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Personal Critical Review of Firearms – The FN FNX Pistol

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The FN FNX Pistol (and FNP-45)

When no other company would serve the needs of J. M. Browning Fabrique Nationale d’Herstal stepped up into position in 1897. The Browning FN relationship lasted until his death, when Dieudonné Saive took JMB’s position and finished many of his projects and added many of his own, including the first staggered extended capacity pistol magazine we all use in most full sized pistols to this day.

Many years ago my first introduction to an auto-loading pistol was the JM Browning 1911a1 pistol, later I would start to favor the Dieudonné Saive P35 – the Browning HiPower pistol. Not until this newest FN pistol, the subject of this article, have I come across a real replacement for the HiPower, something with the features that would satisfy my particular requirements.

I now think that FN has actually produced the best combination of the best features of the HiPower, the Walther P38, the modern polymer pistols, and dare I say it… the 1911 (insert the correct genuflection to JM Browning as needed). The FNX is truly the lighter, faster, tougher, grandson of the HiPower. The FNX was originally the .45 acp caliber evolution of the FNP pistol containing all of the new military demands including surviving the +P 25,000 round torture test. the FNX is the further expansion of this evolution into .40 and 9mm caliber versions.

The FNX has an external serrated burr eyelet ring hammer, is double action/single action, wears a positive safety, contains a blocked hammer drop, a “half cocked” notch, and a tactile loaded chamber indicator, all wrapped with a polymer exterior over it’s skeleton like internal replaceable frame.

I did a mountain of research before I purchased my M Series pistol, I did as much or more before I dropped the cash on this new FNX pistol. I have been searching for a replacement worthy of the HiPower and more suitable and desirable than a striker-fired pistol for daily open carry. I don’t think I am exaggerating when I say that this pistol is everything – and then some – that any 1911 or HiPower fan could ever ask for.

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Note: the pictured Magazines are the new blackened stainless 17 round version, three come included with the pistol, I had a hard time finding the fourth, as supplies are low.

Personal – For my main open cary pistol I have a few simple demands:

  1. Long service life against abuse
  2. Staggered magazine of 10 or more rounds
  3. Thicker grip for a larger hand
  4. Simple operation and take-down
  5. Manual Safety
  6. Double Action/Single Action
  7. External hammer
  8. Reasonable trigger and reasonable accuracy
  9. Capable of shooting hand-loaded ammunition and lead bullets
The FNX has all of the above and more.
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The three dot sights have a lower cut-out and a larger front sight dot to make the three dots a similar size in use (distance/perspective).
Function – Using reloads, surplus, and white box, the FNX so far has had top-notch reliable function with not a single problem of any type in the short time and only 500 rounds I have sent out of the barrel. (ed. note this is now over 2000 rounds)

This pistol is in 9mm with a fully supported chamber that should prevent a glock style KB (kaboom, not all that common with 9mm to begin with) the pistol also has an integrated out of battery prevention feature. The trigger is a true DA/SA similar to a P38. All of the controls are similar to 1911, HiPower, and PPKS pistols but are better placed, larger and easy to manipulate, more comfortable, and completely ambidextrous. Take-down for cleaning is simple and fast with just a simple release lever.

The manual safety is larger and easier to use than even extended 1911 or HiPower options and in addition the gun can be loaded and unloaded and cocked while in the “safe” position and the magazine does not have to be inserted or removed to function or for take-down. The hammer drop feature (de-cocker) drops the hammer into it’s “half cock” position. When the manual safety is in position the trigger literally goes “dead” becoming just a moveable appendage with no connection to the sear disconnect.

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Safety on – all functions continue to work even with the safety activated.
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Fire
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De-cocker/hammer-drop down, hammer down.

 

Because of the external hammer and the manual safety/de-cocker this pistol can be carried “cocked and locked”, half-cock safety down in a retention holster, or half-cock safety up according to the users desires.

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Lock the slide to the rear.

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Move the take-down lever to the lower position, release the slide.
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FNX Pistol take-down for maintenance is quick and easy with just a few major parts groups.

Design flaws – The double action trigger is long and requires some force similar to a P1 or P38 but the release at the end is crisp. I think that the single action trigger is more than a bit “mushy” there is a lot of slack to be taken up and the release, while crisp, has three distinct pressures and travel distances to break while not stiff or hard it requires a lot of finger travel. On an additional note I will be writing later about a carry holster for this pistol, currently there are only two manufactures making holsters for this pistol finding a fit seems almost impossible, I found a retaining positive-lock holster, but had to make some significant modifications to make it fit correctly. The original shiny magazines of stainless steel are now blackened to a strange midnight purple/black and now have a quick secure positive lock into the well – both are features that FN changed regarding customer requests. I have seen some complaints about the polymer safety/de-cocker but it seems that the polymer is actually hiding an imbedded stainless steel support.

Quality – Fabrique Nationale Herstal of Belgium (and now South Carolina) is an old established weapons maker that cut it’s teeth manufacturing products for Browning, has supplied militaries in both world wars (even under occupation), and is known for the most widespread military pistol in the world along with the “rifle of the west” the FNFAL. This pistol is an example of quality first world “state of the art” manufacturing.

Caliber/Ammunition – Available in 9×19, .40 S&W, and .45 acp (as the FNP-45) the glaring missing caliber is .357 Sig but because FN is positioning this gun for military contracts we may not ever see other offerings, all you big-bore shooters will love the .45 version. (Ed. note, several die-hard 1911 fans I know have now switched to the FNP45USG it is a true contender for the .45 lovers.)

Use – The FNX is a full size pistol it is large and subsequently heavy and bulky for concealed carry. I believe with some excessive effort it could work as a concealed pistol, but I would never recommend it for this use. Open-carry was my intended purpose for this gun, as a daily carry on a duty belt the weight and bulk is more than reasonable. The FNX unloaded is 21.5 oz, a relative lightweight for a full size pistol. The FNX and FNP-45 are positioned as the new military pistol, rumor is circulating that FNH is gearing up to enter possible contests to unseat the 92 as a standard issue pistol. (Ed. note this is now old news and while the military continues to love the mediocre we as civilians now have a few additional choices on the market.)

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The polymer wrapping is actually not the “frame” as you can see here the skeleton frame inside of the polymer. Note: the cock, half-cock, and out-of-battery prevention lever.

Ergonomics – Ergonomic design is likely the most excellent for large hands like mine that I have ever tried in the 9mm caliber, only the FNP-45 is slightly better. The FNX has a set of four slide-in rear palm inserts with thick and thin profile and two textures. This handgun points naturally and is intended as combat-ready for quick target leveling and fulfilling military requirements.

Current production – Production of the FNX is centered at the FNH factory in South Carolina. The US factory produces all of the models from US made parts, current production is in full swing but because of the relative newness of the design used examples are not common. Accessories like holsters are few an far except the standard mount attachments that are universal.

Categories: .45 ACP, 9 mm, Blogging, Firearm Overview, Firearm Review, Firearms, Handguns, Pistol, Prepper Info, Prepping | Leave a comment

Personal Critical Review of Firearms – HK91 and PTR91 (HK91 Clone)

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Personal – My personal first choice for caliber, inexpensive magazines and reliability, UGLY but funky-retro space-gun cool. Made for large individuals with large hands with heavy winter clothing on (short butt stock). My favorite trick with the HK91 here at the heretic abode is to add a bit of braided para cord to the charging handle, it makes a quick grab even with thick winter gloves.

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Function – Reliable function second only to the AK, so reliable that it is often referred to as the “Kraut Kalashnokov” or the “AK of the West”. I have personally fired my HK91’s in sub-zero temps, and also sopping wet with slime in 100 plus temps with the only malfunctions based on ammo. Weak charges will stove pipe, and bullets over 190 grains can cause excessive recoil and shake the next bullet out of the magazine in front of the bolt causing a double fed or have a cartridge folded in half by the bolt face as it turns sideways.

Design flaws – No bolt hold open, poor ergonomics for small hands and arms, poor heavy trigger (without modification), fluted chamber engraves brass this does not make it un-reloadable contrary to stories you hear on the internet. The PTR91 “GI/Special edition” will have the odd brass chewer that dents the side of the case – an ejection port buffer fixes this and changes the direction of ejection to forward 2-3 O’clock.

Rifle has extremely violent fired case ejection – woe to anyone on the right of the shooter to catch one on the noggin! (I have a scar on my forehead from a friend who moved while shooting from a bench).Felt recoil is higher with this delayed blow-back system.

Press-formed sheet steel construction is heavier than some other metals (and stronger) and because it is formed into shapes a large enough blow or crushing force to the steel can cause deformation that can lead to malfunctions, most knocks can be “ironed out” some with common tools and severe dents with special internal forms. With decades of military service including Africa, the design holds its own in even the worst of conditions and care, including possible dents.

There is some debate that states it is possible that the G3/HK91 was specifically designed to work with brass cased cartridges, and that firing steel cased ammunition can damage rifle parts and excessively wear the throat of the barrel. It is possible that if the steel case shows signs of excessive amounts of hot gas jetting past the flutes in the chamber and into the case shoulder this could erode the metal in that area. There was some indication that the German engineers actually designed the G3 rifle to handle not only full power cartridges but also cheep steel cased ammo with a very wide range of acceptable powder burn rates in the 4895 category.

Quality – While the construction of the frame is of relatively inexpensive precisely formed steel, contrary to internet ignorance “stamped steel” does not equate to low quality but rather inexpensive production, most car frames are made of formed steel, even the “muscle cars” of US production were of formed steel. Both the HK and PTR clone’s internal parts are very high quality construction, interchangeable and examples of first world production. The last of the PTR rifles to arrive in the collection had a Rheinmetall AG bolt carrier!

Caliber/Ammunition – .308 an accurate and effective cartridge, one of my favorites, easy to reload, but is a large full power cartridge and some consider it excessive in recoil (this recoil is heightened in the HK system). .308/7.62 is one of the most popular cartridges for rifles in the US and high quality commercial and surplus ammunition is widely available. While on a related subject the HK91/G3 uses one of the best designed and reliable .308 box magazines ever produced, currently there are several high quality choices the older steel (heavy but very tough), aluminum, and then the polymer magazines (the only magazine from this company I would recommend and the Thermold magazines count for US compliance parts).

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Use – Accuracy out of the box will be good to excellent (suffering somewhat from the heavy “drop proof” pull of the original trigger), the trigger can be adjusted or worked by companies like Williams Trigger Specialties (an excellent “set trigger” I use is available) and Bill Springfield. There are services available where the action can be stiffened and attachments such as the SuperTune to dial in loadings. The HK91 uses the least expensive detachable magazine available in the US market, there are steel, polymer, and aluminum magazines readily available. I am on my original locking rollers and have cooked off thousands of rounds (over 7k) on my current original HK made rifle. A must addition to this rifle on top of the para-cord handle is the Tac-Latch to replace the removed magazine release from the back of the magazine well (the Tac-Latch returns the rifle to the easy either-hand/two hand operated magazine release).

Current production – PTR is considered the highest quality clone in current production, repair parts are widely available, but HK stopped official production years ago forcing the existing HK produced rifles in circulation into the “collectable” market.

I consider this rifle a first and primary choice for a current MBR, high price is a possible concern with the true HK build collectable rifles, but when considering the inexpensive magazines, the total price can be lower than expected (I consider 8 a minimum of magazines per rifle). Because the Special Edition “GI” PTR91 clone is the least expensive .308 except the .308 AK from Saiga and the used magazines are so inexpensive it is difficult to find a better deal.

Categories: .308 / 7.62 x 51, Blogging, Firearm Overview, Firearm Review, Firearms, Hunting, Main Battle Rifle, MBR, Prepper Info, Prepping, Primary Rifle, Rifles | 2 Comments

Personal Critical Review – Savage Mark II FV-SR Bolt action .22 LR rifle

Personal Critical Review – Savage Mark II FV-SR Bolt action .22 LR rifle




Personal – I have posted in the past about how the lowly .22 lr is my “secret sin,” to this day the simple act of hunting, shooting or plinking with .22 firearms is my “hands down” favorite way to spend my shooting time.

In the last few years I have been spending quite a bit of money and time thinking about, researching, testing and shooting to find the “best .22 rifle” for prepping. I am never sure just what makes something “the best” because the subjective nature of our personal bias and the almost endless applications that could be applied to test “the best” it is an enigma.

Because I was never happy with the accuracy of the semi-auto rifles I got rid of all but two and replaced them with bolt action rifles two of them you see above.

I habitually and continually end up with the bolt action .22 rifles again and again. Even with the recent and mostly successful try with the Marlin autoloading .22 rifles – the accuracy was just not in the same class with the bolt actions.

Function – Mongo grab bolt, Mongo turn bolt, Mongo pull trigger with bugger hook, fire stick go BOOM there is something elegant in the simple function of the bolt action rifles.

The top rifle is wearing a 3×9 one inch Nikon Buckmasters and the bottom rifle in green is attached to a fixed 6 power scope with a 30 mm tube. The rifles come with the plastic stocks shown, but the colors we added later.

The Savage is simply excellent in it’s reliable function, the five round magazine fed without scraping or deformation and sent the rounds perfectly into the chamber.

This Savage .22 is similar to just about any other bolt action I have ever fired with one BIG addition, this rifle features an over-sized bolt handle that has proved to be worthy of mentioning and making a big review point about.

Check out that Weaver/Picatinny type rail mount, that comes with the factory rifle.


Quality – Top notch high quality fluted barrel, the magazine release is a bit cheesy as is the cheep plastic stock. We were forced to use sand paper an a big dowel to sand out the barrel channel in the cheep stock to get a reliable free-float. The Savage Mark II FV-SR has a steel receiver made of good quality material as is the bolt itself. Both the receiver and bolt are a bit typical in the lack of refined edge de-burring, finishing work, and polish (I guess we just cannot expect what was normal in the 1950’s). The magazine is made of steel and is of high quality and as described works great.


Caliber/Ammunition – .22 LR is comparatively inexpensive ammunition with almost no recoil. Of course bulk-box .22 LR is available at any big-box store great fun for the range and can be reasonably accurate. If you choose target grade ammunition try out several types, speed, weight and brand for accuracy that is often hard to believe. High velocity .22 LR is effective for hunting and available in hollow points that actually work at shorter ranges.

Did I mention accurate – how about 10 rounds at 25 yards… I added that green square to gauge the measurement, that is an inch! This target was punched with a premium target-grade lead bullet selection, the best of 12 different brands, weights, and speeds (FPS) we tested.


Use – Easy to strip and clean, but the main attractant is the adjustable “Accu-trigger” I cannot say how impressed I have been with this addition to Savage products, it takes this little bolt action to the next level. One nice touch is that this particular rifle comes with a STANDARD scope mount already factory installed anything is better than the stupid air gun cuts that are normal.


Current production – Available now, have your local gun shop – order yourself one.


Additional points – This is a silencer ready rifle with threads at the end of the barrel for 1/2 28 and are machined true to the barrel (important to prevent baffle strikes). I was never a big fan of “silencers” I remember the ones from the 1980’s as heavy, easy to damage, and just not all that effective (far louder than any of the movie crap). I have several friends and two relatives that have become “converts” to the “brotherhood of science” and took the plunge and got the BATFE stamp – I am suitably impressed with the modern silencers available now that I am considering filling out paperwork myself. Below is the little rifle with a typical AR birdcage used here to protect the threads.

Categories: .22 Long Rifle, Blogging, Firearm Overview, Firearm Review, Firearms, Hunting, Prepper Info, Prepping, Rifles | 4 Comments

Personal Critical Review of Firearms – Bolt action .22 LR rifle

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Personal – Almost my secret sin, if given a choice I would love to blow a thousand rounds at the range with a bolt action .22… It takes almost all day to cook off that much ammo, but it sure is fun.. and great for kids. Millions of squirrels have been taken for the pot with bolt .22 rifles, I tried to take as many as I could with my turn bolt as a young kid… If you do not have a .22 rifle you should get one, in the long run most likely to most productive way to get small game for the table, from birds to rabbit if it sits still for a split second it is pot meat… A good quality manufactured example should last a lifetime.

Function – Excellent reliable function if reasonably made, Mongo turn bolt, Mongo pull trigger with bugger hook, fire stick go BOOM. Ok, so not every .22 is that easy, well, actually it is, almost, let’s start with the bad one first –

Romanian M-69 .22LR Training Rifle – The worst of the lot, lots of flaws. For starters, it is ugly and poorly finished, I had two because they were so inexpensive, and they shared problems… Trigger was crap, and the spring for the firing pin must have been of low strength because about every ten rounds you would have to cock it a second time to fire (both rifles were like this). Reasonable to good accuracy when you don’t mangle a bullet from the magazine to the barrel, this happened almost every round. Sold them don’t miss them.

Russian Tula TOZ-78, Winchester Wildcat – my current go to general use .22, when I get a chance to hunt small game or just shoot short range off hand this is the rifle I pull out of the safe first. The trigger is adjustable and is crisp and smooth almost as good as the Remington (listed below). This is now imported as the Winchester Wildcat bolt action rifle. I purchased this rifle in its original Russian format – the Wildcat is a modified version of this rifle with non-adjustable trigger typical cheep stamped sights (worse than the russian sights) and a bit nicer wood stock.

Norinco JW15 – I miss this rifle, I sold it and would love to find a second one (if I could find a good price) accuracy on par with the Tula, but the trigger was not as nice, and the bolt not as smooth in operation. Safety was awkward and rough in operation but better than the Romanian rifle.

Marlin Model 980S – I gave this rifle to a member of the family, it is an excellent .22 with excellent accuracy. Stainless model was almost maintenance free, the trigger was acceptable, but could be much better.

Remington 513 Matchmaster – A CMP rifle that is the best NON SPECIALIZED .22 I have ever fired, accuracy is superior with premium target .22 lr it will shoot tighter than 1/2 MOA.

Design flaws – Strangely almost all .22 bolt guns share one particular problem, feeding the small rounds from a magazine into the bore often results in the bullet scraping the top of the entry port and sometimes shaving some lead off or mangling the bullet, however Marlin figured this out I do not know how but the Marlin clip fed bolt actions do not do this, I think it is the magazine design.

Romanian M-69 – The feed ramp and magazine are poorly designed and lots of lead would get shaved off the bullet going into the barrel or the bullet would get bent out of the casing (if you were not watching) the safety was awkward to the point of unusable and the magazine was of poor design and function. Typical eastern sights of very poor quality a hooded front post and square slot rear “flip up” range selection. Magazine catch lever was primitive bent spring metal.

Russian Tula TOZ-78 – A relatively smooth working action. The stock is a bright wood, I cover it with a slip on camo cover when needed. Light and accurate but shares a similar feed issue with the Romanian .22 you have to be careful when pushing the cartridge into the chamber so as not to shave off lead. A little work on the feed ramp and port are necessary, the plastic magazine works well but the rifle only had one magazine and I cannot find a spare. I would like better rear sights, but they work well for typical russian Post and square notch with turning rear to adjust for elevation by 25 meter increments. I don’t like the placement of the safety at the bottom front side of the magazine well, but you can get to it with the left hand while holding it. The magazine release button is a dedicated part in front of the magazine/trigger guard projection piece and is awkward due to placement inside a slotted front section.

Norinco JW15 – Stiff action, simple construction, a typical Chinese copy of a european rifle (BRNOish) sights were crappy, but the rifle worked nicely with an inexpensive scope, similar to the Marlin. Magazine catch and release lever is a primitive bent spring assembly that takes a dedicated finger or thumb pressure.

Marlin Model 980S – Stiff action, but solid and simple, with a simple bent sheet metal extractor and guide. This rifle has a cheesy synthetic stock, but it is light weight and functional. Similar to the norinco the magazine catch is primitive and takes a dedicated finger or thumb to release.

Remington 513 Matchmaster – Smooth bolt action with excellent machining, excellent trigger, mediocre plastic magazine, heavy – in fact, far too heavy for reasonable carry for small game hunting, this is a full featured target rifle. Magazine catch is also primitive for a rifle this well manufactured.

Only the Remington had a full length stock comfortable for full sized male shooters, the Tula and Marlin were close and function in that regard well enough.

Quality – Varying quality from basement construction to top notch… They can go from reasonable accuracy to superior and from poor fit and finish to first world commercial quality. Buy what you can afford, past the bargain basement versions unless restricted by budget. Any of the listed rifles are good utilitarian choices that would serve well as field rifles (Except the heavy target Remington).

Caliber/Ammunition – .22 LR is very inexpensive ammunition with almost no recoil, even the bulk box .22 LR can be reasonably accurate. If you choose target grade ammunition they can be shocking in accuracy, high velocity rounds can be effective in hunting even larger game with proper placement. In backwoods areas many whitetail deer were dropped with head shots using the .22 LR (that was actually legal at one time).

Use – Easy to strip and clean (not that you need to at all with non corrosive .22 LR) EVERY collection should have at least one.

Current production – The Tula (as the Wildcat), and Marlin rifles are under current production.

I consider the .22 rifle a necessary utilitarian tool, too many brands to name are in current production, and they are popular, easy to find, and inexpensive to buy and feed. They make adult and child models and make a great trainer and hunting tool. Many excellent models are available that I have not listed here almost any name brand in the US will have at least one offering of .22LR in a bolt action.

Watch for my next post about a new offering from Savage!

Categories: .22 Long Rifle, Blogging, Firearm Overview, Firearm Review, Firearms, Hunting, Prepper Info, Prepping, Rifles | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Personal Critical Review of Firearms – The MAS 49/56 rifle

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MAS 49/56
(Manufacture Nationale d’Armes de St-Etienne models MAS 38-39/40, 44, 49, 49/56)

History(A new category I should have added earlier on other rifles in the series.) Most people don’t know how influential the French were on gun design and military adoption of new ideas, it was the French that were the first to use smokeless gunpowder, first to introduce a boat-tailed bullet, introduced the tilting block and the direct impingement system to the gun world thus giving rise to the SVT40, SKS45, FN49, FNFAL, Ljungman, Hakim, Rasheed, and of course the AR-15/M-16 and others. Owners of both will note how similar the M1 Garand trigger group is to the MAS, as both rifles trigger groups are modified from the French Le fusil automatique de 8 mm RSC modele 1917/18 rifle. Garand born in Quebec from a French speaking family was familiar with the French RSC 1917/18 design. Garand was involved with US attempts to adapt the RSC 18 design to the 30.06 cartrridge at Springfield Arsenal moving many of the design features to what would become the M1 rifle.

Like the FN49 development of the MAS rifles was interrupted by WWII the French were able to keep the weapon development away from the Germans – so well in fact, they lost information and after the occupation they were forced to reverse engineer their own rifles from prototypes (a story in itself). The MAS 38/39 and 40 rifle had a fixed magazine and was produced in small numbers as prototypes. The MAS 40 was adopted for French service in March 1940 but the war was to stop further plans until parts of France were no longer under German control.

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The MAS 38/39/40 rifle
Production is estimated at less than 60 rifles total including prototypes.


The MAS 40 and early rifles were used as a base for the next development in the series, the MAS 44 rifle, notably adding the detachable magazine. The MAS 44 rifle was produced in limited numbers starting near the end of WWII The MAS 40 and MAS 44 are very rare, the 40 unavailable and the 44 commanding collector prices.

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The MAS 44 rifle
Total production 6,200 rifles.


The MAS 44 series of rifles was modified and improved in the late 1940’s into the MAS 49 (with the detachable magazine, better metallurgy, and other features).

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The MAS 49 rifle
Total production 20,600 rifles.


The MAS 49 was the main rifle of the heavy conflicts in French Indo-China and Algeria where the MAS 49 and MAS 49/56 rifles became particularly identified (to outside observers) with the French Foreign Legion troops. The MAS 49/56 rifle was the main rifle of all branches of the French military until the adoption of the FAMAS bulpup rifle.

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The MAS 49/56 rifle
275,240 rifles of the MAS 49/56 model were produced for the French Military.


Personal – I wish my first experience with this rifle would have been the original French 7.5×54 French cartridge, the MAS 49/56 is known as one of the most reliable military rifles ever fielded by any military. Sadly there was a batch of Century Arms imported MAS 49/56 rifles that were “converted” to use the .308/7.62×51 NATO round and my first experiences with this rifle were mixed because of the mixed quality of the conversions. The “rabid angry one-eyed beavers” at Century Arms produced a series of conversions of the MAS 49/56 that are known for function problems in well over 1/2 of the rifles that were converted. I would have no problem recommending this rifle if in it’s original form, converted or repaired by a good gunsmith.

The MAS 49/56 is a short handy rifle that is accurate for it’s size, it is heavy at about 8 1/2 pounds but the weight makes the recoil more manageable, honestly the size makes the rifle very handy, for a daily carry in a pouch in a car or truck, on an ATV or even on horseback or hiking it could make itself quite useful.

If you have a McCann Industries or other competent gunsmith conversion the rifle is excellent, if one of the Century Arms conversions they are plagued with failure to chamber, eject, and extract problems, along with the typical slam-fire incidents inherent with the all too common military rifle “free floating” firing pin and (more impact sensitive) commercial primers. I will review caliber conversion choices later in this article.

I have to put this rifle in a second tier choice for a preparedness rifle if in it’s original 7.5×54 French round because of the lack of availability of ammunition.

Sadly the rifle is rare in the United States and as a consequence some spare parts, and aftermarket accessories are low in number and can be difficult to find, yet 10 round magazines, and basic parts are available (or can be modified from other rifles parts.

Function – Will be reasonable to marginal with the Century Arms conversion, and Excellent to superb with good conversions and in it’s original unmodified 7.5×54 form.

Design flaws – This rifle has a direct impingement gas system, in this rifle it is not necessarily a design flaw, because the bolt carrier is “in the open” the collection of powder fowling and heat that plague the “closed” action of the AR10 and M-16 family of rifles does not come into play. The rifle is a hefty 8 1/2 pounds, a bit heavy for the size and length. The stock has a short “length of pull” (a short butt-stock) that can be uncomfortably short unless in excessively heavy and thick winter clothing or bulky web gear, basically the stock is too short for the average statured American and almost ridiculous to tall and long armed gorillas like myself.

Quality – First world, all machined, good to excellent quality construction, machining, and metal finish when originally produced. The fact is that because the MAS 49/56 are examples of military surplus, the range of “use and abuse” can be quite vast.

Many consider the Century Arms conversions to be so badly butchered that the price of repair is too high to justify buying the rifle (I would disagree), but if you intend to modify the rifle then you may want to consider a CA conversion because any collectors value the rifle may have had was spoiled in the modification.

Caliber/Ammunition – 7.5×54 French is an accurate full power battle rifle cartridge, like all other full powered military rifle rounds it is often considered excessive in recoil. Suitable for large and smaller game the 7.5×54 French is as useful as .308 Win. but suffers in the US due to lack of availability (rareness).

Conversions in Caliber/Ammunition – Because the rifle was direct impingement and can even be modified to make the system adjustable, many gunsmiths have used this rifle for conversions into other more common cartridges used in the US. The most popular MAS 49/56 rifle cartridge conversion is of course is the 7.5×54 to .308 Win./7.62×51 modification. With only minimal modifications the MAS 49/56 has been converted to .250 Savage, .308 Win., .243 Win., and a host of other “one-ofs” that have a similar base/extractor rim and a similar or shorter length. Basically the design of the MAS 49/56 rifle lends itself to a relatively simple conversion with a new or modified barrel, gas adjustment fabrication, extractor modification, bolt face modification, and other minor parts like springs. If a gunsmith can change a barrel in a Mauser they can modify the MAS 49/56. How cool would it be to have a short little semi-auto brush gun that is more accurate and more powerful than an SKS in about the same size?

Use – Accuracy with an original example or a well done conversion will be on par with any first world production military rifle, in other words better than the average shooter can utilize. The MAS 49/56 uses a simple detachable magazine that is available on-line and some users have modified FNFAL magazines for use with this rifle. The The MAS 49/56 magazine is a short 10 round alternating dual stack formation that has the catch latch attached to the magazine itself, this locks into the side of the receiver and makes it very easy to remove and change magazines with one hand.

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Current Production -This rifle is surplus only but examples are still available from private owners and gun show dealers, future import of more examples is possible, as several batches have entered into the US periodically.

I personally would consider this rifle a second tier choice for an MBR, but only because of the ammunition and limited magazine capacity, a good example using .308 and modified to use standard capacity magazines would place this higher, and even the magazine capacity of 10 rounds is not particularly troubling.

An excellent trunk gun, brush rifle, or hunting rifle.

A company, McCann Industries provides an interesting MAS 49-56 Receiver Conversion

Categories: Blogging, Firearm Overview, Firearm Review, Firearms, Prepper Info, Rifles, Second Amendment Rights | 5 Comments

Added home base

Due to the censorship on all the Google products, this is the first page of a second base for material that may need to move from my former haunts.

Enjoy now folks – its coming.

Categories: Blogging, Politics | Leave a comment

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