The FG-42 is a tremendously hyped rifle, but very few people have ever had a chance to actually shoot an original one (including me, until today). It was a rifle intended to take on the roles of both infantry rifle and light machine gun gun for the German Fallschirmjager. The M14 was supposed to do the same thing, and was neigh uncontrollable. So the question is, was the FG-42 a better design, or did its reputation simply come from the mystique of a very rare gun?
Well, in my opinion the praise is entirely justified. This was one of the most controllable and pleasant-shooting full power select-fire rifles I have ever shot. It is absolutely far better than the M14, and better than the AR-10 as well and also the G3 in its stock form. The FAL is a closer competitor, but in my opinion still outclassed by the Fallshirmjagergewehr. The FG was expensive and not as durable as its later competitors, but it truly is a very impressive piece of engineering. This particular one is going up for sale at the Morphy auction company (which acquired the James D Julia firearms auction a few months ago), and I hope the new owner enjoys it as much as I did!
If an original FG like this one is out of your price range, consider the semiauto reproduction made by SMG Guns in Texas. Their web site is awful, but their guns are excellent!