View Full Version : Ident: South African R1 specific parts?

December 22, 2003, 14:23
I have an Imbel kit I want to build into an R1. What are the specific parts that would need to be added/changed to produce the authentic look. Elsewhere in this forum a Type I receiver was specified. How about flash-hider, bipod cut barrel, carry handle, mag catch, selector switch, buttstock, etc. Or...if someone has a kit to sell, might be the way to go....Offers?

December 22, 2003, 15:00
Non-bipod barrel and handguards. Grenade launching sight gas plug. Standard combo device. No carry handle, but did have the carry handle cut in the receiver. Type 1 upper. I'm probably missing other stuff, but these are the obvious ones.

December 22, 2003, 20:10
I have a related question.
I picked up a kit with painted furniture and RA serialed lower but it is a Type 3 lower. What would be the correct upper? Type1 or type3?

December 22, 2003, 20:12
I've got a set of R1 painted furniture including the long buttstock I'd sell and also have the correct color paint available. http://www.falfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=89562&highlight=paint Email me if interested.

December 22, 2003, 20:20
Originally posted by SgtRock2
I have a related question.
I picked up a kit with painted furniture and RA serialed lower but it is a Type 3 lower. What would be the correct upper? Type1 or type3?

That's an RA lower? You're sure it isn't ZA? If you look in the Refrence and Data section, you will find a number of posts on this topic. Peter Wells is the authority on these and according to him, there really shouldn't be any type 3 uppers or lowers on the R1. There are a bunch of Imbels around with a ZA number, but the exact source of these is in dispute.

December 22, 2003, 20:35
There seems to be some variation in "R1" rifles. I think some rifles that are being circulated as South African R1 rifles may have actually been captured or smuggled Rhodesian rifles.

For instance, this one had two DIFFERENT serial numbers on the lower receiver. I've got a feeling this one may have been one of the rifles with the circle cut in the mag well to eliminate the Rhodesian crest.

See also http://www.falfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=59263



December 23, 2003, 01:30

Old age is taking it's toll on my memory.
After digging it out of the bottom of my parts stash, I see my lower is ZA-2182x.
After researching posts here, it seems no one knows where the ZA marked type3 lowers came from.
Guess I'll just throw it back on the bottom of the pile for now.

December 23, 2003, 20:19
I think part of the problem is that the term "R1" has been routinely used to describe any FAL that saw action in Africa. I've had several parts kit like Gary showed that have had 2 sets of serial numbers. Usually the left side numbers were stamped and the right side numbers were electro-pencil engraved. RAxxx and ZAxxx numbers as well. My current project is a Belgian para kit with original "R1" type camo paint remaining that has only an engraved number on the right side and it's Z18405 (not ZA) The bolt & carrier have a stamped number as well as a different engraved number. Maybe someday I'll figure out what it all means, maybe not. To me half the fun of it is trying to research where these old war horses have been and what kind of action they've seen. I also have had some camo painted "R1" type wood handguards that were Australian in origin and others have turned up wood inch pattern buttstocks with camo paint. It wouldn't surprise me if someone turned up FALs from almost anywhere that found there way to Africa but they're not all technically R1s. Just my humble opinion.

Peter Wells
December 24, 2003, 03:08
Hi All

I've taken my time before jumping in here but a few observations:

1) RobMac - A genuine 'R1' (as it left the LIW factory) had the carry handle - these were all broken off (and stub left in place until other armourer work - eg. re-barrelling - was done when they were taken out) in the 70s after a range incident which took out a troops eye - plus horizontal take-down lever and otherwise much as Cliff and Gary have said. The upper is actually a mixture of Type 1 and Type 2 in that it has the shape of the Type 2 lightening chamfer in cross section (more rounded than original Belgian Type 1) but not the reinforced section on both sides at the rear opposite the lug. This also translates to the 'recoil plate' having the same shape at the bottom. Make sense? I can let you have detailed pics of all features of the R1 if needed. Most parts too. E-mail your needs.

2) A wide variety of FALs landed up in Rhodesia incl. Aussy mades. Not sure about Imbels or even if Imbel were making FALs in the 60s & 70s. I am still trying to get some lazy ex-Rhodie armourers to document it but one of them is adamant that the 'RA' prefix is Rhodesian Army and 'ZA' is Zimbabwe Army (the latter done immediately after 'Independence' and before selling off).

3) Gary, sorry to contradict you on one small point but, for the record, the SA Contract FALs we supplied to Rhodesia had the SA crest milled out - not the Rhodesian crest. No FALs, or any other weapons for that matter, had the Rhodesian crest on them as far as I know.

4) NHBandit - you're right on the button! A rebuilt camo'd Rhodesian FAL is a noble creature with a fine history but not technically an R1.

Richard W.
December 24, 2003, 08:25
...in the 70s after a range incident which took out a troops eye...

I must ask-

How did that happen? Did the soldier fall on it?

December 24, 2003, 09:08
My "R1 / Rhodie" has the radius cut recoil plate on the lower, and I used a Type 1 Upper as that is the closest thing to the original available. It has both SA and RA serial numbers as noted in Gary's pic. The SA number is stamped twice on the left side (vertically and horizontally) and the RA number is stamped (very lightly) on the right side and then it was electro penciled again. The RA numbers on the bolt and carrier were force matched (electro penciled) to the same number.

The barrel is marked with a P in a Circle (Pretoria), which indicates it was S.A. made. I replaced the original barrel with another SA barrel in better condition. Based on the converted Simi auto safety selector ("R" marked), it probably started life as an R3 - a Simi-auto version of the R1 issued to the SA police. From what Peter has indicated, the R1s and R3s are otherwise identical.

If you can come up with a nice wooden buttstock, it will match up well with the early R1s also, as that's how they were issued before the switch to the plastic stocks.

December 24, 2003, 12:31
Fantastic info - THX for your enthusiastic replies. I now feel better-equipped to torque up that R1. Will still need parts...

ILM Sniper
December 27, 2003, 12:27
Just for s**ts and giggles;

Anyone know of a reciever mfg that does not put the serial number on the magwell?

Want to do the S.A. "milled out" thing without destryoing a serial number. Think Entreprise does it, but I'm too lazy to dig thru my safes to find out.

December 27, 2003, 13:31
Originally posted by ILM Sniper
Just for s**ts and giggles;

Anyone know of a reciever mfg that does not put the serial number on the magwell?

Coonan and yes, I've thought about that. I can't quite bring myself to it just yet.

ILM Sniper
December 27, 2003, 14:05
Coonan it is then :smile:

I'll be posting pics in the images section as the work progresses.

Going to make this one look like it's been there & done that. Minor refinishing (painting then "wearing" the paint, leaving the barrel unrefinished, the lower unrefinished, artificially aging the reciever) and that's it. Going to look like a bring back/captured weapon. Should be kinda interesting when I'm done- I hope hehe

December 27, 2003, 14:19

December 27, 2003, 14:25
Note the #23 in camo on one side of the stock and the yellow numbers on the opposite side.

On the black-furniture kit above, it appears that the white-painted number on the long stock was obliterated by some oaf who used a rock or similar fine instrument to remove the number.

Since the only image still visible on the stock is the hazy "ghost" image, I can't get a picture with the camera. But this is how it would look if it were better visible.


White painted 4-character markings on stock are "GBDE." Definitely done by use of a stencil.

The first character may be the number "6" instead of a "G."

I couldn't make out much about the markings until I put it in the dishwasher. When it came out of the dishwasher, I could see "ghost" images on the plastic. That first character (6 or G) is the only one that I'm not sure about.

December 27, 2003, 15:09
DSA S/Ns are not on the magwell either.

Peter Wells
December 30, 2003, 00:59
Richard W. - apropos the removal of the carry handles.

Around 1975/6 a troop was competing in the Transvaal Service Shooting Bisley when a fired case bounced off the carry handle of his R1 on ejection. Case hit him in the eye (presumably mouth first) and he lost the eye.

RO put in the necessary report and within a couple of weeks a SADFO came out that ALL carry handles were to be removed. Standard method was to put a ring spanner over the handle and give it a good tweak till it snapped off at the receiver. Those of us with more finesse simply unscrewed the gas cylinder nut and removed the handles for posterity.

The handle in this case was incompletely folded and sitting around the 2 o'clock position - this could happen with the R1 rifle but seldom on the Belgian made guns as the handles on those were generally loose in the slot and would just flop down under their own weight.

Gary - I will check up on that 6BDE marking ('BDE' - 'Bde' to be 100% correct but post-independence that sort of nicety fell away - is the accepted abbreviation for 'Brigade' but I'm sure everyone here knew that). I don't recall a 6BDE but there was certainly a 5Bde post-independence - they were the North Korean trained shower that committed genocide in the early 80s on Mugabe's orders.

December 31, 2003, 00:10
I'm probably just exposing my ignorance, but, in looking at the posted pics, the pistol grip stud is very evident; on an inch pattern rifle, as is suggested by the prominent lug, on the mag, and by the nomenclature, is not the pistol grip attatched by a SCREW, from above??
I'm not at all sure what it is, but puzzled by what it is NOT.
The flash hider, as well, is Metric, not inch; inch had 5 slots, not holes.
A little help/ education, if you please. Thanks.

December 31, 2003, 00:16
The trigger return spring, pin, and bracket are definitely metric.
The shape of the selector suggests a selective fire weapon( round base, not egg-shaped), whereas the Brit/Aussie/Canadian rifles were semi unless heavy barreled R/L/C 2's.
Help me here.....

Peter Wells
December 31, 2003, 01:18
vfubar (does that mean what I think it does - very fubar :wink: ?), all features in the pics posted by Gary, parts kit and completed rifle, appear to me to be typical metric in all respects - 22mm FH, pistol grip stud, rear sight, GL gas plug, etc. etc. The 6-digit ser. no. horizontally on the left just below the rear sight is typically R1 (SA mnfr) where they started at 000001 and went up to 3XXXXX or thereabouts.

Mad Dog 7.62
December 31, 2003, 20:12
Originally posted by vfubar

Help me here.....

As Peter said, virtually every feature on the rifle in Jeter's post is metric. The PG stud has the retaining nut screwed on the bottom. The only things you might notice right off the bat as a little different than most are the grenade sight type gas plug and the longer buttstock.

Richard W.
January 02, 2004, 06:56
I decided to break my carrying handle off, "South African style".
Nicked it with a hacksaw and it snapped off neatly.


Peter Wells
January 05, 2004, 04:12
Well done Richard - you're making me proud!

Peter Wells
January 26, 2004, 02:56
Attached is a pic of wide/high R1 sight (left) vs std FAL sight (right).

I'm not sure if any other manufacturers produced the wide style but it is correct for all genuine (South African made) R1s.

ps. Not clear in the pic (can't see the peep-holes too clearly) but 'line of sight' is unchanged ie. loc of peep-hole is exactly the same as narrow type.

January 26, 2004, 12:07
Appreciate the continuing posts on this subject. I have not started this project as of yet, so all additional input is welcome.

Peter Wells
January 27, 2004, 03:49
No problem Rob

If you need any geeeeenuine original, certifiable, guaranteed SA made R1 parts - "from the horses mouth" so to speak - to help with your project, give me a call.

January 27, 2004, 21:22
THX peter - I will let you know.

January 29, 2004, 19:39
I have an R1 kit I purchased from Gunthings several months ago , complete with the long SA stock and RA#'s etched into teh receiver.

I also picked up one of the GG type 3 kits (ZA#'s on lower) that have the bipod cuts handguards with the SA "proofed" barrels. I have seen several threads that discuss these and many theories about thier origin. Since there appears to be many FALs outhere in this configuration, I suspect these are did not come into being through normal service wear parts repalcement, but were most likely manufactured like this.

Is it possible these were somehow manufactured in SA in this non-standard SA (type 3 lower) configuration? I kind of have my doubts that this many rifles would have been assembled in the same configuration by any military armors.

Are there any markings on the lower receivers that would prove these are SA, Imbels, or any other source of origin that anyone suspects?

I currently plan to turn mine into a carbine and put Izzy LB furniture on it, since it sounds like these may be some type of mas produced FrankenFAL, but if these are just some unknow unique configuration, it would be a shame to do this.

January 29, 2004, 19:49
Originally posted by flejl
Is it possible these were somehow manufactured in SA in this non-standard SA (type 3 lower) configuration? I kind of have my doubts that this many rifles would have been assembled in the same configuration by any military armors.

The Type 3 ZA kits GG was selling are Imbels.

January 29, 2004, 19:51
All Imbels with SA barrels? Doesn't that sound kind of odd?

January 29, 2004, 20:07
What is the indication that they have SA barrels? The one I had was bi-pod cut and appeared to be std Imbel. I did not remove the hand gaurds and look for any proofs, however.

January 29, 2004, 20:35
Mine has a P inside a circle on the barrel flat, the same mark as on my R1. I have also read this is an SA "proof" mark and there seems to be many reports of the same configuration from other board members.

January 29, 2004, 21:37
The P inside a circle is SA alright (Pretoria). I have two R1 barrels so marked.

December 27, 2004, 18:48
..........My ZA-21937 has the 2 rivet heads showing on the lower to afix the lower tang, It has no number on the right side only the ZA number cut into it, not electro-pencil and not stamped, Its a type 3 and the upper was a type 3(wear pattern and crud show like a type 3 was on it) its marked with S-R-A. and a Horz. locking lever. Don't know where it was made or anything about it...........

December 28, 2004, 08:19
Look for marks on the barrel under the HG?

December 28, 2004, 21:49
Originally posted by shootist87122
The P inside a circle is SA alright (Pretoria). I have two R1 barrels so marked.

Recently found that mark on one of my barrels and was wondering what it was. Thanks shootist.