Springfield’s SAR-4800 FAL…in 5.56mm

In the early 1990s, the Brazilian Imbel factory made a small run of FAL rifles converted to 5.56mm using AR magazines. They used standard FAL receivers and bolt carriers, with a boltface cut for 5.56x45mm and a magazine well insert with a new magazine release compatible with the AR magazines. About 700 were imported by Springfield under the designation SAR4800 5.56mm Sporter. These were all post-ban configuration rifles, with fake solid flash hiders and thumbhole stocks. This particular one has been rebuilt in the Para configuration with a proper flash hider, folding stock, and requisite replacement top cover and bolt carrier.

Sold for $2,875 at the December 2019 RIA Premier auction.


  1. Well, an FAL type rifle in 5.56 x 45mm would make more sense than the standard 7.62 x 51mm. At least it wouldn’t kick like the standard model.

    People who note the FAL/SLR’s rather sharp recoil generally don’t know that when it was first prototyped in the post-WW2 years, it was designed around the German 7.9 x 33mm Kurz round of the MKb42/MP43/StG44 family. Hence “Fusil Automatique Léger”- Light Automatic Rifle.

    It was then modified for the British 0.280in round of the EM1/2 series rifles, which probably would have been the best all-around cartridge for it (unless they more sensibly went for 7 x 57mm Mauser).

    In the end of course, it was built in the 7.62 x 51mm NATO chambering, resulting in a rifle designed for a .30 Remington class cartridge being used with a .30-06 class round. No wonder the beast kicks.

    Probably the best “commercial” choice for the FAL after about 1970 would have been… 7.62 x 39mm M43.



  2. Is this, essentially, an FN FNC-80? Seems to be a backdoor way of making the same rifle.

    My understanding is the FNC-80 is a FAL chambered for 5.56/.223. Not sure the operating system is identical between the FAL and FNC-80, for one thing the firing pin seems different on the FNC.

    But it seems they were heading in that direction with the FNC.

  3. Current IMBEL rifle production https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMBEL_IA2
    Now they lock into barrel extension which is clear departure from FAL design.

    They are not much to marvel about, but are sturdy, workman-like weapons with reasonable mass. Worth of noticing is that Imbel did not adopt “modular” construction. This precludes compromises and makes construction of each rifle simpler.

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