My dad recently bought one and it has 2 quares with numbers on the reciever. What does that mean, and is there a link on history behind this gun.
these guns are kinda cool looking but are really heavy for their size.i have fired one that was rechambered for .308 win. it actually shot decent groups at 100yds.
the first set of numbers (which are likely deeply stamped) is the original serial no. given to it at the arsenal which it was produced. The second number (which is likely newer, or just engraved not stamped) is the serial no. which was given to it when it was imported into the U.S. It was most likely imported ny C.A.I (Century Arms International). You many want to double check the caliber to see if its still chambered for 7.5x54, or if it was re-chambered for 7.62x51 (as many were that were imported by CAI). If it was rechambered, it should have "7.62" or ".308" stamped on the side of the reciever.
As for history... you can find a lot out about it just by googling it. the mas 49 was the first semi auto infantry rifle for the French, replacing their bolt rifles like the mas 36 or our M1917. the 49/56 was basically the same rifle shortened with a grenade launcher. it was developed in 1956, hence the name 49/56.