By Jeff W. Zimba
There is a new kid on the block in the arena of manufacturing AR-15/M16 type rifle systems and that new kid already has years of experience.
DoubleStar Corporation is the latest venture of the Starnes family from Winchester Kentucky. You may recognize the Starnes name as Jack and Teresa Starnes have been in business selling AR-15/M16 parts and accessories for over 25 years doing business as J&T Distributing. They were formally known as J&T Surplus. They can be found regularly at several large gun shows nationwide including Knob Creek, SHOT Show, SAR Show in Phoenix, Arizona and the NRA Convention. This latest venture brings another generation of the Starnes family into the family business with the addition of Jesse as the new Vice President of DoubleStar Corp. Jesse has several years in this type of business as well due to his involvement in J&T. Teresa is currently the President of DoubleStar Corporation and to the best of my knowledge DoubleStar is the only woman-owned military rifle manufacturer in the USA.
The primary difference between J&T Distributing and DoubleStar Corp. is that DoubleStar is manufacturing complete firearms and J&T sells only parts and accessories. Even though they remain closely related, the two businesses are completely separate.
I received the first test example in a flat top, STARCAR carbine configuration. The lack of a sighting system was quickly corrected by adding a C-More Tactical Sight. The second test example is a standard Dissipator version with the optional ported barrel.
I am pleased to report that I was not dissatisfied with either rifle. The flat top carbine is extremely comfortable to shoot with the addition of the C-More Tactical Sight. The low sight height permits a low cheek weld that is repeatable in the same position for use of the iron sights, a red dot sight or both. The C-More Tactical Sight is designed to mount right on the receiver of the flat top and adds an A2 rear sight back to the rifle. With this system you can sight in the iron sights by looking through the glass where the red dot appears. It is best used in conjunction with the red dot but always remains an available backup should something electronically fail.
The Dissipator is a design that caught my eye several years ago but for some reason I never had the opportunity to fire one. The Dissipator was designed to utilize a short carbine gas system and barrel, but adapted to fit under full-length handgards. This leaves very little barrel extending past the front sight post and has a great look to it. The look is of the full-length rifle but the feel is very well balanced and swings around easier than expected, especially in tight quarters because it is still the short length of the carbine. This is a big plus when the shooter does not require or desire the full-length of the standard rifle barrel and this system gets a big, long anticipated “thumbs up” from me. Another plus of the Dissipator is that the full-length handguard allows for better control than the short handguard and the shooter also has the benefit of the long sight radius that the A2 sighting system was designed to provide.
The range time proved both rifles to be extremely accurate and reliable. Our test ammo was standard SS-109 62-grain ammunition and performed well in both configurations. Both barrels feature a rate of twist of one turn in 9 inches. All the shooting was done from a bench and the Dissipator was fired only utilizing the standard A2 open sights.
As for reliability, the only failure to feed or extract happened when I inadvertently inserted an out-of-spec magazine I had previously marked for the parts pile into the Dissipator and it would not perform. A quick examination proved the bad magazine to be the problem as suspected and it was corrected immediately upon changing magazines.
The fit and finish of both rifles was tight and even. A moderate amount of pressure was required to remove the upper and lower receiver retaining pin and this indicates the close tolerances required to maximize accuracy potential. The finish was dark and even and consistent with all upper and lower receivers.
DoubleStar Corporation is offering several new variations of the Star-15 rifle system not currently found elsewhere on the market. While the product line includes everything from standard rifles to match rifles there are also a few innovations exclusive to DoubleStar. One of their popular new rifle systems is the CritterSlayer. It incorporates a 24-inch fluted, super match barrel and full-floating Badger trapezoidal handguards. Another of their exclusive rifles is the Star-15 Lightweight Tactical. It utilizes a fluted heavy barrel and the upper is 11.2 ounces lighter than a standard heavy barreled upper. The stock looks like a standard A2 stock except that it is 3.375 inches shorter and was designed for comfortable use while wearing body armor. When dealing with DoubleStar Corporation you are not limited to just a small number of standard models and configurations. At last count they were offering almost 300 variations of their rifles.
The new rifle line by DoubleStar should certainly go places fast. With the experience of J&T Distributing in the accessory field for so many years and listening to what customers wanted and specifically look for in these weapon systems they are poised to fill any void they can discover in this extremely competitive market.
Winchester, KY 40391
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V6N11 (August 2003)|