FNH USA SCAR 17S
This is my primary SHTF "Go to" combat rifle. For the next time I actually ever see "combat".
I don't see a lot of "combat". In fact, short of a few bar fights when I was young and stupid, I never have. Hope to keep it that way. BUT...
If the Orc-ish hordes should start spilling out of some trans-dimensional gateway, I know this rifle will be more than adiquate to help me deal with them.
It started back in the fall of 2010, and the rifle was black then. Read on, and follow it's storied history...
I decided I needed one of these rifles just before deer season that fall. A pal of mine was doing summersaults because he was going deer hunting with his new 6.8mm Remington SPC AR-15.
I thought that would be pretty neat, as I am very familiar with the AR family, and think its combination of light weight and wonderful ergonomics would be great slogging around after Bambi.
However, while I think the 6.8 SPC is a big improvement over the 5.56mm cartridge, I still think it's pretty much on the light end of the scale for Whitetails.
I've heard it is comparable to a .243, which, while it can be a killer with good shot placement, and has definatly slain many gazillions of deers across the land,
isn't particularly known as a knock 'em down where they stand deer slayer.
I quickly decided a .308 rifle would be preferable. I thought about taking my M1A, or FAL, however both had issues I wasn't keen on.
Among other concerns, both were just too big and too heavy for the heavily wooded, steep mountain area I was going to hunt.
By the time you scope either, they start weighing in around 10 or 12 pounds, and I'm too old to hump that kind of artillery.
I needed something fun, light, and carbine-ish for the job. I decided it was time to look at a new rifle. This sucked, because I had already bought a new rifle for this years deer camp last year.
I had bought my new Browning BLR in .30-06, and was still planning on taking that, but it didn't fill the "OMFG, you're hunting with a black rifle" criteria. Clearly I needed to pop coin.
I did some research and quickly narrowed the field down to two options. One was a .308 AR-10 style rifle, and I narrowed this down further to the Rock River Arms SLR-8 mid-length carbine.
The other choice was the as yet unobtainable and grossly overpriced Fabrique National Herstal SCAR 17S. By now you know which one won.
However, by the time I found one at a price I was willing to pay, deer season had come and gone.
This was OK, as I never made it to deer camp anyway. There's always next year!
This is a really amazing rifle. Known alternately as the SCAR-H (Special operations forces Combat Assault Rifle - Heavy), and in the U.S. Military as the Mk. 17 Mod. 0 in
SOCOM parlance (where it is being fielded in limited numbers by SEAL, SOAR, and Special Forces operators), it is the big brother to the 5.56mm SCAR-L (or Mk. 16 Mod. 0, Get it?).
Where as it looks like SOCOM is going to pass on the Mk. 16 (the existing M-16 family still fills that role well enough), they reportedly can't seem to get enough of the Mk. 17, especially in Afghanistan,
where combat engagements are more frequently at range than in the more urban Iraq theater. At this point, it's not even "Limited Standard", but there seems to be a growing number of troops who, if given their choice, would grab one of these in place of any 5.56 arm when heading into harms way.
The biggest factor that sold me on it, was its weight, or lack there of.
It weighs in at just under 8 pounds empty, and even with a full magazine, and optics, it doesn't really seem to weigh much more than a comparably configured AR-15.
It seems pounds lighter than a scoped FAL or M1A. Perhaps it's the balance or advanced ergonomics, but you just don't feel the weight.
The light weight is the result of extensive use of polymers in the rifles construction. Don't like plastic? Stick to your Mausers.
This is a 21st century firearm, and the age of wood and steel is gone for ever in military, and military style arms. That's too bad, but weight savings is weight savings.
After I initially took the Scar out and "gravel pit zero'ed" it, I was absolutely amazed by how FUN it is to shoot.
It is accurate, the recoil is mild, and the muzzle blast, which I had been warned of, wasn't nearly as bad as I had been lead to believe.
All in all, I shot 140 rounds through it that first day, and left the range regretting I didn't have another 140 to burn.
The recoil is lighter than an M-14 or a FAL, but certainly more than an AKM, or AR.
I shot it with an ACOG on it. I shot it with an Aimpoint on it, and I shot it with its own iron sights. Believe it or not, I think I prefer it with the iron sights. They are quite capable.
Though at the end of the day, I left the Aimpoint on it. I think I am going to try a T-1 micro Aimpoint next. But I am still thinking a 1-5x scope would be the right choice for this carbine.
Man, this thing is fun to shoot. I just realized I burned up $70 worth of ammo today, and even though I am not a wealthy man, it was totally worth it. FUN!
I wouldn't hesitate in an instant to face the zombies with this thing.
Disassembly is a snap, and anyone familiar with military rifles should be able to master the nuances of this one in about ten minutes. Unlike the AR family, there's only one take down pin.
The rest of the rifle fits together into four major sub-assemblies: The lower trigger housing, the stock, the receiver, and the bolt/bolt carrier.
I should add the barrel, as it's designed to be quick changed by the end user in less than ten minutes. However, I don't have any spare barrels, nor the requisite torque wrench, so I'll just leave that be for now.
This thing is wicked cool. I wish I could carry it with me every where I go. Bambi's in big trouble next year.
Then one day - something happened:
I woke up early on a Saturday that had far too many things planned, and despite this, launched into a complete disassembly of the SCAR with one thought in mind.
Paint it green.
This had actually been on my mind since before I had ever bought one.
Originally I had toyed with the idea of doing olive drab with black, but I have an AR-15 in that scheme, and I didn't want to become predictable.
Eventually I decided on foliage green as I spend as much time in the sage of Eastern Washington, as I do in the fir covered hills of Western Washington.
It seemed a good balance of both. I'm really happy with how it turned out. Baking the finish on the plastic parts was SCARy. (yuk.)
I baked them at 220 degrees for two hours versus 300 degrees for one hour on the metal parts. Not sure if the Moly Resin actually "cures" at this temp, but it never came off, and the plastic didn't melt, so...
The foliage green thing was neat for about a year, and then I read on the internet how FDE rifles were inherantly more accurate than other colors, so I tested that out by painting it with Norrell's again. They were right! This thing shoots much more accuratly now. I swear. I would have bought an FDE SCAR originally, but when I bought mine ANY color was rarer than the proverbial Hen's Teeth, and I have never really cared much for the tri-color, almost gold anodized look of the factory FDE rifles. I probably would have over shot it with moly resin anyway for a uniform color, so I'm really right where I'd likely be anyhow.
That's it in the Norrell's tan at the top of this page.
Regardless of color, these are amazingly excellent rifles, and as I type this, I've got close to 3000 rounds through mine, and it still impresses me like the day it was new.
If you are reading this wondering if you should get one, I'd say go for it. They ARE spendy, and magazines are pricey, but it's worth it. I just wish our armed forces would jump whole hog on it. At least the Infantry types. The REMF's and pogues behind the lines can carry their 5.56mm mouse guns, but the point of the spear should have something with more "Ooomph". That was the concenses back when I was in the Marines half my life ago, and I still think it's the case today.
If only it had a bayonet lug...
I ended up selling it during the crazy days of early 2013. I didn't want to, but I couldn't resist the cash offers folks kept making me. I saved the money, and hoped to buy another once things settled down a bit.
Then, when they did, I bought TWO more - another black one, and a REAL FDE one.
I replaced the stocks on both with KDG SAS ACR adapters, as I never really liked "the boot", and thought the ACR's stock the best part of that design.
Also shown here is a IR PRO Hunter Thermal site I was evaluating once upon a time.
Excellent, though expensive piece of kit. I passed on it, as I just don't really have a lot of need for hunting at night around here.
FDE Scar at a local gravel pit.
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