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View Full Version : Anyone Else Have a Problem Plagued DS Arms FAL?



Liberty or Death
09-30-2003, 01:20 AM
I have several FALs . And while my SAR-48--which is kept out of state because the wretched state of CA is a quasi-Marxist collectivist pit :mad: -- performs reliably, a post-ban DS Arms SA-58 which I've owned for about three and a half years has shown itslef to have spotty reliability, at best. I began training with it regularly about two years ago. I dry practice with it regularly. It has accompanied me to over a half a dozen shooting courses and to date I 've been plagued with the following:

*On day two of a four day class, my extractor broke. After an hour of struggling with the damned spring loaded plunger, I finally got the thing back in operation only to have the bolt break later during a firing string. :eek:

*During live fire drills some months back I began to experience extraction problems with fired cases getting stuck in the chamber. Repeated attempts to extract by racking the bolt was futile and I had to stick a cleaning rod down the muzzle and push the case out.

*The problems continued during two recent courses in L.A. On the first day of the second course, another extractor broke and rather than trying to replace the extractor, I just replaced the entire bolt. And while I continued to experience some extraction problems, I was able to extract the stuck cases by racking the slide. [I suspect that the extensive use of A-Zoom snap caps for dry practice may have worn and "filed" down the extractors to the point where they were unable to get a positive grip on the case rims. I have since stopped using snap caps for dry practice.]

*The extended safety selector I ordered from DS Arms snapped after extensive use. I replaced it with the original selector switch. [While the original is shorter and harder to manipulate, it is RELIABLE. Also, with the exception of the administrative environment of a class where a square range mentality holds sway, I don't find the difficult to reach safety selector to be much of a hindrance. When the rifle comes off the sling I automatically disengage the safety. In fact , the safety is disenegaged if I even have an inkling that I may have to shoot. I only re-engage when I'm about to sling up again. Oddly enough, the extended safety selector has a habit of being pushed off safe when slung. The very times you need the weapon to remain on mechanical safe :eek: . BTW, I do not find my sparing use of the safety selector to be unsafe as some would have you believe. After extensive training, you will realize that there are three levels to safe handling of firearms:1)your mind 2) an educated trigger finger which stays off the trigger and on "index" until ready to fire and 3) the mechanical safety.]

I believe the source of my extraction problems may be caused by the use of old, military 7.62 NATO ammo. I do not recall having all these problems with brand new .308 rounds. I will test this out extensively and let y'all know.

And while at this point, I would be damned reluctant to use the DSA in a firefight, I think it works well enough for a trainer. All those damned stoppages gives me plenty of opportunities to practice both Immmediate Action Drills and Sidearm Transition Drills........................

Any opinions or observations? Any other experiences out there with the DS Arms FALs. Pro or Con?

Gabriel Suarez
09-30-2003, 05:51 AM
Liberty,

I don't have a DS, but do have an STG58 buit on a US made receiver (with all the required parts and whistles). I was experiencing some malfunctions and took it to a local AZ gunsmith experienced with FALS. He said that the chamber on some barrells is cut very tight and that this sometimes causes problems with ammo which was not intended for the barrel (say Belgian 308 in a Steyr barrel),

The chamber MAY be one of the issues. DS is a big company and the last thing they want is for one of their customers to be upset with them. News travels fast in this world. My suggestion is to talk to them and make them make it right. A new rifle will be much less costly for them than whispers about poor quality.

Liberty or Death
09-30-2003, 06:25 AM
Liberty,

I don't have a DS, but do have an STG58 buit on a US made receiver (with all the required parts and whistles). I was experiencing some malfunctions and took it to a local AZ gunsmith experienced with FALS. He said that the chamber on some barrells is cut very tight and that this sometimes causes problems with ammo which was not intended for the barrel (say Belgian 308 in a Steyr barrel),

What did he do to solve the malf problems?

The next time I shoot some live fire drills I intend to fire some brand new, factory loaded .308 and see how it works out.





The chamber MAY be one of the issues. DS is a big company and the last thing they want is for one of their customers to be upset with them. News travels fast in this world. My suggestion is to talk to them and make them make it right. A new rifle will be much less costly for them than whispers about poor quality.

I have contacted them and they have told me to send in the rifle and let them give it a once over. I intend to do so _after_ I have the time and money to swap out the cast parts in my M1A and replace them with USGI parts so that I will not be without a rifle that I can routinely train with. [After all, such hard earned skills are too perishable for me to be sitting idle while the techies at DSA tinker with my FAL].

Thanks for your feedback, Gabe

Matt
10-04-2003, 04:20 PM
"my extractor broke."

I'm not sure which kind of extractor the SA models use, but if it happened to be the old one-piece that was used a lot on the G1's they are known for breaking - in fact, FN re-designed that part shortly after and replaced them with a two piece.

"only to have the bolt break"


I've never heard of a bolt breaking :eek: That's an awfully big chunk of steel to break - can you provide details?

"extraction problems with fired cases getting stuck in the chamber"

This sounds a lot like a gas problem - if you didn't already have experience with FAL's my first guess would be the gas is set too low for the ammo you're using. After it starts locking the BHO on an empty mag, close it an additional two clicks for reliability. If you know your gas setting is good - you may check for gas leaks (carbon build up around joint areas), or maybe some extra friction somewhere in the bolt/carrier travel path.

"another extractor broke"

Same type as before? Any idea who made them? I've heard some complaints about poor metallurgy in the Imbel kits that were imported in the last year or two - strange parts breaking when they shouldn't. DSA usually uses STG (Austrian) or G1 (Belgian/German) kits though, so I'd be surprised if that were the case here. You may be on to something with the snap caps, but I'm not familiar with that brand to know what the head and rim are made of. I dry fire my FAL's a LOT (empty), and the only extractor problem I've ever had was with the 1-piece.

On a side note (and you probably already know this, so forgive me), swapping bolts MAY affect your headspace, so be sure to double-check if you do this regularly.

"The extended safety selector I ordered from DS Arms snapped"

I use the "inch" model selector on my metrics - it's easy to reach and and easy modification to make, but I shoot a lot of places that require frequent safety manipulation. If you've got it figured out - don't worry about it.

"...extraction problems may be caused by the use of old, military 7.62 NATO ammo"

Most likely the culprit - on a SA model I believe they use their US made barrels, which have had many reports of tight (or rough) chambers. You'll probably have no trouble shooting commercial .308, but personally I prefer my FAL to be able to eat any and all kinds of ammo without a hitch. If you want to shoot milsurp, you'll either have to polish the chamber (may help, may not), have someone re-cut the chamber to military specs (probably expensive), or replace the barrel with a mil-spec barrel. I just put a new and unfired Imbel chrome-lined barrel on my carbine that I've been really happy with - they're not that expensive, and while some Imbel metallurgy has been called into question, the barrels seem to be top shelf.

"Any opinions or observations?"

Well.....you asked :D Sorry for the long reply - FAL's are a love of mine. Trouble-shooting and making the rifle reliable should be no problem, and something I'd almost expect when building a rifle from a kit or buying a Century cheap-o. Seeing as how you paid top dollar for a name brand gun, though - it SHOULD work perfectly out of the box, so I'd be tempted to send it to them and let them fix what shouldn't have been wrong in the first place (not bashing them - I hear they're great on customer service).

On the other hand, if you want to fix it yourself and have it never leave your hands (and gain an intimate familiarity with it), I'd be happy to go into more detail and do what I can to help trouble-shoot it.

Liberty or Death
10-04-2003, 10:47 PM
Matt,

Thanks for the point-by-point reply.

To answer your questions in "order":

*All of the extractors that have broken _are_ the one-piece and all were bought from DS Arms.

*The bolt broke during a firing string. The location of the damage was on the lower lip of the bolt where it houses the extractor/extractor spring plunger.

*I believe the gas setting is not the problem as the BHO never fails to engage. Also, the gas tube on my DSA is one of the "improved" gas systems which has a 4" open space between the front sight assembly end and the receiver end. BTW, how does one go about changing the setting on an adjustment sleeve that has been fouled by carbon buildup? I'm looking for my adjustment wrench as the sleeve has been rendered immovable--using the cartridge tip method-- by several thousand rounds' worth of buildup.

*The extractor broke exactly the same both times. Right at the lip.

*The A-Zoom snap caps are made of metal with a glossy metallic coat of paint. With extensive use, the paint wears off and the headstamp starts to get rough and abrasive. When sufficiently worn, I suspect it starts to grind at both the extractor and bolt face.

*And ,yes, I always check the head space upon swapping bolts. Actually, being the paraniod type, I've checked the head space for *every* spare bolt I own.

*I agree that any Battle Rifle worthy of the label should be able to function with any military surplus fodder that it is fed. I will try using some commercial .308 ammo when I go out for some more live fire drills in the field later this month and let you know how it functions.

At this point, I haven't come to any final decisions regarding the FAL yet. I'm halfway tempted to send the gun in to Arizona Response Systems and have them replace my 16.2" bbbl with another one that has a longer sight radius---something I would have done, anway, after I shot out the present barrel-- and get a trigger job done on it.

I will know better after some more testing but if I decide to work on it myself, I will *definitely* take you up on your generous offer.

And thanks again for the detailed reply.

Matt
10-05-2003, 07:00 AM
Sound like you've got it under control - keep us updated on how it goes.

You can never go wrong with AZ Response Systems - Gunplumber (as he's called) has more experience building FAL's than most other 'smiths combined. He can be "short" at times, but he'll definitely do you right with your FAL.

Keep hunting for that gas nut wrench to solve your other problem - once you get it broken free I'd back it all the way off and clean that area pretty good, then just wipe it down when you clean the gun (don't need to disassemble it every time, just when you do major maintenance). Some are harder to adjust than others - I can do most of mine with my fingers alone. You may try bending the retaining spring (the wire that goes from each side of the gas block in and under the gas nut - provides the "clicks" when you turn it) down some to lower the effort required to turn it. It probably wouldn't hurt to put a VERY little anti-seize on the gas nut threads while you're in there.......

Good luck!

Matt