View Full Version : The MAS 49 in .308...

August 8, 2012, 04:46 PM
So this guy has this great deal on French rifles. Never fired and only dropped once!

All jokes aside, is anyone at all familiar with any MAS guns? I've always been fond of their pistols, but the unavailability of ammo is a deal breaker for me. I have been eyeballing those MAS rifles in the original 7.5mm, but notice that many have been rebored/rechambered for 7.62 NATO. I know they are NOT as collectible in that caliber, but I would have no interest in the original variant anyway. Are any of you familiar at all with these guns... and if so... what are your thoughts?

August 8, 2012, 07:44 PM
MAS 49, or MAS 49/56?

IMO... I would not feel under-gunned going to war with a 49/56. Really. ;)

MAS 49/56: Lighter, better "walkabout" gun than the 49. .308... not a problem. 7.5X54 even better. Excellent condition - $600 and up. Very good - $400-$550 Knock $50 off for .308. Buy one... make that two.

MAS 49: Far fewer made. More "dear". If it's really nice, more a potential investment piece, or occasional shooter. May be $100-$200 more than a 49/56 in equivalent condition. Buy three.

If you have the inside line on some excellent condition 49/56, preferably in 7.5X54... shoot me a PM.


August 8, 2012, 07:48 PM
i had a century 49/56 converted to 308 and it was a total disaster,if it was my dollar i would keep it and spend it on a original 49/56 in 7.5 french(and thats what i did). plenty of civilian 7.5 french(privi) and very easy to load for and lee dies are inexpencive and the 49/56 in 7.5 french will go up in value. eastbank.

August 8, 2012, 07:57 PM
century 49/56 converted to 308

Man... those were really poorly done guns. I had one too, but after a lot of head scratching, a re-barrel to fix the screwed up chamber and much tinkering with the extractor, I got it working 100%. If I'd known what I was getting myself into... :rolleyes:


August 8, 2012, 09:48 PM
Yeah, Century cranked out a LOT of dogs when it comes to the 49/56 .308 conversions...but not all of them. When I got mine years ago, I already knew about the problems of rough chambers and the extraction problems that go along with it. So, when I got mine, I was VERY picky about the condition about the chamber. If you knew what to look for and avoid the bad ones, they are alright. Mine has been 100% reliable although the ammo selection is more limited. Another problem with the conversions is that the firing pin is freakin' HUGE! If you are careless with your ammo selection and use ammo with soft civilian primers, slam fires are going to be in your future! The only thing my 49/56 has seen fired through it is a strict diet of military surplus ammo only. As long as you can live with these limitations, it's not bad.

August 9, 2012, 03:07 AM
stay away from the MAS's in .308. Stick with 7.5 french that wernt hacked up by century's drunken angry monkeys.

August 9, 2012, 07:14 AM
This was incredibly informative. Thank you, all! I had a line on the .308 conversion for what I thought was a decent price. Now that I'm hearing the Century rechambers are bad, I guess it would seem fortuitous to stick to the original 7,5mm. This gun is really interesting and between that and an SVT, I really can't make a decision. Beautiful semis from the wars, I just can't help myself!!

August 9, 2012, 07:57 AM

This is the original list that got me thinking about this gun.

Edit: it is the 49/56 variant.

August 9, 2012, 08:01 AM
I had one that worked great, wish I still had it.

August 9, 2012, 08:12 AM
If you get a .308 conversion that works, and some do, they're wonderful rifles. Unfortunately, for every good .308 conversion there's at least one bad one. The main problem, as I understand it, was that Century used their chamber reamers longer than they should have. If you get a gun that was converted with a new chamber reamer, you'll probably have no problems but if you get a gun converted with an old, worn out chamber reamer it may give you fits.

My dad's 49/56 conversion runs pretty well now that it's been tinkered with a bit. For whatever reason, Century felt it necessary to clip coils off the recoil spring of conversions but they actually run better if you put an unmodified recoil spring back in them. Likewise, I think some of the magazines may have been tampered with and this caused more problems than it solves (dad's only problematic magazine is stamped "308" on the floorplate). Finally, so long as the chamber isn't too rough, being sure to clean it with a proper chamber brush periodically goes a long way towards ensuring reliability.

August 9, 2012, 08:37 AM
webleymkv - I read somewhere else that those magazines with the .308 stamp are actually original 7.5 French and they were just stamped, never altered beyond that. Maybe that has something to do with it?

August 9, 2012, 09:45 AM
I read somewhere else that those magazines with the .308 stamp are actually original 7.5 French and they were just stamped, never altered beyond that. Maybe that has something to do with it?

It's possible I suppose, all I know is that the only magazine dad's had trouble with was one stamped "308". He's bought spare magazines for the rifle that are not so stamped and show no evidence of any modification that work perfectly. Based on this, I would avoid magazines stamped "308" (ones which lack such stamping are usually either the same price or cheaper anyway).

August 9, 2012, 09:53 AM
Thanks for the heads up. I'm buying the .308 from the guy tomorrow and will be in the market for mags. He said that he's run 300 rounds through it, has no use for another .308, and his FFL owned it for about 8 years before him. As long as the gun runs and hasn't had any problems, which he assured me of, then I think I'm good to go. This takes the M1A off of my list, at least for now...

August 9, 2012, 09:35 PM
Beautiful semis from the wars, I just can't help myself!!

...Then I shouldn't mention the FN 49/SAFNs...too late! :o

I too was all torn up about selecting a semi auto Main Rifle; SVT, M1, MAS, FN49, Hakim, too many choices in that realm :)

I settled on the FN49 since it's got "classic rifle" character, Korean War history, and my particular rifle happens to be in an available caliber (30-06; Luxembourg contract). The 8mm Mauser Egyptian contract guns are still available online at good prices.

I did get a chance to check out a MAS recently (.308 as well); I was impressed with the build, thing was fairly heavy, and the wood was in very good shape, but pretty light colored as far as military stocks go. What I found most interesting were the ergonomics; they were far "squatter" than most other rifles of the era, which all had nearly straight stocks. Much more modern feeling, and probably more comfortable to shoot, just not as pretty :)