|Model||SCAR-L (Open bolt version)|
|Shoot modes||Semi-auto Auto|
|Range||40 meters (131.23 feet)|
|Fire rate||720 rounds/min|
|Weight||3000 grams (6.61 lbs)|
|Creation date||January 31, 2012|
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The FN Scar L is a modular ambidextrous rifle platform made by the FN Herstal Company. It was originally commissioned by SOCOM to satisfy the SCAR competition. The name SCAR comes from the abbreviation of SOCOM Combat Assault Rifle with a postfix noting the comparative size of the round. I.e. the 5.56mm bore is L for light and the 7.62mm bore is H for heavy. Both models have a CQC and a long barrel variant. The FN SCAR completed initial testing in summer 2007 and after some very frustrating delays it was issued to operators in spring 2009. Sadly the SOCOM branch has cancelled purchases of the SCAR-L. The SCAR-L is one of the competing weapons in the individual carbine competition which aims to replace the current standard issue M4.
There are currently many SCAR-Ls and SCAR-Hs on the market, almost all of them are AEGs. WE-Tech is one of the few companies around producing notable Gas Blowback Rifles (GBBRs). Furthermore they are the only ones producing a wide range of GBBRs. WE originally released the closed bolt system for their GBBR systems, this system was reasonable however it lacked the realism that many GBB enthusiasts were yearning for. In summer 2011 the open bolt system was released which replaced the closed bolt system. The open bolt system has a fully functional recoiling bolt which is far more impressive than the previous closed bolt system, a new hop unit and barrel, but otherwise the platform is essentially the same as the closed bolt.
I received this rifle back in October and have therefore had a long time to test it. I would have liked to do a review back in November 2011 however as the saying goes “the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray”.
Once again when I received this gun (much like my EBR), I was very disappointed with the box. To me the box is usually a good indication of the quality and care that has gone into the product. The box is a cheap thin corrugated-card box which is disappointing given the cost of the kit. The SCAR arrived in a very similar box to the £750 M14 EBR which led me to believe that the quality would be no less than the EBR. When I opened the box and took the SCAR-L out I wasn’t disappointed. The SCAR-L comes with one magazine, a speed loader and the manual for a closed bolt SCAR. I was very disappointed with the manual as the firing mechanism in the manual was for the closed bolt which meant that referring to the manual for a NPAS installation was useless! Overall I was pleased with everything else as it was secure, however not particularly well protected by the cheap box. The SCAR-L comes with a novel serial number however they don’t hold the rights for a full licensing of the gun.
After gassing a magazine up with Abbey Ultra and putting a few rounds in, I was pleasantly surprised. The gun has a good kick behind it and the rifle doesn’t climb when you fire. The recoil is enough to obscure your aim on full auto but it is easily manageable on semi auto. From my experience over the last few months I found that full auto on a GBBR is a waste of time. You can’t reliably hit anything and you will be surprised how quickly you can use thirty rounds! After a quick chrono I found that it does 370-380 on green gas and can put out up to 12RPS on a full warm magazine. This doesn’t last for very long due to the cooling effect of expanding gas. Realistically I was getting 8 rounds at a projected 12RPS then it would rapidly drop as low as 4RPS. The magazine did empty 30 rounds every time with a satisfying bang when the bolt locks back. The magazine can be set to disable the bolt lock. This is however a seldom feature for M4 magazines.
The rifle itself is very well finished. The entire upper receiver is metal with an anodised finish. This means that typical wear and tear (such as BB hits) don’t damage the paint work. I did notice that the battery assist will scratch the paintwork every time you release the bolt. I solved this with a square of black tape. The lower receiver is made of ABS however to date I haven’t had any issues with it. The gun dismantles much like the real thing. You pop a pin at the front of the lower receiver then drop out the lower from the upper. You can then slide the ABS stock system off the back. I have heard many complaints that the stock hinge plate breaks and after inspecting the unit I would not be surprised. The entire stock system is supported behind by a pair of thin aluminium screw holes. This is where they typically snap. In my case the stock hinge has been fine. The gun has a functioning bolt with a working ambidextrous bolt lever. This can be changed relatively quickly and simply. I run mine on the left. When I first used the SCAR however I nearly broke my thumb from the recoil and impact of the bolt lever!
The fixtures on the lower receiver are of good quality with metal pins and very solid ABS construction. The pistol grip is a standard SCAR style grip but can be swapped out easily for anything along the lines of a Magpul MOE grip. The fire selector and mag release is ambidextrous, however the bolt release is biased toward a right handed operator. The trigger mechanism is fairly solid however mine has started deforming after two months of running propane instead of green gas. So far the only cosmetic damage was the cheek rest button (on the stock) being shot off. This was to be expected of a plastic button on an ABS stock. Buttons are easy to replace at a cost of around £3.
As with all gas rifles the performance varies according to the temperature of the environment. All the results I will give are at room temperature but may be affected by cool down. The gas SCAR is fitted with a 6.05 tight bore which produced a 7cm grouping at 30m. This was only using five shots so accuracy and performance will deteriorate as the magazine cools. A full auto 10 round burst achieved greater than 15cm spread at 30m (I didn’t have a target big enough to be any more specific). I was able to cycle 54 rounds on one magazine before the cool down forced the magazine to vent (one load of 30 BBs, then a reload and 24 more BBs). I have been running propane since November and I have had very few of these problems. In fact on propane I have not suffered any cool down problems over winter. The performance could be improved further with a CO2 conversion. Using green gas the FPS varied from 380FPS to 350FPS on the first 30 rounds then rapidly decreased to about 250FPS before the gun vented. There are upgrades which will allow you to run a CO2 rifle at my country’s legal limit all year round.
The hop unit is specific to the SCAR however the hop rubber is typical of a VSR. My TM pistols all run on the same style hop rubber. Most performance hop rubbers will fit the SCAR if they are designed for the VSR, L96 or any pistol with the same hop unit. My TM Sig currently has the same hop rubber as my SCAR. This does mean there are some very good hop rubbers available for the SCAR and other WE GBBRs. The open bolt barrels are specific to the GBBR series however there are plenty of manufacturers who do barrels for them (PDI, Madbull and RA-TECH are my three most trusted).
Overall I am very pleased with the WE SCAR. The gun runs like a freight train on propane and I look forward to seeing what it will run like when I have finished my CO2 conversion. It seems that these cool down “problems” that I hear about are due to the operator not the gun. In my opinion the open bolt system that WE have produced is good. Nothing near perfect but with the right gas and the right trigger discipline you will be able to run the SCAR all year around in the UK. I have had very few issues with my SCAR. The only marginal issue worth mentioning is the occasional miss feed. However, as a marshal at my local site quite rightly said “you’d have to spend 3 or 4 times what the rifle is worth on upgrading it to the point where it won’t ever miss feed” and he is right. Between CNC parts, performance valves, hop rubbers and various magazine upgrades, you can spend at least three times what the gun is worth on having a perfect SCAR-L with six perfect magazines.
The metal upper and ABS lower keeps the weight of the gun down (which is quite considerable when you have a magazine and all your accessories loaded) without sacrificing the strength of the platform. There is the odd part I have had to replace due to cosmetic damage however the majority of the rifle is very rugged. I would imagine for the majority of the world (definitely the UK) this gun won’t be legal to run out of the box. Most buyers will end up spending at least another £15 on an NPAS and another £90 on magazines. Although the weapons platform is relatively cheap compared to an intermediate range AEG, the price adds up when you buy the magazines and any internal upgrades you want.
Due to the inbuilt compatibility with current GBB parts on the market and no shortage of RA-TECH and TSC upgrades, I would strongly suggest getting yourself a WE open bolt SCAR! They aren’t cheap in the long run however you will be hooked on the general attitude of the gun. The noises the gun makes are phenomenal and with a few simple upgrades this rifle can be pin point accurate!