Infantry: October 25, 2000

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: The famous FN FAL rifle was one of the most commonly-used in the West, having been adopted by 90 countries. Its 7.62x51mm cartridge (the NATO standard round also known as .308 Winchester) has long since passed out of favor, and the FN FAL has passed out of production for military use. But the civilian US gun market is strong, and many of its most passionate members have contempt for the 5.56mm and other "assault rifle" cartridges. This fact was discovered by DSA, an Illinois company that marketed various high-end semi-auto rifles. They found that leftover Belgian FALs were their best sellers, and began buying up FAL spare parts in 1991 from Brazil, Israel, and Austria to assemble into new weapons, making whatever components they could not buy. They later bought plans and machinery from the Austrian company that made FALs under license, and began producing their own FALs outright. Their newest offer, the SA58, is arguably the best FAL ever made. Technology has advanced, and many of the components made by DSA are better than the originals, being made of new steel or aluminum alloys and treated with new technologies. They offer two versions of the FAL: The SA58 Carbine costs $1495. It has a 16.25-inch barrel and is 38.25 inches overall. The barrel has an twist of once every 11 inches. It weighs 8.25 pounds empty. The SA58 Medium Contour has a 21-inch barrel with an overall length of 43 inches. It weighs 9.75 pounds empty. It has a "bull" barrel which is thicker until it passes the handguards, then steps down to standard diameter. The "bull" barrel has a twist of one in ten inches to handle the heavier bullets used in match-grade cartridges. Both versions are available with and without the cuts in the receiver to accept a carrying handle. Some elite shooters are convinced that the cuts make the receiver more flexible and reduce accuracy by some tiny fraction. The receivers have the best heat-treating of any aftermarket FAL receivers available anywhere. The receivers are machined from 19-pound blocks of 4140 steel, which is superior to the 1060 steel used in many FALs but harder to work. The weapons are finished in black oxide on the steel parts, black anodizing on the aluminum parts, and have black synthetic foregrips, pistol grips, and stocks (with a black rubber pad).--Stephen V Cole

 


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