Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Review - Classic Army Steyr-Mannlicher AUG A1 (Part 1&2) (Note: 56K Death)
After finally crumbling to buying a primary (after trying to buy at least eight, and failing to jump at the right time...), and waiting for Yick Fung International Ltd. to produce AUG A2's, I settled and managed to wrangle down one of the first two Classic Army AUG's in Canada.
Introduction: Say Hello To The New AUG
The AUG, or Armee Universal Gewehr is one of the first modern bullpup assault rifles rifle. First produced in 1977 by Steyr-Mannlichter of Austria, it is currently in use by countries around the world such as Australia (as the F88 Austeyr) and Austria (as the StG-77).
For those not in the know; the classic design of the bullpup places the magazine behind the trigger, allowing the maximum amount of barrel in the shortest space. In the AUG A1 they manage to cram a 510mm (M16-length) 6.08mm barrel into a gun roughly the size of a M4.
The design of the gun is a classic example of the bullpup assault rifle, whereby the magazine is loaded behind the grip, allowing the maximum barrel length into the smallest space. With the AUG, a 510mm barrel (M16 equivalent) is put into a gun that is about as long as a M4. Admittedly, loading and going prone with it is a bit awkward, but Toastmaster (the owner of the other AUG) and I have found it decently comfortable.
Weight: 3300 g (Note: TM’s AUG A1 is 3400 g)
Barrel Length: 510 x 6.08mm Brass Barrel
Magazine Capacity: 330 Rd Hi-Cap (CA/TM), 80 Rd Lo-Cap (TM), BE/Elephant Mags have been confirmed to fit.
Scope: 1.5x Magnification, Crosshair Recticle
Mechbox: Version 3-Type? 7mm Oily Gear Metal Gearbox
Rumours and Speculation:
Before the release, there were a number of rumours spreading about concerning the rifle, amongst the chief rumours were:
-The A1 would be actually made out of the same composite materiel as the real gun.
-The A1 would feature actual Steyr-Mannlichter trademarks.
-The A1 would entirely fix the hopup/loading nozzle problems.
-The A1 would feature a reinforced front foregrip/handle.
-The A1 would be able to fit a large size battery.
To clairify: The AUG A1 is not made out of the same composite materiel as the real gun; for evident price reasons it is made out of fibreglass with internal plastic components. It does feature trademarks (procured through ASG of Sweden), and the majority of the loading nozzle problems have been fixed (see below). From what I have read of the TM foregrip, the CA is a bit better, yet will probably still break with useage, and the battery problem is still an issue (see below).
What's In The Box?
When I recieved the gun from a group order, it was packed firmly into a styrofoam case with nothing much more than the highcap (loaded into the gun already), the sight adjustment tool (more on that later), and a barrel cleaner. Plus some pamphlets and the Volume 5 CA Catalogue. Nothing really out of the ordinary, but for those who are thinking of obtaining lowcaps; the lack of a loading rod may cause problems.
What does it look like?
The rifle itself is fairly attractive to those who don’t suffer from bullpup-phobia, and while it is rough along the mould lines (no mould lines present, but the sanding job is a bit rough), the upper receiver could do with some work as there is a considerable amount of rough patches and unsanded mould lines. Two areas were still left somewhat unfinished on our guns; the gas regulator and a c-shaped washer on the flash hider both were left chrome. Overall nothing too distracting, more of a minor nitpick.
There are only a few markings on the rifle itself; the Steyr-Mannlichter trademark symbol (licence from the ASG in Sweden) on the right-side is sort of embossed on a slightly raised area, and a non-unique serial number is very faintly stamped onto the right-side chamber cover. Further back near the sling point a ‘CLASSIC ARMY MADE IN HONG KONG AUG’ embossment is done almost exactly like the Tokyo Marui version.
The finish is actually quite nice, more of a dull matte OD/Olive green, and the black is a matte black with a somewhat gritty feel to it. After seeing the ‘shiny’ apperanance of a used TM AUG, I’m somewhat pleased to own the CA.
How it feels...
The AUG itself is a very well balanced rifle, almost all of the weight when held horizontally is over the trigger hand, which makes for somewhat awkward use of the front foregrip. Very easy to shoulder, and although the sling points are in somewhat poor locations, I find the easiest way to sling the rifle is a simple two point.
After handling various rifles, shotguns, SMG’s and handguns, the AUG is a godsend for solidity. There are no creaks or rattles, and the cocking handle does make a satisfying noise (although sometimes it gets caught on the backwards pull).
The foregrip is made out of the same materiel as the rest of the AUG, and has a metal (stronger than TM) pin inside. At the beginning there was very little play from side to side, although now that it gets used a bunch more, there is more play in all directions. Not loose, but a bit wobbly, it’s still strong enough to lift by the front carry handle. And again; it still makes the familiar ‘twang’ noise when it’s set in a position and the diagonal position is very loose (although we’re still contemplating what the diagonal position is for).
One of the grips I have with the rifle (no fault to CA) is the low profile of the sight that basically makes the 1.5x magnification scope totally impossible to use with my paintball goggles on. Toastmaster who uses a mesh type can see decently well, but doesn’t use the scope that much. On top of the scope is a set of rudimentary pistol-style sights offset to the right because of the odd placement of a third diagonal knob that serves no purpose on the scope (the other two adjust the scope).
The rifle is comfortable enough to hold, and surprisingly works well when moving prone, although reloading while prone is a bit more awkward than those used to M4/M16’s, but the same goes for reloading while standing or crouched; it just takes some getting used to.
Takedown of the rifle is fairly simple; simply remove the magazine (ensuring that no bb’s are still in the loading nozzle as it may damage it) push the takedown button until it clicks in the open position and pull the entire receiver and barrel assembly out. Locking the charging handle in the rearward position and pushing down on the barrel takedown lever allows the barrel assembly to twist slightly, and then releases forwards. Be careful when doing this as I have snapped the hopup unit in this process.
In the beginning, the rifle’s takedown button was hard to push in (strangely hard), but now that I’ve oiled it slightly, and reversed the direction it needs to go, I have no problems in taking down the rifle. It’s not easy; but it’s not overly difficult.
To takedown the barrel unit itself (something that a bunch of rumours failed to note) is quite simple. Remove the pin that the foregrip slides up and down on, making sure that you have your hand on the bottom of it, and allow the spring to release. First time I did this I spent half an hour trying to find the spring from the grip as it flew off into the corner of my room. Underneath this assembly is a screw (the same that holds the flash suppressor on) that will allow the barrel unit to just pull out.
Another few things to note are that the covers (butt plate and extraction port cover) are made of some durable rubber. They can be switched (along with the sling points reportedly) from side to side allowing for maximum ambidexterity and flexibility.
Edit: 08/20/06 - I'm going to be taking better photographs of the AUG.
Rumours and Speculation...
And the Flaws...