Fans of Eugene Stonerís AR-15 rifle
system have never had it so good. There is a seemingly endless
variety of AR-15s available, with more on the way. While many
love the AR, there are those who are critical of the 5.56mm
cartridge for which it is generally chambered. While the little
cartridge does pretty well on vermin, and even shows good
performance for social work using the right bullet, many desire
a larger bullet. Moving up to a .308
chambered AR-10 is one solution, but at a cost of
heavier weight and greater bulk. On the AR-15 platform, the 6.8mm
SPC and the 6.5mm
Grendel are showing great promise, but for those who
desire more power in an AR-15 chambered for a much more common
cartridge, Doublestar Corporation of Winchester, Kentucky
is now offering their Star-15 carbine chambered for the
plentiful 7.62 x 39mm cartridge. The 7.62 x 39 has been
chambered in millions of SKS and AK-47 rifles, and military
surplus ammo is cheap and readily available for plinking and
target practice. Good hunting ammunition is also available from
several sources. The power of the 7.62 x 39 cartridge is almost
up to the level of the .30-30 Winchester
cartridge, and due to the better ballistic coefficient
of its bullets, offers a better trajectory for long-range
performance. While I am not promoting the cartridge for
long-range game hunting, it does perform better than one might
expect out to three hundred yards or so, if the shooter does his
We received two variations of the Star-15
carbine here for review, differing only in the design of the
hand guard. One version wears the standard elliptical fiberglass
two-piece hand guard, and the other wears a short version of
Doublestarís Critterslayer free-float aluminum guard. The
Star-15 carbine has a sixteen inch barrel with a flash
suppressor attached at the muzzle. The upper receiver is of the
flattop configuration, with a built-in 1913 Picatinny rail. The
gas block also has a section of rail for attaching a front sight
or other device. The upper receiver has the forward bolt assist
and case deflector of the A-2 configuration. The pistol grip is
of a very comfortable pebble-grain design, and has a bit of
storage space within, along with a cover for the bottom
opening. The buttstock is an excellent six-position unit,
allowing compact storage, along with an adjustable
length-of-pull to fit most any shooter. The length-of-pull
adjusts from ten and one-quarter inches to fourteen and
one-eighth inches in roughly three-quarters of an inch
increments, by depressing a lever and sliding the buttstock.
Releasing the lever locks the stock into the desired position.
Aside from the storage and transport handiness of this feature,
this allows the rifle to be used by youngsters, and the
length-of-pull can easily be adjusted as the shooter grows. It
is also handy for full-sized adults to adjust when wearing heavy
winter clothing. The overall length adjusts from thirty-two and
one quarter to thirty six inches, and the unloaded carbine
weighs six pounds and eleven ounces.
The trigger pull on this
Doublestar is much better than the what is normally found on an
AR-15. It has a very crisp let-off that releases at three pounds
and ten ounces, yet feels even lighter, allowing for much better
practical accuracy than can be achieved with a standard AR
The rifle is very well fitted, and wears an even matte
black finish throughout.
The rifles were shipped to us without
magazines, but standard AR ten, twenty, and thirty round 5.56mm
mags worked reasonably well. I mostly used twenty-round Colt
mags from the Vietnam war era, which worked well when stuffed
with seven of the fatter 7.62 x 39 cartridges. Loading any more
than that into the magazine swelled the body of the mag, making
it difficult to insert into the magazine well of the rifle.
Standard thirty-round magazines were also tested, and functioned
well, but I prefer the length of the shorter mags.
I tested the gun for functionality and accuracy
using a variety of commercial and surplus ammunition. The gun
function perfectly with all ammo tested, but some of the Chinese
surplus ammo failed to fire. This was no fault of the rifle; the primers were dented heavily, but failed to ignite.
Winchester 123 grain soft point ammo proved to be plenty
accurate for hunting in the Star-15, grouping five shots into
one inch at one hundred yards, under gusty wind conditions at
the NRA Whittington Center range near Raton, New Mexico. At
fifty yards, the same ammo grouped into a ragged one-quarter
inch hole for three shots. Mounting a three power Trijicon
ACOG scope, we took the Star-15 to the big bore metallic
silhouette range at Whittington, and it was pretty easy to hit
the steel rams at 500 meters (541 yards). These rams measure
about 32 by 26 inches, but even with the wind blowing
hard, hitting them four out of five times was not hard to do. My
brother Boge and I, along with our good friends Chuck
Smith, Dustin Linebaugh, and Rico Valencia kept the little carbine
pretty hot plinking at the distant steel, with very satisfying
results. Keeping the hits on a 200 yard whitetail deer
would be very easy, and the cartridge is powerful enough to do
the job at that range, and farther.
As a short, light and handy carbine to keep
around the ranch or homestead, the Star-15 7.62 x 39 excels. It
offers plenty of power and accuracy for ninety percent of what
needs to be done with a rifle, from varmint control to home
protection, or filling the freezer with meat.
Check out the entire line of Star-15 rifles at:
For more info on the Winchester 7.62 x 39
ammunition, go to: www.winchester.com.
To view the ACOG line of scopes and other
excellent optics, go to: www.trijicon.com.
Since originally writing this article, I have
found that Brownells sells ten-round plastic magazines
for the 7.62x39 AR-15 rifles. The ones that I tried worked well.
They locked into the magazine well, functioned fine, and locked
open the bolt when the magazine was empty. However, while the
magazine loaded easily, it was hard to insert that tenth round.
I believe that I will treat mine like they are nine-round mags,
as it is very easy to load the first nine. You can order these
direct from Brownells by calling 1-800-741-0015 or go
online at: www.brownells.com.
Brownells' part number is 556-115-310 and
it sells for around fifteen bucks.
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