View Full Version : Opinions on MSAR STG-556

March 18, 2010, 11:02 PM

I went to my local gunshop to pick up either the new colt carbine (the model is escaping me at the moment I think it is 6900 or something) because I just read an article about how these DI ar's will just keep shooting and shooting as long as they are lubed or a LWRC piston driven m6 which the guy at the shop said is the best ar platform on the market. A MSAR caught my eye and although the trigger sucks it's unique, handles great and is $1,500 NIB which is the same price as the colt and $500 less than the LWRC. I put a deposit on one with the optic although I have the option of the rail or to just get one of the AR's. Does anybody have experience with this weapon? I have been looking online and can not find anybody who offers barrels to take advantage of the quick change system. I was thinking a longer heavy barrel would be nice to have on hand. Also I can not find a gunsmith that will tackle that horrible trigger. I know it is possible because I have shot FS2k's with great triggers. Does anybody have trigger time with one of these or know anything about reliability or accuracy? I figure it must be durable as plenty of countries have implemented it as a military weapon. I have also see many complete MSAR's with 6.8 barrel and bolt but again can not find a kit or any aftermarket parts for that matter. Any info, links, contacts to gunsmiths, and personal opinions would be greatly appreciated. This is so far the most expensive/ highest end weapon I have ever purchased so I want to be sure. I can get a springfield socom16 for the same price and I have always wanted one but I figure they will always be available whereas I only see these once in a while. As always thanks guys for your help and your time.


March 18, 2010, 11:12 PM
I used some silicon spray on the trigger pack and that smoothened it out a bit. YMMV!

March 19, 2010, 07:46 AM
I have personal experience w/4 different STG's & appx 7K rds fired.
The trigger improves significantly w/use but a good 'smith can do wonders w/it and even a regular 'smith can do simple things like add a longer trigger stop in the hammer pack to reduce overtravel. You can also get aftermarket mods like the Trigger Tamer & Trigger Lyte to adjust the pull weight.

Ratworx is, IMHO, the best place for STG parts short of MSAR and have better STG prices than the one you quoted: http://www.ratworxusa.com/accessories.asp
Great source for STG info: http://www.ar15.com/forums/forum.html?b=6&f=43
I prefer the railed version to the factory optic due to the optic's poor FOV & lack of lowlight capability (YMMV).

STG pros: Very short which makes it fast & manueverable in tight quarters, reduced shooter fatigue, modular, runs clean w/only the gas piston requiring any real effort to clean, adjustable gas system, easy to strip/clean/maintain, entirely US-made so no import ban to worry about, spare parts available, quick-change bbl (literally takes less than 10 seconds), 42rd mags are exceptionally rugged, give you 40% more ammo before reloading and I find the extra length helpful when manipulating the mag w/o resorting to Magpuls or Ranger Plates.

STG cons: Care must be taken when selecting an optic/mount so your fingers don't snag when working the charging handle, usually requires appx 200rds of full-power 5.56 to break-in properly, very tight from the factory so field-stripping at first can take some effort (this improves w/time), difficult to do support-side transitions due to ejecting brass, typical bullpup trigger (as mentioned earlier), limited taclight mounting options, bbl has metric thread which requires an adapter if you wish to use std 1/2x28 flash hiders/brakes.

Last summer my best friend (cop) and I ran two of my STG's through a 2-day carbine class w/appx 2K rds of crappy Brown Bear 55gr fired. His ran 100% and mine made it to the very end of the last day when it started to experience stuck casings (common w/steel-cased ammo). He loved the STG so much I ended up giving it to him.

My 2nd STG had FTE's right out of the box which MSAR fixed ASAP (their customer service is *superb*) and I've personally experienced a few broken extractors (old-style, none of the new-style have broken) and a couple of broken bolt sleeves (common on AUG-style rifles) but they were all quick & easy fixes.

Bottom line: If I didn't trust the STG I wouldn't own them. You might experience initial wear-in/teething problems but MSAR *will* fix any problems you may have w/it.
STG-556 w/Aimpoint CompM4:
STG-556 w/E4 longer/lower optic rail & Aimpoint CompM4:
STG-556 w/E4 optic rail, Eotech 517, Magpul MBUS, Levang compensator, 9" accessory rail, 42rd mag & Fenix TK20 taclight:
Me and best friend at carbine class:

March 19, 2010, 08:27 AM
There's the STG556 which takes AUG magazines up to 42 rounds and then there's the new E4 version which takes AR-15/M-16 mags. I have both and they shoot like a dream. Someone said that adding a little Armor-All to the trigger linkage made a great improvement. MSAR has truly superior customer service and a lot of problems are handled right over the web at the AR-15.Com website (>Armory >bullpups). The models with factory optics are going to get scarce because they're not making them right now. At any rate... I much prefer the MSAR to my M4 carbines. And for you southpaws they make a left hand ejecting bolt that is easily replaced. As far as longer or heavier barrels go you need to check with Ratworx to see what they have... different configurations come out from time to time. On the forum you can also talk with MSAR employees to see what's new and becoming available. The MSAR also shoots steel case ammo reliably.

March 19, 2010, 11:58 PM
I prefer the railed version to the factory optic due to the optic's poor FOV & lack of lowlight capability (YMMV).

I'm happy to hear what you have to say because all of my AUG experience is with the one I owned back in 88-92. I've regretted selling it ever since so I'm looking at buying one now.

Bud's sells the one with the optic for $1088 shipped. The railed version is $982. So you are only paying $106 for that little scope. Hard to believe it isn't worth that much anyway! (How does the MSAR scope adjust elevation and windage? Is it like a normal scope or does it use the little tiny tool with two pins like the original AUG?)

I keep going back and forth on all the options. To me, the $1088 version looks like the best deal right now. But there is the new E4 version which could use all my stacks of AR mags. But I really liked the original AUG mags... just that I would have to buy them! And there is the new US made Steyr AUG as well. I see them on gunbroker for $1800-$1900.

I'm happy to hear any input. Especially from people that have touched several or can compare the new US Steyr to the MSAR.



March 20, 2010, 01:33 PM
Even though I don't care for it personally, I'd get the scoped version. If you don't like it you should have no trouble selling it (especially since it's been discontinued) to help fund another optic setup.

March 26, 2010, 08:33 PM
I ended up with the MSAR with the factory optic in the dark earth color. I'm already hooked on this rifle. The rifle wasn't cheap and costs the same w/ or w/o optic. The other one was being sold only with the EOTECH MPO on it so it was not a hard decision. The EOTECH is a cool setup but it's about a grand. I would sooner get a Holosight (bushnell) few hundred cheaper than the same sight and a Mako magnifier $99 vs like $400-$500. My gunsmith said he could make it accept standard AR mags but I don't know if [I] would wanna mess with this thing at all. Gotta keep in mind the coolest rifle I ever treated myself to is a bushmaster post-ban nothing special. All I need now is a robinson XCR and i'm all done. I have been trying to buy a robinson for like 2 years and every gunshop in my area says they cant get them and Would not do a transfer from gunbroker. I said I would custom order it w/a 10rd mag, Fixed stock, nd a muzzle brake instead of flash hider but they tell me that since it is not originally built that way I can't. Where I live doesnt help I live in NY (not a gun-friendly)
Anyway 2 thumbs up for the MSAR I put 600 rds of ultramax through it then after it only had one malfunction I put some 77gr5.56 BTVC (dirty stuff) through it about 250rds. Then Finished up all my wolf ammo. The gun had a few stoppages at first but the more rounds went through it the smoother it cycled and shot. Cleaning was easy and although not great first time shooting the gun w/o a rest 2.7" at 100yds.

March 26, 2010, 10:33 PM
If you have a late-generation STG-556 w/the squared takedown latch then you can quickly and easily convert it to take AR mags by simply picking up an MSAR E4 stock and swapping stocks.

March 27, 2010, 12:26 AM
What kind of $$ for an E4 stock?

True, then I could use all of my zillions of AR mags. But I really do appreciate the design of the original Steyr AUG mags. They are tough! Like a Pmag but even thicker and tougher.

But does anybody even have original AUG mags in stock? CDNN used to have them but they are out. Since Steyr is now contracting out a USA made version of the AUG, what mags does it use? If AUG still rather than AR, then they must be making new mags at the same factory?


March 27, 2010, 02:29 AM
Other than being uglier than a mud fence and a tad overpriced if that's what floats your boat go for it. I'd rather have a platform that is still in production and a little less expensive in 5.56. Parts availability down the road may, or may not be an issue. Enjoy whatever you get. You certainly won't have to worry about every other Joe at the range shooting the same rifle as you.

March 27, 2010, 03:36 AM

Have you run a MSAR with AR type mags? the way it was explained to me was that the AUG type mags are much better than the AR type which were designed to be disposable with the exception of HK mags, then p-mags, and lastly thermolds. Not to say others wont function fine I have just read these function fine the longest. If you have your gun converted did you even notice a difference?

March 27, 2010, 07:53 AM
tulsamal: An E4 stock runs around $200. I prefer the STG AUG-style mags myself, especially the amber 42rd mag. Recently prices were as low as $13 per mag at Ratworx, give 'em a call for current prices (their website tends to be out of date): http://www.ratworxusa.com/accessories.asp

NWCP: The STG & E4 are both still in production w/spare parts plentiful and since they're entirely US-made there's no import ban to worry about. I'll run the risk of the STG & E4 being discontinued "someday" in exchange for the STG's incredible handling & manueverability in tight quarters (YMMV).

pharm675: My son's STG has a spare E4 stock which I've tried briefly and the E4 stock seems to really like Pmags. IMHO STG mags are more rugged than AR mags because the STG has a wider mag well which allows for mags w/thicker body walls (I accidentally dropped a loaded 42rd STG mag onto concrete & all it did was spit out the top 2 rds and I've had mags fully loaded for 2 yrs now w/no feedlip spread or loss of reliability). Plus, STG mags use a rear lockup point but AR mags lock up from the side which requires removal of one of the two trigger transfer bars that run from the trigger back and around the magwell to the hammer pack in the buttstock.
I understand the appeal of the E4 that uses AR mags but I prefer the STG & its AUG-style mags.

March 27, 2010, 10:59 AM
I prefer the STG AUG-style mags myself, especially the amber 42rd mag. Recently prices were as low as $13 per mag at Ratworx, give 'em a call for current prices (their website tends to be out of date)

I would have to consider some of those mags but those are "AUG like" MSAR mags. My question was does anybody have any "real" Steyr AUG mags in stock since the newer MSAR's will now accept the real ones?

And I asked if the new USA made Steyr AUG's are using AR mags or if they are still like the original and use the Steyr type? In which case, I should be able to buy new US made ones?



March 27, 2010, 11:05 AM
CDNN was the last source of original AUG mags that I'm aware of. However, a comparison of AUG & STG mags revealed that the AUG springs aren't as robust & may need to be stretched to restore reliability and the polymer on the older AUG mags isn't as resistant to modern solvents and cleaning agents as the STG mags (if that's important to you).
HTH, keep us posted!...

March 27, 2010, 11:37 AM
Hmm, I guess I was thinking the old Steyr types were "thicker" since the first style MSAR well wouldn't accept them. Thicker led me to thinking "tougher."

I'm not sure if brand new Steyr AUG mags would really be "old" even if they dated back to 1990. As long as they were new and in their original packaging. In any case, new US made ones for the new US made Steyr should be good?

I will probably have to get both to compare for myself! I'm contrary that way!


March 27, 2010, 11:46 AM
The earlier STG's wouldn't accept AUG mags only due to easily-removed mag guides on the inside of the mag well. The latest STG has no mag guides and so can use std AUG mags as well as STG mags. As far as plain ruggedness goes both AUG mags & STG mags should be very similar except for the difference in mag springs (haven't had the chance to examine the new AUG mags so I can't comment on their springs or solvent resistence).
Any reason for your interest in AUG mags over the STG mags? (Just curious...)

March 27, 2010, 11:58 AM
The earlier STG's wouldn't accept AUG mags only due to easily-removed mag guides on the inside of the mag well.

But doesn't that mean that the AUG mags WERE thicker?

I guess I'm interested in the AUG mags because that's what my AUG used back in 1988-91 and I was very impressed by them back then. (I was US Army back then and comparing them to arms room M-16 mags.) And the AUG's were the ones used by various militaries. The thinner MSAR mags are, by definition, commercial copies with no military pedigree.

As Pmags show, commercial mags can be very good and maybe even better than mil-spec. And I will grant you that technology has marched on so the polymer component of the mags may be better. And the springs could be the same way.

When I heard the first MSAR AUG's wouldn't take "real" AUG mags, I was disappointed. When I later heard the new ones would now take them, I took that as an indication that there WERE people out there that preferred the AUG military mags to the commercial MSAR ones. Otherwise, why did they change? There must have been some demand for that. (You have to ask yourself why MSAR didn't just make their new mags to the dimensions of the AUG mags in the first place?!)

For $200, it might be worth getting an AR mag stock and just "put it away" for possible use in the future.

Thanks for your experience. My experience is all with the earlier Steyr models. I haven't even held an MSAR yet but my money is in the bank and I'm right on the verge of ordering one from Bud's.


March 27, 2010, 12:12 PM
You're welcome. However, AUG mags aren't thicker than STG mags. In fact, thickness is identical.
The mag guides I mentioned earlier are just a couple of thin lines moulded down the length the magwell, one to either side and are the only thing preventing the use of AUG mags in the earlier STG stocks.
All it takes to use AUG mags in the earlier STG's is a couple of minutes of light file work on the inside of the magwell to remove the mag guides.
The latest STG magwell comes w/o the mag guides (so you can use both STG & AUG mags) but except for the squared takedown latch is otherwise identical to earlier STG stocks.
The only problems I've heard of w/STG mags has been the occasional report of the follower not moving smoothly up and down in the body of new mags. However, these problems disappear w/use as the mag "wears-in".
Give 'em both a try and pick the one that best suits your needs!...
ETA: Just checked CDNN and I don't see AUG mags listed any longer.

March 27, 2010, 01:24 PM
However, AUG mags aren't thicker than STG mags. In fact, thickness is identical.
The mag guides I mentioned earlier are just a couple of thin lines moulded down the length the magwell, one to either side and are the only thing preventing the use of AUG mags in the earlier STG stocks.

If they are the same thickness, how do the "thin lines" prevent the passage of one while allowing the other? Do the MSAR mags have an indentation for the lines to go into or something?

Sounds like I can quit worrying about not having real AUG mags anyway. And obviously the MSAR ones are a lot less expensive.

March 27, 2010, 01:29 PM
Do the MSAR mags have an indentation for the lines to go into or something?

Exactly. The indentation runs through the raised ribbing, not the body itself.

March 27, 2010, 01:42 PM
Since you are answering all my AUG questions so well, might as well ask you one more!

I had an Austrian Steyr AUG when I was active duty Army. Sold it after they got banned from import and prices tripled over what I paid. I miss it, I want to replace it. The new ones have some features I like. Like the removable scope and top rail.

But my old one did have one functional issue. It liked to slam fire with commercial primers. My reloads that worked fine in my AR-15 had issues in the AUG. It went off on me more than once when I dropped the bolt on a loaded mag. Safety on, finger off trigger, empty chamber, hit the bolt handle to drop the bolt from the locked position and..... BOOM. It would also double or triple on me on occasion with ammo with commercial primers. Same thing, it was slam firing. Got me some dirty looks on ranges that weren't rated for auto fire.

If you fed it military surplus, it was fine. Primers were harder.

So did MSAR address this issue in any way? If you have regular primers in your ammo and you drop the bolt, then remove the unfired round, will there be any firing pin mark on the primer?

Sure would like to hear they fixed this somehow. Different weight firing pin or a firing pin spring. I could use the milspec primers that CCI sells but not all of my 5.56mm ammo on hand will have those.



March 27, 2010, 01:49 PM
MSAR has produced something over 15,000 STG's & E4's and I've yet to hear of a slam fire regardless of ammo or primer used so it seems their firing pin spring is strong enough to prevent this. Haven't heard of any from the new AUG A3 or TPD's, either.
Hope this answers your question!...

March 27, 2010, 02:04 PM
MSAR has produced something over 15,000 STG's & E4's and I've yet to hear of a slam fire regardless of ammo or primer used so it seems their firing pin spring is strong enough to prevent this. Haven't heard of any from the new AUG A3 or TPD's, either.

Hey, that sounds great to me. It's one of the reasons I finally sold my original.

Granted it was nearly twenty years ago but my memory is that the original AUG design didn't HAVE a firing pin spring. It just floated. So it was free to fly forward and dent the primers. Glad to hear somebody decided the design needed a spring!


March 27, 2010, 02:08 PM
Had the same problem w/the NDM-86 Dragunovs (late 80's). Firing pins were free-floated which was fine w/military & hard primers but softer primers resulted in slamfires. CDNN recalled 'em all to have a firing pin spring fitted.
Heck, as long as my rifles are reliable w/no slamfires then I don't care whether or not there's a firing pin spring!

Pete in Alaska
July 26, 2012, 02:04 PM
I have now carried the U.S. made MSAR STG since the first year it was introduced which I belive was 2007 or so. Before that it was an AUG. This is a fine weapon and has seen its share of use from time to time here and there in the world and never let me down ... Not once.
If it has one draw back it is that it will only use platform specific magazines. It would be nice if they had made the receiver capable of accepting M-16 mags. Mag's however are common and easly found for the STG.
The only other issue is getting used to changing mags as one will loose situational awareness to some degree because one has to move the weapon from ones site line to change mags when empty. This can be compensated for with practice and expierance with the weapon.
The trigger is a bit on the rough side but it was designed as a service trigger group after all. With a little work this can be smoothed out, lightened up and made a little tighter. My AUG was a select fire platform and when fired in burst or full auto you see why they made the trigger the way they did. The STG as a semi-auto platform inherited this basic trigger system design but it is somewhat tunable.
You will be very pleased with this platform. The bullpup design allows for great
balance, solid shoulder lock position and the CQC capability that a shot barrel system allows with out the loos of mid distantce performance in the 300 to 500
meter range. I have benched mine at 650 meters, five shot groups, all within a 9" paper plate. for this caliber and barrel leanth I find this quite satisfactory.
The MSAR and my SOCOM 16 (now also stocked in a pull pup configuration) go with me everywhere.
As they are both designed to Mil. Spec they are capable of mil. grade and civilian grade munitions without any cause for concerns.
Hope this is informative to you, Pete

July 26, 2012, 11:43 PM
1st post necro-threaders is getting rediculous.

Sent from a Linux kernel.