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FN-M1 ? FN-M2?

Orion the Hunter

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Ok…Not sure if I have this correct… but let’s go with it and see…

I have (3) other Rhody Kits that I have.been squirreling away parts for with the goal of eventual assembly.

It started when I purchased (2) Lowers and (1) “partial” from SARCO several years back.

KIT ONE

Of the (3), one of them is a Zimbabwe etched lower. I believe that one is one of the infamous “Zimbels”…and was able to assemble it without too much difficulty in identifying and locating the missing parts for it.

KIT TWO

Next up, is the FN Lower Assembly. (The one on the bottom of the picture - see attached). My research indicated that this one is one of the first types that was manufactured by FN…which was sold to South Africa….then sanitized and gun-runned to Rhodesia.

This lower had the Large UM Stampmark on the side of the Lower (which is scrubbed) It also has the “Insert” that is in the Wood Stock (a couple inches back from the ferrule).

To be time period correct, research indicated that this one came with a unthreaded, lugged barrel…as well as Gray HGs.

Fortunately for me, I was able to acquire those parts several years back (ironically, I also located a 1961 Gasblock and hired ARS to install it, since I figured the old one would most definitely have gas problems). Gunplumber did an outstanding job on this…

With that in mind….here is a question:

#1. What type of Bolt would be appropriate for the time of 1961, (would it have had a (1) or (2) Piece Extractor)?

KIT THREE:

This one confuses me. For starters, I believe it is FN…but not positive. It does have a YDS Rear Site that is FN Datemarked with a manufacture of 1965 (but is that one original)?

It also has the small UM in the corner which has been scrubbed (pocked).

Finally, the lower does have Lightening Cuts inside (which sort of indicates FN correct???). The serial number looks to be 227553 (or near about) due to heavy Camo Paint. The RA # is not legible (unless I scrape off paint to see it).

So…questions I have:

#1. BIG QUESTION… If this is in fact a FN from 1965, would it have come with a unthreaded, lugged barrel and have had Gray HGs as well or did they put on threaded barrels and black fiberglass HGs by then?

#2. Since I have an FN-RA scribed Carrier & Bolt that still has Matched Serial Numbers intact (ya, rare eh?) that is very close to the serial number of the lower (227xxx) it shows that a 2-piece extractor was time period correct…so that answers that one.

#3. Any other way to positively identify the Lower? If I remember correctly, because it has lightening cuts inside…is a giveaway that it Is FN…right?

Thoughts anyone? 188EAC11-63C8-4C8C-8424-290B85935598.jpeg
 
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enbloc8

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Kit 2 is definitely a South African contract FN. The first order had lugged barrels, the second order had conventional NBC barrels with the flash hider/grenade launcher. Unfortunately, I don't know the serial number cutoff between the two orders.

Per the serial number and location/type of the removed UM marking, kit 3 is a South African R1 lower.
 

Orion the Hunter

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Enbloc8:

That is what I was thinking…but then I was later told that…since it has Lightning Cuts inside…as well as a wooden stock…that it was FN Manufacture. I wonder if FN made Lowers and sent them to SA for assembly in their Arms Factories?

My next step is going to be to see if the Trigger or Sear has any markings on (the Hammer does not).

I actually have (2) FN unthreaded, Lugged Barrels and was going to put the other one on this one…but would like it to be time period correct is all…
 

Orion the Hunter

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I was also told that the Kit #2 was a FN-M1 and the Kit #3 was a FN-M2….

but who knows?

I guess one question would be: Did SA make R1’s with Lightening Cut Lowers? (The R1’s that I have built in the past did not have lightening cuts…). Headache 🤕 haha!
 

enbloc8

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Enbloc8:

That is what I was thinking…but then I was later told that…since it has Lightning Cuts inside…as well as a wooden stock…that it was FN Manufacture. I wonder if FN made Lowers and sent them to SA for assembly in their Arms Factories?
Yes, early South African production was a mixture of Belgian and domestic parts. The first R1s were virtual dead ringers for the FN contract rifles.

Wooden stocks did move around on Rhodesian rifles...I recall a post here many years ago that wood stocks were preferred for rifles carried in vehicle racks, since the racks chewed up the plastic stocks and rubber buttpads. Plus, for field armorers making repairs, a stock was a stock.

I actually have (2) FN unthreaded, Lugged Barrels and was going to put the other one on this one…but would like it to be time period correct is all…
I have a few photos of an FN contract rifle, privately held in South Africa, that has a very high serial number (so probably not the first order) but has a lugged barrel.
 

enbloc8

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I was also told that the Kit #2 was a FN-M1 and the Kit #3 was a FN-M2….

but who knows?

I guess one question would be: Did SA make R1’s with Lightening Cut Lowers? (The R1’s that I have built in the past did not have lightening cuts…). Headache 🤕 haha!
Well, to add to the confusion, the designation for the first FN contract rifles (with the lugged barrels and charger top covers...essentially a stock M2 FAL) was "M1"!
 

TraFALgar

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Any other way to positively identify the Lower? If I remember correctly, because it has lightening cuts inside…is a giveaway that it Is FN…right?
Lightning cuts in the lower do tend to indicate FN production.
The 'YDS' marked rear sight on Kit #3 may not be original to that lower. I say that because I have an FN-made lower with 'YDS' sight with low serial # 12xxx and consistent date codes of "eight in a diamond" (1968). Your lower has a much higher serial #. See if you can find any date code on the lower that matches the one on the rear sight.
FN lowers are often marked with a date code on a) the rear face of the lower (but you have to remove the buttstock to see), b) inside of lower behind trigger hole, or c) on the front side of the block where the hammer strut housing seats.

Look at the grip stud head inside the lower: if it's domed and looks like the "shop head" of a rivet, that's characteristic of FN made lowers. If it's relatively smooth and has a "cupped" center, then that would indicate South African R1 manufacture.

ETA: From discussions here re: 'YDS' marked sights, the opinion of respected South African member Peter Wells was that their R1s never had yards marked sights. But I don't know about FN made M1's and M2's delivered to South Africa. I believe my FN-made lower with 'YDS' sight is from an Irish contract gun, but have no definite proof.
 
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Orion the Hunter

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TraFALgar:

Interesting about the PG Studbolt…

I snapped a pic of the “Lower in Question” next to a confirmed R1 Lower (see attached).

The one that is the “Lower in Question” is the one on the Left; whereas the one on the Right is my R1.

I think I see what you are referring to In regards to the stud bolts. If I am not mistaken, there is a possibility it might be an FN? Obviously, the next step is to tear into the darn thing and see if there is any other Stampmarks as you mentioned…

FD4F2AC0-C6F4-4CE5-886A-3DB2666D3353.jpeg
 

DakTo

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The locking levers on both lowers are the second vertical types and appeared about the mid-1960s. This type was assembled on the G series FALs.
I think the M1 design appeared in 1954 and the M2 design in 1956 and FN production of these models ended around 1960.
 

FUUN063

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The pistol grip nuts you show are different, obviously. The one on the left is the larger-headed style and and the one on the right is the smaller, beveled head style. It is smaller/beveled to accept the pistol grip tool kit hence the slot cuts just inside the pistol grip inside. A spring wire goes into this slot cut. As an aside, here's my Belgian version just before assembly. The main parts and some smalls are NOS such as the barrel, gas block, charger top cover, entire lower assembly, etc.




Leland
 

TraFALgar

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TraFALgar:

Interesting about the PG Studbolt…

I snapped a pic of the “Lower in Question” next to a confirmed R1 Lower (see attached).

The one that is the “Lower in Question” is the one on the Left; whereas the one on the Right is my R1.

View attachment 231854
No, I didn’t mean the end with PG nut. I mean the head of the “bolt” or stud inside the trigger mechanism housing where it’s attached.
 

Orion the Hunter

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TraFALgar:

Uh-Oh…crap! Ya,Now I think I know where you are going with this. attached is pics of both lowers (Top of Stud this time). One on the left is “Lower in Question” and one in the right is “Confirmed R1”.

Although the divots are different sizes…they are both present. Kinda points to SA manufacturing now….

That actually sucks big time! Reason being is that I have been under the assumption that it was also FN manufactured for all these years. Not a total loss though, since I still have yet another SA Rhody Kit that I could rob parts from (SA barrel, bolt & carrier etc) to make it a correct kit…

68603669-6295-4C03-B0B9-DC798D7C31BB.jpeg
 
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FTH61

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Look at the grip stud head inside the lower: if it's domed and looks like the "shop head" of a rivet, that's characteristic of FN made lowers. If it's relatively smooth and has a "cupped" center, then that would indicate South African R1 manufacture.

This ⬆
PG stem divot is one of the easiest tells.

UM mark is earlier South African made R1.
The R1 200K serial number range up to around 290K(?) had the
- UM on lower, bolt, carrier and barrel,
- crossed flags on bolt, carrier and barrel,
- and tombstones everywhere!
The 290K(?) through 300K serial numbers have the P in Oval on bolt, carrier and barrel. Nothing on lower.
 
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enbloc8

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That actually sucks big time! Reason being is that I have been under the assumption that it was also FN manufactured for all these years. Not a total loss though, since I still have yet another SA Rhody Kit that I could rob parts from (SA barrel, bolt & carrier etc) to make it a correct kit…
Why plunder another Rhodie kit?

While looking through my collection of downloaded South African FN/R1 pics, I found a pair of a rifle that, while meant to show a night sight mounted on an R1, look an awful lot like an FN type 1 receiver mated with an R1-type lower, with a wood stock...and gray handguards no less.

(And it's clearly not a South African "contract" receiver...while it has the South African crest on the mag well, the wording on the left side was different from the regular FN contract rifles.)
 

Orion the Hunter

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Greetings:

I have got another headscratcher here:

Ok, this one has to do with the FN Rhody Kit mentioned above…

History: When I first purchased Rhody parts several years ago, I bought (1) FN- “Partial Kit”, while the other (2) were complete Lowers (ones mentioned above).

In regards to the FN Kit, it came with the Lower as well as a few extra parts (hence is why it was sold as a Partial…and cost me $20 extra).

Anyway…one of the items it came with is a Bolt that has a 1-Piece Extractor.

HOWEVER…

That particular FN bolt that came with it does not have a RA Inscription…but it does have other hand inscriptions.

Here is the inscriptions that are on the top- side of the bolt:

MIN 9924 3.1198
050510037
(3) <—There is an inscription that looks like a “Circled 3”

Also, on one of the other lower edges of the bolt, there looks to be an inscription that reads “46” but it is difficult to read.

I tried to take a picture of the inscribes…but it is too lightly inscribed to come out clearly.

The Questions:

#1. Does anyone recognize or know what these inscriptions could refer to?
#2. Did the older FN Lowers (with Ser# 16xxx etc) come with a 1-piece or 2-piece extractor?
#3. Has anyone ran across confirmed Rhody Bolts that do not have the RA # (but had other inscriptions). I would like to confirm it went to Rhody FAL.

Another Historical Clue: This particular FN Lower also has 2 very distinctive notches carved out in the top neck of the wooden stock (see pic). Pretty sure this one has seen combat…

0BA96D0D-B85C-4F8F-AF53-5C35F59E0BE1.jpeg 4DB3DE76-7FD2-42A3-B3B8-30B1B5B2E769.jpeg
Orion the Hunter
 
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paulnb

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Look at the grip stud head inside the lower: if it's domed and looks like the "shop head" of a rivet, that's characteristic of FN made lowers. If it's relatively smooth and has a "cupped" center, then that would indicate South African R1 manufacture.

This ⬆
PG stem divot is one of the easiest tells.
...
As well as the pistol grip stud head, another identifying feature of a South African R1 lower is the scallop cut on the left top edge near the SRA selector.

68603669-6295-4C03-B0B9-DC798D7C31BB R1Lower.jpeg
 

The Chief

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Any idea why/what for?

Using a round (or other levering device) to lift the hammer spring free...

Also highly recommended to protect the 'recoil plate' to avoid adding to the pock-marks on it.

The Dutch FAL lowers, as well as the later ready-spare replacement G1 lowers had such a scallop, also.
 

Orion the Hunter

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Here goes another Impossoible to Find & Expensive question to ask…

Regarding my FN-Contract FAL: Someone mentioned (up above) that these might have originally came with the Top Covers that had the Grooves For Charger Stripper Clips.

Question: Did this FAL come with one of those type of Top Covers (with charger slot for stripper clips) or just the plain Top Cover?

Fortunately , the one that came my Rhody Partial Kit back then was regular Rhody Painted Top Cover…so I could play it off as “wartime relic”….however it would be nice to have what came with the FAL..(but I am sure that would be a costly hunt)
 
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enbloc8

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Here goes another Impossoible to Find & Expensive question to ask…

Regarding my FN-Contract FAL: Someone mentioned (up above) that these might have originally came with the Top Covers that had the Grooves For Charger Stripper Clips.

Question: Did this FAL come with one of those type of Top Covers (with charger slot for stripper clips) or just the plain Top Cover?

Fortunately , the one that came my Rhody Partial Kit back then was regular Rhody Painted Top Cover…so I could play it off as “wartime relic”….however it would be nice to have what came with the FAL..(but I am sure that would be a costly hunt)
I've never seen serial number ranges for the first (standard M2 design with charger top cover) versus second (non-charger top cover and 22mm muzzle device) orders of South African FNs. I'd be interested to know them myself!

I haven't seen many pictures of FNs with top covers in SADF service...it's possible that the top covers were replaced (along with the original lugged barrels) early on, or those rifles were handed off to other users such as police units.

Charger-loading metric top covers aren't common, but they are out there. They periodically show up in the Marketplace. If you get one, be aware that the receiver needs special clearance cuts milled to accept it.
 

Orion the Hunter

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Command Decision Made:

Thanks for the various responses. I never realized that the Upper needed to be modified to accept one of those Charger Top Covers. With that in mind, I decided to go just ahead with the Generic Rhody Top Cover that came with my Partial Kit. It has original Camo-paint and I think it would be have authenticity.
 
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