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Book Review: ‘The FN-49–Last Elegant Old-World Military Rifle’

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Whether you call it the ABL, the SAFN, the Model 49 or simply the FN-49, it is one of the most elegant self-loading military rifles ever made. Author Wayne Johnson did the firearm community a service with this book’s first edition in 2004. The second edition of The FN-49—The Last Elegant Old-World Military Rifle is more than double the size of the previous work with much new information incorporated into its pages. The author’s continued research into the guns over the intervening 15 years has resulted in a 460-page book with more than 1,100 photographs and illustrations, including many combat and training images from its use around the world.

The book opens within an overview of Fabrique Nationale up until the FN-49 was introduced, includes a biography of gun designer Dieudonné Saive and chronicles the previous self-loading rifles—such as the Self-Loading Experimental (SLEM) and EXP rifles—that led to the development of the Model 1949.

An array of contract rifles is covered in separate chapters, and FN-49 sniper variants are included, too. Readers will find the different rifles covered in striking detail, and, thanks to FN opening up its records for research, reprinted “Order Lists” provide order details for each rifle contract from April 1949 to the final order of FN-49s delivered to Century Arms in 1975.

Excellent color photography and original imagery, factory drawings, manuals and advertisements help tell the story of these superbly crafted rifles in a visually striking manner.

The 8¾”x111/4″ hardbound book is available through fnbrowning.com, (336) 394-4138, and is priced at $74. For NRA members who reference this review, a coupon will be available for a limited time from the publisher for free shipping.

Article by MARK A. KEEFE, IV

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