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So Billabong will go to the National Match...

paolo.orange

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Here I am starting the diary of my Austalian Fal (Billabong) that will compete this year at our Italian Military Rifle Championship at 300 meters.
FalFiles forum has been such a good source of information for me and I thought it would be time for me to share what I'm doing with you.
Like everybody, I do not have a lot of time , but I'll try to post all my modifications, reloads, tricks, mistakes, successes and losses on a regular basis .

This is Billabong and me.


Paolo_Orange
Milano -Italy
 
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SteelonSteel

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I'd be smiling if I had a perfect Australian SLR like that too!

Good luck on the match and do post how you made out when you get the chance!

ciao!
 

paolo.orange

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Uh wow, I didn't expect such a warm welcome! :bow:

OK then, the mission is shooting in the our Championship, group 3 that means semiautos used by any army of the world from 1955 to 1970. Competitors will be Garands, M14,STGW 75, STG 58, FN Safn....in original configuration.
Trigger job and an improved front sight are allowed.
We shoot 23 rounds (3 spotters) individually scored at 300m. The position is prone with bipod or sand bag. Sling in not allowed.
The target has the aiming black 60 cm in diameter, the 10 ring is 10 cm.

Last year at the end of the season Billabong scored 5th, but I had no time to develop its full potential (I won group 5 with an AR :cool:). but this year I'll try my best.

Next time I'll tell you about the iron sights and how I plan to make them work better.

:sleep:
 
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one hand clapping

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No offense ,but thats an SLR good sir.

Paolo O, Very nice rifle. My "go to" is a 63' SLR with origional wood,and a eotec 552 sight.

good luck in your competition, and we look forward to hearing what you do to "improve the irons", as I have a competition this spring and can use all the help I can get.

Namaste'
OHC
 

BC

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Billabong sounds like a good name for the Aussie. It's catchy.

It just gave me this idea. I've got a Century L1A1. I'll call it Badabing.
 

paolo.orange

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“The front sight is your best friend” – Anonymous.
This is the greatest truth that every shooter of iron sight should always keep in mind. A front sight that fits your eye, delivers the proper sight picture and is mechanically fine tuned for your rifle is a huge asset.

Just two facts learned (the hard way) during last years' competitions :

1) The FS of the FAL is the premier device to accurately control the elevation. Yes, sure, the notches at the rear sight are supposed to do that job but definitely they are not the best tool if you only want to adjust your point of impact from the 8 ring to the X. Compensating with a different hold never works for me. I need a reliable mechanical adjustment and keep my sight picture consistent.

2) Having said that, you don't want any adjustment in elevation to interfere with windage. And this is VERY much the case with my FAL.

The standard front sight of my Aussie is basically a blade and this is its first limitation: you can turn it only by 180° increments and this is way too much. Considering a sight length of about 55 cm and a FS pitch of 40 TPI, every half turn of the FS is a shift of 17 cm @ 300 meter. Not so good to address problem #1.



Problem #2 happens because the FS is made to be interchangeable (by means of extra play) and it never fits the front sight base tightly. This means that while you are adjusting for elevation it will tilt left or right, jeopardizing windage. Also, the more the FS protrudes out of its base the more this cross effect becomes evident.

So the best investment is building a dedicated FS. I made mine threading the stem of a steel screw. I kept the slot of the die as open as I could so that the external diameter of the thread is much bigger then normal. This is not really a good workshop practice but it will greatly reduce the FS tilt when installed.

Then I machined a cylindrical post so that I can fine tune it. I find that increments of 1/8 of turn (about ½ MOA) work pretty well for me. The little FAL tool is very handy here.



If your eye likes the squared post better then go for that if you can tolerate a little bit of less freedom in elevation adjustment (1 MOA).

“Flanged” front sights are less prone to problems like the above and can be fine tuned by “clicks”. Nevertheless always check they fit the front sight base very tightly. If needed ask a friend with a lathe to machine a custom sight for you, with oversized thread. It’s very easy.

Sorry for my English, it really sucks.
 
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SteelonSteel

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How about a custom front sight that instead of a long flat with 2 positions, make a square front sight like the AR15? That will double your adjustments. I would also add the extra grooves for the front sight set screw.

Not sure if you match rules allow that but that's my first thought to gain finer adjustment on the front sight.

You're English may not be the same as a native speaker but you're getting along just fine. Don't worry about it. PS. You're doing much much better than I would be if I attempted more Italian. (anything beyond food words and I'd be lost :wink:)
 

paolo.orange

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+1 for Steel.
As I said before you might need to trade a little bit of adjustment resolution (1 MOA vs. 1/2 MOA) for a much sharper square post. Funny enough I prefer a square post on my AR but the round post on the FAL.
Let your eye and the X count decide what works better.

I forgot an important thing.
After zeroing the sight at match distance (of course take note of its original position) remove it and drop a small spring of proper length into the hole.
You want that spring to push the sight upward when back at the original zeroed position. This spring will eliminate the axial play of the thread making the adjustment much more consistent.
This is the front sight dent spring of an AR. Costs nothing and works well.
 
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enbloc8

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+1 for the custom front sight idea, also for the tensioning spring. And kudos for the "UP" notation on the front sight base...under pressure, it's easy to get confused or forget what one's doing. (How much ammo did I waste last summer before I realized I was moving the rear sight the wrong way...:rolleyes:)

What kind of accuracy have you been able to get out of ol' Billabong so far?
 

paolo.orange

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Do they supply the ammo, or do the contestants bring their own?

BEAUTIFUL SLR there! Did you refinish the wood?
No, ammo is free. We all reload.
Yes a lot of cleaning and a lot of linseed oil and time, time and time again :)

And kudos for the "UP" notation on the front sight base...under pressure, it's easy to get confused or forget what one's doing.
So glad I'm not alone!!

What kind of accuracy have you been able to get out of ol' Billabong so far?
This is my best target so far at 300 meter. X ring is 5 cm, 10 ring is 10 cm, 9 is 20 cm and so on. As I said I didn't have the time to really develop its potential.



This is worth 182/200 points good but not really enough if you really want to compete.

This is my best score during a competition with my Made in Italy AR, 195/200. Same target as above.



I would say that a competitive FAL should routinely shoot 185/200. That's my goal.
 
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Andy the Aussie

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Don't forget to tighten the body to TMH fit and if you can find a hythe rear sight it will help greatly. If it remains get rid of the screw and nylon washer that fills the centre of the recoil spring tube (at the very back). Make sure you have minimised the movement in the FH as well (there was a thread on that here recently). Do you or are you required to use a sling ? Any rules on the attachment of it (there were here) ?

Andy
 

SteelonSteel

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I see you added photos of your front sight. That's what I was thinking except round. That should work real nice.

When I first got my L1A1/SLR I found out I was missing the set screw when my blade started turning a bit and messing my group until I noticed an odd shadow there. :eek: Now I keep an extra set screw!


Your AR group is pretty impressive for 300m. I too have the .308 group wider but I use a M14. I haven't shot the L1A1/SLR that far yet. 200 yards is as far as I've used her. My club shoots are 100 yds and 200 yds.
 

paolo.orange

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Don't forget to tighten the body to TMH fit and if you can find a hythe rear sight it will help greatly. If it remains get rid of the screw and nylon washer that fills the centre of the recoil spring tube (at the very back). Make sure you have minimised the movement in the FH as well (there was a thread on that here recently). Do you or are you required to use a sling ? Any rules on the attachment of it (there were here) ?

Andy
The rule says that rear sight can't be modified. It's meant to keep shooters from installing Anschütz type sights even if some "minor" modifications to the basic design are allowed. I'll come back to this and to the receivers fit soon.

Please tell us more about the nylon washer.
 
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enbloc8

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The Hythe rear sight is a legitimate issue sight. Lots of SLR shooters used it in service rifle shooting.

I think the advantages it provides are that 1.) the regular aperture is smaller than the standard rear sight, and 2.) when the regular aperture is used, the low-light aperture leaf (also up, behind the regular aperture leaf) acts like a sun shade, sort of like an American National Match sight.
 

paolo.orange

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Before moving to the set up of the rear sight, there is one last important feature of the FS that needs to be clarified especially shooter that approaches the competition for the very first time.

No matter if you like more the round post or the square post or even the 180° blade, but eventually you need to decide its relative width compared to the aiming black.

For a 6 o'clock hold - the only one that really makes sense in competition- you have three options: Small, Regular, Large. :smile:



My personal preference, as most of the shooters, is for the Regular or maybe something between Medium and Large. I know very few shooters that go with Small, but there is no rule. Pick the width you control better and that makes your eyes happier.

Stay tuned.
 

19&41

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One thing that hadn't been mentioned yet, does your competition allow for the for the blacking or sooting of the sights to reduce glare and sharpen the sight picture? I have found this to be a benefit when shooting long range with open sights.
 
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