I originally purchased this 1980s French F.R. F2 (Fusil à Répétition Modèle F2) sniper rifle from Old Western Scrounger (Navy Arms) in September of 2021. The F.R. F1 was very similar but chambered in the French service round, 7.5x54mm, whereas the F2 is in 7.62 NATO. The receivers for the F1s and F2s were basically a MAS 36 inspired design, but the receiver is bigger, thicker, stiffer, etc.
Those of us who purchased one from the first batch at OWS last year, had to wait 7-8 months for Navy Arms to contract with a US manufacturer to make a scope mount. The original advertisement said that a mount came with the complete rifle package, so that was a moderately frustrating wait. Anyhow, in the mean time, I went to GunBroker and acquired a used Leupold Mark 4 M1 10X scope made in 1990 (X date code). Supposedly a take off from a US military rifle. These Leupold Mark 4 M1 scopes are built like a tank. The French Police reportedly (Ian McCollum's "Chassepot to FAMAS" French firearms book) used Leupold 10x scopes, so this one is not original but it is correct (except the mount). The French Army initially used the old APX L806 3.75x scopes and later updated to a Scrome J8 (8x) scope. Scrome is making some original configuration J8s with military reticles that are expected to be available later this summer. I'm not sure I'll try to order one of those, since 1. I expect they'll cost around 4000 Euros and 2. the Leupold is fantastic! If the Scromes came with original configuration FR F2 scope mounts, I'd reconsider.
Back to the chronology of the story, in late April I received the Navy Arms contracted scope mount and though it wasn't a copy of the original (ugh), it did fit the rifle perfectly, so fairly well done. I mounted the scope, went to the range...and bad news/good news. The rifle key-holed at 25 yds
Here's the good news, I contacted Navy Arms and they, without hemming or hawing, said pick one of the current listings (now at about 1.5x the September prices) and we'll hold that for you, send you a UPS shipping label for return, and get the new one back to your FFL. They turned it around quickly and I picked out a rifle that was in even better condition cosmetically and functionally, and most importantly had a barrel with excellent rifling.
Obviously, I was anxious to take it out. A few days after I picked it up I took it to the range, zeroed it quickly since it was already sighted in on the previous rifle, and shot a couple of groups at 100 yds with Austrian Hirtenberger surplus M80 (147gr) and some vintage Lake City M118 Match (175gr) ammo. 1.75" group with the M80, 1.25" group with the heavier Match bullet. Just 3 shot groups, and I haven't shot multiple groups. I'm sure it could do better with hand loads and/or a better shooter than I am. Regardless, that was enough info to ensure me that the rifle was in excellent shooting condition and likely has sub-MOA potential! Yay! I had no problem locating and ringing the gongs out to 450 yds either.
Anyhow if you read all or any of the above
thank-you. On to the pictures