Monday, April 4, 2011

Personal Critical Review of Firearms - FN 49, SAFN 1949 (Fabrique Nationale Model 1949)

The Fabrique Nationale Model 1949


Personal - One of my personal favorites, old world wood stock solidity. A heavy full stocked rifle in the same vein as the M1, SVT40, M14, G43, SMLE, and Mauser.
Function - Reliable function on par with the FNFAL, has an open top receiver like the M1 and can collect dirt and sand, it has a somewhat adjustable gas system similar to the FNFAL.

Design flaws - Most contract versions of this rifle have a semi-fixed 10 round magazine, except the Argintine conversions to .308 with 20 round detachable magazines. This Rifle has a typical mid to heavy military trigger without modification, with a good quality trigger job the Browning Auto type trigger can be excellent. The rifle is heavy at about 9.5 pounds but has a well designed comfortable wood stock and is relatively easy to point and shoot. The gas adjustment sleeve is under the front hand-guard and is smooth in finish and requires a special tool or pliers to adjust it also requires a liberal application of “never seize” to prevent fouling seize-up. The magazine for the .308 is a proprietary magazine only made for this particular rifle conversion and are limited in availability. The single part firing pin is downright dangerous in its sneaky ability to cause out-of-battery firing, and slam fires, the improved two part firing pin is excessively long and must be fitted to the rifle, shortened and the tip flattened to prevent “doubling” of the cartridges. FN expected to fit or have fitted by armorers many of the rifles parts.

Quality - Very high quality FN machined construction, examples of best in first world production, sadly some of the third world countries who purchased the rifle tended to abuse and store and repair them with varying success..

Caliber/Ammunition - 7.92 Mauser, 30-06, 7 Mauser, 7.5 Mauser, 7.65 mauser, and .308 all were accurate and effective cartridges. All contracts were for large full power cartridges, some will find many if not all excessive in recoil. The two most desireable types of this series are the 30-06 and the .308/7.62 only the .308 versions have a detachable box magazine, the 30-06 was the largest produced type, but command a premium due to collectors demand and high quality condition.

Use - Accuracy is excellent if the model is not a sample of abuse, the 8mm versions were the least accurate and the .308 was the most accurate of the examples I have fired. All examples of the FN49 rifle are now surplus. The .308 version I have in my collection is the most accurate of all the full-sized cartridge chambered rifles I have fired and owned (that were not heavily modified). Uses an expensive detachable magazine, currently only available from one supplier in the US.

Current production - None, there are no current productions of this gun and it is regulated to surplus only, All the rifles of this model in circulation are part of the "collectable" market.

I consider this rifle a secondary choice (it was my personal choice - but I am disqualifying this platform for the above reasons as a primary choice) for an MBR, high price, no current production, and expensive rare magazines are a high concern and possible deal breaker. A solid rifle sadly regulated to historical interest and collector categories.


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