MAS 49/56 Run and Gun (the one where everything goes wrong)

The French MAS 49/56 is perhaps one of the most underrated rifles of all time. It is brutally simple, accurate, reliable, and a joy to shoot. It functions via direct impingement in its true form, unlike an AR, and field strips into just a few parts. So after two range trips and burning through a ton of 7.5 French ammunition, we still weren’t able to show this thing in its full glory!

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The full transcript is below …

– [Voiceover] Hey guys, it’s Alex C with TFBTV and welcome to the run and gun where pretty much everything that could go wrong went wrong.

This actually wasted pretty much all the 7.5 French I have in my inventory.

Anyways, the gun we’re doin today is a MAS 49 56 which is one of my favorite semi-automatic center fire rifles actually.

They’re fantastically simple, they’re brilliant.

They’re not the most attractive firearms but they are wicked cool.

You know, they’ve got a very cool grenade launcher setup, the gas cutoff right there and then you’re grenade launcher sight.

The French are really big on rifle grenades.

They have been since pretty much the advent of that technology.

The rifle grenade sights are pretty cool, a nice touch for collectors and whatnot and here’s your range setting thingy.

Not exactly 100 percent sure how this works but I don’t have any rifle grenades so I’m okay with that for the time being.

These are stripper clip fed and detatchable magazine fed kind of like an, oh golly gee, I don’t know, a VZ 58 I suppose.

But we’ll get to that a little bit later.

They’ve also go an optional butt pad that cushions the rifle for shooting rifle grenades and that functions as a nice recoil pad that your shoulder wiil thank you for putting on the rifle.

They do have detachable magazine like I said, in addition to those stripper clips.

The magazines hold 10 rounds and they’re a little funky.

They’ve got a little hinge on the side that serves to retain the magazine so the magazine retention device is on the mag itself rather then in the gun.

So, let’s take a look at take one and see exactly what went wrong.

(gun fires multiple times) Alright so here’s where I started having problems.

I decided that instead of using detachable magazines, I would just go with stripper clips.

I’m actually pretty good with stripper clips, as you guys have seen with my other run and gun videos.

But this gun was just not cooperating with the stripper clips that I brought.

I brought probably 10 MAS 36 stripper clips which are supposed to be used for presumably this gun as well.

No matter what I did I just could not get those damn rounds to strip properly and then when I tried to chamber a round it just jammed the gun straight up and I had to stop the camera and we went to a second take.

Now take two starts out just like that one and I thought I’d modify my technique a little bit.

(gun fires multiple times) Alright, so here’s where we start having problems again with the same stripper clips.

I did not bring detachable magazines.

Well aside from the one in the gun that day or I would have used those.

This was extremely frustrating because like what I said I’m pretty damn good with stripper clips.

I always have been able to work them alright and then enter the MAS 49 56 and you can see I’m struggling really hard but I’m not gonna quit because dammit I wanted to finish the course and get it on camera especially since I started out this run pretty well.

And eventually I just said screw it I’m rollin with it, went back to it and pulled the tripper and it went click.

So take three what went wrong is the camera was blurry but I did get a full run in.

Alright guys, now we’ve got the detachable magazines for the MAS 49 so we’re gonna give it another go.

And here we go.

(gun fires multiple times) – [Voiceover] Alright so this is normally where I walk you guys through how many exactly I hit on the targets but the camera is so blurry basically that that whole segment I had just had to scrap so on this run what went wrong was a slam fire and freaking camera problems that have happened to us so many times with the damn DSLR camera.

But I did get a full run in, I’m not about to place an order for my 7.5 French from Ventura.

They’ve given me more then enough for this but I did get 11 hits on the steel silhouette and on the paper I got 13 hits so all in all 24 out of 30, generally not as good as when I use a bolt action just because when I use a bolt action, I don’t know, seems like I take more care to set up my shots and whatnot, every shot’s a new shot so.

Guys I’m sorry that we kind of bungled this one.

We wasted a lot of ammo, we wasted a lot of time.

We wasted two days trying to get this on camera and I think a third day would be excessive so we just kind of made a decision to call it done and we’re sorry.

Hopefully the next run and gun goes a little smoother but anyways thanks for watching this guys, we appreciate it.

Not as good as we would like to deliver but hey, it’s something so nonetheless we hope you enjoyed our channel.

Big thanks to Ventura for providing the ammo.

Big thanks to Grizzly for providing the steel.

Big thanks to you guys for watching this video.

This is Alex C with TFBTV, hope to see you next time.



Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


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  • USMC03Vet

    Did you retrieve those rounds from the briefcase in Pulp Fiction?

    Dat glow…

    • Lol. While I did not make the thumbnail image, it is pretty funny (especially when you take into account that 7.5 French is almost as expensive as gold).

    • SP mclaughlin

      “Royale with 7.5Fr”

  • Riot

    Unlucky to have stuff go wrong, especially when using rarer ammo.
    Still a beautiful gun.

  • Sorry for bungling this one folks. The next 3 run and guns have been filmed already and all went smoothly.

    • EDIT: I haven’t watched the final edit, just the clip you sent me.

      • Like so many detachable box magazine fed guns, the stripper clip guide seems to have been added as an “eh, might as well”.

        • I believe the thinking behind the stripper clip guide on the M14 was exactly the same.

          Later guns (M16) would – correctly I think – just use guides that fit directly to the magazine itself. A much better system, I think. Also one the MP.44 used, so score one for the crafty Germans.

          • Indeed, I had the M14 in mind as I was typing that.

          • Here’s your replacement firing pin, BTW: http://phillittleguns.com/

          • Yes, I saw his website the day I had the slamfire. I need to get around to ordering one, but damn if I don’t hate it when you can’t just click “add to cart” for something as simple as a firing pin.

          • Out of curiosity, what clips were you using?

          • Mas 36 clips. I just assumed it would be highly unlikely that the French would produce proprietary clips for the 49.

          • I’m not sure. I think they use the same clips.

          • mosinman

            you don’t like the secret Hyperburst feature?

          • gunsandrockets

            IIRC, the origin of the M14 charger guide came during the late development period of the M14. Apparently the plan was to issue selector locked M14 rifles with 10 shot magazines that would use chargers to reload. And only the select fire enabled M15 rifles would use 20 round magazines.

            Of course that plan was never followed through, but the M14 charger guide remained.

          • Rock or Something

            I’ve had my M1a for several years now but never used the stripper clip guide with it (generally due to the fact I always had a scope mounted on top anyways). I do recall being at the range one time and another shooter was recalling buying some cheap stripper slips for his, but ended up slicing his finger trying it out. He ended up throwing the rest of the clips away.

          • DetroitMan

            My M14 loads pretty well using Swedish Mauser clips. I have never tried the actual M14 clips since I have so many Swede clips. I haven’t found clip loading the M14 to be much worse than a Garand. You just have to make sure you hold the clip tightly in place on the M14 while you strip the rounds. It’s easier to swap the magazine of course, but if all I have is an empty magazine and full clips, I can make do.

        • gunsandrockets

          Chargers are great. For a Mauser. Not so much for a semi-auto which needs a stiffer magazine spring for reliable feeding.

          • Plenty of semis work very well with them. The AG42, Hakim, Rasheed, G41, G43, SKS, VZ52, SVT40, Steyr roths and hahns, C96s, etc.

          • gunsandrockets

            Work very well? More like adequate. And not even close to the ease of charger loading a military Mauser.

            Of all the charger loaded semis I’ve handled the SKS seemed set up best for charger loading and even it had problems with a fully loaded charger. Too often a round would fall out of the charger before loading. And a fully loaded charger put the angle for stripping the rounds too far out of line for smooth loading. I resorted to downloading the chargers with 8 rounds which worked much better.

          • Darkpr0

            Until the Hakim eats your hand, anyway

          • roguetechie

            yup,
            My sks’ vz52, the ag42 Hakim and Rashid I HAD (stupid me sold all 3), and my 49/56 have all been pretty good about eating stripper clips. However I have a pair of mosin problem children that have quite literally shredded multiple sets of leather gloves with stripper clips another pair of mosins absolutely loved…

          • marathag

            SKS works very well with them

          • gunsandrockets

            works very well? not in my experience with SKS.

          • marathag

            As well as a Mauser for me

    • hikerguy

      Did you ever find the cause for the malfunctions?

  • Darkpr0

    A bunch of the 49/56s just made their way into Canada. I may have to pick one up. Then I go to work in the bullet mines to find a rare vein of 7.5Fr.

    • They’re my Number 1 Recommended Buy right now, because they’re cheap and won’t stay that way.

      They’re also great shooters with really huge but well-designed sights. Stiff triggers, though.

      • Darkpr0

        Up here there around a grand and a bit. Keep in mind we have 300 dollar crate SVT40s though. It’s a decent trade.

        • Oof. They’re $400 here, but climbing…

          • Darkpr0

            Plus ammo. Plus working stripper clips >:D

    • The_Champ

      Who is bringing these rifles to Canada? I wouldn’t mind getting on that band wagon.

      • Darkpr0

        IRunGuns is bringing in a shipment soon. Alternatively you can buy from Gunbroker and import them via Irun or Prophet River.

        • The_Champ

          Neat, I bet what they bring in will disappear quickly. Thanks for the heads up.

    • gunsandrockets

      I think the French 7.5mm was the first rifle cartridge adopted which was designed for use in an automatic weapon. It has a thicker rim and wider extractor groove than a typical Mauser rifle cartridge.

    • MPWS

      What are they going for?

      • Darkpr0

        1000-1100 USD

  • The MAS 49 has the largest/heaviest free-float firing pin I’ve ever seen, and is the only firearm I’ve owned to so easily slam fire. Try to get military ammo if possible or reload only with ‘military’ type CCI or Wolf large rifle primers. At least the bullet diameter is 308 so sourcing reloading components isn’t very hard with Privi 7.5Fr brass available.

    • Best solution – buy this firing pin: http://phillittleguns.com/

      The French military ammo’s primers are hard to ensure they don’t go off when dropped from an airplane, and the rifle’s firing pin is heavy enough to ensure that ammo goes off. 🙂

      Replace the firing pin with a lighter unit, and the problem is solved, or so I hear.

      • Why were the french dropping their rifles from planes? And if they were using them as bombs wouldn’t they want them to go off?

        • French Foreign Legion troops are so badass that they generally don’t need parachutes. The rifles were designed accordingly.

        • They weren’t dropping rifles, they were dropping ammo. Packed in crates.

          • Swarf

            You’re no fun.

          • Yeah, apparently not, hahah…

  • BattleshipGrey

    I like the run and guns with surplus arms. Thanks for sacrificing your stock to show us an unsung rifle. These and the MAS 36 rifles have always intrigued me, but I’ve never even gotten to handle one.

    I really like the rifle grenade concept, especially on guns that incorporate that as a standard. Your comment made me laugh though, because you should never be “okay” not having any rifle grenades. 🙂

  • ostiariusalpha

    Negligent Discharge! NEGLIGENT DISCHARGE!!!! No such thing as an AD!! I know this because the Internet says so!!!

    !!!!!

    LOL! But seriously, we all have bad luck days. At least you didn’t shoot yourself or somebody else. Right?

    *Missing footage conspiracy theory commenced*

  • INFI

    What in the 5 round stripper clip was going on???

  • The range setting ring for the grenade works by having more expansion space for the blank resulting in a lower pressure thus shorter range. Very much like the Japanese “Knee Mortar” in concept.

    So you have a fixed amount of powder in the launching blank and when it fires it fills the bore and the rear of the tail section of the rifle grenade. This propels the grenade. When the ring is moved forward on the barrel there is more volume in the system since the grenade is sitting farther out. Since the powder charge is fixed it fills the larger volume resulting in lower pressure and thus lower initial velocity and thus shorter range.

  • Dave C

    I feel the pain…

    I flat love my MAS Mle. 1936 bolt rifle. I picked up the FSA 1949/56, mine looks “rode hard and put away wet” vs. the sample in the video on a whim. I really like it too, and I’ve finally got the sights where I want. I’ve used mine in a highpower match too. I have had wonky reloading with the stripper clips too. I just think the MAS 36 spoils ya, being so effortless to load that way. With the FSA, it seems there is a “jump” from when the cartridge clears the charger before it actually gets to the magazine follower and feed lips. It’s like they need a bit more supervision during loading… A bit like a Mosin-Nagant, perhaps.

    Great rifles! Some day I might try to find an inert Nato rifle grenade and try my hand with that.

    Recall that the French invented the best rifle grenade of WWI in the VB.

  • MPWS

    Good show Alex, I also like this “Frenchie”.
    However, as said before me, there was apparently not real serous plan to use clips with this rifle.
    Btw, vz.58 also has mouth for clips – never seen them in use. We were habitually loading mags directly; shot by shot. Of course in combat situation, there were mechanical loaders.

  • ASterisk

    I’ve never heard anyone under the age of 80 or not in a Shirley Temple movie use the phrase “golly gee” in actual conversation.
    I had one of these that had been rechambered for .308 and modified to take FAL mags. It was neat and fun to shoot, but I needed money for something at the time. Still wish I had it

    • I have a very old soul.
      Example: I recently found out what a “pod cast” is.

      • Tassiebush

        That’s using a pod of peas or beans for bait right?

  • nadnerbus

    Your struggle with the stripper clips is the same with me and the M1A. I can’t get the rounds to strip into the magazine to save my life. Might be bad clips, but I don’t think so.

  • Really? That’s very interesting, thanks Ian!

  • Brian M

    Oooooohhhh, so that’s why this gun literally won NOTHING. Now you get to see the difference between theoretical good and real good.

  • jimpeel

    One should never attempt to shoulder fire a grenade unless one wants a broken shoulder. The butt of the rifle is placed against the ground to fire the grenade.