French MAS MLE 1949/56 ?'s


December 31, 2009, 08:23 PM
Hey all,

I was looking for a 308 semi auto.
I came upon this gun looking through auctions. I like its look, I like the age, and I like the semi-auto 308 carbine type gun. The price is also right.

However I know nothing about this gun and they don't seem common.

Can someone give me some general info or something I might want to know before I go and make an attempt to purchase this gun.
Again its a French MAS MLE 1949/56 semi-auto clip fed 308 (7.62 NATO).

Need info please!!!!

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December 31, 2009, 08:27 PM
I've heard mixed things about the 7.62 NATO converted MAS's. If they work well then it is a great rifle, however, word is they aren't nearly as reliable in this configuration as thier original 7.5 French.

December 31, 2009, 11:19 PM
I bought one of these about 10 years ago and had nothing but problems. When I first picked it up I thought, "wow, this thing is built like a '52 Buick". It was definitely a durable rifle in its original configuration but the .308 conversion ruined it. For one thing, in order to increase the bore from 7.5 to 7.62, they simply cut a new set of lands and grooves right over the old ones. When I looked down the bore I could see the new rifling and a faint shadow of the old rifling. The bore was a mess and horribly inaccurate. It also suffered from severe extraction problems. It was so bad that the only way to cycle the action after a shot was to remove the magazine, plant the butt on the ground and stomp on the charging handle with your boot. One of my shooting buddies jokes to this day that he had never before seen a rifle equipped with a kick starter. I figured that I just got a lemon so I sent it back to the distributor and had him send me another. The second rifle had all of the same problems and I gave up on them. I would not recommend this rifle to anyone.

Wes Janson
January 1, 2010, 12:49 AM
I paid $250 for mine, and it shoots alright. About one in ten shots will fail to feed properly (bolt-over-base), which may be related to the magazine. Accuracy is kindy crappy, but then again the front sight post is absolutely humongous-it's hard to even approach MOA if you're covering up half the damn target with the front sight. Balance, handling, and general quality are all quite nice. It could use a trigger job, what with the eighteen-stage quadruple-action trigger pull.

What amazes me is that the French were issuing them as their standard infantry rifle up until almost 1980.

January 1, 2010, 01:07 AM
ok, great thanks for the info guys. So I kinda get the picture that these rifle's are 50/50 good/bad. I kinda wanted it for a shooter/collector, but don't want any malfunctions and such. I just hate how semi-auto 308's are all expensive and don't have any historical significance. Like the M1A's, AR10's, American FAL's. As a collector, I always look for guns with a historical infulence, or something that stick outs. Example: If I had a choice between a Glock or a P38, I'd have to go with the P38. Thanks for the info

January 1, 2010, 01:12 AM
I gotta ask if the cat comes with the rifle.

January 1, 2010, 01:23 AM
It's a great rifle in 7.5 French but the 7.62 conversion leaves alot to be desired. Some of the problems seem to be the result of poor chamber reaming on the part of Century, people have reported good results after running a chamber reamer through it to smooth things out.

If you can afford it the 7.5 version is preferable but if you are willing to tinker with it the 7.62 might work alright.

January 1, 2010, 01:44 AM
I had a MAS 49/56 in the original French 7.5 mm chambering in "96 or "97. That thing would shoot like "there's no tomorrow" all day long or until you ran out of ammo!

Unfortunately, at the time the 7.5mm ammo could be hard to come by and "IF" you found some it was usually expensive. Anyone who reloaded could make up some 7.5 ammo from other cases. IIRC, reloaders were using Swiss cartridge brass from one of their cartridges but the correct caliber escapes me at the moment.

The original Freanch ammo was not reloadable and I think it was was semi-corrosive. The ammo I had was made in 1972.

There were a couple of gunsmiths in the midwest in the mid to late 90's who were doing .308 conversions since the ammo at that time was dirt cheap. I recall the 10 rd. magazines was modified as was the gas system. I don't recall what was done to the barrel. The gunsmiths were taking Century import 49/56's and correcting their problems with excellent results.

A number of guys took their 7.5 49/56's to them to get modified too. I didn't get mine modified though. Afterwhile I went ahead and sold it after I got tired of chasing ammo.

Besides modifying the guns for .308, a couple guys were modifying magazines from other rifles to work in the MAS that took 20 rounds instead of 10 rounds. The MAS gobbles up 10 rounds quickly. It should have come with 20 or 30 round magazines.

I've never shot the .308 version of the MAS 49/56 so I can't comment on its accuracy. I can say that the original chambering had excellent accuracy for a battle rifle with ZERO FTF's or FTE's. If you ran out of ammo it also made a great club as its a robust rifle.



January 1, 2010, 03:15 AM
They are very well made and in the original chambering they are reliable and powerful and reasonably accurate. I know I had a couple of them. I've also heard that the .308 conversions are junk. If I remember correctly the original 7.5 MAS was a .308 bullet with a slightly larger casing. Much like the 7.5 Swiss. I believe they installed a sleeve into the chamber to make it fit a .308/7.62 NATO round. And my understanding was the sleeve would come loose or something.

January 1, 2010, 12:08 PM
I have a buddy with one of these. It works great as long as the brass is "extremely shiny" which means slick. If the brass is is not slick to almost the point of being waxed, you get some very interesting problems that do require a kick start as mentioned earlier.

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