Intro to the FS2000

This write up is based on my experience with the platform and information gleaned from the F2000 armorers manual which, after a fashion, is available on Scribd and is linked to at the bottom of this page. As best as can be determined it is a translation of a French version of the manual and although extremely useful does take a bit of interpretation.  This is an ongoing project which will be updated and added to over a period of several weeks.

The FS2000 is a bullpup rifle with several unique features such as the forward ejection system and, in my estimation, is one of the more “modular” rifles out there.  I have set up several of mine in various configurations for demonstration here and in coming posts will cover a wide variety of the options available for FS2000 owners.  The three basic configurations, from top to bottom, are FS2000 Tactical TR, FS2000 Tactical and Fs2000 Standard.  The primary difference between the Tactical and Standard being a 1.6x optic with integrated optic hood.  The TR option on the Tactical model replaces the normal hand guard with an aluminum tri-rail which can be used to mount a variety of grips and other accessories.  Although parts availability is limited with a little effort it is possible to swap between the various configurations.  A final variant, the relative merits of which have been heavily debated on various forums, is the “9000” series which is a small run of FS2000s released around 2012 and can be identified by the code on the box label.  They were available from a number of FN dealers for under $1,500 and were allegedly assembled from military overrun parts.

Basic disassembly is quite simple although there is one  idiosyncrasy which must be noted.  If you intend to remove the hammer pack it is necessary, before disassembly, to cock the rifle.  If you do not the hammer will not clear internal portions of the stock.  Removal of upper from the stock is accomplished via the cross pin in middle of rifle.  The butt pad slides up to reveal hammer pack which will freely slide out providing the hammer is cocked.  When removing the bolt/carrier assembly take note of the tracks which it rides in as many people seem to have trouble with re-installation and break the complex white plastic piece, known as the “switch”, which maneuvers empty shells for ejection.  It is seldom necessary to disassemble the FS2000 further for basic cleaning as the short stroke piston system is relatively clean in operation.

If you have the standard version of the FS2000 the optic hood is removed by depressing the button at the front and sliding it forward and from there you can view the rather pathetic looking 1.6x
optical sight.  This allows access to the adjustments for the standard which, in my experience, are pretty close on out of the box.  Though the rail for the standard scope is plastic it is more than sufficient for mounting any other optic suitable for the FS2000.  The most significant issue is that the rail is low and a riser is required to achieve a good sight picture.  Given the limited availability of FS2000 parts owners of the Standard model would better suited to add a riser than to convert the upper to Tactical configuration.

Though it’s a very minor there are two variants of the optic hood found on the standard model.  Note that the front channel on the top hood is much wider along with the rear V.  The upper hood was purchased as a spare from FN while the lower hood was taken off a later production standard model.

Should further disassembly be required it is relatively straightforward with no tools required though a screwdriver may prove helpful.  The “switch”  is the funny looking white plastic piece and can be  removed by pushing the spring return housing forward which will allow it to slide forward and off the rest of the moving parts assembly.  Removal of the firing pin is accomplished by limiting the flat washer at the rear of the bolt carrier which will allow it to fall free.  Removal of the bolt is accomplished by depressing the bolt  into the carrier and rotating the cam pin 90 degrees for removal which then allows the bolt to be removed.  In my experience further disassembly of the bolt carrier group is not required.

The most controversial aspect of the 9000 series rifles revolves around the differences in the bolt carrier.  Whereas all prior variants of the FS2000 featured a silvery hard chrome finish bolt carrier some rifles in the 9000 series featured a black oxide finish and the elimination of the left side fence where the front of the ejection lever rests.  The color of the bolt carrier is not an absolute determination of whether a rifle is 9000 series as those I have personally inspected and were labeled on the box as 9000 series had the original style hard chrome carrier.  Reports on various forums would indicate that a good percentage of 9000 series rifles were equipped with the black carriers.  Another source of these black carriers with the short left fences is as a spare part from FN.  As previously mentioned the rumor was that the 9000 series rifles were at least partially assembled from military overrun parts however that has never been confirmed by FN and there has been no explanation for the change to the bolt carrier.

The switch is one of the parts wholly unique to the FS2000 design and rotates cases up toward the ejection tube after firing or when the action is otherwise cycled.  Although it seems like there are a number of stories where owners who break the switch in their newly purchased rifle I have found them to be robust and have yet to experience any issues.  Having said that it is a spare I recommend picking up as it is critical to the function of the rifle and would be difficult to fabricate due to the complex nature of its design.  The small compartment in the butt of the rifle beneath the hammer pack is a convenient location to carry a spare switch along with other extra parts or other equipment.

From my examination of both very early and very late production rifles there does not appear to be any design change to the switch up until 9000 series rifles which are subtly different with a ridge on the upper right side. Interestingly enough replacement switches purchased many years ago from Browning Parts/FN and within the last year from Midwest Gun works feature the same ridge on the upper right side.  Although I have no hard data from FN it would seem that the presence of this ridge would be a good indicator that a rifle has a replacement switch or, if the bolt carrier finish is black, that it is a 9000 series rifle.

When the FS2000 was initially released it was discovered to slam fire with some commercial ammunition with soft primers.  The solution was to lighten the firing pin by 5% and the addition of a spring.  There have been reports of light primer strikes though I have yet to experience it myself.

At this point it seems convenient to compare the FS2000 bolt and carrier assembly to it’s relatives in the FN catalog and peers.  The most immediate 5.56 predecessor to the FS2000 from FN being the FNC and the successor being the SCAR 16.  The short stroke piston design of the FS2000 (top) is radically different than the long stroke design of the FNC (middle) however there seems to be some similarity between the FNC bolt carrier and that of the SCAR (bottom) despite it being a short stroke piston design.  The bolt design of the FS2000 and SCAR seem to be somewhat similar although the SCARs design is longer, though not nearly as long as the AR-15, with a slightly more robust extractor.  The profile of the SCAR firing pin (middle) is remarkably similar to the FS2000 (top) though both are significantly more slender than that of the AR-15 (bottom).  Though it’s difficult to directly compare the moving parts assembly it’s interesting to note that both the FS2000 and FNC bolt & carrier weigh 14.4 ounces while the SCARs weighs in at 19.2 ounces.  Though much discussion has been made regarding the reliability of rifles with more weighty bolt carriers I have yet to see issues with any FN firearms.

The upper plastic clamshell (barrel support side plates) are held together by six bolts and contains both the barrel assembly and the upper rail assembly.  They are tensioned to 7 inch pounds (.65 nm) and according to the armorers manual the locking nuts should be replaced each time it is disassembled.  The standard FS2000 (bottom) features a plastic rail to which the factory 1.5 optic is fitted while the Tactical version (top two) features an aluminum rail assembly.  In both cases however the rail assembly also acts as an ejection tube for empty cases with small white plastic piece on the aft end known as the “case anti return”.  It is worth noting that different side plates are required for the “standard” and “Tactical” uppers, along with a variety of small parts, to such a degree that there appear to be no common parts apart from the barrel and assembly bolts  It was once possible to purchase the required parts to fully adapt uppers from one type to another however they have been sold out for some time and it seems unlikely FN will ever make these parts available again.  The overall length of the standard rail is 11″ and it sits much lower than the 13″ aluminum Tactical rail.

In my experience there are few reasons to disassemble the stock halves and it is not covered in the armorers manual for the F2000.  The sole reason I have seen is to remove the magazine block pin installed to allow importation.  This pin has already been milled down in all FS2000 rifles sold however there was a brief period where Midwest Gun Works was selling replacement stock sets which had not been modified to accept standard magazines.  Despite my best efforts it is not possible to simply pull the pin out with a set of vise grips, the stock must be disassembled and pin cut down.

Disassembly of the stock starts with removal of the trigger, this is necessary so that the safety selector can be removed.  To do this use a screwdriver to pop the trigger rod out of the catch in the top of the trigger allowing it to slide forward and out so that the selector may be lifted off.  Note the position of the parts inside the selector as the flat side must be up for reassembly.  Then remove the eleven screws and separate the halves carefully, there are several pins which can make it seem difficult to pull apart.  Cutting off the blocking pin is a trivial task with a Dremel cut off wheel, the most difficult part being to tape up the remainder of the stock to prevent the grinding dust from getting in all the nooks and crannies.

With the stock disassembled it is possible to take note of some details which would otherwise be nearly impossible to view.  The rails which the bolt carrier rides in are lined with  thin steel channels  which appears to be epoxied in place.  At the butt of the stock is fitted a heavy rubber buffer.  Most interesting is to examine the potential channels through which wiring could potentially be run for a variety of accessories.  Military F2000 variants are often shown equipped with a variety of electro-optical equipment such as range finders.  Presumably these could be powered by a battery pack which would be located in the large cavity underneath the hammer pack in the butt of the rifle.  Various potential channels can be easily envisioned which would allow power to be routed to either the front hand guard or to the upper rail area.

Hand guards come in three varieties from FN though availability has become limited in recent years.  The standard plastic hand guard is the most common variant and is found on both the standard and tactical model of the FS2000.  The “tactical” model of the FS2000 should not be confused with the tactical foreend which is an all aluminum hand guard and features three rails and is a very sturdy albiet somewhat heavy at 14.4 ounces.  This is not to be confused with the Tri-Rail handguard which is a curious modification to the standard version with an aluminum tri rail section grafted on.  Although it’s a more reasonable 9.6 ounces the overall configuration seems awkward with the rail sections much more forward and lower than seems desirable.  Unfortunately the Tactical fore end has become quite difficult to find as of January 2018, the last one to be sold on Gunbroker went for $300 and it seems unlikely that any new supply will become available.

There are two basic variants to the FS2000 hammer pack, the sole difference being the presence of an addition sear at the front of the pack. The early generation packs with the addition sear are commonly referred to as Gen 1 while vast majority of packs are known as Gen 2.  For a variety of reasons the Gen 1 packs are valued  considerably higher than Gen 2 packs and should be considered and documented when buying or selling any FS2000.

The market for the FS2000 is strong and in the first four months of 2018 there were a total of 34 auctions go to completion on Gunbroker with an average price of $2,534.  Unsurprisingly the priciest was a used rifle with black stock and rare Gen 1 hammer pack which sold for $3,025.  At the low end two sold for $1,800 which seemed largely due to the auctions not being particularly well set up.  Of those FS2000s there were four which were equipped with the aluminum Tactical handguard and averaged $2,512.  This is rather curious as the Tactical handguard is a difficult to find and desirable accessory which, when found alone, sells for over $300.  The Standard model with the integrated hooded optic seems to be, on average, valued highest with six sold at an average price of $2,766.

 

 

 

Tri Rail hand guard

https://www.midwestgunworks.com/page/mgwi/prod/3482800400

 

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