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Old June 20, 2018, 12:11   #1
gunplumber
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Review - DSA - Analyzing defective DSA lowers.

DSA alloy lowers used to be excellent. The most significant weight reducing component. Over the last year, however, I have had more and more difficulty fitting the lower to an upper - even a DSA upper. This review outlines my discoveries as to the defects.

I have seen incompletely machined recoil plates, and misaligned stock bolt holes. And on this receiver - a new defect. The lock lever hole was undersize. Even a new DSA lock lever would not fit. These later lowers have a chamfer at the entry to the hole, because DSA lock levers are cast (and often warped, but that's another issue for another day). There is a "web" at the transition from the lever to the axle, a result of it being a cast part, so DSA had to chamfer the hole to clear this web. I don't have a problem with this, but it is something to be aware of if trying to use a DSA lever on a factory lower - you will need to chamfer the hole.


DSA knows their lowers are out of spec (and sells them anyway, it's The Chicago Way). How do I know? Because they turned down the shank and head of the stock bolt so that it would fit the misaligned hole! And yes, the rust is how it came from DSA. DSA para stock and lower for a customer build.



Here is the not-centered hole.



here is where the recoil plate was incompletely machined, and prevented the upper from closing all the way.



I have seen different letters engraved on the underside. I am curious what they signify. I've seen M & N on paras and I think another one. I thought perhaps it was a mark of the bolt thread (15/32x36 vs 9/16x32) but both M & N were the same.





after removing these two high spots, the upper no longer contacts and prevents the latch from engaging. Note the small air gap (which is correct). Frequently Coonan receivers are too long and will stop against the recoil plate before latched, and Coonans also lack the correct clearance cut on the underside of the upper receiver, which have to be added. And yes, Dan knew this, as I spoke with him about this in person, but didn't think it was important enough to correct.





Even with that lack of contact, the receiver lock does not fully engage.



I had John at NFE make me a fixture for grinding receiver locks smaller, at the same time he was making OS-1 and OS-2 receiver locks to compensate for other DSA receivers where the lock lever bottomed out with the lockup still loose. So it is now relatively easy for me to correct this defect, but I am disturbed that I need a range of US-2 to OS-2 to get a DSA receiver to lock up correctly, especially when also using a DSA lower.

I will expand these notes as I work with more samples.
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Last edited by gunplumber; October 01, 2018 at 16:48.
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Old June 20, 2018, 18:40   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gunplumber View Post
I've seen M & N on paras and I think another one. I thought perhaps it was a mark of the bolt thread (15/32x36 vs 9/16x32) but both M & N were the same.
Interesting M & N were identical....Scorpion Maurice was an FN Controller that used both M & N controller stamps.
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Old June 21, 2018, 01:19   #3
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DSA the “Gold Standard” FAiL
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Old June 21, 2018, 10:02   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nwobhm View Post
Interesting M & N were identical....Scorpion Maurice was an FN Controller that used both M & N controller stamps.
I don't know if they are identical. The M is on one of the several DSA factory built guns that is here for troubleshooting - after already having been back to DSA. I don't have time right now to strip the lower for a more complete comparison. But my original thought was thread, and I ruled that out.
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Old June 21, 2018, 13:46   #5
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Man DSA is really falling apart. It almost seems like they are trying to make crap parts maybe they should stamp made in China so they have an excuse for this sh&t & to save face.

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Old July 02, 2018, 09:53   #6
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The alloy para lower referenced above. I reassembled the rifle yesterday. I was thrilled to discover that in addition to the stock bolt hole being off center, as pictured above, the selector hole was not perpendicular to the lower. That is, the right side of the hole was further forward than the left side, causing the selector to bind when rotating. This is the same one where the lock lever hole was undersize and the stock bolt hole not centered.

Of course, I always assume that my 50 year old surplus part is the one that is out of spec, so I went through 5-6 selectors, and every one would bind half-way between safe and fire. Even when I pulled the plunger and spring from the selector, and the axle fixing plate out of the equation. So I picked the selector that bound on this lower the least, and spend a half hour fitting it.

So now a part they have gotten right for the last 20 years, is screwed up. Thanks DSA.
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Old July 02, 2018, 11:16   #7
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Mark, do you think it's possible DSA is just trying to drive you crazy? Sure, it creates more work for you, which should equate to more business income, but you don't charge by the hour do you?
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Old July 02, 2018, 11:43   #8
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No, I do not charge by the hour. I charge a flat rate

$350 build/rebuild on cust supplied parts kit/receiver
+$100 refinish park at same time
+$200 refinish black over park at same time.

So I'm really at the point now of having to add

+$150 for DSA prefix receivers with no guarantee the piece of shit will ever work.
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Old July 02, 2018, 12:06   #9
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******* pathetic on their part. Thanks a lot for your effort in documenting these defects, Mark.
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Old July 07, 2018, 12:11   #10
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The letters appear to be cast rather than stamped. This would have to be done in the mold. The most likely reasons would be to indicate lot/batch, vendor, or material.
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Old July 07, 2018, 12:25   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hebrew Battle Rifle View Post
The letters appear to be cast rather than stamped. This would have to be done in the mold. The most likely reasons would be to indicate lot/batch, vendor, or material.
It is not a casting
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Old October 19, 2018, 12:20   #12
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Do you think they’re using a subcontractor for one and making their own with the other mark? Or two different subcontractors? Really doesn’t matter though - they shouldn’t sell it if it’s not right, and they should replace bad parts that do slip through immediately.

Even with my first DSA in 2005 or so, I did have to work on it to get it right. And DSA did send me the replacement part - their customer service was fine for me back then. Still, unless I’m buying “known good” from someone I can trust, I know there’s a chance I’ll have to work on it. That’s why I kind of prefer to deal with guys on here when I buy FAL stuff.
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Old October 19, 2018, 12:40   #13
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Mark you will soon have another sample to look at as soon as USPS gets around to delivering it.
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Old October 24, 2018, 20:53   #14
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Guys still buy DSA parts even knowing full well they are junk,so why should DSA care,you can list their failures for the rest of life and nothing will change.
DSA makes most of their money on AR style rifles and parts,not 60 year old Fals.
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Old November 02, 2018, 23:10   #15
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This makes me sad. Why is it so hard to find decent parts for a rifle that saw action on literally every continent
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