U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)-When possible, I always like to review things for as long as possible. It gives me a better idea of how it will perform for you over the duration, and just, in general, gives me a better impression of the product. It doesn’t always work out that way, but it did in the case of the FN SCAR 20S, and I’ve been shooting this rifle on and off for just over a year. In that time, it’s had a couple of different scopes and several different suppressors. Better yet, since FN has decided to launch a 6.5 Creedmoor version for 2020, this article is still relevant.
My SCAR 20S is a 308, although if I had the choice and was buying one right now, I’d get the 6.5 Creedmoor. Because it would do everything that this rifle does extremely well, and bump it up a couple of notches. FN had originally said that these would be limited to 1000 units; now does that mean there won’t be anymore 308s, and 6.5 will be the only ones going forward? To be honest, I have no idea. But basically, there will be SCAR 20s available in some caliber going forward. Somehow, I knew that a rifle this well thought out, and this well-received, wasn’t going to be limited to just one year like FN originally stated. But, I’m actually glad that they will continue to produce it because this is a very impressive semi-auto long-range precision rifle.
The FN SCAR 20S is the civilian version of the military ready FN MK20 SSR, sniper support rifle. Really, the only apparent difference is that the genuine SSR has a real surefire muzzle brake for the attachment of a suppressor, and the SCAR 20S has a muzzle device that resembles the Surefire. The SSR was developed as a variant of the SCAR to assist snipers and more precisely reach out and touch longer targets than the lighter weight SACR 17 was capable of. It would seem that the MK20 SSR SCAR was adopted by SOCOM and approved for purchase, however, it would appear that besides the original test units, none have been purchased since approval.
Several changes were made to the original SCAR 17 to fill this new sniper support role. First, the barrel was lengthened to 20 inches with a much thicker, heavier, profile. This is one of FN’s legendary, cold hammer-forged, chrome-lined barrels, that is, of course, free-floated to ensure accuracy. The SCAR has a quick change barrel system, and the larger, heavier, barrel is now held in with 5 bolts instead of the 3 on the SCAR17. Another thing FN did to help with this new role of a sniper support rifle is a pack on the pounds. The SCAR 20S weighs in 11.2 pounds, compared to the relatively light 8 pounds of the SCAR 17S.
Other changes include an extended upper receiver, giving you plenty of room to mount any optic you can come up with; including inline night vision, if you’re lucky enough to have that need. FN also made a huge upgrade to the trigger, going with the Geissele Super SCAR trigger. This is a two-stage trigger, making it excellent for long-range shooting, and mine is pulling at about three pounds. This trigger is absolutely phenomenal, and a huge upgrade over the original SCAR 17 trigger which pulls at about seven pounds. It is also a big contributor to the massive price tag of the SCAR 20, with a retail of $325 for the trigger alone. It’s always been an upgrade that I wanted for my SCAR 17, but just could never justify the cost.
FN also went with a more precision style stock that can easily be adjusted, without tools, for length of pull and comb height. However, keep in mind, it does not fold like the original UGG boot stock on the SCAR 17. The stock works extremely well and is really well made. There’s also a Houge rubber grip, and the SCAR 20S ships with a 10 round mag instead of a 20 rounder because it makes it easier to shoot in the prone or on a bench with the smaller magazine.
You may find this odd, but I actually greatly prefer the SCAR in this sniper support format much more than I do the original SCAR 17. First, FN has exceeded all expectations you could possibly have from this rifle, even at this price tag. The accuracy is nothing short of amazing. SCARs have always been accurate, but the 20S takes it to a whole new level. This is actually the most accurate semi-auto rifle that I’ve ever had the pleasure to shoot. FN claims that it’s accurate out to 800 yards, but the SCAR 20S has no issues bringing the 308 all the way out to 1000 yards, with no issues, and it is easily sub MOA. I can’t say enough about how much I am impressed with the accuracy out of this rifle. Furthermore, just how repeatable that accuracy is, because, after all, this is a semi-auto.
Another controversial feature, the reciprocating charging handle, is no longer an issue when the gun is more of a designated marksman or precision rifle. No worries of accidentally hitting the charging handle, causing a malfunction, when you’re mainly shooting this from bench rest or prone because your support hand isn’t typically on the handguard like it would be in a battle rifle variant. Really, the only downside is the cost; I don’t think that anyone has ever confused SCARs with being affordable rifles. However, with an MSRP of $4500 will leave most people staggering.
I feel like this is the best incarnation of the SCAR platform. I know the SCAR has developed a love it or hate it following ever since it was first introduced. Some of the complaints about the system are legitimate concerns, however, I feel that any complaints anyone may have about the SCAR are overcome in the SCAR20. By changing the designation from a battle rifle, and moving it to more of a sniper support rifle, makes a huge difference of what is required from the rifle. Along with some of the extremely well thought out changes that FN has made, you end up with one of the most accurate and most pleasurable to shoot long-range semi-automatic rifles ever devised. I can say that this is the best long-range semi-auto rifle that I own, or have ever shot. I really think the only thing you could do to make it any better, is offering it in 6.5 Creedmoor, which FN is now doing.
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