The MSAR STG-556: A Gun You Never Even Knew Existed

Behold, the MSAR STG556 a marvel of “can we fix it? No its fucking broken”. Something nobody expected, nobody asked for and evidently nobody even wanted. The unfortunate tale of a knife company selling two thousand dollar knives thinking they could produce, market, and sell a one thousand dollar inferior alternative to the world’s leading rifle platform (the Armalite model 15). Did they succeed? No they cloned the highly successful Steyr AUG platform, changed it a little and didn’t produce enough replacement parts to make it work. Proprietary nightmare hell proved to be too much and with little sales they went under in 2015. The knives are great though, nothing wrong there but Microtech is NOT a gun company. The STG-556, although a failure, produced a bunch of interesting systems. They experimented with pistol calibers and STANAG pattern magazines. It was an honest attempt at a home-grown firearm to rival the AR-15 platform but fell short due to price point, quality, and other glaring issues. As much shit as I can talk about the company, the idea and the system itself is an interesting tale. We’ll take a closer look at the actual platform as I’ve owned one since 2010. Now lets take it apart for your pleasure. Note: I am also featuring a “rare” rail system that I have no idea of the story behind, where to buy one or what it’s even made of. I will not take it off to show the front end of the barrel (albeit the barrel is more of a work of art if anything) but you can clearly see whats under it because they actually designed it for the MSAR system itself. These are also years old and have never been touched up for quality purposes.

Starting with the whole shebang. I’ve practiced shooting with this rifle and found that everything pictured here gave me optimal control over the rifle itself with superb accuracy out to 300 yards. Aside from that, I am either too blind or don’t care nearly enough to even bother shooting further distances. While it looks like the military original, this clone is NOT to be beaten on. The first bump and its out of battery never to recycle again. The process of relocating the round internally is a nightmare akin to searching for a stray of hay in a needle stack.

This tri-AX rail system is a gift from the gods. It holds rails in places I didn’t think even needed rails, but clearly it does for that 4-sided optimal mounting pleasure rod we see on every AR-15 variant ever conceived. With this rail I was able to mount a flashlight at 12 O’clock and a strange blue AFG at 6 O’clock making for a superior thumb-over-bore grip system that I could only describe as self pleasuring. It really did help muzzle control actually, and the rail is light. The STG-556 is well balanced when loaded but admittedly, the optic included with the rifle did add some extra weight towards the front. The charging handle, however, is questionable. It’s small and only works if your hand is facing outward, requiring your pinky to charge the rifle. Although, it does feature a lock back AND a rear bolt catch like the AR-15, so in all honesty if you are using the charging handle more than once then you are doing it wrong.

As you can see, there are rails on every side. Why? Because we really want to pretend we have the modularity of the AR-15. Note: that is the gas port in the cut out. It’s great for left handed shooters to blow hot gasses into their hands with. It’s not designed for left handed shooters. Even if you can switch to a left handed bolt and opening, it still doesn’t favor them at all. You can adjust for heavier rounds with the gas system by pushing the button out and then twisting it. But after trying that with several loads of 55 grain, 65, .223, 5.56 they all subsequently failed to make any difference, and even subsonics wouldn’t work right. Nothing worked so.. just don’t touch it, she’s sensitive!

Here are the ‘lazor’ engravings that match cave drawings or soviet WW2 tooling. Sure, just cut into the plastic and hope for the best, we guess. Its heavily rubbed out. The magazine-well is part of the stock itself, which contains the vital functions of the platform. The STG-556 had a few experiments with this where they converted it to STANAG pattern magazines and glock magazines in 9mm and .45. The idea being to make the most caliber modular abomination they possibly could. The AUG its self attempted that system with magazine inserts which were vastly more successful. The magazine release is a bit of a pain to use in the heat of a reload as it’s an unnatural direction. I never enjoyed using it that way. Some people even tip their rifles up while attempting to reload in order to offset this. Why? Because bullpups have “bad triggers”. STG-556 does take genuine AUG magazines (which are amazing) but after 20 rounds loaded it does have feeding issues. MSAR magazines do not fit in AUGs properly but they are gifts from the gods too. I’ve never had the pleasure of better magazines in my life, and will vouch for them personally. I would convert my AR to accept MSAR magazines if I could.

On this side you can see the operational bits. From left to right: The take down bar, ejection cover (for right or left side ejections), bolt catch and release, magazine release, rear pin and sling swivel, rear plate and butt. It’s pretending to operate like an AR-15 but still just doesn’t get there.

Inside the chamber there is a ton of room. Not great for military application but pretty good for civilian use I guess? Yes that is wolf .223, its favorite food.

Takedown is a rather simple process. First you push this pin into its weird socket and twist the barrel out. The entire barrel comes out with everything on it.

This puts their quality into perspective, honestly. They really went above and beyond with these barrels. Looks like a work of art if anything. (No, the rail system doesn’t come off easily, it’s staying there).

Here is a closer look at the previously mentioned gas system. Complex and tiny.

This is where mine had problems. The headshield locking bar has 2 different metric screws for some odd reason (hard to tell because of old pictures) and the bar itself started to warp due to mag dumping 900 rounds at a time when its simply not designed to take a beating. Good luck finding replacement parts, pro-tip buy a whole new rifle.

Pop the takedown bar by smashing it like the Subscribe button on YouTube.

Next this entire thing just comes right out. Holds the heat shield and other parts in place. Nothing too complex about it, as it’s just a giant hunk of metal.

This piece holds the bolt carrier group, piston, charging rod? Piston? And the charging handle itsself. This cannot be switched to accommodate the right side which I further question why they bothered to make this an “ambidextrous” device. It’s not, stop being left-handed.

Yes MSAR, we know it’s yours, you don’t have to stamp everything like California does.

Next you push in and twist.

Out comes the confetti! Its a simple pin system like a jigsaw puzzle. Good for you you took it apart, not put it back together.

The butt plate comes out by pushing on it in the middle and pulling out the previously mentioned sling swivel. They really dual purposed some of these. The butt plate comes out to reveal the trigger box. The front and rear on this stock are separate worlds really.

This is an interesting system and I wish they made more devices that used something like this. It’s half plastic and weighs nothing yet feels robust and durable. Easy to clean and makes sense. I believe this is directly cloned from the AUG.

And here it is. All the parts of the MSAR taken out. The parts not shown here are actually built into the chassis (stock?) and I didn’t take those out. Like, comment, subscribe or just call me a faget.

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8 Responses

  1. Devin says:

    I owned one. Never cycled, always short stroked with rounds going nose up and gashes on the casing…. No matter the gas setting. Then the stock and frame fit so loose it moved constantly while looking through an optic. Sent it back and they replaced with the updated frame. Slightly fixed it but still never cycled no matter the ammo or gas setting. Traded for a Tavor SAR. So glad to be rid of it.

  2. Adrian E. says:

    I have had one since they first came out. It has never given me a problem other than when brass ejected it would hit the brim of my hat and bounce off my cheek. I bought a new Ratworx bolt and now it ejects forward. The Ratworx bolt uses standard AR-15 parts and worth every penny. I also replaced the cocking piece and sleeve with Ratworx parts and this rifle just chugs along eating everything I put through it. Except steel case ammo. I never run steel case ammo In anything but my Polytech Legend. Rumor has it that MSAR bolts and extractors break on steel cases.

  3. HB says:

    I’m baffled by all the b*tching. I’ve had one of these for ten years now, and it has never once given me a problem. I’ve never replaced a part and plinked 4 inch steel plates with it at 200 yards just last week. I’ve run thousands of rounds through it with nothing more than cleaning. I’m also left handed and have zero complaints. I’m not taking the gun to war; it’s a range toy.

  4. Robert A Williams says:

    Elias, my name is Robert Williams (719) 651-5050.
    I am the inventor of the Tri-Ax rail system. Thank you so much for your kind words regarding our product

    • Tyler says:

      Mr. Williams.

      I’m quite curious about the Tri-Ax rail system. Are they still avail for the MSAR? I’d like to purchase one ASAP if possible.

  5. P says:

    I have the last version the E-4 that takes ar15 mags. It has been a great rifle. There were some teething issues when the STG556 first came out but by the last versions all the bugs got worked out. Lots of Steyr and AR fanboys talk a lot of crap about the rifle but everyone I have met with a later version really like the rifle.

    • Earl D Petit says:

      I agree I have the later Model E 4 absolutely love it I own a P90 & a Tavor I love the way the msar suits to my shoulder mine came with the top flat rail it took me two years to find an optic I love the optic it’s one of the good ones I paid for it but man it looks so damm sexy

  6. Pharaun159 says:

    I work for a company that microtech offloaded this project to after they got in over their head. Microtech tried to just measure and recreate with tighter tolerances. That was a bad call. We ended up having to completely re-engineer the entire weapon, scrapping most of the work the microtech had intlitially done. Our engineers got it figured out and made some great weapons. By the time they did however, too much initial setup cost untimatly canked the project

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