Thursday, September 01, 2011

Ah, the plans of mice and men...and FALs

I was going to take my FAL out to the range today and re-zero it with the new front sight I'd installed. The rifle'd been back in the safe for quite a while until I finally got around to ordering a proper "1" sight post from DS Arms for which I had to pay $25.00 plus shipping.

Thanks a lot, DSA. Next time, how about you at least buy me dinner first?

Anyway, I installed the post and went to break the rifle open for a bit of pre-shooting lube, but the damned thing wouldn't open--it was frozen tight. Even the bit of ball-peen coercion that I tried wasn't enough to get the catch holding the receiver halves to part, so I wound up having to take the stock off and go at the catch that way.

You ever take a FAL buttstock off before? I really don't care to do it even though I well know how these days just because of the mess involved with that oily spring and the trauma associated with my first attempt at removing a FAL stock many years ago when I was much less experienced in the mechanics of such firearms. That time, I'd taken the butt pad off and discovered the large screw head beneath it. Curious as to what behind it, I naively unscrewed it, expecting to find something neat like a cleaning kit. What I got instead was that screw head smack in the face with all of the force that the compressed springs coiled beneath it could launch it with. (Once again, thank God for safety glasses...) And re-installing it was another adventure indeed until I discovered the trick of using a cleaning rod as a guide to re-compress the springs back into the tube. These days, I know how to take that thing off without losing an eye, but I still don't care to do it unless I have to.

This time it was necessary, though. I took the stock off to get at the catch behind it, applied some CLP, gave it a few minutes, and then rapped it a few times with a hammer and punch and it promptly resumed normal operation. I quickly lubed it and re-assembled it, but alas, all the time spent messing with it pretty much closed out the possibility of my getting it to the range this evening. So stand by, because barring unforseen circumstances, it's going out tomorrow. I do love the FAL in general and this rifle in particular because of it's unique history with me, but it sure can be cantankerous sometimes. But because I'm fond of this particular rifle, I put up with it instead of just tossing it up on Gunbroker.


  1. Nothing like "do it yourself" gunsmithing. I have had corrosive ammo make guns hard to get apart. One time I took a block of wood to smack a AK open.

  2. Nothing like having a combat-ready assault rifle, I always say.

    Back when I was young and stupid it did my post-range cleaning with Hoppe's #9 and then a squirt or two of know how it makes everything nice and slippery?

    Wrong answer, dumb kid. WD-40 is the surest gummer-upper of gunworks you can find. Learned that when after a summer in the safe I took the Winchester 101 out to the skeet range and couldn't break it open.

    Never repeated those youthful indiscretions since.

  3. I did the same WD-40 trick with one of my shotguns once, Ed. It gummed up the shell stop and when I'd cycle the action, the shells would not come out of the magazine tube reliably. Cost me big in a Sporting Clays match.

    But this FAL is a long ways from being combat ready due to a couple of reliability issues that I just can't seem to fix. Fortunately it's also nowhere near the top of the grab list when things get bad. I have an M-1A and several AR's ahead of it in line. Still, this one needs to be made to work if I'm going to keep it.

  4. Are you SURE you didn't name that one Christine???