Thanks for your initial impressions, congratulations on both, and thanks for the pics--- nice collection!!!
Well, Friday was the big day for me. I stepped off the plane in Germany and within 2 hours, I was in the LGGS to retrieve my black HK 243 S TAR and black MR 308 A3 with 20” barrel. I had ordered both in February. This report is on the 243. My MR 308 report is in the 416/417 forum. I’ll settle on one adjective to initially describe the 243 – NICE! First thing I noticed when picking it up is how light the thing is or at least it seemed to be. So, here are some other initial impressions starting at the muzzle and working to the butt stock. It did in fact arrive with the G28 muzzle brake installed. Looks kind of funky with that long thing. No matter, that muzzle brake will be removed and installed on the MR 308 A3 with 20” barrel. The hand guard is very narrow in a good way when compared to the 4 sided picatinny rail that comes standard on the MR 223. Like super slim. The 243 hand guard width is 1.3” at its widest and the MR 223 width is 2.2” at its widest. However, the slimness of the guard and the close proximity of the barrel makes me think the guard will get warm pretty quick when firing. Thinking I was looking at a standard Keymod rail, I got some Keymod panels to install to make the hand guard a bit wider and maybe give me some protection as the barrel heats up. Lesson learned, the HKey holes as they are called are smaller and are NOT compatible with Keymod products. Also, the rifle does not have the normal HK pushpins installed and instead has the “sex bolts” mentioned in another post in this forum. These require 2 5mm allen wrenches to separate them for weapon breakdown. The 2 OEM HK pushpins found on 243 S SAR models have been ordered today from RKSplus.com to aid in faster breakdown. The third pin holding the hand guard in place cannot be replaced with a push pin. The flip up iron sites that recess into the top picatinny rail will be adequate for now till I decide what if any type of optic to install on the rail. I have the HK 416 magwell adapter ready to install. This is readily available in Europe for about $116. I want to avoid starting another expensive rifle specific (G36) magazine collection, like my MR 308 magazine collection, when I already have so many 223 magazines. The HK paperwork that came with the adapter though says that “malfunctions can occur while firing with the magazine well for HK 416 magazines if the bolt group is held. Therefore render the bolt catch inoperative before using the magazine well for HK 416 magazines”. Hum…. going to have to see how this all pans out.
The online pictures I could view beforehand were not clear if the extended bolt release was installed. So, I had ordered and received one for about $17 from German Gun Works. Naturally, when I opened the box, there was in fact one already installed. While I have not fired the weapon yet, the function of this does not appear to be as ergonomic as say a BAD Lever such as I have on my MR223. In the bolt forward position the lever is extended down almost to the bottom of the trigger guard. To lock the bolt to the rear, you pull the bolt rearward and then have to reach up with your finger tip and press a small area at the top of the extended bolt release. This then engages and holds the bolt to the rear. In the bolt locked rearward position, the bolt release is now raised about ¼” above the trigger guard. To release the bolt forward, you press down on the release. Your finger is in close proximity to the trigger and I would not be surprised to hear of inadvertent firings when the safety is off and the bolt is release forward and your finger moves too much. The trigger like the weapon is plastic and the trigger feel and sound leaves me with no doubt that it is plastic. I guess I like the feel of a metal trigger. The trigger has a good bit of movement to take up the slack and then feels grinding/ratchety till it breaks. I would certainly not call it a crisp break. When the safety is released, it does it with the quietness of a tree limb breaking. I tried doing it nice and slow and it still yells out to the Taliban, “I’m over here”. No worries for a range weapon, but not the subtleness I would want in Indian country. Again, not knowing if one was installed, I purchased a cover for the bottom of the grip stock. Naturally, there was one already installed. Thankfully, only a few bucks wasted on that.
The folding stock release on the left forward side of the butt stock is a manly thing. Eat your Wheaties or your fingertips will not get it pushed in to allow the stock to fold. Also, in typical German engineering, the release will not go in to allow folding of the stock unless the stock is fully extended or in the next to fully extended position. This is to ensure the gap in the stock does not block the ejection port when the stock is folded over it. Including the collapsed and fully extended positions, the stock has 2 other stops for length adjustment. Total LOP difference from collapsed to fully extended is approximately 1 ¾”. I am 5’7” of average arm length and in the fully extended position, the butt stock feels on the short end. Useable, but it is shorter as actually measured against my other HK rifles with adjustable stocks. The adjustable cheek piece has 3 total positions – down, middle and fully raised and pivots from the rear. The front end therefore only changes the cheek height by ¾”. When the stock is folded or unfolded it locks tight with no wobble or play. For those that asked, the out the door price with a fluctuating exchange rate was $2080. Considering that the rifle cannot be had in the US, I was satisfied with this price.
My comments were my personal initial observations after 24 hours and some nitpicks. I find the rifle is typical HK high quality in form and function. It joins my 2 MR308’s and MR223. I am very happy with my purchase and am looking forward to putting rounds down range. Unfortunately, that is going to have to wait till I can get a range date. I’ll post my range comments afterward.
Last edited by Dehavilland; 06-16-2015 at 05:12 AM.
MR 308 A3 20"
MR 308 A1
MR 223 A1
HK 243 S TAR
HK USC .45
USP Expert .45
Thanks for your initial impressions, congratulations on both, and thanks for the pics--- nice collection!!!
Thanks for the write up!
"Not by strength by guile"
HK SP5 / Steyr AUG / Tommy T36 / AR15 / HK VP9 / HK P2000 / Glock 43 / Walther "HK" MP5 A5
Nice write up and I am jealous.
Congrats! Great write up on the rifle. Why do you prefer this model over the SAR? Can't wait to get one on the other side of the pond.
Last edited by Chefsache; 06-16-2015 at 01:19 PM.
G28 muzzle device - I also got that. One thing - it's very effective flash hider - I run it once with just the standard thread protector and it lit up the world with 55gn Federal AE ammo, but there's nothing when it's on.
Agree on the hand guard - I really don't like the 4-sided hand guard on my MR308 - it's obese.
Pins - yes, mine is also with the 'sex-bolts', although the included instructions still talk about push pins.
I have now installed a set of push pins from the G.36 and they fit well, although maybe too long by a mm or two (1/16")
The front hand guard fastener screws into a nut that's moulded into the polymer frame and so push pins aren't an option there.
My main beef with that bolt is that it needs a (LARGE) flat bladed screwdriver to undo - why not hex like the others???
I've also bought one of the pins with the inbuilt hook for the sling. I've no idea how to attach the damned thing.
It has a piece of spring steel that's supposed to attach somehow - any ideas welcome.
I've not heated it up enough to have the burnt by the barrel to be a problem - but good point, I'll watch out for this.
The iron sights - I've not tried them. I originally installed an ACOG on it (more later on this) and just the other day, my Elcan SpecterDR arrived so now it sports that. Initial impressions are that I prefer the Elcan, but I haven't shot it yet.
I kept the default mag arrangement, but then, I don't have any AR style 5.56 rifle, so I was going to have to bite the bullet on magazines anyway (understand the pain on MR308 and SIG 751 mags). I've since gotten a bunch of MAGPUL PMAGS 30G Maglevel magazines and they work a treat - no FTF or anything in a few hundred rounds.
Ok, then maybe I have the extended magazine release already - I was wondering that. I think the bolt hold open and release is frankly dumb. It's not that easy to hold open the bolt since you a pushing a very small item up next to the trigger. If you don't put the safety on before clearing the weapon, I agree that there is significant opportunity for ND. Goes against all my training - sights on target, finger on trigger, sights off target, finger the hell out of there!!
The barrel length for the S-TAR is spec'ed as 17.9" (453mm) which includes the flash hider, it's about 16.5" without it.
Trigger isn't good - no other way to describe it. OP describes it nicely. Comparison to SIG 55x is night and day. I didn't notice the noise on safety manipulation (probably because I'm hearing impaired) - will have to look out for that.
Yeah - generally the folding stock has to be manipulated in manly manner. Sort of used to that from Swiss SIG's.
In general, the stock arrangement seems ok, without being brilliant.
Price? Well, mine was bought in Switzerland, so price bares little resemblance to reality, but I'll point out it's considerably cheaper than the SIG 551 - which I would think is its nearest competitor (at least here). The SIG is about CHF3800, whilst the S-TAR is about CHF 2850, sticker price.
Weight is interesting (I haven't put them side-by-side, but of course it's a lot lighter than my 20.8" barrelled SIG 550 at 4.1Kg). From the specs, the 551SB (14" barrel) is 3.4 Kg (7.5 lb) whilst the S-TAR is 3.7 Kg - I would have bet money the 551SB was heavier (actually, the 551LB is probably a closer competitor, since it also has a 17.9" (453-454mm) barrel but with a smaller flash hider). Anyway, the HK feels lighter and more manoeuvrable.
The SIG is higher quality, I think, and probably slightly more accurate, but then as I said, it's a lot more costly.
Range? I've taken it a few times to various ranges. To start with, I did some basic functionality testing with the 4x ACOG. Seemed ok accuracy for an assault rifle - but hard to tell with that optic. I didn't really try to burn the thing, but I did NOT NOTICE any POI change with a few mag dumps.
So, I put a Weaver KT-15 on it and did some accuracy testing with Federal AE223 55gn ammo and some Swiss GP-90 army ball ammo (62gn). This was from a bipod at 100m in a tunnel. Again, this was 2 x 10 shot strings after a mag of warm up. I didn't let it cool - basically shot the 10 shots in a min or two. Interesting results:
Basically, the groups were about the same size, although the GP-90 seemed to fall into 2 almost distinct 5-shot groups, whilst the Federal mostly grouped better except for a flier (could have been me I suppose). I expected better from the GP-90, it's pretty good accuracy wise as ammo.
Next I was banging away at torso silhouette targets out to 590 meters with the 4x ACOG with the 55gn Federal, and I didn't have too much trouble hitting them even with a bit of wind. So, it's pretty effective at that range.
So, yeah, in spite of a few gripes, I'm pretty happy with it.
Tis the season (-:
I also picked up mine yesterday. Took it to the range today. Shot about 150 rounds of M193 with a 2moa aim point m4s at 100 meters (109 yards). I have the g28 flash hider, no extended bolt catch. I also have screw pins not pushpins.
I love the rifle. I find it light and very easy to operate. The boys did a pretty good write up so I don't have much to add. I got it hot firing 2 30 rounders in rapid fire and then laid down to shoot some groups (had my phone with me but did not take any pictures...). The result was pretty good considering I had no magnification. I did not notice the groups getting bigger after the gun was hot.I did not try the folding sights yet.
I measured an average trigger weight of 5kg (a little over 11 lbs.) I gotta say that I sort of like the trigger. I could get used to it but it sure as hell isn't a Geissele... The only thing is that I was having a "fake" reset when i start releasing the trigger (hope it makes sense).I would feel a click but it wasn't the reset which was further forward. Next thing I will install a scope to see how precise she can really get (and take pics this time). Not that I'm the best shooter but magnification will help.
It runs very clean. Here's a couple of pictures of the bolt after firing 150 rounds:
Also I find the stock to be a tad short but I do love the cheek rest. The gun functioned flawlessly.
I ordered the gun from germany and it cost 2450$ including an 8% sales tax and shipping and customs. They are now available even cheaper at 2150$. So if it makes it to the US I have a feeling you guys will be looking at a sub 2k$ rifle. Thats just me guessing though...
Alfred - Thanks for the write up. Looks sweet with the PMAG
Nice family photo!! HK33A3 is it?
That photo could cost me money :-)
Great supplemental write-up, and nice rifle and setup!!!