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View Full Version : So it's not a FAL but...


TheRex
December 12, 2009, 15:21
I thought there might be one or two people interested that aren't on arfcom so...

And bought a brandy new MSAR STG-E4 from Ratworx. Picked it up from my FFL last week.

See, I'd been saving for an ACR. I've done the AR-15 thing but I've always put them together myself, and I really wanted something compact, piston powered, (nothing against DI, I'm just lazy about cleaning) and firing .223. I converted a Saiga .223 to "tide me over" until the ACR came out, hated it. Then I kicked around a Sig556, but the QC horror stories, the extreme front heaviness, and the 'tarded ergos kept me away. (Seriously, I know some people can reach the mag release, but I think even Mr. Fantastic would have difficulty.) I kept waiting and waiting on the ACR, saving my pennies, and waiting. I never really considered any bullpups simply because they were:
A: completely out of my price range
B: Didn't take STANAG mags (in MSAR's case) OR
C: Were stupid looking. (I'm looking at YOU F2000)

Then came this insane sale and the E4, addressing concerns 1&2 about the MSAR, and with still no ACR on the Horizon (oh well there's always MW2) I felt it prudent to gettin the MSAR while the gettin' was good. And lemme tell you, the gettin' is *real* good.

First off, let me just say that Bill @ Ratworx is awesome. I was actually dreading the process of buying a firearm "online", and Bill made it completely painless, and gave me a freakin' fantastic deal. I simply could not have asked for a better transaction from his end, and my FFL as always exceeded my expectations.

I'd held both an STG-556 and an E4 at local funstores before I placed my order. (With 1000 extra bucks on the price tag, in both cases). I liked the way it felt, and it so unbelievably short that I wondered why I hadn't considered it before (oh yeah, A & B). So I talked to Mrs. Therex and placed my order with Bill for a 16" Black, railed E4 with 10 mags. (5 translucent, 5 black):
http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g271/MMRex/Rexopolis/IMG_0401.jpg

This thing is sweet as hell. I know some people don't like the "AR grip bump", but it fits me just fine. Comfortable. Everything seems very tight, but the barrel came off without drama (holy crap! The barrel comes off!) and I'm hoping that after a couple of strips everything else will come out smooth as well. Lucky me, my gas cylinder is marked with a "grenade" setting but I don't know if I can actually turn it there, because I didn't try.

But it's little touches that impressed me with MSAR. Like this:
http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g271/MMRex/Rexopolis/IMG_0399.jpg
They put a shoot-through muzzle protector on the FH. They didn't have to. I've bought lots of guns, (even ones backed in styrofoam that I had to clean snowman turds out of the barrels) and I've never had a manufacturer bother with something like that. I'd already heard great things about MSAR, but little touches like that seem to indicate to me that MSAR, you know, actually gives a shit.

There are a few bad things. The mags don't drop free. Not really a big deal for me, as I plan on "retaining" my mags, but the button is awfully hard to push with my thumb when I'm "grabbing" the spent mag...I hope it loosens up some over time. The charging handle also kind of sucks, but there's already a thread on that here, and I'm probably going to replace it with an A1 CH in the near future. But really, you should only have to charge it once, right? And it's still eleventy million times better than an AR's CH (my biggest complaint about the AR's ergos). I wonder if a FAL-ish "round" charging handle wouldn't do pretty well on this. On the other hand, dry firing is absolutely no worse than my 'mil trigger' AR, and I'm sure with a trigger tamer will actually be a passable trigger. Honestly for all the bitching about bullpup triggers, I fully expected some mushy sponge-y POS trigger, but this is definitely NOT that. It is not a Match trigger and probably never will be but its definitely not the worst trigger I've got. I also like the 1/8 twist. If you ask me (internet fiiiiiiiiiight) 1/8 is the best compromise, and I'm really glad MSAR chose it...

As I mentioned, I also got 10 mags. I'm pretty impressed by these, they seem to be good quality, and they (empty, anyway) drop free from my AR, so I anticipate buying more of these if I need more mags (like I don't already have a zillion but you can never have too many mags, amirite?)
Here's a decent picture of the translucent mag, loaded with 30 PMC's:
http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g271/MMRex/Rexopolis/IMG_0406.jpg

Now, unlike a window'd pmag once your mag is a little more than half empty you won't be "glancing" to see how many you have, but it's a piece of cake to at-a-glance tell a full mag from a partially loaded mag, and if you're really curious you can always drop your mag and see how many are left. Pretty awesome! And they seem to be sturdy and well-built, and I like the floor plates, which require two buttons to be depressed before the floorplate will come off. You can see a black one here: (as well as the two buttons on the floor plate)
http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g271/MMRex/Rexopolis/IMG_0396.jpg
And the follower:
http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g271/MMRex/Rexopolis/IMG_0397.jpg

If anyone cares it came well packed:
http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g271/MMRex/Rexopolis/IMG_0393.jpg
In this stylish box:
http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g271/MMRex/Rexopolis/IMG_0392.jpg

It also came with a lock, an allen wrench for the ninja rails, and a QD Sling adapter, which I thought was a really nice touch. It's just another little thing they COULD have charged for, and didn't.

For 1350 shipped to my FFL, I think this is pretty much one of the best deals out there. It was certainly the most money I've *ever* spent on a firearm, but I do feel like it was money well spent. Not to beat the dead horse around here, but frankly my initial impressions are inline with everyone else's. It really strikes me as a fantastic firearm, and with the "Black Friday" sale, it was also a great deal.

Range report will follow as soon as I can get there, but I have a grad school project due on tuesday, so I probably won't get to it until next week.

If anyone around here cares. ::crickets::

hedp
December 12, 2009, 16:25
Very nice. The recent sales on the MSAR's is definitely one of the best deals going in guns lately.

Squint
December 12, 2009, 19:01
Love mine. The mag changes get easier with practice. You just tilt the bottom of the rifle about 25 degrees towards you, grasp the mag with your palm and 4 fingers and press the mag release with your thumb.

After stripping the rifle a few times things loosen up a little. The trigger gets better after a couple of hundred rounds also.

lightning 351
December 12, 2009, 22:34
nice gun!and yeah,ratworx is the way to go.i got my aug a3 from them.GREAT PEOPLE TO BUY FROM!!!!

Falkov
December 12, 2009, 22:56
Yeah, I just got one too. I was gonna stick w/ my STG556 gen 3- just ordered those mags at insame price. But, then I came across a lightly used E4 for the price of new STG556 gen IV currently on sale, so I had to grab it.

So far, I am impressed w/ the E4 especially the new design bolt release, glad I jumped on that deal. I like it even more than my STG556, except no cool 42 rds mags.

MSAR CS has been good w/ me - no, nothing wrong w/ my STG556, just the concern and they took care of it nicely.

PASHOOTER
December 13, 2009, 08:30
Nice rifle. I think its time to sell some things to get one.

Savary
December 15, 2009, 18:17
Thats bad ass...
I'm jonesing for one of those.

I wonder how much an extra 20" barrel would be?

Squint
December 16, 2009, 14:45
I can't find anybody selling the 20" barrel. Ratworx was asking around $500 for a spare 16" Blah!

mp
December 17, 2009, 04:06
CDNN has the STG556 Rail Model, 16 or 20 inch barrel, for $999.99......

Valmet78
December 17, 2009, 18:52
Really makes me wish I had kept my original 80's version. A whopping 700 bucks with 14 mags. Traded it for a Galil, which I should also have kept. There's a lot of crap I wish I had kept, come to think of it :)

Nice weapon, BTW

DrDremel
December 17, 2009, 20:31
Well That was a great write up. I was thinking of the STG556 but being able to use AR mags is worth it. I'm not sure I like the finger groove but the rest looks good.

TheRex
December 19, 2009, 22:41
Hey thanks. If I didn't have so many AR mags I'd definitely go with the STG556, I mean a grand? No brainer.

You guys might be interested in a range follow up:

So I got out to the "range". AKA, my buddy's back yard. My friends and I had bought my buddy's son a Rem 597 for his birthday, and since we were there presenting it to him, we thought "Eh, might as well pop off a couple."

Before I went though, I decided to strip and clean the MSAR. Following the wonderful sticky above and the MSAR manual, I had the thing in it's major assemblies in no time. The barrel of course came out without drama, and I found the "receiver lock" really simple to push so long as I put the buttstock on my knee, added some downward pressure to the top of the receiver, and pressed in the lock. Once the lock was pressed, I just let the bolt fly home a couple times, and the receiver came out. Then I grabbed my tube of grease and lubed everything I thought would move, even though it was pretty well lubed already. (Gas piston excepted). Put it all back together (again, no drama) and shoved it into my Wolf rifle case to head out.

Shooting in a field was alot of fun, but had some serious disadvantages. Since I ordered the railed MSAR, I needed to zero my scope. But it was rainy and muddy and we had no benches or chairs or anything. So I put an el-cheapo .223 chamber laser in the chamber and set up on my "bipod":
http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g271/MMRex/Rexopolis/rr1.jpg

I used that to get on the paper, and then the laser promptly broke. :( Not sure it was all that good to begin with, but it did it's job for me. Then we could get to shooting.

Wow. This thing is freakin' nice. Everyone who shot it loved the thing. Quick followup, like zero recoil, and good ergos considering it's not adjustable. From tall and lanky to short and 11 years old, everyone was able to get a good cheek weld and hit the paper as fast as they could pull the trigger. Can't really speak to groups though. They were "good enough" but with my zeroing procedure above, unknown range to the target, and no place to sit, this wasn't the time to really see how tight I could get a group. Another time.
http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g271/MMRex/Rexopolis/rr2.jpg

One thing that was really notable was the ejection pattern. Basically, I had a volunteer act as a brass deflector so all my (pristine) brass simply fell to their feet. If we'd had a 5 gallon bucket, I bet we could have put all the brass in the bucket. It was actually a little silly. I could not be more pleased. The trigger isn't bad. It's got alot of takeup but once you've pulled the slack out, it's very crisp and clean, and I'd say about the same effort as my GI AR trigger. Honestly, I can't complain about it. If you're worried about "bullpup trigger" from this rifle, don't. Just buy one.

We did, however, have a malfunction. Our esteemed host didn't insert his magazine with authority, and the bolt rode over the rounds for a nice jam. I thought it might be the mag (it was the translucent MSAR mag) since nobody else had any problems. When he handed me the rifle I tugged on the mag and out it came, no pushing on the mag release. I gave it a good smack, heard the click, and finished off that mag without issue. That was our only malfunction of the day.

Complaints:
I don't have any major ones, to be honest. I don't like the flash hider, but only because I think it's ugly:
http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g271/MMRex/Rexopolis/IMG_0400.jpg

I'm also not sure about the sling mount on the front. I didn't run into any problems (I have a viking tactical 2 point) but I wasn't exactly under any stress either. This isn't really MSAR's problem, as they gave me the freedom to put a sling mount damn near any damned place I want, but I'm lazy and I'll use what's there. I can definitely see getting caught up in the charging handle, but it didn't happen. We'll see.

A third complaint is that this entire rifle is shorter than my 20" upper. That's absurd! Silly! Ludicrous! I don't know what black voodoo quantum witchcraft is going on at MSAR but it makes me nervous! http://www.ar15.com/images/smilies/smiley_abused.gif

Anyway, color me impressed. I love this thing. I wait with bated breath for a 6.8 conversion package and the Archangel pistol. I really want to hunt with it, but the commies over at DGIF have decided that for whatever reason, 6mmX45 would be OK but 5.56 isn't. Never mind that it creates 3 times the minimum energy they require, and that hunters all over the country have no problems... :(

K.O.A.M.
December 22, 2009, 08:37
I'm favorably impressed by the MSAR E4 magazines. They work in my SCAR and AR's. I'd buy more if I could get them.

kfeltenberger
December 24, 2009, 19:37
I recently bought one from Ratworx as well. Mine's an OD 20" E4 and the transaction went as easy as any purchase I've made. The folks at Ratworx are top notch and the support from MSAR, before, during, and after the sale is something that every company, not just firearms companies, but every company should look at to see "how it's done."

The balance is about perfect and I really like that I can have a 20" barreled rifle in the same size as a 14.5" M4 with the stock collapsed.

I called Ratworx yesterday and ordered 25 more amber XM-30 mags. They have them if you want them, $9.50 though the end of the year.

TheRex
January 11, 2010, 20:26
So, I shot a round at a local range, and being my first multigun match, I was under stress and forgot what happens when you shoot weak hand with a bullpup and don't deflect brass somehow.

Hot brass. In my face. Fun. I guess I won't do it twice, lol.

TJ
January 12, 2010, 22:52
Here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouvg3J0JQEQ

geeko9mm
January 14, 2010, 12:57
Anyone has Ratworx contact info. I am insterested now :D

kfeltenberger
January 14, 2010, 13:04
Here you go!

Ratworx Web Site (http://www.ratworxusa.com/)

MalcS
January 16, 2010, 11:49
I got mine STG-556 from Budsgunshop.com a couple of weeks back for $982 shipped for an OD, no optic rifle with a 20" barrel, 10 round mag and LEFT HANDED. (I'm right handed but shoot rifles lefty, go figure).

Ratworx didn't have any left handed guns and wanted about $150 extra for a left handed bolt, so I went with Buds for the rifle and ordered a selection of 30/42 round mags from Ratworx in their sale.

I see Ratworx appear to be out of stock on the optic versions of the STG-556 and the E4 as of now.

As far as Buds goes - I got what I ordered in a timely fashion at the quoted price, so that worked OUT ok. Others seem to have varying opinions about them...

MalcS
January 24, 2010, 13:08
and there it is...with a Burris 2-7x26 scope, trigger tamer, aftermarket (lower height) rail and a purpose designed STG-556 sling on the way.

Guess I should shoot it...

http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm89/gremlin556/stg556-right-sm.jpg

http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm89/gremlin556/stg556-left-sm.jpg

Gopher
February 10, 2010, 23:48
I got one of Bud's black, 16" left hand scoped models for $1100. I very pleased with the fit and finish. I did the Armorall trick on the trigger group and used Tetra lube on the rest of the moving parts. I'm not sure I'm going to need a trigger tamer. Since it only came with a 10 rd magazine, I ordered a 20, a 42 and 5-30 rd amber mags from Ratworx. I'll probably order more if their sale stays on.
The STG is about an inch shorter than the FS2000, which, BTW I really like. They take a little getting used to but its a natural pointer, very accurate and is the only .223 that I can think of that can be fired meaningly from one hand.
I do like the tulip muzzle break, it fits the charactor of the gun IMO.