U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- Yes, I know that declaring the FN SCAR 20s NRCH Rifle as perfect is both a bold statement and one that will undoubtedly stir up the comment section like a freshly-kicked anthill. But hear me out; I’ve shot hundreds of different firearms in my career and with the possible exception of an Anschutz 22lr I shot at an event for the Winter Olympics a decade ago, no other gun has made me feel like such a competent shooter.
Hell, I’d even go so far as to say it makes me feel like a top-tier elite sniper.
Not because of the iconic look of the gun, or its impeccable military record – but pure unadulterated performance. Performance so good, that it defied all my expectations and thoroughly surpassed them. Even still, with the SCAR 20s’ high MSRP, it still begs the question, “Is it really worth it?”
Let’s take a closer look and find out.
Before I get into the details of this legendary performance, it’s important first to get a solid understanding of how the SCAR 20s NRCH works, what it is, and what it isn’t.
For starters, the FN SCAR 20s is a short-stroke piston-driven semi-automatic rifle chambered in either .308 or 6.5 Creedmoor. It feeds from a proprietary magazine that is essentially a modified FAL magazine, and factory magazines for the gun are available in 10 and 20-round capacities. (Both the 308 and 6.5 versions use the same magazines, and share that magazine with the SCAR 17s.) The SCAR consists of two halves pinned together not entirely unlike an AR-15.
SCAR 20s NRCH Features
The upper features a full-length, free-floated handguard built from extruded aluminum that is so large that it’s ideal for mounting high-magnification precision optics with a clip-on NVG or thermal unit. At the very end of the handguard is an ambidextrous dual sling loop that makes transporting the rifle in the field much easier. (Nice to not have to install one as well.)
Under the handguard, the SCAR sports a 20-inch match-grade barrel with a 1:8-inch right-hand twist. This is ideal for maximizing both velocity and stability to effortlessly dispatch targets beyond 1,000 yards.
This to-notch barrel also includes a 5/8×24 threaded muzzle topped with an aggressive (and effective) Surefire ProComp 762 muzzle brake. This two-port takes what little recoil the hefty gun has, and all but totally eliminates it.
Personally, I removed the factory brake from the SCAR 20s, and replaced it with a SilencerCo ASR two-port brake so that I could attach my go-to suppressor – the SilencerCo Saker 762 ASR (provided by SilencerShop.com)
And while the gun ran flawlessly with the Saker installed, make no mistake, high-velocity, big-bore caliber firearms are more pleasant when suppressed, but are by no means ‘quiet’. Still, it makes hearing distant impacts on steel targets much easier – which I did a great deal of with this gun. But more on that in a bit.
Behind the muzzle brake, the SCAR has an adjustable gas regulator that seems more than a little inspired by the FAL’s, though greatly streamlined and much easier to adjust. The system has three settings: 12 o’clock standard-setting, 10 o’clock suppressed setting (reduced gas pressure to compensate for increased backpressure of a suppressor), and 4 o’clock disassembly setting – though in the field you’ll only ever use the first two.
FN SCAR 20s NRCH Ergonomics
Continuing backward, the handguard also features Picatinny rail segments at the three, six, and 9 o’clock positions. Why doesn’t it feature M-Lok slots? Presumably, because weight isn’t a factor, and because the gun was originally designed for SOCOM, and the military isn’t exactly quick to adopt new technology.
Just behind the handguard, the SCAR 20s features an ambidextrous charging handle that now with the Gen 2 models, does not reciprocate. Personally, I feel this is a tremendous improvement to the gun’s ergonomics, as it allows shooters to chamber a round without having to change their shooting position while prone.
Speaking of ergonomics, behind the charging handle the new SCAR includes an ambi safety and bolt-release that are like oversized clones of those found on an AR-15. So shooters familiar with America’s favorite rifle will feel right at home behind the FDE beast. Below the controls, the SCAR ships with an excellent Geissele ‘Super SCAR’ Two-Stage Match trigger. In testing, the trigger’s second stage broke at a hair under two pounds! This trigger is arguably the nicest SCAR trigger on the market – and the price reflects that. If a shooter were to purchase one for their standard SCAR rifle, it would cost more than $300! So given the 20s’ high price point, it’s a nice addition that helps soften the financial blow of buying such a high-end machine.
Below the trigger, the SCAR 20s NRCH features one of the most comfortable (and un-aesthetically pleasing) pistol grips available: the Hogue soft over-molded finger-grooved grip. Normally, finger-grooved grips on any firearm are a mixed bag; they either fit you like a glove, or the grooves are in the wrong place and the grip feels awkward as hell. Thankfully, the soft pliable nature of the material used in the grip’s construction mitigates this, and any felt recoil transferred to the shooting hand.
Finally, at the rear of the gun, the SCAR 20s NRCH features an excellent aluminum PRS-style stock. The stock is adjustable for length-of-pull, comb height and incorporates a bottom Picatinny rail for attaching a monopod. In testing, this stock was comfortable for shooters of basically all sizes. Including shorter shooters like me (5’9″) and my six-foot-tall spotter. Basically, this stock can be adjusted to fit you flawlessly unless your name is Andre the Giant or Peter Dinklage.
Now that we know everything about the SCAR 20’s operation, let’s get to its performance.
We’ll start things off with reliability. After all, if the gun doesn’t run worth a damn, it doesn’t matter how precise it is.
My testing with the SCAR was limited to 300 rounds of match-grade 6.5 Creedmoor from Hornady. I would have put more rounds through the gun, but the cost of match 6.5 ammo is currently absurd. So even though I only fired 300 rounds of ammo through the gun, the total ammunition cost was a little over $650. But, if you can afford this beast of a rifle, you can afford the ammo too. If not, it would be wise to start investing in a reloading setup ASAP.
Regardless, the SCAR 20s proved flawlessly reliable across all 300 rounds of ammo fired. 200 were fired with the rifle in stock configuration, while the last 100 were shot with a SilencerCo Saker ASR 762 sound suppressor attached. In the course of this review, the SCAR was never cleared. Not prior to shooting and not after. Despite this, the SCAR 20s NRCH never encountered a single malfunction whatsoever – even when fired from a very sandy shooting position that introduced fine sand particles into the action.
In terms of reliability among precision semi-automatic rifles, the SCAR 20s is truly peerless.
Accuracy: Is the SCAR 20s NRCH a True PRS?
Here’s the kicker: everyone knows that semi-automatic precision rifles – especially piston-driven ones – can’t hold a candle to the accuracy of a high-end bolt-action precision rifle system.
Except the SCAR 20s proves that this certainly isn’t always the case.
At 100 yards, the SCAR 20s NRCH was capable of making a single ragged hole in a standard NRA scaled rifle target. But this presented a problem for me; I can’t really accurately measure a group size if it measures .264 inches AKA the diameter of a 6.5 Creedmoor bullet. So I had to stretch the gun’s legs out to 400 yards to get a measurable group and an idea of the gun’s true capabilities.
The result? Three very impressive groups.
The worst group of the bunch measured 2.8 inches, while the best was an incredible 2.24 inches! Meaning the gun was grouping just a hair over 0.5 MOA with Hornady 140gr ELO match ammo – very very impressive.
Though I have to give credit where it’s due. I didn’t just run some old deer-rifle scope with Chinese rings. I instead decided to go for broke and mount the new Gen 3 Vortex Razor HD 6-36×56 mounted to a pair of uber-pricey Spuhr monolithic rings. And although you might scoff at the cost of these two accessories, anything else would have felt like putting spare tires on a McClaren F1 supercar.
In fact, the only misses of the day were 100% caused by barrel mirage when I installed my Saker suppressor without a wrap. But that’s a limitation of my ability to properly see a target and not a reflection of the gun’s performance.
But this is a true long-range rifle, 400 yards is nothing. So I took the rifle out to a friend’s property and engaged human-torso steel targets at 750 yards – and the SCAR 20s make short work of every single one of them. So much so, I was able to send a second bullet at a target before I could actually hear the impact of the first!
Go ahead, close this window, apologize to your wife, and buy one. If that sentence above doesn’t impress the hell out of you, nothing will.
I’d like to tell you that the reason I was able to make those pseudo-double-taps at 750 was because I’m the greatest marksman who ever lived, but in reality, it’s 90% the gun and its ammo. All I did was line up the optic and squeeze the trigger.
FN SCAR 20s NRCH – Worth it?
Make no mistake, the SCAR 20s is a very expensive firearm. With an MSRP of $4,829.00, the SCAR 20s NRCH is well beyond the financial reach of the majority of shooters. But even though it is expensive, the SCAR 20’s performance, heritage and the fact that no other gun offers the same features and AK-47-like reliability put the FDE beast in a league of its own.
Yes, there are plenty of other rifles on the market capable of engaging targets at 1,000 yards, but none of them are as reliable, soft-shooting, or robust as the SCAR 20s NRCH. Although it pains me to admit, high-quality, high-performance precision machines always come with an equally high price tag.
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About Jim Grant
Jim is a freelance writer, editor, and videographer for dozens of publications who loves anything and everything guns. While partial to modern military firearms and their civilian counterparts, he holds a special place in his heart for the greatest battle implement ever devised and other WW2 rifles. When he’s not reviewing guns or shooting for fun and competition, Jim can be found hiking and hunting with his wife Kimberly, and their dog Peanut in the South Carolina low country.