February 26, 2012, 02:33
I read in an earlier post about the best mg for a first timer to try, and the FN FNC with registered auto sear was one of the recommendations. I am very intrigued by this combination and the relatively low entry price. around $6000.
Can any of you gents give me a brief tutorial of the pluses and minuses of this combination.
Thanks, Bret

February 26, 2012, 04:52
Excellent firearm that takes common AR mags, but no parts availability. That's the only thing keeping the price down.

February 26, 2012, 11:13
Thanks Kev,
I guess you would have to buy a sencond "donor" gun if you wanted spare parts.
Do you have any experience with the Ruger AC556? It seems to be in the same price range as the fnc.

February 26, 2012, 12:58
I've owned two of the AC556's; one full length and one of the 13" folders. Are you sitting down? I never got around to firing either of them before selling them, so I can't say a thing about how they operate(at least in auto). I've had many Mini14's and except for the switch, they're the same gun obviously.

Unlike the FNC, the Ruger is not at all a military grade weapon. I suppose that's one reason they didn't hang around. I never felt comfortable with the teardown and reassembly(the selector linkage is easily damaged if you're not careful). The AC's are functional and I like them well enough to keep Mini14's around at a few hundred each, but for $6000,.....................nope. If I had it to do over again, I'd take the FNC in a heartbeat and not worry about the lack of parts I'd probably never need. IMHO, the reason the AC and FNC are priced about the same is a fluke. The FNC is undoubtedly the better gun, but historically Ruger has been real good about factory support whereas the FNC has no support at all. In the past, Ruger was even willing to warranty the receiver of the AC(replacing the damaged receiver with another registered item from stock). Those days are long gone and now they can't and won't replace receivers, folding stocks, or the short barrels which they no longer have. Many Mini14 parts can be swapped over and those will always be available, but when it comes to the most important parts, the AC isn't much better off than the FNC. You can however locate a demilled post-sample MG parts kit for around $1000 and that will have every spare except the receiver. Guess that's quite a bit better position than the FNC where the best you can hope for is a $3000 spare rifle(semi).

I had a dealer buddy 20 or so years ago who had an FNC MG sidelined for years, searching for a hammer replacement. That's the only part I've ever heard of breaking, but I don't know all that many FNC's. I've stumbled across a very few spare parts(SARCO once had several complete barrelled uppers at the Knob Creek Shoot($500 each back when unfired StG kits were $150)). Always kinda hoped to see the secondary parts market open up like the Daewoo market has, but that may never happen. I don't know how the number of Woo's compares to the number of FNC's, but at least with the Woo's there was a reason for the parts suppliers to start up(thinking the needed thumbhole conversion parts). FNC never had that need.

And there's not too much hope for surplus FNC parts imports in the future. It hasn't been adopted by many countries and isn't likely to be surplussed out from those few. Maybe Indonesia could let us have some parts, but Sweden I don't predict will ever turn any loose. Again tho,............once you have the gun you're probably not going to need much for parts. Barrels can be and have been made. You can probably spend the rest of your life watching out for any internals to pop up and even if you never find them, that would likely be soon enough.

February 26, 2012, 13:20
Thanks for the in depth reply. I like the idea that I can have the FNC as a functional rifle while I save for and wait on the trasferable sear. The idea of spending $3000 for a parts gun is tough, but $9000 will get me two complete rifles and the auto sear. That seems like it is still a better deal than an M16 at $12-15000. I could in theory buy three semi fncs and be at the same price as the M16.
If you know of any others that fit in the $6-9000 range I would appreciate the info.
Thanks again, Bret

February 26, 2012, 14:30
I have a friend who been shooting his class 3 FNC for the last 20yrs never had a problem

February 26, 2012, 15:57
Well, the problem with the FNC is that once you have an FNC, you have an FNC. You're done. What you could do is shorten up your second 'parts' FNC, maybe even registering it as an SBR, and swap the uppers back and forth to liven things up.

But with the M16, you can do just about anything. I've got standard uppers, carbine uppers, shortie uppers, and HB uppers for my -16. I've got .22 kits I can run in any of those. I've also got a dedicated 3" .22 upper that I keep suppressed. Then we get to the 9mm uppers. I'm got a couple variations of those,.............one integrally suppressed and another not. Thinking of doing a .40 and maybe even a .45. Just not sure what I want to do about mags. Oh, another 9mm I have uses the Suomi drums instead of sticks, but since you have to mill away the entire magwell, that's for use with the RDIAS, not the registered M16 lower.

I used to have a 7.62x39 kit, but let it go years back without ever trying it out. They have a history of breaking bolt lugs and I didn't want to mess with it, but that may have been solved by now. I know the 5.45 uppers are out now along with 7.62x25. Basically any ammo that's available cheap, someone will build an upper to use it. But that won't happen for the FNC. There's been talk, but afaik, nobody's gotten even a .22 conversion up and running.

I've also got one of the Shrike beltfed uppers(which I haven't run)and one of the Tactical Innovations AM180 drum uppers for .22 shooting. Haven't run that one either, but only because I still have an AM180.

Yeah, you can get into an FNC quite a bit cheaper than an M16, but it'll never do all an M16 can do. Lots of different shooting experiences listed above,............but all at a cost.

BTW, one thing I didn't mention about the AC556,................the .22 conversions are available cheap and they're notoriously reliable. One of the best .22 conversions on the market.

February 26, 2012, 18:07
Wow Kev,
you have given me a ton to think about.
If I went the m16 route, would one type be more versatile or more dependable than another. I have heard of complete guns, cast lowers, forged lowers, welded lowers is there a big difference between these?
I guess what I am asking is, what route would you take in getting your first.


February 26, 2012, 20:38
Couldn't a fnc hammer or most any machined part be made in a machine shop?? I was a machinist for 25 years and should be doable.

February 26, 2012, 22:39
I'm sure it can be duplicated if you have a pattern or even drawings to work from. I don't know if the guy had the broken hammer or if he was desperate enough to go through the trouble. I've had internal hammers made and fitted to a double shotgun and it was not cheap. Actually, I bought the shotgun with the 90% finished hammers in a bag and I let the gun go when the quote to fit them went up past $500.

Lots to learn if you're going to look into the M16 and lots of it is just someone's opinion, so here's mine,........

Lightning Link

Drop-In Auto Sear

Registered Receiver

Lightning link is the cheapest by several thousand dollars. It's a +/-$6500 piece of hacksaw blade that will make an AR15 go auto. Not real rugged, but there's a kit available to help support the fragile end. Only works with original Colt style AR15 semi parts,.........no M16 parts needed, so you'll be chasing after Colt AR carriers. It'll work with most if not all centerfire caliber conversions. Not sure about the .22LR. Won't work with the Shrike or the Tactical Innov .22LR drum upper. It's also full auto only, but again, someone makes a select fire kit for them. If there's an advantage with the LL, it's that you can simply remove the Link and the gun reverts to a perfectly legal semi-auto(assuming the barrel length is at least 16".

Drop-In Auto Sear(RDIAS)is closer to a real Colt RR in price due to the flexibility. Uses all M16 internals(which legally need to be removed from the gun if the DIAS is removed). Opens up a few more options w/r/t host receiver choice, but you're still limited to lowers with the DIAS 'pocket' or modifying lowers for the clearance. A DIAS works with everything except open-bolt internals which are really only used in the Tactical Innov AM180 .22 upper and the original and fully correct Colt HB LMG rifle. The choice is steel or aluminum for the sear frame. Lots of noise about that, but the 'market' says that the steel body sear is worth about $15k and the the aluminum body sear is around $12k,..............quite a substantial difference. Mine's an FB Whitman aluminum bodied sear. The sears themselves are all made of tool steel,..........it's only the holding body that's made of alloy. Supposedly it MAY not be as rugged as a steel bodied sear, but it's not a major factor in my mind. I'd buy the Whitman sear again.

Registered Receivers are a huge topic,..............can't be adequately covered here. Factory Colts obviously have a good portion of their value tied up in their originality and rarity. I don't go there; I'm just a shooter, so you're really asking about conversions or rewelds. My M16 is a Bushmaster converted Sendra lower. I personally think it's one of the best conversions around, but some would disagree. I base my opinion on what people thought back in the day when the conversions were actually being done and you could start with anything. There's been some bad press regarding the Sendra lowers, but it's all about one gunsmith who won't weld on them anymore(not surprising after destroying a receiver you were trying to fix and having to cough up the money to cover a $10k loss). Lesson learned,.............do NOT weld on a registered receiver M16 unless you absolutely HAVE TO! You do NOT HAVE TO weld up markings and silly crap like that. Only weld to salvage a destroyed receiver. Yes, lots of M16 lowers have been rewelded, but that was worthless scrap being welded into $100 machinegun receivers prior to '86. If something went wrong, you smashed it with a hammer and moved on to the next set. Can't do that today. Now you're screwing around with irreplaceable $10,000 parts,................not worth the risk.

Sorry for the rant,..............back on topic. Other conversion receivers are valued however which way you'd value the same semi receiver. Personally, I'd never tough anything Oly, but that's just me. Lots of guys report excellent results, and at one time they even carried something of a premium with some people due to Oly's reported willingness to scrap out their old, out-of-spec and often cast receivers with new manufacture 'good' receivers. I didn't think that was a good idea then and it's an even better reason to avoid them now; again IMHO. The receiver is either a structurally questionable original Oly item or a legally questionable Oly replacement. I think I'd avoid both equally.

Rewelds themselves can be fine. The M16 lower is pretty much a non-stressed part. If it's been working for the last 30yrs, it's probably going to be just fine. Some look like bubbled over crap, but some are so good that ATF has demanded x-ray inspection to prove that they are indeed rewelds. You may pay more for a top name reweld like a Norrell, but it's probably money well spent. Nice thing about a reweld is that it was an issue rifle and it has all the correct markings(assuming they haven't been defaced with the weld).

The Colt AR conversions have the advantage of saying 'Colt' on them, but that's completely wiped out by the oddball specs of a Colt AR receiver. Oddball pivot pin size on the front(requiring Colt AR uppers if it hasn't been converted by weldup and redrilling)or conversion pivot pins. They're all slabside receivers as well I think. They can certainly be nice guns, but they'd be way down the list of choices if I were looking.

All of these registered receivers listed so far(excepting an original Colt M16)can be had for around the same $10k. I'd choose first what I have,.............the Sendra/Bushmaster. Second choice for me would probably be a nice reweld. Third would be a non-Colt/non-Oly conversion based on a known manufacturer and not a form1 gun created by an individual. Gotta inspect the work tho, becaues Joe Blo may have registered a nice receiver on a form1 and had a top-rated SOT do the actual work. The one thing to watch out for is the RR that's not a RR. Some form1 guns were papered as Registered Receivers, but no conversion work was done on the receiver itself,.............they just dropped in an unregistered DIAS. It's legal, but it has all the worst parts of the various options. You have a DIAS, but it's forever married to THAT receiver. You can't take it out and use it in another. The receiver is still in semi configuration and you can't now convert it to milspec parts. It's kind of an orphan and universally regarded as the worst possible scenario. Still probably worth more than a LL, but not much more.

Now, after ALL that, I'd suggest you drop a few hundred dollars on one of the new SlideFire stocks. I'm getting reports from guys who already have registered M16's and they're amazed at how well the SlideFire works. They don't exactly regret having the M16, but they're sure confused about the possibilities. I've got one myself that I'm definitely going to use on some suppressed 9mm or other and maybe even .22LR if I can get it to work reliably(it's been done).

February 26, 2012, 23:01
Kev, you are a gem. Thank you for taking the time to write that exhaustive
explanation. You cleared a bunch of things up for me. I will refrain from asking anymore questions untill I can digest all you have already provided.

Thanks so much, Bret

February 29, 2012, 02:07
I read in an earlier post about the best mg for a first timer to try, and the FN FNC with registered auto sear was one of the recommendations. I am very intrigued by this combination and the relatively low entry price. around $6000.
Can any of you gents give me a brief tutorial of the pluses and minuses of this combination.
Thanks, Bret

I doubt you will find one at $6K, but if you do, you have done well, full stock or folder!

The FNC is a great rifle. 3 round burst is not really needed since its ROF is just over 600RPM. The gas tube has a "adverse" lever position on it to direct more gas against the op rod. Two of the three S&H conversions I have test fired would not function w/o this lever being shifted over to "adverse". I didn't test every type of ammo but I got the impression that the gun likes it hot!

When fired from the shoulder the gun has a unique feel to it and with ear protection you will here a lot of spring noise. It doesn't shoot as smooth as an HK 33, but the lower ROF makes it a lot easier to hold on target.

As for spares, people recommend an extra firing pin (I have never seen a broken one). The rest of the gun seems very durable and unless you plan to abuse it, I can't see you needing any other extra parts. M-16 mags work just as good as the original black steel mags, so you won't have to hunt mags once you get it.

Good luck and if you know of one for sale, jump on it. They don't seem as available as they once were.

February 29, 2012, 11:55
FNC w/ 4 position selector on the files @ 7k---


March 09, 2012, 20:03
I own an FNC and I love it.
It is alot of fun, and with a Beta mag is pure sex....

One drawback is that the factory barrels are 1-12 twist, so you have to use 55grain pills. But, they are very accurate.

I took a donor semi and then registered the upper and cut down the barrel so now I have two uppers, one full size and one shorty to shoot.

The rest of the parts of the donor rifle are stored away if I should ever break anything. The bolt carrier and the hammer are modified on the S&H guns.
You can use the semi parts if a talented gunsmith knows what to do with them. I talked to Curtis H at S&H once. He assured me that the gun will wear out before the sear will break.

You can use AR type stocks if you want (an adapter is available) and decent optics rails are also available.

One guy is making forend rail systems and 3-burst parts.

I have broken firing pins. They are fragile little buggers. The head snaps off. Don't dry fire it and you may never have a problem. Originals are available, and DSA makes new ones.

Subguns are fun, but FA rifles are where it's at....well if you dont have a beltfed that is....

March 10, 2012, 15:11
Thanks DFR, great info. I think I have chickened out on the fnc.
I'm just spending $350 on the slide fire stock and hope it satisfies the urge.

March 10, 2012, 15:18
Hello I have Belgian 3rd burst kits for $335 if you need. Thanks EX1

RG Coburn
March 10, 2012, 20:20
My local shop just got a semi-auto FNC in from an estaste. I had never handled,nor even seen one up close,so the owner letting me check it out was kinda neat. What surprised me most was how much "cheaper" it felt than an FAL. Stamped upper,milled aluminum lower,rattly and loose.It looks like the barrel is attatched similar to an HK,with a welded trunnion to the receiver. Don't get me wrong,it was cool,but I just couldn't see it as being worth 3 or 4 times a decent AR,and it was not in the same ballpark as a Belgian made FAL as far as feel and fit. If you want,I can get his info to you,or vice-versa.

March 11, 2012, 10:25
Green Mountain barrels made a run of barrels last year for the FNC.