View Full Version : Should I cut my FAL barrel?

September 16, 2001, 13:21
I'm about to have my second FAL built up, and I'm trying to decide if I should make this one a carbine. I was thinking of cutting it down to 18 inches any thoughts? I'm worred about increased flash from a shorter barrel (for NVGs) how much worse is it?


September 16, 2001, 14:36

So, how much do you think there'll be a difference in flash in "nvg" between 21" and 18", or even 16", etc?

You want the best flash suppression, go to AW.net and look at the cans they're putting on rifle calbers. NO flash hider/MB is gonna keep ANY .308 down to the point of not flaring-up NVG systems.

A can is your best bet, but comes w/a price; about $400 cost+$200 tax stamp+??$install fees. Seems like a major cost/vs return problem.

If your intention is to reduce the flash to the point that it won't bother the NVG too much, it's just MHO that the length really won't make much of a change. Logically this would dictate a real bbl shortening of say 5-6" ( or more/NFA route!)instead of 3" .

I personally don't see what's gained in producing a "carbine" length of 18" (plus M/B?,add 2-3"??). Then look at the long HG/gas sys, right out to the end of the bbl/ back of MB. A little too "pudgy" for my tastes.

I don't think it'll cost a heck of a lot more to cut that beauty down to size, add short HG/gas sys...VOILA! a real carbine.

This is just my take, so don't "buy" all I say. Wanna FAL the size( albeit not the weight, YET!) of an AR? Get it "chopped" all the way!

Of course, all this hinges on whether you want a factory-looking copy "Congo" whatever, or something unusual.

just my $.02,

September 16, 2001, 14:47
The only problem there is that you can not put a suppressor on postban rifle.BATF ruled a suppressor functions as a flash suppressor on postban rifle so it is illegal per AW Ban .

September 16, 2001, 15:07
I really have nothing to offer as far as flash differences, as I haven't shot at night to compare. I do have 2 shorter barrels and they will shoot as well as their longer brothers (maybe slightly better) but accuracy did not suffer. There have been posts about velocity differences with loss of barrel length, and much data suggests very slight loss when cutting a 21" to 18". From 18" to 16" shows quite a bit more loss than the first 3 inches. This data was compiled from using military surplus ammo, your results may vary, slightly.
I believe that trying different powders can change the velocity greater and the flash. Years ago I loaded a lot, and some loads using H870 at night produced one heck of a fireball, not just a flash. Pretty great difference when compared to quicker powders (as IMR 4350,3031 ETC).
My short barrels go bare, the recoil is only slightly exagerated, but the noise is much less. Flash, again, I don't know but there will be quite a flash from any legal device I would bet.

September 16, 2001, 15:29
The Belgian short flash-hider does a pretty good job even on an 18" barrel. If you go any shorter, the blast and flash start to get pretty noticeable.

Generally, a good rule of thumb is to look at what the factory did. If they produced it, then you can be pretty sure that it is possible without losing too much in the way of accuracy, reliability, or other desirable features.

Personally, I like the 18" barrel. Best compromise for an easily handled rifle with plenty of range and accuracy. NVDs will pick you up no matter what practical length the barrel is.

September 16, 2001, 17:49
Thanks for the replies, I think I'll chop this one. To clarify, the NVG thing, once and a while I hunt varmits at night (coyotes, etc) and use a pair of PVS-7Bs. Sounds like 3 inches won't make much of a diffrence.

Derby FALs
September 16, 2001, 19:53
Just wanted to let you know about some barrels DSA has. They were over runs on a custom order. One is a 16.25 Medium Heavy with 3 hole brake and the other is 18" Para Style with 3 hole brake. Brakes have been soldered permanent. Both come with gas block and short gas tube ala STG58. $174.95 each and they are 2 more USA parts.

I don't think you would get much more flash on the 18" barrel. I've heard that it takes 17" to burn a .308. Shorter FALs just feel handier to me. I've cut 2 down and am building this 16.25" Medium Heavy critter.

Cans can be bought that attach with set screws, BTW.

September 16, 2001, 20:27
Originally posted by raexcct2:
<STRONG>The only problem there is that you can not put a suppressor on postban rifle.BATF ruled a suppressor functions as a flash suppressor on postban rifle so it is illegal per AW Ban .</STRONG>

It's not illegal to put a suppressor on any weapon. What make it difficult about a post-ban gun is threading the barrel for a can. The solution is to find a suppressor that has a different mounting system then threads. Some can makers have a pin lock system that can be put on permantly with silver solder. The barrel still needs to be threaded, but by permantly attaching the non-threaded mount, it becomes legal.
I know Gemtech has a system and there are others.