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(This is a reader-submitted review as part of our gun review contest. See details here.)

By Adam Cummings

With long lines, smooth curves and a beautiful finish, it’s hard to keep your eyes, and hands away from the FNAR Standard rifle. It handles great, and it is comfortable to hold. The rifle comes with various silicone cheekpieces and buttpads of different heights and thickness to ensure the shooter is able to gain an appropriate cheek and shoulder weld.

The light profile model is very well balanced even if not quite slim. My scientific weighing method — me getting on the scale without the rifle, and then subsequently with the rifle — puts its weight at 10.8 pounds empty, but topped with a Zeiss Conquest 3-9×40 rapid Z reticle- (great scope by the way). Controls are comfortable, right side charging handle and bolt release, ambi magazine release, trigger mounted button safety. A mix between an AR-15 and a 10/22 is the best way I can describe it.

FN manufactures a few different options in the FNAR, they have heavy barreled models, which proved a bit too thick for my taste. It’s chambered in .308 Win/7.62 NATO,and the barrels on the FNAR are cold hammer forged around a rifled mandrel, also chrome lined with a recessed crown. The barrels are fluted and offered in 16 or 20 inch length.

fnar-profile

The model I took home, the 20-inch standard barrel version has what I refer to as the Goldilocks profile: not too thick, not too thin and goes all the way up…the barrel I mean. The stock is of a black nylon material with a nicely checkered pistol grip to hang on to. The forend is separated by the receiver and checkered as well. It also has a three railed section to allow a bi-pod, flashlight, rangefinder, or whatever legos you decide to hook on there. The picatinny rail on top of the receiver has more than reasonable length for mounting an optic appropriate for this cartridge.

Accessories available for the rifle are out there, but this mistress has expensive tastes, proprietary magazines in 20, 10, or 5 rounds are available and will break not only your wallet but also your will to live. I purchased a few at the bargain price of $60 each. I also tacked on an accessory that bridges the barrel over the forend. It allows the use of back-up iron sights if I decide to smash my perfectly good scope to bits.

Takedown
If your emotional state wasn’t shattered at the cost of the baubles this rifle demands to keep her in the style to which she is accustomed, it will be by the complexity involved in disassembly of the weapon. You are not allowed to field strip this rifle out in the woods, if ever. It demands clean and organized accommodations as well as your undivided attention.

Once the forend is removed from the rifle, the inner workings of the mechanism boggle the brain. Have the manual and your engineering degree handy. The piston assembly is attached to a center guide rod, which connects to removable side bars that actuate the bolt of the rifle. There is a small screw and a nylon buffer that keep the assembly somewhat together, but things really get out of hand when you take those out.

This arrangement may keep your motor clean but it will make your mind a mess. AC/DC anyone? The trigger assembly (more on that in a minute) is removed via three pins that are not at all captive. There is a lot happening under the hood with the FNAR and the whole encounter can be a bit confusing.

fnar-range

Performance
In keeping with our recent theme, the FNAR is a fast machine. When they originally developed this rifle, FN touted minute of angle guarantee out to 500 yards with match grade 168 grain. All that in a sleek semi-automatic round package with up to 20 rounds on tap.

fnar-fly

I have owned the rifle a while and I think that’s probably true. I don’t know if I am guaranteed for that consistent of rating, but at 100 to 200 yards I can flirt with MOA regularly. I punched a couple of proper holes like that through a cheap steel spinner at 200 yards when I first zeroed the rifle…whoops! (I know, I know: pics or it didn’t happen).

fnar-various-gr

Anyway, back to the trigger. In a word: excellent. Feel and pull are smooth, it is a very crisp trigger and extremely precise. I would estimate the pull at four pounds. Not too light, not too heavy, another one of those Goldilocks attributes to this rifle.

fnar-168-gr-otm

Reliability
The first time I took it out, the gun wouldn’t cycle, and I believed I had purchased a very expensive single shot. However this was attributed to user error (how embarrassing) and I have found if you keep the regulating screw in the piston assembly adjusted to the appropriate level, the rifle cycles dependably, and you are able to mitigate some recoil.

I am tempted to thread the barrel and try this rifle suppressed, however FN states that this will void the warranty-which could be a real bummer considering the amount of parts this rifle needs to function. I have scouted around a few forums to discover if braver souls than I have ventured into this territory, results are mixed.

Other considerations as to long term wear, durability, drop tests, etc. are yet to be determined. I try not to drop things this expensive in the mud or throw them about the truck. Probably being a sissy, but resale isn’t out of the question for this purchase.

Overall
Mixed feelings on the FNAR…it’s a tough call. Expensive accessories and proprietary mags are a real downer. The purchase price of the rifle has come down significantly since its arrival to market, but plan on about $1000 with one mag. Takedown and cleaning are terrible, the complexity really reduces the fun factor in this relationship. Definitely not something you want to maintain in the field or in a “situation” type of situation.

On the other hand it is fun to play with, it’s a fairly soft shooting .308 one you can dial it in the way you want. Would I do it over again if I had the chance? “Of course, Honey! You know I would.”

Specifications: FN FNAR

Caliber: 7.62x51mm NATO (308 Win.)
Trigger pull: 3.25-5.5 lbs
Weight without mag: 8.25 lbs
Length: 41.5 inches
Height: 7.5 inches
Barrel length: 20 inches
Twist: 1:12 ” right hand.
Magazine capacity: 20 rounds

Ratings (out of five stars):

Fit and Finish * * * * *
Finish is excellent, everything you would expect from FN. High quality paint and heavy parkerizing on the barrel, no scuffs or flashing on the nylon, no blemishes on any component of the rifle. Parts are precision machined and expertly fitted. Impressive.

Function/Reliability * * * *
Aside from user error in re-assembly of the rifle, function is excellent. Cycles various ammunition, recoil is manageable, controls and operation are positive and intuitive. Long term and high round count reliability has yet to be determined, seems promising considering the family pedigree.

Takedown/Disassembly *
Debated on giving this rifle zero stars in this category. This was a huge turn-off for me. Internal mechanisms are extremely complicated for this gun, small parts, needs tools, not field-friendly. Lots of opportunity to screw up during the re-assembly also, you might need to rewind the video a couple times to help you get it right (bless your little hearts youtube).

Accuracy * * * *
Really good, almost bolt gun good, better than I am good. I bet if I clamped it down and invested in more practice I could live up the the MOA guarantee that FN advertised with this rifle.

Overall * * *
As mentioned above, I want to love it more, but just can’t get past the emotional complications I mentioned. Fortunately there are a few other guns in the safe.

44 Responses to Gun Review FN FNAR Standard Rifle

    • It was developed around the same time as the SCAR, and that uses proprietary mags. Perhaps they couldn’t cram a FAL mag into Browning BAR (which is exactly what the FNAR is).

      • Thanx for that little tidbit. I couldn’t tell from the photos but I ‘thought’ the profile looked a lot like the BAR. Given FNs past affiliation with Browning I suppose that’s logical.

  1. I was fondling a used FNAR 16″ heavy barrel at a LGS, and it had a decent optic already mounted, but after I whipped out my phone and searched for magazine prices online, I put it back on the rack and moved on.

    The overly complex nature of takedown and routine maintenance pretty much kills it for me ever considering one in the future, as well.

    • If you are willing to go for a thousand dollar rifle over a 600$ Palmetto AR10, I’m not seeing mags as anything but an ancillary cost that pales in comparison to cheap vs accurate ammo prices (or would you shoot crappy Wolf in a 1 MOA DMR tackdriver?)

    • You do realize it only needs to be cleaned down to the gas system every thousand rounds, or so? Exceptionally clean-shooting gun. A spritz of oil & a barrel rod are the only things it generally needs. I understand that morons or Frog Lube owners who let their BARs or FNARs go to hell with maintenance encounter a very progressive failure to cycle as the action slows down, with lots of warning to remedy the situation.

  2. Good review, Adam.

    I don’t like overly complex firearms and tend to avoid them like the plague, even if they are dead sexy like the FNAR.

  3. Complicated and expensive, doesn’t really do anything an AR10 can’t do. On a scale of one to ten this gets a solid “meh”.

    • I got mine for 900$ in 2010 or thereabouts when AR10s were still in a heated debate over magazine compatibility & could not be found below about 11-12 hundred; PSA hadn’t started driving prices on that platform down, yet. I want to say most of those were not nearly to the same level of quality/accuracy, either. For a simple, turn-key solution to the desire for an accurate, reliable weapon at a good price point, the FNAR actually did offer a good bargain. It’s also worth mentioning its direct competition was the 2500$ Surgeon/Knights piston ARs or the 2000$ SCAR17.

      The only failing with the gun is that it was never intended nor designed to be modular like the AR, and thus it’s development has a rather firm ceiling, and it’s service procedures are not what modern gun owners have come to expect (highly modular component assemblies that break out into a couple units without the need for tools or brains)

  4. Looked pretty hard at one but the cleaning procedure was a show stopper, went with a 716 instead.
    Might not be quite as accurate, but I am no world class shot.

  5. I never quite understood this rifle or who it was being targeted to.
    Proprietary in all the worst ways. I guess it’s just for FN collectors.
    If it took 7.62 AR mags that’s be something at least.

    • It’s direct competition were piston-ARs from the highest-end of makers, that cost about double. AR10s were not nearly so prevalent, and cost about the same (and had a questionable ‘standard’ of magazines themselves). The ‘role’ intended for the gun, as near as I can tell, is exactly the same as whatever the hell the PSG-1 was designed for. I guess high-volume precision sniper fire –which as we all know is somewhat laughably implausible in any real world scenario. My belief is the gun is a perfect longer-range hog-killing instrument, or would be if the muzzle came threaded for a suppressor. Now that the AR10 has benefited from the same cost reductions and development/standardization in the civilian market as the AR15, there is definitely less of a compelling argument for the FNAR.

  6. Every time I read “FNAR” I heard it in the voice of Snarf from ThunderCats. That, by itself, makes me not like this rifle.

  7. Wherever you’re shooting is way prettier than the gun. (Not that she isn’t pretty, but I’m jealous of your range/back yard).

    • Haven’t held one, have you? The grip’s a bit long IMO, but everything else about the gun is very comfortable & well balanced. It’s a marksman’s rifle, which kind of moots any possibility of light/handy characteristics. Looks a hell of a lot better than the asymmetrical collection of poorly-fitted shapes that constitutes an AR10 receiver, as well as a length of ribbed-for-his/her-pleasure quad rail for a forearm, all while not giving up much if any accuracy or reliability.

  8. I think the AR10 and all recent developments for the AR10 has more or less put that platform head and shoulders above anything else in .308 for the semi auto fans. As with AR15s, there are some interesting exotic alternatives.. But at the end of the day the AR10 is really your best bet for 95% of the needs of people.

    Not to say that I’m not interested in other platforms. I’m just poor.

    • FNARs were originally cheaper than AR10’s when introduced; cheaper than crappy AR10s that had skinny button-rifled barrels, to boot.

  9. I purchased the Winchester SX-AR about 4 or 5 years ago. The same gun minus a couple of rails. It is in realtree camo and has heavy 16″ barrel. Paid just over $700 NIB and picked up 4- 20 rd FN mags for $48.00 each. (comes w / 5 rounder) All I can say is I’ve put better than 2000 rounds of hunting and milsurp thru it and not one issue!
    Good barrel cleaning and GUN SCRUBBER wash of the bolt and internals. A little REM oil and ready to go. It definitely is more accurate than my Armalite AR-10, 200-300yds, using the same scope for both rifles.
    I have nothing bad to say for what it is and it is nice that the FN 10-20 round mags fit it. Although they are expensive. That reminds me….. Need to start reloading all that empty brass!!

  10. Not sure why it is so complicated to dissemble. Bad design and planning?

    Original FN FAL needs no tools and about 10 seconds to field strip.

    Accuracy was more like 2 moa but a solid battle rifle

    • An FN FAL has F-all to do with an FN FNAR; totally different systems (the former having a nasty reputation for inaccuracy, btw)

      The FNAR is a dooded-up Browning BAR semi-auto hunting rifle. That rifle was designed by the nephew (or grandson, or something) of the Browning the Great back in the 1950’s. So from the start, the goal was more to look like a nice sporting rifle and be reliable in the face of very infrequent maintenance, more than to function while submerged in a mud-bog or be field-serviceable with no tools but a bullet-point. The action itself is no different from any other-rotating bolt, short-stroke gas gun, but each of the operating elements come apart as separate pieces rather than as neat, modular assemblies (often retained by fasteners as opposed to push-pins or interlocking puzzle-pieces). The reason military guns do come apart in convenient ways is because it was a major design requirement per the contract, and because a lot of attention was made during design/redesign to facilitate it. Neither of these were as much a factor in the Fudd Old Days of hunting wabbits once a year with a box of ammunition. At least Browning didn’t really cheap out like Remington and field designs that beat themselves to death over the course of several hundred rounds.

  11. I love my FNAR. Got the same one reviewed here. I was considering an AR10 like a S&W M&P 10. But after plenty of consideration and research I went with the FNAR and am very pleased with my decision.

    The first area of my decision was FN and their level of quality. That is a MOA chrome lined barrel that is rated to last through more rounds that I will ever shoot. The design has been around for over half a century and is a proven work horse of a sporting round autoloader that will even run magnum rounds. They have increased the build above that (so they say). In .308, it will last forever! The adjustability of the stock has proven very convenient, I have never had a rifle dialed in like this one. Finally, it is NOT and AR, everyone has AR’s some of my friends have 5 even 10! I just wanted something different.

    It is more complicated to disassemble than an AR but really once you get used to it, it isn’t really that much of a pain and since it isn’t a DI gun it stays very clean compared to my AR15 DI gun, which I love in it’s own right. I get more satisfaction with the take down and re-assembly of the FNAR, especially now that I have mastered the drill (challenge?).

    But shooting my FNAR is what I really love. Even with the cheapest Turkish ammo I get better than 2 MOA with careful shooting and at 200 yards I can put 20 rapid fire rounds into a 4″ group. That is remarkable for me. With good ammo sub 1 MOA is easy if I do my part. When I am at the range I have had many inquires as to just what I was shooting (Not an AR or M1A factor). The fact that I got my FNAR for under $900 stitched the deal and diligent checking GunBroker and ArmsList has gotten me all the 5, 10 & 20 round mags I need for under $50 each. I just wish 7.62 ammo was cheaper so I could shoot more!

    The FNAR is a remarkable piece of equipment and I’m very pleased with mine!

    • It’s basically a 1000$ PSG-1. Before PSA drove the AR10 market to the bottom it’s at currently, I don’t think you could really find 1MOA AR10s (by which I mean expected 1MOA, not “I got a good gun due to dumb luck” 1 MOA) without going at least several hundred dollars more than the FNAR, and there were definitely no piston-driven options apart from the super high-end Knights or Surgeon guns.

  12. I’m looking at the owner’s manual for the FNAR and the detailed strip instructions aren’t that bad. No, I wouldn’t try to detail strip it in the field – but then again, I wouldn’t detail strip a Remington 740 in the field either. Or a Winchester 94.

    Matter of fact, when I look at this rifle, all I see here appears to be an updated Remington 740. Really and truly. OK, there’s some aspects that are more precision fitted, more nicely machined. But overall, it looks (on paper) like a 740-ish design to me.

    • It was totally intentional that the first step in taking the thing apart is a large bolt in the fore end –it’s screaming “do not perform surgery on me in the field, you crazy bastard!” As I said above, it’s got all the same parts as any other piston gun, it’s just that they all come out in series individually, as opposed to in large assemblies. It is primarily a reflection of the 1950s gun design expectations by civilians (looks & reliability were paramount, but I suspect military features like field service & modular configuration were very far down the list), and this certainly limits what FN will be able to do with the gun; I suspect the FNAR is simply a ‘last hurrah’ for BAR development, and no new significant developments will transpire (you’ll have the FNAR, some poly-stocked BARs, and the fancy-stocked BARs –which honestly covers all the bases for the most common types of hunter using a semi-auto)

      • Yep, I agree with you.

        I’ve never seen a FNAR, but I’ve seen plenty of 740’s. They’re reliable guns, not needing of any huge amount of maintenance. I would suspect the FNAR doesn’t need lots of maintenance, and it appears they cribbed some ideas from the BAR gas system.

        I think the thing that people here are forgetting is that this isn’t designed to be a 3-gun “squirt and run” gun. It’s not meant for a high round count per day sort of shooting. It’s a utility/hunting rifle. The BAR (ie, the non-military BAR) is a hunting rifle. Maybe you run a dozen rounds through it in a day. Big whoop. After a season, you feel guilty and clean it before putting it in the safe in January. Being that this is chambered in .308/7.62×51, I reckon some folks might put lots more rounds through it than they’d put through a BAR or 740.

        The only thing I wish FN had done here (at this price level) is make a version that has a nice wood stock without a pistol grip, and a nicely blued metalwork. With a five-round magazine (to tidy up the lines and lighten the load of carrying it), it would make a nice semi-auto hunting rifle that is more accurate than the BAR or 740. Neither the BAR or 740 are great shakes in the accuracy department – they’re “minute of deer” at 100 yard rifles.

    • Too true. I will say, though, that the FNAR is the one semi-auto 308 I own that I actually like taking slow, methodical shots with (because I am rewarded for doing so). The BM59 and STGW57 are a hoot, but iron sights really don’t do anything but make you want to shoot better than ‘accurate enough,’ so I end up burning more ammo.

  13. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. To my eye, that thing is dog-ass ugly, yet others are calling it beautiful and “dead sexy”.

    The front half ain’t so bad, but the lines of the buttstock and pistol grip are just a mess.

    Looks like a good shooter, though. But why anyone would still be using proprietary mags for .308 (or .223) is a business decision that I just can’t wrap my head around.

  14. Meh… I’ll stick with my Century C308 CETME; empty, this FN weighs nearly as much! And even though AR10s have gotten cheaper, $1.50 magazines, roller-locked reliability, and G3 parts compatibility made it impossible to pass up.

  15. I knew someone who had a BAR and one day it malfunctioned. It turned out that the aforementioned “nylon buffer” became brittle with age and turned itself into crumbs. The disassembly wasn’t too bad though.

  16. FNAR Standard in 20 inch barrel does just about anything you need in .308 Win/7.62 Nato using 120’ish grain to 170 grain pills.

    At this time, there is NO other gas piston semi-auto .308 precision rifle on the market that gives a factory guaranteed 3 shots within 1 MOA or better with 168 grain Fed Gold Medal Match for less than $1,000, period.

    It is also very gentle with brass but does eject them quite well, making a gun very friendly to reloaders. Don’t even think about buying a G3/PTR91/CETME and similar other rifles if you ever plan to reload .308 Win/7.62 NATO

    Depending on the manufacturer, steel cased ammo’s primers do present a problem in this rifle. Not saying the ammo won’t work, but avoid it if possible.

    Full disassembly and cleaning will be difficult the first and second time, afterwards it gets to be more simple and straight forward. You learn from your mistakes and re-assembly goes fast.

    You can partially disassemble it to just clean the bolt head assembly, receiver internals, and barrel.

    I can vouch that the FNAR is reliable and shoots clean enough to be a “homestead” or “ranch” rifle that can easily go a couple of hundred rounds or much more with nothing more than a q-tip cleaning of the bolt head and one or two passes using a bore snake.

  17. I bought the 20″ heavy barrel version of this in 2014 while on a hog hunt in Texas. The dealer threw in barrel threading for free and the whole package was $900. Adding a Leupold VX6 3-18 it was great from 50 – 350yds and always delivered sub-moa with variety of ammo. I bought 5 mags and Loved the gun. It was not tacticool, but it was a low profile functional auto-loading 7.62. Key like for me, the magazines are longer than NATO standard, so longer heavy for caliber bullets work well. Hence great hog gun.

    I did a detailed cleaning twice, it is not for the faint of heart. Little tiny springs and two hooks that can be accidentally reversed requires attention to detail. They say only every so often, 1000 rounds or so, which is great for a 20 – 30 rounds a year hunting rifle, but I was running mine more regularly and observed the bolt gets gummed up after about 200 rounds.

    Then one day I decided to thread a suppressor on the end of the FNAR. Dumb user. The rifle is self-regulated to prevent a suppressor – namely by flying apart with bolt jumping rail and all manor of mayhem. You can regulate the gas just under the front stock but as noted earlier, what I found out was that suppressed voids warranty.

    I sent the rifle to Browning (they had the service contract for a while) who fixed it and returned to me no questions asked. Came back all nice and shiny. Next trip to the range with 168gr GMM the bolt malfunctioned and shattered the bolt face and destroyed the bolt carrier. Sent back to the now FNAR service – who promptly informed me that threading the barrel and adding a muzzle device (flash suppressor) voids the warranty. They scooped the parts back up and sent back to me. There was no record of the Browning service other than receipt, so we don’t know if the rifle was fixed the first time or not.

    If it wasn’t for the maintenance, I’d likely buy another of the same. I liked it, it was stable, sturdy and clean.
    Instead I bought a Ruger Precision Rifle that takes standard PMag magazines and have moved on.

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