Reviewed By Matt Babb

This book is intended as a companion to the three volume omnibus title The FAL Rifle, which comprises the original studies titled North American FALs (1979), UK and Commonwealth FALs (1980), and The Metric FAL (1981), initially published as three separate volumes.

The first part of this new book is a new retrospective on the prototypes and ordered models of the FAL as produced by Fabrique Nationale (FN), following the chronological arrangement used in The Metric FAL, which deals with the FAL models of the various countries by initial ordering date.

However, the big reason this book is a must have for anyone interested in FAL rifles is the inclusion of the OREA manual (Outillage de Réparation et Entretien d’Arme – Tools for the Repair and Maintenance of Arms). This is a complete and in-depth high-echelon workshop repair manual for the FAL rifle. This was one of the last projects undertaken by the late Jean Van Rutten, Chargé de Missions of the Test and Control Department of the FN Bureau of Defense and Security and the co-author of The Metric FAL.

Unfortunately, due to his terminal illness, he never fully completed the manual to his satisfaction. Although the major component groups are all fully covered, the peripherals and ancillary components were not finished.

Despite the incomplete/missing items, the OREA manual takes up the central ten chapters of this new book. Very logically laid out with a complete illustrated breakdown of all the parts within each component group, the manual first establishes a set of inspection standards, and then follows up with detailed repair and replacement procedures for each component, including barrel installation. In addition, a list of OREA and FN tools and gauges are included with their uses. This will not only help the gunsmith with fabricating special tools for these historical rifles but will also help the collector identify tools in that unidentified bin that could go to good use or fill that special place in a collection.

The final chapters deal with a few subjects already covered in previous volumes but are expanded with new information that has been collected in the interim.

The Canadian Arsenals Ltd., were the main group responsible for the inch measurement conversion program and did the re-dimensioning and re-drawing of the FAL for non-metric countries have new material on interesting prototypes.

Next covered is the U.S. T48 program of the FAL, which was considered the logical next battle rifle for the U.S. after the M1 Garand, but was eventually pushed out by the M14.

The book concludes with an authoritative retrospective on barrel threads and barrel interchangeability; including Canadian C1/C1A1 and L1A1 rebarreling instructions.

In this reviewer’s opinion this is a must have for any firearm book collection. Additionally, the technical assets in the OREA manual are a must for any gunsmith repairing these fine rifles.

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review SAW (October 2012)
and was posted online on September 7, 2012


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