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Old January 22, 2009, 10:02   #1
kotengu
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What makes a 2 MOA FAL?

I know the "FAL Accuracy" threads have been done to death, but this one is a little different. Please don't post what you THINK makes a FAL accurate - this thread is for collecting EVIDENCE , not THEORY.

Also only post if you're really familiar with how your FAL shoots - via the Jeter Challenge , the Honest To God 10-Shot Group , or something similar. One or two good 3-shot groups don't mean jack, and feeling that your FAL is a "tackdriver" because you can usually hit what you shoot at doesn't really tell us anything either.

If you are one of the lucky ones that has an honest-to-god-repeatable 2 MOA FAL, please post the details of the rifle. If you have done several mods to get better accuracy, but still have a 3 or 4 MOA FAL, post what mods you've done and the details of your rifle, as well as how it really shoots. Ammo details don't hurt either.

We're looking for actual evidence and common threads between the better shooters, and we're looking for evidence of "accuracy mods" that didn't have the intended effect via "accurized FALs" that still don't shoot that well.

Anything mechanical can be repeatable. It's a stacking of tolerances that makes one rifle more (or less) accurate than another - we just need to narrow down which tolerances are more important in the FAL's case, and how tightly those tolerances need to be adhered to. A FAL will never be a sniper rifle, but maybe we can get more down to 2 MOA or so...
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Old January 22, 2009, 10:16   #2
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I'll start - I have a 4 MOA FAL carbine.

Receiver: Imbel Gear Logo
Barrel: NIW Imbel chrome lined, cut to 18" with hacksaw
Crown: Hand-filed muzzle square and used finer grades of sandpaper on fingertip to "crown" muzzle, crown passes q-tip test and is square and concentric as well as I can measure with hand tools
Timing/Shoulder: Either timed right from factory or hand-filed shoulder to time correctly (been so long I can't remember) - was NOT lathe cut
Bolt Lockup: Double set screws installed to tighten bolt/carrier lockup
Headspace:: Single thumb pressure to close bolt on 1.630" Go Gauge
Trigger: FSE set, stoned to be relatively smooth and creep free. Added overtravel nut to eliminate any overtravel
Upper/Lower Lockup: Tight, no play felt when pushing/pulling by hand, Ed Vandenberg's locking hinge pivot installed to keep hinge tight.
Rear Sight Slop: Tried several different rear sights as well as mounted scope - no significant change in group size
Handgaurds: Cheap TAPCO lightweight plastic STG-58 copies. Carbine shoots the same with handguards off or on (simulating FFH).
Ammo: Shoots about the same with handloads or surplus. Most surplus tried is Aussie F4.

Right now my crown seems to be most suspect. It looks pretty darn good to the naked eye, but it certainly couldn't hurt to have it lathe cut properly. I think that's my next step in troubleshooting, as well as trying a Steyr barrel I just ordered.

[edit] I got to thinking and should add that this also has a DSA alloy lower and topcover, and TAPCO lightweight charging handle. I don't think any of these things have anything to do with poor grouping, but never ASS-U-ME....
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Old January 22, 2009, 10:19   #3
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Some related info cut-n-pasted from where we got sidetracked in another thread:

Quote:
Originally posted by moses
My 2 moa STG has a hand filed shoulder. I built it a long time ago!

I really think a tight headspace and good crown are very key in having a 2moa FAL. My 2MOA STG has at least 5000 rds through it and still needs two thumb pressure to close on a go gauge.

The 2 moa STG has never been recrowned but they usually weren't abused like the Imbels.

I don't shoot the 2 moa STG at the FAL match I shoot the 2 1/2" MOA 18" barrel STG that has been crowned after I shortened it (the one I call the "Ultimate") It actually has a little bit of pitting in the barrel but it doesn't seem to make a difference. [/B]
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Old January 22, 2009, 10:24   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by shlomo
I had rated mine as a 3" rifle, and was surprised to put the first 9 in right at 1.25". This was with irons, and Port milsurp. The last shot went out to about 3" on the second group. From there, it went downhill, and confirmed that the rifle opens up pretty badly after a certain shot count. I do not know whether this is due to heat or fouling, or both, as I do not shoot the rifle enough to have detemined this.

That's why I'm in the process of turning a heavier tube. I wanna see if the rifle will stay in one place, and hold a group size past ten or twelve shots.

It's still got the Imbel on it. No sense unscrewing it if I can't headspace and torque up the new one. Gonna see if I can do like Owl intended, and ream to the same LS headspace as the Imbel barrel. If I also hose the canine by cutting it too deep, I will post the fact and invite the retaliatory scorn I will richly deserve.

In keeping with my theme of being a cheapazz, the barrel started out as an A&B varmint profile from Midway. Sixty-seven bucks. I kept reading reviews from users who built sub MOA rifles with them (yeah, I know). But I also talked to Moses, who said he turned a FAL barrel out of one in .260, and it was a hammer. Plus, about eight years ago, Bubba Gump and I made a pair of 6-shot .458 WM rifles on VZ actions, using A&B tubes. They shot great. So, we'll see.

Up till recently, it (the Imbel barrel) had the crown it came with. When I changed over from an entreprise brake to Moses' Hurricane f/h, I went ahead and touched up the crown. Subsequent to that is when I shot the surprising nine in 1 1/4".

When I first built it, it timed to 10:30, and I just cranked it on. But if I had one that was a nine or ten o'clocker, I'd cut the shoulder with a lathe. Not that it fer sure makes the difference, if you've ever looked at the front of a receiver. Got jazz all over most of 'em. Squaring the shoulder only counts if the front of the receiver is flat and square, in my opinion.

Doing a crown really right involves getting it turning around the bore, not around the outside of the barrel. There are basically two ways to accomplish this: 1) Indicate the bore in to center with a 4-jaw or spider or; 2) turn a concentric journal on the outside of the barrel by running the muzzle on a good live center with a center-drilled spud in the bore, and then running the journal in a steadyrest while you cut the crown.

There are a lot of ways for intrinsic accuracy to go south on a FAL. Pencil-thin barrel, non-true receiver faces, generous chambers, crowns distorted by f/hiders, vertical lockup play in bolt/carrier/receiver relationship, rear sights with side play, looseness in the fit of the front of the bolt to the receiver ring, and last but not least, a hinged, two-part receiver system that has one sight component on each part. When you think about it, it's pretty amazing that most of 'em will hold 3 MOA, taken all together.
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Old January 22, 2009, 10:27   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by stimpsonjcat
The FAL I shoot came from Century. It still has the century stamp on the bbl. No idea who made the bbl, and really, if you look down it you won't be much impressed.

The bbl, receiver, lower, hts, and locking shoulder are the only things on the rifle I have not replaced. Everyone says the trigger sucks.

It was very tight on headspace when I first got it.

I have not shot the Jeter-challenge yet, and I am doubtful I will. I spent years trying to climb the highpower ladder with this thing, best I ever did was a 427 I think. I could go look at what my slow fire prone was that day I guess, I think it was probably low 180s. That's a little better than all 9's, but I do not know what size that ring is on the 100yd reduced target (edit - the 9-ring on that target is 2.75", shooting from prone would make the chances good that this is a 2 MOA FAL, but at the very worst it's a 2.75 MOA FAL).
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Old January 22, 2009, 11:16   #6
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Quote:
It's a stacking of tolerances that makes one rifle more (or less) accurate than another - we just need to narrow down which tolerances are more important in the FAL's case, and how tightly those tolerances need to be adhered to.
From the things I've messed with.
Sloppy rear sight, replaced with tight topcover & good (read not cheap) low power scope.
Barrel, both bore condition & crown.
Headspace, tighter is better.
Bolt/carrier interface. Full depression into recess seems to make a respectable difference on the last round. (On each target fired in WEG's test the last round, from an empty mag was a group opener. On other targets where the last round was not fired for score the effect was less.)
Tight & full lock up between upper & lower. Duh!
Handguard fit. Based on several differrent ones I've tried this means more than many think.
Muzzle device type or removal. I don't really have this quantified, but it seems that heavier muzzle devices seem to help, all else being equal.
Load. 165Gr handloads make a significant difference to accuracy, beating MilSurp by about 30% in every FAL they've been fired in. (I do NOT make match-grade "target" loads. But I do make good consistant repeatable handloads.)

Right now I'm about 2 1/4", Could I get tighter? Probably, but it would start losing utility, and the diminishing returns would start to get excessive, if I did, so I'm happy to stop where I am.
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Old January 22, 2009, 11:22   #7
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What kind of barrel do you have, brownknees? Has it ever been cut or crowned (and if so - how?)? Did you have to file/cut the barrel shoulder to intall it (how)?

Do you know your headspace? Any trigger work done?
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Old January 22, 2009, 11:40   #8
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It was a brand new Imbel chrome lined when it was fitted.

The original crown was fine so nothing was done there. (I did check it with a 10X lupe, just to be sure )

The new barrel was fitted by a member here & we checked it with gages. It was re-checked later to check for any setback. IIRC it was .003 over minimum.

No work was done to the as-issued barrel, it went into the Imbel reciever perfectly.

The trigger was a (*gasp, wheeze* ) Century "C" stamped factory set. The only thing done was cleaning & light lube. It measured 3 1/2 Lbs 1st pressure & 6 1/2 Lbs second pressure as-is.

Two things that may be contributing are a very tight lockup between the upper & lower. The fit at the hinge is so tight that a fair amount of pressure is needed to seperate the halves, even after removal of the hinge pivot. Also the rear lock is tight enough that I sometimes have to use a LOT of force (more than exerted with one determined thumb) on the lever to unlock the halves.

I don't know how significant this is, but I've shot military rifles pretty much exclusively for years. To me a double stage trigger is "normal" It felt "odd" when I had a single-stage target trigger set at 3 1/2 Lbs with a real "breaking glass rod" feel on a Remington 700. I missed the "preperation" of the first stage, odd as that may sound.
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Old January 22, 2009, 12:41   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by brownknees
The trigger was a (*gasp, wheeze* ) Century "C" stamped factory set. The only thing done was cleaning & light lube. It measured 3 1/2 Lbs 1st pressure & 6 1/2 Lbs second pressure as-is.
If you can find a Century HTS in new unmolested condition. They can be the base of an excelent trigger pull. The parts will require fitting (like it's a bad thing).
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Old January 22, 2009, 14:42   #10
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I think that's one big difference between the older gun tinkerers & the new generation.
Now if it's not plug 'n play it's a problem. Then there was a certain amount of finishing/polishing/trimming expected to get the best out of a component.
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Old January 22, 2009, 15:25   #11
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Hmmmm...

What makes an honest-to-god 2-MOA FAL.



A vivid imagination and artistic license?
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Old January 22, 2009, 15:27   #12
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Seriously, the one thing that seems to be common in the more accurate FAL's is an unmolested Steyr STG-58 barrel, and handloaded ammo.
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Old January 22, 2009, 16:27   #13
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I have a matching numbers STG-58 on Imbel GL with 18.5" barrel, original stoll flashhider, all gun smith work done by AZEX (build and barrel chop).

Tuned handloads WITH A SCOPE turn in 1.5" 10 shot groups from a rest at 100 yards sometimes. Eotech does about 2.5" best 100 yard 10 shot group.

I am mostly around 2" with scope. At 600 yards with a scope and a bagged rest it will shoot 18" 5 round groups on a calm day. (3 MOA for math challenged folks)

Several thousand rounds thru this beast has been the biggest tool to accuracy.

I removed the bipod, STG sling swivel, STG pistol grip and carrying handle (doubt if the carry handle affects accuracy but listed anyways). I replaced the swing swivel with a handguard mounted one and replaced the STG handguards with Argie plastic ones. Installed a SAW grip and TPR spring kit from Falcon.

Original bolt was headspaced for NATO but not .308, I replaced it with one that headspaces for .308 AND NATO correctly.

I found that a bent prong on the stoll FH will seriously reduce accuracy as will gas deposit buildup on the crown. (Bent the prong one day cleaning the crown )

Now these are FMJ Prvi Partisan 146 gr bulk bullets loaded with IMR4895 powder in used Black Hills brass. It took me about 3 months to dial in the loads as I am trying to get the Prvi's to hit the same as SA surplus, some 155 AMAX's and 110 AMAX's. I am still working on the 110's and just barely got done getting the right velocity on the 155's. I haven't shot them for accuracy but I thing they will be better than the FMJ's.

With surplus SA I am about 4" from a rest with the Eotech and about 4-6" with iron sights. I am minute of milk jug accurate at 200 yards with my handloads from a prone bagged rest.

My upper and lower receiver do have a little bit of wiggle.

Side note: Hornady AMAX's hit 9" to right of POA at 100 yards when loaded in Hornady brass. Within 2" with Black Hills brass. Kinda weird thing that is good to know for you reloaders.
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Old January 22, 2009, 16:29   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by W.E.G.
Hmmmm...

What makes an honest-to-god 2-MOA FAL.



A vivid imagination and artistic license?
In most cases you are absolutely correct, sir!
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Old January 22, 2009, 16:33   #15
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Very good details and info snolden - you've got a good shooter, and well done working up your handloads!
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Old January 22, 2009, 18:00   #16
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Quote:
What makes a 2 MOA FAL?
Me. Just got back from a test fire at the range with a Fal that I started building 6 yrs ago and am happy to say that other than a scope she's finally done. Getting it sighted in at 50 yds I shot a 3 shot group of .394. The fourth round opened it to 1.39.

After getting good results sighting in I figured I may as well go for the WEG challenge. First 5rd group at 100 yards was 1.96 and second was 1.88. All groups were using German Men. I'll post pics in WEG challenge thread tonight.

The Fal consists of a Imbel receiver with an STG barrel that was cut down to 17-3/8 and threaded by Vandenberg. The flashider is a short stoll. I headspaced it to 1.632 using an STG Bolt and carrier that are snug fitting with no play. Contrary to everyone's suggestions my handguards are as tight as they can be. I'm using a Para sight so there is no movement with it and the upper and lower have zero movement no matter how hard you tug on it. The trigger is an FSE set that measures 7.5 lbs. Over all it is a tight fitting Fal.

I can't wait to get a scope on it as well as some good hand loads but I could care less if it does any better than it already does.
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Old January 22, 2009, 18:16   #17
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Quote:
Contrary to everyone's suggestions my handguards are as tight as they can be.
Just to clear up a point.
Handguards that don't fit "just so" seem to get better with a loose fit. Handguards that do fit "just so" seem better tight.
Maybe loosening up is a "fix" for warped, poorly fitting, or binding ones?
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Old January 22, 2009, 18:25   #18
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Guess I should have made that clear. When I first installed the handguards on the rifle they fit loose inside the handguard ring. To tighten them up I cut and fit metal heat resistant tape around the base of the handguards where they fit inside the ring. I have to wedge the handguards in the ring with force and apply a decent amount of pressure toward the ring when screwing the hangaurd screw in so that the handguards line up.
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Old January 22, 2009, 18:43   #19
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Good post, frontier - and it sounds like you have a great shooting rifle. I think this part may have something to do with it:
Quote:
STG barrel that was cut down to 17-3/8 and threaded by Vandenberg


What kind of handguards are they?

Also - which para sight do you have, and how tall is your front sight (1-dot, 2-dot, etc.). Not related to this thread, but I went through a few AR-15 conversion rear sights that all took filed down nubs of front sights to work right.
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Old January 22, 2009, 19:05   #20
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The handguards are bipod cut Imbel. The rear sight is a standard para sight and the front is a 1 dot but I have enough adjustment left that a 2 dot may work. It looks like I'm going to trade the standard para rear sight out for a DSA version with windage adjustments though. My barrel was originally slightly out of time but my rear sight was perfectly centered. When I received it back from Vandenberg the barrel timing was perfect (guess he straightened it) but in sighting it back in I had to drift the sight off to the left more than I would like. I bought a DSA sight with windage adjustment (that should be in my mailbox) for my brothers Fal but it looks like he will get the standard Para.
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Old January 22, 2009, 19:08   #21
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Is the windage adjustable sight shorter than a standard Para sight?
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Old January 22, 2009, 21:35   #22
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As Gary said, barrel quality is the primary variable affecting accuracy. Mint STG kit on Imbel or DSA receiver was used to shoot my <2 MOA groups with PMP ammo. I used a 12x scope so I could see the bullseye. Front sandbag/ammo can rest.
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Old January 22, 2009, 21:45   #23
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It's been a long time and I'm going from memory, but the two windage adjustable models I had I don't think were from DSA. I had one I think Vandenberg made by literally milling the base of a metric sight down and silver soldering the top half of an AR rear sight on (sounds rigged, but it was a very clean and precise job, as everything Ed does is). It was dead on for height, but in the spirit of "better is the enemy of good" I sold it and bought one of the V.O.W. sights that were made from scratch, looked like a true para sight but had the windage adjustable AR insides. It worked great but was not quite the right height so I had to file a 0-dot front sight down to a nub to get it to print right.

Make sure to post a review when you get that DSA sight dialed in. Let us know both what height front sight you have, and if the adjustments are repeatable and reliable!
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Old January 23, 2009, 01:14   #24
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T1 FAL:
DSA T1 no CHC
DSA med contour (5 groove 1.062" OD), on STG kit (primo from back in the day).
Lower opened for tight fit to upper
Trigger job (4-5 lb or so) on FN G1 HTS (the FN's are the best IMO)
FF handguard (DSA)
DSA 4 plate scope mount
Crappy Bushnell 4-12X (this and mount gets rid of sight slop)
Short tube gas system (STG type) w/long gas tube nut (6 inches long or so) to cover piston spring
Forward section of mag opened close to receiver dims
Smoothed/polished receiver feed rails, and mag feed lips
YHM flash hider
Headspaced .002" loose from Clymer 'GO'
175gr FGMM
2" 10 shot group at 200 yd (see WEG's thread)

T3 FAL:
DSA T3
DSA Izzy HB (chromed)
FN FALO FH 'circumcised' (of course! it's an Izzy barrel!) to look kinda like FN combo device
L1A1 gas tube w/GPG extended gas tube nut
DSA FF HG (modified to fit Izzy HB, front end clearanced to gas block)
DSA 5 plate scope mount
Falcon Menace 10X
Seekins rings
Smoothed/polished receiver feed rails, and mag feed lips
Headspaced .002" loose from Clymer 'GO'
Bolt and carrier from two different FN G1 kits, both nasty kits but tightest combo I had
JARD trigger
Lower receiver opened to tighten in upper
Shot it the other day @ 100 yd(Federal Premium 180gr hunting loads):
5 shots;
Look through binos, ~.500" group.
holy, Holy, HOLY, HOLEEEEEEY SHIT!!!!
Got all amped up, took 5 more shots and spread group (all 10 shots) to total 1.5" vert x 1" horiz.
CRAP!

DSA chambers seem loose to me, I suspect that the .5 MOA group was a fluke (be quiet Gary!). I suspect that this one might end up being a 2MOA gun as it is currently.

Future plan for the T3:
-Fiddling w/a custom barrel to see what happens. Was thinking about turning a ~22" SS Lothar Walther barrel (I understand that they use 17-4ph stainless not 416).
-A2 pivot pin ground to size to fit receiver/lower w/o slop
-Lock body sized to lower receiver. Either make an oversize one or chrome one of my spares.
-Probably try worked on FAL trigger.
-Get into reloading

Will probably fiddlefart around w/the JARD trigger a bit next week and see how it shoots. Where can one get lead shot for shooting bags?
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Old January 23, 2009, 05:56   #25
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I'm a little bemused by this, since in the British Army you weren't considered to be able to get a useful zero if you couldn't shoot your L1A1 SLR into a 4" group @ 100yds from the prone supported position (your forearm, not the rifle's, resting on a sandbag). My impression of an SLRs accuracy is anecdotal, from looking at groups produced by rifles including those by people who were excellent shots. What I imagined then (1980s and still now) was that a standard issue British Army L1A1 SLR with iron sights fired by a trained soldier from the prone position, with the soldier resting his forearm against a sandbag, was capable of putting its rounds, using issue ball ammo, into something approaching 2 MOA. Trained soldiers were generally able to get 4 MOA or better using iron sights and prone (even without sandbag support, the sling was never used as a shooting sling and probably wasn't even installed when you were on the range).

Don't shoot the messenger. This is what I recall from back then. I was used to .22 target rifle shooting where it would put round after round through exactly the same hole @ 25 yds and the sights adjusted in quarter of a minute of an angle clicks, so I considered the military rifles to be extremely inaccurate.

(BTW, that's a 20 rounds four inch group at 100 yards, with the soldier standing up between 5 round strings to make sure he could adopt the same alignment to the target when he got down again.)
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Old January 23, 2009, 07:11   #26
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My no frills Imbel shoots minute of railroad tie base plate at 100 yards.
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Old January 23, 2009, 07:26   #27
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Crown: Hand-filed muzzle square and used finer grades of sandpaper on fingertip to "crown" muzzle, crown passes q-tip test and is square and concentric as well as I can measure with hand tools

Probably a really good place to start: one of the sites had instructions on how to re-crown a barrel using the LEE case trimmer. Basically using the cutter with a pilot whose diameter was close to the inner diameter of the bore, shimming it by wrapping the shank in a really thin strip of metal (I think) and the you let the shank spin inside the shim and it cuts a very nice, smooth, square, recessed crown.

Guys were getting really impressive results fixing barrels with damaged crowns or that had been cut down like yours.

John

Found it: Surplusrifleforum.com From member Huffmanite.

Yesterday, curious how level a crown I had put on a sporter 1903A03 barrel that had been shortened, I decided to insert a lee case trimmer into the muzzle with a 7X57 mauser guage lenght spindle on it. I intended to give it a few light twists to check how level the crown was by examining the scratches the case trimmer would make. Of course the 7mm mauser spindle was loose in the bore, so I decided to try aluminum cut from side of a beer can as a shim to take up the slack in the bore. I cut the beer can aluminum so that I could wrap it the lenght of the 7mm spindle so that none of it would ride on the lands of the bore. After inserting the aluminum shim in the bore, I lightly greased the trimmer spindle and inserted it in the muzzle. It was a decent fit with little wobble, so I made a few light twists with the case trimmer to check for high/low spots on the muzzle. Much to my surprise, the Lee case trimmer cut the metal of the barrel fairly easily. I checked the muzzle and decided to keep rotating the Lee case trimmer by hand. After about 10 minutes of rotating the case trimmer, I had put what seems to be a perfectly flat recessed surface on the end of the muzzle. I then took out my drill, put a 5/16" carriage bolt in it coated with fine valve grinding compound on its head, and worked the bore muzzle for about a minute with the "dome" of the head.

Today, I tried this same technique on a sporter 7mm 93 mauser barrel. I used a case guage for 6.5 Swede on the Lee Trimmer. Again I cut another piece of aluminum from a beer can and wrapped it around the spindle to shape it. Now I could insert the aluminum shim in the bore and then insert the lightly greased case trimmer with the 6.5 Swede guage into it. It was not as tight a fit as with the 30 cal bore I had done yesterday, but acceptable to me. Like yesterday, I simply began twisting the Lee case trimmer, occassionally reapplying a light coat of grease to the muzzle area being cut and on the guage spindle. Again, when satisfied with depth of cut into the muzzle, I removed the aluminum shim from the bore, grabbed my drill with the carriage bolt and honed the muzzle of the bore till I was satisfied.

Here are a few pics of what I did.

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Old January 23, 2009, 07:27   #28
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I'm a little bemused by this, since in the British Army you weren't considered to be able to get a useful zero if you couldn't shoot your L1A1 SLR into a 4" group @ 100yds from the prone supported position
I think that factory buit-tested & rejected if not "right" Vs. home brewed may have a bearing here?

Like you I remember being told ( & finding out myself) that the SLR was accurate as you say. Just a few years ago the FAL/SLR was toted as having very good accuracy. I wonder what happened in the meantime?
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Old January 23, 2009, 07:52   #29
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Mine started out as a south African kit I bought from someone here. It had already been shortened to 16" by MR. Bonecrusher IIRC. I had a machinist at work mill off the sling & bi-pod cuts. I built it using the traditional sanding disk on the shoulder method.

Accuracy improvements: thinned down the front sight, tight para rear sight, super nice FSE HTS, very tight upper to lower fit. (File down the female side of the pivot screw), sling attachment to hand guard. The final improvement, a 4 power scope.
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Old January 23, 2009, 08:36   #30
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How's she shoot, JohnnyReb? What do you mean "milled off the handguard cuts"?

kalliste - that's what started all this mess. I was pretty frustrated just trying to zero my carbine with it shooting all over the place like that. I agree - a factory assembled new rifle should shoot to its standards. If it doesn't you send it back. We've got 30+ year old de-milled kits we're assembling in our garages, and trying to figure out which parts and assembly practices are critical to meet that factory spec -

onebigelf - Thanks for the tip, but I think I'm just going to send it to Moses and have him cut a real crown with a properly indicated lathe. Shortcutting it with what I have on hand is what got me to this place!

powermad - That doesn't help! How big a 10-shot group will it shoot, and what are the particulars of the rifle?

Potshot - Both mighty fine shooters! Thanks for the post - any idea what they do with surplus ammo?
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Old January 23, 2009, 10:51   #31
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Sorry,

I meant the sling and bi-pod cuts. Shoots great.


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Old January 23, 2009, 11:35   #32
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Wow - looks great! What is that coffee can doing on the end of your barrel? What is that thing???
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Old January 23, 2009, 14:38   #33
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1)cheater bars ....your bending receiver ..no matter what your holding it with
2) barrels shoulder is Datum for the line of the barrel ...cut it and dont realign the tube as they did when it was made ..or use a file ..your screwed ...
3)open the rails ..dont do much good to spend three days reloading the "magic bullet" and have it destroyed on the way in the hole ....(why rocket ships dont have flats on the nose ..heheh .dont fly well that way .)
4) stay away from GP
5)stock length ...spacers for larger folk .
6) barrel timing ...sticks??? good luck ...sorry
7) and lots of practise ...seems to give me 1"...post haste ....

8) forgot .all the mil sniper rifles have flat muzzles ..crowning went out with the hogfarm powders about 5 years ago ..

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Old January 23, 2009, 15:22   #34
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Originally posted by kotengu
Wow - looks great! What is that coffee can doing on the end of your barrel? What is that thing???
Thats a Noveske flash hider.
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Old January 23, 2009, 16:05   #35
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Originally posted by ggiilliiee
1)cheater bars ....your bending receiver ..no matter what your holding it with
2) barrels shoulder is Datum for the line of the barrel ...cut it and dont realign the tube as they did when it was made ..or use a file ..your screwed ...
3)open the rails ..dont do much good to spend three days reloading the "magic bullet" and have it destroyed on the way in the hole ....(why rocket ships dont have flats on the nose ..heheh .dont fly well that way .)
4) stay away from GP
5)stock length ...spacers for larger folk .
6) barrel timing ...sticks??? good luck ...sorry
7) and lots of practise ...seems to give me 1"...post haste ....

8) forgot .all the mil sniper rifles have flat muzzles ..crowning went out with the hogfarm powders about 5 years ago ..
All that makes sense in theory, but from what we've actually seen so far at least half of the better shooting FALs have had their barrel shoulders hand-filed. It seems like I remember you had a sight jig you use for barrel timing instead of sticks or levels - again it makes sense in theory, but do you have any actual examples of rifles you've built this way that shoot well? Have you built any rifles this way that don't shoot well?

As for the 1" claim - I'll extend Jeter's challenge. If you can shoot a 1 MOA 5-shot group with a relatively stock FAL in my presence I'll pay you $100 on the spot. Otherwise - tell me the details of the rifles you've built and post pictures of your targets. Smack talk and GP bashing has no place here.
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Old January 23, 2009, 16:36   #36
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All that makes sense in theory, but from what we've actually seen so far at least half of the better shooting FALs have had their barrel shoulders hand-filed.
Mine was hand filed.
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Old January 23, 2009, 21:14   #37
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I must have gotten lucky with my Entreprise/Stg58. I got the kit in the late 90's and it was perfect, like new, mint. The was my second build, and went well. I ended up with a locking shoulder that wouldn't close on the go gage, and stoned 'till it would with a little pressure. Using a SUIT and Port milsurp I get repeatable 1'' five shot groups at 50yds, the longest distance I have in my pasture at this time. It is picky about ammo. It has an FSE HTS group that I worked over to get a a 3.5 lb. break with no creep. Seems to shoot better with the Stoll, and warm, not hot barrel.
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Old January 23, 2009, 22:04   #38
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With surplus ammo (the Aussie MG ammo delinked) they both seem to shoot into ~2-2.5" @ 100 yd, 3" if I'm being a doofus.

Why would anyone expect superior performance on sub-par quality ammo?

If you want to tighten groups up, you do need to get ammo to suit. Can't make chicken salad from chicken shit and all that!
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Old January 23, 2009, 22:22   #39
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Originally posted by Potshot
With surplus ammo (the Aussie MG ammo delinked) they both seem to shoot into ~2-2.5" @ 100 yd, 3" if I'm being a doofus.

Why would anyone expect superior performance on sub-par quality ammo?

If you want to tighten groups up, you do need to get ammo to suit. Can't make chicken salad from chicken shit and all that!
I'm more curious to see the difference in your handloads vs. surplus. In my carbine it really didn't make much of a difference. In most other rifles it makes a huge difference. You sure can make chicken salad from chickenshit, but I wouldn't eat it!
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Old January 23, 2009, 22:23   #40
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Originally posted by Lniceshot
I must have gotten lucky with my Entreprise/Stg58. I got the kit in the late 90's and it was perfect, like new, mint. The was my second build, and went well. I ended up with a locking shoulder that wouldn't close on the go gage, and stoned 'till it would with a little pressure. Using a SUIT and Port milsurp I get repeatable 1'' five shot groups at 50yds, the longest distance I have in my pasture at this time. It is picky about ammo. It has an FSE HTS group that I worked over to get a a 3.5 lb. break with no creep. Seems to shoot better with the Stoll, and warm, not hot barrel.
Sounds like a nice rifle - I'll be curious to see how she does when she gets to stretch her legs a little! Those good condition Steyr STG barrels do seem to be a common factor...
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Old January 23, 2009, 22:34   #41
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I forgot to ask - if you haven't already please post your headspace measurements (JohnnyReb, msnyder, anybody else I missed). If you've worked up handloads for the rifle, do you know how much you're setting the shoulder back from the actual headspace measurement of the rifle?

The tight headspace is seeming to be another common thread, but there's a lot of rifles out there with tight headspace that don't shoot worth a crap too. There's also several good shooters who headspace in the middle of the range. I wonder if it's a chicken and the egg thing, or a CO2 and global warming thing - where the type of person who shoots an accurate FAL adjusts their headspace tight? Or maybe it's the tight headspace that helps make an accurate FAL?

Anybody with a really accurate FAL and tight headspace care to swap out locking shoulders to headspace more in the middle of the range and shoot some more groups? Inquiring minds want to know...
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Old January 23, 2009, 22:40   #42
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I'm more curious to see the difference in your handloads vs. surplus.
I had a thread in ammunition on just this topic.
What I found was that with the loads I'd worked up for an M1a the 165 Gr bullets out performed any 150 Gr ones, including the 155Gr palmas.
I did a little tweaking for the diferent rifle & I'll be darned if the same thing didn't hold true for the FAL as well.

Maybe it is barrel harmonics, maybe powder burn rates, I'm honestly not sure but with WW748BR powder slightly heavier bullets of several types always out perform lighter ones. This holds true in several different FALs.

I'd post the loads again here, but I had to make WEG dig out his decoder ring last time as the 'files parser don't like my cut 'n paste excel tables.
Right now I'm loading 165 (or 168) Gr Hornady bullets over 45.5 Gr WW748BR, with a CCI 200 primer. The only "accuracy" tweak I use is to match the sizing die to the FAL's chamber.
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Old January 23, 2009, 23:01   #43
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Graphs post better by just printing to a PDF, and then saving as a JPG.

Upload the JPG to photobucket.
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Old January 24, 2009, 18:03   #44
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not busting balls here ,but if you want itybity groups a with a .308 semiauto that won't cost a fortune buy an AR10 . Fals are great rifles but not tack drivers .
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Old January 25, 2009, 15:48   #45
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not busting balls here ,but if you want itybity groups a with a .308 semiauto that won't cost a fortune buy an AR10 . Fals are great rifles but not tack drivers .
There are a lot of other rifles more (and less) accurate than a FAL - that's not the point. We're trying to figure out what makes one FAL ore accurate than another similar FAL.

I had some interesting results at the range yesterday shooting the Jeter challenge, but my computer's crapped out so I can't post very much right now. Updates and "what ifs" to come...
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Old January 25, 2009, 18:07   #46
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Originally posted by GONIF
not busting balls here ,but if you want itybity groups a with a .308 semiauto that won't cost a fortune buy an AR10 . Fals are great rifles but not tack drivers .
We want the smallest groups available from a rifle that can fire 300 times without crapping out - that's why we went with the FAL.

No ball-busting here either. Jes sayin' ...

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Old February 02, 2009, 21:20   #47
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I took the old carbine out the range to try Gary's challenge a couple weeks ago, and had some interesting results. It was throwing the first two shots low and stringing vertically until it "settled in" and mostly stayed in place. Due to a happy coincidence of alternating shooting this and a bolt-gun doing load workup, in between every pair of groups the carbine cooled completely - so I always started from a cold barrel. After doing this a few times I tried something new:

Load 13 rounds in a single mag, burn two into the berm to warm the barrel up and load the first shot for record with the gas system, shoot two concurrent five-shot groups, and leave one in the mag to avoid the BHO, and the groups are almost respectable (2.814" and 2.450"):


To isolate whether it's the barrel heat or the mechanics (slingshot charging handle to load first round, BHO locking back after last round), I shot the exact same pattern but with magazine changes - ie: shoot 2 into the berm to warm the barrel up, slap in a mag with 5 rds loaded, shoot first group, slap in another mag with 5rds, shoot 2nd group.


The larger group followed the classic pattern - throwing the slingshotted 1st shot low and throwing the BHO lock-back last shot high, with the middle three rounds looking pretty good. However - the first group I shot followed no pattern at all. It's hard to see on the scan, but the first two shots were low, the next two high, and the last BHO shot was right back down with the first two. Makes no sense -

The overall size difference of the pairs of groups (single mag vs. mag change) points to it being a mechanical issue (slingshot & BHO) vs. a thermal issue (barrel heat). However - after the 4th shot of my smallest group (from the single mag) I had a freak bolt-over FTF. I honestly can't think of the last time I had any kind of malfunction with this rifle, but I cleared it by racking the charging handle all the way back and letting fly. Shot #5 went right into the middle of the group.

You would think if the charging handle slingshotting was causing a thrown shot it would happen in the middle of the mag too - but it didn't. You would also think that if the barrel heat was the culprit it would shoot the same regarless of how I changed magazines - but it didn't. Very curious....

This barrel is now on its way to Moses to have a real crown cut, then I'll try this all over again. Once I receive the Steyr barrel I'll try it as-is with the same test. I may play with no handguards vs. different types of handguards just to see the effects, but in past testing this cheap TAPCO set shot exactly the same as with no handguards.

Any thoughts?
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Old February 02, 2009, 22:18   #48
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I have a G-1, it was my 1st build, usually groups a little over 3 MOA with Port, maybe 5-6 with Win. Nato. The barrel is pretty worn, an
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Old February 02, 2009, 22:31   #49
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deep throat

Has anyone measured the throat on our loved FALs? Just how far of a jump is it from a mag lenght loaded 150ish grain bullet (personally I use 155 grain pills) to the lands?

For the record, I try to pick a locking shoulder that's 0.001 to 0.002 inch from not closing on a Foster "go" gauge. Which is, in my humble opinion (IMHO), is a TIGHT chamber.

But then again I haven't measured many groups out of the FAL.

Opps, are we talking Brazil, Austrian or US made barrels? I can only talk about Brazil barrels, which, once again IMHO, are lucky to print 4MOA.
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Old February 02, 2009, 22:43   #50
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don't know what happened on my last post, anyway I noticed the crown was kinda pitted and worn so I used a dremel with a 1/2 dia. round stone to cut the crown back about .035. Groups with Win. Nato went from 3" at 50yds to 1". But Port Milsurp went from 1.5" at 50 to 2.5-3. I've only run 30 rnds thru the new crown, might need some break-in. I'll mess with it more this weekend. BTW. this is my "experiment" rifle, wouldn't do this to my STG.
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