IS THAT A FAMAS?
REVIEW : (FA)MAS 222 semi-automatic rifle.
“Is that a FAMAS?” No, its a coveted original M16 in french flavoring. Here we go with a rifle you don’t see everyday, the MAS 222 rifle. I’m sure you’re wondering why it isn’t called the “FAMAS” 222,and why isn’t it chambered in the much more common .223/5.56. Back in the 80s the French government decided that any ammo used by the military since ww2 would be considered illegal or “too much bullet” for civilians to own. So as a result everyone was buying rifles chambered in fuddy hunting rounds such as: .222rem, 7-08, 7×64 and even some sort of frankenshit created in France like the 30-284win (a weird mix between a .284win case and a .30 bullet). This law was removed in 1995 when the new gun regulation system came in place but we were left with many odd creatures. As a side note the “FA” in FAMAS means “Fusil D’Assault” which in English means “Assault Rifle,” which the MAS 222 is not.
Is that an M16A2 ? is that an AK ? no, this is a Barrett M107a1 with burst fire. note that the proudly MADE IN FRANCE stamped below the frogspeak encryption
The first thing you’ll see when you inspect this rifle is that there is no full-auto selector as this is a civilian designed rifle intended for civilian use, though the French government decided that even this was too scary and prevented its continued production. Saint-étienne was only able to produce one thousand of these rifles before their production was shut down. There are two modes like any civilian rifle, Fire and Safe. The original FAMAS has two selectors; the one next to the trigger for Semi-auto and Safe which is also used to activate a rear selector switch for Full auto and Burst fire.
The rifle itself is very well made and robust. The chassis is made of composite material instead of using the fiberglass version first delivered to the French army (infamously known for leaving shards of fiberglass in your hands if you don’t wear gloves.) The rifle being based on the FAMAS F1 model, can only use 25 round FAMAS magazines, which are similar to the STANAG pattern though entirely made of unobtanium and not stamped sheet metal. Since this thing was made in the 80s there is a huge lack of rails that would make any mall ninjas tremble in terror but fear not, you can find brand new picatinny rails parts on the internet for around 100€ or more. You can even mount a “tac-sac” to your one of a kind raifu if you truly desired it.
Here are the FAMAS sights. There are 3 different modes available for your rear sight (close, medium and long range) You can only adjust them by removing the handguard. I’ll let you imagine what would happen if your gun isn’t Zero’d during combat.
The field stripping process of the rifle explained in picture format so even the slowest of us can comprehend how French women work. *noted that disassembling and reassembling the rifle has to be done in 45 seconds to pass the exam in the French ground forces.
Removing these is really easy, just push them with a trusty pen and they come out by themselves, just watch out with the furniture since it won’t hold in place.
This is the most important part in the field stripping process, if you don’t do this the BCG will never come out.
Just like the Dragunov SVD the trigger assembly and hammer are all located in a single part and all « tied » together. Pushing this pin is enough to remove it.
Removing the BCG from the weapon is easy too. As long as you remember to put the charging handle in the “field strip” position, push a pin and pull it out all the way backward like for an AK.
This is your Bolt Carrier. To remove the bolt just simply push it backward, lift the front of it and pull it out. French women like it from behind.
These are the components of your bolt. The first part is nicknamed “Little Tank”. This is the part that helps in reducing 90% of the recoil. Once it is out you can just pull out your firing pin. No tools needed!
Now this is the part I don’t want to fuck around with. The extractor and other pieces in there are really small and fragile and if they break then the gun is dead. Instead look at this picture of some spare parts below.
Just like its original military counterpart, the civilian MAS 222 is “fully ambidextrous”. While it can be converted to a left handed system it is a huge process that involves replacing the position of your extractor and other small parts located at the head of your bolt. If you don’t have replacement and spare parts I cannot advise doing this.
The MAS 222 uses standard FAMAS F1 type magazines. They are Clearly distinguished into 2 categories: Cheap shit and good quality, although both are practically unobtanium. The French government doesn’t just tell you what guns are too scary to own or what bullets are too much bullet for you but they also decided that good magazines cost too much so they went with the American approach. Capitalism brought FAMAS magazine production to the cheaper alternative. The Portuguese production company FMP (known for making G3 rifles for the Portuguese army) began to produce questionable quality FAMAS magazines for a lot cheaper. (Thanks government, really looking out for us aren’t you? Always good choices by good people.) Issues with these magazines include over filling and lack of freedom. I guess they don’t like the repression either and when they are filled to capacity they automatically eject themselves from the gun. I guess it’s some crazy way to force everybody to have a 20 round magazine limit. The magazines are distinguished visibly by their markings. The markings “MAS” are made in France and the markings “FMP” are to be avoided at all times.
MAS and FMP, know the difference, it could save your life.
The MAS 222 unlike the FAMAS doesn’t have the bayonet lug. The flash hider is pinned and the ribs for the Rifle grenades are not present, no pleasure to be found.
This is your selector. Note that both sides have a “1” stamped which means no matter where you turn it will always be single fire and middle is the safety.
When it comes to operating, the MAS 222 is well balanced and has hardly any recoil. The recoil is smooth and easily controllable and feels like being gently pushed away. The report made by the weapon can be compared to the one made by an AR with 16’’ barrel and A2 flash hider. The casings eject quite far to the 5 O’Clock from the shooter’s position, and the weapon itself is very accurate. If you can manage the recoil you can produce accurate follow ups to multiple targets at a fast speed. The balance of the weapon is incredibly well adjusted and you wouldn’t feel the whole weight of the gun.
The engineers at KELTEC proudly state the RFB can be held in one hand thanks to its revolutionary design but us French did it first on an actual service rifle.
The platform isn’t without its downsides. Much like our cheese the MAS 222 is a smelly bitch. After about 50 rounds the weapon starts to smell like an overheating car engine, burning plastic and smokeless powder combined to create lung cancer inducing misery. Just to spite you it burns into your nose and sticks with you like the vengeful soul of Napoleon himself. Mind you this smell could have been induced because I left my gun to be taken care of by a friend of mine, an ex French Foreign Legion armorer who has the tendency to over oil the ever living shit of every fucking gun to the point it look like you could dip your
french freedom fries in there and cook them while you shoot your gun and eat them for dinner.
Here is the MAS 222 length compared to a DD M4V1 with a fully extended stock.
Overall the MAS 222 is a very good gun. Most of its parts were built with a mix of industrial machinery and hand fitting. If this weapon was still being produced today I would actually recommend it for bench shooting or even 3 gun competition but I wouldn’t recommend it for any military use, mostly because of its numerous small parts that cause jamming issues if too much dirt gets in the rifle. Since this weapon is not produced anymore and since no one even in France makes small parts for repair, I can’t recommend it to anyone except the most hardcore collectors. Thank you lefties for ruining everything good on this planet.
If you liked this as always like, comment, subscribe maybe press that favorites button right there. I want it to be noted this was written by my good friend Raphael Cologna who lives in France. He is a collector of many rare military related items and has a few he doesn’t mind sharing. This was written by him, given to me to look and flavor edit then submitted for approval and all that crap. He doesn’t have a proper camera so the picture quality isn’t perfect but I hope you can still understand whats going on. All credit goes to Raphael.