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dchang0
06-17-2010, 4:05 PM
So I ran my featureless FS2000 at the Pala 3-gun match sorta for s---- and giggles and sort of to force myself to really familiarize myself with this $2200 rifle sitting around doing next to nothing. And Superset suggested that I write up a little report on it for the Calguns community.

A month or two ago, American Rifleman had a pretty good write-up about the history of 3-gunning, and the author mentioned that for a while, 3-gunners were using Steyr AUGs. There was some ergonomic advantage it gave them--probably on the fast "hosing" (CQB) stages.

It got me to thinking about running my FS2000, and then I got on the Goog to see who else might be running one and what challenges they faced. Turns out there have been a handful of 3-gunners running FS2000s, and they had to some degree worked out the kinks (mainly with the insanely high trigger pull that most bullpups suffer from).

A good polishing and lubing of all internal trigger parts, especially the "coathanger" and the channels the coathanger runs through, and the trigger pull was brought down substantially. I estimate mine to be around 8lbs right now, down from around 12lbs before. No FS2000 owners seem to have gotten the pull below 6lbs, even with extensive polishing, except by removing one of the dual hammer springs, which could be a safety risk.

As I live in California, I did have to convert the FS2000 to featureless by covering up the thumbhole with two pieces of Kydex. Some time ago, I had already replaced the factory muzzle device with an extra-long Freddy Brake so as to meet the 30" overall length requirement.

On top, I put my trusty 3X ACOG (TA33R-8), which is barely good enough for 3-gunning (would be nice if it were a 4X ACOG or a 1-4X variable Accupoint/Burris/Meopta/whatever). One good thing about the FS2000 Tactical model is that it has a nice long top rail, which makes it easy to mount any scope with intermediate or extended eye relief as far forward as you'd like without having to buy a fancy Larue EER mount. There was a scene in The Unit where Jonas was using an F2000 with a variable-power scope mounted on the top rail with just a pair of regular scope rings.

http://www.silverlakecorp.com/images/fs2000featureless.jpg
FS2000 in its 3-gun, featureless configuration with Surefire 6P flashlight in foregrip (for night matches)

I'm under no illusions that the FS2000 is a great competition gun. Though it's got a high-quality FN barrel nearly 18" long hidden inside, it's born and bred for a far different purpose (military vehicle operators and breaching teams). The trigger pull is designed to be high to reduce blue-on-blue incidents, and the barrel is not meant to be more accurate than maybe 3MOA, though some FS2000 owners report better accuracy on theirs.

Still, considering that most 3-gun rifle stages differentiate the competitors based on their respective speeds on the short-range hosing of multiple targets, the FS2000 might--like the AUG--gain an advantage. Due to its short overall length and superb balance/ergonomics, it could be easier to shoot through ports and under barricades, and it would certainly be faster to swing from target to target, reducing split times.

It helps also that the FS2000, when run featureless, gives the shooter access to his/her old 30-rnd AR mags, a must for serious 3-gunning.

-----

At the competition...

Pala runs a fantastic 3-gun match. FREAKIN TOUGH, especially with the long-range rifle stages. The cross-winds up in that little hillside rip pretty hard to the right, making those shots supremely difficult for those with sub-par skills. Those of you who haven't tried it should--for at least once in your life. 3-gunning really separates theory from reality; you will find out if you are a mall ninja/armchair commando or a real gunner very quickly. At the very least, you'll find out if you need to get a gym membership or take up jogging.

There were three rifle stages at the match (out of five). One was a CQB+midrange rifle/pistol stage with targets out to 175yds. Another was mostly a long range rifle/pistol stage with several targets between 250 and 350yds and a couple of close-in ones just to mess with ya. The third was a short-range rifle/shotgun hoser stage set up with paper IPSC targets no more than 5yds away spread out in a near 180-degree array.

Our squad started on the midrange stage. Here, the FS2000 did okay. I easily hit the 100yd steel rectangular plate twice shooting offhand standing. The ACOG and excellent balance of the FS2000 made this easy.

http://www.silverlakecorp.com/images/palamidrangefs2000a.jpg
Opening shots: twice, standing offhand on a slope, at a torso-sized steel target approx. 100yds away

Then, while shooting at the midrange targets (two passes on three steel 10" flashers at around 150 to 175yds), I started having trouble. Some of it was due to the fact that it's hard to "attach" the FS2000 firmly to any barricades for support. We were required to shoot squatting or kneeling behind a rusty metal folding chair, with our rifles stuck through the space between the seat and the back. You know that the folding chairs are rickety to begin with, and it didn't help that I kept knocking my scope into the chair's metal back with every shot. Because the sixth target took so much longer than the previous ones, I began to suspect that I had knocked my ACOG off zero.

http://www.silverlakecorp.com/images/palamidrangefs2000b.jpg
Action shot: getting down into position, shooting through the back of a folding chair

http://www.silverlakecorp.com/images/palamidrangefs2000c.jpg
Midrange targets at around 150 to 175yds

Anyway, the important thing I learned about the FS2000 is that the short foreend is too short and too curved to be of much use in propping it up on barricades--something esskay had already warned me about. And the gas port prevents the shooter from holding the front end firmly down far forward enough to gain much stability. Though I hit all three targets on both passes, I burned through nearly 45rounds--a good way to ruin the stage score. Should've just taken a shot at each midrange target and taken the penalty.

Suspecting that my scope was off-zero, I didn't expect to hit the long-range ones on the next stage, so I took a few pot shots at each and then took the penalty. The stage had two passes at four 10" steel flashers set out between 250 and 350yds. Out of 8 targets, I hit only one. The first four targets were shot at teetering on the round side of a horizontally-mounted 50-gallon plastic drum, and the next four were taken from a board laid across the flat top of a 50-gallon drum. Wind was moderately high, maybe about 8-10 knots. I was using 62 grain roundnose PRVI Partisan .223, which generally holds up better in wind than 55-gr, but is probably still not good enough for the winds at Pala.

On this stage, I found the high trigger pull to be a problem.

Now, before we all assume the FS2000 can't shoot for s--t, please be aware that this rifle does as well as my 16" carbine-gas 3MOA AR, which I used the last time at Pala. It CAN hit out to 400yds accurately, it's just that with 3-gunning, most of everything you think you know about shooting goes out the window. There are no benchrests, the barricades often wobble and roll, you usually shoot from some contorted half-squat that only your yoga-loving girlfriend can do and of course your heart rate is cranked way up from running around the stage. On top of that, there's the constant pressure of the clock that can "damage your calm," to quote Jayne from "Serenity." You guys that go to Angeles, sandbag your rifles, sit on your butts and plink away at the 1000yd target might look down your nose at these results, but it'll humble you to the ground when you actually try 3-gunning.

The final rifle stage (rifle/shotgun) was where the FS2000 really shone. Basically, we were forced to stand in place and shoot through a bunch of tiny portholes at targets set up in a nearly 180-degree fan around us. While the guys with ARs found themselves having to poke their long foreends through the portholes, my shorty FS2000 could shoot through and swing easily between the portholes. And the excellent balance made it very easy to transition from target to target. I basically blasted away as soon as I saw each target, "shooting through the tube" of my ACOG. Even the high trigger pull posed no problem and I discovered that the FS2000 has a delicious, Glock-like reset--great for fast double-taps. The only drawback was that there was a somewhat high recoil jump, about the same as any carbine-length gas AR but not nearly as smooth and flat as the 18" or 20" rifle-length-gas ARs everyone else was running. I think this jump would've been far, far less had I been able to use the thumbhole as God intended, but of course we know California's laws routinely go against all that is right and good in the Universe...

http://www.silverlakecorp.com/images/palacqbstagefs2000a.jpg
FS2000 shooting through portholes at paper CQB targets; Benelli M2 staged and ready on table

http://www.silverlakecorp.com/images/palacqbstagefs2000b.jpg
FS2000 dumped unceremoniously on table; shooting M2 through left portholes at steel targets


-----

So, to recap:

Cons:

1) The curved foreend makes it hard to use barricades to steady the FS2000.
2) Featureless, the ergonomic advantage of the bullpup's forward-located thumbhole is lost.
3) High trigger pull can be challenging for long range shots.

Pros:

1) Super-short overall length a supreme advantage for shooting through portholes.
2) Excellent weight balance great for transitioning from target to target.

Other things to consider:

1) Clearing double-feeds is a royal pain in the *** on an FS2000. I didn't have any malfunctions during the match, but during the zeroing session, I did have one double-feed. It wasn't a bad one, but because the chamber is surrounded on all sides (for safety purposes, I'm sure), one has to use a tool to pry out double-feeds from underneath. Not good if you encounter one during a match, but then again, a double-feed can be a show-stopper on an AR in a match too.

2) Mag changes can be slower than with an AR. FS2000s do not have an automatic bolt-hold-open. You can lock the bolt open, but it's done by hand. This makes mag changes slower because you have to cycle the charging handle if you empty your mag. For those gunners that have made it a habit to do tactical reloads while running from point to point, this won't be as much of a problem.

Also, because you insert a mag on a closed bolt, you frequently have to slap the mag to get it to seat, unless you routinely down-load your mags by a round or two.

3) Inserting mags can be challenging, since you can't use the "beer-can grip" to grasp the mag like on an AR. The magwell of the FS2000 is very deep, so only the bottom 3" of the mag sticks out. This makes it a little more awkward to do a rapid mag change. Also to help with rapid mag changes, it's a good idea to remove or cut-down the magwell dust skirt so that you get mag drop-free on the FS2000, a modification I made long ago.

-----

Final notes:

Would I run my FS2000 in a 3-gun match again? Hell yes, especially to see if I can push my hosing stage times lower. Would I run it at a national match or one with a big prize table? Hell no, because I'd rather run my AR with a sub-MOA match-grade stainless barrel, rifle-length gas, and that nice long 12" foreend that can be propped up on just about any barricade.

Hope this helps. And if there are any other hard-core FS2000 shooters out there, please add your findings, especially if you run yours in 3-gun matches.


-----

Special thanks to Superset for driving, filming the stages, and for all the advice and encouragement!

djleisure
06-17-2010, 4:35 PM
Nice report - thanks! I can't imagine running around with a featureless FS2000 - seems like it would be kinda hard to control in transitioning from running and engaging targets. BUT, I've never tried! Sounds like fun!

Paradiddle
06-17-2010, 4:43 PM
Great writeup - post some pictures.

dchang0
06-17-2010, 9:14 PM
Nice report - thanks! I can't imagine running around with a featureless FS2000 - seems like it would be kinda hard to control in transitioning from running and engaging targets. BUT, I've never tried! Sounds like fun!

You're right--one-handed control of the featureless FS2000 is a bit scary. I'm really just cupping the balance point of the rifle in the palm of my hand at that point. To compensate, I tuck the butt under my armpit and clamp down so that I can take my support hand off the front to change mags.

But moving around with both hands on the rifle isn't a problem. At least, it's not much different than running around with a featureless AR. You can hook your forward hand's thumb over the top of the charging handle.

Great writeup - post some pictures.

Will do! Pictures forthcoming...

J_Rock
06-17-2010, 9:29 PM
Did you take your lunch outta that thing when you finished your stage?

dchang0
06-17-2010, 9:57 PM
More photos:

http://www.silverlakecorp.com/images/palamidrangefs2000d.jpg
Rapid shots on the swinging IPSC target in the midrange stage


http://www.silverlakecorp.com/images/palamidrangefs2000e.jpg
Second pass at the midrange targets from atop a cable spool--note how I'm holding the front end down with my support hand over the top

http://www.silverlakecorp.com/images/palalongrangefs2000a.jpg
First pass at the long range targets, 250 - 350yds

http://www.silverlakecorp.com/images/palalongrangefs2000b.jpg
Close-up of the first two long range targets, 250yds

Photos taken from Superset's HD footage.

dchang0
06-17-2010, 9:59 PM
Did you take your lunch outta that thing when you finished your stage?

No, it only fits two Snickers bars in the butt, under the hammer pack. ;)

slappomatt
06-17-2010, 10:28 PM
I used to shoot the silhouette match out at pala all the time but have been slacking in recent times. I didn't even know they have a 3 gun match. I have always wanted to try that. I will have to try to make it out to the next match if only to watch. sounds like A LOT of fun!

dchang0
06-17-2010, 11:12 PM
I used to shoot the silhouette match out at pala all the time but have been slacking in recent times. I didn't even know they have a 3 gun match. I have always wanted to try that. I will have to try to make it out to the next match if only to watch. sounds like A LOT of fun!

Come on down, bro! Go to lineadelfuego.info and then click on the forums button. Then, click on the 3-gun matches forum to read up on upcoming matches and the posted scores.

esskay
06-17-2010, 11:35 PM
Nice writeup, Laughing Man!

Josh3239
06-17-2010, 11:40 PM
Very nice writeup.

Droppin Deuces
06-18-2010, 1:34 AM
That gun has always reminded me of something out of Starblazers.

Mesa Defense
06-18-2010, 8:56 AM
Nice work, Nice rifle. Train well. Fight Smart

pacrimguru
06-18-2010, 9:50 AM
good job D!

dchang0
06-26-2010, 1:27 PM
Update:

I took the FS2000 up to Piru to diagnose the zero and get some practice in on the long range flashers at the X3/Hole in the Wall Gang private range.

1) Yup, I'd knocked my zero off far to the right. Maybe about 10MOA. Elevation was okay.

2) The shape of the FS2000's foreend is becoming a very big problem for 3-gunning. It was exceptionally difficult to brace the foreend on any of the following barricades:

a) the top of the mineshaft
b) the windowsill in the facade
c) any of the barrels

The only barricade I had any luck with was the small tables--those are flat and deep enough to brace the entire front end on, with the corner of the table digging right into the front of the handgrip. I had to remove my firing hand and just pull the trigger with my hand alongside the top of the FS2000.

So it doesn't look like an FS2000 can be used effectively for 3-gunning without modifying the front end. Luckily, FN just released the official tri-rail foreend which has a sharp angle at the trigger guard and an entirely flat bottom. This is PERFECT for bracing against barricades, so I'll be ordering one soon.

3) The high trigger pull is definitely a big, big problem on the long-range stuff. I discovered that I was pulling the POI off by about 6MOA on average. Luckily, as I put more rounds through the rifle, the trigger pull seems to be improving on its own. After about 300rnds, I find it fairly easy (but it still takes intentional effort) to pull the trigger without affecting the POA/POI).

pacrimguru
06-29-2010, 4:36 PM
get a haircut, hippie!

dchang0
06-29-2010, 4:47 PM
Yeah, yeah-- I got to, now. Freakin almost passed out from the heat at the X3 match up in Piru. I didn't bring enough water or food--big mistake...

vf111
06-29-2010, 5:02 PM
Nice writeup, Laughing Man!

Oh crap - he hacked my eyes!! The b****rd!

dchang0
07-01-2010, 5:35 PM
Update:

The FN Tri-Rail assembly I ordered from McKinnon Outdoors arrived. Here's a photo of it installed. This effectively solves the biggest shortcoming of the FS2000 for 3-gunning: the difficulty of bracing on barricades with the original "Standard" foregrip. Now, with the flat bottom surface of the Tri-Rail AND the sturdy all-aluminum trigger guard, it is exceptionally easy to brace and lean my weight into the rifle, locking it down almost as tightly as a benchrest shooter would. Of course, barrels will always pose a problem, but at least I can now take advantage of windowsills, tables, and other angled objects. The trigger guard also makes holding the FS2000 offhand a bit easier, if I push back against the guard.

There is one drawback to the Tri-Rail: it adds almost 2lbs (!) to the front of the rifle. Luckily, because it's a bullpup and because my support hand is placed directly under the added weight, it doesn't affect the balance and handling of the FS2000. Adding 2lbs to the front of an AR would render it useless for 3-gunning except for the most muscle-bound operators. Maybe Superset could handle it, but sure as hell not me!

http://www.silverlakecorp.com/images/fs2000trirail.jpg
My FS2000 in its most recent 3-gun configuration, with FN Tri-Rail installed; a Daniel Defense QD sling mount is on the left-side rail, near the front--a much better sling attach point than the factory mount on the top rail.

Now, the only remaining challenge is reducing the recoil impulse, which is fairly sharp, like a carbine-gas-length AR. A better brake than the one I'm using should do the trick. I haven't tried it yet, but I suspect that the added weight of the Tri-Rail will also be a huge help in reducing muzzle jump.