Review: Classic Army SA58

First and foremost, the Classic Army SA58 is a replica of the real DSA SA58 FAL firearm. The FAL family of battle rifles has always appealed to me, mostly due to my exposure to video games like the Call of Duty franchise. There are 3 major incarnations of the Airsoft FAL that I’ve seen – King Arms, Ares (L1A1 only), and Classic Army. Jing Gong clones the Classic Army design in a lower cost FAL AEG. After reassembling a King Arms FAL for “Loops” at work, I decided to stay well away from that one as its a headache and a half to work with. The Ares design seems to develop wobble over time in the plastic parts, as well as the fact that only a L1A1 variant is produced.

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The Classic Army (or CA, as I’ll be referring to it for short) SA58 is becoming an increasingly rare find with the closing of Classic Army’s production of guns. I feel very lucky to have picked this one up for the price I did, especially for such a simple and effective design. In essence, I purchased this CA SA58 in order to fill the battle rifle void that I’ve been noticing in my collection that used to be occupied with my CA G3 – it fills this role very well from what I can tell thus far.

Read more about my experience thus far with the CA SA58 pictured in my previous article after the break.

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I purchased the gun in disassembled condition – the long profile of even the carbine length FAL wouldn’t fit in the box that the seller brought it in. Disassembling (and reassembling) the CA version is incredibly easy. You first loosen up the large screws on either side of the receiver, above the muzzle end of the trigger guard.

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Slide the lower receiver in the direction away from the muzzle, and rotate down and in the direction of the pistol grip. There you go, you’re done.

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You can easily access your SIG 552-style drum hop up unit here – just pull out the hop chamber from the magazine well and inner barrel from the outer barrel. Your V3 gearbox is also easily removed from the lower in a matter of seconds. In order to remove the gearbox, remove the screw on the bottom of the pistol grip. Remove pistol grip and trigger guard. For making things a little easier on yourself, switch the selector to auto and leave it there for reassembly. Wiggle gearbox clear of the lower receiver, making sure to thread the wiring from the stock through the gap in the rear of the lower receiver. Easy.

Now, there is one part that concerns me. The selector plate does not actuate a trigger block like on the AK design of gearbox, rather it physically blocks the trigger itself. Now, the selector plate is plastic. If I were to hand this gun to someone who didn’t know how to use a FAL, they could pull the trigger with the selector still on safe. If this person were to pull the trigger hard enough, the plastic selector plate could become broken. With this in mind, this is the only part that is proprietary to the CA SA58 design that I feel like I need a bunch of spare parts for.

The CA SA58 utilizes a V3 gearbox with AK motor cage – IMO a very nice platform to work with, as compared to the V2 gearbox found in a G3. V3 tends to seal a little better than a V2, in my experience. The V3 AK motor cage makes testing of the gearbox much easier, as you simply have reassemble the gearbox and bolt on the motor cage in order to test the function of the gearbox, before reassembling the entire gun. I’m not going to speak as to the quality of the internals or the workmanship as this gun is definitely not stock anymore – it’s possibly gone through 4+ owners.

The drum hop up design tends to be much more stable than your M4-style hop up with various gears and springs. My old CA G3 performed very well with this hop up design. These hop up units adjust easily, with a large range of adjustment. I’ve currently installed a Guarder 6.02 tightbore in 407mm length – note that this inner barrel length is probably about 20-30mm short from the tip of the outer barrel with a 4″ SCAR-style barrel extension threaded onto the muzzle. Hop up adjustment is made easier by a locking mock bolt and bolt stop design.

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The magazine rocks into the gun, similar to an AK. The magazine well has a nice flange hanging off on the right hand side of the receiver – this makes loading a magazine into the gun way easier for a right handed user. Do note that the magazine release is located right next to the bolt stop – note that the magazine release is the lever located on the right with a hole in it. The bolt stop is a tab that moves straight down to release the bolt and straight up to lock the bolt (but the bolt locks automatically on the CA SA58), and has a perpendicular lever hanging off of it for easier actuation.

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The previous owner painted the plastic furniture OD, which actually looks quite nice after the SA58 has been in my hands for a few days now. The rubberized buttplate was lost a few owners ago, and hence a wooden one was fashioned and painted black by the guy I bought it from – it definitely gets the job done and isn’t going anywhere unless I pull it off. The CA rubberized plastic buttplate would have been secured by sliding the plate up and it would have locked onto the rear end of the stock with interlocking plastic tabs – this design proved to be a little bit annoying to deal with at the field in my old CA G3, I actually find myself preferring this new buttplate that comes off with a slight tug.

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Interesting fact, you can install Magpul MOE handguard rail sections onto the CA SA58 handguard (thanks to the previous owner for pointing this out to me) – very cool! For those wanting a little more rail estate, you can purchase a CA RIS for the SA58 carbines; this RIS looks to me like the same one on the SA58 OSW model. However, I actually like the look and feel of the roughly-triangular shaped handguard as is, so mine will stay this way. The slim handguard adds to the overall feel and handling of this SA58 – in addition to the shorter 16.25″ outer barrel length, the carbine length handguard is the perfect length to go with the full stock for me.

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Currently, I have two magazines – one short high cap and one long high cap. The long high caps look very cool and hold 1000 rounds. It actually weighs more than I had expected for a high cap, especially compared to the much lighter short high cap. The short high cap holds approximately 500 rounds. The short high cap is close in size to your MK17 and M14 magazines (and other 7.62 NATO battle rifles you can think of), as it has smooth sides.

-juicy

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