FNH 7.62x51 (.308) FNAR Semi-Auto Rifle


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

November 17th, 2008




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FNH-USA continues to introduce interesting and useful fighting weapons. Even while supplying our military with a lot of the arms used to fight terrorism on two different fronts, FNH still has the time and manufacturing capacity to supply the rest of us with new firearm designs. The FNAR shown here has been with me for a couple of weeks now, and has proven to be one hundred percent reliable, and extremely accurate for a fighting rifle. I have long been a fan of the AR-15/AR-10 systems, but there are many who, for whatever reason, do not like the AR gas system, and prefer a piston system for their auto loading rifles. Some manufacturers are building “ARs” with a piston system. If it has a piston, it is not an AR, but something different. Most 7.62x51mm fighting rifles are pretty heavy. My super-accurate DPMS SASS weighs about twelve pounds, but is a fine rifle. Most gas piston rifles of that caliber that are capable of match-grade accuracy weigh as much or more. For those who have been waiting, the new FNAR rifle weighs in at just under eight pounds (7 lbs., 14.8 ounces without magazine to be exact), and uses the short stroke gas piston system. Like its Browning and Winchester auto loading cousins, the FNAR has a very reliable and clean-shooting piston that travels only about ¾ of an inch, sending the action block and twin action rails rearward, unlocking the multiple lug rotating bolt to eject the fired cartridge case, with the under-barrel spring returning the bolt forward to chamber another round. While many find the 5.56mm NATO cartridge to work well for social work, there are times when more power is needed, and in such cases, the 7.62 usually finds favor. The 7.62mm NATO cartridge has a fine reputation for stopping power on the battlefield, and displays excellent accuracy as well in a properly built rifle. In the FNH FNAR, the 7.62 really shines.

The FNAR rifle comes with all that is needed to custom fit the rifle to the shooter. Like many of our modern auto pistols which come with different grip inserts, the FNAR comes with three different cheek pieces and three different butt pads, to allow the shooter to change the comb height and length of pull for a comfortable fit. In addition, there are six different buttstock shims included with the rifle to change the pitch and cast of the buttstock to perfectly fit any shooter. The most important of these, in my experience, is the comb height. Raising the comb as high as possible to allow the shooter’s eye to be directly in line with the scope, while preserving a good cheek weld on the stock, makes for more accurate shot placement. The stock, while very unconventional in shape, is very comfortable to shoot, whether from the bench or in the field. The pistol grip on the FNAR allows good control of the weapon, placing the hand in a very comfortable and natural position for good trigger control. The trigger operates very smoothly. It has a bit of overtravel, but releases well, and is much better than a standard mil-spec AR trigger, but not as light and crisp as an Alexander or Timney target trigger. Still, it is about ideal for a fighting rifle, with the trigger pull measuring exactly four pounds on the test rifle. The fluted barrel has a matte dark gray finish, and is of a medium profile, measuring .770 diameter at the muzzle. The test rifle came supplied with one twenty-round magazine, and extra magazines of five, ten, and twenty round capacities are offered.

The buttstock and forearm are of a black synthetic material, and there are plenty of Picatinny rails on the forearm for attaching flashlights, laser sights, and accessories. Sling swivel studs are installed for the easy attachment of a sling. Atop the receiver is a Picatinny rail that is plenty long enough to accommodate an ArmaLite mount, or any other Picatinny compatible scope mount.

For accuracy testing, I mounted a Leupold Mark 4 scope of 8.5 to 25 power. This fine scope focuses down closely, and provides a clear sight picture from a few feet out to infinity. The settings are repeatable, and the adjustments precise. As stated earlier, this is an accurate rifle. Getting on paper at twenty five yards, I turned to the fifty yard target, where the first three shots went into one hole. Enough of that, so I sighted on the one hundred yard target, where accuracy was also outstanding. At that range, the FNAR was placing three rounds into less than one-half inch, repeatedly, all day long. I was firing Buffalo Bore Sniper ammo through the FNAR. This ammo uses Sierra 175 grain Match King bullets, and has proven to be the most accurate factory .308 ammo that I have ever fired, in several rifles. When I have a new .308 rifle in here for review, if I have any on the shelf, I always reach for the Buffalo Bore first.

The FNAR is a different rifle, not just another “me too” copy of another military rifle design. It has a unique and reliable gas piston system, is relatively light weight for a rifle of this type and caliber, and I think that the FNAR would prove to be very useful to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, in situations where more power is needed than the 5.56mm can provide, but where a rifle that is more portable than the big Barrett .50 caliber can be used effectively.

For the rest of us, the FNAR is an excellent choice of a semi-auto rifle can reach out and touch a target at long range, with full 7.62 NATO power, and hit those targets with precision. The FNAR is also easy on the shoulder. Even after long sessions on the bench, there was no fatigue. The gas system and stock design very effectively attenuate the recoil of the 7.62 NATO cartridge. The stock is highly adjustable to fit most shooters properly, and the rifle is very easy to shoot well. The FNAR is light enough to serve double duty as a hunting rifle, and is more accurate than most bolt-actions on the market. It balances well, carries well, and shoots well. It is an excellent choice for a main battle rifle to protect the homestead, or as a rifle for gathering meat for the freezer. As I type this, our new President-elect has promised to ban the manufacture and sale of such rifles, so there is no better time to buy one than right now.

Check out the extensive line of FNH products at www.fnhusa.com.

For a look at the entire line of Leupold optics and accessories, go to www.leupold.com.

For the location of an FNH dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.

To order the FNAR online, go to www.galleryofguns.com.

To order the Buffalo Bore Precision Sniper ammunition, go to www.buffalobore.com.

Jeff Quinn


For a list of dealers where you can buy this gun, go to: To buy this gun online, go to:






The FN-AR has plenty of Picatinny rail for attaching sights, flashlights, lasers, etc.



Picatinny rail is plenty long enough to attach a 3Bucc Brass Catcher.





Leupold 8.5-25x Mark 4 scope.



When looking for the best accuracy, Jeff reaches for the best ammo available: Buffalo Bore's Sniper .308.



Author's first three shots, fired at 50 yards.

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- Boge Quinn



Click pictures for a larger version.


FNH 7.62x51 (.308) FNAR Semi-Auto Rifle.



Shims to change pitch and cast of stock.



Twenty-round magazine.



Long magazine works well with Target Shooting, Inc.'s Model 1000 rifle rest.



The FN-AR comes with three interchangeable cheek pieces (top) and three interchangeable butt pads (bottom) to adjust comb height and length of pull.



Butt pads have hard insert to prevent hanging on the shooter's shirt or jacket.



Magazine release (top) and bolt release (bottom).



Push-button safety.



Sling swivel studs.



Medium weight fluted barrel.



Short-stroke gas piston system.



Dual hammer springs.