A friendly gun dealer asked if I would like to shoot an FNAR and give him some feedback on the rifle. He offered to supply the ammo too....Who doesn't take that opportunity? Before this I had seen a few ads for the rifle and I think read an article in Shotgun News about it....I was given the 20" heavy barrel version and three boxes of Priv Partisan Match 168 grain ammo.
I had to find a scope and mounts for it. I dug into my drawer of scopes and came up with a Leupold Vari X II 4-12. Not a bad piece of glass, not a real precision scope but better than what alot of rifles mount.....I had to use a set of Weaver "see through" mounts to mount the scope. I did not have a set of Ultra High mounts in my box of mounts and I believe that is what it would have taken to clear the scope over the Picatinny rail. The mounts of course were not milspec but I clamped them down well and I don't believe they were a factor in testing for that reason. They did work well with the factory cheekpiece and allowed a proper cheekweld.
The trigger I found to be decent. Not as good as an AR match trigger- it had a little bit of creep right in the middle of the pull. However, for a semiautomatic rifle it was entirely acceptable and broke around 4 pounds.
I sighted the rifle in at 25 yards using some Argentine ball milsurp ammo. The shooting was done on a fairly calm day from a concrete bench. I had one round that stovepiped, not clearing the ejection port entirely otherwise it functioned flawlessly. Ejection was positive but not terribly hard- fired cases landed mostly forward and to the right about 3 feet. Primer hits were good and deep.
Once the rifle was sighted in at 25 yards I fired two 5 shot groups at 100 yards. The groups were not all that impressive- roughly 2 inches. Perhaps the rifle was just settling in. I moved to the 200 yard target and fired several 5 shot groups. These were much better and averaged between 1 1/2 and 1 3/4" for 6 groups.
Thoughts- it's a decent rifle.....at first I was not very impressed with it as it seemed like little more than a tweaked BAR. I have seen several problematic examples of the BAR over the years in the hunting field. With no provision for iron sights and magazines that cost $40 apiece- and it only comes with one....it's not a real contender for the MBR role. It is however VERY accurate for a semi auto rifle, it's obvious that FN sees it as a DMR type weapon. I would liked to have shot it more with different ammo- just to see if it liked something else better than the Privi...also the scope and mount were not ideal but I don't think they had any detrimental effects on the testing. They were adequate for the job.
The concerns that I would have in owning one is the availability of replacement parts. I firmly believe that any rifle that someone might use to defend themselves should have a "spares" kit of basic, high wear/breakage items- firing pin, extractor etc.....I don't know that those will be available any time soon. Ability for owner service-not having broken the rifle down I can't say how complicated it is. However-most anyone with a few tools and modest ability can fully tear down including a rebarrel- on an AR15 in about two hours at most. That is the standard in my opinion and I doubt the FN is in that league. Magazines, one supplier and expensive but since it's not an MBR you could probably make do with 4-6 of them. Long term durability- any design that starts out as a semi auto sporter is suspect to me. Time will tell. I won't be buying one, I can buy a DPMS LR, the one that I own currently is easily as accurate as the FNAR and they are about the same money.
Just a few thoughts on a new rifle.