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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

More WE M14 GBB News!!!!

For those of you living under a rock, WE has been developing an M14 Gas Blowback Rifle. 

Here are the videos:

Test firing the M14:




A view of the bolt system:




Working the SOCOM receiver action:


Here are the most recent videos that have surfaced, wherein there is more test-firing that occurs.






While there are a number of questions and comments on the video comment threads, I decided to sum up the important stuff here so that you don't become one of those idiots who asks the same question that ten or more people before you have already asked, despite receiving the same answer each time.  Definition of insanity, anyone? 

Here's an interesting situation:

"WEairsoft (uploader): Our M14 will be 100% mil-spec, so any existing RS M14 stocks will fit with little or no modifications."

3 Versions Projected:
"WEairsoft (uploader): Too early to tell right now, there will definitely be a long (original version) & a short (possibly the SOCOM version) variant on initial release ... & I'm talking weeks, not months guys ;-)
WEairsoft (uploader): There will be an EBR version available :)"

Look what's on the table in this video:


And this one, too.  An even better look:


New Hop-Up Design:
"WEairsoft(uploader): The M14 hop up design is brand new indeed!!"

Green Gas & C02 Compatible:
"WEairsoft (uploader): yes, there will be a Co2 mag; that's our signature design: ALL our AWSS platforms are both green gas & Co2 compatible."


I personally spoke with James via email recently, who informed me that the WE M14 is scheduled for release at the end of May or the first part of June.


More Guns On the Horizon (including an MP5 and Browning Hi-Power, which is seen at the end of the 2nd video):
  • "ltfenix2000: Also, are you guys going to be working on the MP5 series, soon?
    What WWII weapons are you guys going to make?... Is there going to be a Thompson in the future? :D
  • WEairsoft (uploader): Yes. Yes. STEN.
  • WEairsoft (uploader): oooops....may be that is saying a bit too much... ;-)"

One question that seems to get repeated by a multitude of oblivious posters on the videos and a few forums is:


"Will the M14 have a functioning bolt stop/catch feature like the real steel version?"

The answer is and always has been, "YES."  Good Lord, people.  Read the stinkin thread before you post!

Sniper Platforms MAY be in the Works As Well:

"WEairsoft (uploader): Yes, indeed the sniper platform (any) is in our consideration at the moment. We have already created a proprietary GBB sniper system (different than anything else out there) ready to be used in whatever sniper platform we decided to fabricate. Ever feel the kick of a .50BMG? Well...that's may be bit too exaggerated :) Anyway... I can only say: Anything is possible!"


James from WETTI has been extremely impressive in his ability to listen to the market.  He is active on a number of forums and tries to answer as many questions as he can, personally.  This type of manufacturer interaction is rare.  Ben Noji of US-Based PolarStar Airsoft & the distributor for my favorite EdGI inner barrels is another one who comes to mind as someone who seems to pay attention to the needs of the market.


If you're interested in seeing the WE M14 GBBR reviewed as soon as it comes out and before you buy it, I think I may be able to you help you out in that department.  So keep checking into the blog here for updates.  I also heard a rumor that Pyramyd plans to carry this rifle, so you won't have to order it from overseas and pay ridiculous shipping costs, nor worry about incompetent Customs & ATF officials.   Like I said, stay tuned.


Airsoft.

I put some rounds down range today with the Echo1 Platinum M4.

First up was the chrono test:

Here's the footage:



I know, I know. I thought it was very Coppola, too.  I'm glad you and I agree.

Here's a recap of the chrono data before I ran out of room on the camera's tiny HD.



1
252.0
-
2
408.7
408.7
3
409.4
409.4
4
408.0
408.0
5
403.4
403.4
6
409.2
409.2
7
340.2
340.2
8
411.9
411.9
9
407.3
407.3
10
337.9
337.9
11
406.4
406.4
12
405.7
405.7
13
407.9
407.9


Avg FPS:


385.2


396.3
Low-FPS:
252.0
337.9
High-FPS:
411.9
411.9
Spread:
159.9
74.0
STD Dev:
45.7
25.7


You'll notice that I've included two columns of the same chrono data below, the only difference being that I removed the first shot from my summary calculations for average FPS and such. Not sure what that 252 FPS reading was all about, but if you exclude that from the calculations like I did in the second column, the numbers look substantially better. Even taking the "252 FPS" into consideration, the overall results are pretty consistent. Granted, they could certainly be better, but I'm guessing with a little Teflon tape in a few choice spots, you could reduce the standard deviation even further. I will say that I've had this gun for a couple weeks now and when I chrono'd it right out of the box, it was shooting at 420 consistently. It would appear the spring has had a chance to settle down to a more field compliant velocity range, as most fields limit AEGs to 400 fps.


GROUPINGS:

I was using TSD .28g BBs for the groupings test.

The target's dimensions a standard letter-sized, 8.5" x 11" sheet.

If you'd like to order some of these targets for your own purposes, here's the link:

I also highly recommend the BB Trap I use in conjunction with the targets (it's what makes that metal clinking sound when I hit the target):

This thing is a beast. It weighs quite a bit. Between 30lbs and 40lbs, I would guess, and is rated to handle .22 cal non-magnum rimfire rounds.

Just an FYI.

Here's the footage of me drilling the target (eventually):


I was firing from a kneeling position and did not use a bench rest of any kind.

This is the resulting target groupings. 

 
I really like the color splats that show up when you hit inside the circle. Very cool and really helps to show up in the picture.


Sooooo...what does this tell us?  Well, for starters, the Echo1 Platinum M4 is certainly a viable option for outdoor skirmishing with groupings like that.  You'll definitely be "lighting fools up" all day long with some decent BBs and properly adjusted hop-up.  It didn't take much for me to sight the rifle in to a decent degree.

I would also like to point out that I did test out some of my Classic Army magazines in this gun to see if they would compatible and had no issues.  No misfeeds or anything.  So that's always nice to see the cross-platform compatibility.  I know that the gun comes with a Hi-Cap AND a Mid-Cap mag, but I don't like to feel limited in my options or ammo supply.  Just in case.

SUMMARY:
Pros:
- Solid metal body parts
- Comes with a decent, lockable hard case for safe transport & storage.

- Pretty consistent velocity
- Accuracy is fairly high
- Comes with two mags
- Tons of aftermarket accessories will fit this gun, like optics, rails, grips, stocks, etc.
- The Version 2 gearbox is highly upgradeable and there are seemingly endless amounts of replacement & upgrade parts available in the event something fails internally.

Cons:
- Hop-up isn't real impressive
- Can't really store much else in the case other than the gun and the magazines because of the way the plastic was molded
- Wired for Tamiya Connectors.  Have I ever told you how much I hate Tamiya Connectors?
- Crane stock slightly smaller than what I would consider to be standard size, which make battery options an issue for those that have neither a small enough battery or a replacement stock of larger size.


Conclusion:

This is a great M4 platform.  I would place it up there in the high-end category of AEGs out there.  Nice engravings on the metal body.  Consistent FPS and accurate groupings lend this to be a very skirmishable rifle.  Hits to the body can be expected all day long.  Plus it comes with a hard case.  Despite a few short-comings, it's a great rifle.  You can order it from Pyramyd here: Echo1 Platinum M4 Product Page


Airsoft.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Review - Echo1 Platinum M4 AEG Part I

Today, it rained.


Yet I still managed to get my fill of Airsoft in.

I shall now proceed to tell you the very heartwarming tale of the Echo1 Platinum M4

ORDERING INFO:

As per usual, ordering from Pyramyd was a breeze and, of course, you better believe I opted for the free shipping! You can check out the product page for the Echo1 Platinum M4 by clicking this link:

http://www.pyramydair.com/s/m/Echo_1_Platinum_Edition_Model_4/2031

or by clicking the image just below:



THE GUN:

You might ask the question, "Well, what is so special about this particular M4 over the bazillion (not a real number) other M4 AEGs out on the market?"

First off, it comes with a case.  A hard case, at that.  (You may click on each of the following 9 images for a larger view in uber-resolution (that's the resolution just above "awesome").  Mad props to my wife and soon-to-be-mother-of-our-first-born-son for the legitimate Airsoft glam shots.  




Now for some sexy body shots.

You'll notice a few things, one being the large and very adjustable rear sight.  You've also got plenty of room on the rail left to throw your favorite red dot sight on there as well.  If you hate the rear sight or just simply have no use for it, you can remove it by turning that large knob you see to the left of the charging handle (righty tighty, lefty "loosy").  My spell-checker is going berserk with that phrase. 


Another item to note in the image above:

The gun comes with a sling mount, that you can see mounted at the base of the buffer tube, just behind the upper/lower receivers. It is actually ambidextrous, as you will see in the very next photo.  However, nothing else on the gun is "ambi."



Here's a body shot of the left side.  Note the ambi-mount for the sling I just mentioned.  The forward assist button is non-functioning.


However, the charging handle IS functional, and when pulled, releases the dust cover and pulls back the bolt cover to expose the hop-up dial.  While the hop-up system is still pretty much the same traditional design that I have come to despise, it does appear that Echo1 has reinforced the plastic gears that are viewable below so that they turn a bit more easily without bending or breaking like others I've had in the past. 



The bolt-release is also functional in that when pressed, it releases the bolt cover (compare the pic above to the one below and see if you can detect the differences). Bet you didn't see that coming.



Here's a shot below of some engravings on the left-side of the rifle.  Also viewable at the top/center is the bolt-release button I was just discussing.


Selector Switch gives you the standard options in "Safe," "Semi" & "Full-Auto."  Nothing new here.


Just to show off their attention to detail, Echo1 has included a gas tube for added realism, inside the hand guard. 


Since I haven't seen this kind of effort put into any other manual, I felt it pertinent to include in this review.  I'm rather impressed with the detail Echo1 has included in their manual.  The one thing I don't get is that they went through all that trouble to produce it, yet they don't actually include it with the rifle.  You have to download it, which can be done by clicking the following link, courtesy of Pyramyd Air:

http://www.pyramydair.com/site/manuals/Echo_1_Platinum_Edition_Model_4_Manual.pdf










Here's a helpful little diagram of the various parts and controls I've mentioned above, just in case I wasn't clear enough. Click on the pic for a more readable view. 

Just a little note regarding the velocity out of the box:  It's not 390-400 FPS.  It's more like 430-420 FPS, but I'll get to that in the next entry. 

Here, again, they've gone and provided some useful intel for the first-time user.  HOWEVER, I will tell you that the crane stock that comes with the rifle is not the standard size crane stock we're all used to.  It's a smidge on the smaller side, which flusters me just a tad, because it's just slightly too small to even fit my tiny Li-Po stick batteries in the tubes.  It's wired to the back through the buffer tube, including a fuse, which I find cumbersome and lame.  So I swapped out the Echo1 crane stock for the larger, more standard-size Classic Army crane stock that I had lying around and all was well in my world again.  Balance has been restored.  I should clarify though.  You can run one small battery (in this case, I used an 11.1V 1200 mAh 20C Li-Po stick battery) in the buffer tube, which is the wide metal tube attached the body of the rifle that the stock slides back and forth on when collapsing or extending it.  When using rifles with crane stocks, however, I prefer running two of those Li-Po stick batteries (one in each storage tube) in parallel to each other, which gives me twice the run time.  Thus why I switched out the crane stocks. 


For those of you that are unfamiliar with the intended effect of the hop-up on a BB, Echo1 has drawn up a pretty good diagram below, as well as pretty clear cut instructions on how to adjust your hop-up for optimum BB Flight.  The goal is the adjust the hop-up to the point where the BB flights on a flat plain for as long as possible before dropping to the ground.  If the BB is dropping off at a short distance, increase the hop.  Conversely, if the BB is rising too much, decrease the amount of hop being placed on the BB.  You do this by turning the hop-up wheel/dial towards the front of the gun for more hop and towards the back of the gun for less hop.  See below for the illustration.  

The second half of the page gives tips on proper maintenance.  And by proper maintenance, I mean Echo1's idea of proper maintenance.  I would have to strongly disagree with the first tip, listed as number one: "Spray silicone oil into the hop-up chamber from the mag well for 1 sec and fire 20-30 BBs to oil inner barrel and hop-up parts."

This is counter productive to the way a hop-up works.  The hop-up system uses a piece of rubber, called a "bucking," to place backspin on the BB, which keeps it in flight longer as I said earlier.  It is the friction between the rubber and the BB that is essential for this to work effectively.  If you apply a lubricant (e.g. silicone oil) to that rubber, you then reduce the friction needed to properly hop the BB.  There is absolutely no need to oil the hop-up or the inner barrel.  In fact, as one of my Airsoft mentors has always said, "keep your barrel clean and dry."  Do NOT use lubricants on the hop-up or the inner barrel.  You're welcome.

Other than that, the other tips listed are legit. 

The last page includes some pretty good troubleshooting tips that can be applied to most AEGs.
So that wraps up Part I. Part II will include my results with the chronograph as well as a groupings test at 30 meters as seen in the WE Mk16 GBB Review.

Airsoft.

So I have been wanting to attempt a modification to my GBB (Gas Blowback) pistol magazines to turn them into High-Flow valves, which in turn will theoretically increase the velocity of the gun to some degree.  I can't remember where I saw the mod because it was probably a year ago or more.  Everytime I remember that I want to try it, I usually not able to or don't have the time to sit down and do it, and whenever I have the time to do it, I forget.  Until today.  I finally remembered and thus decided to take the opportunity to investigate whether the mod works or not, and if so, how effective is it.

Here we go...

In this case, I'll be using a TSD Tactical M9X GBB Pistol.


Everything inside and out is stock.  No mods have been done to the gun prior to or after the hi-flow mod was performed.

I was using the Air Venturi .20g White BBs.


Here is a video of the M9X Chrono test using the stock gas valves and Air Venturi .20g BBs




First, take the gas valve out of your chosen magazine.

Here is what the stock gas valve looks like (unmodified).

We want it to look similar to this aftermarket Hi-Flow valve. Notice that it only has two thin outer posts, while the stock valve has four. 




Question: How in the WORLD are we going to remove those two extra posts to allow for more gas to get through? 

Answer: The Dremel 4000 BABY with a cutting wheel thingy!!!! Or just a tiny file will do. 

Progress Bar = 50% Complete (1 Post Removed)

Progess Bar Still ='s 50%.  This is just a slightly different angle of the same valve:
Side note: Does anyone know a good manicurist? 


Progress Bar = 100% Complete Modification

Side by Side Comparison: 
In case you are suffering from extreme density issues here's a hint -
Left=Stock, Right=Modified

Take a can of compressed air/duster gas and blow of the modified valve to get rid of the tiny brass shavings.  Then reinstall back into the magazine that it came from.  

Like so...


Here is the end result:

But first...a few notes:  the BBs were getting stuck inside the magazine, just as they got to the feed lips.  I am not sure whether it was the lips or the BBs causing the issue, but the fallout was some intermittent dry-firing that you will see in the videos where I take a shot or two without the chrono giving a reading. 


So not much to write home about, but there did appear to be a bit of a boost.

Here's a recap of the readings I got per the chrono, in feet per second (FPS).
335.9
316.2
314.5
308.6
306.6
295
294.1

Next Clip, post-gas refill
313.7
314.5
308.5
307.7
304
301.9

Only the oblivious would miss the declining values. This, I suppose, isn't too much of a surprise, considering my understanding of the way pressurized gas works. Actually, the very first shot I got on the chrono with a full magazine at approximately room temperature prior to recording was 348 FPS. However, I was never able to repeat such a reading and the highest I got was the 335.9.

So those are my findings.

It would appear that this mod does work in providing the pistol with a small, yet noticeable boost in power. I also have to wonder about the cool-down effect from the gas, as I continued to fire the gun. The magazine got colder as the shots progressed, as is typical of propane gas to do, which in turn will reduce velocity. These are layman terms. The scientific explanation is obviously much more involved, but I believe that is the gist of it. If you have a better explanation, please feel free to share it with the group. Sharing means caring.

The next step would be to acquire an aftermarket, manufactured high-flow valve and chrono the M9's performance with it installed for a comparison to see if one is better than the other. Maybe the aftermarket option will offer more consistent numbers. Maybe not. I don't know. But I'd like to find out. Maybe I'll look into this further. Maybe I won't. Time will tell.

There are a few other tricks I'd like to try as well to increase power. I'll see what I can do to gather the resources necessary and, of course, keep you posted on any relevant developments.

Airsoft.


I took the WE MK16 out for a game this weekend, and thought I'd tell you a little bit about my adventures with it.  Actually, it wasn't just any game, it was the Echo1 Appreciation Day game at the Desert Fox MOUT Facility in Southern California that I announced in an earlier blog entry. 

I'm the handsome fellow popping his head and gun up above the convoy truck on the right.  If you click on the image, and then click the magnifier, you can see the enlarged image, which gives a bit more detail in showing that I am in fact looking tactical hot with my MK16. 


Image Credit: GI Jones, Desert Fox Fields


First off, firing this gun will get you noticed in the best way.  The kind of way where people want to be your friend, regardless of how sweaty you are or how bad you smell as a result of being so sweaty, just to be closer to your gun.  I suppose you might think that sounds like a pretty shallow friendship, based on the fact that one person is friends with the other purely for the purpose of getting a chance to see a WE GBBR (GBBR = Gas Blowback Rifle) in action.  However, a friendship based on Airsoft replicas is thicker than replica blood.

This is the perfect choice for anyone like me who enjoys the spotlight.  People will notice the awesome glory of its performance and will then proceed to ask you about it.  They will want to know if the recoil feels like the kick of shooting a real steel .22 or not.  Without ever having shot a .22, my guess would be, "probably."  They will want to see it shoot or ideally, shoot it themselves.  If you're feeling remotely Roosevelt, I suggest you let them try it for themselves.  It's the only way to truly demonstrate how legit this gun is.  Let's just say I made some new friends. 

I found this gun to be accurate enough that I could aim it at a tango anywhere between 20 to 40 yards away and without being able to see the flight of some of my BBs (I was using the clear Bioval .27s in a shaded area), I could expect them to find their mark.  And they did.  A lot.  It also helps that most of the players at the game were calling their hits.   

Another note:  A couple friends of mine, plus my brother, were out at the game with me.  One of said friends has heard of the WE MK16 Airsoftasticness for several weeks now but had yet to see it being fired.  I kept telling him, "Dude, you need to shoot this thing.  It will blow(back) your mind."  Sometimes my own cleverness (or lack thereof) astounds me.  All he could say was that he just really hates the SCAR because of the way it looks.  I could sympathize because I'm not crazy about the look of the gun either, but as soon as I fired it for the first time, I couldn't care less what the thing looked like.  I was hooked.  So...I had him test-fire it.  I handed him the gun, and said to put a few down range.  I had it switched to full auto, which I'm not sure he noticed nor was he prepared for.  He pulled the trigger, which resulted in a 3- to 4-round burst of Airsoft Win.  He just started laughing and shook his head, then turned to me, used some expletives to describe his excitement, switched the rifle to semi-auto and continued firing.  Judges ruling: there is a new member in the WE GBBR fan club.

Here's another reason why I had fun with the WE MK16 last weekend:  It didn't break down like some of my AEGs did.  It functioned flawlessly.  No jams.  No dry-fires, no NUTHIN! My only issue was that I'll need to pick up some additional mags, because the three current mags I have at 30 rounds each won't last you too long in a game with 120 players or more.  I did try to choose my shots much more carefully than I would have if I was running an RPK with a 3000-round drum mag but still, I'm not that good of a shooter, the gun is not that accurate, and not everyone called their hit the first time they were shot.  Sometimes, it would take one or two extra shots to get them to realize that I had them dialed into my sights.

There's me on the right, brother on the left, securing the convoy's exfill route in the 2nd game.  The WE MK16 is slung on my back (you can barely see the orange tip sticking out behind me if you click on the image to enlarge it) because I had run out of ammo at that point and had switched to my lovely TSD M11, which is a whole other animal that I'll be covering later. 

Image Credit: GI Jones, Desert Fox Fields

Bottom Line: I had a metric ton of fun playing with the WE MK16 GBBR this weekend.  It performed extremely well, resulting in many dead tangos, AND people saw how cool it was when I was shooting it and were no doubt envious of my possession.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: If you like your guns to come in Tan, then I've got great news...

Pyramyd Air is now carrying the very sexy Tan version (or Flat Dark Earth/FDE) of the WE AWSS MK16. 

Truth be told, I want one in every color. Even pink. Real men rock pink.

It felt great to get back into games this weekend after a four-month dryspell (stupid tax season), and the WE MK16 was very instrumental in helping me enjoy my time out on the field.  

Airsoft.

Pyramyd Air is having a garage sale with sweet Airsoft loot, to boot. If you're in the area, I suggest you stop by and snoop around.  I'm told they've got some pretty nice stuff in good condition for cheapsies.

Here's the official announcement for pomp and circumstance.


Do you see the list of brands they'll have for sale?  Yea, those would be good brands to buy.  I like all of them.  I'm serious.  I could name AT LEAST one product from each brand that I think very highly of.  Try me.

I'm going to tell you something.  Something about airsoft and buying used.


I like doing it.

You can often times find great deals this way.  Half the fun of getting these guns is fixing them up with external and internal goodies and if you're planning on replacing over half your Airsoft rifle with aftermarket Magpul or VLTOR stuff, for example, why not buy a used gun to cut your cost down?

The great thing about the stuff Pyramyd is selling is that even though it's used stuff, most of it is in pretty good shape and in some cases might just have a scratch or two on it, making it unable to sell at full retail yet still functions flawlessly.  So.  If you're in the area and you like saving money on your Airsoft acquisitions, I suggest you stop on by.

18370 South Miles Rd.
Warrensville Hts, Ohio 44128


Take a look at their current list of Pre-Owned guns and you'll have an idea of the kind of sweet deals to expect.  Here's the link to their Pre-Owned Page: http://www.pyramydair.com/pre-owned-air-gun-products

I'm not saying those are the exact guns that will be at the garage sale, but I AM saying that it's certainly possible.  


That's a Tokyo Marui M9 Tactical Master for sale in their pre-owned section.  Need I say more?

Airsoft.

In celebration of their official announcement, I am officially announcing that I think this is officially awesome. WE (Double-U EE), you know, the guys who make that sweet MK16 GBBR I reviewed recently, have created what they are calling an Open Bolt System that further adds to the already very realistic replica Airsoft guns they make. I should note that they also make an M4 or two, as well as an attractive replica of the Knight's Armament Co. PDW (Personal Defense Weapon). Just watch the video and tell me how much you agree (or disagree) with all the Win going on within. I would love to snag one of those new Tan PDWs for some CQB action. Honestly, I want one of every color of every model they make, but some might say that would make me greedy. I wouldn't use the word greedy. I would say more like, "I love Airsoft" is more like it. That's all. No biggie. Toe-may-toe/Toe-mah-toe.



I also have it on good authority that they've improved upon their current hop-up design to improve accuracy. You'll recall in my MK16 review that once the proper BB was selected, accuracy was pretty darn good with no modifications. I don't know that they have released any of the guns with the new hop-ups in them just yet. However, I spoke with the WE Managing Director who was very gracious in informing me of a very simple and free mod you can do to further improve your accuracy. The little metal ball bearing used in the hop-up should be replaced by a 2mm segment of a 2mm rubber o-ring. James, (The Director) informed me that you just drop that little piece in where the bearing would go and you can expect your grouping sizes to be reduced even further.

Here's a shot of the spot I'm talking about.

As soon as I get a chance, I plan on testing this mod out to see if it helps at all.  I've got a big weekend full of Airsoft gaming coming up, since I'll be attending the Echo1 Appreciation Day Event that I posted earlier, along with some more action on Sunday, so it won't be this weekend, but it will be soon. 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tips on Painting Airsoft Guns



Here is how a friend of mine taught me to perform custom paint jobs on my Airsoft goodies (works for rifles or pistols).  Apparently, there's more than one way to skin a cat.  With that in mind, if you've got a different method that works well for you, please feel free to share it. 

----Prep----

Prep work is the most important part of painting anything. If the prep work is horrible or lacking, then the paint will not stick, nor will it look good (i.e. dents, deep scratches, etc.). You must prep a gun/part to be painted. What I have found that works best for Airsoft guns is not direct sand paper, but rather a sanding sponge. 120-150 grit is ideal: Here is an example of such a sponge:




They are easy to use and are inexpensive.  The advantage is they do not shred in your hands as easily as sandpaper will when it hits the sharp points of a Picatinny/Weaver rail or other jagged parts of the gun. The sanding sponges can get into tight spaces on the gun, too. I would recommend the trapezoidal sponges because the rectangular sponges are very difficult to get into tight areas. You really don't have to press very hard on the sponge either, but rather in light strokes-just enough to scuff the paint, or to remove scratches and imperfections.

Next, you'll need to make sure that you clean the gun prior to painting. Use a tack cloth, cheese cloth or some other kind of CLEAN light rag to get finger prints, oils, sanding dust and crud off the gun/part. This is vital to the adhesion of the paint. A simple, but important step.

Next, tape off any section you do not want painted or remove them all together. Blue painter's masking tape is advised.  In the case of the P226 pictured below, I took the gun apart to some extent to make sure that I didn't paint certain pieces. You should do this to add depth to the gun and break up shadows and patterns in the guns body/viewable surface.


----Paint----

To this point, most of the guns that I've painted have been with Krylon Camo paint and have had a very positive experience with it. However, I like for my guns to show a bit of wear on the paint for that realistic look. Thus, Krylon has worked well for this because it does wear in places where contact happens; pistol grips, hand gaurds, controls, etc. If you want for the paint to stay on the gun and not wear to a greater extent, Krylon probbly ain't the best option for ya. But if you don't mind a bit of wear, as I said, the Krylon has never done me wrong. You can get it at most Hardware stores for @ $7.

If you want a very strong bonding paint that will not wear as quickly, I would suggest Aluma-Hyde from Brownells. I have used it with great results on a few projects, although it's a bit higher in cost than the Krylon at @ $12 per can. Here's a link: Brownells Aluma-Hyde II Paint. This stuff is pretty legit.

Here are some pointers when spraying on the sugary matte finish of camouflage nectar.

- Make sure that you put the gun/part onto a surface you don't mind getting paint on. I placed my P226 on a large piece of wood that I didn't care about discoloring. The background, or anything behind the paint can's nozzle will get overspray--You have been warned.

- Here is the key to any good paint job: Don't just aim the nozzle at the gun/part and start spraying like you are a tagger from the Southeast side. You aren't painting a clown face on the side of a freight train here, either (don't get any ideas). Instead, start to spray on the right hand side of the part (or left, it doesn't matter) and then move the spray stream over the part and continue past it about three more inches. Yes, you will waste some paint, but this will give you a much more uniform coat and virtually eliminate runs and thick coats of paint. Back and forth.  It does take practice, so try it first on a board, or something else to get it right.  Also, another key: Three to four light coats of paint is better than 2 heavy coats. Yes, this may take a bit more time to finish your project, but the paint will look better and last longer if you do multiple coats.

- Now that you've painted your piece, have patience....This is usually my fatal flaw.  I typically get so enthralled with the results of my right to left paint-jobs that I pick up the gun/part before the paint has time to dry to admire it.  After I get done cursing my Attention Deficit Disorder, I do more prep-work to fix the fingermarks. I have learned to be patient, but still have a long ways to go when it comes to keeping my head out of dark and horrifically foul places. Seriously, practice restraint in this phase, it will save you a LOT of time and headaches.

- Now for that tape (preferably blue painters masking tape I mentioned earlier): Don't remove it until after you have applied multiple coats, but make sure to remove it about 10-15 minutes after your last coat. Give the paint time to settle, but not long enough to completely dry. If the paint completely dries, and you peel off the tape at this point, you run the risk of pulling up your freshly painted gun/part because the paint has dried to the tape. Try to be gentle as you remove it so that you don't fudge the newly painted parts.

- Last step....Enjoy your masterpiece.

Although, not the one I just reviewed, here is a P226 with a candied paint job & fresh rims.  What???


Image Credit: ArmyOfMike


Yep, you're thinking, "Sick money." I know.  Me, too. 

After all this hard work, realize that you just did it all for a toy gun.  A very good looking toy gun.

Prep well, practice a bit on your technique before the final product and remember it's just paint.  It can be removed and redone if you don't like it after the first try.

This is a great way to give those well-seasoned veterans in your collection a very well-executed face lift, unlike this one:


Image Credit: Getty Images



Airsoft.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Review - KJW Sig Sauer P226

So I got this KJW SIG SAUER P226 in the mail the other day and I thought I would tell you how lovely it is. How lovely, you ask? Very lovely.

Let's get right into it, shall we?

I. Ordering Info:

This is an Airsoft P226 manufactured by KJW with SIG SAUER trades, licensed through Cybergun. 

I got it from Pyramyd Air for a very reasonable $127.  I ordered this beauty at around 8am in the morning, Pacific Standard Time.  I was supposed to be getting work done at the office, but instead of preparing financial statements, I opted to get this thing into Pyramyd's pipeline before 12pm Eastern Standard Time so that it would ship out that same day.  Mission complete.  I'm a cheapskate, more so than I am impatient despite being very excited for this thing to arrive, so I chose the free ground shipping (UPS aka "Brown") and waited the usual 5 business days for it to arrive on my doorstep.  Brown never lets me down. 

II. A Little Background on SIG SAUER

www.SIGSAUER.com


The company began in 1853 as a wagon manufacturer called the Swiss Wagon Factory. Guess what part of the world they they got started. Somehow the three founders, each having very German/Swiss names, got the idea to compete for a deal to develop some guns for Switzerland's Federal Ministry of Defense in hopes the Swiss army would think they were tight and want to buy them. Long story short, they got the deal and changed their name from the Swiss Wagon Factory to the Swiss Industrial Company, which in German (you know, Deutsch?) translates to the Schweizerische Industrie-Gesellschaft. *Light bulb* I just realized that when you take the first letter from each of those German words and put them together in all caps, it spells SIG. Just like the name of the gun company I am talking about. Weird. Anyway, SIG (under the name, SIGARMS, Inc.) made some more guns that a lot of people seemed to really like to shoot other people with and then later, in the 1970s, SIGARMS started absorbing other companies, including one called J.P. Sauer & Sohn from West Germany. October of 2007, they changed their name to SIG SAUER because they felt like it. End of story. Check the SIG SAUER website for the dry-as-toast version of their story.

III. The Gun



Note the gun's rail which allows for a tac light, laser, or combo thereof.  I like the combos.  Why not have both?  Hmmm???



Markings on the Right Side of the Lower Frame




Pictured here, you can see four controls, other than the obvious trigger:
  1. To the far right is the slide stop, 
  2. Just to the left & slightly below the slide stop is the de-cocking lever, 
  3. The circular button directly to the left of the grip screw is the mag release, 
  4. To the far left is the slide release that allows the gun to be disassembled.





Right-Side Handle Trades

Left-Side Handle Trades



Trades Engraved on the Left Front side of the Slide. 

Here are a few shots of the slide, after I removed it from the frame, which is very easy to do.  You can see the hop-up wheel with the ridges in this shot.  Currently it is all the way off.  There is a small notch on the wheel that indicates how much hop you've got on the BB at present.  To increase the hop of the BBs, simply turn the wheel so that the notch travels towards the back of the slide.  In the case of the picture immediately below, the back end of the slide is on the right, so you would turn the wheel to the right to increase back spin. I couldn't get a clear shot close enough to show it, but there is an arrow next to the wheel indicating what direction you need to turn the wheel in order to increase the hop-up. 

This image features a close-up of the loading nozzle. Gas enters the gun directly from the magazine through that square port where you can see the blue flow valve inside.


Zoomed out a bit. 


A little bit more.

The 24-Round Magazine
The more astute readers will notice there are 25 rounds in the mag I have featured just below this fascinating text. I found after firing this mag that the gas reservoir inside the mag doesn't quite have enough room for gas to power that 25th shot out of the gun at a decent velocity. Just an FYI.


If you are using propane to power this piece, make sure to add a few drops of a silicone oil into your mix when you first gas up the gun in order to get some lubrication in areas that need it.

A note on extra magazines:  I recommend them.  At least one extra.  If you play on fields that are pretty large and spread out where close engagements requiring the use of pistols aren't as common, then one extra mag should suffice.  However, if you play at fields where you're constantly having to transition from rifle to pistol or if you play pistols-only games often, then I'd suggest the more the merrier.  Personally, during pistols-only games that allow it, I will carry as many mags as I have available for the pistol I'll be using.  In target rich environments at a CQB venue, it wouldn't be unreasonable to carry 5, 6 or even 7 mags, depending on the length of the game and the number of players on the other side.  

IV. Chrono Results using a TSD .20g BB, hop-up turned off.




  1. 319.3
  2. 314.6
  3. 312.5
  4. 306.3
  5. 311.4
  6. 311.1
  7. 310.6
  8. 306.5
  9. 301.9
  10. 308.5
  11. 303.9
  12. 302.6
  13. 301.1
  14. 303.2
  15. 297.3
  16. 301.7
  17. 293.3
  18. 300.1
  19. 301.3
  20. 300.4
  21. 298.8
  22. 299.1
  23. 289
  24. 298
  25. 291
  26. 293.7
Avg FPS: 303.10 
High FPS: 319.3
Low FPS: 289
Standard Deviation: 7.28

You can see the results are fairly consistent for a gun running on a notoriously inconsistent gas.




V. Target Shooting at 20 meters.

So here's a clip of me showing you what a terrible marksman I am with a pistol.  Actually, I'm blaming the gun a very small smidge because I hadn't quite gotten the hop-up where it should have been.  But I was running out of daylight and had a other things that I needed to get done as well so I only did one take. Deal with it/I love you. 



Deciding that I wasn't satisfied with those results, I continued to load mags (four mags worth in total) and get some practice in once I got the hop-up squared away. I was much happier with the results. I could actually look down the sights of the gun, aim at the target and hit it one shot after the other.  So I hit the target a few more times.  There were definitely some fliers in the mix, but because of the gas blowback element AND that it's a pistol, it was difficult to tell whether it was my poor shooting skills or if the gun was sending the BBs off in different directions.  I wasn't missing the trap by a whole lot, but still.  



View of the target through the Newcon range-finder, un-lasered.

View of the target through the Newcon range-finder at 20 meters (21.87 yards)
Zoomed out


Summary
Pros:
  • Metal Body
  • Snappy blowback action
  • Nice trades
  • Adjustable hop-up
  • Accuracy is good enough to engage targets at 20 meters and beyond, provided the hop-up is set correctly.  
  • High quality upgrade parts are available if you are so inclined to such things. 
  • Decent velocity consistency from shot to shot. 
  • Has a hot little (yet legal) sister: KJW SIG SAUER P229 Compact Airsoft GBB Pistol
  • There are a number of holsters on the market that this will fit, including the Serpa, which is my current favorite until 5.11 releases more options for their new Thumbdrive holsters. 
  • Price seems to be very reasonable.  Here's a link to Pyramyd's Product Page, in case you missed it: KJW SIG SAUER P226 Airsoft GBB Pistol.


Cons:
  • Long trigger pull distance (even on single action)
  • Would like to see the stock velocity a bit higher, towards 350 fps.  You should be able to get it near there with high-flow valves and a tighter inner barrel installed, though.  It will add to your cost, of course.
  • Accuracy, even with the hop-up adjusted, could improve.  Possibly situating the bucking a bit better and getting a good seal on it would help.  
  • The hop-up adjustment wheel has a tendency to move after firing a magazine or so worth of shots, requiring occasional readjustment.
  • Rail is a bit short, so you'll be a bit limited on the types of lights or lasers that will fit on it. 


Conclusion:

I enjoyed getting to know this gun.  KJW did a very nice job on it, and the having the licensed trades is certainly a nice touch.  Once I got the hop-up under control, I was pretty happy with the accuracy and would definitely feel comfortable taking this gun out to the field for a game.  I would have no problem recommending this gun to others for purchase and use.  It's definitely a winner for the SIG lovers out there.


Airsoft.

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