Tag Archives: FN

Rumormill: FN to release a semi-auto M249 SAW?

I saw this over on SoldierSystems.net. While I think it is cool that FN would do this, I really can’t imagine this being a big seller.

As a light machine gun, the SAW isn’t a bad gun. But as a semi-auto, it is going to be large, heavy, most likely expensive. Cleaning the SAW is annoying. I wont be getting one, but I hope anyone who does enjoys it.

FN AR15s (FN15) have been announced.


The rumors were true, FN is going to sell AR15s to the public.

Shawn often points out how ironic it is that several of the companies making rifles competing with the AR15 also make AR15s.  FN AR15 is a competitor to its own SCAR and FS2000 rifles.  Sig’s ARs are competition for their 55X series of rifles, Steyr is making an AR, Etc.  Clearly these companies know where the money is.

I will most likely buy a FN15 rifle because I carried a FN M16A4 in Iraq.  In Iraq I often thought how if FN has sold the rifle I carried to the public how bad the reviews of the fit and finish would be.  The lower was anodized purple (ditto for the Knights Rail).  The markings on the side looked like they were made with an electro-pencil.  Then forging flash so sharp I could cut myself on it.  I do imagine that the new commercial rifles will be a little nicer looking otherwise consumers may choose to buy elsewhere.

At this point I don’t know what the price will be.  If they are not cheap, I don’t think people will be flocking to pick up a FN15.  Even so, it is nice to see another AR15 on the market.

FN USA PBR A Good First Light Sniper/Tactical Rifle

A lot of people over the last 10 years or so have become interested in long range precision shooting. One of the simple facts of life when it comes to precision shooting at ranges past 700 yards is that the rifles often cost a lot of money. There is a huge mind boggling selection of rifles to pick from these days. You can have your choice of full custom, semi custom factory rifles, plain factory rifles meant to fill the need and factory rifles worked over to provide the desired results. A lot of people do not understand there is a big difference between a target rifle for LR shooting and true tactical or sniper rifles.  I submit to you that they are all three different levels all together.  One type is meant to shoot accurately while being treated gently. The other is to be treated like you wish you could treat your sister in law  over years and still deliver an acceptable level of accuracy. It would surprise a lot of people to know  military sniper rifles often do not shoot to the same level as a Camp perry target rifle. But thats OK. it does not need to. It just needs to shoot that good all the time no matter what you do to it.  In a later article I will go into more depth on precision rifles and long range since this is a topic a lot of people want to know about but assume it is way more difficult then it really is.  Do not let it fool you. Making hits at 1,000 yards is not as hard as it may seem. And often you can get it done with a semi auto A type rifle faster and cheaper then what you can with a worked up bolt gun. Again, I will make the case later.

Now I would like to take  a look at what I believe to be  a great starter rifle for those wanting to start the craft and a even more useful  general purpose  heavy recce to use a phrase borrowed from Howard.

The rifle I am going to talk about is the FN USA  Patrol Bolt Rifle.  Everyone who knows anything about me, knows I love and prefer the Winchester pre 64 controlled round feed action and the FN  uses this action. Winchester and FN are pretty much the same thing these days and have been working close even before the New Haven plant went tango uniform. The result of this was the FBI bought a few  heavy snipers from FN  using the Model 70.  A side project resulted in a neat little gun  that everyone should take a look at.  The PBR  is no longer made and called the PBR but FN still makes it with a few slight changes. I will refer to it as the PBR because that is what I have but it can be bought still, just under another name.

The PBR came and the current model comes with a Hogue over molded stock, same as the M700 ACC model. The difference is the PBR has a full length bedding block. If you do not know about this  feature, it is meant to take the place of glass or devcon or marineTex ing the action in the stock. To keep the action from moving in the stock and increasing the rigidity. Along with free floating the barrel this helps keep the gun more consistant and so more accurate.  Bedding blocks are poo pooed by some but for what the PBR is meant to do, it is acceptable.  The stock is not the most comfy but  for a gun meant to be issued out to a wide variety of  LEO or whatever, it is not bad at all. Some even really like it. I find the rubber coating wants to catch on everything on my body and make it slow to handle some times. thats OK because it is not meant for 3 gun slinging.

A really nice touch that FN provides is the one piece picatinny Near MFG scope base with cant for aiding zeroing to longer ranges. A lot of people who start out in long range shooting  do not know just how important the base and rings are to the system. I prefer bases made by Badger Ord but again, it is more then enough for what this is meant for and you can always change it as you want. I recommend using it for a long time until yuou are good enough to know exactly what  you need.

To mount the scope to the base I used Leupold MK4 rings and a ancient tactical Leupold MRT  10x with mildot reticule that was meant for paring with the M700 PSS rifles back in the late 90s. It is still a fine optic and if you can get one i suggest trying it out. The specs are 3.5x-10x with  1/4 inch target turrets and a 40mm objective lens.  I also added a synthetic  Military sling and harris  BR model Bipods.

The barrel on the PBR is 24 inch chrome moly with fluting and a recessed crown to protect it from morons who do not pay attention. Unlike the FBI model, the barrel is not chrome lined.  The taper on the barrel is pretty steep so it is not as heavy as a straight taper  HBAR used on Winchester sharpshooter IIs or the FN SPR A3G.

The PBR also has the nice feature of a detachable box magazine. The mag holds 4 in it and is made of SS and ejects cleanly and sharp from the rifle. It is well made but hard to load rounds into it. Not a big deal once you get used to it but a pain anyway. Spare mags can be had from brownells fro about 44 bucks a pop.

As I said above, the action is the pre 64 model 70 so it has the huge external extractor. A lot of people like the M700 more and say that  the extractor on a M700 will not break. I am here to tell you that is pure BS. I have had four M700 extractors break on me over the years.  They will and can break off.  The M70 holds the case as it picks it up and strips it off the mag and feeds it. It will extract it out of the chamber or rip the head off  and because of the solid metal ejector, you can eject the empty as hard or soft as you want/need. One benefit of this is you can work the bolt in any position and not worry about feeding problems. As much as I love the M70 I can not see this as a real advantage as I have never been able to induce at malfunction  in a m700  in any position as long as I worked the bolt.  with purpose.   On a gun meant for very hard use in ways that may get you killed, I like the controlled round feed ( CRF ) and so do the vast majority of dangerous game hunters in Africa.

The action of the PBR is as smooth as most of its type and is very unlikely to bind. The rifle is very handy and I see it as a perfect scouting rifle or  light sniper that would be good for riding in the trunk until you need it. The new versions come with  barrels as short as 16 inches so adding a can would make for a very handy suppressed sniping rifle for urban use. In fact, I feel this is very close to being a perfect urban sniper  as far as bolt guns go. The barrel has a 1/12 twist so it will handle up to a 175 match round. Some always want a 1/10 and of course if you can a 1/10 get it, but the USMC has done alright with a 1/12 for years if that settles your nerves over it.

I have shot several PBRs out to  as far as 800 yards over the years and found them to preform my demands. It is not perfect for this role or the most comfortable. Nor is it put together with the right parts or intended to really be a long range head shooter. If you imagine the PBR as having the same role as a MK12  or a recce but as a bolt gun I think you will be close to what this gun best fits as.

The rifle is very accurate though and with proper ammo, hits out to 800 yards or easy. 1,000 yard hits are not out of the question but do not get all twisted out of shape if its not as easy as you would hope. There is a little more to it then a 308 rifle with a heavy barre. But not as much more as you may think!! More on this later as I said.

After putting it together and shooting it some and checking out ammo selection etc. I set up at 100 yards to get a cold bore group to see how solid the system would be. I think 3 rounds  is a good test of this gun since it is not truly a target or sniper rifle, but something in between.

This is a three round group from 10 yards using Black Hills match 175 grain HPBT.  Point of impact is exactly point of aim. I am very happy with this as I am sure you can imagine.  I intend to use the PBR as a light mid range sniper and sort of a small to deer size  hunting rifle. It is easy to move with, lighter then my Sharpshooter II and shorter. Its not as comfortable in prone, but that is just fine I gave up the gravel belly days a while ago and need something a little better for more common field shooting or from the harris bipods. One day I will get a McMillan HTG stock like used on the M40A1 rifle, but maybe I won’t if the hogue proves solid enough.

If you want to start out in the Long range shooting hobby but also want something you could hunt with easier  or carry easily across the suburb while being out of sight after the end of the world. The PBR or its current incarnation is a great place to start. If you want to move on to more custom, you can save the action to build from. I always  advise using the Model 70 for a sniper rifle and this is a good way to start and give  you more then the M700 AAC model which is very close to being the same.

Sig 716 and the SCAR-H

Yesterday I got a chance to handle, grope, fondle, caress , smell and taste both of these 7.62 rifles.  I have not had a chance to shoot them both yet since they had just arrived but I did get to play with them for a pretty good while.  Both of these are fairly new to the market compared to other rifles in their niche like the M14/M1A , FAL and  G3 etc.  But I can say  in my opinion, they are better choices  over these older models…..for now.

I do not mean to spend this write up crapping on the M14 and the M14 boys club  but the ’14 was really  too little too late before it even hit the G.I’s hands.   I would hope few people reading this would argue the ergonomics of the older 30 cal battle rifles is no where near the newer generation.

The Sig is the newest of the two and it is the one I took a look at first.

The first thing I thought when I got it in it my hands was that it seemed heavier then the LMT MWS.  I did not have the MWS next to  it to check, but it did strike me as heavier.  And then I realized of course it is, the extra piston  parts would make it seem heavier up front even if it was not.  The Sig weighs  a touch over  9 pounds.  The Lower was ambi except the safety and to me thats the most important part I want ambi.. I see a day when few people will want something that is not ambi if they intend to use it in a serious social manner.  The rail felt good in the hand and had plenty of QD sockets. Sig added the Magpul  ACS stock which is their answer to the SOPMOD I suppose, and it is a pretty good alternative to the pricey SOPMOD but with better battery access.

It also had the magpul grip and came with the popular 308 Pmag that can be had for 17-18 bucks if you look around. The Pmag is the  SR25   KAC patter and not the  M14 type used by most armalite models.  The SR25 ( M110 SWS ) pattern is becoming the standard despite what some may or may not like.  This is important and I will get to it latter.  But suffice it to say  that the KAC M110 uses this pattern and it is in the Mil system along with the LMT  MWS used by the British in their DMR role.  SO it is the “standard”  7.62 AR mag for the near future at least.

The gas system can be removed in the typical for AR15 P  rifles way.  It has a 4 position regulator on it that way some  jackass can be sure to put it on the wrong setting when you are not looking or to allow you to adjust it for a suppressor And oddly enough has a bayonet lug on it. I do not know why anyone cares about the bayonet in the civilian and LEO world, but some still do.  I have to say I did not care for the iron sights on the rifle but few will leave the factory provided ones on long anyway.  They both fold  when not needed.  The barrel is 16 inches and has a 1/10 twist. I believe this to be a better choice to the 1/12 on a lot of bolt guns since it allows heavier bullets to be used.

I took the gun apart and looked it over up in them guts. Trigger is all milspec and can be expected to feel like a milspec trigger. But thats OK. A rifle meant to see abuse is no place for a Camp perry trigger.   The BCG however was a nice surprise. It was coating in something that made it as slick as snot on a pump house door. I mean slick.  I have no idea what the coating is right now. I was told it is the same as used on the LWRC and since Sig was sued by LWRC, this is likely. Sorry to say I am too lazy to look it up to find the specs of the coating.  The carrier also had cuts in it to shed weight or to collect crude. Probably for weight saving but they would work  in both ways I am sure.  For people in love with pistons currently you should take note of this. Since the MFG thought their piston rifle needed a miracle coating on the bolt that should tell you not all the hype some companies spread is true. All weapons need lube and this was a really nice touch.

Over all I liked the Sig fairly well. I even thought it felt better  and handled better then the SIg 5.56 piston AR oddly enough.  Sig has had some problems with their quality control recently so do keep that in mind. Though the guns sell for around 1700 and that is a great deal for a 7.62  Ar rifle and a piston to boot if you want a piston this would be a better starter weapon then the MWS.

The next rifle is the SCAR-H , beloved by  SOCOM/SEAL groupies and call of duty players throughout the universe. This is the 1st H I have had a chance to play with and I really wanted to like the SCAR H. In fact before I heard about the LE901, this was the gun I gave series thought to getting,  It is what I consider the closet thing to a modern “battle rifle”  in the older sense of the name. The Sig is more of a carbine in 30 caliber I Sig pretty much confirms that its no DM rifle but the SCAR is touted as a sniper rifle among some on the internet. Of course that doe not make it so, but  you know how that it.

I hate to have to come on here and write some stuff less then flattering about the gun I wanted to like  but it is what it is. I am sure the gun is reliable but it has a few down sides.  The first thing I tried to do was  dry fire then rifle. It had a ACOG mounted  on it by the owner and I promptly tore the skin off my knuckles by the optic mount while working the bolt to the rear.   I do not like having to reach over to charge the rifle like on a AK  so if you are like me, you better be careful. The rear butt stock was stiff and hard to adjust and move.  I do not mean just tight either. I mean I almost asked for a rubber mallet.  The trigger on it was terrible.  Not a big deal, it is a battle rifle.  Mags did not want to drop free very easy either.  Oh and since I am talking mags.  The mags for the H are FN mags and do not work on anything else.  They are nicely made and strong but they are not SR25 patter. I understand why FN did this, but I would rather pay 17 dollars then 80-120 or more for the SCAR mags.   I am sure someday some company will make after market mags for the SCAR H  but usually it takes a while for a aftermarket mag to be trustworthy unless its a magpul mag. I am confident this will happen someday.  A company is currently working a lower that would accept the  magpul  30 cal mag and that is something to keep in mind.

The owner told me the accuracy of the gun was so so but I do not trust the opinion of some one that accuracy tests with wolf ammo only.  The SCAR has been used as a sniper support weapon in some cases so I am sure it will do fine as battle rifle.  I was told it does shot softly but is louder then a A Bomb.  Of course the muzzle device is the culprit for these things.  The gas system of the H is adjustable for cans  and for reliability like other pistons. The ergos of the gun are pretty decent since the grip is all AR15.  The SCAR H is about a thousand and a half more then the Sig normally. Both can be had in FDE which is the much more popular color.  Even though I was kinda rough on the H if not for the price i would still pick the FN  if price was equal and had only those two to choose from.  Next week I will try to get some live fire with them for some accuracy reports.

Fast review of the FN FNP 45

I week or so ago i got a chance to try out the FN 45.    There are a few things I like about the gun; it comes with two 14 round mags and a 15 round mag.

The FN of course comes with a rail on the frame for the ever popular light, which I think is a must have these days. Being a 1911 guy, I was glad to see that it had a thumb safety. I have to say that it was not in the best position for my hand to easily hit it to fire. The grip was fairly large for people used to a single stack pistol,, but it was not too large. The size of the grip did make it hard for me to reach the trigger. It was workable and easy to use in single action but trying to get to the trigger in double action was a real chore. The trigger was a decent CCW or combat trigger but I would not take it to any matches.

The good things are the safety and the mag release are ambi, which I a feature I always love.  The sights on the gun were easy to see and snag free but not sharp enough to hurt. They are pretty much a FN version of the super popular novak sights.  One thing about the magazines is the effort it takes to load them. It was one of the hardest mags I have ever had to load. The thumbs ached after trying to force in just two rounds. And it was just as hard to load the first round as it was the last. This was very irritating and slowed things down a lot. I am not kidding around or exaggerating at all. I can not stress enough how hard it was to load the mags.

Shooting the gun for general drills was easy but the gun is flippy in recoil. I would often loose my grip on the gun with my alternate killing hand. This is purely a training  issue, but it was something I had to work hard to overcome.

For accuracy testing I used my normal method of slow fire off a bench. I shot at 25 yards with WWB ball 230 grain ammo.

I feel the gun has better accuracy to offer then my results. I am a 1911 guy through and through so  I don’t always do my best with a DA pistol. But regardless the pistol was pretty good since I was using walmart fodder. the above target was shot off of the bench.

This group was shot off hand slowfire at 25 yards with some odd results. Thumbusting magazine shown in picture to weigh down the paper.

I liked the FN in the time I had with it.  If I was wanted a DA pistol that held 15 rounds of 45, this would be my choice.  I was able to hit a man chest sized steel gong with the gun at 100 yards off hand with the handgun easy. This is a test I do on any of my guns I carry CCW or for more serious potential use. I think if you have a pistol that can give you that performance, you can trust it to fill in for a rifle in the worst of situations.  The FN  past my 100 test with ease. I will have more time with the FN in coming weeks, so I will try to do a part 2 write up with more detail and testing with better ammo.

Got to try out a SCAR-H

Today I got to try shooting a .308 FN SCAR.  Recoil was pleasant in that light rifle.  Sight picture similar to an AR15s, the rear sight resembling a KAC 2-600m rear sight.

Much to my surprise, the owner of the rifle (new out of the box) was not on paper at 100 yards.  When he set up a target at 25 meters we had to nearly bottom out the front sight to get it to zero.  Once zeroed, the owner of the rifle had no other issues with it.

Any one else have any issues zeroing the FN SCAR?