Astra Defense MG556, the civilian way
Astra Defense MG556 – No, you aren't dreaming: it exists, it's real, and it's coming as a civilian-grade semi-automatic sporting rifle to a gun shop near to you... if you live in Europe, that is.
First seen at IWA 2016, the MG556 is a semi-automatic heavy rifle designed by the Swiss-based Astra Defense company around a gas-operated, closed bolt working system and other heavily modified components – such as the trigger group – to provide the distinctive look and feel of the Belgian FN Minimi light support weapon.
Astra Defense MG556 semi-automatic rifle features a 18.3" long, chrome-lined barrel with six right-handed grooves and a 1:7" rifling pitch, as well as a flash hider, a side-folding metal stock and an underfolding bipod.
Iron sights are factory standard, and so is the Picatinny optics rail built-in on the top cover, which folds open for inspection but allows no loading: the Astra Defense MG556 comes without a belt-feeding system, replaced by a standard STANAG 4179 compliant magazine well. The only caliber is 5,56x45mm (.223 Remington), and the Astra Defense MG556 will accept any AR-15 type magazine.
The suggested retail price for the Astra Defense MG556 is set at 4.499 euro, well below than the 7.999 USD that FNH-USA asks in North America for its M249 "Military Collectors Series".