Ian Finally Takes a Full Auto FAMAS F1 to the Range

Huzzah! I finally have a chance to take a proper full-auto FAMAS F1 out to the range. My conclusions? It’s very nice, just like the semiauto civilian model. It has a limited 3-round-burst option for those who need it, but also unrestricted automatic for those with enough practice to use it. The gun really doesn’t try to climb at all; the in-line design (like an AR) pushes recoil straight back into the shoulder. The rate of fire is higher than most 5.56mm shoulder rifles, measuring right about 950 rpm on this example. Automatic is of limited practical use from the shoulder, but given the FAMAS’ free floated barrel and integral bipod, it is certainly capable of limited supporting type fire from the prone position.

I may be a bit prejudiced, mais il est un magnifique fusil.


  1. I know Ian likes his hats, but wearing that kepi with the desert camo is like wearing a US Army brimmed cap with multicam. Better to wear a boonie hat, I think.

    I’m sure the rifle is very nice.

  2. Now we are talking: Mr. Fusilier in charge of a Famas.

    As for me, I am not very exited about rifles fired in full auto, but this one is an exception. It is a mechanical beauty.

  3. I would like you to show the
    Manufacture d’armes de Chatellerault MAC machine pistol 9MM. French military,
    FRF! sniper rifle
    HECATE 50
    Mini-HECATE 338 LAPUA
    I was in the French Army, Alpine Troops for 5 years and left in 73. Never was able to use the last three. But I could keep an oil can in the air with 3 x30 rounds magazines for the little machine pistol, 2 or three rounds at a time!

    • “(…)Manufacture d’armes de Chatellerault MAC machine pistol 9MM. French military,(…)”
      I am unable to remind myself such construction, can you provide some image or drawing thereof?

      • Le Pistolet Mitrailleur we had at the time in 1968 to 73 when I left the military. The denomination was MAC. I have never seen a Mac 10. But ours had a shoulder armature that slipped in 2 long tubes at the bottom of the rectangular receiver. 30 rounds magazines. Simplest and easiest weapon to use, tear down, clean. Eyes closed a few seconds for each move.
        The FRF1 was the sniper rifle, with a great scope.
        The HECATEs were specially made for France only and the police, CRS, and shock troops.
        As a matter of record, I remember the French getting a 3780 meter shot. World record. Then I heard of a 5000+ meters arranged shot!

  4. Not that this was planned, but with eight 3-round bursts per mag, the last single “pop” seems like a good “time to reload” signal when you don’t have a bolt hold-open. I would refer all to Bloke on the Range, wherein his cohort The Chap shows you just how that 3-round limiter works.

    • It is a ratchet based mechanism which “counts” shots, like the rest of them. Interesting part is that at new rifles this mode is omitted. It is claimed that trained user can control the fire without it. Less complexity is always a winning card.

      • A 3 round burst is very easy to feel!
        When we reached the end of the fiscal year, some of us were given each a metal ammo case: 3500 rounds of 9MM. We loaded 20 or 30 mags and when to work. We always had one round left in our”magazine”, after a few hours having fun!

  5. Why is the 3-round burst considered best? Two-round bursts have been offered in MP5s and at least one other SMG that I can’t recall at the moment. Can’t help thinking that in some weapons that third round must puncture the clear blue sky rather often.

    But I might be convinced if Ian would treat us to video of the targets sometimes. A comparison shoot would be fun — and if the FAMAS really does deliver all 3 on target, then I will fold my lips and be quiet.

    • Costa-Rican Breda M1935 PG https://modernfirearms.net/en/military-rifles/self-loading-rifles/italy-self-loading-rifles/breda-m1935-pg-eng/
      probably first military weapon to feature “burst” mode used 4 rounds per burst.
      AN-94 feature 2-round burst but implemented in very complicated way, proved too complicated (but remember that Russian Federation still use conscripts)
      AK-107 and AK-108 have 3-round burst as options, these weapons were mainly destined for export https://modernfirearms.net/en/assault-rifles/russia-assault-rifles/ak-107108-eng/
      AK-12 and AK-15 have 2-round burst https://modernfirearms.net/en/assault-rifles/ak-12-ak-15-eng/
      All mentioned weapons have also ability to use normal full-auto mode.

    • Yeah… I might add, the French thought about 4 shots as being “too many” and the two-shot burst as “too German” here… and of course, you’d still get a single shot if the magazines can be safely and reliably loaded to 25 rounds per magazine. I have it on reasonably good authority that the 20-rd. AR magazines in ‘Nam were loaded to 18 cartridges to assure reliability, such as it was then….

      I have to say though, watching Ian M’Collum shoot this thing that the three shots are delivered very quickly indeed, and that the movement of the weapon appears minimal… On the other hand, I note that his trigger finger is basically configured like mine is when I fire a double-action revolver, not a rifle! Bullpups do have problematic triggers, and so certainly Ian M’Collum has ample experience with his own self-loading-only FAMAS and knows how to work the trigger. I do think those of us shaped by the U.S. “gravel belly” target shooting vs. actual combat shooting would be concerned about the trigger, however…

  6. Where’s Denny? Odd thing. Almost all the target-shooter guys (I am a target shooter guy, I know what we are like) say that the only rounds that count are rounds on target. But all combat experience is (a) most rounds miss; (b) chucking a bunch of rounds down range very quickly in the vicinity of the target – some of which will impact, the rest causing suppression- is what wins infantry fights.

    For unsupported/stabilised use, the issue is whether the dispersion is random (good) around POA, or linear – “climb” which is bad.

      • Kirk might prefer to turn his enemies into honeycomb, by SATURATING the beaten zone so that none of his enemies get to duck and cover. If that doesn’t work, suppression done by Kirk’s rules should force the enemy soldiers to abandon their position in the hopes of finding a safer zone, and then he’d shoot them as they were fleeing.

        • We could increase “Honeycombing” perhaps by a modified version of this military Famas; going back to the proposed TRW (Caseless) firearm, I was looking a the documents, the picture of the possible firing pin actuated one.

          And I thought you could make a Nagant revolver style cartridge- rimless, with two projectiles; say .30-06 case without the bottleneck + 2 .30 cal saboted .556 bullets… Point being instead of a 2 lb operating rod, you use the famas delay on “The piccie of the operating rod” as the famas bolt is apparently less than 2lb. Quick three round burst on the famas= 6 projectiles.

          The firing pin on the piccie could ram the case, thus sealing its front in the breach as per the nagant; with the sleeve doing the other bit. Then an actual firing pin would run through that I.e. The piccie to be hit by the hammer “change spring position from piccie clearly” 950rpm seems ideal for two bullets.

          The ejector could be a pin on the solid frame that the piccie firing pin moves back into; more room with 7.62 case. Normal extractor, maybe but just to grip the case. Essentially the firing pin on the piccie acts as the operating system and the case sealing ram…

          • I was looking at square “high strength polymer telescoped rounds” with basically a pinfire self firing mech” but the gas seal sort of confused the issue went into niti seals, square actions, went kinda square… Still what a nice Famas, he he.

            Two holes are better than one. That wasn’t meant to sound rude. If it did. Probably didn’t. Actually I will stop myself, there. He he.

          • Well sabot sizes aside, maybe more .45 or go back to existing two round designs: Rest of it sounds ok, on the face of it… Six bullets for three shots, three quick shots.

          • 25 round mag = 50 bullets; you generally miss some of the 25, so might work out that you hit 25 out of 50 type thing… Which is better, than missing some of the 25.

          • Just saying, that hk416’s are not perhaps the best idea; what do they give you really over the famas? Surely we should try something like two bullets, with the famas action similar to as outlined first. In that, if it worked you would gain over a 416 and famas. If it didn’t you could buy 416’s; ze Germans aren’t invading what is the rush.

          • The Trw has a sleeve breech, so bottleneck cartridges are out; no support… So… 45.70 style cases, some limitations as always. Anyway, reckon the famas delay would do for the absence of a 2lb op rod as suggested on the trw.

            Modular, could use .45 bullets have a bolt weight adder like that cmmg lark, ways. I do think it is right though, the 416 what do you get over a c8. Its all the same gear, even at that standard of manufacture. Are they better than a famas? No bipods. Are they really, an m4 is cheaper that works. What do you get.

            Its very boring. I know about ammo sharing etc, nato; but the French of all people should and could avoid being like everyone else. Its just so unfrench, he he. 416 merde they should say and rebel, its German for a start.

          • If your not familar with the Trw sleeve thing, it doesn’t lock or delay as such because the rear of the case is up against a solid surface as in a revolver.

            The sleeve moves around the case, which needs to open to reload etc, but it is always locked in away; unlike usual.

          • The famas delay in this instance would be to delay the sleeve; as oppose mass the 2lb lark, if that wasn’t clear… The piccie firing pin, would hit the now delayed (via famas mech) “bolt” and thus as it is not 2lb, work, ideally.

  7. Dude. Ray Ban sunglasses? Do you know how difficult it is to get nonferrous stuff out of the eyeball? At least my bifocals are plexiglass. They are not safety lenses, but the beat the living shite out of glass for protection!

  8. “(…)right about 950 rpm on this example(…)”
    That is discrepancy with what https://www.quarryhs.co.uk/Emeric2019.pdf available at https://www.quarryhs.co.uk/miltech.htm says
    Due to its very fast extraction cycle (~1200rpm cyclic), aluminium alloy frame and heavy barrel, the FAMAS cook-off limit is higher than 250rounds so even if the infantryman empties his unofficial daily load of 10 x 25-rounds magazines in a few minutes, no harmful situation will arise (except running out of ammunition in the middle of a firefight, but that’s potentially less harmful than bursting one’s own rifle just before running out of ammunition).
    this might lead to extra spread, as such high Rate-of-Fire was implemented because
    reduction of the dispersion of a hand-held weapon firing at high rpm was well documented during the studies made for the FAMAS development, when it was discovered that due to muscular response, the lowest dispersion would be achieved for a firing frequency lower than 10Hz (600rpm) or higher than 20Hz (1200rpm), the highest dispersion of a hand-held rifle would be achieved with a firing frequency between 14Hz (840rpm) and 18Hz (1080rpm)

  9. I have not heard that someone has managed to cookoff a cartridge in the FaMas.
    Instead, I have heard of kabooms caused by the use of NATO spec but NOT French ammunition.

  10. Of the bullpups that is the better rifle, than the Sa80 which you may say is not much of a challenge a10 or whatever… But I think it is a shame they are abandoning it for the 416.

  11. Some people may really believe that putting the barrel in the mouth, you can play music…{He he, married to a French one ! )
    Better sales policy would have given more sales. What a pitty !Kiraly would be proud for his bolt design !

    • Only cost a few billion. As bad if not worse than us (U.K) want investigating for a surfeit of German prostitutes who are probably Russian; whoever came up with that 416 adoption.

    • Well…
      The H&K 416F is even a “budget” version of the 416.
      Regarding the Felin system, it was top notch in the 90s.
      During the 2010s, the battery pack was heavy for a low autonomy and at that time, tablets & smartphone had already better computing power & compactness.

  12. True though isn’t it in general, if you take 5.56mm it’s easy on recoil 30rd mags. M4’s are like toy guns; apart from being shot by one like that skateboard guy in… Up North somewhere.

    Bang, bang, bang; hit. Obviously folks might be a tad stressed… But, the first bang could produce the hit gained by the third (I know this is not a new idea) but heres the perfect gun for it, maybe.

    With the M4 have we gone a bit “staple gun” suppose it perhaps doesn’t matter unless brass becomes in demand.

    Bam, bam, bam, bbbbam I hit. Oh well done you blind… As oppose bam; hit, bam, hit. Surely that is better. I mean Russians might aim now they have optics, risking it a bit aren’t we. Much larger forces…

  13. “un fusil magnifique” Ian – you probably knew that but keep working on the French and keep up the fantastic work

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