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Newly acquired FN. Gorgeous, but safe?

Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2020 7:46 pm
by Gdot
Hello there! New forum member, not super new to these rifles as I've had a Model 8 in the mighty .35 a few years back. Wish I'd kept it, but anyhow, I have managed to snag an FN 1900 that I adore. Serial 1177, all matching, appears to have been refinished very nicely, and the action cycles smoothly. However, the bore is less than desirable and was described rather optimistically in its listing. I'll try to attach images once I reduce the file sizes enough for a few of the pictures. The bore picture, for now, shows its worst.

I've thoroughly cleaned the barrel a few times since bringing it home, and it appears to look marginally better after each cleaning. The bore still has shine but is mostly frosted. There also appears to be pitting at the barrel throat and again from about the last 2-3 inches of barrel to the muzzle. Setting a .35Rem cartridge, projectile first, into the muzzle shows the bullet seating fully into the muzzle until the case mouth rests on the crown. I decided to run a .35Rem projectile through the bore to see how it would look coming out the other end. The projectile had little resistance until about an inch beyond the throat, then the rifling seemed to be doing its normal engraving. The projectile had little resistance from the rifling for the final 2-3 inches of barrel. Once it came out of the muzzle the bullet appeared to be engraved very normally; sharp and straight, but I'm no ballistics specialist. It seems to me the middle 75 percent of the barrel has decent rifling. The first 10 percent is rough and the last 15 percent is too.

I've heard of MilSurps that shoot safely and okay-somewhat with a bore of similar or like condition. Does anyone have a comparable experience but with the Model 8, 81 or FN1900?

I dabble in collecting but I love to shoot my firearms, and had planned to shoot this one every so often. Should I see what a 5-or-so shot group looks like or should I plan on never shooting this FN? The latter being a heartbreaker. Thank you for any input, folks.

Re: Newly acquired FN. Gorgeous, but safe?

Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2020 9:46 pm
by Phyrbird
Welcome. I'm surprised the projectile didn't get stuck. Lucky guy. Some of these will surprise you too. I've had a few that gave 5-6" groups at 100, a 1907 30-30 marked that I got 2 in less than an inch at 50 with me on the iron sights. At the Great model 8 meet my 35 Rem with the G&H scope mount surprised both me and my brother. It rang an 8" gong at 185yd 4 out of 5 for both of us. The action is very similar to the 1911 Colt; with a recoiling barrel, a bushing at the muzzle & bolt guided by the receiver.
Proof in the Pics:
I'm the guy in the straw cowboy hat. Photo at the bench ringing said gong.

Bottom line they will not likely be MOA at 300yd. Some like the 742 give larger groups. All in all I'd expect groups from 1.5-3". Your mentioned barrel wear may or may not make a difference. You might try a couple, check headspace with a Hornady headspace tool. If the fired case is not more than .005 larger than unfired it should be OK. Even with a serious problem the FN is still of value. Very few produced in Belgian production.

Re: Newly acquired FN. Gorgeous, but safe?

Posted: Sat Jun 20, 2020 11:25 am
by Gdot
Looked like that was a fun event! Perfect day to have been ringing steel, for sure.

I wish the photos I submitted would have made it into my original post. I'll share a link to my GoogleDrive folder with the photos and hopefully that allows you to see its bore condition. It's a beautiful rifle that I understand won't be impressing me with tight groups, but I hope it's shootable at least. I've never had a rifle with a bore in this condition so it has me a little worried. The outside of the barrel, when removed from the jacket, didn't show any bulges, cracks, or rust, and appears to be ver well preserved. I wonder if the bore is a result of the older corrosive ammo or primers that may have been fired in it, paired with a little neglect/long-term storage? ... sp=sharing