MAS 49/56 Field Strip

The French MAS 49 rifles are spectacularly simple firearms that are both reliable and accurate. These terrific rifles are not priced high in the USA, and I would highly recommend anyone in the market for a vintage autoloader look no further. So, what makes the French gem tick?

Thanks to our sponsor Ventura Munitions. Without them TFBTV Would not be possible.

The full transcript …

– [Alex] Hey guys, it’s Alex C. with TFB TV and for today’s Field Strip, we’re going to do a MAS-49/56 rifle.

This is, in my opinion, probably one of the best, most underrated semi-automatic rifles out there, and you can get them for around $500, which makes them one of the best deals out there, in my opinion.

Check out our Run and Gun on this if you’d like to see it in action.

I titled it “The One Where Everything Went Wrong” but that’s not really because of the gun.

So, anyways, let’s get to it.

You’ll notice there’s a large nylon charging handle on the right side of the gun.

Pull that back, check your chamber, and remove the magazine.

Now, the next step has everything to do with this little button on the rear of the receiver, so get in a position where you can push that button down, and at the same time, grab the plate where the sight is on, push forward, pull up and out, and this will separate that part and the recoil spring.

So separate those two, the spring from the plate, and set them aside.

Now, the next step’s actually going to remove the bolt and carrier from the receiver, pull it back, and lift it up and out and it’ll all come out as one unit.

And then, you’re actually finished field stripping the lower part of the gun, you’ve just got the bolt and carrier to go.

So, these are tilt locking guns instead of a rotating bolt, so separate your actual bolt and firing pin from the carrier, remove the firing pin, and boom, you actually just completely field stripped a MAS-49/56.

These are brutally simple firearms and function via DI in its purest form.

No funky AR internal piston DI.

Gas is just tapped directly from the barrel, slams into the carrier, which sends it to the rear and unlocks the bolt.

In my opinion, if you’re looking for one of the best deals on a semi-automatic rifle out there, and a big centerfire cartridge, really look at one of these MAS-49/56s.

Great piece of history, great rifles, very accurate and a lot of fun.

Anyways, guys, this was a short Field Strip, but special thanks to Grizzly Target and Ventura Munitions.

Alex C. with TFB TV, hope to see you next time.


Alex C.

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


  • BattleshipGrey

    Thanks for doing the field strip vid after the run and gun. I love the simplicity of it. I’d probably be really interested in getting one of these if it wasn’t for the less common and kind of pricy ammo. I also can’t really diversify my ammo selection any further, but I’m still intrigued by these surprisingly aggressive-looking rifles.

    • BG,

      Get the rifle. Don’t shoot it if you don’t want to, but you can find them online for a little over $400. In a few years, they will be $800 rifles, I am very confident of that (happened with M1s, SVTs, SKSes, etc).

      Also, 7.5 French is not that bad. Prvi ammo is relatively inexpensive, with my favored distributor for the stuff, SG Ammo, carrying it at less than $.75/round:×54-french-mas-139-grain-fmj-prvi-partizan-ammo-pp71

      But even if you can’t afford the ammo, the rifle is in my opinion a must-buy.

      • BattleshipGrey

        That is a good point about the eventual value. Even the Mosin’s are getting to be double what I paid for it.

      • iksnilol

        Thanks for writing it Prvi and not Privi like so many people do.


        • “I’m going to the privvy to pick up some ammo!”


      • Plus, 7.5 French is not at all challenging to reload. Prvi brass shouldn’t be hard to come by, load data is available and bullets are standard .308 Diameter. My only suggestion is using military primers (I think CCI makes them?) if you’re going to be shooting 7.5 French out of a MAS. Like on a Garand, you want to use harder primers with this rifle.

  • gunsandrockets

    Yeah, these rifles are dirt simple. Only a rock is simpler. Very under-rated rifle, and one of my favorites.

  • Riot

    I am loving all the recent MAS 49/56 attention.
    Very simple field strip – a lot like an AK’s.

    • It’s a fantastic rifle, really. The trigger on mine at least is heavier than Americans are used to, but it still gives good accuracy, and the sights are large but still very precise. It’s got some idiosyncrasies, to be sure, but it’s one of my all-time favorite semiautos.

  • Jeff

    Do the sights return to zero?

  • nadnerbus

    Alex, your videos have gotten a lot smoother in the editing and narration. Not trying to sound patronizing, since I couldn’t do anything even close to 1990s cable access channel quality, much less this. I really do like where the TFBTV feel and format is going. Interesting topics too.

  • Lance

    Have meet a friend of mine Alex. He loves the Mas 59/66 and modified FAL mags to work on a MAS. Which is cool gives you 20 round mags then.

  • Southpaw89

    Stop telling people to buy these! It’ll make the price go up before I can afford one! 😉

  • Rokurota

    Alex & company, what’s your opinion of the 7.62 NATO conversions of these guns?

    • My understanding, which I would not consider authoritative, is that the Century conversions are poor, but that others may be OK.

      • No, you’re about right. It’s possible to convert these guns to 7.62 NATO with no problems, but it’s not wise to assume that the Century attempts to do so will actually work. It might be a better idea to look for a project gun that someone with a decent reputation worked on rather than just blind-buying a 7.62 Century conversion and getting your hopes up on it working.

  • Eric Shearer

    Do you think they made the charging handle white as a field expedient white flag? JK! I’ve had one of these for quite a while and every time I look at it that’s what pops in my mind.