Monday, April 4, 2011

The SAFN 49 rifle in 7.62x51


I looked for about 3 years for a good .30-06 or the .308 conversion, both came up at the same time and I opted for the .308 with six magazines and a cracked stock for $950 over a .30-06 Luxembourg for $1300, the .30-06 was a far second choice, but would have gotten one in that caliber if I had found a good one for 700-1000.

A batch of about 1000 of the .308 versions came in in the late 90's and a second batch of 1000 in 2003, I missed both, the second batch was selling for about $650 each with a bayonet...

The FN49 is the last of the machined, wooden stocked, MBR's and is the direct father of the FNFAL, the shared features are quickly obvious.

The FN49 came in more calibers than any other military rifle and was sold directly from FN on a contract basis to each of the individual countries, and even a few individuals, police forces and companies while in production.

The wiki has some of the information wrong, FN did not modify the bulk of the Argentine rifles, in fact FN only converted ONE as a test on order from the Argentine Navy... The full contract to conversion was produced by Metalurgica Centro/Halcon in Argentina. They did a nice job and at first I thought the stamped numbers indicated an FN job, no, MCH copied the stampings and matched the rifles to the conversion parts. Every rifle in the Argentine contract except a few samples purchased by individuals and museums was converted - over five thousand.

The contracts were Argentine, Belgian, Belgian Congo, Brazilian, Colombian, Egyptian, Indonesian, Luxembourg, Luxembourg Police, and Venezuelan, there were Sniper versions and many prototypes, presentation models and special orders for small orders even some individuals...

K-mart sold quite a few for less than 100 bucks (69.99 I think) in the 30-06 versions...

Except for the 2000 plus .308 in Argentina and the bulk of the Indonesian contract almost every other contract rifle was destroyed in war/conflicts, or sold to private individuals, I would risk a guess that over 80% are here in the states in private collections.

Dieudonne Saive patented what would become this rifle in 1936, worked on prototypes then due to the war it was not to hit the production floor until 1948... He would use many of the concepts and functioning of this patent in the FN FAL...

While the Fn49 did not see as much combat as other rifles, it was involved in many local conflicts in contract countries, and can be seen in many third world hot spots. The Argentine version was involved in the Coup attempt, and heavily involved in the civil war/September rebellion. All Belgian troops in Korea (Once assigned to the US 3rd Infantry support) were issued the FN49 in .30-06. The Belgians also used the FN49 in the first stages of the Congo Civil War. The Belgians have a habit of keeping rifles in small individual armories and many FN49 rifles ended up in "hot spots" in Africa because of the Congo armories. In the Congo there was a chance where the FN49 rifles from FOUR countries and several calibers could have come into the same conflict...

The conversion of the FN49 in Argentina was AFTER the adoption of the FN FAL, they were regulated from the Army to the Navy and placed on ships... Later to inact caliber compatibility they were converted to .308. They use a modified magazine that is unique to the conversion and is expensive, the top was cut and formed to use the standard metric FN FAL stripper clip charger/loader.

The .308 barrel is 23 inches and has a twist of 1 in 12 inches and the 30-06 is 1 in 10... the .308 versions have chrome lined barrels and chambers (is nice yes?)... the gas piston tube and gas piston are not chromed (boo).

I is an exceptionally accurate rifle that is as reliable as the FN FAL (with some modifications). Will it stay in the collection? I do not know.

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