Gun Report

FN Model 1949 (SAFN), Argentine Navy 7.62mm

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Looking a lot like a Garand or perhaps an M14 in early testing, the FN49 caught our attention. We liked its setup and many of its features. This rifle was the forerunner of the FAL by the same designer. All it needed was a trigger job and a good cleaning. Early Belgian samples had a fixed 10-round box mag.

FN Model 1949 (SAFN), Argentine Navy 7.62mm

Gun Details

Model Name
Model Number
Home Defense
Caliber Plus Cartridge
Weight Unloaded
Length of Pull
Action Type
Action Finish
Barrel Finish
Trigger Pull Weight

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The SAFN, or FN49, was designed by the same fellow who gave us the FAL, Dieudonné Saive. Our first impression of this .308-chambered rifle was that it had delightful balance. With its detachable magazine removed, it superficially resembled the Garand. It had no obvious nods whatsoever to the FAL, with the possible exceptions of the front-sight guards and the gas-tube-takedown button just in front of the front sight. One hidden similarity was that the FN could be adjusted to regulate the amount of gas bled to the bolt. Our specimen didn’t lock the bolt back regularly at first, so we thought the gas port had been adjusted for a round with different characteristics from our ammunition. Adjustment required removing a screw beneath the front sight, slipping the upper wood off, and turning a collar behind the gas port. However, on removal of the parts we found heavy grease within the mechanism. Accordingly, we field-stripped the rifle and totally cleaned it, something that should be done with all military-surplus rifles, in our opinion. These are commonly mothballed by immersion in hot, liquefied grease, most of which won’t appear on the outside years later.
Despite lots of nicks and dirt, the stock was decent walnut. The metal finish was black paint, which was badly chipped everywhere. That hefty trigger guard was a guide for the cocking indicator. Inletting was excellent, and the metalwork was fully up to FN's standards, though hidden under the paint.
Excellent metalwork peeks through the massively chipped black protective paint. A refinish in black Teflon might be the way to go. Note the protective ears for the ladder-style rear aperture sight. The lever at the back of the action is for takedown.

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