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I picked up a MAS 49/56 yesterday and I am blown away by the design. The design of the basic action makes a FAL or AK look complicated. For sure I would ditch the funky two-prong screws and modify it to take FAL mags, but other than that I would change nothing. Even the direct impingement does not bother me as the movement of the bolt will tend to shrug off fouling and the crucial locking surfaces are well away from the gas. I should have bought one years ago.
 

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Actually, with the exception of the piston in the FAL, the designs are very similar, especially if you consider the paratrooper FAL. Both are tilting bolts. The FAL bolt is a little more sophisticated. The AK, OTOH, with a rotating bolt is a lot more different. Still, the 49/56 overall is simpler.

I consider the 49/56 one of the most robust autoloading actions of the middle of the last century. I also consider the Model 36 one of the most robust bolt actions as well.
 

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I had a 49/56 for several years and thought well of it. The only "problem" I had with it was that - at least with mine - loading the magazine with chargers was quite difficult. Other than that I think it was one of the best post-WW2 self loaders.

I also think the MAS 36 was a good design hampered by the lack of a safety. It seems that everyone I've ever handled had a horrendous trigger pull?
 

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It seems that everyone I've ever handled had a horrendous trigger pull?
Another member on this thread has a simple fix for the problem. I'm going to the Albuquerque Show next weekend and pick up a couple of M1 carbine springs and make the adjustment to my MAS 36s.
 

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The basic design pre dates the FAL if Im not mistaken by 3-5 years?
 

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The basic design pre dates the FAL if Im not mistaken by 3-5 years?
It pre-dated it by quite a few years ... The MAS 49 evolved from the prototype MAS-38/39 and MAS-40 (which entered service in March 1940), followed by the MAS-44, 44A and 44B.
Patrick
 

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Another member on this thread has a simple fix for the problem. I'm going to the Albuquerque Show next weekend and pick up a couple of M1 carbine springs and make the adjustment to my MAS 36s.
I wish that show was not on my drill weekend otherwise I would have been there with my French dispaly again
Patrick
 

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You can only modify FAL mags to work in those MAS 49/56 that have been turned into .308 conversions. The native 7.5x54 French round is too long for the FAL mag.
I have several FAL mags that I added the latch to and have had great success with using them in my much reworked MAS. Some reshaping of the feed lips of the FAL mag is necessary, but once done they do work well. However, they do alter the fine balance of the MAS when carried. I did not realize just how nice the rifle is to carry until I addded the 20 round FAL nag. Not a big think, but the design of the MAS 49/56 was very well thought out and refined progressions of the parent MAS semi-auto designs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You can only modify FAL mags to work in those MAS 49/56 that have been turned into .308 conversions. The native 7.5x54 French round is too long for the FAL mag.
Of course, what I meant to say was a FAL style magazine would have been a better idea in the original design.:)
 

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Patrick,
That was what I was thinking. I knew the final form of the 40 was reborn in the 44 and that Sauvie? (sp) brought his design of the FAL to England during the war years but they poo poo it till post war. Man Id love to have a 40!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Patrick,
That was what I was thinking. I knew the final form of the 40 was reborn in the 44 and that Sauvie? (sp) brought his design of the FAL to England during the war years but they poo poo it till post war. Man Id love to have a 40!
Having just left large numbers of rifles on the beach at Dunkirk (70th anniversary this weekend) the UK government and arms industry were in no shape to take on the development of a new semi-auto rifle like the FAL. No doubt a good dose of "not invented here" applied as well. See US rejection of any round under 30 cal for NATO as another example. Production needed to be ramped up on the No.4 and the dispersal scheme for No.1s was started as all the machinery was still available. Also, I understand that the Irish government gave or sold back a bunch of No1 MkIIIs that the UK had given them in the early 30s. I am fortunate enough to own one.

Some might be puzzled that the MAS 40 design did not make its way to the UK in 1940. Given the speed of the French collapse I would bet it was all they could do to hide the design and save their skins. Besides that the French have always been extremely reticent about their small arms development, so I suspect taking it to the British would have been seen as nearly as bad as letting the Germans get it.
 

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It's the FN model 1949 that Dieudonné Saive developped while working in the UK during WWII.

There is one Mas Mle 1938/39, N°2 in a private collection in the USA.

The French works/engineers on shaped charge grenades went to the USA via Portugal in 1940.

The French and Polish works on the Enigma machine went to UK from North Africa in 1940 (after Mers El Kebir!).

The French Works on armor piercing sabot rounds developped by Brandt went to UK in June 1940.

The Saint Etienne Arsenal managed to masquerade its Mas 1940 uncompleted fabrication line as a Mas 36 line and hid all documents and pre seri rifles otherwise the germans would have had a working semi auto rifle in 1941.

The Mas 1940 design could not be adapted easily to the .303 rimmed cartridge.

kelt
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It's the FN model 1949 that Dieudonné Saive developped while working in the UK during WWII.

There is one Mas Mle 1938/39, N°2 in a private collection in the USA.

The French works/engineers on shaped charge grenades went to the USA via Portugal in 1940.

The French and Polish works on the Enigma machine went to UK from North Africa in 1940 (after Mers El Kebir!).

The French Works on armor piercing sabot rounds developped by Brandt went to UK in June 1940.

The Saint Etienne Arsenal managed to masquerade its Mas 1940 uncompleted fabrication line as a Mas 36 line and hid all documents and pre seri rifles otherwise the germans would have had a working semi auto rifle in 1941.

The Mas 1940 design could not be adapted easily to the .303 rimmed cartridge.

kelt
I stand corrected. I cannot believe I put FAL when I meant FN49. Finger speed on the keys outstripping the brain. :sorry: As for the MAS 40 and rimmed cartridges, I slapped my head when I read it. Rimmed cartridges and semi-autos are generally not good playmates, although the Russians have made a few that worked.

OT: Were there problems with the French Model 1917 semi firing the rimmed 8mm cartridge?
 

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Having just left large numbers of rifles on the beach at Dunkirk (70th anniversary this weekend) the UK government and arms industry were in no shape to take on the development of a new semi-auto rifle like the FAL.
Heh. I didn't realize it was the anniversary this weekend. I was in Dunkirk for quite a while back in 1979. The two things I remember are the pretty girls who were very curious about Americans and the bullet holes still in many of the buildings.
 

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And just think not too long ago southern ohio gun had the rearsenalled French 49/56 MAS Commando Rifles in the orginal 7,5mm french for just $189 with all the accessories. This was around the time when FNM first offered the 7,5mm french ammo and the rest is history. I purchased one but i had to get another one because my son took my first one and never let me shoot it again. I also picked up two more in 308 too. I guess I got lucky because both of them function great too. I'm very surprised that every collector doesn't have one of these awesome French rifles. I wouldn't be without mine for sure. For SHTF gun there right up there with my sks and saiga's too. But the little French MAS 49/56 Commando Rifle just feels so good in my hands.
 

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Gentlemen: The Bolt design of the MAS 38, and susequent models, stems from the MAC 1924, IF I am remebering Proud Promise correctly. In any case, the tilting bolt is French and the later guns are copiers of this feature....

I have a Mle 1917, and it works fine with the rimmed cartridge. The Mle 1918 was even better, and according to the French Authorities; "Gave complete satifaction in the Rif War in Morocco..."

I am still upset by the tendency of supposed experts, to denigrate the fine weapons of the French, such clowns as Smith and Smith stating that the Mle 49 was a hodge-podge of copied features!! What Bull! The French invented every feature and perfected them, mostly in secret, and for good reason, but in the 1950's, the American and British "Gun Experts" just kept it up, repeating the same baloney over and over. (I was a kid then and had to read this in gun publications of that era...)

Kelt is correct, of course, and not only did the Allies get the shaped charge and APDS from the expatriate French designers, those who stayed behind kept the Nazis from gettting anything useful from the French Armories. The MAS Mle 36 has a magazine well that is too short for 7,92 x 57mm ammo and not easily modified for this round, the same with the Mle 1940....I have heard the German engineers tried to find an easy way to make the German round fit the French weapons, but never did....

As for Dunkirk, if Hitler was not an idiot, along with that "fat ice cream salesman", the Nazis could have captured the BEF intact.....or at least caused even more damage....

Dale
 

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I am extremely happy with my 49/56! I even launch fake grenades with it!!! The best military rifle round, in my opinion, is the .308 and the 7.5 is just about the same. I am again, very happy with the French rifle!!! I have had no issues and if I did, I would take the time to ask the kind fellows here who have helped me in past with other weapon questions.
 

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I just received my MAS 49/56 today and like it. My question is, Did the French or anyone for that matter make a 20 round magazine for this rifle in the 7.5mm round? If so does anyone know where I can purchase a few magazines in the larger capacity? Thanks!
 
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