Book Review: 'The FN-49–Last Elegant Old-World Military Rifle'

posted on October 11, 2021
The FN-49

Whether you call it the ABL, the SAFN, the Model 49 or simply the FN-49, it is one of the most elegant self-loading military rifles ever made. Author Wayne Johnson did the firearm community a service with this book’s first edition in 2004. The second edition of The FN-49—The Last Elegant Old-World Military Rifle is more than double the size of the previous work with much new information incorporated into its pages. The author’s continued research into the guns over the intervening 15 years has resulted in a 460-page book with more than 1,100 photographs and illustrations, including many combat and training images from its use around the world.

The book opens within an overview of Fabrique Nationale up until the FN-49 was introduced, includes a biography of gun designer Dieudonné Saive and chronicles the previous self-loading rifles—such as the Self-Loading Experimental (SLEM) and EXP rifles—that led to the development of the Model 1949.

An array of contract rifles is covered in separate chapters, and FN-49 sniper variants are included, too. Readers will find the different rifles covered in striking detail, and, thanks to FN opening up its records for research, reprinted “Order Lists” provide order details for each rifle contract from April 1949 to the final order of FN-49s delivered to Century Arms in 1975.

Excellent color photography and original imagery, factory drawings, manuals and advertisements help tell the story of these superbly crafted rifles in a visually striking manner.

The 8¾"x111/4" hardbound book is available through, (336) 394-4138, and is priced at $74. For NRA members who reference this review, a coupon will be available for a limited time from the publisher for free shipping.


Revisiting 9Mm Super Cooper F
Revisiting 9Mm Super Cooper F

Blast From The Past: Revisiting The 9 mm Magnum 'Super Cooper'

Follow Brad Miller as he takes a closer look at the 9 mm "Super Cooper" magnum handgun cartridge, which can have cases made for it from cut down .223 Rem. casings.

Smith & Wesson Model 10: A Legendary K-Frame Available Today

Today’s Model 10 chambers .38 Spl. and can handle +P loads. Cylinder capacity is six cartridges in the single/double action. Its frame, cylinder and barrel are carbon steel, blued in classic fashion and the grips are wood. It’s a timeless look.

Tips & Techniques: A Penny For Your Dry-Fire Thoughts

When performing dry-fire practice with an AR-15, there are a lot of reasons you might not want the bolt to lock to the rear. You can use dummy rounds, snap caps or other safety aids, but there’s another trick used in training circles requiring far less investment.

NRA Foundation Grants $252,000 For Ammo To USA Shooting

The NRA Foundation Board of Trustees has approved a $252,000 grant for USA Shooting to purchase the specific shotshells used by the National Team, National Development Team and National Junior Team.

This Old Gun: Winchester Model 1892 'Trapper'

The Winchester 1873 may have been “The Gun That Won The West,” but it was the Winchester Model 1892, with its smoother, stronger action, that soon began outselling the earlier toggle-link lever-action and eventually caused the ‘73’s demise in 1921.

Preview: Wilson Combat WCP365 Grip Module

Wilson Combat is offering aftermarket grip modules compatible with SIG Sauer’s P365/P365 XL micro-compact semi-automatic pistols that significantly improve the host handguns’ ergonomics while adding a touch of custom flair.


Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.