Modern Firearms - FN SAFN-49
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SAFN-49 / FN-49 rifle (Belgium)

Experimental rifle, made at FN in 1937, which later evolved into FN-49 rifle.
 Experimental rifle, made at FN in 1937, which later evolved into FN-49 rifle.


FN-49, Venezuela contract rifle (chambered for 7mm Mauser cartridge).
 FN-49, Venezuela contract rifle (chambered for 7mm Mauser cartridge).

 

Same rifle, another side view.
 Same rifle, another side view.

 

Upper handguard removed, showing the gas chamber, piston and a gas piston return spring.
 Upper handguard removed, showing the gas chamber, piston and a gas piston return spring.

 

Calibers: 7x57 mm, 7.65x57 mm, 7.92x57mm, .30-06 (7.62x63mm)
Action: Gas operated, tilting bolt
Overall length: 1116 mm
Barrel length: 590 mm
Weight: 4.31 kg
Magazine: 10 rounds, non-detachable

 

The SAFN-49 rifle (Semi-Automatic, FN, model of 1949) was developed by the famous Belgian company Fabrique Nationale Herstal and initially adopted by the Belgian army in 1949. Also known as the FN-49, this rifle also was bought by various countries and in various calibers. It was used by the Egypt, Indonesia, Brazil, Venezuela, Luxembourg, Argentine, Congo, Colombia and probably some other countries. It was also tested in the USA and Great Britain. The development of the new semiautomatic rifle began at the FN in the late 1930s under the leadership of the famous firearms designer Dieudonne Saive. The work at FN was suspended during the German occupation of the Belgium, but Saive and his team managed to escape to UK and continued to work there during the German occupation of Belgium. Assoon as Belgium was liberated, Saive returned home and resumed work on the new rifle. As noted before, new rifle was ready in the late 1940s and was quickly adopted by the numerous armed forces. It was a fine design, made from high quality materials and with great skill, but somewhat too expensive and it soon became obsolete, especially with the appearance of its direct descendant, the famous FN FAL rifle.

The SAFN-49 is a gas operated, semi-automatic, magazine fed rifle. Selective version of this rifle was manufactured in noticeable quantities, but, owing to its powerful ammunition and small magazine it was probably an unsuccessful attempt. SAFN-49 used a short-piston stroke gas drive, with gas camber and a gas piston-tappet located above the barrel. The gas piston has its own separate return spring. The tilting bolt is linked to the bolt carrier, and tilts down to lock into the floor of the milled steel receiver. Charging handle is mounted at the right side of the bolt carrier and reciprocates when gun is fired. The SAFN-49 is fed from non-detachable, box magazine that holds 10 cartridges. Magazine can be loaded through the receiver opening with loose cartridges or standard 5-rounds stripper clips. Magazine has a bolt catch which holds the bolt open after the last round from magazine is fired. The gas chamber features a gas regulator which also can be used as a gas cut-off, which is required to fire rifle grenades. Barrel is equipped with muzzle flash hider and a bayonet mount. The single-piece stock is made from wood and has a semi-pistol grip and a separate upper handguard. Front sight is mounted on the gas chamber and is protected by two side "wings", rear sight is of adjustable diopter type and is mounted at the rear of the receiver. Special scope mount can be installed at the left side of the receiver. The safety switch is located just above the triggerguard at the right side of the gun. When safety is engaged, the safety switch lever protrudes into the triggerguard to interfere with trigger finger, so the state of the safety could be inspected without the single look at it.