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Old February 08, 2001, 21:36   #1
ricochet
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Inch - Metric - Israeli - differences

I've looked in the FAQ's and tried to answer as much of this before asking, but:
I know a metric upper/lower seems to work with an inch upper/lower.
I know that internals (trigger,hammer,sear) cannot innerchange between inch/metrics.
I know that the stock parts (grip,buttstock) cannot innerchange.
The gas piston on an inch is longer, but a metric will work. Correct?
As far as barrel threading and recoil devices, what innerchanges and what can be made to work?
Can the mag release from an inch work on a metric and visa/versa?
Is Hesse the only maker (currently) of U.S. parts for an inch trigger group?
The gas plug works from one FAL to another. Any exceptions?
At what point is my assembled rifle considered a rifle? Do I legally need to have 6/7 U.S. parts before assembly, or is it not considered a complete rifle until I insert the dreaded magazine?
In a nutshell, what are the main differences in metric,inch, and Israeli? (can this be asked in simple terms?)
Legally, how many can I (and my wife) assemble for personal use, per year. I have gotten several answers, and this is only referring to those I plan to put in the safe. I do not want to sell ANY, I am selfish and want to keep them all for myself.
Any or all answers will be appreciated, I do not want to cross the BATF boundaries, and intend to be informed. Again, these are questions that have and are to be asked again. Thanks guys.

[ July 24, 2001: Message edited by: gary.jeter ]
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Old February 09, 2001, 00:24   #2
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Ok I answered some of these in another post. Here is a link; http://www.fnfal.com/forums/Forum1/HTML/006279.html
Gas piston- metric will work in inch.
barrel threading, muzzle devices, as long as they are not a flash hider, you can thread the muzzle, but must permanently attach through one of several means. This can be done by silver soldering (1100 degree solder required), blind pinning, 4 spot welds, or welded all the way around.
Mag release-yes you can use an Inch mag release on a metric or vice-versa.
Heese is only inch t/h/s maker at present, but there will be quality made out soon (hopefully no more than 6 weeks)
Gas plug-can't use Izzy gas plug in metric, it's different length. inch is for inch
When is it a rifle? If the recvr is attached to the barrel, it can be considered a rifle, if all other parts are present (BATF's idea, not mine)
Differences in type; Inch-these have a lower that has 'tangs' or wings at the base, where the butt stock joins the lower. The pistol grip is different, in that the grip on an icn is secured with a screw that you remove from the top of the lower, instead of unscrewing a nut form the stud that projects from the lower on a metric. The trigger setup is also different, the Inch has the trigger return plunger as part of the grip, though it is removeable, this can make working on trigger pull more of a challange. They will also have a taller rear sight, the leaf or blade will fold down. The safety selector is larger and more easily used than a metrics (Izzy is my favorite though). The mag release is also larger and easier to use, especially one handed. the British Inch rifles did not have the forward or "auto" position marked on the lowers, while the Australian model does. The Inch dust cover has 2 small tabs on the rear, which are designed to help keep it in place. The Inch also has the folding charging/cocking handle (mistakenly referred to as the operating rod by the ATF) this is a desireable feature, in that it won't gouge a big hole in your back if carrying on a sling. The inch also takes a different mag, in that it has a large lug at the front, instead of a small 'beak' as on the metric. It also uses a different floorplate, with edges that fold over the outside lips of the mag. This is done so that mags with dents or dings could be straightened out easier, with a large block of steel cut like a mag inserted inside. the Inch rifles also used a breeching washer, in place of the shoulder that is found on metric barrels. Breeching washers of different thickness are used to set head space, as well as the locking shoulder. The gas adjustment ring is different on an inch rifle, these do not have the grooves as on the metrics, though they are numbered, it is a different set of numbers. The front sights on the inch are also different, the soights have open ears (some Izzys and Argintine did also) and use a different front post, set screw type with locking screw in front of gas block.

As for how many can you assemble in a year. Well how many can you afford? As long as you are building them for your self, and there are no local or state restrictions on the number of receivers that you can purchase, then build all of them that you want. I hope I have answeresd some of the questions that you have. Any mistakes I might have made will be pointed out by others who are more knowledgeable than I am. I also apologize for the spelling errors. Dan at VOW.
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Old February 09, 2001, 11:03   #3
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Thanks Dan,
I know that these have been asked before. Thanks for the answers. I was told that it is not consisdered a rifle until the mag is inserted. That is why I ask. I appreciate the answers, that clears up a lot for me.
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Old September 09, 2001, 18:03   #4
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Old May 16, 2002, 11:24   #5
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Post Inch/Metric ID Guide *PICS* LONG

This is to help people new to the FAL family of rifles to determine what parts on their rifle are Inch and which are Metric. Century is notorious for mixing parts on their rifles. Most rifles are built from kits, and may have a mixture of Inch and Metric parts. I am not an expert and if any info is incorrect please tell me. If I have used a picture of your rifle in this post and want it removed, please also let me know. I have gathered this info from the Files and other sources.

First we will look at the typical features of Inch and Metric rifles.


Most parts are interchangable between the two types of rifles, the main exception is the lower reciever parts. The internals of the lower recievers are not interchangable. The buttstocks also are not easily interchanged. An Inch type selector may be modified to fit an a metric lower. Upper and lower recievers are interchangable. I.E. an Inch lower will fit on a Metric lower and vise versa.

The magazines are different also

An Inch upper reciever will accept both inch and metric magazines, howerver the metric mags may not function with 100% reliability. A metric reciever will take ONLY metric mags.

How do I tell if my upper reciever is Inch or Metric?
Magazine cut for front lug


Cocking handle rail, Note inch has been cut off for folding cocking handle


The other difference is in the cuts on the top of the reciever. An Inch dust cover has tabs and therefore the Inch type reciever has cut-outs for these tabs.

There are some Metric recievers that have been modified with Inch type cuts.

Not all metric rifles have closed ear gas-blocks. An inch pattern gas block will have the gas port drilled at 45 deg to the central axis of the barrel, and on a metric gas block the gas port is perpendicular to the barrel and accessed by removing the front site. A metric front site is a post type, and an Inch front site is a blade type.

Metric bolt hold opens and mag releases are different from Inch style, but are easily interchanged. Most if not all of the bold hold opens on Inch pattern rifles have had the pin that is pushed up by the mag follower ground off. This is quite easy fix and costs less than $0.50

I hope this will help any who wonder what type of parts were used to build their rifle.
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Last edited by withergyld; May 16, 2002 at 14:50.
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Old May 16, 2002, 12:34   #6
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That is great info! Thanks!
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Old May 16, 2002, 15:32   #7
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withergyld,

Nice job on the pics. Probably the most user-friendly quick answer guide to date.

Jen, or other Mods, could this one be kept "topped" in the FAQ section for the new guys?
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Old May 16, 2002, 17:26   #8
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Does any one have the serial number infor for lower reciever info? it would also be VERY helpful for country of origin and inch/metric
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Old May 16, 2002, 17:43   #9
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NZ L1A1 Collector has a great deal of information on Inch type rifles and lots of pictures. He also has ser # info in Inch rifles IIRC. I would expect some of the FAL books talked about on the board here also would have information on ser # for metric rifles
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Old May 16, 2002, 23:17   #10
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Nice job. that sure will be nice for people to check out for id's.
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Old May 18, 2002, 20:04   #11
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That was nicely done. It should be a lot of help the newbies out there.
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Old May 18, 2002, 22:55   #12
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Thumbs up NICE job withergyld!

Quote:
Originally posted by John Culver
Does any one have the serial number info for lower receiver info? it would also be VERY helpful for country of origin and inch/metric
There is already at least one thread on lower SN markings here in the FAQ. But here's a short story

Any lower marked w/ SNs begining w/ AD, UE, UF, or UB is an L1A1.

AD- Australian
AD6202075 is my 1962 Australian L1A1/SLR. First two digits (62) are year rifle was assembled.

UE- Enfield
my Enfield is UE62 A106859
UB- BSA
UF- Fazakerley
These are all British arsenals making the L1A1

South African (RSA)-
Odd-man-out of the Commonwealth. Bought FN-built R1 instead of Inch-pattern rifle, then began fabricating their own. The originals were FAL-Canada models. The RSA-built rifles were of the 50-00 Metric pattern. SN usually begins w/ "RA". RSA-built rifles have the 22mm CD (combination device) on the muzzle, and USUALLY a GL sight gas pplug.


Israeli-
Metric w/ peculiar lettering (hebrew of course) for the selector. Selector is safe in the center, up or down for fire, and can be select-fire. Some came w/ semi-auto selectors (a variant of the Type D) that allows only semi in either selected firing position. The Israeli lower SN is USUALLY on the RH side, vertical next to the aft end of the lower.

Metrics-
Several notable variants.
SRA (Safe, Repeat, Auto) used for the selector postions (in that order) even on the Belgian and contract guns. EXCEPT (and there may be other exceptions, we'll get there) the Germans and Austrians, who used SED for the selector markings. SED is Hoch Deutsche/Osstereiche for Safe, Single, and multiple shots. The translations have already been made in numerous threads. "RA" SNs are usually associated w/ the Republic of South Africa guns, a peculiar Metric because when ordered, the RSA was part of the Commonwealth, where everyone else in the Commonwealth essentially went Inch-pattern.

NOTE:
FN-built StG lowers have SNs < 20,000. The Steyr (please NOTE the spelling) Austrian-built SNs are 20001 and up.

FN supplied one-offs and production models to 90+ countries. There are many variations of a minor sort. Or, but the Stevens' book!

PS- if you have an Australian SN, I can get very particular about where it wne tfrom the factory. So can you- get the Skennerton book, like I did.
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Old May 19, 2002, 12:32   #13
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Thumbs up Printing this one out

Thanks fellers - I know know that my Stg 58 from SOG has a South African metric lower with an Imbel "non-gear logo" upper. The barrel is still a mystery, but probably Styer (or Steyr?). And, the RA lower was made by FN. Interesting. Also, from above pics, I seem to have all metric parts.

Again, Muchos Gracias!!
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Old May 20, 2002, 06:46   #14
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Old May 22, 2002, 00:21   #15
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Well that explains my mag problems , I should be using Inch mags ! *$%&% (*#*&$*

P.S. Great Faq , have to see if there is a way to make it a PDF document

P.S.S. RA is a prefix for South African FAL , usually came with L1A1 barrel style , mine id in the 3***** serial number range .

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Old June 19, 2002, 07:56   #16
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.pdf of this post

Some one wanted a .pdf of this post so I made one.
if you want a copy just e-mail me.
and I'll send it on its way.
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File Type: jpg daisycutter.jpg (44.2 KB, 6744 views)
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Old July 12, 2002, 12:29   #17
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BTT for all the new people
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Old July 13, 2002, 14:02   #18
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Note on FAL lower ID prefixes

ZA = South Africa (Zuid-Afrika)
RA = Rupublic of South Africa

_L = Canada (second character is "L")

BR = Indian (there are others)


I think it would also be interesting if someone would post why there are differences between the FN FAL and the L1A1 design, that is the fact that the L1A1 is an improved, or refined version of the original FN FAL.
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Old September 23, 2002, 14:30   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by Falophile
.....I think it would also be interesting if someone would post why there are differences between the FN FAL and the L1A1 design, that is the fact that the L1A1 is an improved, or refined version of the original FN FAL.
NOT!
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Old September 23, 2002, 14:32   #20
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Israeli rifles


(thanks to GunThings and Kevin)
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Old September 26, 2002, 21:23   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by EMDII


NOT!
HA!

Explain to me then why the unique features of the L1A1 are not improvements in reliability, accuracy, ease of use, ease of maintenance and versatility as compared to the FN Pattern FAL.

Features of the L1A1 not present on the FN designed FAL:

Six Groove Barrel
Generally considered to improve accuracy as compared to the 4-groove barrel. Many of us who own and shoot both patterns of rifle (in good condition) note that L1’s are often noticeably more accurate.

Sand Cuts in the Bolt Carrier, Bolt and the Receiver
Proven to greatly improve reliability in dirty, muddy or sandy conditions. As proven in the US Trials and other tests, this design was more reliable than the T48 FAL, the t44, the Garand, and the FN FAL.

Loosened bolt group clearance
To compliment the Sand Cuts, the L1A1 Bolt carrier clearances are greater to allow better operation in dirty conditions, similar to the Kalashnikov philosophy.

Improved Extractor and Spring
A coil-spring style extractor was developed for the L1A1 after the original BAR/FN style “hairpin” spring repeatedly failed in endurance trials. This was later adopted for all FN Pattern FAL’s and so is no longer unique to L1’s.

Folding Charging Handle
A folding charging handle makes it much more comfortable when slung on one’s backside. Also, it is less likely to get caught on things like underbrush when slung.

Top-Cover Tabs
Allows the use of a Stripper Clip top-cover for direct charging of the Magazine while attached to the rifle.

Hinged Rear Sight
Self-explanatory. Especially useful when you have a scope on the rifle

Ergonomic selector
The selector is considerably easier to manipulate than the FN pattern selector. Why else would so many people put them on the "metric" FALs??

Mag Release
The Mag release extends to both sides of the rifle and is much easier to operate for most, and can be operated from either side, left or right, left or right handed. Again, Why else would so many people put them on the "metric" FALs??

Multi-Role Trigger guard
The L1A1 trigger guard may be quickly moved into the grip to allow firing of the rifle while wearing gloves. With an FN, you're pretty much out of luck unless you have armourer's tools around.

Chromed Gas Cylinder
Lasts much longer, less likely to foul, rust and seize up.

Angle drilled gas port
Greatly simplifies cleaning, with no need to remove front sight. Also, since the port doesn't go right through the sight post hole, it doesn't seize up the front sight like an FN pattern. Some say it also has less dynamic impact on the bullet as it travels past, due to the acute angle of incidence, possibly contributing to the accuracy.

Front Sight
Fully adjustable front sight, requires only a screwdriver instead of a special sight tool and a set of 4 different sight posts like the FN does.

Gas Regulator
Simplified gas regulator sleeve has no threads to collect fouling. In fact, the design is somewhat self cleaning, as gas leakeage literally blows the fouling clean through the threadless regulator sleeve, instead of into the super fine threads of the FN design regulator.

Muzzle Device
Muzzle device has no slot in the bottom to blast dirt in your face when shooting prone. Some FN's do have this feature, notably the G1 removable muzzle device, but many "Metric" FALs don't.

Breeching Washer
Use of a breeching washer allows much simpler and more accurate breeching of the barrel to the receiver. Also there is no requirement to “shave” the shoulder, as on an FN FAL. An operation that if not done properly may yield a ruined or loose barrel.

Mag Catch
The Mag catch is a larger and sturdier. Mag is retained better and tighter in the well.

Reinforced Recoil-spring tube
The L1A1 uses a heavier cage tube and has reinforcements at the critical receiver end. This helps reduce the likely hood of a bent tube, something I have personally seen twice on an FN pattern rifle, but never on an L1.

Butt stock attachment
The L1A1 stock has two tangs which reinforce the stock attachment to the lower.

Butt Stock
The L1A1 stock is always available in different lengths, with later British varieties having easily changeable variable sized Butt Pads. This allows optimization to the individual shooter’s body. Most FN’ are “one size fits all”. Also, the L1 butt stock is much more artistically contoured to the lower receiver, yielding a more pleasing butt-shape. J

Butt Plate
Heavy duty solid aluminum butt plate doesn't get dented up like the original flimsy FN sheet metal design. The hinged compartment door is also much sturdier.

Lightening Cut
The L1A1 lightening cut on the outside of the mag well forms a "finger Grip" point. Undoubtedly originally performed to simply machining, the straight, sharp edge does assist in grasping the rifle by the receiver body, especially with slimy hands. This same feature may be seen on milled receiver Kalashnikovs.

Ok, have at it! (Just keep your eyes on them gauges while you type

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Old September 27, 2002, 19:21   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by NFADLR
As to what withergyld wrote in a post back in may I QUOTE the guy that was directly under the president in the FILM "INDEPENDENCE DAY"

"THATS NOT ENTIRELY CORRECT"

that is to the folding cocking handle only apearing in the inch pattern RIFLE the L1A1 FAL it was on the L1A1 alot more than its occurance on the Belgian / METRIC FN FAL but it was present on the 50.63 PARATROOPER FAL RIFLE and the stripper clip top cover was also avalable for the para FN FAL in limited supplies
Yes, you are of course correct. However, I never meant to imply that many of the L1A1 improvements were not later adopted by the FN factory, or other FAL factorys, as clearly many were. I suppose I should have more carefully used the word "unique". I mean to indicate that these features either were developed for, or first appeared on the L1A1 pattern FAL as improvements over the original FN pattern.

Also, I do not mean to imply that the L1A1 is a "nicer" rifle, or exhibits a higher quality of construction, fit or finish. Also I do not mean to imply that it is as a whole, necessarily a better rifle, or an easier rifle to shoot, or that it is even more fun to shoot. My intent is only to promote knowledge and discussion of the FAL, while also documenting facts (for the FAQ), of the whole FAL rifle family. With the L1A1 in particular, I personnaly feel it is toward the AK end of the spectrum. More reliable, easier to keep clean and working, but cruder looking (except for the curvy,sexy butt)and sloppier to shoot.

So, in fact, I too prefer to shoot an FN-pattern FAL, I especially like my Izzy HB. It is by far the most fun of all my FAL's to shoot. And I definately don't like the feel of that L1A1 pistol grip. It sucks!
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Old September 27, 2002, 22:21   #23
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I'm with you, though I am a bit biased seeing as I was issued with a C1A1 for the first 6 years of my service.

A note though, all of those improvements were Canadian C1 improvements , not Brit, with the exception of the sand cuts and the non-functioning HOD ( I know, not an improvement, but it is Brit. All Canadian rifles have a functioning HOD)

I don't agree with the sloppier to shoot thing. Have you shot a OEM C1A1? Nice.

I have an OEM Izzy as well and it works just fine for me, but I still prefer "inch" patterns. Though the angle of the metric PG is more comfortable.

After all is said and done though, at least we can mix and match the best of both. Not too many other service rifles have that luxury.

Gene

PS Ted, I'll find the other missing bits eventually and turn you around.
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Old October 10, 2002, 12:33   #24
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Originally posted by Falophile
HA!

Explain to me then why the unique features of the L1A1 are not improvements in reliability, accuracy, ease of use, ease of maintenance and versatility as compared to the FN Pattern FAL.


Features of the L1A1 not present on the FN designed FAL:

Six Groove Barrel
So you have documented proof under controlled circumstances that 6-grooves are better than 4? Why do major manufacturers use 4 today, still? Or perhaps the real difference (and it is) is between hammer-forging, hook-cut, or mandrel-cut rifling.


Sand Cuts in the Bolt Carrier, Bolt and the Receiver
These suited the ABC for their application, but were in-pace before MAJOR production of the Metric-pattern actually began. SO why did FN manage to sell nearly 2,000,000 METRIC FALs, MOST w/o sand-cuts? Again, The X1 & X8 trials indicated that the ABCs felt better-served w/ sand-cut systems, but that design feature is METT-T dependent. None of the 1500+ FALs we used in Saudi Arabia were sand-cut. Never saw a malfunction attributable to the LACK of sand cuts.

Loosened bolt group clearance
See above. Again, my real world experience w/ 1500 systems wouldn't seem to support your argument.

Improved Extractor and Spring
Again, developed BEFORE the FAL was fielded as the 50-00, essentially after the G1 and StG. Continuous improvement is generally true in any 'system'. Better by design, or did the Metric FAL benefit from normal fielding experiences? But I'll admit the ABC got it right first.

Folding Charging Handle
Better again? Why? A folding CH requires additional action to 'clear' a malfunction', perhaps some few precious milliseconds. Is a folder better BY DESIGN, or part of the cycle of development. And then, once you incorporate one design change for a customer, do you also incorporate the same change into your other product lines because you reduce the inventory required in a support package.

Top-Cover Tabs
Preferred. NOT better. You can change mags as fast as you can strip-load. AMHIK.

Hinged Rear Sight
Then why doesn't it fold aft, so as not to drag in the woodworks? And why are there so many succesful Metric scopes?


Ergonomic selector
Gee, I and 1500 of my closest friends kept the Metric. And the previous trainers had ALL been British w/ the L1A1. And my Israeli has the Metric, and my Metric has a Metric. And all mine are post-ban, so I am not constrained by some false sense of historical accuracy. If you train like you fight..........

Mag Release
It wasn't designed to be ambidextrous. It's utility for LH shooters is entirely an accident, a matter of chance. Yes, the ABC preferred it. But please demonstrate how it actually IMPROVES the shooter's performance.

Multi-Role Trigger guard
Quickly? You haven't actually had to do this in combat have you. It requires a screwdriver, about 2 minutes, and it exposes the trigger to ADs. Some 'better', indeed.

Chromed Gas Cylinder
Again, 1500+ of my closest friends never had a piston seize. 18 months, not ONE. And these poor guys were indigenous Arabs. Better? Actual life-cycle cost savings?

Angle drilled gas port:
Greatly simplifies cleaning, with no need to remove front sight. Also, since the port doesn't go right through the sight post hole, it doesn't seize up the front sight like an FN pattern. Some say it also has less dynamic impact on the bullet as it travels past, due to the acute angle of incidence, possibly contributing to the accuracy.

Show me. Pretend I'm from Missouri. Again, w/ proper maintenance and leadership, I never witnessed one example of 50-00 rifles having a foresight assembly seize.

Front Sight
Fully adjustable front sight, requires only a screwdriver instead of a special sight tool and a set of 4 different sight posts like the FN does.

That must be why the ABC have 11 different sight blade heights, because they're better. Yes, the L1A1 has 11 (or was it 16 or 9?)different blade heights.


Gas Regulator
Simplified gas regulator sleeve has no threads to collect fouling. In fact, the design is somewhat self cleaning, as gas leakage literally blows the fouling clean through the thread-less regulator sleeve, instead of into the super fine threads of the FN design regulator.

SHOW me this self-cleaning action. Super-fine threads? Did you measure that? See persistent references to 1500+/18 months.

Muzzle Device
Muzzle device has no slot in the bottom to blast dirt in your face when shooting prone. Some FNs do have this feature, notably the G1 removable muzzle device, but many "Metric" FALs don't.

Hmm, might have to grant you this one.
But the original FAL/Browning FH has no bottom slot. Ergo................. And the latter CD certainly has no bottom slots. Hmmm. Must be better. Note to self?

Breeching Washer
Use of a breeching washer allows much simpler and more accurate breeching of the barrel to the receiver. Also there is no requirement to “shave” the shoulder, as on an FN FAL. An operation that if not done properly may yield a ruined or loose barrel.

There never was any requirement to shave a Metric receiver. OEM FN barrels were assembled, spaced, LS'd, and sent on down the assembly line. Perhaps the problem is with US-manufacturing tolerances?


Mag Catch
The Mag catch is a larger and sturdier. Mag is retained better and tighter in the well.

Hmm. How come my Metric and Inch mag catch assemblies interchange. And changing them seems to have NO effect on magazine 'tightness'.

Reinforced Recoil-spring tube:
The L1A1 uses a heavier cage tube and has reinforcements at the critical receiver end. This helps reduce the likely hood of a bent tube, something I have personally seen twice on an FN pattern rifle, but never on an L1.

Again, 1500+ guys doing bayonet practice: never saw a bent tube.

Butt stock attachment
The L1A1 stock has two tangs which reinforce the stock attachment to the lower.

They make the wood narrower where it mates, and require additional machine-time to manufacture. Do you suppose that's why the Metric NEVER changed?


Butt Stock
The L1A1 stock is always available in different lengths, with later British varieties having easily changeable variable sized Butt Pads. This allows optimization to the individual shooter’s body. Most FN’ are “one size fits all”. Also, the L1 butt stock is much more artistically contoured to the lower receiver, yielding a more pleasing butt-shape.

Artistically: now that's better, for sure.

Butt Plate:
Heavy duty solid aluminum butt plate doesn't get dented up like the original flimsy FN sheet metal design. The hinged compartment door is also much sturdier.

Then why do the majority (nearly all have been retrofitted) of the British L1A1 have maranyl stocks, plastic buttplates, and NO storage compartment? Better?

Lightening Cut:
The L1A1 lightening cut on the outside of the mag well forms a "finger Grip" point. Undoubtedly originally performed to simply machining, the straight, sharp edge does assist in grasping the rifle by the receiver body, especially with slimy hands. This same feature may be seen on milled receiver Kalashnikovs.

You have changed the explanation to suit your behavior, NOT on the basis of improving the rifle. I don't grasp the receiver by the receiver body. The fact that it is convenient for your use is NOT a design improvement.

Ok, have at it! (Just keep your eyes on them gauges while you type


Look up Ockham's Razor.

You have designed answers to fit your paradigm of what an FAL-L1A1 'ought' to be. The ABC changes were based on trials, preferences (notably the Canadians), and "gee, the Enfield has a metal buttplate, let's make this one similar."

MOST of these are enhancements sought by a particular contractor, who had free reign once they paid licensing fees to FN. It intrigues me that FN would've sold a 'worse' product, yet so successfully, to so many other countries. After all, the Australians sold to LOTS of other countries, so the IMPROVEMENTS were there for all to see and compare.

Choices by military designers are usually just that: choices. Here are my 'preferences'
- Metric PC: rounder, fits MY hand better
- Inch Hythe backsight (flexibility)
- Israeli HG suits MY hands better
- closed bodycover. Carry magazines, ready-to-load. I can load one magazine faster than you can a stripper. This ain't IDPA. The ABC preferred the ability to top-off a magazine since the days of the SMLE. Nothing more, nothing less.
- Metric foresight: every click presents the IDENTICAL sight-picture to the shooter. Properly maintained, it NEVER caused any problems. This is NOT true for the 'improved' ABC blade.
- The ABC selector is too blcoky for MY preference. Hey, I'm LH, and have NO problem w/ a Metric selector.

I actually like the lines of the L1A1: svelte, very handsome and purposeful like a leopard. The Izzy is quite blocky and practical-looking. The Metric in the later Type C or D stocks, is also quite graceful. But all these items are preferences. When different suppliers sold nearly 3.5 MILLION rifles to customers, the customers could've clearly chosen one over the other. The fact that both patterns remained in-service says all you need to know about the fundamental designs of the original rifle.

This has been grand fun.

But Remember: preference doesn't always equal better.
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Old October 13, 2002, 00:37   #25
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Whew.... I was beginning to think you would never engage the fight You're not still mad about that FALO barrel cooling thing are you?

I agree, not all of the design changes mentioned are necessarily improvements for everyone. However, despite your personal performance analysis, I find many design features which make for me a compelling arguement that the L1A1 does clearly exhibit improved performance over original FN-pattern FALs.

I also agree that your overwhelmingly positive experience with your 1,500 buddies in the Great Arabian Desert proves the FAL is indeed an outstandingly designed and refined weapon in all of it's forms. In this well controlled test, how did the other 1,500 well trained friends with the L1's fare?
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Old October 13, 2002, 11:58   #26
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Surprisingly reliable in the hands of indigenous troops. But that's a leadership issue. I spoke to each platoon of the three Battalions we fielded, w/ an interpreter and w/o. I persistently reinforced the need for proper maintenance of the FAL. In 18 months, we had no failures of the 50-00 attributable to design issues. We had fewer than 20 or so that came back from troop-induced FUBARs. Memory is a hazy and subjective thing: the older I get, the better we were. But we had few problems, and most all were remedied by the soldier using Immediate Action Drills, and proper maintenance.

Having come from the Vietnam-era inductee system, it was pretty refreshing. Of course, Platoon Leaders also had summary corporal punishment authority. After I found a few dirty weapons, a few of the Saudis went to a bit of bread-and-water for 24 hours, in a confinement. They slept only w/ their rifle, and it had to pass inspection 3 or 4 times during the special confinement. I didn't necessarily approve of the solution, but after a few of these incidents, maintenance problems essentially droppped to zero. NCOs policed the process, and we went to the field for extended stays.
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Old November 17, 2002, 21:16   #27
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Funny how that works.......
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Old September 02, 2003, 03:21   #28
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Try this: Drop an L1A1 so the grip cracks and/or breaks and the trigger return plunger becomes misaligned with the rear of the trigger. Try to fire a mag of ammo. Now, drop an FNFAL so the grip breaks. You can take off the whole FNFAL grip and keep shooting, the FNFAL trigger return plunger is attached to the lower/trigger housing instead of in the grip.

I have seen many bent FNFAL return spring tubes while disassembling lowers. They bend at the point the tube enters the lower. The rifles would still fire.

It is interesting the L1A1 has a larger carry handle while the South Africans and New Zealanders would not allow carry handles on the rifles. And then there is the German specifying lower sights so his troops foreheads didn't get shot. How about those Indians and the push button slider fold down rear sight? Or the Indian metric front style butt with ferrule, L1A1 style buttplate and the L1A1 style grip?
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Old September 02, 2003, 05:28   #29
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Sandcuts
ONLY Australia and the UK proceeded with sandcuts as the tests proved to increase the reliability of the rifle in desert or sandy conditions. These were areas of concern for both countries eg Aden

Cocking handle
The folding cocking handle was developed to stop the FAL charging handle being bent and broken and being caught on things like vines in the jungle, something which there wasn't a lot of in Belgium! but there was in Malaya and Borneo.

Rear Sight
Folding rear sight,........ see above comments about jungle conditions

Top Cover
Top cover taps were first developed by FN and used with the stripper clip loading X8E1 and FN EX.1 Trials rifles.

"You can change mags as fast as you can strip-load. AMHIK." There are a few dead Aussys at Long Tan that would argue with you about that point. I have talked to a vet who said he wished he had the stripper clip top cover on his rifle as it's better to very quickly load 5 rounds then it is to try and load a 20 round mag and then change mags.

Mag Catch
The mag release was changed by the Canadian's to allow a larger area of contact for the thumb and was for use with the left hand ONLY.

Arctic Trigger
The Arctic trigger guard was designed by the Canadian's and was a simple way of using the rifle while warring gloves not involving another item to carry and loose like the winter trigger for the M1 Garand. The conversion was simple and only required the use of the combo tool from the cleaning kit. You would not have to suddenly convert the rifle in combat, you would of changed it prior to combat when the weather determined the conditions. Yes the chances of a UD (Unauthorised Discharge) are higher but with properly trained troops it was considered an acceptable risk

Gas Cylinder
Gas cylinders on the L1A1's aren't chromed..... so the point is null-n-void

Angle drilled gas port
Gas will hit the underside of the foresight as the hole for it goes all the way through the gas block, The 5 dig angle was done to ensure the gases acted directly on the head of the piston rather then taking a 90 turn first.

Front Sight
Ted there aren't 11 different height foresights. There is one type of foresight for the AU, UK & CDN L1A1/C1 rifles. This is an 'urban' legend about the 11 different height foresights.... there night be 11 prototypes from the early days when they were trailing..... there is only the one standard foresight and 3 versions of Trilux foresights.

Muzzle Device
The 2nd pattern British flash eliminator has 2 slots facing downwards at the 4 and 8 O'clock positions which dose kick up a lot of dust..... this change was done to strengthen the original pattern.

Breeching Washer
Does allow breeching to be simplified and also allows any barrel to be used by the selection of another washer to allow the correct fit.... something that can't be done with metric factory barrels, if it won't 'clock' right you would have to try another barrel.

Butt stock attachment
The simple reason the TYPE 'C' Butt stock was made by FN (has the furrel) was to stop the problem of the butt splitting from the recoil force applied by the Trigger Mechanism Housing. The problem was corrected on Inch butts but cutting relief cuts on the man contact surfaces.

Butt Plate
The UK's position was that their troops would not carry and cleaning gear in the butt stock, this was still a requirement of Aust and CDN, so wooden butts were still made with the hole and butt trap. This is why there are trap-less butt plates around, these were made only by the UK.

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Old September 02, 2003, 11:05   #30
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Kevin,

Why did they move the trig return plunger? Is it correct NZ did not have carry handles? Did New Zealand change any other features?

Brad
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Old September 02, 2003, 16:21   #31
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I'm not sure why the pistol grip trigger return was changed to what is now standard on the 'inch' rifles. But you can be assured it would of been altered due to exhaustive "tests and trials". One thing that dose come to mind is the fact you can't make the 'Arctic trigger' with a metric type pistol grip hence the redesign of the pistol grip..... blame the Canadian's

It was a NZ Army policy change in the early 80's that stated all carrying handles were to be removed and sent back to the supply depot and the space left was to be filled using a neoprene washer from local trade supplies.

There has to be a big bag of carrying handles out there somewhere

Wood handles were turned into file handles or burned along with the wood handguards when they were replace in bulk by the laminated type, this was done in the 70's.
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Old September 02, 2003, 16:51   #32
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Ahhh, yes, that typical human policy of wasting and burning stuff back in the '70s......
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