Ironwood stocks.

Author:John, Jeff

Years ago, after hearing DS Arms discontinued their wood-stocked FAL, I managed to purchase one of the last ones. I lived in California and had it sent to my brother's house in the Free World until I moved.

The rifle was billed as a reproduction of the US T48, which our country tested prior to adopting the M14. But enough details were just enough off I couldn't quite see a way to make it a T48 replica without some major work. Unfortunately, this would've included the fabrication of several important parts (translation: really expensive). So I decided to enjoy it the way it was.

I made one sojourn to Arizona to visit and shoot my rifle while living in Calif. Within 100 rounds, a big chip had blown off the top of the butt, and I didn't notice it. By the time I did, I was 200 miles from the rifle range, since I had taken it along to shoot with friends north of my brother's place.

The FAL buttplate is a stamped piece of sheetmetal and the butt itself is cut for the buttplate's rolled edges to fit over the wood. For this to work, the stock's buttplate relief cut must be long enough so die large flat of the buttplate rests solidly against the end of the stock, without the sharp edges of the buttplate's lip touching any wood itself. In this case, the thin rolled edges of the buttplate were in contact with the wood and the large flat part was not. Thus the lips of the buttplate acted as a "splitting maul"--blowing off a chip on top, where, of course, it is most obvious.

Thoroughly depressed, I looked over the fit of the buttplate-to-stock closely (now) and discovered the buttplate fit poorly all the way around, touching wood on one side and hanging over the wood on the opposite side. There was really no good way to repair the stock chip, although I relieved the wood so no further damage would occur and I could still shoot the gun. The stock was an ugly, knotty thing anyway. The fore-end and pistol grip were beautiful, however.

The rifle shot very low, too, so I had another problem to ponder. My next big mistake was not buying the tool set necessary to disassemble the gun and adjust the sights and gas system. By the time I really needed the tools, the 1st Great Obama Ammo & Gun Scare dried up everything associated with firearms, including the three specialty tools the FAL needs. These include a gas nut wrench (almost easy to do without), a front sight-adjusting tool (not so easy to do without) and a stock nut removing tool (best have one if you want...

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