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Hey guys this is my first time posting under the French section of GB. I was in my local gun shop today and the shop owner was selling a MAS rechambered in 308 for $350. I think it was imported by century (CAI). Anyways I was thinking of buying it since it seemed like a cheap price and looked to be in good condition. But a friend of mine told me he read somewhere that a MAS either 36 or 49/56 or both when rechambered in 308 never feed properly. Can anyone shed some light on the issue and if 350 is a good price or not? thanks for the help!
 

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they go for about 500 in central pa... i think i read somewhere that the change in caliber was done by the importer... and i think the mags where different ..
 

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The .308 conversions done by Century sometimes work ok, mainly don't without some tikering. For $350 I think It would be worth the risk. Plenty of people here will follow with good advice on polishing the chamber and adding an adjustable gas valve.
 

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The CAI 308's use the original 7.5 firing pin which is heavier than the ones the French used on their 7-5 49/56's. The French primers are quite hard therefore the need for the heavier firing pin. NATO spec primers are not as robust as the French primers. The original 150 or so French built 7.62 NATO chambered rifles had lightened firing pins to help reduce the chance of slam fires. So if you buy this 308 49/56 make sure you fire only NATO spec ammo or if you hand load only use CCI# 34 mil spec primers. I would not shoot any commercial ammo in it.
Last most of the CAI 308 49/56's were very problematic. Make sure you have a return period just in case yours is one that hasn't had the bugs worked out. If it was me I would pass on it.
 

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I had one of the Century 49/56's in .308 for a few years, shot it quite a bit, and eventually traded it off for a CETME.

I never had any 'feeding problems' with it. It seemed great in that regard.

It came out of the box with two of the 'converted' magazines (don't ask me what they did to 'convert' them), and all the 'toys' (night sights, rubber butt pad, a bunch of cleaning stuff, a spare retaining spring for the grenade launcher, etc).

My issues with it were that the rifle was, to my eyes, Butt Ugly (If motivated to do so, I could have whittled out a better looking (and fitting) stock from a 2X4 in a weekend) and it struck me as being pretty crudely constructed.

WHO (except the French and the Swiss, and the Swiss didn't really intend to regularly swap out mags when they did it) would ever CHOOSE to put the magazine catch on the MAGAZINE?

Its biggest problem for me was that I was shooting handloads (not using the proper 'hard' primers at the time) and the thing would occasionally go full-auto on me. Doubles and triples happened in about every second magazine. Once, it dumped the whole magazine with one trigger pull. That was it! Gone!

Perhaps the feeding issues come from using the converted rifles with unconverted magazines.

That being said, it sounds like a buy at that price.
 

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I had one of the Century 49/56's in .308 for a few years, shot it quite a bit, and eventually traded it off for a CETME.

I never had any 'feeding problems' with it. It seemed great in that regard.

It came out of the box with two of the 'converted' magazines (don't ask me what they did to 'convert' them), and all the 'toys' (night sights, rubber butt pad, a bunch of cleaning stuff, a spare retaining spring for the grenade launcher, etc).

My issues with it were that the rifle was, to my eyes, Butt Ugly (If motivated to do so, I could have whittled out a better looking (and fitting) stock from a 2X4 in a weekend) and it struck me as being pretty crudely constructed.

WHO (except the French and the Swiss, and the Swiss didn't really intend to regularly swap out mags when they did it) would ever CHOOSE to put the magazine catch on the MAGAZINE?

Its biggest problem for me was that I was shooting handloads (not using the proper 'hard' primers at the time) and the thing would occasionally go full-auto on me. Doubles and triples happened in about every second magazine. Once, it dumped the whole magazine with one trigger pull. That was it! Gone!

Perhaps the feeding issues come from using the converted rifles with unconverted magazines.

That being said, it sounds like a buy at that price.
Yep, I have seen that happen even on regular 7.5 49/56's when someone was using regular primers rather than CCI # 34's. The heaver 7.5 firing pin is the problem.
 

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I simply shortened and flattened the tip of the firing pin in my 7.5 49/56. Hundreds of rounds of reloads without a single slamfire.

In my opinion they are a much better rifle than they get credit for, especially if still in the original caliber. If one like you described turned up locally at that price I would buy it. I do not mind tinkering though.
 

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I have two 49/56's in the original caliber. They both shoot fine with commercial or surplus military ammo. I have never owned one converted to .308 but have heard nothing but horror stories about ones that have. The issue seems to a timing problem due the difference in pressures between the original French ammo and .308. I have read about an adjustable gas regulator that can be added so you can adjust the gas system so it functions more reliably with .308.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all that helps, definitely sounded too good to be true. Sounds like a good opportunity to pass on. If it needs "tinkering" with probably cost more than its worth plus losing any future collector value for being re barreled.
 

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Thanks for all that helps, definitely sounded too good to be true. Sounds like a good opportunity to pass on. If it needs "tinkering" with probably cost more than its worth plus losing any future collector value for being re barreled.
They weren't rebarrelled. They did some sort of 'magic' to the original barrels to make them work. I was under the impression that it was a chamber insert, but I can't recall exactly anymore.

I am pretty sure they didn't shorten the barrel and recut the chamber, because there would be a whole bunch of stuff in front of the receiver that wouldn't fit right if they did.
 

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They weren't rebarrelled. They did some sort of 'magic' to the original barrels to make them work. I was under the impression that it was a chamber insert, but I can't recall exactly anymore.

I am pretty sure they didn't shorten the barrel and recut the chamber, because there would be a whole bunch of stuff in front of the receiver that wouldn't fit right if they did.
Whatever they did, it was not done very well. I know some owners of the conversions have not had issues, but I will not risk my luck. If I want a MAS 49/56 in .308 I will have it done myself.
 

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They weren't rebarrelled. They did some sort of 'magic' to the original barrels to make them work. I was under the impression that it was a chamber insert, but I can't recall exactly anymore.

I am pretty sure they didn't shorten the barrel and recut the chamber, because there would be a whole bunch of stuff in front of the receiver that wouldn't fit right if they did.
The Mas 49-56 rechambered to .308 by Century Arms had their barrel shortened by 19mm (3/4") to cut the .308 chamber. In the process, the original locking shoulder has disappeared and the cropped .308 barrel is locked on the end of the thread only. the forend, handguard and gas tube were also cropped.

The direct gas impingement system of the French FSA is very forgiving, it was designed to operate reliably in the European winter as well as the sahara heat. Tinkering with the gas flow may tame the empty case ejection, but at the cost of a all year around reliability.

The size of the gas port was not modified by the MAS engineers when they built the small batch of Mas 49-56 rifles in 7,62x51, the recoil system was not altered either.

The 5% differential pressure between the .308 Nato and 7,5x54 is meaningless compared to the pressure change created by high/low temperature alteration.

kelt
 

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+1 on everything Kelt says. The slamfire/full-auto problem can be dealt with simply by fitting a spring to the firing pin and checking that the protrusion is not too great. The Ejection issues were caused by Century cutting coils off the recoil spring to slow the bolt down on the return to battery in an attempt to reduce the chance of a slamfire. They traded one issue for another.

An adjustable gas valve allows the rifle to deal with the slow powders in commercial hunting ammo. A member here "Starmetal" makes them. Thee is a more complicated fix that involves swapping much of the existing gas tube for one of larger diameter from an AR-15 of all things. The increase in gas volume delays the bolt opening with all ammo, but is especially useful in dealing with slow burning commercial ammo.
 

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I find the 49/56 very appealing to my eyes. I have one in 7.5 and one in 7.62 that are equally satisfying to shoot. Do the firing pin measuring thing to see if it has aready been fixed. You know they have been around for years, and I'll bet most have had the bugs worked out. The price is great and if you can finagle a return deal if it "ain't fixed" you have the best of all worlds. Also I see nothing shoddy in the way 49/56s were constructed, and in a shoot out with other semi's, I'd be surprised if the mas wasn't prefered. Go in peace my son.
 

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I have removed 0,5mm off my firing pins without having fit any sort of spring. This adjustment works even when you decide to shoot surplus through your rifle. Kelt is the man with the answers for French rifles!
 

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$350 is a fair price.

There are some of these CAI modded 308 49/56's with more issues than others, and I've yet to hear of one that was unrecoverable (without some tlc and the invaluable information to do so found on Gunboards); mine works time after time just like my original 7.5.

If I were in your shoes I'd go back to that gun shop, ask him to open the receiver section, point out the cut spring (99.95% chance), mention the bad reputation of those versions and say you'd generously take it off his hands for $250.
 

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I bought 2 of these in original 7.5 cal. years ago when the price was right, one resides close by and the other put well away as a spare. My shooter I swapped in the titanium firing pin and have had no problems with it, but for peace of mind sake I will ultimately fit a firing pin spring to it. It's a shame some people have problems with these and century did their *work* on others, but overall I am pleased. About to purchase a good die set and load my own. Anyone here have any good hand loading experience with these rifles in original caliber?
 

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Lee make decent dies for the 7.5 FR and Graf's has the brass you need. I would use CCI #34 mil spec primers to reduce the chance of slam fire as the are harder than normal large rifle primers. I use IMR 4895 and 150 grain M80 projos.
 
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