Steyr AUG Field Strip

The Steyr AUG (Armee Universal Gewehr) is a fantastic bullpup known the world over for its reliability and distinctive look. The rifle really does have some great features, and in this video we take it apart to try and show what makes this gun so unique.

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Transcript …

– Hey guys, it’s Alex C. with TFBTV and for today’s field-strip, we’re going to be taking a look at a Steyr AUG or AUG, if you prefer.

AUG, standing for Armee-Universal-Gewehr, or Universal Army Rifle, if you’re speaking English like I am.

Anyways, the AUG’s the most successful, most well-designed bullpup of all time.

It speaks for itself.

It has a great track record, it was adopted in 1977 as the Sturmgewehr 77 in Austria, it’s been adopted by Ireland, Australia as the Thales F88, and New Zealand and several other countries as well.

It’s a spectacular gun to shoot.

In my opinion it is king of the bullpups and its sales and track records speak for itself.

So anyways let’s get on with the field trip.

It is called the Universal Army Rifle because of features like this where you can remove the barrel, not just for cleaning, but there is a light machine gun version that fires from the open bolt, so your light machine gunner can change barrels when his barrel gets too hot, making it very suitable as a one-size-fits-all rifle for a military.

So this one I like to let the bolt group forward and press this button located on the rear of the lower receiver.

Then you can remove your upper receiver and bolt carrier group.

And go ahead and slide the bold carrier group right out of there.

You can remove the trigger assembly, but you don’t have to.

You press a button, recessed into the back of the buttpad, pull this cross-pin out that serves as a sling swivel, remove the buttpad and pull the trigger group right out of there.

It looks a lot like the FN P90s if you’ll look at that field-strip we’ve done in the past.

At this point, I’d like you to take note of an interesting design feature.

This gun features something called anti-pre-engagement.

You’ll notice there’s a claw that wraps around the lugs of the bolt and as the bolt goes into the receiver, it is allowed to freely rotate and lock, but as it retracts, that claw catches the lugs so there’s no way that it can rotate unless it is actually 100% in-battery, something that a lot of army rifles, and rifles in general, lack.

So to remove the firing pin, squeeze that, take it up, pull firing pin out from the rear.

You’ll notice it is spring-loaded as well.

Next, press this button that looks a lot like a little can pin, and then your bolt and anti-pre-engagement device will come right out of there.

Now you’ll notice the bolt is of a Stoner-Johnson multi-lug design, there’s really nothing fancy going on here.

You can remove the extractor, but to be honest, I’ve never done it and I’ve never had any problems.

To remove the gas plug and piston, press this bit upwards, rotate the plug so that the raceways line up with one on the actual barrel assembly, and pull out.

And to remove the piston, what I like to do is actually grab the bolt carrier and use the extension to go ahead and poke it out from the rear.

And it should pop right outta there along with its spring.

It is quite dirty because I do shoot this rifle quite often.

And there you go, you have a fully field-stripped Steyr AUG.

These are fantastic rifles to shoot, they’re overlooked by a lot of people actually.

The Tavor seems to be a better selling rifle in the United States on the civilian market, but as far as military sales go, the AUG blows every other bullpup out of the water pretty much.

It is a very well-designed rifle like I said.

It does feature some interesting nuances like the anti-pre-engagement claw as well as the barrel.

I mean, it returns to zero fantastically and it is removable on the user level without armor support.

To a light machine gunner or something like that, that’s fantastic.

You can also convert it to 9 millimeter fairly easily and it really just is well thought out.

Fantastic rifle to shoot, if you have a chance to get behind one, I’d highly suggest that you do so.

Anyways, big thanks to Ventura Munitions for providing the ammunition for our shooting videos.

We hope to see you all next time.

(gun shots)



Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


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  • Psylant

    Awwwwwwww, you didn’t push the button through the rubber butt plate, pull the sling mount, and take the trigger group out. That’s one of my favorite parts! *is weird, loves his gen 1 to death*

    • Gary Kirk

      1:13….

      • KestrelBike

        He salivated and passed out at 1:00.

        • Gary Kirk

          I almost did, but.. AUG man.. AUG, gotta love em

          • KestrelBike

            It’s on my eventual acquiring list!

      • Psylant

        I- literally did miss that, somehow. lol
        I must have had to direct my attention elsewhere briefly. I just noticed at the end of the vid with everything taken apart, it was still in the gun @.@ /derp

  • Gary Kirk

    Here we go again.. Every time I get the AUG itch to finally settle down, Y’all go and post on it again.. Wish I could get one, only bullpup worth owning IMHO..

  • Dan Atwater

    At about 1:30 you mention “anti-pre-engagement.” I googled and nothing came up, could you clarify what pre-engagement means and how often it’s an issue? Never heard of it being a problem before. I had always wondered what that sleeve around the bolt was for.

    These are great guns btw. The “Tavors are better cuz AR mags” crowd makes me sad.

    • Gary Kirk

      IIRC it was intended for excessive fouling causing the bolt to potentially catch and start camming over to battery position as the Carrier moves forward. Causing the bolt to be already aligned with the locking lugs of the barrel extension and just slamming together instead of going into lock up.. As usual, I could be completely wrong.. But, that’s my interpretation of the system..

      • Ax

        Wait, why would you need fouling for this to happen? When the bolt strips a round from the magazine, it is forced into the carrier by the round being stripped. This would cause the bolt to go into the carrier and cam, which would be bad, if there was no positive mechanism to stop this from happening. On an AR-15, the cam pin has a plate that rides in a slot in the top of the upper receiver. This keeps the bolt in the “open and forward” position” until it is time for the bolt to rotate. At this point, the cam pin is no longer restricted from rotating, and the bolt can go to its “closed and to the rear” position. (by “forward” and “to the rear” I mean the bolt head relative to the carrier).

        On the AUG, there is no guiding slot for the cam pin. In fact, the cam pin doesn’t even seem to protrude from the carrier. That anti-pre-engagement thing is what keeps the bolt in place until it’s time to rotate.

        I’ve never held an AUG, but that’s what I get from looking at this video.

        • Gary Kirk

          Ding.. You got it, don’t know Wtf I was thinking about yesterday.. The AUG is a piston driven system anyway, so excessive fouling shouldn’t even be a concern. Was outside in the heat welding galvanized steel all day, must have gotten to my brain a little bit..

        • BrandonAKsALot

          The FS2000 has a similar device except it’s a lever. All rotating bolts have something of this fashion to keep the bolt from rotating before it meets the lugs. In the AK, the lower rails serve this purpose.

        • HollowTs

          You are exactly correct. Good eye!

    • HollowTs

      Mine was coverted to Nato STANAG stock so…. Again better than Tavor!

  • jono102

    Although we’re getting rid of them soon I’ve never minded the Steyr. Interesting differences between your and our issue ones (NZDF). Spring on the firing pin, fold down catch for holding the firing pin in etc. I take it these differences have something to do differences between Select fire and semi versions.

  • Kiwi

    The problem with Australian AUGs is that they’re made in Australia by Australians.

    • Richard

      I have seen some pretty poor QC on the Australian AUGs, it’s true.

      I still say the overall platform is pretty inferior to the AR, having used both.

      • HollowTs

        I have owned several AUGs and was in USASOC in the Army. I would say you are incorrect in that it is inferior. They are different yes but both are very accurate and highly reliable. I think people often get their feelings or preferences mixed up with fact. I don’t like Glocks. Never have, however i don’t deny they are highly reliable and accurate. Doesn’t make them bad just not for me. You take an AUG and a DI AR fire 4,000 rounds without any maintenance then tell me wich is inferior! All mechanical equipment has pros and cons.

  • HH

    PERFECT TIMING! Just got back from OFASTS and I have a nasty AUG from a bunch of FA tracer shooting. It so happens that I’ve never cleaned and thus never dissembled my AUG. In fact its the last gun I have left to clean from the shoot which was about 2 weeks ago. So…my good fortune. Thanks dude.

  • jono102

    From my experience the Steyr has suffered from minimal development over its life and its Bullpup layout tends to limit its flexibility. Done a reasonable stint with them and never not been able to carry out my role. There was some minor inital issues when the NZDF adopted them in the late 80’s to do with quality of some parts that was reasonably quickly sorted. Rumor and such made it out to be a lot bigger issue than it really was.
    Training and experience can mitigate the general points of contention, trigger pull, off hand shooting etc But how and where to attach accessories has always been a band aid solution. Its lack of flexibility and modularity is a large reason behind a lot of the military’s that have Steyr service rifles adopting AR/M4 variants for their SOF elements. M-203 mounts for NZDF only came into general service with the NZ Army from around 97-98, the Australian and Irish forces not long after.
    The EF-88/F-90 is what I would consider to be the first real development of the Steyr as a military service rifle in its life span. Time will tell how it stacks up with whats on the market,
    I’d be quite interested to see how the stack up against our LMT MARS-L’s when they come into service later this year.

    • Well when it comes to development, it’s important to understand that the AUG was essentially in cryosleep for the last 20+ years in the US, first with the 1989 import ban, and then with being banned by name and features under the 1994 AWB.

      The AUG has only returned to the USA in the last few years, and Steyr USA only receives a relatively small number of rifles relative to the ones slated for military use; while Steyr absolutely cares about the US market, the majority of production AUG’s are required for filling military contracts.

      We consider the AR to be the state of the art, but it’s essential to understand that this is a function of being “at the right place, at the right time.” Namely, being the military rifle of the worlds largest, most continuously at war country, as well as having one of the only civilian populations who can own semi automatic rifles without undue hoops.

      These two factors came to ahead with the GWOT/ War In Iraq coinciding with the sunset of the AWB in 2004. This combination of continuous military testing combined with a booming civilian market lead to an unprecedented surge in accessory development for the AR, resulting in the modern, modular rifle we know today.

      Had the AUG been “America’s Rifle,” and the AR been Austria’s, the level of development would be reversed, with the AUG being the state of the art.

      The AUG is still a very modern design. It just needs a few more rails and an aftermarket trigger to bring it up to the AR’s level.

      • jono102

        That’s kinda of what I was getting at. The I.W. Steyr we currently have as our primary version (NZ designation for AUG with 1.5X optic) is pretty much unchanged from the original and basically an equivalent to the M-16A2 with having little continued development over its life. The various versions since A3, F-88 A1/A2 have done little more but add a rail or 2 here and there, some for little reason or use. Some of the A3 rail positions are of little use in some respects as the gas blast out of the gas port damages accessories PEQ’s etc.
        Lithgow’s EF-88/F-90 seems to be the first time a serious re design look at the system has been made

        • Have you seen the Steyr CQC SF? It appears to have a good amount of railestate.

          The real question is, what accessories are going to be run on the rifle, and then go from there. The new PupLight flashlight mount for the AUG mounts a 1″ surefire to the gas piston on the barrel, which places it in a pretty ideal location ergonomically.

          Then with the long top rail, you could run an Aimpoint/ACOG/ Elcan/ 1-6/ Steiner ICS on a riser, with the PEQ mounted in front, similar to some of the AR setups I’ve seen (I have never handled a PEQ, so this is a guestimate on my part based on google image search.)

          From there, they just need a factory brass deflector for shooting off the left hand shoulder, and perhaps a tweak to the gas system to make it quieter when running suppressed.

          Are there any other mods/ accessories you’d like to see?

          • jono102

            The pup mount looks useful but would suffer the same issue we have with already side mounted PEQ’s etc. Their profile or foot print out to the side of the Steyr is quite big. Being a bullpup they are mounted closer to the butt/soldier. With lefties especially they constantly get hung up and banged against the soldier and his rig and kit. This leads to a lot of damaged/worn remote cables, kit and accidental activation of the PEQ’s and torches.

            The CQC does go some of the way to address the modularity/rail space of the Steyr. You generally It would allow similar mounting options as an AR and have a lower profile but it raises other issues for a military rifle. The QD hand guard would quite likely get a lot of wear and tear with the likes of an M-203. The 40mm firing would possibly mess with the zero of PEQ’s/iron sights etc. With that new rail system and all the other kit it would be getting pretty heavy for what it is especially if you have the M-203..

            In regards to PEQ’s and torches, we also have in line night vision and thermal sights to mount in front of our ACOGs. You can’t fit an ACOG, in line sight and a PEQ on a Steyr’s top rail. This is why we have to use a locally produced side bracket to mount the PEQ on the right.

          • Thanks for the info; there’s really not much data out here in the US in terms of operational use of the AUG/F88 series.

            The M203 + the night vision/thermal widgets does really add complexity to getting things mounted.

            I’m pretty stoked off of my new AUG A3 (semi auto), but if I had to add all of those items I can see it being a much less desirable platform vs. an AR with all of it’s myriad mounting points.

            Hopefully in the next decade we’ll see an optic that condenses all of those functions into a single unit: 1-4x/ day + thermal / IR laser designator + rangefinder + ballistic computer. Just got to lure some of the Apple engineers into working for Raytheon optics.

          • jono102

            I still don’t mind it as a rifle and its served me well for over 20yrs. I’d would be keen to get myself one….If they come down in price here. You can get around 3 AR’s for the price of one in New Zealand.

            One tip I recommend to any Steyr owners is graphite powder. A liberal application through the trigger mech/pack and shake out the excess and any where in the stock where you get plastic on plastic contact like around the trigger. I find it to be quite nice after that and just “different” as opposed to bad in comparison to other triggers

          • Thank you, I will try that graphite powder trick. Overall I don’t find the trigger to be as bad as portrayed (certainly crisper than a Glock trigger,) but any improvement is welcome. For the rest of the rifle, is there any particular lubrication you would suggest?

            Also, what are the rifle laws like in NZ? You’re able to own AR’s and AUG’s, are there any magazine restrictions? Or is the law mostly focused on background checks vs. restricting styles of arms?

          • jono102

            My only disclaimer being our Steyr’s have slightly different bolt, bolt carrier and trigger mech design’s to what appears to be the Civi/Semi ones available, generally should be much difference though.
            With the Graphite, its the fine powdered type not the more gritty granulated one that works best. I’ll try to dig up the name for our issue one.
            Steyr’s generally need bugger all lubrication. Maybe just a couple drops of CLP into the bolt carrier where the cam pin from the bolt runs. Then work the bolt back and forwards in the carrier to spread the CLP around the bolt sleeve and carrier but that’s about it for general use.

            Firearms Laws are divided into categories (Cat), these are off the top of my head, so possibly not 100%:
            A Cat (standard license)
            Any semi or single shot with an overall length not less than 762mm. Mag capacity of 15rd for .22 or 7rds for anything larger.
            B Cat (Pistol) must belong to a recognized pistol club and attend a certain amount of sanctioned shoots are year
            C Cat (Collector) Can collect almost anything but it can’t be fired. In general no automatic firing of live ammunition permitted
            D Cat (Dealer)
            E Cat MSSA (Military Style Semi Automatic/restricted firearm) Anything semi with a greater capacity than an A Cat. Any of the following: Bayonet lug, free standing pistol grip, flash suppressor would make it an E Cat if a semi.
            Also requires greater security for storage and more vetting. All E Cat firearms are registered

            General notes:
            No concealed or open carry for personal protection here.
            Suppressors are not restricted in anyway as its seen as an accessory. They are very common with a pretty good local industry producing them as well as imports

          • What’s required to get a E-Cat license? Is that accessible to a regular shooter, or is it strictly for the most dedicated?

          • jono102

            Pretty much anyone can get it. Got to have an A Cat license to begin with.
            1.Need to provide 2 more character referees for vetting (on top of the 2 required for A Cat) and one of them needs to be an E Cat license holder
            2. Provide a suitable justification for getting an E Cat i.e. join a Service rifle or 3 gun type club or for work i.e. pest control
            3. Have security of the required standard i.e. safe constructed of 6mm steel, dual locks etc

          • Nice! That’s actually quite reasonable. While it lacks the reckless level of freedom that we enjoy in the US (able to purchase an AUG in a parking lot if the seller is local) it’s far, far less draconian than the UK’s firearms laws.

          • HollowTs

            Just remember my friend we are into the 5th major version of the AR 15 / M 16 platform. Like someone else said above. Had this been America’s rifle or there had been no importation ban. Alot would be different. You are looking at a rifle designed in 1977. One of the most advanced systems in the world at the time. And still with only the few modifications you are wanting. Could go on as long as the AR 15. Eugene Stoner was a genius also far far ahead of his time. That’s why even the mighty Kalashnikov is getting and AR makeover in Russia. One of the best things about an AUG is that it ” IS NOT” an AR 15! Shorter, more nimble, just as and in some cases more accurate, just as if not more reliable, cleaner running rifle. Remember even the tier one units in the USA have gone to piston driven H&K 416s.

  • therealgreenplease

    As an AUG owner, I’d like to say that my only two beefs with the weapon are the charging handle and the trigger. That said, I’ve read that there are excellent aftermarket solutions to these problems. I just haven’t taken the time to track them down yet.

    • HollowTs

      Ratworx. Switchback charging handle and the 20/ 20 precision trigger pack. If that trigger is still available uses a lot of common AR parts. Mine pulls at 5 lbs and can be adjusted to far less if need be.

      • therealgreenplease

        Thanks! I’ll have to give those a try.

        • HollowTs

          No problem. Ratworx also has a different sear face for the AUG if the trigger pack isn’t available.

  • FarmerB

    My shooting partner has done courses with Austrian SF types on loan to EU level CT teams. They run AUG’s (obviously the Austrian version) and they were terribly unreliable during the course and the guys seemed to indicate that wasn’t unusual.