How is the SCAR-H an improvement over the FAL?


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Balrog
August 1, 2010, 01:09 PM
I am asking from the standpoint of the user, and not so much from a manufacturing standpoint.

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dom1104
August 1, 2010, 01:10 PM
SCAR-H?

Isnt it called the 17S?

I always thought SCAR-H was a videogame term.

Balrog
August 1, 2010, 01:13 PM
I don't know what its called. It is the 7.62 version of the SCAR by FN. I have heard it referred to as SCAR-H, but I don't know what its really called and have never even seen one.

Owen
August 1, 2010, 01:27 PM
SCAR is the program name: SOF Combat Assault Rifle.
The H designates 7.62x51. Its been the SCAR for a while now, and only mk17 for about a year. The S designates the civilian version.

As far as the user is concerned, the biggest advantage is going to be a lighter weight, and a truly optics ready platform.

The logistics aspects make it pretty revolutionary, but you don't care about that.

Balrog
August 1, 2010, 01:49 PM
I have a DSA FAL with a picatinny rail top cover. So it is optics ready as well.

Would there be any advantage to owning a SCAR-H civilian version?

Does the SCAR-H use proprietary mags?

benEzra
August 1, 2010, 02:42 PM
I believe it's smaller and lighter than a FAL, but I may be wrong about that.

Owen
August 1, 2010, 02:49 PM
I'd say that mounting optics on a light sheet metal dust cover is less than ideal.

The SCAR probably has better out of the box accuracy too. They are typically one minute or better guns with decent ammo (i.e. not M80)

If you already have an FAL, I'd stick with it.

Z-Michigan
August 1, 2010, 03:44 PM
I'd say that mounting optics on a light sheet metal dust cover is less than ideal.

FAL scope mounts are usually milled aluminum about 5mm thick, not the stamped sheetmetal used for the standard dust cover.

Balrog, as I see it the advantages are quite small and boil down to:
-lighter weight
-greater accuracy
-integrated optics rails

In comparison the FAL is one of the most combat-proven designs of all time, is known for terrific reliability and of course has extensive support and extreme rifle longevity (80,000 rounds for the type 1 and 2 forged receivers).

For a military with a lot of money, I think the SCAR-H has real benefits, although not dramatic ones. For us civilians I see it offering very little over a quality FAL.

To the best of my limited knowledge, SCAR-H mags are not compatible with any other 7.62 mags you would likely own, e.g. FAL or M14 mags.

W.E.G.
August 1, 2010, 04:05 PM
That fish-looking gun with a boot attached to its butt will never be one-tenth as cool as a FAL.

fireside44
August 1, 2010, 04:50 PM
Balrog, as I see it the advantages are quite small and boil down to:
-lighter weight
-greater accuracy
-integrated optics rails

If I am not mistaken there are Para FALs will alloy lowers that are competitive in the weight department.

As for accuracy, seems about 1.5-2.0 moa is standard for a good STG-58 version. 2-3moa for the Imbel kits. Hits on a man sized target quite a ways out there. I don't think anyone with half a lick of sense buys a SCAR of a FAL thinking it's a sniper or bench rifle.

Integrated optics rails? You can get rails for dang near everything and don't really see that as a factor especially given the cost of a new SCAR vs. a quality FAL.

Does the SCAR-H use proprietary mags?

My understanding is it is identical to a FAL mag except the mag catches are different. A catch in and of itself. That's the new FN for you, gouging customers one at a time while selling products that are cheaper to produce than past offerings yet command higher MSRPs.

briansmithwins
August 1, 2010, 07:15 PM
FN SCAR-H is price competitive with a FN FAL...

BSW

1858
August 1, 2010, 09:34 PM
I have a DSA FAL PARA, an M1A Scout and a POF P-308 and would consider buying a SCAR 17S for the following reasons:

1. Ability to swap barrels easily to 7mm-08, .260 Rem, .243 Win or .358 Win (once they're available) ... [superior to FAL, M1A and "AR10" variants]

2. Ability to operate the charging handle with the rifle shouldered [superior to "AR10" variants].

3. Adustable LOP and comb [superior to FAL PARA and M1A]

4. Trigger [superior to FAL and M1A]

5. AR style mag release [superior to FAL and M1A]

6. Weight [less than FAL and "AR10"]

7. Overall length when folded [shorter than M1A and "AR10"]

8. Optics/bipod/accessories mounting [superior to FAL and M1A]

So overall, the 17S may not be superior to every aspect of the FAL, M1A and "AR10", but it offers a combination of sufficiently superior features compared to the other systems to make it worth the cost. I've handled the SCAR and ACR extensively at the SHOT Show and local gun shops and much prefer the SCAR to the ACR even though it's heavier and despite the reciprocating charging handle. I haven't shot either.

:)

Tirod
August 1, 2010, 11:12 PM
If FN no longer makes the FAL, there's a reason, same for the G3, M14, etc. They are rooted in the '50s' with arbitrary ergonomics, old school automotive engineering, and less than current tactical application.

Read the reasons the SCAR is superior - all 8 - and understand why a group of experienced combat soldiers who select weapons would prefer using it. The asked for it to be designed, specifically funded it, and still use it. They didn't ask for or buy old tech curios or relics.

Cool, legendary, or even stylish have nothing to do with putting rounds downrange accurately. Those who don't want to understand why modern arms like the SCAR are better don't understand shooting in combat.

It's not a lazy Saturday shooting at the range.

Z-Michigan
August 1, 2010, 11:25 PM
1. Ability to swap barrels easily to 7mm-08, .260 Rem, .243 Win or .358 Win (once they're available) ... [superior to FAL, M1A and "AR10" variants]

2. Ability to operate the charging handle with the rifle shouldered [superior to "AR10" variants].

3. Adustable LOP and comb [superior to FAL PARA and M1A]

4. Trigger [superior to FAL and M1A]

5. AR style mag release [superior to FAL and M1A]

6. Weight [less than FAL and "AR10"]

7. Overall length when folded [shorter than M1A and "AR10"]

8. Optics/bipod/accessories mounting [superior to FAL and M1A]

A very good list, but a few comments on it. #1 is irrelevant to most military uses, so from a military perspective this list has 7 points. #2 and #7 are not superiorities to the FAL, so this is really a list of 5 points vs. an FAL.

#4, I have shot two FALs with great triggers, neither of them with any reliability issues. Much better than AR15 triggers and equal to or better than SAI M1A "Loaded" model triggers. I have not shot a SCAR so I can't directly compare.

#5, not everyone agrees that an AR style button mag release is the way to go. There are new rifle designs continuing to be made with the thumblever type release that is used on nearly all detachable-mag rifles other than AR15/AR10 types and designs derived from them or intended to use their magazines.

#6 is a clear benefit for the SCAR.

#8 is also a clear benefit, but very small if you look at all the existing accessory-mounting options for the FAL.

I don't see on your list a free-floated barrel, which I consider one of the largest benefits the SCAR has over the FAL. (It is possible to have an FAL with a free-floated barrel but it's not standard and I don't think it has really been refined; and even with it the FAL is unlikely to produce MOA accuracy under real-world conditions of fully loaded magazines.)

Tirod, the AR15 was also created with 1950's technology and at the time that its .308 predecessor the AR10 came out had no clear benefits over the FAL except minor weight savings and perhaps slightly more controllability in full-auto fire. As we all know, the AR10 was adopted by one nation, Sudan, the M14 by two (USA and Taiwan), and the FAL by approximately 90.

I have a different theory as to why FN created the SCAR instead of simply offering an FAL design:
1) Procurement types and politicians like brand new designs, not buying something existing, ESPECIALLY not something that's been around for a long time.
2) The US Army specifically tested and rejected the FAL in favor of the M14, so it seems unlikely from a political perspective that the US Army would ever admit it was wrong and later adopt the FAL design it had rejected 50 (?) years earlier.
3) There are high quality licensed (IMBEL) and unlicensed (DSA) FAL clones available on the market and FN would potentially have to compete against them if it offered an FAL design or derivative.
4) The FAL receiver is very difficult to machine which raises the cost considerably. Every major rifle design I know of subsequent to the AR15 has been designed for ease of manufacture even if it compromises other features.

That's my theory. As I said before, I can see that the SCAR-H has benefits in weight and accuracy, and that may be enough for a military with a large budget. But there are few revolutionary changes in small arms and the incremental improvements with each clean-sheet design are becoming much smaller as time goes by.

fireside44
August 1, 2010, 11:34 PM
If FN no longer makes the FAL, there's a reason

Yeah, profit margin. Polymer is cheaper and less labor intensive.

They are rooted in the '50s' with arbitrary ergonomics

The word "arbitrary" means based on random choice or personal discretion. I would hardly call the ergonomics of a FAL or M1A rifle "arbitrary". They are fairly well thought out.

Those who don't want to understand why modern arms like the SCAR are better don't understand shooting in combat.

Which is why most of the world still uses an AK-47, because they don't understand shooting in combat either.

The SCAR light has failed to improve much over current designs. I see no reason why the H model would fair any better. But I suppose someone has to hype up the new FN otherwise they won't sell any rifles.:)

nwilliams
August 1, 2010, 11:41 PM
The FAL is a great gun and I will always love them but if I had the choice between lugging around a FAL in the field or a SCAR 17s I would pick the SCAR without thinking twice. In the hot and humid jungles or the hot and sandy desert the difference in weight between a SCAR and a FAL would make a huge difference.

I can think of a bunch of reasons why the SCAR is an improvement over the classic FAL. It's lighter for one, mag changing is easier and faster, better sights, a full length top rail, better trigger, most of the reasons have already been posted by other people so I won't go on.

Of course I'm basing all this on my experience with my SCAR 16s which I took out for the first time today. I was extremely impressed with the SCAR in .223 and I can only imagine that in larger calibers it must be just as nice. I would buy a SCAR 17s in a heartbeat but it will take me a while to come up with that kind of money, maybe in a couple years.

Balrog
August 1, 2010, 11:53 PM
As people answer, remember I am asking about whether the SCAR H is a significant improvement over the FAL for the civilian, non-ninja user. Some of the things the military thinks are important are probably not too important to me. For example, I don't think the fact that the SCAR can be manufactured cheaper really matters. I am only going to buy one, I am not trying to outfit an army. Weight is not a big concern as I don't have plans to have to carry it long distances. In fact, I would prefer a heavier gun for shooting.

The SCAR sounds like mag changes are easier, so I think that is an improvement. As for the triggers, I am happy with the trigger on my DSA FAL, and think it is equivalent to most other military triggers. How is the SCAR's trigger an improvement? Is it just lighter?

My Fal has the same type sights as my AR's, so I am pretty much OK with those too, and dont see how the SCARs iron sights would be an improvement.

Girodin
August 2, 2010, 12:04 AM
Which is why most of the world still uses an AK-47, because they don't understand shooting in combat either.

I'm guessing that a great many of those using the AK-47 in the field today are doing so simply because it is what is most readily and easily available to them. Of armies with the means to outfit themselves with something else who is still using the AK-47?

I love the AK platform. I have a number of Kalashnikov platform weapons and think highly of them. However, I am not going to look to the armed forces of the third world as indicia of what is "best".

1858
August 2, 2010, 12:10 AM
A very good list, but a few comments on it. #1 is irrelevant to most military uses, so from a military perspective this list has 7 points. #2 and #7 are not superiorities to the FAL, so this is really a list of 5 points vs. an FAL.

My apologies ... since our military doesn't use the FAL (or does it?) then I assumed that this question was directed more at civilian use. Personally, the easy barrel/cartridge swap is one of the most appealing features to me. I reload for 7mm-08 and .260 Rem (soon anyway) in addition to .308 Win. I'd like to have barrels for every .308 Win derived cartridge if possible.

I don't see on your list a free-floated barrel, which I consider one of the largest benefits the SCAR has over the FAL. (It is possible to have an FAL with a free-floated barrel but it's not standard and I don't think it has really been refined; and even with it the FAL is unlikely to produce MOA accuracy under real-world conditions of fully loaded magazines.)

You're absolutely right ... I completely forgot to add the free-floating barrel and accuracy to the list. My experience with FAL triggers is that they're terrible without quite a bit of work. I only use Geissele SSA triggers in my ARs so I'm probably spoiled.

1. Ability to swap barrels easily to 7mm-08, .260 Rem, .243 Win or .358 Win (once they're available) ... [superior to FAL, M1A and "AR10" variants]

2. Ability to operate the charging handle with the rifle shouldered [superior to "AR10" variants].

3. Adustable LOP and comb [superior to FAL PARA and M1A]

4. Trigger [superior to FAL and M1A]

5. AR style mag release [superior to FAL and M1A]

6. Weight [less than FAL and "AR10"]

7. Overall length when folded [shorter than M1A and "AR10"]

8. Optics/bipod/accessories mounting [superior to FAL and M1A]

9. Free-floating barrel [superior accuracy to FAL and M1A]

:)

nwilliams
August 2, 2010, 12:13 AM
As people answer, remember I am asking about whether the SCAR H is a significant improvement over the FAL for the civilian, non-ninja user. Some of the things the military thinks are important are probably not too important to me. For example, I don't think the fact that the SCAR can be manufactured cheaper really matters. I am only going to buy one, I am not trying to outfit an army. Weight is not a big concern as I don't have plans to have to carry it long distances. In fact, I would prefer a heavier gun for shooting.

Well therein lays the problem. Both the SCAR and the FAL are guns designed for tactical applications so the improvements and differences are mainly going to be related to combat effectiveness. Off the bench the only real improvement of the SCAR over the FAL is that it's going to be inherently more accurate due to a better trigger and free-float barrel.

1858
August 2, 2010, 12:14 AM
#5, not everyone agrees that an AR style button mag release is the way to go. There are new rifle designs continuing to be made with the thumblever type release that is used on nearly all detachable-mag rifles other than AR15/AR10 types and designs derived from them or intended to use their magazines.

To me, any magazine that requires the free hand to remove it from the weapon is less than ideal compared to one that clears the weapon at the push of a button. This is standard in just about every combat pistol so why not a rifle too?

:)

Balrog
August 2, 2010, 01:46 AM
Another question...

For the people who have responded that prefer the SCAR-H, how many have actually shot both the SCAR-H and a DSA FAL?

HorseSoldier
August 2, 2010, 02:14 AM
A very good list, but a few comments on it. #1 is irrelevant to most military uses, so from a military perspective this list has 7 points.

#1 would also include the ability to rapidly switch to different barrel lengths, which is a strength for SOF sorts.

Girodin
August 2, 2010, 02:46 AM
#1 would also include the ease of changing a barrel should one no longer be serviceable. While I'm sure any military worth its salt has armorers with the tools needed to change a barrel having it be a much more simple and quicker process cannot hurt.

Tirod
August 2, 2010, 09:23 AM
If you are looking a a combat issued weapon for recreational use, any excuse will do if you choose one over the other.

Weapons development teams live in the real world of flying bullets that are aimed at them. They make decisions based on what is available. If FN walked away from the FAL because it's expensive, difficult to machine, and low profit, then it's not available for large military institutions to purchase. They order by the 100,000, and insist on first shot reliability no matter what. Small copy cats cannot even apply or supply.

What replaced the FAL for the Brits? A bullpup, because they were looking for something shorter, lighter, more manueverable in urban conflict and vehicular carry. Of the 90 nations that bought the FNFAL decades ago, how many still use it? A rapidly declining number as the weapons age, and the command structure decides to change over to assault rifles. Weapons come and go, the FAL, G3, and M14 are mostly GONE, not fielded at all. Blaming FN for wanting to churn the market and force sales of new models is bogus - the competition from the M16/M4 has done that. Stoner designed it from the ground up as an aerospace engineered weapon, and took a huge leap into the future with serious improvements in architecture, materials, etc. When you look at the M14, it's really a product improved M1 from the '30s; the G3 a modern STG 44, as in 1944, and the FAL barely a '50s design for use just like the bolt actions of WWII. It's not an assault rifle, it no longer conforms to the tactical and logistical requirements of a modern army.

1) While the individual soldier has little need for an immediate barrel change, they can, and barrel turn-in without downtime for armorer or depot level replacement is a huge plus in maintenance. That is something that desperately needs improvement at the troop level.

2) A charging handle that can be used in immediate action for malfunctions while maintaining sights on the target is superior.

3)LOP adjustments are a necessity for todays armor wearing soldier.

4) Triggers are all military tactical type for action and weight of pull.

5) Mag release - see #2. Immediate tactical reloads are more important, hands should not be removed from vital controls, like a trigger or op handle.

6) Weight is dictated by the soldier's load, which hasn't gotten better over the last 100 years. What we take away from one by lighter, superior textiles, and composite molded parts, we add back in carrying more ammo, armor, optics, NVG's, ad infinitum. It's not a matter of going to the gym, it's about logisticians and battle managers needing two pounds off the rifle to carry two more grenades, or individual comm, or another half liter of water. It's always better off the arms and on the back.

7) Length is much more important in LIC ops - urban and vehicular use is now much more the norm. Long unwieldy heavy weapons aren't needed.

8) Rails are mandatory. It takes a major redesign for the FAL or M14 to use them, especially over the receiver for an optic. Iron sights are a backup now, and will get less and less use in the future.

If we are discussing military rifles, then military reasons apply. Weekend shooters can justify old stuff all they want, and use it, but the soldiers spending tax dollars right now have to consider what's on the market and who makes it, not a fantasy list of which curio or relic suits their aesthetic or historical sweet spot. The question is really moot, no government will go out and buy 400,000 FAL's because they simply are not available. Right now, the SCAR in 7.62 is about the only major player.

Z-Michigan
August 2, 2010, 09:25 AM
To me, any magazine that requires the free hand to remove it from the weapon is less than ideal compared to one that clears the weapon at the push of a button. This is standard in just about every combat pistol so why not a rifle too?

Because often times rifle mags that are intended to "drop free" don't if they get a little dirty or if there are imperfect dimensional tolerances between the magwell and the mag. I've had even (the much-worshipped) Pmags get sticky in the magwell of an AR15 from a quality company, and everything was spotlessly clean. All the training I've seen or participated in involves reaching for the mag with your weak hand to pull it out if need be. Of course, you're often retaining the mag and putting it in a dump pouch, and regardless, that left hand is coming off the weapon to find, grab and insert a new magazine, unless you have some magic powers.

But don't listen to me. Name all the new rifle designs of the last 30-40 years that use straight-in magwells with a single retaining point, and are not derived from the AR15 pattern or intended to use AR15 pattern magazines.

Balrog
August 2, 2010, 11:08 AM
I am still curious, how many of ya'll have fired the SCAR-H?

Owen
August 2, 2010, 12:44 PM
I've fired the SCAR-H extensively, but just the .mil version.

Hatterasguy
August 2, 2010, 02:19 PM
Cause its lighter and more compact. At the range it doesn't matter, but on a 20 mile hike in the Afgahn mountains ounces = pounds and pounds = pain.


I look at the Scar 17 as the evolution of the FAL, that started with the FN49.

Robert
August 2, 2010, 04:13 PM
The SCAR and the FAL charging handles are on the same side. The left or correct side. So the SCAR is no better in that sense. The FAL is not that heavy. Really, it isn't. Even with a full load out, it is not that bad. But then again I have not done 20 miles in the mountains with a full load out. I don't have to. Mag changes on the FAL are not that difficult and can be made pretty dang quick. Less chance of it falling out too.
Right now, the SCAR in 7.62 is about the only major player.
In 10 years the SCAR will be an interesting side note in firearms development and the FAL will still be a cult like followed firearm.

Edit:
I stand corrected by Owen, who truly knows more about this than God. Learn something new everyday.

Owen
August 2, 2010, 04:15 PM
SCAR is still going hot and Heavy. They dropped the light because 5.56 conversion kits are right around the corner. The Heavy is being fielded as fast as they can be delivered.

HorseSoldier
August 2, 2010, 04:22 PM
But don't listen to me. Name all the new rifle designs of the last 30-40 years that use straight-in magwells with a single retaining point, and are not derived from the AR15 pattern or intended to use AR15 pattern magazines.

Or name one that can hold its own in competition circles where things like mag change times matter a lot.

That no one is playing with. If I am not mistaken SOCOM dumped the SCAR because it didn't do anything the M4 or M1A didn't already do just as good or better. In 10 years the SCAR will be an interesting side note in firearms development and the FAL will still be a cult like followed firearm.

Issue #1 -- it's M14, not M1A.

Issue #2 -- SCAR-H is still being procured, because it does a lot of stuff better than an M14. Not that the M14 has been overly popular in SOCOM circles for a long time -- the occasional weapon is around, but they're much less common than the internet would lead you to believe.

Z-Michigan
August 2, 2010, 04:28 PM
Or name one that can hold its own in competition circles where things like mag change times matter a lot.

One of the regular winners (and consistent top placers) at the Michigan ACTS competitions uses an AK-74 and changes mags nice and fast. He's in the firearms industry and could definitely afford an AR15 if he thought it would make him shoot better or win more consistently. Does this make the rock and lock system better - no, but it sure isn't the big handicap it's been made out to be.

I've shot competitions with both the AR15 and AKM platforms, and I did not find the speed of mag changes significantly different. So much of the time spent is on grabbing the new mag, moving it into position and clicking it into place, the extra half second (if that) to push a thumb lever and push slightly forward on the mag isn't really significant. I was a diehard believer that this was an AR15 advantage until I saw others doing as well or better with the AKM and then tried it myself.

Anyway, can you name such a new rifle design?

FWIW, I think we've established that the SCAR-H has real benefits for the active duty SOCOM soldiers for which it was developed. But the OP asked about civilian use and after all this discussion I'm not seeing a lot of compelling benefit for the SCAR-H for a civilian.

Also, BSW made the cryptic comment that the SCAR-H was price competitive with an FAL, but you can get a DSA SA-58 in various flavors for around $1500 now, NIB, you can get quality parts-kit FALs (again mostly DSA assembled) for closer to $1000, and since the SCAR-L is well over $2000 for civilians, I am guessing that the SCAR-H will be pushing $2500 or more for civilians?

1858
August 2, 2010, 04:34 PM
Z-Michigan, are you saying that the time required to rock the magazine out of an AK, insert a new mag and then cycle the charging handle is less than the time to drop an empty mag with the index finger, insert a new mag and release the bolt with the index finger (POF) or off-hand on an AR or the SCAR?

:)

Bartholomew Roberts
August 2, 2010, 04:37 PM
Anyway, can you name such a new rifle design?

G36, XM8, the aforementioned SCAR-H/Mk-17, Mossad (.308 ACR), and the CZ S-805, (if the reports of it not using a STANAG magwell are correct)... those are a few I can think of immediately. I'd also note that your list is artificially limited since, at least in the Western world, most new rifle designs of the last 30-40 years use magazines derived from the AR pattern.

JR47
August 2, 2010, 05:07 PM
To be quite frank, there is NO defining reason why one HAS to choose the SCAR-H over an FAL, or vice-versa. Neither of them are going to be used in a scenario that guarantees rapid mag-changes, or even mud and debris. MOST of both of them will be happily used to punch paper on a range.

Take your pick. Although, from a purely civilian stand-point, the ability to change calibers easily does seem pretty neat. :)

Z-Michigan
August 2, 2010, 05:22 PM
Z-Michigan, are you saying that the time required to rock the magazine out of an AK, insert a new mag and then cycle the charging handle is less than the time to drop an empty mag with the index finger, insert a new mag and release the bolt with the index finger (POF) or off-hand on an AR or the SCAR?

No, I'm saying that the time is not significantly more than with an AR15, and the push-button setup is not the big advantage it's usually assumed to be.

Here is one video of a fast AK mag change:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_zgQTic6ds

I do not know this person, it isn't the person I mentioned above as a winning competitor in ACTS, but it's basically the same technique. You can see that the slowest part of the whole thing is drawing the new mag from a pouch. The competitor I know uses nice kydex pouches and doesn't take nearly as long to draw the new mag.

There are a lot of such videos on youtube, just look up "AK mag change" or look at videos of ACTS and 3-gun competition, or go to one of those competitions in person.

And it would be worth considering how many AR jams are due to a not-fully-seated mag vs. how often that problem arises with the AK, FAL, M14/M1A, HK91, etc.

fireside44
August 2, 2010, 06:15 PM
I look at the Scar 17 as the evolution of the FAL, that started with the FN49.

It reminds me of one of those t-shirts where the guy is going from walking upright to cave man to greater ape.

The FN-49 is easily superior than the FAL or the SCAR in terms of build quality. The only thing it lacked was a pistol grip and a detachable mag. Of course it's heavy, it's made from genuine STEEL throughout. The topcover alone has more steel than the AK-47 receiver in it's entirety for crying out loud. lol

FN couldn't afford to produce those for the price of SCAR and then some, not even remotely. So considering they are often less than 1k used in good shape, I think I know what the better deal is here.

The Heavy is being fielded as fast as they can be delivered.

Not surprising. The 7.62 version can fill a serious niche where the 5.56 wasn't enough improvement over M4 to be worth bothering with. Still, I wonder how many will make it to the parts kit market in 20 years for us FN fans to build?

Hatterasguy
August 2, 2010, 07:24 PM
My FN49 has a detachable 20 round mag.:D:p The FN49 is a great rifle but its a brick, and wood stocks don't hold up well in a lot of combat environments. Great rifle though, I think its better than the M1A.

I havn't shot a Scar 17, but I plan on buying one in a couple of years when they come to CT. I did however shoot a 16 and I find the Scar's ergo's to be very good. If you can shoot an AR you won't have much of a learning curve going to a Scar.

When I own all 3 I'll be able to properly compare them, but it will be a few years before I can get a Scar 17 for reasonable money in my state. I'm willing to pay around $2,500 for one, which isn't much more than a new tricked out DSA FAL. I priced one out at $2,300 with a camo duracoat job.

HorseSoldier
August 3, 2010, 01:20 AM
No, I'm saying that the time is not significantly more than with an AR15, and the push-button setup is not the big advantage it's usually assumed to be.

The other issue I've seen taking relatively low skilled shooters (SF support guys) and training them on running AKs and Galils is that the AK mag change is not only slower but it's a more complicated, more fine motor skill. Add stress into the process and improperly inserting the mag (or just missing the mag well entirely -- though I don't see that as platform specific) gets relatively common.

One of the regular winners (and consistent top placers) at the Michigan ACTS competitions uses an AK-74 and changes mags nice and fast. He's in the firearms industry and could definitely afford an AR15 if he thought it would make him shoot better or win more consistently. Does this make the rock and lock system better - no, but it sure isn't the big handicap it's been made out to be.

I would say that's an exception that proves a rule. ARs dominate three gun competition because of ergonomic superiority.

Also, BSW made the cryptic comment that the SCAR-H was price competitive with an FAL, but you can get a DSA SA-58 in various flavors for around $1500 now, NIB, you can get quality parts-kit FALs (again mostly DSA assembled) for closer to $1000, and since the SCAR-L is well over $2000 for civilians, I am guessing that the SCAR-H will be pushing $2500 or more for civilians?

I'm not sure exactly what he meant, but he did say SCAR-H compares price-wise with an FN FAL. SCAR-H at $2500 would be comparable with real FN built FALs, or a little cheaper. Of course part of that is the collectible angle since their importation for civilians has been off the table for a couple decades.

powermad
August 3, 2010, 02:06 AM
$3000 seems to be the going rate for one.
I'll pass and just keep shooting my FAL.

The 17s (civilian) seems to only come with a 16" barrel and the DNTC muzzle brake.
No other barrel options ,listed.
The Mil versions have a 13, 16 and 20 inch barrel selection.

A 16" barreled .308 is loud, with that noise maker on the front it will be even worse.

Jaws
August 3, 2010, 03:21 AM
$3000 seems to be the going rate for one.


There are people that got it with 2300 the first week it was out. This rifle was released three weeks ago. It is normal to be a bit more expensive than the rifle released 50+ years ago and was built by the millions. ;)

The SCAR 17 is third generation combat rifle built by FN since the FAL. They learned a thing or two since then.:)

Bartholomew Roberts
August 3, 2010, 03:58 AM
Not surprising. The 7.62 version can fill a serious niche where the 5.56 wasn't enough improvement over M4 to be worth bothering with.

I would guess it has more to do with budgeting. If Uncle Army will buy you all the M4s you want, or you can buy 5.56 SCARs with your own money, then the M4 is a good deal, even though the SCAR is cheaper in the long term and has some slight advantages.

On 7.62 rifles, there isn't that same good deal to be had in terms of budget money. You have the choice of M14s (and not the cool modernized versions; but the wood-stocked, sitting in a rack for 40+ years, got no optics, versions) or paying for something else with your own money. If it turns out that you can later convert the SCAR-H to 5.56 and the SCAR-H is only moderately heavier than the SCAR-L, well, all the better....

Tirod
August 3, 2010, 08:53 AM
If someone wants to buy a military firearm for just plinking around, then it's a whole different ball game. Economics for the individual is vastly different than an institution.

The cost difference in purchasing, parts availability, and owning something that was once used in combat would tilt the scale for the FAL. It would not compensate the disadvantages of heavier weight, length, and poor ergonomics, but that didn't stop me from buying a HK91 in the day. The $160 price didn't either.

Looking at it now, having carried M16's weeks at a time, and hunted with the HK for over 20 years, size and weight have much more influence on the weapons choice than previously. If the price were the same, I'd go with the SCAR, interesting footnote or not. Krag Jorgensons were mil spec in the day, their cult status doesn't make them more effective as a firearm, or the caliber better.

Right now the issue is price, and you have to ask, in ten years when the FNFALS are all collected up and rusting quietly in closets, what will be on the range and in the field? Likely the SCAR still will be, and by then it could have been purchased by 90 countries as their primary arm.

Coronach
August 3, 2010, 09:28 AM
The SCAR-H or -17S has several advantages, as mentioned, over the FAL. From the POV of a civilian end-user, some of them matter less and some matter more:

Accuracy: FALs have a hit-or-miss (ha!) accuracy potential, once you get beyond "combat accurate". Some are quite good. Some are annoying. The design does not lend itself to easy fixes for accuracy issues. The SCAR has a free-floated barrel and improved bolt design (as compared to the FAL) that improves accuracy.

Ergonomics: While ergos are quite subjective, the general opinion is that AR-style controls and dimensions are an improvement over the FAL's design, with the exception of the charging handle. The SCAR keeps the best of both designs, left-side charging and AR controls.

Weight: It's lighter. Nuff said.

Optic/accessory mounting: Yes, there are ways to retrofit a FAL to have rails in various locations. Yes, they work acceptably well, most of the time. There is no denying that it is a retrofit and that it is less ideal than having rails integral to the design from the get-go. For instance, there are cases of the railed top-cover of the FAL having its mounting plates break...guess where the debris goes? Into the area occupied by the bolt. Same with having mounting screws back out, or turning mounting screws too far in. The rails on the aftermarket forearm are not free-float and are not stable enough for sighting accessories (lasers, RDSes etc), though they are fine for flashlights and veritical grips.

Assuming the SCAR doesn't suck (it's a new design, after all...one needs to be cautious about assuming it does everything it is advertised to do), is it better than a FAL? Probably, yes. Better enough to warrant the increased money? Less clear. Better enough to warrant an upgrade if you already are invested in the FAL system? Even less clear.

Personal opinion: if you have a FAL set up the way you want it, it is accurate enough for you, and the setup works, it is probably not worth the upgrade. OTOH, if you are looking for more rail space on top, or if you're looking for more accuracy than your FAL offers, then yes, it may well be worth the money.

Mike

fireside44
August 3, 2010, 06:08 PM
Assuming the SCAR doesn't suck (it's a new design, after all...one needs to be cautious about assuming it does everything it is advertised to do), is it better than a FAL? Probably, yes.

Depends on your version of better. Only thing I see "better" about SCAR is the ugly stock that has an adjustable comb. That is a pretty good idea for optics users.

Better to me means parts and accessories availability. Can I get spare bolts, spare barrels, mags, firing pins, spring kits, furniture, etc etc without having to auction off an arm or a leg? I can with FAL. I doubt SCAR parts will ever be widely available with the exception of directly from FN.

Accuracy: FALs have a hit-or-miss (ha!) accuracy potential

If there were millions of home built SCAR kits, Century SCAR builds, etc then your point might have more validity. If SCARs were contracted out and manufactured round the world in many different factories to slightly different standards then maybe it would hold more water as a legitimate advantage.

Good STG-58's are 1.5 moa capable, which is accurate enough to fulfill the DM role that I am assuming the SCAR was designed for. If the SCAR is 1moa capable, great, but .5 moa doesn't seem to be much improvement for a DM or minute man role.

Ergonomics

Subjective as you noted.

Weight: It's lighter. Nuff said.

The extra weight is near meaningless to the civilian user. I'd rather the indestructible steel parts of the FAL than the small weight savings gained by substituting those same parts with plastic in the SCAR.

To me the worst part of the FAL is the sights, which just ain't all that. They function and that's about it. I wish there were better irons for them out there. Still, I have found them completely usable.

Assuming the SCAR doesn't suck (it's a new design, after all...one needs to be cautious about assuming it does everything it is advertised to do), is it better than a FAL?

Well, in fifty years when the results are in and there are SCAR kits everywhere for $129 bucks and receivers for $175 bucks and whole forums develop around the mystique of the rifle and countless foreign armies produce or procure SCARs by the millions then I think we'll be able to draw a conclusion. Seeing as how it's brand new and basically a "refined FAL" I think it has shoes too big for it to ever fill.

Justin
August 3, 2010, 06:34 PM
I was unimpressed with the .223 SCAR. From where I sit, it doesn't do anything that a decent AR15 can't do equally as well, and possibly at a lower price point.

However, I think there's a distinct possibility that the SCAR-H will become a fairly popular choice among 3gun shooters who compete in He-Man division.

Tirod
August 4, 2010, 09:16 AM
It's been clearly listed what is better about the SCAR - shorter, with controls that fall to the hand without removing it from the grip. And it's not meaningless to a soldier or civilian user that it's two pounds lighter. Hump that for 9 hours over rough terrain for a day of hunting two or four legged quarry. A quiet day at the range, sure, no problem, but that's explicitly not where the advantage exists, especially where shooters add weights as they approach gun sled construction to achieve one hole accuracy. Totally different game.

The economics are their own indictment: the old FAL is cheaper, because it is out of date, a less capable firearm for military purposes that has been passed over. It didn't have a design capable of mounting a scope over the reciever that was military tough, was deemed much too long for urban/vehicular use, etc. Those are exactly the deficiencies that make it a "cheap" alternative on the used market. Comparison to the new SCAR is really apples and oranges, just like comparing a 66 Impala to a new one. Old tech, heavy weight, inefficent, and handles like a drunk hog in a snowstorm. New- light, efficient, and drives circles around the old one. Yes, it's more expensive, no, it won't break down nearly as quick as an old one with thousands of miles/rounds under it.

I'm old enough to have used old stuff when it was new, dial telephones and old battle rifles don't impress me one bit in a world where a cell phone could let you log into this conversation and post thoughts. It may be economics that keeps me to having just a tracphone instead of an Iphone, I understand if someone chooses the FAL for the price. It doesn't make it a better rifle anymore than wearing a old pair of 1966 Converses make them better than a new pair of Nike Air's. If they are all you have, wear them. Don't even attempt to say they are better.

ZEN.45
August 4, 2010, 06:53 PM
I'm old enough to have used old stuff when it was new, dial telephones and old battle rifles don't impress me one bit in a world where a cell phone could let you log into this conversation and post thoughts.
Do you know that cell phone manufacturers actually build their products with a 3 year life expectancy because they expect the average customer to replace his/her cell phone every 3 years with a newer model ? I have a 40 year old bakelite dial phone on my desk that will probably still work in another 40 years. Of course I can't be put it in my pocket or take pictures with it, but it's beautiful !

I like both old and modern guns for different reasons. But I appreciate the quality of a gun that was made by engineers and craftsmen instead of bean counters and cheap labor.

fireside44
August 4, 2010, 07:18 PM
It's been clearly listed what is better about the SCAR - shorter, with controls that fall to the hand without removing it from the grip.

Maybe if you are a midget.

And it's not meaningless to a soldier or civilian user that it's two pounds lighter. Hump that for 9 hours over rough terrain for a day of hunting two or four legged quarry.

I've met very few people and been on very few hunts where humping a rifle for nine hours was even remotely necessary. Besides, when I'm hunting I'm not carrying ten or fifteen mags of ammunition and a radio on my back...lol

The economics are their own indictment: the old FAL is cheaper, because it is out of date, a less capable firearm for military purposes that has been passed over.

The FAL is cheaper because millions are available. Supply and demand. FN attempted to create demand with the .223 version and pretty well fell flat on their faces. Looks like this is their last stand for SCAR, a plastic AR-ized version of an FAL.

As for being "passed over", there are still countries using the FAL.

It didn't have a design capable of mounting a scope over the reciever that was military tough

Ever heard of a SUIT scope?

A new hammer ain't necessarily better than the old one just because it's new.

Coronach
August 4, 2010, 11:04 PM
Depends on your version of better. Only thing I see "better" about SCAR is the ugly stock that has an adjustable comb. That is a pretty good idea for optics users.

Better to me means parts and accessories availability. Can I get spare bolts, spare barrels, mags, firing pins, spring kits, furniture, etc etc without having to auction off an arm or a leg? I can with FAL. I doubt SCAR parts will ever be widely available with the exception of directly from FN.Spares will certainly be available, but yes, there would be the question of price.
Accuracy: FALs have a hit-or-miss (ha!) accuracy potentialIf there were millions of home built SCAR kits, Century SCAR builds, etc then your point might have more validity. If SCARs were contracted out and manufactured round the world in many different factories to slightly different standards then maybe it would hold more water as a legitimate advantage.

Good STG-58's are 1.5 moa capable, which is accurate enough to fulfill the DM role that I am assuming the SCAR was designed for. If the SCAR is 1moa capable, great, but .5 moa doesn't seem to be much improvement for a DM or minute man role.I understand and agree with your point about the variability of FAL builds. A FAL is only as good as its parts (varying from new to complete beat to crud) and builder (varying from DSA to Century). It is a criticism of the 1911 and AR platforms as well- not everyone makes a good one. However, even taking top shelf FALs (DSA and the like), you are just not going to get consistent 1.5 MOA accuracy from rack-grade rifles. Can you tweak (or custom-make) a FAL to be that accurate? Sure, but look what that does to cost, weight and balance/ergonomics, vis a vis the on-paper specs for the SCAR-H. Can you get lucky and get a box-stock STG-58 that is that accurate? Sure. Even then, however, it is my understanding that most (all?) of the published accuracy tests with the FAL involve single-round loading, to allow for no pressure on the bolt from rounds in the magazine, a known cause of vertical stringing. AFAIK, the SCAR does not suffer from this.
ErgonomicsSubjective as you noted.True, but the majority of users will find it to be better. If you don't, great, but the OP was asking a general question. Ergonomics are subjective, but you can still measure the impact objectively. Put people on the clock with various systems and the AR-pattern rifle usually wins, assuming equal skill and training. Can you make the FAL work? Absolutely. One thing it has over the straight AR system is the charging handle...a feature retained by the SCAR.


Weight: It's lighter. Nuff said.

The extra weight is near meaningless to the civilian user. I'd rather the indestructible steel parts of the FAL than the small weight savings gained by substituting those same parts with plastic in the SCAR.Two words: CQB course.

I have LOTS of friends who thought that their HBAR AR was just nifty and perfect for them until they tried running, jumping, and standing very still with it.

Can you do it with a FAL? Of course, but it is more fun (and you're more effective) with a handier rifle.

As far as plastic vs steel, it depends. I'm unaware of FN using substandard materials in areas that matter. That would fall under "we have to wait and see". Well, in fifty years when the results are in and there are SCAR kits everywhere for $129 bucks and receivers for $175 bucks and whole forums develop around the mystique of the rifle and countless foreign armies produce or procure SCARs by the millions then I think we'll be able to draw a conclusion. Seeing as how it's brand new and basically a "refined FAL" I think it has shoes too big for it to ever fill.Dunno. I appreciate that it is not "better enough" to merit the upgrade for most people. Heck, I have two FALs and I'm not falling all over myself to upgrade. But for a new user? Assuming the choice was a SCAR at reasonable prices (read: NOT the inflated prices you see when they first come out) and a top-shelf DSA FAL at top-shelf DSA prices...probably worth it.


It's been clearly listed what is better about the SCAR - shorter, with controls that fall to the hand without removing it from the grip.Maybe if you are a midget.Are you saying you can fully and reliably actuate the stock STG mag release without moving your right hand from a firing grip? Or are you trying to do some sort of "hold two magazines in my left hand while I also hit the mag release with my left thumb and pray I don't bobble this mag change too badly" maneuver?

Personally, if someone would currently manufacture a mag release like the FSE mag release from a few years ago, that allowed you to hit it with your trigger finger, my main issue with FAL controls would go away.As for being "passed over", there are still countries using the FAL.Brazil and several Third-World kleptocracies.

Don't get me wrong, I love the FAL, but it's beauty does not lie in who currently uses it.It didn't have a design capable of mounting a scope over the reciever that was military toughEver heard of a SUIT scope?You can make optics work on the FAL, yes. I use the DSA mount myself, and it is a very good solution. However, the more elegant, robust and lighter solution is to have the rail/mount be integral with the rifle, like the SCAR.A new hammer ain't necessarily better than the old one just because it's new.No, it's better because it is designed better. However, just because a new hammer is better doesn't mean the old hammer doesn't work.

Mike

Hatterasguy
August 4, 2010, 11:46 PM
As much as I like the FAL I do enjoy seeing new designs come out. Time march's on, what was a very good design in the 50's isn't really as good as it could be if it was built today.

Time will tell on the SCAR but I think its the most interesting new rifle to come out in this century. Its nice to see FN is not resting on its laurels and is trying to make a modern battle rifle.

Other than tweaking the AR10 no other company seems to have a response to this rifle.

fireside44
August 5, 2010, 07:23 AM
Can you get lucky and get a box-stock STG-58 that is that accurate? Sure.

1.5-2.0 moa is pretty much a standard for the STG-58. That's why the STG barrels are so sought after for builds. It's not really an issue of luck.

Even then, however, it is my understanding that most (all?) of the published accuracy tests with the FAL involve single-round loading, to allow for no pressure on the bolt from rounds in the magazine, a known cause of vertical stringing.

Never heard of rounds against bolt causing stringing. Slinging up too tight, as it pulls on the barrel, but had never heard of the mag pressure on bolt bottom. I'll have to look into that. As for accuracy tests, there are many at fal files who post 1.5-2.5 moa targets not using single shot.

Are you saying you can fully and reliably actuate the stock STG mag release without moving your right hand from a firing grip?

Yes, I can actuate it with my trigger finger.

Personally, if someone would currently manufacture a mag release like the FSE mag release from a few years ago, that allowed you to hit it with your trigger finger, my main issue with FAL controls would go away.

Agreed, but I can still do it with the stock one. Then again, I have long-ish fingers.


Don't get me wrong, I love the FAL, but it's beauty does not lie in who currently uses it.:confused:

Tirod
August 5, 2010, 11:32 AM
Frankly, how someone hunts doesn't have to meet with the expectations of others. If anyone chooses to "still hunt" - keep slowly moving - the application means carrying the rifle to do it. Lighter is better, just as it would be for any soldier. In the still of day when deer bed down, it's an effective technique to go find them, not sleep under a tree and waste the day. It's called hunting for a reason.

Arrogantly assuming those who can't handle the ergonomics and weight of ancient curios or relics and calling them midgets doesn't address the shortcomings inherent in the control locations. People put up with the older designs because of ignorance and a lack of alternative. There was no other choice. And those old designs were based on engineering that won't hold up. Carbon steel and wood stocks do not endure the environment well. A simple look at the NRA grading system show why the pristine examples get top dollar, most guns rust and rot. Moving to aluminum and polymers will certainly reduce the negative affects, as they simply corrode less and take anticorrosion treatments better. That means less maintenance and down time, military or sporting use.

It's a poor example claiming cell phones are designed for a three year life - but would you prefer the brick phones in a bag that weigh 6 pounds as an alternative? I suppose a dial phone could be jacked in where ever you go. Should we carry that and quit sniveling? No one will even consider it an alternative, why then consider old weapons? The real reason has to do with entertainment, not using one as a tool.

No, new stuff is often better because all the intervening improvements are collected into one design. Had the SCAR been available in 1955, the FAL wouldn't even be considered. What is telling is that as the AR10 was developed, it was - the materials and engineering considered the next step ahead, and made even better in an intermediate caliber that matched actual battle conditions.

The average soldier of the '50s was certainly 2-4" shorter and less developed physically, yet even in the face of todays well fed and taller recruits, military forces still push to reduce the weight and improve the ergonomics of fighting weapons - because it improves hit probability. Like it or not, the experienced experts know when to move on and get better weapons. The Brits and many others have ended the service life of the FAL and made it the popular surplus curio it is. It's inherent design flaws contributed to that, and there's no going back.

For every reason given for the FAL, the same could be said for any other older rifle, like the Krag-Jorgenson. Accentuate the positive, smooth over the deficiencies, and keep looking back until we are all stuffing cartridges down smoothbores in line and drill. No thanks, progress exists, I'll take advantage of it as I can.

fireside44
August 5, 2010, 06:01 PM
And those old designs were based on engineering that won't hold up.

As compared to modern plastic guns that won't hold up?

It's a poor example claiming cell phones are designed for a three year life - but would you prefer the brick phones in a bag that weigh 6 pounds as an alternative?

I think he is correct. The brick bag phones still work. The nokia bricks still work. Newer model phones do indeed have a short lifespan.

So, I guess the end question will become: Do you want something that works fantastically for a limited time, or do you want something that works nearly as fantastic but will almost certainly offer a much greater service life? Bic lighter vs Zippo syndrome.

Had the SCAR been available in 1955, the FAL wouldn't even be considered.

Speculation.

The average soldier of the '50s was certainly 2-4" shorter and less developed physically, yet even in the face of todays well fed and taller recruits, military forces still push to reduce the weight and improve the ergonomics of fighting weapons - because it improves hit probability.

And they decided that SCAR 16 probably wasn't going to improve hit probability vs an AR style weapon.

Like it or not, the experienced experts know when to move on and get better weapons.

And in the case of SCAR 16, not. Regardless, only time will tell for the SCAR 17.

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