FN49 Run and Gun (Malfunctions Galore!)

The FN49 is the predecessor to the much more famous FN FAL rifle, and the book about the rifle is accurately titled “The Rifle That Ran Out Of Time”. Largely developed before the outbreak of WWII, the FN49 could have been a serious European competitor to the American M1 Garand but by war’s end was largely obsolete. So how will the SAFN perform on the run and gun course?

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Alex C.

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


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  • TVOrZ6dw

    That is a great looking rifle. I would like an update on it’s reliability once you have had some time with it.

  • JumpIf NotZero

    Do you know how to mortor a stuck case? I doubt with the LOP that you could bicep that. But going to the ground, that brass wouldn’t last long with a good hit.

    • No, he hasn’t had the training necessary to dynamically destroy the value of his firearms collection like that.

      • JumpIf NotZero

        Wow. “destroy the value of collections” đŸ˜€ Yea, better to keep them in their packaging and never use them really. Yea, bumping the buttstock on the ground… What gun could have been designed for that!?

        Today I LOL’ed.

        • Oh yeah, I agree, Alex really shouldn’t be such a pansy about his gun collection. Hear that, Alex? I want you to send your MP.43 over to Kurdistan to help fight ISIS!

          • De Facto

            Might be of better use back in the Vaterland at this point.

          • Threethreeight

            I’m sure his dad could just buy him another.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Ouch.

            My fairly indifferent jabs at Alex aren’t that low đŸ˜‰

        • Don Ward

          Yeah. You’re THAT type of guy I see on the range.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            That guy that knows how to clear a brass over bolt and out of spec ammo in a tight chamber? I guess so.

          • That guy nobody’s going to let hang around their rare and cool guns because he could break a ball bearing.

          • Xanderbach

            Geez- I won’t even mortar my $100 chinese mosin-nagant. Don’t smash an old milsurp into the ground like that! Now my $500 AR, that I’ll drive into the ground like I just made a touchdown, but parts are still easily available for that build.

          • Don Ward

            Gee. Considering that Alex cleared the spent casing without smashing a somewhat rare firearm on the ground like chimpanzee, I’d say that his approach was the correct one. But sure, go treat every gun like it’s a $99 SKS you picked up.

        • DW

          on tfbdotcom /blog/2013/01/09/seen-at-the-gunsmithing-shop-why-not-to-mortar-your-pump-shotgun/
          Yes do totally mortar everything yours if you please, but keep that misinformation to yourself only.
          And here I thought training only works if you put brain into use.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Is the FN41 a pump shotgun? Did I say to motor a live round? Perhaps you can explain the issue with using a bicep curl to leverage the same thing?

          • DW

            Is the FN 49 a shotgun? No. DId you say to mortar a live round? No.
            But you did, as I quote: “Do you know how to mortor a stuck case? I doubt with the LOP that you could bicep that. But going to the ground, that brass wouldn’t last long with a good hit.”
            An idea many here think inappropriate for antiques without ready supply of replacement parts. No, FN49 does NT have an action bar to bend, but it does have a piston and a bolt that’s not easy to find replacement for. Beside that, why insist on mortaring(abusing) the gun when you are not 0per8ing/training/in a defensive situation?

    • Don Ward

      I honestly don’t know if Jump tries to come up with bad, ill-advised ideas or if this is just some innate, natural talent that he possesses.

      • Kelly Jackson

        • Zebra Dun

          Dang that resembles some of my grandson’s friends!

  • Dont know why I said striker instead of hammer. Never do voice over work hungover. Lesson learned.

    • gunsandrockets

      Finally! A chance to see that sweet 7mm in action. Too bad about the malfunctions. Trapping the case underneath the tappet rod is a new one to me! Very strange.

      Those ejected casings were all over the map, and with tremendous variations of speed too. I suspect the casings are bouncing off the rear of the open action instead of directly flying clear, which could explain the random directions and speeds. Were traces of brass left on the rear of the action?

      I recommend checking the ejector and possibly dialing down the gas system to a lower energy setting. Perhaps the tappet rod spring is weak and needs replacing?Of course this is advice from a total dilettante, and worth everything you’ve paid for it.

  • DaveP.

    What caliber were you using? I know they were designed for 7 Mauser, but there’s also variants in .30 and 8mm.

    • DaveP.

      Oops- you actually said 7mm in towards the end, and I didn’t hear it. Derp.

  • Wolfgar

    On some of the older rifles the gas systems can become so loose that no amount of adjustment will work. I got one of the last full auto FN FAL’s from Armex and it wouldn’t work. I got my money back but damned, I wish I would have ordered one earlier. Fun video Alex, I hope you get the gas adjusted with no problems.

  • toms

    Definitely looks like Low gas pressure to me. Should shuck cases like a FN FAL.

  • I also have a mint condition Venezuelan FN49. It looks like your ammo you are using is very inconsistent, Prvi/PPU? Look at the ejection, its all over the place, that’s not a gun but an ammo problem. The FN49 some times also has problems with feeding soft pointed ammo. The best ammo I have found for mine is the original FN made 7mm non corrosive that was made in the late 60’s for Venezuela. They are packaged in 100 round boxes. You can find it on gun broker occasionally but lately its gotten over a buck a round. Luckily I bought all of mine cheap. BTW if this is the first time you have shot your gun you need to change out the firing pin to the two piece kind. The one piece firing pins are known for breaking and sticking out the bolt face which results in an out of battery detonation which will destroy the rifle. Unfortunately its now getting hard to find the two piece firing pins that will work in the Venezuelan guns since there are 2 types of bolts in FN49s, those with an extra firing pin safety and those without. You need to find out which one you gun has first since Venezuelan guns were made in 2 contracts with and without the firing pin safety feature. I had to buy the rear firing pin piece from one part supplier and the front part from another when I replaced the one in my second FN49.

    • gunsandrockets

      Agree about inconsistent ejection, but the question is, why? Why did that ejection look like it was all over the map?

      I have a theory, and if I’m right the problem is the gas system is adjusted to provide too much energy to the piston, and pushing the bolt back with excessive velocity.

      I watched the ejection, and yes it was all over the place, including straight back and straight forward. In fact straight forward ejection events were with quite a good bit of speed. I suspect the cases are being withdrawn from the chamber with a great deal of velocity and hitting parts of the action which then deflects the casings in random directions. Including sometimes underneath the operating rod!

      • JumpIf NotZero

        Even a gun with too high a peak bolt velocity should be fairly consistent. At least that’s what I found when testing AR port sizes.

        • gunsandrockets

          I have an old type Colt upper on my AR frankengun, so it has no brass deflector. And I noticed a remarkable difference in the direction brass was deflected depending on the ammunition loading.

          With factory loaded full power 55 grain at MV exceeding 3,150 fps, the casings were flung almost straight back, even leaving marks on the receiver. With 55 grain reloads clocking about 2,770 fps MV, the casings were flung 90 degrees off the boreline towards the right.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Yea that seems expected. I was talking about the same ammo per example. Mongo is pointing to inconsistent ammo, which makes sense.

      • This could be the case and suspected as much as well but modern day ammunition for 7mm Mauser is typically loaded on the low side due to liabilities of it being shot in older guns.

        • gunsandrockets

          Even if the ammunition is lightly loaded, what if the gas system is opened up all the way?

          • It is possible but looking at the condition of his Venezuelan FN49 and Alex’s assertion that it was possibly unfired, the gas setting should be still factory. To adjust the gas system you have to take off the entire top handguard which makes it less likely for the random monkey to screw with it.

          • A factory-set gas port is still no guarantee that the ammunition would have the proper pressure curve. Most 7x57mm ammunition is not loaded with a gas-operated rifle in mind.

    • Glenfilthie

      I suspect a cheese blockage…

  • Lance

    Should have gone with a SKS-45 or M-1 on this.

    • DW

      Then it won’d be a FN49 run-n-gun. Please think befor— oh, sorry, dat username, lol

      • nadnerbus

        “Today we’re going I’m going to be doing an FN49 run and gun with my Yugo SKS.”

        -in Lance world

  • Joe

    Well done with the stripper clips. Those things are a PITA to load under non-stressful situations.

  • Ronaldo Olive

    For the record, the SAFN 49 was adopted in .30-06 by the Brazilian Navy and Marines in 1957, remaining in service for about 20 years until replaced by the FAL. It was officially designated Fuzil SemiautomĂ¡tico Calibee 7,62 (remember: 7.62x63mm), being generlly called the FS.Itcan still be seen in cerimonial use, as shown in photo.

    • Ronaldo Olive

      “Calibre 62,62″…

      • Ronaldo Olive

        OOOPS: “Calibre 7,62” !!!

  • Adam Piersen

    I have an Egyptian SAFN imported from Israel in “fired twice dropped once” condition (bought it right out of the crate). So it’s got a few scars. Once I got the gas adjusted for the load I was using (Hornady Soft Points) it fed like a champ. Agree on the stripper clip loading, but it’s fun to have for the “what the @*#% is that!” coments on the range.

  • AD

    It looked to me like there was almost no muzzle flip at all! I would assume that’s at least partially down to the barrel being below the piston, i.e. the lower bore line?

  • RMP52

    I’ve got one of these I haven’t shot in 20-25 years. After watching this, I think I’ll pull it out of the safe and take it to the range. Thanks!

  • RMP52

    By the way, you can make a gas port tool out of a bottle opener. Just grind down the sides of the lower tab a little to fit into the holes of the adjuster, I made mine out of a paint can opener from the hardware store, same thing. The usual way to adjust is to open the port all the way , then single fire the rifle and adjust the port closed until it is feeding enough gas to the piston to eject the empty, plus 1/2 turn. Of course you can tweak it from there, but that should be about right.