View Full Version : AR-10A2 - FAL 50.63 Comparison
Farmer from Hell
May 18, 2001, 20:25
Is that lttile tube thing the gas tube? Im not an AR man so forgive me. If they had made it so it would take FAL mags at $5-$10 a piece I would imagine they would be flying off the shelves.
Yep, that's the gas tube. The series works by "direct gas impingement." Gas bleed hole in the barrel by the front sight base, tube to transport it down into the bolt carrier, where it blasts directly on the locking bolt, filling the chamber created inside the bolt carrier, making the bolt sort of a piston. The carrier goes backwards, dragging the bolt with it, and a hole in the carrier and a pin cam the bolt, rotating it and unlocking it from the barrel.
Compared to the gas piston system used in rifles like our FAL, the M-1/M-14 series and such, the AR type of bolt gets really dirty inside fast. Use the wrong powders in your ammo and the gas system builds up crud and stops working. That fault (improper powder in the ammo), along with the early "waffle" pattern magazines, are what caused many of the M-16 stoppages early in the rifle's career in Viet Nam.
The gas tube looks flimsy, but it is covered by pretty solid handguards. If bent but not kinked, it will still "pass the gas,", whereas if the gas tube on top of the FAL gets dinged or bent, it will bind on the piston.
Obviously, both designs can be made to work just fine.
Nice photos, Kevin. Thanks for going to the trouble. That AR-10 looks like a pretty nice rifle.
[ May 19, 2001: Message edited by: BUFF ]
The AR gas system was first used on the Swedish AB42. The Swedes used fine powders and never had a problem.
When we sent the AR to VN the powder was fine until Remington could not produce enough and they switched to reformulated artillery powder left over from WWII. This caused the fouling of the barrels and the failures.
From the ArmaLite web site:
Common reports that the Stoner system is copied from the Swedish Ljungman system are incorrect: the Ljungman system has a tube carrying gas ported off the barrel, but the tube simply directs the gas into a cavity in the top of the carrier to blow the carrier to the rear.
The AR-10 combined a number of previous features with a new gas system patented by Stoner. In the Stoner system, gas ported off the barrel travels down a tube back into the upper receiver, and into the bolt carrier. It enters an expansion chamber, where it expands and drives the carrier to the rear. The rearward movement of the carrier transferred by a cam pin riding in a curved path and engaging the bolt, forces the bolt to rotate to unlock.
May 19, 2001, 19:59
Originally posted by Bill:
<STRONG>The AR gas system was first used on the Swedish AB42. The Swedes used fine powders and never had a problem.
When we sent the AR to VN the powder was fine until Remington could not produce enough and they switched to reformulated artillery powder left over from WWII. This caused the fouling of the barrels and the failures.</STRONG>
Bill, Bill, Bill :rolleyes: Been smoking your torts again?
From Culvers website
Enter Ball Powder:
Had we but known, the problem was not simply dirty powder or a lack of regular and conscientious cleaning by the operator,
but was due in fact to the burning rate(s) and burning temperature of the powder coupled with varying gas port pressures
depending on the powder. It seems that the AR-15/M16 was developed and tested with extruded IMR (Improved Military Rifle)
powder. This powder is relatively clean burning, but has a relatively high pressure peak during its initial ignition. Remington had
been using some stuff called IMR-4475 that worked extremely well, but wasn’t terribly consistent from lot to lot. Remington had
solved the problem by using selected lots of the powder to obtain the desired burning rates and functioning in the M16. In fact
the entire testing had been accomplished by using such ammunition. The double based powder (so called because it used both
nitroglycerine and nitrocellulose in its manufacture) burned hotter than ball powder due to the nitroglycerine content, and the
chamber pressures tended to be a bit higher than with say, ball powder. Because of the quality control problems with the
double-based extruded IMR powder that had been used by Remington, all manufacturers of the 5.56mm cartridge preferred to
use a less finicky ball powder. The argument was essentially that ball powder burned cooler, thus giving less barrel/throat
erosion, and had a lower peak pressure, and would stay well within the pressure limits prescribed for the cartridge. The
requirement for using only selected lots of IMR powder having been circumvented, not to mention the great amount of ball
powder on hand, the problem seemingly had been solved. In May of 1964, the authorization to use "alternative propellants" was
signed without conducting any sustained additional functioning tests. Even Gene Stoner himself issued a warning against such
a procedure, but to no avail, and unfortunately there were several unsuspected flies in the ointment, much as Stoner had
The first and perhaps most important one was that they had not bothered to check the "port pressure" of the alternative
powders. While it was true that the ball powders did have a lower "peak" pressure, they also had a higher port pressure. Let’s
start this discussion from a simple but accurate premise. All gas-operated mechanisms must be timed. This seemingly simple
truism can be applied to automobiles as well as rifles. If there are moving parts involved that are influenced by gas pressure, it is
necessary for all of these parts to arrive at their appointed location as designed, and to arrive at the proper time. Since the ball
powder had a higher port pressure than the IMR-4475, the gas being vented through the gas tube was under greater pressure
as the projectile passed the gas port than would have been the case with the IMR powder. Since the gas was under greater
pressure, it should not come as any great surprise that the gas was traveling down the gas tube more rapidly than was normal
during its designed functioning cycle. This meant that the gas reached the "gas key" on top of the bolt earlier in the functioning
cycle than usual. It did, in fact, arrive while the cartridge case was still firmly "obturated" to the chamber walls by the pressure of
the gasses caused by the ignition of the cartridge.
By way of explanation, "obturation" is a physical process that takes advantage of the elasticity of the brass cartridge case
and causes it to expand and conform to the exact shape of the chamber walls. The brass even sticks little fingers into minor
(often invisible) irregularities in the chamber, thus sealing the chamber effectively and keeping gas from being blown back into
the face of the operator. In of itself, obturation is a very good thing. The problem here, however, is that the gas reaching the bolt
was arriving before the case obturation had subsided and the residual chamber pressure would not allow the brass to be easily
broken loose from its hold on the chamber walls, extracted and ejected. The high port pressure and resulting delayed duration of
case obturation often, if not usually, caused the extractor to either "jump the case rim" or pull through it, causing the case to
remain in the chamber.
This "stuck case" problem was compounded by the fact that the ball powders being used by Remington (CR8136), Olin and
Federal (WC846) were much dirtier burning powders than IMR-4475, and tended to "dirty" the rifle chamber area much quicker
than the earlier powder. The dirt that deposited itself in the chamber and feeding areas of the rifle added to the extraction
problems – dirty chambers tend to resist extraction to a much greater extent than clean chambers by increasing the coefficient
of friction between the case and the chamber walls, thus making the cartridge case more reluctant to leave the chamber. Even
dirty chambers can be kept clean with constant care, but unfortunately the dirty powder was aided and abetted by a calcium
carbonate deterrent coating applied to the powder that addled to the fouling problem. Alas the problem grew worse.
The higher port pressure of the ball powder also increased the cyclic rate of fire of the M16 (already too high in my opinion –
the ideal rate of fire for a full auto is normally 500 rds. per minute). These started out at about 775 rds. per min. and sometimes
reached 900 rpm in extreme circumstances. This was to become abusive to the rifles in light of what followed.
May 22, 2002, 07:32
A friend at work wanted to get "a semi-auto in .308," and was looking at AR 10's.
What finally convinced him was the fact that the FAL is a tried and true battle rifle, adopted by militaries all over the world and the AR 10 is not.
May 22, 2002, 16:00
Outstanding Mr Pogo!!!!
I have been watching this sight for the past eight or nine months with much curiosity and have not really bothered to register... until now. I am a military man and have been an armorer and weapons instructor for twelve years and have been working with the ar15/m16 family of weapons even longer. Mr Pogo your dissertation of the initial problems with that weapon system was outstanding. Keep up the good work.
Also... For those who would play down the ar15/m16 family of weapons. You might want to get a little more experience under you belt before you would put down one of the finest assault rifles. You name the assault rifle, and have fired it and maybe even slept with it. Of all the assault rifles in the world I would reach for an M4 before any of them (except maybe the fnc).
One more thing. Those that would put the ak above the ar... I instruct the ak and the ar and others. The ak aint all that. Don't get me wrong, it was awsome for the late forties and I do admire it greatly. Try to fire RETS with it. It was made for the commie hordes not riflemen. And no, it is not more reliable than the M4.
Sorry that I have rambled on. Mr Pogo, after you I could not hold back... when I get typing I just can't stop.
May 22, 2002, 16:33
Just wanna say to things, the ar-10 is a tired and true battlerifle, it was adopted by angola, and they where reported jus as reliable as the hk g3 they also tested
the ag-42 (jungman rifle) is called ag-42 and not ab-42..
(swedish " Automatgevär" my friend had his out last weekend and its a very nice rifle, although not very funny to be right next to it, because of its loud report(ports at muzzle angled backwards!) There also was a full auto version called ag-42b(whatched it in action), but i´m not certain about the"b" name, maybe this just was the scoped version.
sorry for my bad spelling, i´m tired and swedish :)
May 23, 2002, 08:53
Nice pics, KP - and tons of good info here. I'd heard about the differences between the two, but to see it side-by-side really makes it "click."
I was going to get an AR-15 but I just couldn't get over the fact that it was a glorified .22, and I couldn't afford the AR-10 so I stumbled into the world of FAL's - the only regret I have is that I'm not very familiar with the operation of one of the most common rifles in use today - this helps!
May 23, 2002, 19:32
Which is better?
Do you like Fords or Chevroleys?
Both are going to make most folks happy. My limited experience says that the FAL is more forgiving, but the AR-10 has the edge outside of that. If you can show me a way to build an AR-10 and supply magazines for less than $400, I'd be forced to lean toward the AR-10. They are both great weapons, and if I could justify the cost difference, I'd have a rack of AR-10's.
I do love my AR15, I love my FAL's. If it works 100% of the time, it is what somebody wants. Failsafe reliability and pretty good accuracy beats pretty good reliability and failsafe accuracy in my book. I do not believe the AR-10 is as forgiving, but with no variables, it wins hands down. I still love my $400 FAL builds. They are both good choices, but the AR10 is not one for the masses (unless someone shows me an affordable choice). I choose Ford this time.
May 24, 2002, 02:07
Accuracy is great, but reliability is king, on that I think FAL wins over ar10, so I think anyway. I just like the fal and not having to pay boodles of bucks for mags is great.
May 24, 2002, 10:50
ASA (http://www.gunkits.com) now has a AR10 style lower that accepts FAL mags. A small mill cut is required for the mag release.
Kevin Paul in Kuwait
May 24, 2002, 14:25
Now I love FALs, don't get me wrong. But, that $1400 AR10 is much more reliable than a $400 FAL. I've seen some failures from $400 FALs that are truely unbelievable. Reason the parts FALs are so cheap is that there are many parts kits running around and mags can still be imported. The AR10 is made from all new parts, etc. How much does a brand new FAL cost? That FAL pictured with the AR10 cost me a whole lot more than the AR10. A new DSA SA-58 is in the same price range as the AR10, a used SAR-48 is in the same price range also. Fact is, there aren't hundreds of AR10 parts kits running around. The AR10 pictured had FTE problems when I first got it, but a quick email to ArmaLite and a week later that bugger would crank out all 20 rounds from a full magazine with no problem, rip right through it. My NEW DSA 58 Carbine also had some problems too. I paid about the same for it. It didn't like certain magazines, and I had to send my front sight post in for another one since it was too tall and I couldn't zero the rifle. I think they are just as tough as each other, look at the barrels between the two. I even had my M16A2 run over by a Hummer before which crushed the handguards. I uncrushed them and still qualified with the rifle. That gave me quite a bit of confidence in the weapon. Now, I never had a problem with a SAR-48 or the 50.63 pictured above. The AR10 sure shoots better though. Less muzzle jump, less recoil, handguard doesn't get hot, easy mag release, selector well within thumb reach and not awkward to move.
Again, I love FALs, and I would be just as confident with a FAL or my AR10.
December 04, 2002, 07:43
The AR-10 is a better target rifle platform as it is easier to mount optics & is very accurate. The downside of the AR-10 is the gas system is very dirty & the mags are insanly expensive.
The FAL is more reliable, It's action is much cleaner, Inexpensive mags & Parts are readly available.
On a board like this I think Everyone should own at least 1 example of each.
December 04, 2002, 08:30
In referring to the AR10, do you mean the current Armalite commercial products, or the rifle made in Holland during the '60's? While they have many similarities, parts are NOT interchangeable.
The original AR10 had an excellent reputation for accuracy and reliability. My experience with a Portuguese version bears that out. When I got to play with it, the rifle had a well-worn barrel and no original finish except in the corners. It still fired and functioned perfectly. The handguards were a mass of tape and fiberglass splinters, but still functional. Those countries who used it were well satisfied with it. When it went out of production, it was too hard for a military organization to support, so it was dropped except for special units.
The current AR10 is an accurate, but not terribly reliable critter. Why they chose M14 mags I cannot imagine. If there had been no '94 mag ban, it wouldn't have mattered. But with current mag prices, cutting a $40 M14 mag is kind of silly.
Those who state with certainty that THEIR AR10 has fired 'X' rounds without being cleaned are not even close to a military concept of relaible. Their rifle has not been carried 500 miles through all sorts of muck and dust, fired very rapidly, then ignored for a couple of days, while being carried again through muck and dust. Dropped on all sorts of surfaces, and banged against gear.
The original AR10 was a capable battle rifle. I would feel well armed with it and a good supply of magazines and spares. The current AR10 is a chancy bet. The FAL has an eviable reputation in teh worst conditions imaginable. So I rate them 1) FAL, 2) original AR10, and ...... distantly, 3) current AR10.
December 04, 2002, 09:24
Question for the AR-10 guys,
Does it have the same 'CLANG' that you hear when you fire it like the AR-15? Ive always enjoyed shooting the 15, but that spring 'CLANG' that you hear by your ear is a little disconcerting after shooting a vepr,ak,or fal.
December 04, 2002, 21:11
The modern AR-10 is pretty reliable for a new gun, Remember the FAL has had Decades to get the bugs out!
When the Modern AR-10 was conceived M14 USGI mags were Cheap.
Similar noise, Just deeper.
December 05, 2002, 16:08
I was going to get an AR-15 but I just couldn't get over the fact that it was a glorified .22
You have got to be kidding me if that was the real reason:rofl:
I was going to get an FAL until I realized it shot immasculated 30-06...
December 05, 2002, 18:52
my question is why is it that all origanal paras that i've seen have bipod cut barrels and bipod cut handgaurds but no bipods?
December 07, 2002, 10:20
CLANG? Sounds more like SHABOOOOING to me, and yes the AR-10 does it too.
I prefer the modern AR-10 over the 50's rifles, more durable furniture, better trigger, vastly better sights, more options on optics, chrome plated bore and chamber (or SS), and heck you can get parts fer em. The biggest strike against the originals AR-10s and the AR-15 are the cheapo mags, the AR-10 mags where supposed to be one use and toss (not talking AR-15 mags on this aspect), junk, junk, junk. The new mags are outstanding, and made of steel as they should be.
There are a few things I don't like about the new ones, like that sharp radius cut at the back of the lower, but the worst aspect is the execution of the manufacture of the rifle, you can have the best design in the world but it you botch it in manufacturing, it is still botched (don't need to give examples of this, do I).
December 07, 2002, 10:26
Ooops, almost let those comments about the M4 slide. Here is what myself and the US Marines, find interesting about the M4 (the US Army is learning more about this now, due to current operations):
December 08, 2002, 13:32
Hey, no one mentioned the adjustable gas system for crappy loaded mil-surp foriegn ammo.:eek:
December 08, 2002, 15:41
My AR-10s work with South African, Portuguese, CAVIM, UMC, Federal 165 SPBT and 168 HPBT, and all of those without turning a knob to get them to work. So if I were to bring up turning knobs to get a particular load to work it would not be as a plus by any stretch. Never had to turn a knob on my AKs, M1 Garand, M14s, etc to get them to work either.
BTW, have gotten many malfuntions on FALs, almost all happen on the first trip to the range while setting the gas system. After building me a new rifle the last thing I want to do during the first trip to the range is bang on the charging handle to get a stuck case out of the chamber, hey some like that though, to each his own.
December 08, 2002, 15:52
Originally posted by Ekie
My AR-10s work with South African, Portuguese, CAVIM, UMC, and Federal 165 SPBT, and all of those without turning a knob to get them to work. So if I were to bring up turning knobs to get a particular load to work it would not be as a plus by any stretch. Never had to turn a knob on my AKs, M1 Garand, M14s, etc to get them to work either.
BTW, have gotten many malfuntions on FALs, almost all happen on the first trip to the range while setting the gas system. After building me a new rifle the last thing I want to do during the first trip to the range is bang on the charging handle to get a stuck case out of the chamber, hey some like that though, to each his own. i've had no malfunctions with my fal.i only adjust my gas to determine how far i want to chase my brass.:p
December 08, 2002, 16:01
I must not be turning my knob correctly, I use to turn it until the rifle would work, then two more clicks, but got real sick real fast trying to remove all those stuck cases. So now I start on the other end and turn the knob till it don't work, then go back two clicks. So usually only get one stuck case.
The last FAL I built had numerous failures to fire Port. ammo, I think it was related to the FSE trigger group.
December 08, 2002, 16:06
Here is a picture of the last FAL I built, have to admit it was the purdiest rifle I had done up to that time.
December 08, 2002, 16:10
Here is another comparision picture, a 21" FAL next to a 20" AR-10:
December 27, 2002, 14:30
It's difficult to compare home-built rifles with factory built rifles as quality control and experience varies with the builder.
Five years in a Commonwealth army with an FN as my issue rifle taught me that a factory built FN maintained properly is a very reliable rifle in the most demanding conditions (desert to arctic).
I would carry one into any situation and rely on it totally.
I've fired AR10s, but don't have enough experience with them to offer an opinion...so I won't.
BTW: The only FNs that i have seen with bent gas tubes (an entire platoon's worth) were run over by a truck.
Moral of story-Don't get your men to ground arms on a track when giving a lecture!:eek:
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