It has been about nine months now since I
reviewed the latest combat rifle adopted in limited numbers by
the US Special Operations Command. That rifle as adopted by the
military is the 5.56x45mm NATO MK 16. The civilian version that
I reviewed is the SCAR 16. It proved
to be a very accurate, reliable weapon, and I have since been
anxious to try out the 7.62x51mm version. In
January, I had the opportunity to fire the MK 17, which is
the select fire version of the SCAR 17s shown here. It was a lot
of fun to shoot, but I did not get to do any accuracy testing at
that time, awaiting the arrival of the production SCAR 17s for
that. It has arrived, and after putting a lot of ammo downrange,
I am not disappointed.
The US military wanted as much parts
commonality between the MK16 and MK17 as possible, and FN
achieved that goal with about eighty percent of the parts being
interchangeable between the two weapons. SOCOM also wanted the
weapon to be as user-friendly as possible, and fully
ambidextrous. Soldiers vary in size from petite women to huge
men, and from petite men to huge women, so the new weapons had
to be adjustable as much as possible to fit everyone, and to
also be adjustable to fit the soldier whether dressed in full
body armor or running around naked. FNH met those goals with a
weapons system that has ambidextrous controls, adjustable
buttstock, adjustable cheek piece, reversible charging handle,
and a folding buttstock for use in close quarters. The military
version is capable of both semi-auto and full-auto fire, and can
be field serviced, even to the extent of changing the barrel.
The rifles can also be fitted with a grenade launcher. Very cool
Since I am too old and fat to join the Army,
unless things get really bad, I have to be content with
the semi-auto version: the SCAR 17s. That is not too much of a
disappointment, as I like sleeping in a soft bed with the air
conditioner running and eating fresh grub that is not in a green
pouch. Besides that, my left ankle is not up to a five-mile run
every morning, as is enjoyed by my son-in-law. Also, he is
leaving in about six days for his second all-expense-paid trip
to Afghanistan, after getting back from his third
all-expense-paid trip to Iraq just a few months ago. I
appreciate him going, but have no desire to go with him.
Instead, I will stay here, mow his yard for him, play with his
kids, and pray for his safe return along with the safe return of
his fellow soldiers.
The SCAR 17s is fitted with a one-in-twelve
twist sixteen and one-quarter inch chrome-lined hammer-forged
barrel. The barrel measures .664 inch diameter. The overall
length varies between 28.5 and 38.5 inches, depending upon the
position of the buttstock. While on that subject, the SCAR can
be fired with the buttstock folded or deployed, which is a nice
feature. The weapon weighs eight pounds empty, which is lighter
than most semi-auto 7.62x51mm rifles. The barrel is fitted with
a very efficient and effective muzzle brake, which helps to
lessen the felt recoil of the weapon. The gas regulator has
three positions; one for normal fire, one for suppressed fire,
and another for disassembly. The regulator controls the amount
of gas bled off to operate the short-stroke gas piston system.
The SCAR 17s comes with either a ten-round or a twenty-round
steel magazine. As mentioned above, the reciprocating bolt
handle can be swapped to either side of the rifle.
The SCAR 17s has plenty of Picatinny rail for
mounting optics and accessories. The folding sights are superb,
easy to use, easy to fold, and easily adjusted. The finish
options are black or flat dark earth. My sample rifle is black,
but the first ones to be shipped are finished in flat dark
earth, and they are shipping now. More on that later.
Shooting the SCAR 17s revealed no surprises.
Being familiar with FNH quality and the SCAR 16s, I was
expecting a rifle that was very close to perfection, and that is
what I found. I first fired the 17s for function with a variety
of 7.62x51 NATO ammunition and with commercial 308 Winchester
ammunition. Functioning was perfect. There were no failures to
feed, fire, or eject any cartridge fed it.
Accuracy was, as expected, very good. This is
a match-accurate battle rifle. Both Federal Gold Medal and
Buffalo Bore Sniper Match would group well under one inch at one
hundred yards, all day. I particularly like the Buffalo Bore
ammo. It uses 175 grain Sierra bullets. The group shown measures
five-eighths of an inch, and it was not alone. Every group fired
went well under one inch, even after the barrel heated up in the
one-hundred degree heat and high humidity. Winds were dead still
in the hollow between the ridges of my shooting range, and the
accuracy of this SCAR was so consistent as to border on
monotony. Again, even with the commercial 308 ammo, reliability
was perfect, just as it was with the military ball ammo.
While the sights on the SCAR are very good, I
like an optical sight. The SCAR has plenty of rail to
accommodate any optic desired, and I chose the superb Trijicon
ACOG scope to top the SCAR. The particular ACOG shown here is
the latest US military version, the M150. This ACOG is the
natural progression of that excellent scope sight. The reticle
has a red chevron that is illuminated by tritium that is always
“ON” and never needs batteries. In addition, it has a fiber
optic illuminator for daylight use, and the brightness of the
reticle adjusts automatically to the existing lighting
conditions. The ACOG is a very tough scope. Talking to soldiers
who have been in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, other optics
are sometimes issued, but they always trade up to an ACOG when
possible. This particular ACOG shown here comes with a nylon
case, lens pen, instructions, and flash-kill to keep glare off
the objective lens. The adjustment caps are tethered to prevent
loss. The ACOG is an excellent battle sight, and is made in the
USA. I highly recommend it, and own a few myself.
Back to the rifle. As mentioned above, the
SCAR 17s is now shipping. The first rifles will come with a
certificate showing that the weapon is from the initial
production, and it will ship in a Hardigg
Storm case. This is one of the best cases on the market. I
have three of them, and can attest to the quality of the cases.
The first production is only available in the dark earth finish,
just like the US SOCOM rifles. The FNH SCAR 17s is a fine
weapon; powerful, reliable, lightweight, handy, and match
accurate. It is not cheap, but you never regret buying the best.
Check out the extensive line of FNH products
inline at www.fnhusa.com.
For a closer look at the excellent Trijicon
ACOG scopes, go to www.trijicon.com.
For the location of an FNH dealer near you,
click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.
To order the SCAR online, go to www.galleryofguns.com.
To order the Buffalo Bore ammunition, go to www.buffalobore.com.