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GUNS Magazine February 2010 - Page 26

™ • HOLT BODINSON • RETURN OF THE STEYR AUG The king of the bullpups still reigns supreme. hort, compact, odd-looking but distinctive, Steyr’s 5.56mm S AUG (Armee Universal Gewehr) has been the most successfully received of all the military bullpup designs. Adopted in 1978 by Austria, the AUG is the official arm of a number of countries, most notably Australia and New Zealand. The original semi-automatic model of the AUG was never imported in great quantity and was relatively pricey at the time when compared to Colt AR-15s selling for less than $800. of American troops. Designed in the 1970s at Steyr Mannlicher GmbH & Co., the AUG was conceived as a modular and ambidextrous 5.56mm rifle, carbine or light machinegun. Composed of six main components—the barrel, receiver group, bolt group, stock group, trigger group and magazine—the AUG can be disassembled into those modular components without tools in a minute. The key component in switching from let’s say, a rifle into a carbine, is the AUG quick-change barrel assembly. In seconds, you can pull a 20" rifle barrel and install a 16" carbine barrel. Similarly, to configure the AUG for a right- or left-handed shooter, you can change from right- or left-hand ejection by simply swapping out the bolt and the ejection port lids. The AUG is powered by a short-stroke, gas piston system which is adjustable to compensate for cold weather or severely fouled conditions. The 7-lug rotary bolt is carried and cammed into battery by a bolt carrier that reciprocates within the receiver on two hollow steel rods containing the return springs. Frankly, the AUG has been sorely missed in the milsurp stream for many years, and collector prices for existing examples have been approaching the stratosphere. Well, Steyr’s fixing that problem with the introduction of their new, semi-auto AUG/A3 SA USA, manufactured and assembled under contract by Sabre Defense Industries of ThelittleAUGspelledlightsoutforthisfawnkillingcoyote.Thecompactdesignhandled wellintheconfinesoftheblind. Nashville, Tenn. Picking up the new AUG reminds you just how ergonomic the overall design is. With an overall length of just 28" and weighing 7.8 pounds, the AUG has a handling dynamic all of its own. Your hands naturally cradle the stock. All the essential controls are at your finger tips, except for the magazine and magazine release. Once you’ve handled and shot an AUG, you realize just how much sense the bullpup design makes. Simplicity And Common Sense By virtually eliminating the buttstock and replacing it with the receiver itself, the design immediately shrinks the overall length of a rifle or carbine by at least 7" to 10". When you’re loaded down with body armor, a backpack and munitions and probably cramped up inside a Humvee or chopper, a compact weapon is a distinct advantage. It’s no accident the telescoping-stocked M4 has emerged as the hands down favorite Synthetics In the construction of the AUG, Steyr has made maximum use of synthetics and composites. The stock is molded from a fiberglass-reinforced polymer. The receiver is made from a steel-reinforced aluminum extrusion, and the modular Withanoveralllengthofjust28",theAUGisahandyvarmintcallingcarbine.TheAUGfeaturesright andleftejectionportstoaccommodaterightandleft-handedshooters.Thecombinationflashhider/ muzzlebrakeisbotheffectiveandloud. 26 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • FEBRUARY 2010

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