I've handled the FN SCAR 17S Heavy several times in the shop and at Shot Show. I've talked to buddies who get issued the Heavy and heard the stories of long range kills using short 13-inch barrels. However, I haven't had any trigger time with the SCAR Heavy-- that is, until Crazy Bill invited me to the range last Friday morning. Here are my observations, and some video of our group shooting the Heavy. [click here for the video]
The SCAR Heavy is a phenomenal piece of hardware. Ergonomics are superb. The rifle is easy and comfortable to get on target-- and after the shooting starts, the first thing you'll notice is the almost nonexistent felt recoil. It's light-- 5.56 light. Not the sort of recoil you would expect from a hard-hitting 7.62. The second thing that you'll notice, especially if you're standing next to it, is the flash and concussion from FN's proprietary muzzle device. The muzzle brake is working overtime to suppress that recoil-- and it's doing a heck of a job!
If you read my review of the SCAR light, you'll recall that I thought the large bolt helped to spread the recoil over a larger surface area-- and smooth out the recoil. The same is true for the SCAR Heavy. A byproduct of all of that metal on metal action is, of course: heat. When I say the SCAR Heavy is "the HEAT" and/or "the FIRE," I'm not only conveying my enthusiasm for the rifle-- I'm also telling you it gets really darned hot! Rail covers and a pair of gloves are mandatory.
Now, let's talk about accuracy. Good ergonomics and light recoil translate into confident hits down range. We were working the steel consistently and in rapid succession from 75-100 yards-- standing, off hand. Bill chose to employ a Trijicon TriPower with red chevron reticle. That setup worked well on the SCAR Heavy and in our opinion, earned high marks in the optics category.
Those are the pros. Now… for the cons: There are only a few that I can think of. First is price and availability. The Heavy ain't cheap and it's still playing hard to get. Second is the issue of magazine supply for this thirsty bloke. The SCAR 17S only ships with one 20rd mag. The S must stand for "single mag." That's no fun when you're trying to blast through a pile of ammo. In the aftermarket, C-Products makes a 25rd magazine for the Heavy, but those are hard to get as well. Rest assured, these problems will solve themselves over time. As the supply of Heavies increase in the civilian sector, prices will stabilize and companies like Magpul will have an incentive to develop magazines for the platform. In the meantime, SCAR Heavy owners can pay top dollar for extra magazines on Gunbroker.com or use their trusty Dremel to modify old FAL mags.
The SCAR Heavy is unlike any other 7.62mm NATO carbine that I've fired. It offers shooters a rare combination: an accurate, lightweight, and hard-hitting rifle, with a gentle recoil and excellent ergonomics. The SCAR 17S Heavy is a winner. After shooting the Heavy, I'm already planning to purchase one for myself… and one of AAC's new 762-SDN-6 suppressors… and an Elcan Specter DR. Man, this is going to be expensive. You guys have to buy more stuff from me!
I hope everyone had a safe and happy Independence Day weekend. God bless America. Land of the Free. Home of the Brave. May it every be so. Have a good rest of your week, my friends. God bless you and yours!
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