(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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.