocity and maximizing profit - and it wasn't until they were PROVEN to not conform to the gas pressure port requirement that they changed the ammo. AGAIN. ATK changed the M118LR recipie at least 3 times that I know of - yeah, that does great things for consistency, eh?

My buddy at Olin said, as they were leaving, that if ATK hadn't gotten the LC contract, the ammo division probably - and the powder manufacturing division absolutely - would have been bankrupt in less than two years. Unfortunately, Olin wasn't in much better shape - look at how they're doing now (and where the powder is made). I guess it was probably 6 months later I met the first rep from ATK. He verified that statement completely.

"Maximize profit" is their slogan, not "build good ammo". In the end, the government gets what they pay for - at our expense.
 

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I agree, I tend to find max accuracy is between 10 and 5% below max pressure. Take two rifles off a rack though, and i'd bet optimal loads will be a little different for each.

Back in the day, most of our long range ammo was loaded by our armorers, regular pistol and assault-rifle ammunition was provided by contract vendors who apparently shut down a production line to re-spec it for us. They would run a large batch and then go back to normal. The difference between that and regular military ball was noticeable.

You don't need several hundred foot pounds of energy when you make a head shot! I've always preferred accuracy over potency, unless I'm shooting AP, API or APIT. Then and only then is velocity king.

I heard somewhere that part of the problem at Lake city was lack of investment and ageing machinery, though apparently that is no longer the case.
 
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