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May 06, 2004

My Next Gun « Gun Issues »


...well, not this gun, specifically.

A friend of mine who owns a pawnshop picked up a Century Arms R1A1 and is selling it to me for $350. A gunsmith who is a friend of his says it is well-made and doesn't seem to have the quality-control problems the earlier Century Arms FAL-clones had. It's a little bit of a gamble, but we'll see...if it is as good as it seems, I got the rifle for about $180 under the going rate, and I'm quite excited about it. Reasonable accuracy, excellent reliability, great range (it's chambered in .308). I can't wait to get it out to the range. I've got it on lay-away, however, and won't take possession until August, probably.

Links to read about FAL rifles

Posted by Nathan at 03:30 PM | Comments (11)

Oh, man, feeling jealousy...

I always wanted a real live FN FAL.

Would it be impolite to ask what the going rate is for the clone?

Posted by: zombyboy at May 6, 2004 03:59 PM

Not impolite at all!
I've heard people quote about $550, and there's one for sale at Gunbroker and do a search for "R1A1" and the only thing that comes up is an R1A1 sporter for $569. They're butt-ugly and have a bad reputation. Then if you put in "L1A1", you get a wider range of results, but they all still have that "thumb-hole" stock that signifies an older copy, when they still had more quality control problems. They even look cheesy in the picture...
A real FN-FAL will cost you moore than $1000, maybe close to $2000, and you won't be able to get full-auto, obviously...although everything I've heard, you don't want full auto, because the barrel is too light (will overheat and temporarily warp) and the recoil is too harsh for any kind of control on full-auto...

The better mil-surplus FALs (like an actual British, Canadian, or Aussie surplus L1A1) will probably cost you between $800-1200, if you can find one. I haven't seen one lately...

I'm getting mine for just $350... Of course, we've become friends because I've given him LOTS of business over the last year, too, so...[shrug]. After I get it, if it fires well and you ever get in the area, we'll go shooting.

Posted by: Nathan at May 6, 2004 08:04 PM

I recently purchased a R1A1. Last sunday I took it to the range. It was already zeroed in.After setting the gas port it performed without a hitch. I shot from 100 to 600 yards with the only problem being at 600 yards I had to cover the target with the sight halfway. I was using surplus 150 grain FMJs. At $5.00 for 20 rounds this is pretty good because brass costs that much anyway. I was worried about mine also because I also picked mine up at a real good price.So good I thought something must be wrong.The rifle is very user friendly, accurate and the 308 round speaks for itself. Have fun!

Posted by: Larry at October 19, 2004 07:06 PM

I have! I'll be doing handloads for it soon, after I run thru the 1000 rounds of Indian .308 ammo I have.

Posted by: Nathan at October 20, 2004 01:42 AM

I just bought a CAI R1A1 sporter and would like to put some new synthetic furniture on it. I'm pretty sure it's an "inch type pattern" but it works well with metric mags. How do I know if it's inch type or metric and will L1A1 furniture fit?

Posted by: Jim Skinner at January 10, 2005 05:59 AM

My buddy just aquired a "L1A1". Every part seems to be stamped with some number or letter or both. The components look like stamped metal and the reciever looks decent. The stock/forend is very cheap plastic and some of the screws on the grip have a square slot. The only writing on it pretty much is "made in Canada". Is this a piece of crap or what?? Lay some knowledge on me please!!!

Posted by: KSD at April 26, 2005 07:32 PM

Look for a "CAI" stamp. That would mean that it was spare parts assembled by Century Arms International, rather than an actual factory-produced rifle.
But that still wouldn't mean it is crap. If it cycles fine, then it's a good gun. Reliable, reasonably accurate, hard-hitting. You wouldn't want to try to kill a moose or elk at 500 yards with it, say, but it's far better than an AK-47 for power and accuracy.

The only thing is, there are different rifles you can get that function identically for half the priced, like a VEPR...the price on a FN-FAL-clone R1A1/L1A1 is due to its coolness factor. This was called "the Right Arm of Freedom" for a good reason: it was used by all sorts of western powers in conflicts around the world.

In the final analysis, though (and a hard lesson to learn; I've just recently understood it): is he happy with the price he paid for it? If so, then it was a good deal.

Posted by: Nathan at April 26, 2005 07:39 PM

I bought a R1A1 Sporter and it has a problem
ejecting the 308 spent shell. I bought it new
from a dealer. Someone please tell me some things
to check. The reciever is stamped Georgia Vt.

could it be the gas adjustment?

Posted by: gloria at May 14, 2005 10:42 PM

That would be the first thing to try.

You are supposed to set the gas adjustment by first opening it all the way up (no gas gets to the piston, so it doesn't cycle at all), then with each shot, close the valve one step until you get it to the point where it cycles okay. My guess is that should be in the 4-6 range, but what do I know?

You don't want any more gas than is necessary to work the piston, so that's why you start from the bottom.

Let me know if it works.

If it doesn't, you may have to try different ammo, because some guns just like different brands...the worst-case scenario is you may need to get the chamber polished. I have no idea how much that costs, but it clears up that same problem in .308-converted MAS 29/56 rifles.

Posted by: Nathan at May 15, 2005 05:16 PM

I would also try it this way :

1) with rifle unloaded and on safe ( of course ! ) set gas to zero
2) load 1 round in magazine, insert mag and chamber round ( never ever feed by hand into the chamber as this does not allow the rifle to properly cycle )
3) fire .... there should be considerable recoil and the empty should fly out in the blue yonder about 5 meters to your right
4) now set gas to one ( 1 ) and repeat above. do this 3 or 4 more times. the empty cases should land closer as the gas port is opened further until at one point the rifle will not cycle anymore.
5) set gas one before the number at which it stops cycling ( i.e. if it stops on 6 set on 5 ). my L1A1 will work down to a "7" gas setting. Yours might differ.

Ammunition has a lot to do with the gas setting as well. The stuff at Walmart is too expensive and not suitable for use in military rifles. Save it for a bolt gun or a Walmart rifle. The best 7.62x51 out there are Australian and South African. The Argentine and Portuguese( FNM )ammo is okay albeit a bit innacurate. Stay away from the Indian ammo that Cheaperthandirt and places sell, it is dangerous garbage.


Posted by: graveman at May 21, 2005 01:31 PM

By all means, check the gas port. Also, have a gunsmith check the head space and timing. That will drive you nuts, if you don't get it checked.

Posted by: hitchhiker at July 12, 2005 08:23 PM
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