The FAMAS rifle was originally adopted for use with 55 grain ammunition, with a 1:12 inch rifling twist rate and, of course, a proprietary 25-round magazine. This was the F1 pattern. Further development of the rifle with an eye toward international sale led to the G1 pattern, with a 1:9 inch twist suited to the Belgian SS109 62 grain projectile adopted by NATO, as well as the use of NATO-standard magazines (specifically FNC magazines). While the French Army was quite satisfied with its F1 rifles, the French Navy decided to modernize in the early 1990s.
The commercial G1 rifle had been economized by removing many of the extra features like bipod legs and grenade launching hardware, and the Navy wanted those elements reinstated. GIAt did that, and the result was the FAMAS G2. A total of 10,000 were manufactured for the French Navy, and they are the last FAMAS rifles to be produced before the St Etienne production facility was shut down and GIAT left the small arms business entirely.
Thanks to the French Ministry of the Interior for allowing me access to this very scarce rifle to show you!
Hope someone checked Ian’s pockets before he left the armory…
Plus, French rifles and rifle grenades, an obsession? Holy cow.
Excellent FAMAS review! Thanks Ian.
Clearly Ian is a young man, with vast knowledge. I wish I would be around to marvel at his older and wiser version,if wiser is possible. I hope so. the Rainman of guns!
Une tres bonne critique. Merci
A little nitpicking here, GIAT was not owned by the same conglomerate that owned FN, it was the conglomerate that owned FN.
GIAT (now Nexter) was formed by the amalgamation of the different arsenals and defense companies owned by the French government.
Now I’m curious, just how much did the French pay per each FAMAS rifle?
I am curious as to why it was such an expensive rifle to produce. It had no gas system and seemed to be mostly plastic outside of the receiver, barrel, and various other small parts. Also I understood the French maintained the old 55 grain ammo because the FAMAS would only function reliably with French made steel case ammunition. Thanks for any insight as this is a very interesting rifle.
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everyone forgets how sensitive auto weapons are to any departure from the standardized loading/bullet weight in ammunition. people often attribute malfunction to such things as magazines (which are important), but the biggest factor is ammunition.
for instance, in the instant post, a change in bullet weight/(bullet profile?)of 7 grains, e.g., 55 gr. to 62 gr., necessitated a relatively major change in the bolt in the bolt carrier and bolt carrier accelerator in order to make the gun function.
1. the ak47 functions so well/dependably because the ammunition has never changed. it remains 123 grains at a modest velocity, and the case is designed to facilitate easy extraction & dependable function.
2. the ar-15 is one of the great arms systems ever developed, because it will function with almost any ammunition/caliber/bullet shape/bullet weight/case design that anyone cares to put in it. 5.56x45mm, 7.62x39mm, 6.8mm rem spc, 9x19mm, .450 whatevers, .300 blackout, wildcats of any description, so long as they fit into & function from the basic magazine.– sometimes you gotta get a little fiddily with the return springs, and bolt faces gotta match, but almost anything will function and cycle through an ar-15, regardless of rifle configuration and barrel lengths, and gas tube length. sometimes not so well, especially with gas tubes (read, “dwell timing”), but the damned things will work.
common to the ak and the ar are the reciprocating bolt carrier, and rotating bolt for engagement into battery. no delayed this, delayed that, flaps or anything exotic which are highly sensitive to pressure curves and dwell times, just good old reliable and rugged components. the ak gets the nod there, (especially the extractor), and the ar gets the nod on ammunition tolerance.
for any number of reasons i prefer the ar, but i pay very close attention to extraction issues … keep the rifle clean and oiled, and don’t get stupid with pressures, and use clean burning powders, and you have a system you can bet your life on.
p.s. i am becoming extremely fond of the .300 acc blackout, a very good house gun. beats any pistol ever made, and easy to shoot and manage.