October 21st 2010 I started a thread in the forum asking what is the best 308 rifle for the money. There were lots of suggestions thrown around, such as the Springfield M1A, FAL, CETME, PTR-91, Remington model 750 and the DS Arms SA58. After much debate in the forum, the choice was between the DSA SA58 and the Springfield M1A.
Between the Springfield M1A and the DS Arms SA58, I picked the SA58 FAL. The Springfield M1A is a outstanding rifle, but a little bit out of my price range.
My first impressions of the SA58 were very good. The rifle handled very well, shot well, was well balanced, and had very little recoil. The first couple of times I shot the FAL, it was just to make sure the rifle shot ok – “yep, it shoots” kind of thing. But now it was time to take the SA58 FAL to a gun range and see how well it shot. Now its time to take the rifle to a range, use a bench rest and see how well it can shoot. Not to mention, I needed to sight the rifle in for deer hunting.
Luckily for me, a buddy of mine has a 100 yard range setup behind his house. When he heard that I needed to sigh my rifle in, he invited me over to use his bench rest and range. He was also nice enough to give me a box of Hornady 308 Winchester 168 grain BHTP (Boat Tail Hollow Point).
We set the targets up, went back to the bench and set the rifle up.
Air Temperature – around 65 degrees
Wind speed – gusting around 15 – 25 miles per hour
Hornady 168 grain BTHP
Remington 150 grain Core-Lokt Pointed Soft Point (PSP)
16 inch barrel with flash hider
20 round magazine
We started off with the Remington 150 grain PSP – the first couple of rounds hit maybe 4 or 5 inches low. The elevation on the rear sight was adjusted, and a couple of more rounds fired. The next rounds hit a little low, but not as bad – elevation adjusted again. To finally get the rounds level with the bulls eye, the rear sight had to be adjusted to 600 yards. The instruction manual is not real clear on how to adjust the elevation of the front sight – which is probably what needs to be done. But since I did not have the special tool that the manual says is needed, the front sight could not be adjusted.
The Remington 150 grain PSP performed well, usually hitting the target a little to the left of the bullseye. On average we were getting 1 inch groups with open sights at 100 yards, and with the wind gusting up to around 25 miles per hour. Even though the Remington 150 grain rounds were making 1 inch groups, 2 back to back rounds hit inside the same hole, for around a 3/8 group.
Remington 150 grain Pointed Soft Point
On average we were hitting 1 inch to the left with the Remington ammo. While shooting the Remington 150 grain ammunition, we did not have a single misfire or malfunction.
Next up is the Hornady 168 grain BTHP. While shooting the Hornady ammunition, we did not have a single misfire or malfunction. I don’t know if the BTHP just likes the FAL better then the Remington ammo did, or if the BTHP design is more resistant to the wind,,,,, but the Hornady ammo hit about 1 inch below dead center, while the Remington ammo was hitting to the left.
Hornady 168 grain BTHP
While at the bench I noticed that the trigger is a “little” heavy. With my cheek against the stock, and as I was squeezing the trigger, I could hear the metal parts of the action sliding against each other. Overall, I think the action is what you might expect from a modern day sporting rifle. The action of the SA58 might even be a little better then what came on my Remington Model 700 Mountain Rifle.
One of the reasons why I picked the FAL is because your supposed to do everything on the rifle without ever having to re-position your right hand. Your supposed to be able to charge the weapon, change the magazine, release the bolt and turn off the safety. The safety is also supposed to be within reach of your right thumb. Well, being able to work the rifle with your left hand is correct. Being able to reach the safety with your right thumb is a not correct – unless your thumb is longer then mine. DS Arms just happens to make an extended safety to put the lever close to the right thumb.
If your planning on putting a cope on your SA58, be sure to order a rifle with a rail on the dust cover. The basic model that I ordered does not have a rail or scope mounts.
I think my next step is to order a dust cover with a rail, and get a scope mounted on the rifle. My longest shot is maybe 100 yards, so a 3X9 will probably the size scope that gets put on the rifle. Or, I might just use the rifle with open sights.
This weekend my daughter and I are going deer hunting. I’ll have to see how the SA58 does with open sights before I make my final decision on the scope question.
Post your comments in either of these 2 forum threads:
Perfect Union – DS Arms SA58 FAL range report
Survivalist Boards – DS Arms FAL range report