New from IWA: Astra MG556 5.56 Semi-Auto Rifle

We love our readers. No really, we do. You send us lots of great stuff from all the tradeshows around the world. One of your eagle-eyed kin spotted the upcoming Astra MG556 5.56 semi-auto rifle. Externally very similar to the M249 SAW or FN MiniMi, the Astra is a closed-bolt weapon that feeds from the magazine port only.


Features include a heavy-chromed 1/7 twist barrel, using a gas piston, rotating bolt operation. The stock folds to the side and the weapon comes equipped with a bipod.

Unfortunately, the machine-gun look-alike is only a gun. The MG556 is semi-automatic only.

Retail is expected around 4,900 Euros. No word on expected release date other than “Coming 2016”. Rest assured we’re keen to follow the weapon until its launch.

Thanks Enrico for the tip and photos!

Earlier today we received an email from the CEO of Astra with some additional information. As he said he would like to provide additional information for our readers. We appreciate his providing this information.

First of all, i know that a machine gun not beltfed and closed bolt looks castrated, but in the 95% of European countries is forbidden, for this reason we decided to make a universal model for commercial market of our military version.
To make the semiauto version we have completely redesigned the system, that now works similar to an AR. As you write is a semiauto rifle with a MG look.
The stock is not foldable, is fixed (like the original Minimi) since there is a buffer and buffer spring inside.
The MRSP of commercial version is 4.500 EUR, +/- $5.000.
The delivery is planned before Christmas. There will be also a version in .222 Remington for Spanish market.
In Swiss commercial market will be also available the standard version, full auto, open bolt, beltfed. That will be delivered with 3 barrels. Will be exactly the same version that we are selling on MLE market, with both barrel length options, 18.3″ and 13.7″. But the price is not yet established.

The Astra products (StG4, MG556 and SL203), in European commercial market, will be distributed through our representative Prima Armi in Italy.

Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • Tahoe

    Too bad it only feeds from a magazine…let’s hope it feeds better than a SAW from a magazine, though.

    • Southpaw89

      I’ve heard that that was a rate of fire issue, as in too fast for the mag to keep up with, so in theory, it should work fine in a semi only model.

  • JumpIf NotZero

    So 1/2 the price of the FN, probsbly the same 17-20lbs, for a gun that will constantly try and remind what it isn’t.

    • Jambo

      Rifle PT, bro. If I were them, I’d sell it as a tactical workout program. All the mallninjas would buy.

      • JumpIf NotZero

        PS90X, Crossfit 762,

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    I can think of cooler things to drop 6 K on.

  • Xanderbach

    Just picked up a ’66 Oldsmobile Holiday Coupe for $600… Can’t picture spending $6K for something just as useless, if not more so.

  • Bigbigpoopi

    Can it least have the two-shot from the Mini 14 w/staple (and the new AR trigger) ?

  • iksnilol

    So… Lemme get this right:

    It’s a beltfed machinegun that’s neither a machinegun nor beltfed? But it does have the weight and lack of precision that a machinegun has?

    All this for only 6k!? Where do I sign up for one?

    • Wetcoaster

      I feel like you could probably achieve similar results by adding weights to a normal .223 semi-auto rifle and then taking a dremel to your crown

      • iksnilol

        It’d be cheaper as well.

  • Daniel M. Ramos

    Wait a minute, is this supposed to be the silly-villian version of the IMI Negev 5.56 machine gun? Am I to get this right, they took away all of the cool feed options and they expect it to sell? I don’t get it. Why not just take a regular IMI Negev and ship it with one of those fancy semi-auto triggers that allows you to shoot really pew-pew fast and keep the ability to feed from a belt, galil, or STANAG magazines?