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B. Lahey
October 6, 2010, 01:09 PM
There is a very nice MAS-49 at a local gunshop. The tag says it's a .308, but there are no stamps or even import marks on the rifle to suggest that.

Is there any way, short of a chamber cast, to tell if it is indeed one of the .308 conversions, or the original 7.5x54mm?

And if it is a .308... Are the .308 conversions really as bad as the scuttlebutt suggests? I have heard some horror stories, and I already have generally bad luck with lemons.

As it stands now, I only really want it if it has not been converted. Prvi loads 7.5 French and it is available at a decent price, I don't see the need to roll the dice with a questionable conversion.

Wildalaska
October 6, 2010, 01:41 PM
You need to chamber cast. Or see what round fits.

WildifnotfrenchavoidAlaska ™©2002-2010

tulsamal
October 6, 2010, 01:48 PM
I have a MAS 49/56. Mine is unconverted. It's a great little rifle. Much shorter and easier to carry than a WWII Garand but more of a "rifle" than the smaller M1 Carbine. Decent sights and trigger. Weird stock. Even stranger method of attaching the magazine to the rifle. But it works just fine.

I reload for both 7.5 French and 7.5 Swiss and they are both easy to do since both use .308" bullets. With the MAS, just need to get the CCI military primers since a slam fire is possible with commercial primers.

I like mine a lot and have no intention of selling it. I keep meaning to get a deer with it but I'm getting too old for iron sights on game. If I could find a scope mount that uses the groves on the receiver, I think a small scope would make it a capable deer rifle.

Gregg

B. Lahey
October 6, 2010, 11:47 PM
Or see what round fits.

Now, how would one go about that in a gunshop setting?

Something about chambering live rounds in a rifle that is somewhat notorious for slam-fires in the middle of a crowded gunshop seems questionable.:D

And I do not have any dummy-rounds handy.

If I were able to locate a .308 dummy, would that fit in a 7.5 chamber? Or would I need a 7.5 dummy-round to be sure?

My knowlege of the specifications of the 7.5 French round is nonexistant.

doofus47
October 7, 2010, 10:22 AM
The tag says it's a .308
If I remember correctly, CAI converted some MAS to .308.
In any case, because it is a C&R weapon, you should probably take it to a gunsmith to get safety checked before firing anyhow, so let him check it. IMHO.

B. Lahey
October 7, 2010, 08:01 PM
After much asking around and pondering, I understand it that a .308 case could be used to check the chamber...

Can one of y'all confirm that a .308 case will not fit into a 7.5 French chamber?

I may be able to run by the gunshop tomorrow.

tulsamal
October 8, 2010, 10:08 AM
Can one of y'all confirm that a .308 case will not fit into a 7.5 French chamber?

You got me curious so I pulled my 7.5 MAS off the wall. Found a box of Federal .308 commercial hunting ammo. Locked the bolt back and dropped in the round. Bad news for you, it went all the way in. I didn't try closing the bolt but the round dropped in flush. Just to look at it, you would think it was the proper size.

So that's not going to work for you!

I don't have a 308 MAS to check. But how about a 7.62 NATO FN FAL? Should tell us mostly the same thing. I'll try to put a 7.5 French in one of my FAL's.....

And there's your check. The 7.5 won't fit. It sticks out about three quarters of an inch. And if I remember right, that's the problem with the converted MAS rifles. They end up too wide at the rear of the case. I know I read a web page once by a gunsmith who explained that it was possible to convert one to 7.62 NATO but not the way Century was doing it. So he claimed a rifle that had been converted by a competent gunsmith might well be ok but not one done by Century. Of course I don't know how one would tell that if you were standing there holding a used one in a gunstore!

Gregg

tulsamal
October 8, 2010, 10:15 AM
I looked up the cartridge specs in a Cartridges of the World.

The 7.5 should have a shoulder diameter of .411". And a base diameter of .480".

Case length is 2.11".

The 7.62 NATO has a shoulder diameter of .447". And a base diameter of .466".

Case length is 2.01".

The larger base diameter of the 7.5 French shows why it wouldn't go in my FAL. Clearly the 7.5 French has more taper to the case.

Gregg

B. Lahey
October 8, 2010, 12:31 PM
Dangit... It can never be the easy option.:)

I'll see what I can do to round up a round of 7.5 French, but it will obviously be more of a chore than a piece of .308 brass or even a .308 dummy round.

Oh well, I don't think this rifle is in danger of walking away anytime soon. This gunshop does not seem to be a hangout for crufflers, other weird old guns have tended to hang around in the racks a while. I may be able to do this yet.

tulsamal
October 8, 2010, 01:58 PM
You're welcome!

Gregg

B. Lahey
October 8, 2010, 06:41 PM
I appreciate it. Hopefully I can check it out and snatch it up, I'll keep y'all posted.

USMCGrunt
October 8, 2010, 09:17 PM
The problem with the Century conversions was mainly due in part to the over-use of chamber reamers. They would wear out past their serviceable life but they kept on using them anyways which lead to a lot of their rifles having chatter marks (and unreliable operation) in the chamber. I have one of their MAS-49/56 conversions and I knew of the problems before I set out looking for one. When I found one for a reasonable price, the main part of my inspection focused on the chamber area and I did find one that had a smooth chamber. I never did have a problem with that rifle (although it seen far fewer rounds than my FALs, M-14s and HK) with no failures to extract. They are a perfectly serviceable rifle but you just have to be very careful in inspecting one before you buy it. Also, what has already been mentioned before about using surplus ammunition or reloading with CCI #34 military primers is spot on. The firing pin in this thing is STOUT and if you are using soft civilian primers, you are highly likely to have problems with slam fires just from the weight of the firing pin.

B. Lahey
December 17, 2010, 04:49 PM
I stopped by the gunshop the other day and it's still on the rack!

The tag now says $200, and I may be able to get it for less. Worth the gamble?

What kind of effort and parts would be required to unconvert it if it is a Century mongrel?

Wildalaska
December 17, 2010, 05:22 PM
$100

WildwavethebillandtellhimtakeitorleaveitAlaska ™©2002-2010

Snowmanx7
December 17, 2010, 07:38 PM
All the Century .308 conversions I've seen have .308 stamped pretty clearly on the receiver. You would have seen it if it's like the ones I've seen. I always wanted one if 7.5 myself. They're def interesting guns.

B. Lahey
December 17, 2010, 09:42 PM
$100

WildwavethebillandtellhimtakeitorleaveitAlaska ™©2002-2010

Will do.:D

All the Century .308 conversions I've seen have .308 stamped pretty clearly on the receiver. You would have seen it if it's like the ones I've seen.

Ah, thank you for that. The gamble is looking more promising.

SwampYankee
December 17, 2010, 10:00 PM
I owned 2 Century conversions. Both were stamped .308. If it ain't stamped .308, it is not .308. Any sensible gunsmith would stamp it if the conversion was done. I would ignore the tag, that is meaningless.

Here is the thing about the Century conversions, every gun is a parts gun. They took them all apart, threw the pieces in piles, reamed the chambers, cut down the handguards and reassembled them at random. What this means is that the quality of the conversion is dependent upon 1. The quality of the bore and 2. the quality of the reaming. You can have an awesome looking receiver with a pitted crap bore- because it is a parts gun.

The one of the two I kept has a perfect bore but the chamber was reamed like garbage. I had to smooth is out with a dowel, sandpaper and a drill to get it to extract properly. Now every piece of brass it pops out has 3-4 ridges from the chamber gouges but it extracts fine and cycles perfectly (all that adjustable gas gauge modification is crap- if the chamber is properly right done the gun works.) You will probably have to replace the recoil spring if it is a conversion, Century chopped off some coils for no good reason. A Browning A5 spring works well. I hate Century, the people running that place are just plain dumb.

Anyway, I kept the better of the two MAS 49/56's and it will shoot 2 MOA all day long with my poor eyesight. Sometimes I can push it to 1 MOA if I play with the handloads. It is a shame Century screwed them all up, it is a fantastic battle rifle with great sights and a lot of potential.

B. Lahey
December 18, 2010, 04:23 PM
Got it.:)

It is indeed an unconverted 7.5, whoever logged it in had been inhaling too many Hoppe's fumes or something, they had it in the computer as a .308 MAS-36. Double whoops.

Luckily, my buddy was working and we got it figured out. Got it for $200 out the door and a pile of range passes and t-shirts (there was some initial price confusion with the computer mixup, so I got goodies). We initially haggled down to $150, but then he figured out the shop had $200 into the thing and he couldn't complete the transaction without catching hell. It was a wacky deal.

Now I need ammo and extra mags and a capi blanc.:D

Thanks for the help, all. I'll post photos when I can.

Wildalaska
December 18, 2010, 05:23 PM
Now I need ammo and extra mags and a capi blanc.

Plus you need to learn to say "I surrender" in French. And never put it near a Mauser, it will run away :p

WildgoodscoreAlaska ™©2002-2010

SwampYankee
December 18, 2010, 07:36 PM
Je ne sais pas. That's all I remember from three years of high school French- it means "I don't know" and seems appropriate. Despite my indoctrinated hate for the French language, the MAS is a heck of a lot of fun. Some day I'll have myself an M1A. Until then, the MAS will suffice. I'd say $150 for a nonconverted weapon is a very good deal.

Famas
December 18, 2010, 08:25 PM
Plus you need to learn to say "I surrender" in French. And never put it near a Mauser, it will run away

:barf:

In six weeks of 1940, over 92,000 French soldiers said no such thing, nor did they run away.

Wildalaska
December 18, 2010, 10:09 PM
In six weeks of 1940, over 92,000 French soldiers said no such thing, nor did they run away.

Lighten up Francois, I've been to Verdun, I know what the poilu was capable of:cool:

Ils non passerant pas is on the statute on Le Morte Homme. It's Holy. You been there?

WildandthefamaslookslikeatrombonenotarifleAlaska ™©2002-2010

10mmAuto
December 18, 2010, 11:16 PM
In six weeks of 1940, over 92,000 French soldiers said no such thing, nor did they run away.
I think the operative words there are "six weeks".

Snowmanx7
December 18, 2010, 11:23 PM
Nice score Lahey. Lookin forward to the pics.

B. Lahey
December 19, 2010, 01:43 AM
The receiver park is nice looking in person, dunno what went wrong with this photo. Bad cellphone pic.:

http://i307.photobucket.com/albums/nn298/brendanclaude/MAS49-56a-1.jpg

Snowmanx7
December 19, 2010, 11:16 AM
Looks good. Wood seems to be in pretty good shape as well, from the picture anyway. Now go shoot it. :)

B. Lahey
December 19, 2010, 12:15 PM
Now go shoot it.

But of course.:)

Ordered some Prvi and some spare mags, hopefully the ammo will get here soon, I would like to take it to the range during the holidays.

The Prvi was the only ammo I could find, and it seems to get good reviews from MAS 49/56 owners, but I also found one complaint of a slam-fire with it.

Are the primers Prvi uses in their 7.5 ammo hard enough for my rough frenchman?

Do you folks have any tips for avoiding slam-fires with this rifle?

Tamara
December 19, 2010, 12:23 PM
The Prvi was the only ammo I could find, and it seems to get good reviews from MAS 49/56 owners, but I also found one complaint of a slam-fire with it.

The MAS-49 has a massive firing pin to make sure it pops hard military primers. Slamfires are not uncommon with commercial Prvi or FNM ammo. Mine gave Oleg Volk a pretty spectacular bruise on his right thumb with the bolt handle when he chambered a round.

Titanium firing pins were available for a time, but I haven't seen any for a while. Others have reported success in lightening the original FP.

I'd put one round in the mag the first time you let the bolt fly, just in case...

SwampYankee
December 19, 2010, 02:11 PM
IIRC, you can also file down the firing pin a tad to make it less likely to slam fire. I've never had to do it but spares are pretty plentiful on Gunbroker. I think I even have 2-3 lying around.

James K
December 19, 2010, 09:04 PM
I have never heard exactly how those conversions were done, but I sure know you can't use a reamer to make a big hole smaller or a long hole shorter. Either they set the barrels back or they used some kind of chamber jug or sleeve, and I don't like either idea very much.

Jim

Tamara
December 19, 2010, 10:43 PM
Either they set the barrels back...

If I'm remembering rightly, they set the barrels back and re-cut the chambers, but cheaped out on replacing reamers. The few converted ones I've seen had chambers as rough as a cob.

SwampYankee
December 19, 2010, 11:08 PM
If I'm remembering rightly, they set the barrels back and re-cut the chambers, but cheaped out on replacing reamers. The few converted ones I've seen had chambers as rough as a cob.

That is exactly what they did. As a consequence, they had to cut down and reassemble the handguards to accommodate the shorter barrels. I think the barrels were turned down exactly 9/16". You can find some with decent chambers- meaning the reamers were in fairly good shape when the new chamber was cut. But they used the reamers until they were smoking and on fire, so many of the chambers are crap. This will affect accuracy and impede extraction. No sleeve was used in the process.

Famas
December 20, 2010, 06:57 AM
Lighten up Francois, I've been to Verdun, I know what the poilu was capable of

Ils non passerant pas is on the statute on Le Morte Homme. It's Holy. You been there?


Yes, Willie, I've been there many times. 3 ancestors of mine were killed there and have no known grave. I've also had the opportunity to visit Pearl Harbor during a Hawaii visit in 2006. Stood right above the USS Arizona I did, saw the names of the sailors on the monument. On a very calm day, the faint fumes of that oil slowly bubbling from the ship can also be detected. Never once, not then or now, has it ever crossed my mind to crack a "joke" at the expense of those entombed.

I think the operative words there are "six weeks".


only if you're trying to avoid or ignore the point.

Buzzcook
December 20, 2010, 04:43 PM
That's a nice looking little rifle. I've seen them around here for about $250.

To my knowledge every nations military have had their rifles dropped from time to time. The US for one shouldn't be pointing fingers.

Wildalaska
December 20, 2010, 04:54 PM
Never once, not then or now, has it ever crossed my mind to crack a "joke" at the expense of those entombed.

I'm not cracking a joke at those entombed, Im cracking a joke at those whose hands were up, and more importantly, their leaders.

Read "Verdun and the Folly of Nationalism" by Ian Ormsby and we can continue by PM


WildgoodluckAlaska ™©2002-2010

eastbank
December 20, 2010, 06:39 PM
my mas 49/56 in 7.5 french, its a super shooter with privi ammo. i had two in new rearsenal condition and sold one to make the one i kept for my self cheaper, i never had any slam fires.eastbank.

Tamara
December 20, 2010, 08:23 PM
Well, since we're linking to pictures and stuff now, here's my write-up on my MAS-49/56 (http://cosmolineandrust.blogspot.com/2008/05/mas-4956-end-of-era.html), with photos by Oleg Volk...

James K
December 20, 2010, 08:55 PM
Hi, SwampYankee,

So they also had to cut down the gas tube, but that would be no real problem as I don't think the increase in port pressure would be very great. I guess it is a feasible conversion. I was afraid of something like what was done to the Chilean 7x57 rifles, where the Chilean government drilled out the back of the barrel and inserted a big plug, then rebored and re-rifled the barrel and chambered the plug to 7.62 NATO. It works, but I am not fond of the idea.

Jim

B. Lahey
December 21, 2010, 05:28 PM
here's my write-up on my MAS-49/56

Excellent, nice piece.

SwampYankee
December 22, 2010, 11:55 PM
I've had 2 MAS 49/56's converted to .308. The first one had a perfect chamber but a pitted barrel. Nonetheless, it was flawless in function. I sold it because I was not thrilled about the accuracy- no surprise based on the poor condition of the bore. My second MAS has a perfect bore but a hack job chamber. As a result, it would not extract. I smoothed out the chamber with a dowel, a fire formed cartridge and some Flitz, opening it up a tad and it is now completely reliable. The only issue I have with the .308 conversion is that that .308 is higher pressure than 7.5 French. I have never had a commercial/military round fail to function but I prefer to handload to levels that more closely approximate the 7.5 pressure.

I could shoot this gun all day, it is a tough as nails, compact and reliable. And it has some very nice sights. Some day I'll fork over the cash for an M1A but until then, I'm going to enjoy pounding the heck out of my 49/56. If Century had been careful about these and done them right, I have no doubt that the conversions would run you $700 a pop. Prices are higher than the $250 they used to be but the guns really are gems if you put a little effort into them.

B. Lahey
December 24, 2010, 02:36 PM
Mags and ammo showed up. Merry Christmas to me!

Range report to follow at some point...

LinuxHack3r
December 24, 2010, 03:23 PM
Plus you need to learn to say "I surrender" in French. And never put it near a Mauser, it will run away

LMAO

Webleymkv
December 24, 2010, 10:11 PM
WildandthefamaslookslikeatrombonenotarifleAlaska

Well, supposedly the French soldiers have nicknamed it "the bugle".

Gator Weiss
December 25, 2010, 03:06 PM
A friend scored one in West Texas in a garage sale of all places. Learned a few things about the rifle during that time. Shot it extensively and worked on it some. A number of shooters that come to understand these rifles really enjoy them. They quickly become "keepers" - one of the ones you dont part with because it is so handy to have on hand. The one we found was chambered .308 Winchester / 7.62x51 Nato. I think all or most of them we find in USA most probably are.

This is a very solid rifle. Almost as solid as an M14. Just almost. Certainly shorter and a little bit lighter. These are fairly good steel. Pretty good wood. Built solid. One of the best West Texas truck guns you are ever going to find. Good for coyote or deer. Probably has some other possibilities as well. 7.62 Nato (.308 Winch) is one of the greatest cartridges the world will ever see. It shoulders quickly, targets quickly and spits out some high powered rounds very quickly. Comfortable to shoot, and easy to keep on a target while firing the rifle. You wont be shooting "sniper" grade groups at 250 yards with it, but I think you will be happy with the groups you do get from it. It is accurate enough for iron-sight hunting.

Here is where some minor problems arise with this rifle. The chambers, when you find them, tend to have some striations in them, possibly left over from machine tools at the initial manufacturing. You have to send it to the gunsmith to have the chamber polished out and cleaned up. Some of them, the chambers I am told, are often found slightly undersized. I dont know why. Keep in mind it doesnt cost much to tune up one of these rifles. Cases stick in them like crazy, until you tune up the chamber and polish up the chamber mouth as well. Sometimes it takes a gunsmith to do this, because it is more than just scrubbing the chamber clean.

Once they are tuned up a little bit, they shoot well enough to hunt with or to plink with. Will feed milspec ammo very reliably, really kicks out the empties. Will feed remington factory loads just as well.

These are not the easiest guns to find lately. There seemed to more of them out there a few years ago. There were many from individuals who wanted to dump them because they didnt understand the rifle needed a only little bit of attention to make it a very reliable shooter.

If you can find one, keep it. Hang on to it. Plenty of 7.62x51 out there. If you had to have a moderately priced semi-auto rack-grade military rifle in a popular American military caliber, this is rifle will fit the need well enough.

Snowmanx7
December 25, 2010, 06:37 PM
Gator,

I think all your chamber problems are from the Century stooges doing the conversion. Although I don't own one, if I found a good deal on an original 7.5 rifle like the OP did I'd prob be all over it. .308 is a great round but I think most conversions just weren't done with the most care. I agree they do have a great feel to them.

As far as the common chambering, most I've seen lately have been in 7.5, just out of my price range. As far as I know, barring some custom jobs, all the .308's were done by Century.

-J-

Gator Weiss
December 26, 2010, 02:28 PM
Hey, you probably hit the nail on the head. Your information seems right on the mark. Thanks! I didnt know much about Century.

B. Lahey
December 27, 2010, 05:45 PM
Took it out today for an informal function-fire.

Loaded one round and let the bolt go with great trepidation... Nothing. Whew, thank goodness.:)

Fired the round without incident. Mild recoil, and the hunk of snow that I had placed the front sight on exploded impressively. Ejection was stout, I saw a flash of brass up in the atmosphere as the casing took flight for parts unknown; it may have reached orbit.

Moved on to a few rounds in the mag, and those went smoothly as well, so I went ahead with full mags. No issues.

It's a sweet little rifle to shoot. I have not shot for groups yet, but the bits of snow I aimed at were certainly not safe. No slam fires, no doubles, no malfunctions, nothing but shooting enjoyment. I like the sights for destroying lumps of snow, but the front post may be a bit wide for fine target shooting. I dunno, we'll see once I get it to the range for a proper session.

I like this rifle a lot!

Wildalaska
December 27, 2010, 05:53 PM
I like this rifle a lot!

I bet you prefer Beaujolais et Brie to Reisling und Altenburger Ziegenkäse.

Don't you dare send me a pic of yourself in a beret and scarf:p

WildouiouiAlaska ™©2002-2010

Tamara
December 27, 2010, 06:17 PM
I have not shot for groups yet, but the bits of snow I aimed at were certainly not safe. No slam fires, no doubles, no malfunctions, nothing but shooting enjoyment.

w00t! :cool:

Seriously, I think the MAS-49 is one of the most underrated rifles in... well, in America. It's sure not underrated in the Francosphere, where it enjoys the kind of reverence we Yanks give the M-14...

Clark500
December 27, 2010, 10:32 PM
WildAlaska,

I have actually been to Altenburg Germany. Didn't try any Altenburger Ziegenkäse though. :)

B. Lahey
December 28, 2010, 01:44 PM
I bet you prefer Beaujolais et Brie to Reisling und Altenburger Ziegenkäse.

Don't you dare send me a pic of yourself in a beret and scarf


I do tend to prefer French wine over German. Cheese is a closer call, but I'm still leaning French.

But kraut guns still outnumber the French 2:1 in my collection. If you ever find a reasonably priced Manurhin revolver for me, they would draw even. Better get on that.:p

White Tiger
June 26, 2011, 09:01 PM
B. Lahey - I appreciate the information you sought in this thread, I too stumbled accross this rifle quite by accident (while doing some research on DI) - my question is, now that you've had this rifle for a few months, are you still impressed?

B. Lahey
June 27, 2011, 10:35 AM
now that you've had this rifle for a few months, are you still impressed?

Yes, absolutely! :)

I enjoy this rifle immensely, it has been a joy to own.

White Tiger
August 6, 2011, 11:35 AM
B Lahey - I ultimately I figured out how much time I had, and decided it wasn't yet conducive to reloading for 7.5 French.

I decided A) The ammunition availability and the difficulty in finding proper brass, etc for reloading B) the extra weight of the rifle, C) Not to mention the cost of obtaining a MAS 49/56 was nearly $200 more than a SKS...I went with the SKS, for now.

I still have my eye on the MAS, and if I run across an original, chambered in 7.5 French, for anywhere near $200 to $300 - I'm going to buy it!

Until then, I'll be shooting Yugoslav surplus 7.62 x 39 through my unissued Yugoslav SKS...while looking for dummy-grenade launcher kits (...a more sophisticated potato gun)!

B. Lahey
August 6, 2011, 07:54 PM
Better choice for a first rifle, really, White Tiger. If only because there will be plentiful advice if something doesn't go right. But don't forget the wonderful MAS-49 once you advance beyond the basics into the unusual.:)

White Tiger
August 7, 2011, 11:48 PM
Absolutely - like I said, I've still got a soft spot in my heart for that MAS 49!