Spanish FR8 range impressions


Got my FR8 last week, took it to the range today.

With out going into all the details or the history, the FR8 is a .308 Mauser action with an assault rifle looking front. Meant to be a cheaper alternative to issue out instead of the more expensive modern (at the time) CETME rifle.

I passed on several of these in the past because of some false info out there. Some time back someone figured that these were not safe with full power .308 loads, and that rumor kept getting repeated.

Here is an abridged version as I understand it:
After WWII some of the German weapon designers moved to Spain and designed weapons there. From that the CETME rifle was designed. The CETME being expensive, and only being able to produce them so fast, an alternative .308 rifle, the FR7 and FR8 rifles, were issues to various groups.
They found that trying to fire 7.62×51 full auto was hard to control, so they made a ligher load for one of the CETME models.
Well, someone who learned about the FR7 and FR8 then looked at the pressure specs for this light load, and for modern .308 ammo, and put out a warning that firing 308 in a gun designed for these light loads would be unsafe.
While that would be true, these guns were not designed for those light loads.
Some people thought about it a bit, then figured that it must be that Spanish steel is so much weaker than real steel, so that is why these guns are unsafe.

Listen, these are old guns, and some of them may be unsafe, but one in good condition will handle .308 just fine.

The FR8 has the classic Mauser safety. To the right is safe and the bolt is locked. Flipping the safety up allows you to work the action with out being able to fire the gun. Left is fire, allowing you to work the action and shoot at will.

The trigger on this gun is not that great. Moderately heavy, long, gritty, and creepy.

When I was younger, I loved high recoiling guns. Since then I’ve injured both shoulders and not as fond as recoil. I’ve read some people state that this gun is very pleasant to shoot, and others call it painful. As always, recoil is rather subjective. Some people move more with the gun, others don’t. Shooting stance, etc.

Off the bench, the gun recoil more rewards and it was borderline unpleasant. Off hand it is really fun for me to shoot.

I’ve read some people talk about how great the FR9 sights are. I wonder if they have actually ever shot the gun. In my home, looking at a white wall, the sights feel great. When I was actually trying to aim at a black bullseye at distance, I struggled a little with them.

The FR8 rear sight rotates in its’ housing. There is a notch for 100, you can turn it clockwise for peeps to use at 200 and 300. Or turn it counter clockwise for a 400 setting.

The front sight is eccentric, so it is used to adjust both elevation and windage by rotating it. First you adjust the elevation by making full turns, then make partial turns to adjust windage.

I first tried the rifle using the 200 setting at 25 yards. I was impacting about 5 inches high, but centered. I then tried the 100 notch at 100 yards, and was completely off the paper.

I’m going to need to pick up a CETME sight tool to make adjusting this easy.

In hindsight, I should have tried using a 6 o’clock hold while I was at the range, but I really don’t like using that sight picture, so I didn’t think of it then.

I took the rifle over to the pistol range and shot a few rounds up close, then played a round a bit with some blue plastic training ammo.

Shooting full power ammo off hand was pleasant. Shooting the blue plastic ammo gave all of the report, and none of the recoil.

When I tried doing snap shots, I found the rifle naturally pointed a little low and right for me.

You can see two shots of standard ammunition at the top, then five rounds rapid fire of blue plastic ammo. The plastic bullets cut a nicer hole in the target than the standard ammo.

I’m told the rims on the blue plastic training ammo is smaller than .308 rims. I haven’t haven’t measured them, but I have had extraction issues when I’ve fired them in my semi-autos. The large Mauser claw extractor had no issue extracting them in the FR8, but during rapid fire, I did twice have a plastic shell fail to eject, and just flip over in the action.

Ultimate mil-surp fighting rifle, NO.

Whole lotta fun, YES!


  1. On a related note, in a Forgotten Weapons or Weaponsman comment Willard Fleetwood mentioned that a CETME will reliably cycle standard 7.62 NATO if the recoil spring is swapped for a G3 spring.


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