G&C contributor, range buddy, and all around cool guy Cro picked up an Egyptian Contract FN-49 and was kind enough to trust me with it for a week or so to take some photos.
It really is a gorgeous looking gun.
The FN-49 began life just prior to WWII, and the designer, Dieudonne Saive, fled to England when the Nazis invaded Belgium. Saive took the plans with him to prevent them from falling into the Germans' hands, and finished the project after Belgium was liberated and FN got back on its feet.
The rifle is a gas-operated semi-auto battle rifle, with a long operating rod and the system is adjustable to compensate for varying loads. The rifle was originally chambered in 7x57 Mauser, and was eventually produced in 30-06, 7.65x53 Argentine, and 8mm Mauser (as pictured in this article.)
Take-down is pretty simple, and the rifle can be field stripped without the use of tools (a small screwdriver is required to remove the handguard as shown below.)
The fit and finish on this example are quite good, with some wear on the bluing present, however no rust or pitting that I noticed.
The safety is interesting, at least to Cro and myself, as it slides in a machined groove in the side of the trigger itself.
The magazine is a 10 round fixed box magazine, and the feed lips are machined into the receiver rather than the magazine.
This being an Egyptian Contract rifle, many of the markings are in Arabic, including the serial number and range markings on the rear sight assembly.
On the range, the rifle handles well. It balances where a rifle should, and looks good doing it.
Recoil is not as bad as I'd expected, no doubt due to the long operating rod and the system being adjusted for the particular ammunition we were shooting (Romanian surplus.) It was a bit hazy out, and the smoke was lingering.
I fired a few groups from the bench to get a feel for accuracy...
...but we quickly realized we needed to back off to 50 yards to figure out where the rounds were going. After moving to the shorter range, we found the rifle to be shooting about a foot low at 50 yards on it's lowest setting, and a bit left. We adjusted a little for windage, and brought the rear up a few notches and moved back over to 100.
Not the prettiest group, and one still managed to slip between the two sheets, but pretty typical of what we were getting most of the day. I'm certain the gun is capable of much better groups if you had the right ammo, a better zero, and better range conditions. I think next time some warmup time on the 10/22 and a little less coffee (heresy!!!) may be in order.
All in all, I'd say it's a pretty nice addition to Cro's collection.