View Full Version : Beginners: Which FAL or L1A1 to buy? Where to buy?

December 31, 2000, 17:26
Hello all! I am new member to this list. I am also trying to get up to speed on the FAL's and the various versions of the rifle. I've seen all the photos of the numerous rifles from various countries. The question is which brand(s) are the best quality, the best made, and the best to start a FAL collection with? Thanks for any helpful advice.

Dean P
December 31, 2000, 18:34
Take a aspirin & call back in the morning, be glad to help.

December 31, 2000, 18:41
Anything put together by a good smith on an Imbel brand reciever. Or a pre-ban g series(original belgium manuf.) or a SAR48 springfield(Imbel recievered by Springfield).

do yourself a favor and get in on the "group buy" and get a nice kit...then get a receiver then send the whole schmear to a smith along with some U.S. parts and you'll have yourself a nice FAL!!!

para- http://sites.netscape.net/paramanfl/FAL/smileyshot.gif

"Hindsight is always 20/20, but looking back it's still a bit fuzzy."-Dave Mustaine

December 31, 2000, 20:44
For the $$$ a factory built SAR-48 (Imbel) is the best all around FAL avaliable today...

Just my .02


January 01, 2001, 04:11
To get started, I don't think you can go wrong with the IAI 444, which is basically an all-Imbel, if what I have read is correct. Of course you can do like a lot of us have and roll yer own. It's very entertaining and the satisfaction quotient is very high.

Download free targets at

Revolt Now
January 01, 2001, 04:55
DSarms looks like a winner to me, but the price is fairly high.

I found a dealer here who will sell me one for $1250. A lot of other states should be able to get them cheaper. They are sold as handguns here, which require the FFL to possess additional (harder to obtain)licensing so they charge a bit more than they would for a long gun.


Enquiring Minds
January 01, 2001, 05:25
They are sold as handguns here, which require the FFL to possess additional (harder to obtain)licensing...
What is up with THAT? Fill us in, Mr. POW. http://www.fnfal.com/forums/wink.gif

January 01, 2001, 10:57
Try Arizona Response Systems, they have some cool FALs. When I sell my M1A I'm buying there ARS L1A1. Or, if you have the cash buy a nice pre-ban FAL like an Aussie L1A1 or a Belgian 50.00.

January 01, 2001, 12:17
I bought an IZZY HB kit from DeanP that was wonderful. Everyone should have one like this.

This weekend I bought a preban IZZY light barrel from DeanP.

Everyone should have a friend like DeanP. Thank you DeanP.

Also sledgehammer, Randy Kline, put the kit together where it looks factory new. I am going to have Harlan's matching number STG58 put together with Ironwood furniture by Randy. Thank you Randy.

In short buy the best you can afford preban and as good a buy post ban as you can. $1500 for a post ban is too expensive.


January 01, 2001, 12:53
Thanks for the input folks. I would like to hear more opinions on the PRE-BAN FAL's. Which ones are more/most desirable? Which ones are the best quality? How to acquire them and the relative costs? Thanks again.

January 01, 2001, 12:57
There was an FN Herstal HB at Market Hall in November in 99% for $2200. Looked like a steal for a fellow with $2200 in his pocket.

January 01, 2001, 13:06
There was an FN Herstal HB at Market Hall in November in 99% for $2200. Looked like a steal for a fellow with $2200 in his pocket.

What is the HB designation mean? And what is Market Hall? Thanks again.

January 01, 2001, 14:13
Sorry, I did not realize you were a Yankee. Market Hall is the big Dallas Gun Show.

Heavy Barrel means a heavy thick barrel, most likely for the squad automatic weapon roll. The Isreaeli's made one and so did the Belg. This paricular gun was beautiful with one nick in the finish.

Once you hang around a bit you will catch on to the various models.

January 01, 2001, 14:23
Sorry, I did not realize you were a Yankee. Market Hall is the big Dallas Gun Show.

Yes Sir, my cover has been compromised! http://www.fnfal.com/forums/smile.gif I'm in Long Island, New York. Thanks for the info. BTW, what are the best places to find pre ban semis on the net, retail or gun shows? Thanks again,

January 01, 2001, 14:28
They come in all conditions. I personally prefer to eyeball what I am buying.

We will soon get to the point where it will be profitable to fake some of the parts. Now you can tell this by the condition of the gun. Read up and learn what they are supposed to have and look like. Then find a trusted friend, we have many in Texas, to advise you on the purchase.

Guns are like women, it is all in the eye of the beholder.

Good luck and happy hunting.

Revolt Now
January 01, 2001, 14:54
Originally posted by Enquiring Minds:
They are sold as handguns here, which require the FFL to possess additional (harder to obtain)licensing...
What is up with THAT? Fill us in, Mr. POW. http://www.fnfal.com/forums/wink.gif

Maryland has had a 7-day wait on handguns since the 1968 race riots.

The wait includes a background check by the Maryland State Police. The check used to be free. In 1994 (I think) they started charging a $10 application fee, most dealers now charge $15 to cover the registered mail fee.

The Maryland General Assembly did not initially allow extra funding for the Police to process the checks, it caused some of the waits to go on for 2 months or more. (Dealers started delivering the guns after the mandated 7 days and the government found the extra money)

Also around 1994 they added "assault weapons" to the list of firearms that required the state police paperwork (and dealers licese).

In 1989 (I think) Maryland had passed a "Saturday Night Special" ban which made all handgun models sold in Maryland have to be pre approved and listed on a bi-annual roster circulated by the State Police. When assault weapons fell into the handgun catagory they also had to be on the roster.

2000 we added the ballistic fingerprint law, where all new handguns (post 85 I think)shipped into the state of Maryland must have a factory fired shell casing included in the box.

1995 (I think) we added a magazine sales ban of 20+ rounds for rifles. Existing magazines were not grandfathered. You can own them, but you can't buy or sell them.

Assault Pistols were banned in there somewhere.. I think 1995.

And.. you have to be the governor's butt buddy to get a concealed carry permit.

All that and I can proudly say, our crime rate has rose to new levels since 1968. My Maryland is now one of the most dangerous places in the country to live. (and one of the most drug infested)

Gun control works.. really,

January 01, 2001, 16:20
Belgian 50.00, 50.41, 50.42 $2,500-3,500
Para (folders) 50.63, 50.64 $2,000-4,000
Aussie L1A1 $2,000-3,000
G-series $3,000-5,000
Springfield SARs $1,500-2,500

There lots of pre-ban configurations. Most are over $2,000. But if you've got the cash they are out there. Gunsamerica.com has lots of FALs including about 4 or 5 G-series. shop around.

January 01, 2001, 16:35
Thanks Valmet! I wanted to know what brands and models to look for and their respective costs. I've already got a Belgian 50.00 new/unfired and that one cost $3,500. I wasn't sure if I paid too much at the time. I'll keep looking for some the others on your list. Thanks again, John

January 01, 2001, 18:01
The Aussie L1A1s seem to be a bit harder to find. I picked mine up for $2,200. There is one in guns america for $2,650 but its "sale pending", plus thats not the best one out there. I e-mailed the gut and the parts aren't all matching. But look around they pop up occasionally. Seriously look at Arizona Response Systems, they have some cool stuff thats a bit cheaper priced than what's out there. Good Luck!

September 21, 2001, 17:06
Can someone please help me out with my first purchase. I need to know where to get them and about any laws that may be a problem. :confused:

[ September 21, 2001: Message edited by: EMDII ]

[ September 22, 2001: Message edited by: EMDII ]

September 21, 2001, 17:40
Not to give you a short answer or to avoid your question but I would suggest that you check out The FALfiles (http://www.l1a1.com/), chase all the links, read everything, then come back to this board and hang around for a while, then ask again. I think you need some background so you can make an informed decision from our answers. There's a lot of good info on this board!

September 21, 2001, 20:51
If you like to tinker, have your FFL buy a CAI and learn the FAL/L1A1 from the inside out. Tough, but fun. They can be had from many sources: check Shotgun News (SGN).

If you prefer to buy and drive, get a DSA, Entreprise, or one of the Gunsmith-built rifles. ARS (Gunplumber), AzEx (Derek), CGW (Rich), Double G (George), and some others can all build exquisite replicas of any FAL made.

If you're fully tool-qualified, mildly eccentric, or just anal-retentive, build your own. The tools are relatively inexpensive, and it takes about 2 hours to assemble a previously prepped kit. If you have tanks and chemicals for refinishing, it might take a day to prep and build.

The variations on this theme are endless. The 'assemblers' like CAI or InterOrd or whomever is co-locating parts and receivers into a 'rifle' can do a decent job. They can also do horribly. The smiths ALL will build a perfect gun. The choice is a matter of taste, relationship with the smith, and preferences for the pieces used. You personally can do quite well assembling a kit, or you can loose a finger or two.

My advice: Get GunPlumber's handbook from the Arizona Response Systems site. After reading it three or four times, decide if you want to build, assemble from sub-assemblies, or have built the kit of your dreams. You can spend US$ 400 for a Franken-FAL, or you can spend US$ 1200 on a post-ban FAL nearly indistinguishable from the original. You can also plunk down US$ 2000 and have a pre-ban piece of history.

Surf some of the Images Forum. See what you like. Join a group like the GA FALers, or Tx FALers, or Derby FALers, and handle someone else's for a while.

You'll like it, soon enough. And you'll figure out what you want.

Welcome here.

September 21, 2001, 22:05
Yah, what Ted said.

September 24, 2001, 02:56
Ok, I too am a newbie here.
I've read Gunplumber's workbook, and I've visited the gunshows looking at kits.
I've been looking at ads for parts kits on the web, and in Shotgun News, too.

When you say "FrankenFAL" and $400.00, what do you mean exactly? Where am I going to get a) a parts kit b) a receiver and c) 6 other US Made parts to go on it, all for less than $400?

Am I missing something? Are we talking about really low quality receivers here, or solid Imbel or DSA receivers?

I guess what I'm asking is for a little guidance on selecting the cheapest reliable parts for my first FAL/L1A1.

Anyone want to help install some basic clues in a newbie?


September 24, 2001, 04:25
A Franken-FAL is any mongrel FAL/L1A1-clone. Frequently having mis-matched upper and lower (say Metric upper and Inch lower), or Inch front end on metric receiver and metric lower. Such a rifle is usually assembled by the angry beavers at CAI, but others may be practicing gunsmithing w/o a license.

You can kit (G-1), receiver (IMBEL), and parts for right around US$ 400. You still invest assembly. But you can't get a DSA/Entreprise, FSE HST, DSA piston,Dan @ VOW PG, Penguin Buttstcok, yadayada for US$ 400. You can buy a CAI Franken-FAL for cheap.

You can also buy a Yugo instead of a Chevy. CAI internal shave been notorious. Hesse receivers had a bad rep.

As for cheap, look for quality names-
DSA, Entreprise, Williams, and even Hesse make good receivers. Caveat Emptor.
DSA or FSE internals
Tapco or DSA piston
Penguin buttstock
Approved muzzle device

Buy where you get the best combination of price/shipping, and you trust the dealer.

FWIW- I have an two Entreprise receivers on kits (StG and L1A1), one Hesse-assembled FALO-C on Israeli HB (US$ 1000 and works like a dream). I alos have several Australian kits in the works.

Shop around, surf here. There aren't many shortcuts. You'll find a lot of good Info in FAQ and Gunsmithing/BIY.