View Full Version : Got my ARS-built FAL back and now some questions

March 29, 2002, 19:03
EDITED to remove pictures.

I got my Imbel grade 1 kit built on to an Inbel receiver by ARS from the UPS guy yesterday. I had them apply the satin black finish and had DSA X-stocks installed. The rifle is a thing of beauty now. I took it shooting today and got 6-7 inch groups at 100 yards. I was using Portuguese, IMI, Norma and Greek suplus ammo. With the iron sights I'd get 2 shots about an inch apart then 3 more about 3 inches higher. The rear sight is somewhat wobbly and I had to set it to 300 meters for relative point of aim. I installed the DSA scope mount and a nice Russian 7x scope and got the same types of groups. Even with Federal match. The bore looks new. The test target they sent me is about a 2 inch spread but I see that was at a distance of 25 meters using Radway Green surplus.
Question 2 is I have read about getting the gas system set right by turning the knob until the bolt holds open. well the adjustment wheel will not budge unless I tap it with a hammer and punch. My fingers are in alot of pain after trying to get the thing to turn. Is this normal?

I had them shorten the barrel to 18 inches.

[ April 01, 2002: Message edited by: dragunov ]

March 29, 2002, 19:56
I bought a grade 2 and my gas adjustment is tight also. I cant un thread the other end of the gas tube either. Its so tight that I need to use a pair of pliers but dont want to mar the finish, as it is verry nice. :confused:

March 29, 2002, 23:13
For the love of God don't use a pliers@! Go up to your drawer where you keep all your little knives and get your Swiss Army knife out and try using the bottle opener on the nut.
Spring for a StG cleaning kit from www.gunthings.com (http://www.gunthings.com) and you will then have the correct tool to disassemble it.

March 30, 2002, 18:03
Thanks for the replies. For the record yes my rifle is getting 6 to 7 inch groups at 100 yards with 5 shots. I think it has something to do with the rear sight. When it's sitting in the indent on the little slide it can wobble a bit. This is very bad for accuracy. however even with the scope I was getting bad groups. It could be that I'm not familiar with shooting this rifle. Also that barrel is 18 inches in length and there is no muzzle attachment as you can see. I'm not upset at all with ARS and think they did a fantastic job (even though the rifle reeks of cigarette smoke!). I'm just putting this down to a new barrel/trigger parts and a new shooter. It was just surprising after seeing so many claims here of sub 2 inch groups with surplus ammo.

March 30, 2002, 20:04
Hi Dragunov,
Well I've gotta jump in here. I may have disagreements with ol' Gunplumber now and again, but let me say that I see NO way that rifle (if 100% ARS built and not just re-worked) could shoot that bad. 7" groups? Maybe if the bore was completely void of any rifling.

No matter what I think of Mark Graham personally, I know for a fact he would never let an ARS built FAL leave his shop shooting like that. He builds one Hell of a gun. The fact that it's an Imbel build tells me the rifling is probably pristine and the wobbly sight alone still couldn't account for 6-7" groups.

Put that rifle on a rest and shoot some groups using the scope. Do so in a slow, timed and deliberate manner then report back to us on your results. The scope and mounts in your photo are not visible due to the darkness of that picture so quality is hard to determine. For sure make sure that mount is on firmly and your scope and rings as well.

Your comment about reeking of cigarette smoke? The gun does?? The case?I smoke like a chimney and never had a FAL smell like cigarette smoke yet. Maybe you are smelling the lubricant?

I don't believe Mark even smokes! :)

If this is truly an ARS custom build there is no earthly reason for the accuracy (or lack of) problems you describe.

Not trying to be smart here, just trying to figure this one out. I am convinced that no ARS Custom Fal has ever been built that shoots that badly. Mark test fires each and every one.

Please keep us posted on this one! If your problem persists call Mark and talk to him about it. He offers a lifetime warranty on every "ARS" stamped gun he builds!

Added as "second thought":
Just thought of this. Maybe the X stock is making it tough to get a good cheek weld and sight picture? Just a thought. I never shot one so equipped, but maybe other X stock owners could comment? I'm grasping at straws here.... :)


PS: Nice website! I bookmarked it! ;)

[ March 30, 2002: Message edited by: FWRA ]

[ March 30, 2002: Message edited by: FWRA ]

Brian in MN
March 30, 2002, 20:25
Might not hurt to have someone else shoot it, too. It should be much better than that. AK's shoot better than that with those horrible sights and very short sight radius.

The cig thing is kinda wierd. Mark's shop does not smell like smoke.

March 30, 2002, 20:28
If this is true, shouldn't you call ARS about it?

March 30, 2002, 23:30
EDITED to remove the pics...didn't think they were that bad...

Thanks again for the replies. I got the scope from http://www.nightvisionweb.com/rifle_scopes.htm but they don't seem to carry it anymore. It's a nice scope with a strange rangefinding reticle (not a Dragunov type) and is illuminated. Perhaps the scope is defective? I paid about $130 for it but who knows? The rings are Leupold quick release. I'm thinking about it more and It's possible that I didn't shoot it enough with the iron sights. My groups were OK but seemed to actually be like 2 separate groups because of the sight wobble. The first 2 hits would be in one spot and the next 3 would be 3 inches away but close together. Also the DSA HTS was not very smooth and perhaps with that and a rather stiff recoil I was not getting very good results. I hope I have not put anyone under the impression that I blame ARS because I don't. I'm sure it's a combination of new shooter and new parts that need to be broken in. I just was so blown away by how cool the rifle looks that I had high hopes that it would shoot well "out of the box".

Sorry for the huge pics but I thought you'd like to see the detail.

Also regarding the X-stock, it was less comfortable that I had hoped. The angle of the comb is such that my cheek is slammed against it with every shot. Perhaps a muzzle brake would help but I really didn't want one. I will also have to put on a cheek piece to get a good weld while using the scope.

[ April 01, 2002: Message edited by: dragunov ]

sam i am
March 31, 2002, 07:57
As for your gas knob, it sounds like the threads need a good cleaning. My imbel had the same problem. It took about 1 hour with a plumbers inside wire brush for the nut and a wire wheel atachment for the dremel to clean the gas block. Now I can turn it with ease.
There is a lot of build up from oil and dirt.
Add the heat and carbon from the barrel and you get something like an epoxy, some tough stuff.
http://www.stopstart.fsnet.co.uk/new/greenegg.gif http://www.stopstart.fsnet.co.uk/new/greenham.gif

March 31, 2002, 08:46
I'm just looking at the math at the top. This is just ballpark figuring but: approx. 2" at 25 meters is close to 8" at 100 yards (2"x4). Sounds to me like he is shooting as well as the test target indicates or a bit better.

Richard Bird
March 31, 2002, 13:02
Originally posted by dragunov:
<STRONG>the adjustment wheel will not budge unless I tap it with a hammer and punch</STRONG>
Don't bugger it up with a hammer & punch, use a Gas Regulator Wrench from DSA. Click URL: http://www.dsarms.com/tools.htm

March 31, 2002, 13:16
25 m group size does not correlate with "multiply by 4 for 100 meter group size) . Standard is for POI is 13mm below POA, max 13mm (1/2") L or R of center, and a group sie where 4 of 5 ropunds strike within a 38mm circle (1.5") for a new rifle and 2" 50mm for a rifle in service. This is from a machine rest at 25 with RG ammo.

Gun would probably benefit from a new barrel. can try recrowning it, but since the crown is visible now and I am pretty careful cutting them thats probably not it. If it were an ARS gun I'd have it returned for probably a new barrel or at least inspection, but on customer supplied parts, I can only warranty that its put together correctly - not the quality of the customer supplied parts. \

And please get rid of those pictures. the rifle was beautiful (X stock notwithstanding) but the pictures are worse than mine (which is a difficult accomplishment)

April 01, 2002, 01:58
Sorry to disagree with you Gunplumer. I was working with the info provided at the top. I don't know if Dragunov measured C to C or just used an eyeball mic. That is why I use the words like "ballpark" and "approx.". I do not understand what the 13mm below POA and the rest of it for a "new" or "in service" rifle has to do with 2"x4. This type of figuring does work. Group size does not open in even steps. A rifle that shoots 2" at 100 yards will usually shoot around 4 1/2" at 200 yards. This is due to wind drift over a longer time of flight and flaws in the bullets having more time to affect point of impact.
Please understand I am (was) not cutting down the quality of your work. You worked with what you received. I understand this after 7 years in the industry. Just trying to let Dragunov know his rifle may be doing the best it can as is.

April 01, 2002, 03:14
"group size does not open in even steps"

Exactly. All I'm saying is that a rifle that groups 1" at 25 yards will not necessarily group 4" at 100, and 8" at 200, etc. Its an easy rule of thumb, but not set in stone.

The British zeroing standard is as I wrote, a 2" circle at 25 yards from an Enfield Machine Rest, which is probably better than most of us can do. Thats for a rifle in service or at unit level maintanence. At depot level overall, the standard shrinks to 1.5". Point of impact with sights centered is directed to be 1/2" below point of aim and no more than 1/2" left or right. Group (I assume center to center or edge to edge minus .30) size is measured best 4 of 5 rounds.

A 2" group at 25 yards is a military acceptance standard. But using your calculations, that allows a 8" group at 100 yards, or 8MOA, which doesn't sound like an "acceptable" standard to me. I am simply saying that a 25 yard group zize multiplied by 4 will not necessarily equal a 100 yard group size.

Of course its unlikely to SHRINK at longer distances, but may not expand in even increments.

April 01, 2002, 13:56
Your rifle has really got me puzzled and I can't stop thinking about it. :)

If this was a Dan's Grade I kit there could be no earthly reason I can see how it could shoot 6"+ groups at 100yds. My WAC Test Gun was shooting under 2" at 25yds right up to the "end". It was an 18" Imbel Grade I that was crowned too.(I still have that barrel as a momento and it's awaiting a re-build on an Imbel receiver this time. Rifling is still like new.)

Try taking that "X" stock thingie off and re-install your original Imbel buttstock just to see if that makes any difference. Make sure the scope and mount is tight again.

Six and seven inch groups? Two inches at 25yds? Heck, I've got a Sheridan pellet gun that will do better than 2" at 25 yds. off the bench.

Keep shooting it and please keep us posted on this one.


[ April 01, 2002: Message edited by: FWRA ]

April 01, 2002, 14:51
1) let someone else shoot it, because you may be flinching since you said the stock "whacks you in the face"..
2) try different ammo
3) make sure you are not pivoting on the magazine when you shoot
4) vary shooting position a bit, front to back, if you get the barrel balanced just right, you may be getting some harmonics in your shot string..

April 01, 2002, 21:58
I really appreciate your help folks. I took it to the range again this Easter Sunday. I fired it with iron sights and got generally better groups this second time around. I still got what looks like 2 impact areas in one string. My first 2 shots (at 100 yards) would be almost touching then 2 more about 3 inches away then a flier 5 inches from the first group. I'm using the first segment of my index finger (which is 1 inch) as a measuring tool to measure center to center of the impact holes. My groups got progressively worse (fired about 140 rounds over all) because I was flinching. There was a fair amount of pain inflicted on my cheek after a while with this X-stock. I also cut a piece from an aluminum can and folded it 4 times and used it to shim the rear sight which got rid of the wobble. The trigger parts are gritty and have a very heavy pull and I think that's the biggest factor here. I tried to smooth the contact surfaces with my polishing wheel and the red and white polishing sticks. This only helped slightly and I couldn't get at the odd angle that is on the hammer contact area. I would really hope I don't need a new barrel as this one looked about new and was one of Dan's grade 1 kits for which I paid a hefty premium ($250). I had also fired my MAS 49/56 in 7.5 and got less recoil(thanks to the muzzle brake), smoother trigger and better accuracy (thanks to the better rear sight). I will take advice here and change the stock if it's legally possible. I also have a DSA floating handguard that I will install to see if it helps.

April 01, 2002, 22:11
Oh yeah, just to vent a little, I have read people post here that the DSA trigger parts were better than the First Sons because there was a breakage issue at one time and that there would be no "fitting" involved and less of a headache in the long run. I also read that a barrel shortened to 18 inches generally produced the best accuracy. I also read that muzzle attachements affected barrel harmonics which can either be good or bad depending on your luck (and not science apparently). The X-stocks look very cool to me and only after I buy and install them do I hear reviews of how they are not comfortable to use (which I agree). Unfortunately I did not read anywhere about the rear sight design that virtually eliminates good repeatable accuracy (too wobbly) and I have yet to hear something definitive about a better rear sight design (like this one from TNT, who, by the way, will not return any of my emails)

It seems all I read about here is how addictive these FAL's are and how 2 MOA is about average accuracy. This is my first FAL and I'm into it about $1200 all told and I'm just hoping I haven't made a mistake by focusing my time and limited money in this weapon system.

Ok, thanks for listening, I feel better now :p

April 02, 2002, 00:01
I'm not laughing at you, I WAS however laughing after I read this---
My groups got progressively worse (fired about 140 rounds over all) because I was flinching. There was a fair amount of pain inflicted on my cheek after a while with this X-stock.

The only reason I laughed (I don't find your problems you are having with your rifle the least bit funny!) was because of your "flinching" statement.

The Story of the No Fun FAL

I never had a flinching problem until last December when my WAC Combat Elite receiver on a custom build cracked after just a few rounds. (That caused a BIG flinching problem!) :)

My second custom build on that same "flawed" receiver was unfired so I decided to take a chance on giving it a few hundred rounds to see if the other failure was just a "fluke". I shot this rifle slowly and deliberately (checking my Combat Elite receiver after every few rounds looking closely for any new "cracks") for about 60 rds with no receiver problems, just one really major problem....I developed a flinch. A BAD flinch. I was so worried that the new one would crack that was closing my eyes at the moment of ignition. I never realized it until it was pointed out to me by a friend who was watching me shoot.

I then took apart my last two Combat Elite rifles and sold off all parts. Why? Because shooting that Combat Elite rifle was no longer fun.

It took me over a month to regain my confidence in my FAL (steel receiver) rifles AND in my shooting ability. I practiced for hours at a time squeezing that trigger carefully and not "anticipating" the shot until it was automatic again.

I don't flinch anymore and I enjoy shooting once again.

The ONLY thing that makes my FAL's easier for me to shoot accurately, are the First Son Enterprises hammers,triggers and sears installed in them. These US parts are a vast improvement in even the stock units they replaced and my triggers now have a crisp letoff and just a bit of creep. They make it much easier for me to shoot well and they reduce trigger weight drastically for me. (These are stock units and not custom jobs!)

I tell you this story for one reason only. If your X stock is causing you discomfort and making you develop a flinch? Then take it off and put it in your closet. Order a Penguin or a Tapco US buttstock (the Century Tapco sells is cheap and the two piece Penguin is too) and install one of them. Comfort is paramount.

If your TNT sight wobbles? Get it off your rifle don't just shim it to make it work! Don't let that work against you. That TNT sight could probably be reworked to fit properly by Ed Vanden Berg if you wanted to spend the money to do so.

My advice?
Put your stock Imbel sight back on and don't look back. When you have a spare $52 to spend, get a FSE h,t,s and install them yourself. The improvement in trigger control will amaze you.

Then go right back to the range and actually ENJOY your shooting sessions! Don't worry about "tight groups" but instead concentrate on your shooting technique and wear GOOD hearing protection. I have Pro Ears and they cost me $250 but I can hear range commands and normal conversation with ease. The noise from rifles fired all around me (or my own!) doesn't bother me one bit.

Groups, MOA accuracy? Ptooey! Enjoyment.... That's the name of the FAL game!

Warm Regards,

PS: This is all just my opinion and nothing more. The beauty of that? It didn't cost you one penny. :D

[ April 02, 2002: Message edited by: FWRA ]