Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Battle Rifle Fever: Sighting in the FN FAL

I think I'm sold on this rifle.  I was so distracted that I didn't even center the picture well

Obviously, I like my firearms.  Probably more than half my posts are about them or the Second Amendment.  I jump on the chance to handle and shoot new firearms.  I had the opportunity to troubleshoot a FN FAL recently.  I think I may have gotten the 308 battle rifle bug from the experience.

The complaint about the rifle was that it did not shoot accurately.  I had zero experience with FALs, but I do know how to zero a rifle.  So I got to work.  The first thing I checked was the aftermarket DSA Arms Extreme Duty Scope Mount.  DSA seems to offer several variances on this mount, but they all mount basically the same way.  I checked to ensure that the screws had not come loose.  Nope, that checked out just fine.

I used my Weaver Modular Leveling System to ensure that the scope was level to the receiver.  

As you can see, the level on the scope is off slightly while the level on the receiver indicates the firearm is level with the ground.

Lo and behold, it was off a bit.  I found the left side of the scope rings fasteners were loose as well.  

Both are between the lines.  Now we're in business.

I leveled it all out and tightened it back down.  I will probably consider thread locker at some point, but for preliminary evaluation hand tightening and keeping an eye on it will have to do.

I was all set to go out to the range.  I loaded up the truck and drove the 40 minutes it takes to get to Pigeon Hill Shooting Range near Saint Joe, MO.  I groaned in frustration as I pulled up.  Of course, everyone had taken the shooter benches on the 25 yard range.  I'd have to either prone out (which I found out was not going to work out well) or stand and do my best to brace against the raised shooters rest sans seats.  I took one shot to see where it landed and make sure it wasn't completely off the human silhouette.  I then took another three shots to get a grouping.  

My first "grouping" in the 8 ring at 25 yards.  Terrible on my part, but at least I knew it was high.

My first grouping was pretty terrible due to a combination of unsteadiness in my shooting position and user error.  The FAL naturally has more recoil than my 5.56 carbines.  It took me some getting used to.

I dialed down the elevation assuming that each click on the Bushnell Elite 4200 4-16x was a quarter MOA.  I slowly inched the groupings down to the point of aim on the bull.  

First two shots were an inch to the right of the bull.  The last 3 shots were directly above in a string that angled to the left.  Definitely some user error involved.

After 40 rounds, I was satisfied enough that it was roughly zeroed.  However, I was running out of time before I had to return home.  I went ahead and packed up for the day.  I will be zeroing out to 50 yards for it's final zero and, hopefully, will be able to do so from a much more steady position.  It's my understanding that I should expect about 2-3 MOA from this rifle.  I'll be happy if I can produce 3 MOA, but I know I need more practice with this rifle.  It would help to have a recoil pad on the butt!

I really liked the way this rifle shot.  The fact that it was in 308 was a big plus.  It's definately a different feeling from shooting a AR-15.  I can see why the FAL has a following.  I may have to start considering picking this up.  The M1A is in the same class, but I haven't researched it well enough yet.  The SCAR 17 would be a dream gun, but I can't justify the price.  Things for me to ponder.  Till next time.


  1. You too, huh?
    I'd love to shoot a FAL. Or M1A/SCAR-17?etc. so forth and so on.

    But I did get a chance to shoot two very nice rifles a while back- a .308 Larue PredatAR and a KAC SR25. There was a Leupold CQBSS in the mix as well.
    Good Lord.... I was totally sold. The SR especially shot real nice, but I was surprised at the Larue because being the lightweight version, it really didn't have near as much recoil as I expected.
    Actually, neither did the M1 Garand that I had the chance to shoot, but that's another story.
    I spent about the next four months drooling over AR-pattern .308s (don't even get me started on the precision bolt gun trip I went on dthe same time.... lol ).
    Unfortunately I'm to broke to feed the thing, let alone afford one, so it'll probably never happen. But if you know someone who wants to give away an LMT MWS or SR-25 .... I'm always interested. lol

    On a side note, the consensus I reached from research is that if you want a multipurpose rifle that can go from DMR to battle rifle mode on the fly, one of the higher-end AR pattern guns is where it's at.
    If you just want a .308 battle rifle, and aren't to worried about the precision aspect of it, the M1A seems to be the best bang for the buck, if you can put up with the quirks- it's been a while since I checked but retail on those used to be around the price of a nice AR, versus $2-3K for an AR-.308.
    But, YMMV.

    1. I got to shoot a Garand for the first time a few weeks ago. Now I really, really want to find one. The historical significance alone just makes it awesome to hold one.

      That's good to know about the DMR/battle rifle sweet spot. I'll keep it in mind when I get serious. Right now, it's really just more of a pipe dream.

    2. If I had spare money I'd invest in a Garand too. I like that rifle a lot more than I thought I would.
      But yeah- the M1, 7.62 AR, AI or GAP precision rifle I wanted a while back... all pipe dreams. Guess I'm stuck with the measly ol' 5.56.... lol