View Full Version : My first FAL build

April 09, 2002, 13:53
FAL Buildout report

I finished my first FAL and felt compelled to share the experience. After building two ARs, I felt the burning desire to expand my horizons by building another rifle. Besides that, I had an empty slot in my gun cabinet. When I found the FAL files, I began a voyeuristic period, reading the threads and browsing the archives. Then one day I figured I had absorbed as much knowledge from the experts as I could. It was time to take the plunge.

I purchased a great grade II kit from Dan’s Sporting Goods. I wanted a grade III and Dan said they had one in stock when I ordered it. What I got was the grade II kit, at the grade II price ($200) but it came with all of the grade III accessories. The bore was in what I consider to be excellent condition. The only evidence of it’s having been fired at all was a very small amount of barely visible jacket fouling, visible at the muzzle. The bore cleaned up well and is so bright, it hurts to look down there! The gas piston and tube look like they’ve never seen use. The numbers on the lower receiver, bolt and carrier match. The finish was pretty well worn on all parts but the overall condition was good.

Out came the Dremell to work on the barrel. I only busted three cut-off wheels removing the old receiver stub from the barrel (Do I get extra WECSOG credits for this?) Navel Jelly, paint stripper and a wire wheel reduced what was left of the finish on the lower to bright, shiny steel. The barrel finish was pretty thin too but it cleaned up well. I sanded the plastic furniture down smooth. Not too many deep scratches or gouges here. I refinished these with a light gray spray-on traction finish from Rustoleum. It’s used for stair treads, diving boards and such. I put on two coats and it seems to be pretty tough but time will tell. It allows a good grip on the rifle. I used Brownells bake-on Teflon-Moly spray on the lower, top cover and other parts. I selected the Parkerized Gray color. One note here: The first can of the Teflon-Moly I got from them was all buggered up. The spray nozzle didn’t work well and the stuff just kind if globbed out of the can. It just barely finished this small project where Bownells states that one can should be enough for two guns. I called them up about this and they sent me a new can, no questions! Thanks Bownells, you’re a top-notch company. I was able to touch up the barrel with, of all things, Aluminum Black. It’s only a cold-bluing type of treatment but the barrel, gas block, rear sight and other small steel parts blued up real nice with this. Maybe I’ll re-park the whole thing someday but until then, this looks good! A “Zero Climb” muzzle brake from DSA was permanently affixed to the barrel to finish up.

I used a local gunshop to order an Imbel type III receiver from Dealer Warehouse. The finish on this piece almost exactly matches the color of the lower. I threaded on the barrel but found it was almost 40-45 degrees under timed. NOTE: While test fitting the bolt/carried/cover I gouged my knuckles on the rear sight and bled all over the new receiver. It took less time than I thought the get bloody on this project (No WECSOG credits here, I think it’s expected to shed blood). I tried the Cruffler.Com barrel timing technique of using sanding disks to slowly remove material from the barrel shoulder to get the barrel to time to 15-20 degrees but it never seemed to work. I couldn’t gain anything using this method. I finally resorted to slowly and carefully hand grinding the face of the receiver with a new sharpening stone. This got the barrel to hand tighten to the correct location. I know your not supposed to do this but I was very careful to go slow and keep the stone flat and true. I made a received wrench out of scrap 3/8” aluminum plate I picked up at a local salvage yard. I sacrificed a 1 1/16th open-end wrench to fit the barrel flats and clamped it all up in the garage bench vise; it torqued-up great.

The next stop was at Gander Mountain to see their gunsmith and check the headspace. The locking shoulder that came in the parts kit measured up at .262” and was too big. The bolt would not close on a GO gauge. I bought a letter “F” drill bit that measures in at .257”. Using this to test with, the bolt closed freely on the GO but not on the NOGO gauges. I exchanged the .262 LS for a .256 from Jen and all is now well with the headspace thing (Thanks to Jen and the FAL Files). The GM gunsmith shop was very accommodating. He spent about 10 minutes with me, pounded out the LS when it was determined to be too big and allowed me to fiddle with his .308 Win gauges to do this testing with the ersatz “F” pin gauge. For all of this, he charged me $Zero. When I went back to him to verify the new locking shoulder, I did drop him 10 bucks for the trouble. Thanks Gander Mountain. Next stop, the range.

I lashed up the rifle to several foam-rubber pads and propped it up against a cement block with bungee cords. The first rounds were fired with a 20 yard piece of string as a lanyard just to be safe. Using Portugese surplus ammo, I set the gas regulator on full open and fired two test rounds. The bolt opened enough to re-cock the hammer but it did not eject the emtpy case. The regulator eventually adjusted down to the number 7 position for reliable functioning; right where it’s supposed to be. Accuracy seems to be about 5” at 100 yards. I’m probably the limiting factor here. The Zero-Climb brake works great, the rifle is a blast to shoot (pun intended)! I enjoy shooting the ARs but there is something different about shooting the FAL. It barks a bit more, it rocks a bit more and maybe that’s it. This gun says Rock-N-Roll! I’m hooked and looking to build another FAL now, maybe a G1. When will this end!

April 09, 2002, 14:47
Sounds like a success. You've got me wanting to build another rifle, but alas I cannot. I traded off my varmint rig, and fear that the furry bucktoothed hoard are planning to overrun my base. Bullberry is on order. Still need Encore frame and stock set. Bipod. Mounts. Rings. Scope. Poorhouse. Tooth and fur! AAAAHHHHHHH!!!!

I've used that Brownells stuff with varying success. The biggest mistake is warming the parts too much. If the piece is too hot the solvent boils off too quickly and the paint doesn't take to the metal very well. It works well with proper prep work though.


April 09, 2002, 16:52
Buy kit for spare parts
Build spare parts into FAL

April 09, 2002, 17:05
Originally posted by Eagle59:
<STRONG>FAL Buildout report
When will this end!</STRONG>

IT DOESNT!!! :D Congrats on a successful build, and many more to follow!

April 09, 2002, 22:56
you ground material off the face of the reciever to get it to time properly?
regardless, sounds like you had a successful build...betcha cant do just one more ;)