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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I went to a gun show last weekend, and while I wasn't expecting to find much of interest, I ended up buying an FN-49 barreled receiver (Egyptian contract chambered in 8X57mm Mauser) and a magazine for $105.00. The bore seems to be in decent shape (it is lightly frosted at worst, and the rifling is strong).

I managed to track down a good deal of parts at Numrich to build this rifle. Admittedly, I am not really going to save any money over simply buying a complete Egyptian contract FN-49, but this will prove to be an interesting and educational project. The rifle is going to be a bit of a "mutt," as I had a hard time finding some 8mm specific parts. To begin with, I ordered a European stock with the reinforcement bolt, so I will have to grind away at that bolt to accommodate an Egyptian contract action. Furthermore, I wound up buying a .30-06 receiver cover and a .30-06 bolt, as I could not find such parts for an 8mm rifle. Dimensionally speaking, I believe the base of the 8X57mm cartridge matches the base of the .30-06 (Numrich even lists one of their FN-49 extractors as "8mm/.30-06"). Furthermore, if what I read is correct, Century did manage to cobble together some functional "mutt" 8mm FN-49's, and some of them use .30-06 bolts.

I know the above is unconventional, but I will have a gunsmith check the rifle's headspace after I cobble it together. ;) Furthermore, I do have an extra locking shoulder on the way (Numrich seems to have a fair deal of them in stock). I know that 8X57mm surplus has largely dried up, but then again, that is what reloading is for. Even if 8mm brass somehow proves a bit difficult to find, I can reform .30-06 brass (I have .30-06 reloading components for my M1 Garand) into 8X57mm brass.

Are there any potential complications with my plans? Does anyone around here have experience with these rifles?

While we are on this subject, those Argentine FN-49's converted to fire 7.62X51mm from detachable 20 round magazines definitely look interesting, but I am going to start with this 8X57mm project of mine.
 
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JoeMomma just recently scored a nice one. I've always liked them but don't need yet another caliber that will dry up someday so I never bought one. I like them because they like the A-10 are kinda ugly but get the job done.
 

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I have had a few of these over the years...always liked them. However, I do have the two best reference books on the FN49. There is Blake Stevens' work The FN49 The Rifle That Ran Out of Time and Wayne Johnson's The FN-49 The Last Elegant Old-World Military Rifle. Though addressing the same subject they take different approaches, and actually complement each other. In the B.S. book, there is a chapter on the Egyptian model and one section titled "The Fatal Flaw In the Egyptian FN49". It relates to the omission of the firing pin safety stop and premature detonations of the cartridge. Since you mentioned getting a 30.06 (Belgian?) bolt, this likely would not be a problem. Just make sure the stop is present. Otherwise you could end up with a slam-fire & a blown up gun...
 

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Slam fires seem to occur when a one piece firing pin is present, so you should use a 2 piece model. The one problem your going to run into with a 30.06 receiver cover is that 8mm stripper clips are not going to work, so you will have to load the weapon by hand. Dimensionally, your extractor and bolt should be ok for 8mm provided your headspace is good to go.
Considering your barrel is a bit frosted, new 8mm barrels and locking shoulders are easy to get.

The best book for the shooter is by Wayne Johnson, and the must have tool is the standard multi-tool. I recently set the gas system on mine, and the same setting works great for Egyptian, East German, and Yugoslavian Milsurp. The Egyptian ammo is far and away the best stuff I've tried so far, and next time out I will try some Portuguese, and Romanian.

Is your receiver the crown, or the Eagle?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Slam fires seem to occur when a one piece firing pin is present, so you should use a 2 piece model. The one problem your going to run into with a 30.06 receiver cover is that 8mm stripper clips are not going to work, so you will have to load the weapon by hand. Dimensionally, your extractor and bolt should be ok for 8mm provided your headspace is good to go.
I have read about the problematic nature of the one piece firing pin. I will have to see what type of firing pin my bolt contains, as Numrich didn't give any specifics as to what type of firing pin is in the bolt. I have also read that 8mm stripper clips won't work, but loading the weapon by hand will work in the meantime. If I track down an 8mm receiver cover at a later date, I will buy it (I could then use the .30-06 receiver cover as a spare part in the event of me picking up a .30-06 FN-49 in the future) and put it onto this rifle.

It is good to know that the bolt and extractor will work as long as the headspace is good.

Considering your barrel is a bit frosted, new 8mm barrels and locking shoulders are easy to get.
Indeed. It would probably be worth picking up a spare barrel for this gun. The frosting is minor in nature, and it doesn't seem to cover the entire bore (you can only see it by looking down the muzzle; you won't see it by looking through the breech).

The best book for the shooter is by Wayne Johnson, and the must have tool is the standard multi-tool. I recently set the gas system on mine, and the same setting works great for Egyptian, East German, and Yugoslavian Milsurp. The Egyptian ammo is far and away the best stuff I've tried so far, and next time out I will try some Portuguese, and Romanian.
I will keep Wayne Johnson's book in mind. I will also have to look into getting my hands on the multi-tool for the gun.

Is your receiver the crown, or the Eagle?
My receiver has the crown on it.

I have had a few of these over the years...always liked them. However, I do have the two best reference books on the FN49. There is Blake Stevens' work The FN49 The Rifle That Ran Out of Time and Wayne Johnson's The FN-49 The Last Elegant Old-World Military Rifle. Though addressing the same subject they take different approaches, and actually complement each other. In the B.S. book, there is a chapter on the Egyptian model and one section titled "The Fatal Flaw In the Egyptian FN49". It relates to the omission of the firing pin safety stop and premature detonations of the cartridge. Since you mentioned getting a 30.06 (Belgian?) bolt, this likely would not be a problem. Just make sure the stop is present. Otherwise you could end up with a slam-fire & a blown up gun...
I will keep the work of Stevens in mind as well. The .30-06 bolt isn't conventional in an 8mm gun, but it does have a silver lining in that it has the firing pin safety stop.
 

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Good luck on finding Wayne's book, it went out of print a little while ago, and is expensive when you do find a copy. I ordered spare parts for my rifle, and the parts I received were good to go, and most looked to be from a 30.06 contract. Your extractor will be marked on the side with the caliber.
Bear in mind that Century built a few examples like your going to do with some barreled receivers that had the Eagle of Saladin instead of a crown on the receiver. If you change out the barrel, there is no telling what size of locking shoulder you will need, so I would ask around to see who has successfully accomplished this. Try Goose52 on the FALFiles...that's Wayne Johnson.

Here are some details of mine:

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I had to re-zero the rifle several weeks after I disassembled the rear sight assembly. Egyptian 8mm works great, and gave the best group at 100M, with Yugo ball a close second. I suspect Portuguese will be equal to, or maybe better than Egyptian.
Make damn sure when you install the gas plug, that its in correctly, and not upside down, or you will have a single shot rifle.
When I received my example, the board member I bought it from said he did not want to mess around with taking it apart, and when I checked it out, the gas plug was in upside down (set to grenade) and the gas system was completely closed. Just a guess on my part, but whoever owned this rifle could not get it to cycle after a few rounds, said "fuck it", cleaned it, then put it away.

Last group fired at 100M with Egyptian marked 8mm:

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Used to own one about thirty years ago. It was very accurate and I fired about 3,000 rounds of Portugese milsurp 8MM through it. When it jammed which was not very often, it was hard to open the action. The rear trigger guard screw would loosen because it had no locking screw, so I would use Lockite to keep it tight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Good luck on finding Wayne's book, it went out of print a little while ago, and is expensive when you do find a copy. I ordered spare parts for my rifle, and the parts I received were good to go, and most looked to be from a 30.06 contract. Your extractor will be marked on the side with the caliber.
Bear in mind that Century built a few examples like your going to do with some barreled receivers that had the Eagle of Saladin instead of a crown on the receiver. If you change out the barrel, there is no telling what size of locking shoulder you will need, so I would ask around to see who has successfully accomplished this. Try Goose52 on the FALFiles...that's Wayne Johnson.
That's interesting. I do remember seeing some of Goose52's posts on other forums when I was trying to do some basic research on the FN-49. I doubt I could find a better person to ask.

I haven't had any luck finding the book so far. Hopefully something will eventually surface.

Here are some details of mine:

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I had to re-zero the rifle several weeks after I disassembled the rear sight assembly. Egyptian 8mm works great, and gave the best group at 100M, with Yugo ball a close second. I suspect Portuguese will be equal to, or maybe better than Egyptian.
Your rifle is a fine specimen. :)

I don't have much surplus ammo left, but I did get my hands on some 8X57mm reloading dies on the weekend, in addition to some brass and bullets. I picked up some cheaper 150 grain bullets to start with (Hornady Interlock Spire Point). I will see how these work out for now, as I just want to make sure I can punch holes in paper. Perhaps I will try some 196 grain Hornaday 8mm HPBT Match bullets later down the road (I am hoping to buy more 8X57 brass when I get paid, so I could get some of those bullets while I do that).

Make damn sure when you install the gas plug, that its in correctly, and not upside down, or you will have a single shot rifle.
I will keep this in mind. I am hoping it is in the correct position, as that Arabic marking on the plug is facing upward as yours is.

When I received my example, the board member I bought it from said he did not want to mess around with taking it apart, and when I checked it out, the gas plug was in upside down (set to grenade) and the gas system was completely closed. Just a guess on my part, but whoever owned this rifle could not get it to cycle after a few rounds, said "fuck it", cleaned it, then put it away.
His/her loss was clearly your gain. ;)

Last group fired at 100M with Egyptian marked 8mm:

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Hopefully my handloads will get similar results. I also have a small batch of Yugoslavian 8X57mm I can use as well.

Used to own one about thirty years ago. It was very accurate and I fired about 3,000 rounds of Portugese milsurp 8MM through it. When it jammed which was not very often, it was hard to open the action. The rear trigger guard screw would loosen because it had no locking screw, so I would use Lockite to keep it tight.
Ach! I just double-checked the list of stuff I ordered, and I just realized I only ordred two stop screws instead of three!
 

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The recoil spring uses a double spring set up, so make sure you use hard primers or you run the risk of a slam fire.
 

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don't know much about these, but if you're considering ordering a new barrel anyway, would it be possible to switch the caliber and just buy a 30.06 barrel?
 

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Where besides Numrich can I find a 2 piece firing pin for the 8mm FN 49?
Numrich is your best bet. I ordered a bunch of spare parts and springs, as well as the gas tool from them, and everything was good to go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The recoil spring uses a double spring set up, so make sure you use hard primers or you run the risk of a slam fire.
Indeed. I already use hard primers (CCI #34) for my M1 Garand and M1A, and I will be sure to use them for my FN-49 as well.

don't know much about these, but if you're considering ordering a new barrel anyway, would it be possible to switch the caliber and just buy a 30.06 barrel?
I haven't looked extensively, but the .30-06 barrels I have found aren't in the best of shape. Not to mention that I have already purchased some 8X57mm reloading components (I have owned a Vz.24 Mauser for several years; I have an interest in using this cartridge) anyway. Although if I end up liking this rifle enough, I may add other FN-49's to my collection in the future (.30-06, 7.62X51mm, 7X57mm).

Where besides Numrich can I find a 2 piece firing pin for the 8mm FN 49?
I got most of my parts from Numrich, and I highly recommend them.

I need to get a few more basic things (FN-49 tool, sling), but I currently possess enough parts to cobble together a functional rifle. Granted, this is going to probably have to wait until the weekend, as I am busy with college and work during the weekdays.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Just FYI you guys are making it difficult to not pick one up :p
Oops! My bad! :p

I just disassembled my .30-06 bolt, and it turns out that I already have a two piece firing pin installed. :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Update:

I have largely pieced the rifle back together, but my outer recoil spring won't fit into the hole in the back of the receiver cover. If anything, the diameter of the spring seems a bit too wide to fit in there. Did different FN-49 contracts use different outer recoil springs? Did I somehow end up getting sent the wrong sort of spring?
 

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Update:

I have largely pieced the rifle back together, but my outer recoil spring won't fit into the hole in the back of the receiver cover. If anything, the diameter of the spring seems a bit too wide to fit in there. Did different FN-49 contracts use different outer recoil springs? Did I somehow end up getting sent the wrong sort of spring?
Try and take a picture of this. Recoil springs are about the same dimension, so I'm not sure what's going on with yours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Try and take a picture of this. Recoil springs are about the same dimension, so I'm not sure what's going on with yours.
EDIT: I mistook the piston spring for the outer recoil spring. Things seem to be working fine now that I have the proper springs in their proper places!

I am still waiting on a rear sling swivel and a couple of screws. Furthermore, I did forget to order a second inner recoil spring (I have placed an order for one), but I did manage to put the rifle together:









 

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I thought that might be your issue, as I damn near did the same thing when I first took mine apart. It sure is looking good though!
 
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