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FN-49 Venezuelan Semiauto 7mm Rifle.


FN-49 Venezuelan Semiauto 7mm Rifle.. Overall VG Condition with nice Venezuelan crest.

Type: Service rifle
Place of origin: Belgium
Service history
In service 1949—1988
Used by: Argentina, Belgium, the Belgian Congo, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Venezuela
Wars: Korean War, Congo Crisis, Suez Crisis
Production history
Designer: Dieudonne Saive
Designed: 1949
Manufacturer: Fabrique Nationale (FN)
Produced: 1949—1956, 1961
Number built: more than 176,000
Weight: 4.31 kg (9 lb 8 oz)
Length: 1116 mm (43.54 in)
Barrel length: 590 mm (23.23 in)
Cartridge: .30-06 Springfield, 7.92x57mm, 7x57mm, 7.62x51mm NATO, 7.65x53mm Mauser Action: Gas-Operated, tilting bolt Feed system: 10-round fixed box magazine, 20-round detachable box magazine in Argentine 7.62 NATO conversions

The Fabrique Nationale Model 1949 (often referred to as the FN-49, SAFN, or FN AL) is a semi-automatic rifle designed by Dieudonne Saive and manufactured by Fabrique Nationale. It was used by the militaries of Argentina, Belgium, the Belgian Congo, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, Luxembourg, and Venezuela.

While it is well-regarded for its reliability in comparison to the rifles of the time, its practical use was limited, as it was not deployed in time for use in World War II (when self-loading semi-automatic rifles were most popular) but later, after many militaries had already begun the switch to selective fire assault rifles.

Dieudonne Saive, Fabrique Nationale's then-chief firearm designer, experimented with a number of recoil-operated rifle designs in the early 1930s. While little came of these experiments, they would become the basis for a gas-operated self-loading rifle, which he patterned in 1936 and prototyped in 1937. (Protographs of these prototypes still exist, and they show a number of characteristics that would later appear in the FN-49.)

FN's new rifle was ready to begin series production in late 1938 - early 1939, and a version with a 5-round magazine was about to be marketed. But when German armies invaded Poland, these plans were delayed to increase production of bolt action rifles and machine guns.

The German invasion of Belgium in May 1940 interrupted any plans for the production of the new model, as Liège, home of FN's factory, was occupied by the German military. Despite this setback, Saive was able to escape to England via Portugal in 1941, where he continued work on what would become the FN-49.

By 1943, Saive was back to working on his experimental rifle, now in 7.92x57 Mauser. Late that year, the Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield ordered 50 prototypes (designated "EXP-1" and sometimes referred to as "SLEM" or "Self-Loading Experimental Model"). Based on tests with these prototypes, Enfield placed an order for 2,000 rifles for troop trials, but a last-minute problem with the moderation of the gas pressure (as well as the impending end of World War II) led to the cancellation of this order. Despite this, Saive (who had returned to Liège shortly after its liberation in September 1944) continued work on the rifle, and finalized the design for the FN-49 in 1947.

Production lifetime
With the design finalized, the rifle was now ready for mass production. FN started looking for customers, but the communist states were not an option (as they were required to buy or build soviet designs). The western European nations had vast stocks of World War II firearms. They also could get American and British weapons aid, which was inexpesive or free. So FN decided to market to the non-aligned countries, who did not want to commit to Western or Soviet doctrine, which was inevitable when accepting aid.

The Belgian Army was the first to adopt the rifle, between 1949 and 1951, in caliber .30-06, designating it the ABL SAFN-49. ABL is an acronym for the Belgian army; the "AB" of ABL stands for Armée Belge - the French words for "Belgian Army," while the "BL" stands for "Belgish Leger" - the Flemish words for Belgian Army. SAFN stands for either Saive Automatique, Fabrique Nationale, or Semi-Automatique, Fabrique Nationale.

The rifle worked well in the Korean War in the hands of Belgian troops. Little over 125,000 SAFN's were manufactured in 7.62x63mm caliber for the armies of Belgium, the Belgian Congo, Luxembourg, the Dutch East Indies, Colombia, and Brazil.

Venezuela adopted the SAFN in 1950-1951, buying about 8,000 rifles in 7x57 Mauser caliber. The Venezuelan guns have corrugated sheet steel buttplates and muzzle brakes.

Argentina acquired about 5,541 SAFN's in caliber 7.65x54 mm for use by the Argentine Navy (Armada de la Republica de Argentina). In 1962, FN provided an update program for the navy to upgrade their SAFN's. A new barrel in 7.62mm NATO was fitted and a new triggerguard with provision for retaining a 20 round detachable box magazine was installed. The converted rifles were provided with 20 round detachable box magazines

Egypt under King Farouk purchased 37,641 Model 1949's in caliber 7.92x57 mm Mauser. The Egyptian guns bear King Farouk's royal cypher above the chamber and have the sight graduations marked with Arabic numerals.

Several prototypes were made in other calibers, including at least five in 6.5x55 mm Mauser for testing in Sweden, one in caliber 7.5x54 mm for testing in France, and one in caliber 7.62mm NATO for testing in the United States.

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This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 08 April, 2008.

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