For many years Fabrique Nationale (FN) has produced many fine products. But no one bats a thousand and every company produces a mediocre or bad product. Today I review one of FN’s least desirable products. The FNAR.
The FNAR is a semi-automatic rifle based on the Browning BAR. (The hunting rifle, not the military rifle) FN took the Browning design and added a magazine well to accommodate 5, 10 and 20 round magazines and a PIcatinny rail and a fancy stock. Otherwise, the action is the same. It is chambered only in .308 Winchester.
Overall it is a sound design. The fit and finish is excellent. Just what you expect from a FN. The Competition model is colored blue (the company color) and looks sharp. Has a nice adjustable cheek piece to fit the shooter. A large Picatinny rail for mounting any optic. It also includes a small Picatinny rail on the end of the barrel if you are so inclined to add iron sights. The short, medium weight, 20 inch barrel is handy. The action is smooth and functions well.
This is where the good ends. Let me move on to why this is not a good rifle, especially for a competition rifle.
11. The medium weight barrel unbalances the rifle. All the weight is up front and makes the rifle clumsy to move quickly and efficiently.
22. The Competition stock has no provisions for a sling or for a bi-pod. This tells me this rifle was designed for one and only one type of competition. One that does not require the use of a sling or bi-pod. Without aftermarket gunsmithing, this rifle is not useful for multiple uses or competition types.
33. The front Picatinny rail is pointless. It is intended to put iron sights on. But with iron sights you want a longer sight radius to minimize aiming errors. The 20 inch barrel is a bit short for iron sights, especially if you want to win at competition. Just remove the front Picatinny rail. Most people will be using some sort of optic in today's world.
Also, the iron sights sit very high above the bore, which will not allow for a good cheek weld. This is not good for your accuracy.
44. The magazine release is too far forward. Though ambidextrous, it is located too far forward for easy access, which will slow down your magazine changes. This fact alone will lose you the competition.
55. Proprietary magazines that are stupid expensive. Running around $50 each. Ouch! Since you added an extended magazine well, How about using standard off the shelf magazines? Way to think of your customers needs FN.
77. Trigger. It is definitely not what I would call a competition trigger. Though light at approximately 3 – 3.5 pounds. It is full of slack, creep, grit and crunch. It is everything but a competition trigger. Fine for a hunting rifle.
88. Complex gas system that is major pain to take apart to clean. Definitely follow the instruction manual. Lots of small screws, pins and springs that need to be taken out. Good news, you do not need to pull it apart very frequently. Bad news is the instruction manual that came with the rifle is incomplete. It only explains how to disassemble the gas system. But does not tell you how remove the bolt from the receiver. Thank Google for the power of YouTube. And a big thanks to FN for doing a half-ass job on the instruction manual. Incomplete, small with tiny black and white pictures that are hard to see.
99. Only chambered in .308 Winchester. Why not 6.5 Creedmoor? Same horsepower but much less recoil. Less recoil means faster return to target. How about .223? Even less recoil and lower ammunition costs. The only advantage of .308 is knockdown power at longer ranges (400+ yards). Assuming you can hit your target.
110. Accuracy: Definitely mediocre. Even with the medium weight barrel, the rifle acts very much like a light weight hunting rifle. The accuracy expands and contracts with the temperature of the barrel. See Photo.
1. First group, cold bore. This is what you expect from a competition rifle. The separation is most likely operator error.
2. 2nd group. As the barrel heats up, the group open ups. Still not bad. Ignore the flying on the lower left of the group.
3. 3rd group. WTF? Pushing 3 inches and no clue where shot #5 went. This is AK territory. Or Tavor is you prefer. It also limits your maximum effective range depending on target size. A 3 inch group at 100 yards gives you have a theoretical 15 inch group at 500 yards.
4. 4th group. After a short barrel cool down, the group closes up a bit. Getting back to normal. Again, separation is probably is operator error.
Not good for a competition rifle. Fine for a hunting rifle.
The FNAR evolved from the Browning BAR hunting rifle. Fabrique Nationale sexed it up and threw it out into the market place and marketed it as a “competition” rifle. The FNAR is not a competition rifle in any way shape or form. It is outclassed by the AR-15. Hell, it is outclassed by an AK-47 and even a Tavor.
I know YouTube is full of videos of people singing the praises of this rifle. Sure, if a 1-3 inch gun is accurate enough and you limit your range to not more than 500 yards on a target not smaller than 10” in diameter, then yes, the FNAR is a fine rifle.
I disagree with most people on this rifle. It is outclassed by almost all other rifles. For the same $1500 I can build a hell of a great AR-15 that will outshine the FNAR in all respects.
It is the height of mediocrity for a “competition” rifle. It is something I would expect out of Taurus, not FN.
Fabrique Nationale needs to discontinue this rifle and remove it from the catalog. Shut down the assembly line and put the money into fixing their other craptactular products.
If you are hell bent on owning one of these, I do recommend the Browning BAR version. It is a nice, sleek design with a flush fit magazine and available in multiple calibers. It is hunting oriented, but that is what this design was meant to be and nothing else.
Browning BAR Rifle
This is my $1.02 worth.