Building an FN FAL, from Bandit's World of Firearms

This information is copied from http://web.archive.org/web/20050208001404/www.wecsog.org/fal/carbine/

since the original information is no longer available.

 The goal and inspiration of Bandit's project.

I spent a little time testing the Duplicolor 1200º paint (Left Pic) "bake-on" finish method that I've seen quite a few WECSOGers utilize. I tested this method on the 20rd mag I got with the kit to see how it will look and to fine tune the parts cleaning and preparation steps to ensure good results can be achieved. As you can see in the "Before and After" pic, the mag came out looking pretty good. I'll be preparing the rest of my parts to receive this method of bake-on finish.

 First off, I took the various parts that I plan to refinish outside to clean with Simple Green and a green scour pad (Left Pic). After a thorough scrubbing, I then wiped down all the parts with Acetone (Right Pic) to remove any remaining dirt, oil or grease. I did this to further eliminate any remaining debris or contaminants so they won't get imbeded into the existing paint finish Imbels appear to have during the next steps.

 Next, I took 220 grit sand paper and sanded down the lower receiver since it had quite a few scratches and parts of the original finish had flaked off in a couple areas.(Left Pic). At this point and time I was thinking that a blast cabinet sure would make this process a lot faster and easier, but I pressed on. =) For the small parts, I used a dremel tool with a wire wheel atachment to get into the nooks and crannies. (Right Pic) Running out of daylight, I coated the parts down with CLP so that no rust will start to form.

 Wiley I got off work early on Friday, so I went straight to work on the "Texas Jungle" Carbine soon after I got home. First, I took Simple Green to clean the oil left by CLP off the parts and proceeded to hang them one by one with mechanics wire on the clothes line in the back yard. I also applied masking tape to the areas on parts I didn't want paint to get to (gas plug plunger and various threaded areas). When I had all the parts hung on the line, I took a rag with acetone and wiped them down to remove any oils my hands may have left. I then sprayed them with Duplicolor paint in light coats, keeping the can 8-10 inches from the part (Left Pic). After 3 or 4 coats they looked completely covered and uniform, so I left them hanging to dry for 20-30 minutes (Right Pic).

 After air drying for 20-30 minutes, I took the parts down from the clothesline with the hangers still in place, then hung them in the oven. I had to resist the urge to don my wifes frilly kitchen apron for a photo-op and your enjoyment, but I felt that might not be prudent lest I get it dirty from gun parts. Anyways, I took off the masking tape some parts had on them lest I start a fire in the oven, then set the oven temp to 400º F. I grabbed some snacks from the kitchen cabinet and a soda from the fridge and went to plop down in front of the "boob tube" and computer while the parts baked for 2 hours. The pic below is how the parts turned out!! =)

 I'm real pleased how the parts came out, but only time will tell how durable this method of finish will be. Parts preparation would be easier with a blasting cabinet, but an enterprising WECSOG student can get by with a little forethought and attention to detail. As of July 3rd, all the parts and tools needed to complete the project have been placed on order.

 I shipped the barrel for the "Texas Jungle" carbine off to Tulsa, Oklahoma on the 2nd of July for a chop, thread and crown job. The cut-off portion still has the original muzzle device attached. I requested Jim send that portion back to me so I can take my frustrations out on it for not coming off before it was shipped to them for this service. A lack of $$$ to purchase the tools to do it properly may keep me from tackling the cut, thread and crown tasks, but I refuse to let a decade or two of caked on grease and/or corrosion from removing a pesky muzzle thingy. The ONLY reason it wasn't removed beforehand, was because I was afraid of damaging the barrel or gasblock.

Threads are sharp and even, enabling the muzzle device to screw onto the barrel effortlessly and index pretty damn close to the end of it's threads. I'm TOTALLY satisfied with the workmanship and attention to detail. Total turnaround time (including shipping to and fro) was 10 days!!! Talk about first rate service, PCS Inc. has got it!! I HIGHLY recommend them. Thanks Jim!!

 Pic above is of 20 dummy rounds that I received on the 26th of June from a fellow FAL Filer... Pa. Patriot constructed these using Portugese and South African surplus brass w/spent primers that were resized and loaded (sans powder) to 7.62 spec using pulled surplus M80 147gr FMJ bullets followed by a heavy Lee factory crimp. All Pa. Patriot wanted for his time, effort and components was the cost of shipping!! I'll be marking these with a permanent marker (Sharpie) so that these rounds won't be mistaken as "live" rounds. I can't thank you enough Rich!!!

 My Imbel "Gear Logo" upper receiver arrived at my FFL dealer from The Dealer Warehouse on the 8th of July. They have no website at this time, but do advertise in the thrice-monthly published Shotgun News. They are located at 4813 Enterprise Way Unit K. - Modesto, California 95356 - Phone: (209)545-2800 - Fax: (209)545-2528. As promised, the pics above were taken soon after it was picked up and in my greedy hands. =) Only minor touchup in photoshop was done to the serial# area to hide it's identity.

 A few of the parts and tools that were ordered for the "Texas Jungle" Carbine project on the 2nd of July, started trickling in on the 6th and 9th of July. Starting from top left going clockwise: A FN/FAL upper receiver wrench from HellsEngineer and Clymer go/no-go gages - Fusion silver solder paste from Brownells (Top Right) arrived on the 6th. A used (looks new) Steyr buttstock w/buttpad - Steyr combo wrench - extractor tool and broken shell extractor (bottom) from DSA arrived on the 9th.

 Most of the remaining parts (Except for the "Para Type" rear sight) for the "Texas Jungle" Carbine project came in on the 12th of July. Above is a pic of the 7 US parts that will be used to comply with the applicable laws governing semi-auto conversions of imported select fire parts kits. First Son Enterprise's (FSE) hammer/trigger/sear, gas piston and folding cocking handle were acquired from Moses, taking advantage of his recent "group buy" deal. The final two parts (muzzle device and pistol grip) were acquired from Dan's Sporting Goods in the same shipment as the Imbel parts kit way back in the beginning of the project. Inset pic shows the "USA" marking found on all of the FSE parts. I have enough parts on hand now to resume building. 

With all the necessary "US Parts" in hand, the project resumed by first assembling the lower receiver. I didn't take a whole bunch of pics on this process, but used some of the pics from the "Kit Preparation" pages to give visual reference to the various parts I'll refer to as I describe (in words) how the assembly went. Before we get started, I must comment on a small issue with using Duplicolor 1200º paint. Even though it was appied in thin coats, it's thick and required a little extra time in removing paint from holes and parts that slide/rotate with each other to ensure a smooth function of the parts. Something to remember when you're painting the parts, is to ensure you mask off as much as you can to minimize this issue. Anyways, let's get crackin' on assembling the lower receiver!!!

 bove is a pic of the hammer, trigger and sear (H/T/S) assembly that shows how the parts relate to each other. Inset pic (Lower Right) shows the "US Mark" on the FSE trigger that is also found on all their other parts. One minor issue with the FSE trigger, was that the trigger pin hole on the side of the stamping was just a tad small. Some emory cloth stuck to a small dowel cleaned it up easily. This ensured that the trigger will rotate on the pin and not the pin rotate in the receiver which would adversely affect trigger pull. After the holes in the receiver where the various pins go through were dressed up with a small piece of emory cloth on a pin punch, the H/T/S went together smoothly.

All parts were given a little dab of "Gunslick" (Inset Pic Top Left) to aid in lubrication and ensure an even and smooth break in of the new parts. I use gunslick on all of my guns in the H/T/S assemblies. The quickness of assembling the H/T/S was aided immeasurably by using a little trick I learned from Gunplumber's video. I manufactured a little "guide pin" (Inset Pic Top Right) to hold the trigger and sear in place to ease lining up all the holes as I inserted the trigger pin through the receiver. Next I installed the hammer by lining it up with the hammer pin holes in the receiver and pushing the pin in from right to left. Next insert the hammer/trigger pivot pin retaining plate onto the notch in the hammer pin then rotate it to ride on top of the trigger pin's notch and line up the hole where the selector lever goes. Insert the selector lever with the knob at the 12 O'clock position, then rotate it to the "On Safe" notch. All that is left, is to insert the hammer strut assembly into it's respective slot on the hammer and compress it enough to slip into it's dimpled slot in the receiver.

  Before moving on to the next step, I installed the trigger guard in it's respective slot in the receiver, then installed the pistol grip. After that was done, I performed a function test to ensure the assembly functions properly. First, cock the hammer and place the selector to "Safe" to ensure the trigger is blocked and the hammer doesn't fall no matter how hard you pull on the trigger. Next, place the selector on "Fire" and the hammer *should* fall when the trigger is pulled. While still holding the trigger to the rear, recock the hammer. Slowly release the trigger while watching the hammer, and you *should* see it raise up a small bit (See above pics) and feel/hear a noticeable click. Mine passed with flying colors and the trigger seems to be fairly smooth with very little creep. The assembly of the H/T/S may sound a bit complicated, but it's not!! =)

 Moving on, I next installed the upper receiver latch and takedown lever assembly. It's pretty much a "no brainer" to install if you've taken it out before. Look at the pic above to get an idea how the parts relate to each other. After applying a little oil to the latch body, slide it into it's hole in the back of the receiver ensuring the beveled edge goes up and the flat edge is down. Then slide it in far enough to line up the notch that the takedown lever engages and insert the takedown lever. Move the lever up and down to ensure it is properly engaging the latch and that it moves freely. Next, insert the latch spring and plunger into the latch itself. Using a punch or dowel, press the plunger in enough to where you can insert the cross pin that retains the plunger just enough to hold it in so you can remove the dowel or punch. Next take a small hammer to drive the cross pin home. All that is left, is to insert the small combination pin/set-screw into it's threaded hole in the back of the receiver. This little devil keeps the takedown lever from backing out of the receiver, so don't forget it! That's all there is to it!

 Next, I installed the buttstock onto the receiver. I ordered a "STG" style buttstock because I didn't like the hump at the rear of the buttstock that came in the kit. This is personal preference only, as the original could just as well have been used. Since the buttstock wasn't the original that came in the kit, a small amount of sanding was needed on the face of the buttstock where it mates up with the rear of the receiver to remove any gaps. I then inserted the lightly oiled recoil plunger and plunger spring into the buttstock then slid the buttstock nut onto the buttstock tool and compressed the spring to tighten the nut onto the recoil tube. I then installed the screw that holds the front of the buttstock to the tang on the underside of the receiver. All that was left, was to install the buttpad and screw it down snug. 

I was hoping to have the "Para Style" rear sight to install on the lower receiver, but at this time it hasn't come in yet. I suspect it'll be here on Monday or next week sometime. There's nothing wrong with the stock rear sight, this is just another one of those personal preference type things. I'll descibe how the stock rear sight goes back together and install it on mine while waiting for the Para. As describe in the Kit Prep pages, my rear sight aperture housing was a tad loose and wobbled on the rear sight base. I'll rehash how I fixed it in case ya missed it. I took the sight aperture housing out to the vise to squeeze it for a tighter fit. If yours is loose also, be sure and not use too much force to squeeze it, as you CAN go too far. Even though *I* was warned of this, I still applied a bit to much force. All was not lost though.. I was able to take a pair of outside circlip pliers I had handy that were used when I built VW engines, to spread the housing back out a skosh. I now have a very smooth, but tight rear sight assembly that doesn't wobble!! =)

At the time I refinished the lower receiver and other parts, I hadn't planned on replacing the rear sight. The original rear sight received the paint on finish, and also required a bit of judicious re-fitting by sanding down in certain spots so the aperture would slide back and forth without being too damned tight. Using a little dab of grease on the push button spring, I inserted it into the aperture housing then slid the button into the housing behind it. Next, I slid the aperture housing onto the rear site base then installed the small pin that keeps the aperture housing from sliding off, up into the rear site base. Next, I put another dab of grease on the "S" spring thingy and placed it on the underside of the rear sight base, then slid the whole assembly into the dovetail of the receiver. Lastly, I lined up the witness marks on the receiver and rear sight base and inserted the windage adjustment screws on each side of the receiver. 

Tada!!! Above is a pic of the completed lower receiver. The rear sling swivel is missing because I plan to refinish the buttstock, pistol grip, handguards and... I forgot to refinish the swivel. =) No worries, I had planned to "test fire" the carbine in this condition anyways and save the furniture coating for later in case any alterations need to be done. It actually took longer to type the descriptions of assembling the lower, than it did to do it. =)

The lower receiver was relatively simple to accomplish. The upper should be fairly simple also, however it's the most critical part of the entire build. It's not something one should rush or do half assed because life and limb could be at stake if done improperly. Follow along as I take my own sweet time building the upper receiver striving for perfection and paying attention to details to hopefully produce a trouble free product.

 Before I permanently attach the muzzle device and coat the barrel with Duplicolor, I wanted to ensure the barrel hand timed to the receiver properly. As you can see in the top left pic, it did not. It hand timed to about the 10 O'clock postion instead of the preferred 11 O'clock position. Using a little trick I learned on The FAL Files Forums in a post I can't seem to find now, I went about shaving a few thousands off the barrel shoulder to correct the problem (Top Right Pic). Using a 36 grit sanding disk with the hole in the middle sized to just fit over the threads, I placed it "grit side" towards the barrel's shoulder and screwed the barrel back onto the receiver to use as a backing plate. Slowly but surely working the sanding disk around and around the barrel keeping pressure on it by keeping the barrel tightend up to the disk, it reduced the barrel shoulder down to where it should be. A leather glove was donned soon after the pic was taken to save wear and tear on my hands. As you can see in the lower left pic, the sanding disk produced a very nice, clean and even cut with no divots or wavyness. The pic at lower right shows that I succeeded in getting the barrel to hand time to the 11 O'clock position. The best way to eyeball it, is to make a triangle out of the cutout of the barrel shoulder and the gas tube boss of the upper receiver.

 Next, I proceeded to permanently attach the muzzle device to the barrel. Using simple green and denatured alcohol, I thoroughly cleaned the threads and about 3" of the barrel behind the threads. I also doused the muzzle brake in simple green and denatured alcohol then blow dried it out with compressed air. Satisfied that I'd cleaned the areas well enough to be silver soldered, I applied a generous amount of "Fusion" silver solder paste (Top Right Inset) to the barrel threads (Bottom Left Inset). Next, I threaded the muzzle device onto the barrel and indexed the ports to where I had two rows up and two rows down and centered in relation to the front sight post (Bottom Center Inset). I then took a "Mapp Gas" torch to heat an area where the threads are on the muzzle device (Bottom Right Inset) until I saw it glow a dull red, then danced the flame around the circumference of the muzzle device to distribute the now molten solder evenly around the threads. A Mapp Gas torch is recommended, because a regular propane type torch doesn't get firearm grade steel hot enough to melt the silver solder paste and enable it to flow into the metal parts properly. Lastly, I moved the flame of the torch toward the back of the muzzle device to visually inspect whether or not the silver solder had indeed flowed onto both the barrel and muzzle device, then left the barrel to cool by air while I post this update. =) 

 Although not technically part of the upper receiver assembly, my "Para style" rear sight assembly from Volunteer Ordnance Works (VOW) came in today (July 15th). Come to think of it, it *is* the upper most item on the rifle so.. =) Anyways, it was installed in place of the stock rear sight soon after arrival. No fitting or fuss was encountered at all during the installation. This rear sight has a dual flip up/down aperture system (Inset Pic) that was scavenged from the AR15A2 (M16A2). It also shares the same windage adjustment knob which was optional. I personally think it'll be a definite improvement over the range adjustable stock rear sight, since this is a carbine that will have a dot or reflex type scope mounted to it eventually.

Applied Duplicolor 1200º paint to the barrel/muzzle device and a few other parts that were left unfinished from the last "Bake-On Finish" session. They came out looking rather spiffy! Yes, as you can see I remembered to coat the rear sling swivel parts this time around. =)


 I did some checking of parts fit on the upper. One area of concern, is extractor clearance cuts in the upper receiver. Mine didn't need any alteration, but some of the Imbels do need a little judicious relieving of an area just to the rear of the barrels breech. I used a dummy cartridge (Top Pic) to check for clearance in this area. Also, there have been reports of issues with the TAPCO 3rd Generation Scope Mount (Bottom Pic) interfering with the bolt carrier. I found that if you place the bolt in it's rails of the upper and use it to align the scope cover as you systematically tighten down the screws, that this is a non-issue. I could tell no hinderance to the bolt carrier travel attaching the scope mount in this manner. I have hex socket cap screws that will replace the standard slotted screws (displayed in pic) that came with the mount. 

 Set about torquing the barrel till it was properly timed to the upper receiver. Actually it was anti-climatic to what I had expected. First, I placed the the upper receiver w/electrical tape around the circumference where the receiver wrench would come in contact (to protect it from aluminum smears) into the receiver wrench. I then placed the wrench and receiver in my Wilton 6" bench vise and cranked it down tight so it wouldn't budge for the next steps (Upper Pic). Taking some anti-seize compound that can be had at any auto parts store, I dabbed some around the barrel threads (Bottom Left Inset). Probably more than needed cause the stuff gets everywhere!! I hand tightened the barrel to the receiver and it hit the same 11 o'clock mark as before (Bottom Center Inset). Don't forget to put the handguard ring on the barrel before threading the barrel on for the final time or you'll have to do this all over again or go without handguards (Not recommended). Took a 1 1/16" Craftsmen combination wrench that had the box end lopped off then smoothed, and the open end clearanced a bit to where it would just fit the barrel flats with a little persausion of a hammer and drove it on (Bottom Right Inset).

 Slid a 2ft section of galvanized 1 1/4" pipe over the end wrench (Left Pic) for leverage and cranked that baby home!! It takes about 100 ft.lbs of torque to crank it home if hand timed properly. If you have to shave your barrel shoulder, be sure and check your hand time with a wrench to ensure you don't get a false reading. As you can see, (Right Pic) it timed perfectly. Also note handguard ring =). I verified barrel time by eyeball, but some use the two rod method to ensure it's properly timed. Place a 3/16" steel rod of about 2-3ft in length through the handguard screw hole in the gasblock on the barrel and balance the second rod on the flat of the upper receiver. Sight down the barrel from a distance at the muzzle end to see if there is any mis-alignment. Either way, you're still relying on your eyesight to judge if it's timed properly or not. One other thing I did before calling it timed, is thread the gas tube and gas nut onto the gasblock and receiver to see if the gas piston would move freely. It did!! =)

 Headspacing is THE most critical part of any firearm build. DO NOT get this part wrong because it could cause the loss of an appendage or even worse, your life if done improperly. Headspacing a FN/FAL is relatively simple though, just pay attention to details and you should have no problems. Once you understand the concept it's a piece of cake. There's an excellent post on The FAL Files Forums that decribes the process in easy to understand terms. Even I had no problem understanding it. =) 

First off, the barrel's chamber, the bolt/carrier assembly and all gages used in this process need to be cleaned thoroughly. We're working in thousandths of an inch, so the cleaner the better. Next, take out the bolt's extractor to keep it from interfering with headspace gage rims. Be sure and control the extractor lest it gets shot into outerspace when removing it from the bolt. You need gage pins of various sizes to act as the locking shoulder (LS) which controls headspace in a FN/FAL. You can get rods that are stepped in .001 increments or get individual gage pins that are one size for each increment. I went with the latter and ordered mine from MSC Industrial Supply. I got them in .001 increments covering the .254" to .269" range. MSC part numbers for these can be found in this "FAL Files" post. I wanted my carbine to meet Nato 7.62 minimum headspace specs, since I plan to shoot surplus ammo through it. I plopped down an extra few $$ for the Clymer Go/No-Go Gauges (Bottom Pic) because they are within a 1/2 of a thousandth (.0005) from that spec. Note the green and red rings on the gages that make it easy to tell at a glance which one is the GO (Green) or NO-GO (Red) gage.

Once ya have the extractor out of the bolt, the chamber and all gages/parts cleaned thoroughly, slide in the "Go" headspace gage then pick a LS gage pin and slide it into the hole in the upper receiver where the LS will reside. I picked the .261" gage pin as the first to try in hopes that I would get lucky and be able to use the .262" LS that came with my kit. Placing the bolt carrier (w/bolt installed) in it's rails of the upper receiver, I slid it forward as if it was chambering a round to check and see if it would close with firm thumb pressure. It did not close no matter how much I wanted it to, but I now knew which direction in LS gage to go with (smaller). I went for the .004" smaller (.257") LS pin and the bolt carrier closed with very little thumb pressure. I then took out the "GO" gage and placed the "NO-GO" gage in the chamber and repeated the above process. The bolt carrier at first didn't close, but I exerted more thumb pressure and it did close. It should NOT close at all on a "NO-GO" gage! I took out the "NO-GO" gage, put the "GO" gage back in and placed the .258" pin gage in. This time the bolt carrier closed with thumb pressure. Put in the "NO-GO" gage and it refused to close no matter how much force I put on it. Soo.. What I need for a correct NATO spec headspace is a .259" locking shoulder which allows for .001" setback.

Since the LS I have on hand won't give me the headspace spec I wanted, I had to find another one to replace it. Jen, the administrator of The FAL Files provides a "LS Exchange Program" for FALaholics like myself. I contacted her, and luckily she had a .259" LS for trade. Jen will replace your original LS with a Vanden Berg Custom locking shoulder for $12 (money order or certified funds) which includes shipping/handling. For priority mail, add $4.50. Email Jen at orders@fnfal.com to find out if she has the LS you need for your FN/FAL, then mail the funds along with your LS to "The FAL Files - P.O. Box 58553 - Webster, TX 77598-8553". If you would rather keep your existing LS, Jen will also sell you a LS outright for $25, add $4.50 for priority mail (if desired). After the correct LS arrives, it will need to be pressed or hammered into the upper receiver slot, then Final Assembly can commence.

Thanks to Jen (The Admin of The FAL Files Forums) who delivered a .259" locking shoulder into my eager hands within 2 days, I'm able to proceed with final assembly of the "Texas Jungle" Carbine project!! I've noticed a couple threads on "The Files" about locking shoulders (LS) and how (where) to measure them. The "short" flat is the surface the bolt rests against when it's in full battery, and is the location where one side of your calipers should be placed. The adjacent surface, where the other side of your calipers should rest is rounded. There is another (longer) flat, but that is where the bolt rides over top of just prior to going into battery. Both flats should be smooth and free of burrs for a smooth reliable action.

Two other areas to check on the LS, is where it engages the receiver. The "lug" should fit snugly into the recess in the receiver, and the round end of the LS should be of a size that will provide a .002" to .004" press fit. My upper receiver's LS hole measured .294" (Pic Above) and the round of the LS measured .297" giving me a .003" press fit. The lug of the LS fit snug in it's recess (Inset Pic), so no fitting was needed.

One last step before final assembly, is to drill the gas port to a larger size. Since the barrel has been chopped down to 16.25", more volume of gas needs to be gained to replace the gas pulse duration a stock barreled FN/FAL provides that has been lost from the modification. Chucking the barreled receiver up in the drill press, I drilled (in small increments) the stock gas port (.098") to .118". This should be sufficient, but I'm prepared to go up to .125 if needed.  

The FN/FAL "Texas Jungle" Carbine is fully assembled (but not complete). Don't fret, the final assembly steps will be documented, but not until some test firing is accomplished and any bugs that may need to be sorted out are done. As you can see in the pics above, the furniture has not been refinished yet. I decided to assemble the rifle with them "as is" for testing purposes. All range testing to include any tweaks necessary to acchieve a functionally reliable rifle will be documented here as they are accomplished. Stay Tuned!!

 Test firing is complete, checks and rechecks of headspace have been accomplished and deemed within' specs after a total of 160rds fired down range over 3 range sessions. Time to backtrack and go over the final assembly process. The above pic is of the final product. IT'S ALIVE Muhahahaha!! =)

We left off with a properly headspaced barrel and upper assembly (Verified during test fire sessions). All that's left to do is to assemble the remaining parts to the upper, and mate it together with the assembled lower assembly completed earlier. Piece of cake!!

First off was installing the gas system parts to the upper receiver. I ensured all parts and pieces were clean and free of debris before assembling them to the upper assembly by cleaning them with bore patches and rags. It just so happens a .44 mag bore brush (I happen to have on hand) is a perfect fit for the gas tube since the gas piston that supposed to seal gasses is .431" in diameter. A few strokes with it followed by a jag and patch cleaned the inside of the gase tube nicely. Mating the gas tube nut, gas adjuster ring and tube together, I first screwed the gas tube nut to the upper assembly with the carry handle placed in it's slot (Lower Left Pic). I only tightened it hand tight at this time in case I needed to make a few adjustments.

 Next, I threaded the gas tube into the gas block of the barrel by hand, then finished off with a strap wrench to bottom it out as far as it would go. Once it's bottomed out, you back it off (unscrew about a quarter turn) to align the window notched in the gas tube with the gas vent located in the boss of the gas block that the gas adjusting ring regulates. Next I inserted the cross pin that keeps the gas tube from rotating which would block the vent hole then threaded on the adjusting ring (Right Pic). I then put the little spring detent which provides a tactile click for each gas setting, into it's respective slots on the gas block.

Lastly, I cleaned and lightly oiled the gas piston and spring with Firepower FP-10 from MPC Products and slid it into the gas block from the front and inserted the gas piston plug home (Top Left Pic) rotating it to the "A" position for semi-auto operation, then cinched down the gas tube nut into the upper receiver.

While I was at the gas block end of the barrel, I went ahead and installed the front sight post. First, install the spring and detent plate ensuring the tabs line up with the notches. Then, with a handy dandy front sight adjustment tool, screw the front sight post in. Before I installed the front sight post, I put a little dab of green Bright Sights paint (Pic above) to the top of the post. If you look closely at the pic, you'll see a "dot" that I conveniently dabbed with a little yellow paint to hopefully show up better in the picture. During test firing, I found that the front sight post (2 dot) that came with the kit was too tall. After reading a good discussion about metric front sight posts, it was determined I could use a "1 dot" front sight post which is .65mm shorter than a 2 dot. Jen, of the The FAL Files Forums came to the rescue again, as she had one avalable for a minimal outlay of cash. It arrived a short 3 days after contacting her and was just what the doctor ordered. (Thanks Jen!) 

 Before moving on to mating the upper receiver to the lower and installing the furniture, I tackled the task of installing the "bolt hold open" (BHO) device and the magazine release/catch assemblies (pic above). They merely slide into their respective channels in the upper receiver near the magazine well and pivot(slide) on the cross pin screw that's inserted from left to right. The part to the far right in the pic is the locking shoulder that was installed earlier. 

The upper assembly is pretty close to being completely assembled and closer to being ready to mate it with the lower assembly and do a thorough function check before heading out to the range for some serious testing and evaluation. As was mentioned earlier, my camo'd handguards, pistol grip, buttstock and magazine came in the mail the other day. We'll show the camo'd handguards and buttstock during the installation section on this page (They look rather spiffy 'eh?) =). So.. let's get the FN/FAL ready to rumble!!!!

Before we mate the upper assembly with the lower, we need to install a couple more items. Well we *could* do these later, but I wanted to ensure the bolt/carrier group functioned smoothly after installing the scope mount. As was mentioned earlier, TAPCO's 3rd generation scope mount had been getting some bad reviews in the forums relating to bolt carrier interference. I found that if ya slid the bolt carrier group into the upper *then* attached the scope mount where the stock dust cover goes and tighten the four screws that hold it on in a "crisscross" pattern, that issue was non-existant. At least in my experience I was able to install the scope mount onto the upper with minimal effort and literally no binding of the bolt/carrier group was noted. Be sure and uses a little dab of "removeable" loctite or your favorite thread locking compound to the threads of the scope mount screws to ensure they stay put.

Before putting the bolt/carrier group away for later installation, I went ahead and lubed it up. Putting a little drop of FP-10 on the lugs of the bolt where it pivots in the bolt carrier, and a small drop on the extractor pivot (Upper Left Pic), I inserted the bolt into postion within the bolt carrier. After ensuring all points of contact within the carrier/bolt cavity had a little oil to aid in function, I took some "Rig" grease (Upper Right Pic) and liberally applied it to the rails of the bolt carrier that slide back and forth in the upper. It's still summer here in South Texas, so grease was used instead of oil in this critical spot to ensure it remained lubricated and all slickery for smooth functioning. If it was the cooler part of the year, I would substitute the "Rig" grease with FP-10. George Fennell, Vice President of MPC Products has advised me that his Firepower FP-10 "wet can" grease should handle this job also. As soon as I get a tub of it, I'll put it to the test before I give it the "Bandit's Seal of Approval." =) If it's as good as the CLP is, it'll replace Rig grease in all the firearms I own where I use grease instead of oil during the "Dog Days of Summer." At this time, I set aside the bolt/carrier group for later installation after the upper and lower are mated together.

While I was in the "lubrication mood", I FP-10'd the critical locations (H/T/S pivot pins, locking latch assembly, and selector lever) within the lower assembly (Bottom Pic). Nice thing about FP-10 other than being an *excellent* Cleaning Lubrication and Preservative (CLP) product, is that it stays where ya put it. 

 Before setting the lower assembly aside, I went ahead and swapped out the buttstock and extra (US) pistol grip that was installed during initial testing, with the camo'd Steyr buttstock and (US) pistol grip I got back from Mad Dog 7.62 along with the handguards and magazine that were also camo'd in a textured finish (Above Pic). I won't bore you with their installation details, since it is described on the Assemble Lower page. I will however mention that I cleaned up the recoil spring assembly with FP-10 to replace the Rem-Oil it had previously been lubricated with. I'm really impressed with FP-10 (in case you haven't noticed) since acquiring a bottle and using it in all of my pistols. It's "Good Stuff Maynard"!! =)

 Finally it's time to mate the upper with the lower assembly. This task is kinda anti-climatic at this juncture, since all that is required to do, is to insert the upper into the lower assembly, line up the pivot pin holes and insert the two piece pivot pin and tighten it down. Next, I inserted the thoroughly lubed bolt/carrier group into the upper receiver (Pic Above Left), then latched the assembly together. Final assembly step, was to install the folding charging handle into it's slot in the upper receiver (Pic Above Right), insert the cocking lug (A) that engages the bolt carrier through the receiver into the charging handle, followed by the cross pin (B) that holds the cocking lug in place. All that was left is to fondle the carbine and admire my handy work (Pic Below). =) 

The FN/FAL "Texas Jungle" Carbine is fully assembled, but before I put it away while waiting for range time, I did yet another function test to ensure all was kosher. If you have been following along with this project before the menu restructureing, you'll know that we had a H/T/S issue that reared it's ugly head during the initial test fire sessions. One little tidbit of information I picked up from Harold Shinn of FSE, was to hold the trigger back while releasing the bolt into full battery letting it slam home under the recoil system's tension to see whether or not the hammer follows the bolt forward. I didn't check this before and found out at the range that this indeed would happen with the orignal H/T/S I had installed previously resulting in double fires. This is not a very safe situation to have happen, since the cartridge could conceivably be ignited before it was fully supported by the barrels chamber. All has been rectified and fixed thanks to the patience and outstanding customer service I received from Harold, FSE's president.

The first range session (And all range sessions to follow) was completed at Blackhawk Range. As you can see from the pic above, the little "Texas Jungle" Carbine is showing potential. Those were the first 4 shots on paper @ 50yds off hand/standing position (shots 6-9). 4th round was a called flier (double fire). Shots 1-5 were shot at bare ground while setting gas system. Subsequent shots were not photographed due to a Hammer/Trigger/Sear (H/T/S) problem. Rest assured the sights have been adjusted to point of aim. Gas system seems to be stable and regulated about right for just about anything I care to feed the carbine. First twenty shots were with the surplus South African 7.62X51mm 147gr ammo that Dan's Sporting Goods sent me with the parts kit. The carbine fed and ejected the ammo reliably on a gas setting of 4. That's pretty much standard setting for that load.

The second range session went pretty much the same as the first. We were struggling a bit with the H/T/S issue. I had received a replacement sear from Harold Shinn of First Son's Enterprises (FSE) earlier that day and after the 4th or 5th shot, the carbine started to double fire (2-3 shots per trigger pull) on me again. I promptly put it away to inspect at home once more and contact Harold the next day.  

Contacting Harold via email, he offered to have me ship my lower to him to find the culprit and hand fit the H/T/S for me if necessary. Being as stubborn and hard headed as I am I declined, as I wanted to do this myself. After talking with Harold on the phone, we determined my problem would be rectified by the new generation of FSE triggers and sears Harold had coming back from the blueing process. At my request, I opted to wait for a "M03" marked trigger and sear. A short 2 days later a package arrived with not only the "M03" trigger and sear, but also a "M02" hammer (which I already had). Acting like a youngster on Christmas morning, I promptly tore into the package and went straight to the shop to install them. As the old saying goes "Third time is the charm" (Get it? "M03" parts... I quack myself up some times =)), after installing the new trigger and sear and doing a function test to include some steps Harold suggested I do to ensure the problem had been rectified, I deemed the replacement parts good to go!!!

The third range session could not come quick enough. Being rather tight for free time, I had to wait till Sept 1st to head to the range to verify what I already knew in my heart was a fully functional FN/FAL Carbine semi-auto conversion. Good things come to those who wait I'm told, and before the 1st of September rolled around, my handguards, buttstock, pistol grip, and one magazine came back from Mad Dog 7.62. The WECSOG gods must be shining on the Bandit 'eh?

The 1st of September rolled around and I reluctantly went about the task of gathering up the firearms and "what nots" I would take to the range. Now if you believe that last statement, I got a bridge I'll sell ya in Brooklyn. =). I couldn't get the stuff loaded in my Ford Explorer quick enough!! As a precaution, I loaded up some tools and cleaning equipment I normally don't take to the range, just in case. I was determined to fix any problem I *may* encounter with the project at the range. As quickly as the law allows, I raced towards the range to test out the project and to shoot the other firearms I brought with me. Welp, as it turned out, the extra tools and cleaning equipment weren't needed nor even looked at while at the range. Check out this 100yd target!

To say I'm pleased with the results would be an understatement. Not only did the FN/FAL "Texas Jungle" Carbine function flawlessly (with most of my magazines) it was pretty darned accurate too. All shots on the target were at 100 yards except for the one 3 shot string noted that was fired from 50 yards away as quickly as I could pull the trigger. Marked with a Sharpie are called flyers and arrows pointing to the groups they should of been a part of. I also encircled the sighting in groups and the various other groups to include arrows showing their respective point of aim. A total of 120 rounds were thrown down range and only a couple malfunctions that were narrowed down to 2 magazines were noted. A good day at the range was enjoyed by the Bandito to include the time spent with my pistols, which functioned flawless also (no big surprise).