That time that Harrington & Richardson made FALs for the U.S. Army (VIDEO)

In the 1950s the Army was looking to get a new battle rifle and the FAL was on the menu.

Finishing WWII with the lineup that included such vaunted reliables as the M1918 BAR, the M1 Garand, and M1 Carbine, the Army tested and flirted with several designs before the M14 was adopted in 1957 to replace the aforementioned weapons with a single rifle. One of these was the Belgian-designed FAL made by FN.

As part of that, Uncle ordered 3,103 7.62x51mm-chambered FAL rifles direct from Fabrique Nationale in 1952, classified as “Rifle, Cal.30 T48 FN.” Then, to test the feasibility of making the guns on this side of the Atlantic, in 1954, Harrington & Richardson Arms in Worcester, Mass., was awarded a contract for the production of 500 T48s while High Standard in Connecticut at the same time made just a dozen guns.

Although the FAL, in the end, was not adopted after trials against the T44 (which became the M14), T48s of any pedigree today are super rare, with Springfield Armory having less than 58 of the rifles listed in their collection including 28 made by H&R, such as this one:

A great representation of Harrington and Richardson’s (H&R’s) T48 FAL, this one SN#4538. Note the grenade launcher attachment. It is also one of the few T48s in their collection to retain a magazine and all of its small parts (sights, sling swivels, etc.– most are missing something) (Photo: Springfield Armory, SPAR 3687.)

Other H&Rs include SN#4142, in the National Firearms Museum and a cache of some 70 remaining T48s noted in the Marine depot at Quantico in 2008.

Another rare H&R T48 is in the hands of Larry Vickers and Ian McCollum in the above video, where they take an in-depth look at the peculiarities of the design up close (dig that winter trigger guard) and talk about the reason why it was never adopted.

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