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Practically Shooting

US-Made Steyr AUG A3


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Since I couldn't get to the range for four days after picking it up, I spent that time looking at it. so here are some initial observations.

As I posted in another thread, I got one of the new-manufactured Steyr AUGs. And I mean newly manufactured. Serial number in the 300s. I've had new guns before, but never this new.

Here's the short version of how these came to be: Steyr got VLTOR to make the receivers, FN to make the barrels, then Steyr supplied the rest and assembled them here.

It was actually a lot more complicated.

Steyr made some AUGs in the US about three years ago. This project was over and done, dead as a doornail, before I even heard of it. Sabre Defence (Nashville, TN) made the receivers and Steyr made the rest, assembling them in Alabama. But then Sabre Defence got shut down by the feds after they "lost" some AR receivers. Sabre went under, and Steyr got hosed. I don't know how many rifles Steyr got to sell out of this deal, but it wasn't many. They never saw a lot receivers they paid for since they went into the court system.

Earlier this year, Steyr announced they would try this again, with VLTOR making the receivers and FN making the barrels. In the meantime, before VLTOR and FN were ready, some of the Sabre-made receivers were released from the courts and Steyr finally got some of what they paid for. They made 33 rifles from these receivers and parts they had in the states, and they sold in no time.

I think a lot of us thought VLTOR would be the weak link in this chain because it's been years since they said they would make a new Bren Ten and it's still not here. As it turned out, FN was the boat anchor. There were a lot of pictures floating around in early August taken at Steyr of racks of AUGs...with no barrels.

The barrels are now ready. It's a go. Steyr is using up the Sabre-made receivers first, then the VLTORs.

I used to hate AUGs, and saw little of interest in the design except maybe compactness and once I looked at one, I liked the optic. Their availability seemed to come and go, and whenever they were available again, someone would show me the one they just got. I'd look, at first out of politeness. After a while, I realized that every time I looked, I liked them a little more. Eventually I wanted one, but they cost as much as a car by then and I rarely saw one anyway.

This was my chance. The price on these was 2/3 the price of the last new one I saw several years ago.

I got on the list.

I didn't get my hopes up. Three companies working together meant three chances of screwing it up.

Recently, I got an email from one of the two distributors handling them, asking if I still wanted one. This was when I first learned Sabre-made receivers would be used at first, but with FN barrels. Once the Sabres were gone, they would flow into VLTOR receivers. I didn't realize they had any Sabre receivers left. He thought the first ones would be collectable someday because there are only 650 in this configuration.

I didn't care much about collectability. I'm shooting mine.

I thought it would get me a new AUG now instead of three weeks from now. And it might be best to take the bird in the hand instead of the VLTOR in the bush.

They were shipped from Steyr USA on Friday the 7th, arrived at the distributor Monday the 10th, mine was shipped out the next day, and got to my dealer on Thursday the 13th. I picked it up the next day.

Like I said, it is really new.

And it arrived the first day of four when it would be impossible for me to get to the range. Sigh.

So I've been looking at it.

Now I'll share what I see.

These are A3 models, which means they don't have the integral optic like the originals. Instead, they have a Picatinny rail on top, about 10" long with 25 slots. There is also a short piece of rail about 2" long just above and ahead of the trigger on the right side. They now come with black stocks instead of the original green-gray.

Funny, but back in the 80s, it seems like people wanted black (which was police-only then) instead of green, and now they want green and are stuck with black.

I liked the original optic too, but can see that a rail is more versatile. My guess is it's a lot less money without the optic. Swarovski made them.

The A3s also have a bolt catch (added to the A1s, since the first ones didn't lock open when empty), and a short section of rail about 2" long on the receiver side (about 1:30). Somewhere in past revisions, they added the forward assist ability to the charging handle, which I'll try to describe later.

It's surprisingly heavy for a rifle with so much plastic in it. I get 8 lbs, 12 oz on my scale. A lot of that weight is the receiver and the bolt/carrier/action rods. The receiver is aluminum but is pretty big, and has some steel inserts, bushings, and guides pressed into it. I weighed it and forget now, but think it was around 1.75 pounds.

It's also triangular in cross section:

Notice the number along the bottom. Just about everything bigger than a pin or spring has a part number on it.

The receiver and the bolt/carrier assembly together weigh just under 3 lbs.

While it weighs more than it looks, it's balance makes it feel lighter. The balance point is at the pistol grip or just behind it. It handles like a big pistol with a shoulder stock to stabilize it. Holding it with the strong hand only to run the charging handle, change mags, etc, is easy. There is no need to tuck the stock under the arm to do that.

The trigger...well, the trigger...is weird. People say that's just how it is with bullpups: They will be heavy and mushy due to the long linkage. Well, I don't quite, and never have, bought all of that. On the AUG, there is no "long complicated linkage connecting the trigger to the fire control" as some articles say. Yes, the trigger is in the middle and the fire control is in the back, but the trigger has no added "linkage" because of it. It is just a lot longer than most triggers. The part of the trigger you see is plastic, but it has two small steel rods (or maybe one continuous) inside it that come back, then split to go around the magazine. This reminds me of a 1911's trigger stirrup, but without the piece in back connecting the two sides. Instead, the two rods end against the fire control, bearing against matching pushy plunger thingys that move the sear. No more linkage than many other guns.

As a result, it isn't mushy. It's pretty crisp actually.

Top view of trigger rods going into trigger moulding:

View into the stock. Up in the front, you can maybe see the tips of the small round rods spaced to get around the magazine. Those are the ends of the trigger.

There is no denying the trigger pull is heavy though. I haven't studied it enough to know, but my guess is the heavy trigger is a result of a heavy hammer spring, which in turn is the result of having a plastic hammer. Yes, the hammer in these is plastic.

Fire control unit:

The hammer can't weigh anything, so lacking mass it probably needs a serious spring driving it to light off military primers. Such a heavy hammer spring holding the hammer against the sear would cause a heavy trigger. I haven't messed with the unit enough to know, but I bet this is it.

Like I said, the trigger pull is heavy, but crisp. There are worse combinations, and I have an AK whose trigger is a lot lighter, but it's also spongy and vague. I'd much rather have the heavy but crisp AUG trigger.

I finally worked up the nerve to weigh it. I wasn't sure if I wanted to know. I guessed beforehand that it was eight pounds.

I was wrong.

Nine pounds, 6 ounces. Call it 9.5 lbs.

As silly as it sounds, it doesn't feel an ounce over eight!

There are kits and tricks to help AUG triggers. I don't like non-standard triggers in this type of rifle for reliability reasons, and from what I gather, it's justified here since some of these devices have caused problems. I won't replace or add any parts on mine unless I find I just cannot live with it as it is. I'll do some of the tuning tricks first, like graphite and Armor-All. Yes, Armor-All.

OK, so how do the controls feel, aside from the trigger?

The charging handle is large and well-shaped. It is located on the upper left of the receiver, so a right-hander can run it without breaking a firing grip. I takes a pretty healthy pull to operate- more than an AR, but being in a better place, it's easier to manage.

Normally, the charging handle is not directly joined to the action rods. Much like an AR's charging handle and bolt carrier, it only pulls the action rods back, and gets pushed forward back by them. But, when closed, or nearly closed, the handle can be turned upward so it engages the action rod to push the bolt closed. This lets it act as a forward assist or quiet bolt closure.

In addition to the mostly AR-like bolt catch, the bolt can be locked open by pulling the charging handle to the rear, then turning it up into a notch in it's track in the receiver. This is easier than a two-handed dance with the bolt catch. I'd much rather do it this way when doing something like a double feed clearance.

The negative to locking it open this way is that it's not very secure. It doesn't take much of a nudge to move the handle out of the notch, letting the bolt slam closed. I might have a different opinion of this method if it lets the bolt close when my fingers are in there clearing a staged double feed.

One potential problem with the charging handle location was probably unforeseen by the designers. It's close to the rail. With an optic using a wide mounting base or base protrusion, such as a QD throw lever, the charging handle passes pretty close to that on it's way by. It can be a knuckle buster. I've whacked it a couple of times already just goofing around at home. I threw an old Aimpoint in a Larue QD mount on it, and it takes some experimenting with positioning to find a workable location. Too far forward and it conflicts with rolling the handle up for the bolt closing feature. Too far back and it interferes with locking the bolt open. Luckily with a red dot, you can move it back and forth, unlike a scope where you're limited.

A couple "on the other hands" about this: One is that a higher (taller) rail is being made as an option, which should correct it by getting bases up out of the way. Another point is that if not using a throw lever or big knob QD mount, it shouldn't be a problem. With a limited way to mount backup iron sights, there is little reason to have a QD mount.

My planned sight is a red dot with a non-QD mount, which has a pretty narrow "rail footprint". I always want back up sights but have a plan there too. Later.

The safety is a cross bolt. It's a big square chunk of plastic that slides across with a hefty click. For the concerned ninjas, if moved slowly, it is a lot quieter. Almost silent. It's easy to use- both going on and off, and no problem going off safe coming up on target and on safe going back to low ready.


When off safe, the cross bolt projects from the left side. I feel it brushing my thumb, and it makes me think of a rotating selector like an AR. I wonder if I will feel it and try to flip that thing with my thumb out of habit someday, and waste time on that when the safety is already off. Or worse, nudge it partially on. I don't know. Just a hunch. We will have to see.

Another concern is that if slung in front, I wonder if the safety could be bumped off. Most people let their carbines hang with the magwell toward their strong side when slung this way, and this would cause the safety to be pressed toward "on". No problem. Not for them, but maybe for me. I was taught a couple of reasons to sling carbines turned the other way- with the magwell toward the weak side. This might cause the weight of the carbine to push the safety to "off". We will see. The large, whole-hand trigger guard becomes apparent about now.

With it lacking a conventional trigger guard, I didn't know how that would feel. I thought I'd be uncomfortable with no lower trigger guard under my finger. I know it's poor marksmanship skills to let the finger drag, and I don't, but I still thought I'd be aware of it not being there. I don't think about it when using it.

Indexing the trigger finger out of the guard may take some adjustment. When not shooting and the trigger is held straight and alongside the receiver of most guns, there is something to index on. AR shooters often put the fingertip on the mag catch fence. the 1911 shooters touch the end of the slide stop pin.

The AUG has to be different here too.

The receiver has that triangular cross section- narrow at the top, wide at the bottom. The stock's trigger area below the receiver is triangular also, being narrow at the bottom and widening to the top where it meets the receiver. The area above the trigger is not only smooth with nothing to index on, but that taper makes my finger feel like it's being wedged toward the trigger.

This might be nice if you pick it up in the dark, so it guides your finger into position, but that's not always a plus. I think I will add something to this area, even if it's a small square of skateboard tape, to plant my finger on.

I like the pistol grip shape, which is a good thing since I'm stuck with it.

With the Glock and M&P frame stippling services out there, I bet someone is texturing AUG stocks already. I don't usually like that, but I might like some here.

Before it arrived, I was concerned about the fixed stock length. I have gotten accustomed to AR stocks being adjusted short. The trend in the last 10-15 years is to square up to the target with the carbine instead of blading sideways like an archer, and that requires a shorter stock. I have tried AUGs before, but I wasn't sure if I've shot an AUG since going with the flow and squaring up to the target.

Since mine got here, I have struck many a fearsome warrior-like pose with the AUG in a squared-up stance and don't see it being a problem.

This is why I was surprised when I measured the length of pull and got a whopping 15". That is looooong. I keep my AR stocks at the first notch out from fully closed. That might be as much as 2" shorter than this AUG's LOP. If an AR had a 15" LOP, I don't know if I could use it. Maybe as as a prone rifle, but nothing tacticool.

Why does it work with the AUG? My only guess is the rake of the pistol grip locates that hand so it feels shorter.

Mag changes are going to take some getting used to. I wonder how many times I'm going to try to poke a hole in the side looking for the mag catch button.

The only bullpup I've actually owned before was a Bushmaster M17S, which is a sick blend of an AR-180 and AR-15 mounted in an aluminum downspout as a stock. It had some odd things about it, but most were tolerable. The magazine drove me up the wall, though. It's location was strange, though typical bullpup and workable, but the latch was idiotic. Why have a push button where you can't push it? When I think of bullpups, that is the memory I have.

The AUG is a lot better. The mag catch is on the bottom of the stock and gets the back end pushed up into the stock to release. It works somewhat like an AK/M-14/Mini-14 in how it snaps onto the mag and releases from the mag, but the mag does not have to be rocked into place. A straight push in will seat it.

I've seen people who could change AUG mags pretty quick. There are videos online of people who are really quick. But I don't see how anyone could be as fast as with an AR given equal practice.

The quick way is to bring the fresh mag up and hit the catch with it. The old mag will either fall free or will be knocked free when struck with the fresh mag as it's rotated in line with the mag well, then seated.

A tactical reload is going to take some thinking. The usually taught ways for a carbine each have some AUG thing interfering.

I've always liked the magazines of the AUG. They make a "NATO" stock that accepts NATO-standardized M-16 magazines. To me, that's taking a step backwards. Besides reports of reliability suffering when the AUG is used with M-16/AR mags, I think the AUG mag is one of the better 5.56 mags out there, if not the best. I have plenty of AR mags, but don't want to give the AUG mag up just for convenience sake. They work, they are tough, they load easy enough. Even with the 42-rd mag, the very last round snaps in without much effort.

The AUG mag is a little larger around, so may not work in some AR mag pouches. They fit, but snug, in my nylon single mag pouch, fit fine in my Kydex pouches, but were yeas and no in my Eagle Industries chest rig. It's pockets are made to accept two AR mags each, but would only take a single AUG mag. Doubling them up like that really shows the difference.

Length of the AUG and AR 30-rd mags is nearly the same.

The 42 seems really long after getting used to 30-rd AR mags and 20-rd .308 mags.

The plastic construction of AUG mags was radical when they came out, now it's hardly thought about. After some thought, I realized a lot of the AUG was like that. Things we thought were bizarre back then are the status quo now. Plastic mags are common. An optical sight on a combat rifle was doomed to failure according to some, but now a rifle gets our attention if it doesn't have one. The vertical foregrip was a silly novelty, but they are everywhere now. Even the 16" barrel was thought of as too short by many, and now it's the norm with many going shorter.

It's hard to believe the AUG has been around so long. The semiauto showed up here in the early 1980s- three decades ago. It had been in service with the Austrian army well before that. It is known as the Stg77 there- Sturmgewehr of 1977. It went into service 35 years ago, and went through a few years of development and testing.

Like I said, hard to believe.

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I'll probably buy an AUG of some sort one of these days.

The gun was really ahead of it's time and is still used by militaries and police forces around the World.

I really like the easy swap barrels and would have to buy one of the longer heavy barrels with the bipod. Not really because I need it, but it's just a really cool feature in the design of this rifle.

Thanks for sharing detailed photos of the internals!! Great stuff.

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No problem (since I couldn't shoot it). I wanted to describe and show pictures of areas I had wondered about for 30 years. After all that time and all the articles and pictures out there, everybody said the trigger was "bad" but never weighed or described it, and details like the charging handle movements and functions were still unknown to me.

First shots about two hours away.

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Oh yeah-

One BIG concern I had with any bullpup is touching off 55,000 psi in a chamber a fraction of an inch from my head. I've seen blown ARs and other guns, and it doesn't look like something I want happening by my head.

Maybe it isn't so bad now that I've been able to look at it. The way things are situated, the breech is forward of my face. This is not to say injury isn't possible if it goes boom, because it's always possible with any gun going boom, but it's not as scary as it might seem.

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OK, I got 60-70 rounds, maybe more, through it this morning. It works, hits where it's aimed, etc.

I was using the temporary optic since the planned one hasn't arrived yet. That would be an old Aimpoint Comp with huge 10 MOA dot.

I shot a few zeroing at 50 yards, then reloaded with five rounds to make a group on the next target.

It made a 5/8" group.

It was only 50 yards, but it was my practice handload using 55 FMJ, a reticle that covered the target, and only a few rounds of familiarization. I was pretty surprised by it.

This inspired me to mount a 3.5-10X Leupold and do some serious testing, but the front ring (Leupold QRW Picatinny/Weaver QD) must have finally given up the ghost. It's lever spun and wouldn't tighten. I tried it anyway, but it wouldn't hold zero.

Back to the red dot.

An attempt at 100 yard group shooting on 6" targets with a 10" dot was as successful as you might guess. I gave it up after three rounds because my eyes were watering.

It's been so long since I've shot an AUG it's like I never had. I couldn't remember much.

I thought it might be loud because the muzzle isn't all that far from the ear. It wasn't bad. I don't think it was any worse that a 16" AR. It's much better than the SCAR 17.

I've never shot an AUG prone and didn't know how that would go. The 42-rd mag held it too high off the ground for me. The 30-rd mag was almost perfect as a monopod. The VFG worked good at the other end. With two fingers wrapped around the VFG and two hanging below resting on the ground, it was solid and the height was just right. It made a pretty solid platform when held and rested this way. I found I had to be careful of cant, because while my prone groups were great for elevation, I made nice horizontal lines with my shots.

It throws up a fair amount of dust in prone. Not like a muzzle brake, but a little more than an A2 FH.

I couldn't remember if the AUGs I've shot were made before last shot holdopen, so I didn't know if the sensation would be easily felt like an AR when shot empty. I don't think it was quite as apparent, but I knew when it happened. Whether it would be so obvious under some stress, I don't know.

The shortest distance I can shoot at this range is 50 yards, so I didn't get to do any close and fast work.

I did shoot it offhand at 50. I thought the heavy trigger would make this a challenge but it wasn't bad at all.

Although it is a little heavier than a typical stock AR, I thought it was less tiring to shoot and use standing because that weight is back on my chest/shoulder.

The ability to lock the bolt open with both the charging handle and the holdopen paddle by the magwell is nice, but I'm going to need some practice/training keeping them straight. It's easy to lock open using the CH, so that's what I was using. Pull it back and lift to lock. To close, swipe at the handle to knock it out of its notch and it slams closed. Simple and easy.

But.... When it locks open on an empty mag, it's a different procedure. I have to find that paddle by my shoulder and hit it. I could do it with the CH but it's not the same because now the CH is forward and it has to be drawn back- a different action.

I'm sure they is a way to streamline or combine them but I haven't been able to work it out yet.

I didn't get to practice any speed reloads. I can practice that at home.

I did fail to seat the mag once. This was at the bench. It takes a harder push than an AR and that can be awkward at the bench.

I've been told not to slap the mag baseplate on these. It supposedly causes the top round to jump free from the lips. Thats ok; this I the currently taught method with ARs too. Same reason, but it's easier to make happen on the AUG.

So that's where we are so far.

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I got 338 rounds through it this week, almost all 55 FMJ/Varget handloads. All ran fine. It's about a 1.25-1.5 MOA gun with FMJ, and 1 MOA with 52 and 69 match. Take about five pounds off the trigger pull and that would come down, although it isn't bad once you get a feel for it.

I cleaned it this evening. Pretty clean. It's gas piston operated, so it's sorta like an M-1 carbine gas system driving an AR bolt, but with pieces/parts located in odd places.

One oddity is the gas piston, which has three gas rings on it- a lot like the rings on an AR bolt. The SCAR's gas piston is very similar. The AUG's has a spring to return the piston to seated, which is a bit unusual.

The planned optic arrived today. That's a Vortex SPARC red dot. I put it on during cleaning. Lacking the QD mount's throw lever on the Aimpoint I had been using temporarily, there is a lot more room between the charging handle and the optic for my knuckles.

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Here is a negative, although it can be mitigated by training to a degree.

Within the space of 12", there is the magazine, pistol grip, trigger guard, and vertical foregrip hanging from the bottom. It gets kinda crowded. It's OK when shooting, but when slung and I make reach for it to bring it up, I may not hit the pg first. I've grabbed the magazine instead of the grip a couple of times and wrapped my hand around both the grip and trigger guard others.

Any rifle will move around some when slung, but with others you can keep groping until you hit the pg. With this one, you might hit the pg, or you might grip the magazine.

I'm using a 2-point sling, but I think it may be a single point type of carbine. The 2-point lets it slide around a little and vary in height. A single point will let it move more, but not so much vertically. I need some sort of adapter I don't have in order to attach a single point, though.

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  • 3 months later...

Three month (or so) report:

AUGs are different animals.

The negatives I've always heard about aren't so bad. I have found some small negatives, and some positives, that I haven't heard discussed before.

The biggest plus to me is balance. It's pretty neutral. I do a lot of single shots from the Ready position, and with my messed-up back, I can't do more than 10 shots from an AR without needing a break to stretch/twist/bend my back. With the AUG I can get through a 30-rd magazine without needing a break, and sometimes more.

Besides comfort, with my original intention of using it as a house gun, the neutral balance helps there. I can handle and shoot it one-handed, which lets me keep a hand free if necessary to manipulate doors, herd kids, use the 911 phone, etc.

The balance alone could justify keeping it.

Looking further, the usual negatives cited about AUGs or bullpups in general are the inability to shoot from the non-dominant side shoulder, poor triggers, slow mag changes, clumsy ergonomics, and possible dangers of having a cartridge going off by your face.

The chamber by the face used to worry me. I've seen blown rifles before, and while I've never seen a blown AUG, the thought still worried me.

With the AUG, the chamber isn't as far back as it appears. It's actually forward of my face, and using a squared-to-the-target stance gets it out a little more. This isn't to say a blown case or ruptured barrel won't cause injury, but it isn't right by my head like it appeared to be.

I suppose the argument could be made that the closed off AUG receiver won't direct a blast of gas toward the face like the AR's charging handle channel.

Contrary to what I've read and heard, it can be fired from the wrong shoulder. With my intended use as a house rifle and the various corners in the house, that was a concern. In standard config, if fired from the left shoulder, empty cases hit me in the nose. The Steyr "school solution" to this is to shoot it one-handed and place the other hand over the stock like shooting a belt-fed, using that hand as a case deflector. I tried it and caused a case to deflect right back into the ejection port causing it's only malfunction. Some fine tuning could correct that, but I'd rather not run the risk. I'd rather eat the brass.

And that's what I think I'd do. If I had to shoot from the wrong shoulder, I'd just take the brass in the face. Compared to what else would be going on in such situations, that's a small concern. I get hit in the face with brass in every carbine class and live.

Mag changes are slower than an AR, but not by a lot. The AUG mag gets inserted straight in until it seats/locks like an AR. Releasing it is what's harder. The catch (behind the mag) gets pressed into the stock to release it. The Speed Reload technique is to hit the catch with the fresh mag to release the old mag- sort of like on an AK except the AUG mag falls free on it's own. Or at least, all of my 42-rd mags fall free, and about half my 30-rd mags. Only one of the 30s dropped free at first, so they must be smoothing up. They will fall free with three or four rounds still in them, so they aren't far from falling free when empty.

Of course it's easier to punch a button while reaching for the fresh mag, but the AUG doesn't give us that luxury. I have to bring the fresh mag to the magwell anyway, so running it up the spine of the old mag until it hits the catch isn't that much slower. It is odd to do manipulations back there instead of up front, but if using a chest rig to carry mags, I am already working in that area retrieving the fresh mag.

FYI- The optional "NATO stock", that accepts AR magazines, uses the same mag catch as the standard AUG. I have read they have a button on the side, but they do not. The regular AUG catch actuates an internal catch that engages the AR mag's side notch.

Ergonomics. I've heard some complaints that "everything is in the wrong place" with AUGs, but aside from the magazine and mag catch, everything is pretty standard. The charging handle is located like an HK rifle or some others. I like it better there than as on an AR. To lock the bolt open, one can either draw back the charging handle and push on the bolt stop (similar to an AR's stop) which is rather awkward, or pull the handle back then turn it upward into it's notch in the receiver.

The charging handle is close to the optics rail. Care has to be used in choosing optics and mounts, or you will bang knuckles on the mount running the CH. There is an optional taller rail if needed.

The sliding crossbolt safety is easy to use and positive. I don't usually care for crossbolts, but this one is located so it's fine. The crossbolt has the only sharp edges on the exterior and I thought that would be a problem but it hasn't been yet.

The AUG trigger catches a lot of abuse. It is heavy. That part is true, but it's not the entire story. The rest of the trigger's characteristics are really good. There is very little slack, it doesn't catch or drag as it pulls, and the travel isn't too bad. I would prefer this 9-lb trigger than some I have at half the weight but having jerky motion and vague letoff.

I usually shoot if offhand at 50 and 100 yards, and I do just as well with it's trigger as with the other rifles I've been shooting regularly lately- Colt AR, FNH SCAR, and Browning 22 auto.

That takes care of the supposed negatives. Most of these were things I had against AUGs and other bullpups, but after working with it I don't see a problem. The mag changes are the biggest difference or drawback, but regarding that I pose this question:

The AUG 42-round magazine is reliable and costs only $2 more than a 30-rd. With a reliable and available 42-rd mag, how often will most people need to do a quick mag change in home defense cases?

Moving along...

Maintenance is easy. The barrel comes out in seconds. The action is gas piston operated, and is sort of like an M-1 Carbine gas system driving an AR bolt. The chamber area remains pretty clean, and lube stays in place. The bolt runs smoothly on dual steel rods that fit into steel bushings in the receiver.

I've had one malfunction- The case I caused to deflect back into the ejection port from my wrong shoulder hooting experiments.

It handles well. It comes on target easy. Shot to shot recovery is good.

I've tried several irregular shooting positions. Some can be hard to get into with some carbine configurations, and the AUG is far from standard configuration. They can cause malfunctions sometimes too, from the odd orientation and/or limited support that lets the rifle move too much.

Everything worked. Urban prone, supine prone, SBU prone, braced against barricades, held tight, held loose, etc. The biggest note here is watching support hand placement, because of the gas vent in the gas cylinder near the VFG. If rolled over on it's side, you can get your support hand over this vent and get a nice hot jet of powder gas blasted into you.

Before I got it, I had concerns over stock length. I've gotten used to collapsible stocks. I use them short to square up to the target, and adapting to heavy clothes. The AUG gives you no choice in length, and I didn't know how I'd like that. It has turned out to be OK. I don't notice it a all, even though the AUG's length of pull is longer than a collapsible AR stock when fully extended.

One thing I have yet to sort out is light mounting. For it's planned use, an attached light is a near-must. The AUG A3 has two rails: The long one on top, and a short piece on the right side of the receiver. Neither are ideal for light mounting. The top rail would seem best at first look, but a low mounted light will cast a shadow from the barrel being in the beam. This shadow lands right about hands-high if holding someone; hardly ideal. The side rail puts a light where the trigger finger can operate it, which is also less than ideal. I am either going to have to mount the light on the side and use a remote switch (with their exposed wires I hate) or clap on an extension rail, which I don't care for either. There are a couple of accessory rails that clamp around the VFG that I'll look at.

So there we are after about 3.5 months. It works fine, shoots fine, and handles fine. The negatives aren't so negative, and the positives are pretty good.

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks for the report, although it makes my blood boil...

The Austeyr is manufactured in the very town that I'm typing this from, and my chances of ever owning one are virtually nil/never.


During development of the "new" rifle, they closed the range regularly, all we knew was new grenade craters, and car doors with holes through them.

Rumour has that there's a 6/6.5mm variant in testing

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  • 4 months later...

News on the AUG front.

One thing I saw the Tavor had over the AUG was the 9mm conversion kit that was coming. Not that I think 9mm carbines are that useful if you already have the same rifle in 5.56, but I can shoot 9mm on the range behind my house. Doing that with a .223 is really too much. Plus, I can reload 9mm faster and cheaper on the Dillon using carbide dies, cast bullets, and under 1/4 the powder.

Steyr once had a 9mm conversion for the AUG, but they are very rare. Like at least 6-8000 dollars rare.

The biggest AUG expert and dealer says Steyr is going to make and sell some. About 2-3 months out.


The retail is a whopping $1399, but (1) that's retail and (2) it comes with everything except the receiver and hammer group. Three 25 round mags included also. Well, and (3) that's still a lot less than the $6-8000 number.

I'm guessing it will be about a grand. The Tavor 9mm conversion will be around $750 real world dollars.

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While in the subject of AUGs...

I was waiting to give an update after using it in another carbine match Saturday, but it has been cancelled. I have used it in a couple though.

It looks like I'm not getting to any classes this summer, so carbine matches had to do it for getting some close/fast work.

I like it. The bore line/sight line is just a little higher than an AR, so I have to watch that even more on close targets. Reloads are a little slower, but they don't happen very much. The short length has been really handy working around props/cover/ports/obstacles.

One match had a typical setup of us kneeling within a box forcing us to shoot through a barrel. Muzzle blast with flash hiders and comps stuck inside that barrel was awful. The AUG was short enough I could stay in the box and the muzzle didn't quite reach the barrel. Nice advantage.

Longer shots are OK if I can (or will) make myself concentrate on the trigger.

I've passed it around some, and people seem to like it. Some were like me, and didn't think much of them until they shot one.

Twice, it had failures to fire. The hammer fell on a live round with no bang.

Both of those times were with someone else shooting it, so I don't know if anything was wrong with their loading process or what it might be. Seems odd it only happened with first time AUG shooters though.

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  • 1 month later...

I've got one of the new A3s also. It's rapidly becoming my favorite rifle.

A few comments:

The throw lever on optics mounts is a problem. If you can reverse the mount, run it with the lever on the right. That will clear the CH and give you more room w/o busting your knuckles.

The mag release does take some getting used to, but you can run your hand up the back of the mag to give yourself a positive reference for position.

Index finger position and the safety. I keep my index finger high enough to feel the edge of the safety when the safety is off. If the safety were to be accidentally applied, I should feel it protruding, hopefully before I need to shoot.

The AUGs design is pretty impressive. There is a lot of steel in that little gun. All the bearing surfaces are steel. The barrel runs in a steel sleeve in front and the steel trunnion in back. The CH clips forward in a steel insert, as does the barrel latch. The operating rods are steel (not sure if stainless or hardchromed steel) and run in steel bushings in the receiver.


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I resisted reversing the mount on others, but gave in with the AUG. I wanted to keep the throw levers on the left to keep it like the others I have, but it was just too clumsy on the aug.

Everybody seems to reverse them on SCARs for the same reason, but the SCAR seems roomy after using the AUG so I have left it normal.

I usually change mags by hitting the mag catch with the new mag. The 42-rd works even better for this, being longer and having more momentum.

My 30-rd mags will seat when fully loaded and the bolt closed, but my 42s won't. Not all of them anyway. I typically load AR mags to 28 for the same reason, so loading the big AUG mags to "only" 40 or 41 is nothing.

I think a lot of people would be surprised at how much metal there is in an AUG.

Coming up on the one year mark with mine.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Trying to make up for years of AUG bashing:

The AUG mythbusting continues. I took my awkward handling, inaccurate, slow to change mags, impossible to shoot from the left shoulder, heavy triggered AUG to a carbine match yesterday.

First stage was a semi-precision stage. Six targets at 100 yards, about half obscured. I was the first to not have any failures to neutralize.

Must be the trigger.

Next stage was basically a shoot 'em as you see 'em stage as you move right to left. I fired eight rounds from the left shoulder around cover, and didn't even think about it until afterwards.

It's so hard to shoot from the left shoulder.

Next stage I blew. The previous stage had targets so close we had to hold high due to bore/sight offset. I did the same here when I didn't need to and struggled a bit before realizing it. I don't know if this was planned, but it got several of us.

Mandatory mag change in this stage. It was a non-factor.

Silly, slow to change mags, AUG.

Next to last stage- standing still, shoot a goofy complicated order for 18 rounds. Probably my best stage. Fastest time of the squad at a little over six seconds.

Silly awkward AUG.

Final stage. Short range precision shot. Hit a small triangle marked in the head if a target at about seven yards. Sight offset very important. Buzz. Bang. Got it.

Must be the trigger again.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 6 months later...

I've learned that the current model AUG has matched sales numbers of the original pre/ban AUGs (8,000 each).

I'm not sure what that means, but it stuck with me for some reason.

If I remember right, the original AUG started showing up here in early 1982. It was banned from importation in mid 1989. Just over seven years and 8,000 rifles.

The current A3 went on sale the last few days of August 2012, or 19 months ago. Selling four times as fast. Yay.

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  • 8 months later...
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  • 1 year later...

Sometimes I don't get people.   Yesterday I had a conversation that went something like this:


Other Guy: Nice AUG.  I went with the Tavor because it used AR mags.  


Me: You know you can get an AUG that uses AR mags, right?


Other Guy: Well, that's the MSAR or something like that; not a Steyr.  Anyway, they aren't made anymore  


Me:  No, you can get a Steyr that uses AR mags   Only the stock is different.  It's called the NATO stock.   You can buy the stock alone and swap it, or buy it with the NATO stock to start with   


Other Guy: Oh.  I wish I'd known that.  

(He was by then thinking it might be nice to have the option of using either mag.)


He's not the first.  I've had that conversation in public before, and I've seen it on the internet several times.  And that's what I don't get.   

Do these people do any research?

 If they had, they would know about the mags.   I could see them not knowing about it if it wasn't that important to them, but they made it clear taking AR mags was the deciding factor.   


They spent $1600 or more and didn't check enough to find this out?  Even with the recent additions, it's not like there is a huge number of 5.56 bullpups to look into.  

I usually do more research on a gun as the price rises.  Seems like a good plan.  Apparently it's not a universal one.


So as a public service since I've blabbed about the AUG here all this time, I thought maybe I'd better come back and update this thread.  So here it goes.


Attention, everyone.   Attention!   The Steyr AUG can be bought, or converted to, a configuration that uses AR/M16 type magazines.   


There.   You are aware.  If it saves but one...



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