A. What you saw was the FN Model 49 semi-automatic rifle. It was originally developed in the 1930s by Fabrique Nationale, shelved during the German occupation, and reintroduced after World War II. It is a gas-operated rifle that utilizes a tilting bolt-locking system quite similar to that of Soviet Tokarev rifles. The rifles are quite robust and well-made and were offered in several chamberings and variations. Although modestly successful, these rifles were obsolete by the post-World War II era, being superseded by more modern designs such as the FN FAL and the U.S. M14 rifle.
A particularly interesting and rare variant of the Model 49 is now being imported by Southern Ohio Gun [(800) 944-4867, www.southernohiogun.com]. It is an Argentine Navy Model 49 (shown above), chambered in .308 Win. and featuring a detachable 20-round magazine.
—Michael O. Humphries
This “Questions & Answers” was featured in the May 2004 issue of American Rifleman. At time of publication, "Questions & Answers" was compiled by Staff, Ballistics Editor William C. Davis, Jr., and Contributing Editors: David Andrews, Hugh C. Birnbaum, Bruce N. Canfield, O. Reid Coffield, Charles Q. Cutshaw, Charles M. Fagg, Angus Laidlaw, Evan P. Marshall, Charles E. Petty, Robert B. Pomeranz, O.D., Jon R. Sundra, Jim Supica, A.W.F. Taylerson, John M. Taylor and John Treakle.
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