Aero Bubbles

As promised, issues I ran in to trying to alter the Krytac (and one shot of some of the markings with my macro lens just because I had it out).

I’m not saying I’m perfect or the very most skilled technician in the world, is there a chance this stuff could’ve been avoided? Yeah maybe, but when I do jobs I do them properly and both broken parts failed extremely easily, far more quickly than anything else I’ve worked on. Is the receiver issue unique to Krytac? No there’s barely any airsoft ARs out there which use decently graded aluminium, Systema receivers are the same ‘alloy’ and we all know the price difference there. Hopefully these shots do a good job of showcasing what these parts are actually made of once you get inside them (for those who’ve never seen a receiver break).

Krytac referred me to Shield Airsoft with regards getting a new lower, I’ve contacted them but no reply thus far, so “we’ll see” on that one.

I’ve pretty much decided that as cool as it is to replicate the War Sport rifle so closely, it’s pretty much impossible to get this AEG 100% correct so I might as well improve the weight distribution and handling by changing the rail out. Plain black, with M-LOK and the WS bungees threaded in as a homage to the original.

Either something like this to maintain that scooped front end look:
https://tinyurl.com/m7fsjum

Or I’ll just go with whatever is the lightest most fancy looking M-LOK freefloat tube I can get my hands on. This V Seven Weapons has been on my list for a while:
https://tinyurl.com/n8ef9jn

Battle Arms Development and Faxon Firearms also have some really cool options recently released but these really light tubes are so damn popular and manufactured in fairly small batches that it’s not easy to find them in stock. The great thing about a rear-wired AEG and modern LiPos in the buffer tube means that once I’ve re-threaded the upper to firearm spec the world’s my oyster in terms of rail selection.

Minty Fresh

For those who prefer the gear stuff, trust me I’ve still got a TON of that to post. But I’ve not paid any attention to my fake guns for a good year+ now so they’re getting some well overdue work and updates. I fit firearms parts wherever I can and it’s legal so if you’re interested in customising shooters, you might like these posts as well. There’s a bit of something for everyone really.

So.. I’ve done this that many times before I really thought I’d not have any trouble changing up the Krytac LVOA to better resemble the earlier models that War Sport manufactured. That was naive of me.

Making the pick’n’mix B5 Systems stock wasn’t too bad, the spring pin in the latch on the black stock was pretty darn stubborn, but once I’d gotten it properly cranked in to the vice it came out ok. The end result fits basically perfectly on the Krytac buffer tube. Said buffer tube also came off without drama so I can switch out the awful factory sling plate for something much better. Going from the USGI magazine catch to the ambi type was also luckily smooth and trouble free. That’s where the good times end.

To change the selectors obviously the gearbox has to come out, meaning the pistol grip has to come off (itself being changed in the process). This process fell at the first hurdle because the two tiny crossheads holding on the motor base plate were honestly the cheapest, weakest metal I’ve encountered. I just about managed to get one out, but despite using a perfectly fitting driver and applying a ton of pressure to prevent any slippage, the other head is totally destroyed. Why they needed to be so tight in the first place I’ve no idea.

In a more expected area, I’m now lacking one of the ears on the lower that holds the spring pin for the rear of the trigger guard – snapped clean off. I supported the area as one should when changing trigger guards but the spring pin was an insanely tight fit and seemingly the force required to move it was too much. How this company is putting “Aluminium alloy receivers” as an advantageous bullet point in their product descriptions I don’t know. It is normal for airsoft ARs, but the inside of these receivers looks like heavily sintered metal, it’s closer to an Aero bar inside than proper metal (I’ll be posting pictures don’t worry).

Off to Homebase tomorrow for cutting accessories to put a flat head slot in to the ruined screw head and some sort of epoxy to carefully rebuild the trigger guard attachment. I can’t imagine that Krytac sells just the lowers and even if they did they will no doubt be totally disproportionately priced compared to the full gun. It’ll be annoying having that crack line in the lower, but luckily the metal is so rough and bobbly inside whatever glue I use should bind pretty well.

I also had the gun on the scales last night. Weighs just over half a kilo less than some of my TM recoil M4s, yet because such a huge proportion of the weight is held in the fat-ass rail, when aimed it manages to actually feel substantially heavier than my Maruis. After going through so much time, effort and money to replicate some tiny details of the real War Sport guns I’m very much on the fence about changing to any aftermarket rail. However there are so many super light ones out there using carbon fibre and super skeletonised 6065, it’s hard not to want to change things up and say to hell with replicating anything.

Shorter LVOA

Got a Krytac LVOA-S in from Socom Tactical Airsoft the other day after finally getting around to selling the ridiculously-proportioned LVOA-C. Really outstanding customer service from Socom, they’ll definitely be making it in to my bookmarks, which I have to say is a rare thing for any company, doubly so in airsoft.

I’ve probably bemoaned the state of the AEG market as far as ARs go before now, but fuck it I’m going to do it again. I was pretty excited when Krytac first came on to the scene given the quality of internals they were talking about providing, but personally I can’t stand the aesthetics of the vast majority of their line up, which is annoying when they have such top end gearboxes and come with MOSFETs, without getting in to TM Next-Gen territory as far as pricing goes.

Very recently we’ve started to see ‘EMG’ showing off prototypes and early releases of some proper AEG replicas of rifles that really exist on the US civilian market, but a year or 2 ago that wasn’t the case, you had the Krytac LVOA, the G&P Salient Arms and that was about it (with 1 or 2 military style M4s around if you really dug deep). I picked the lesser of 2 evils and went with that original LVOA-C for the better quality of internals vs the G&P Salient. Than and I’ve seen a lot of evidence from various sources demonstrating Salient to be a company I wouldn’t even want to replicate in airsoft their business practices are that shocking.

The S (SBR) variant LVOA replica is still way heavier than I’d like and it should be, on account of the standard airsoft pot metal they’ve used in place of proper quality aluminium, but compared to the full rifle it’s infinitely more manageable and will be much better for skirmishing indoors. I don’t think the loss in barrel length will have any noticeable effect on range or accuracy, so having a much lighter gun that’s more easily aimed in tight spaces just makes sense.

I don’t like the really long trigger pull this thing has, doubly so because the gearbox cycles at a decent speed and I can’t actually take advantage of it, even though the trigger looks like something out of a fancy 3-gun competition rifle. Also the selectors are way too stiff and lack a really solid click in to each position. I can’t knock the assembly though, not an ounce of rattle to be found (with the usual exception of the stock and that’s going anyway). Even the receiver pins have allen screws like the upgrade ones Laylax sells for TM recoils.

I’ve got a fair few parts here already from B5 Systems, PTS and G&P waiting to convert this in to something far more reminiscent of the original early guns from WAR SPORT. I don’t think I can change the charging handle or bolt release to replicate the real thing since they’re proprietary parts that interact with the fake bolt piece, but I’ll still be able to get it looking a lot better than it does right now.

Indoor Deserts

Loadout shot from Sunday 26th March, first game I’ve played at my favourite site since before I went to afghan.

The gear ‘testing’ (as far as I can test stuff in airsoft at least) continues. With the exception of my eye/ear pro and gloves basically everything I had on me was going through its’ first usage.

Head pro – ESS (Eye Safety Systems) Turbofans, 3M Peltor Communication Solutions Comtacs and Mr. Colion Noir (@MrColionNoir) #thepewpewlifeFlexfit

Upper – Rasputin item G3 Combat shirt copy in PenCott Camouflage Sandstorm (future video – cryes on a budget?)

PC – Dead Coyote Tactical Nylon front, straps and placard with FirstSpear retro-fit cummerbund, deluxe shoulder pads and AAC back, TYR Tactical, LLC zip-on hydro panel, old af High Speed Gear TACOs in OD (rest is RG), Tactical Tailor GP, Source Tactical Gear bladder and ITW Grimlock.

Sling – Heavily butchered FS 2-pt with Blue Force Gear, Inc. Uber loops to create a 1-pt that works extremely well with the Evo

Gloves – SKD Tactical Gen 1 PIGs

Lower – PLATATAC Tac Dax Mk3 with D3O Trust HP Internal knee pads

Belt – FS AGB with Slimline AGB sleeve, pre hypalon BFG TenSpeed double pistol, HSGI TACO LT, Platatac BB pouch for Concept Tactical TRMR, pretty fuckin salty Warrior Assault Systems dump pouch, G-Code Holsters RTi belt mount and Off The Grid Concepts LLC Light bearing OWB holster

Feet – Old gen Salomon XA Pro 3D Mid GTX

Primary – Team ASG Scorpion with INFORCE Gen 2 WML

Secondary – Stark Arms, LLC M&P with SureFire, LLC X300U and stippling by good friend Ko-Tac

As mentioned, almost all gear and guns were getting their first run out, which isn’t uncommon for me at the rate I get new stuff and the trouble I usually run in to with actually getting to games. That said, I enjoy learning what all this stuff can and can’t actually do when you put it on and run around and actually get a sweat on putting yourself in to lots of shooting positions and moving through rooms. Gives me plenty of points to discuss when I make videos or write about these products and hopefully give you good folks more information to make good informed decisions.

Jungle Fever

This is a pretty long reach, but if anyone has a good meory of the AK-101 used in game by the MEC faction in Battlefield 2 back in the day, you may just recall the funky taped mags and throw-spin-catch reload animation that happened every other time you reloaded those guns.

Now people don’t ‘jungle mag’ any more because it just makes way more sense to use a proper mag clamp or even tape the mags in the same orientation with some sort of spacer material inbetween, but quirky stuff like this does amuse me I must admit.

Being such an old and outmoded practice I figured I’d try it on a super modern gun like the Team ASG replica of the Česká zbrojovka a.s. (CZ) Firearms Scorption Evo3 A1 9mm.

Definitely a bad idea in the real world where going prone would be hard and you’d probably end up with dirt getting in the inverted mag, yet apparently it was done a lot in Vietnam by US conventional and special forces using the 20 round magazines that were commonly available at the time for their AR-15 rifles and carbines.

Back End Blues

Good service from Eagle6 Airsoft.

One of my TM EBB/Recoil guns has been lacking a sling plate on the back of the lower receiver for some time and the threads on the buffer tube were starting to look a little tired. Extremely specific parts like this are far from common compared to generic AR-15 AEG parts and having them available here in the UK is pretty handy indeed. Props to E6 on quick shipping and having such a good range of stock available.

Just remember when doing a job like this on any recoiling gun, proper tools to ensure you get things properly tightened are key. I also use blue loctite on all my gas and electric blowback replicas any time I install anything that’s held in place with screws. It works well on real rifles and it’s not expensive to get on eBay so adding a dab on your threads is far preferable to having your gun shake apart and break or shed parts.

Woodland Weekend Loadout

Loadout from the weekend, first woodland game I’ve played in many years. Pointless-PERSEC just because my mask was all janky af.

Load bearing kit has all been used before and I knew it all worked, the clothing was stuff I’m giving a run out prior to reviewing. I picked up a shit ton of camo stuff in 2016 and a large portion of it is totally unnecessary and reviewing it wouldn’t benefit anyone, but the items I used at the weekend I picked up knowing I wouldn’t keep but I feel they had the best chance of hitting the optimum point on the graph of cost vs effectiveness. I see a lot of folks wasting money on inferior clothing from brands that happen to have better marketing strategies so I’m keen to highlight some slightly less common/popular options that can give people the absolute best for their cash without going overboard and then spending too much.

Head pro – ESS (Eye Safety Systems) Turbofans with rental mask lower half, 3M Peltor Communication Solutions Comtac XPs and FirstSpear US Woodland flexfit cap

Combat shirt – TRU-SPEC NYCO 1/4 Zip

Gloves – BLACKHAWK! Hellstorm, US Aviator style

PC – FS and Dead Coyote Tactical Nylon mix with FS and Blue Force Gear, Inc. pouches. Source Tactical Gear hydration, Haley Strategic Partners MP2 inserts and Whiskey Two-Four hypalon zip-pulls

Trousers – Leo Köhler GmbH & Co. KG Explorers in A-Tacs Camo-iX

Belt – Tyr Tactical Gunfighter-E with BFG Double TenSpeed pistol, High Speed Gear rifle TACO, Tyr universal rifle, FS dumper, G-Code Holsters RTi mount and SERPA

Boots – Old ass Oakley SI 8″ Assault which now have literally zero grip on hard surfaces and have not held up well to just sitting in a locker, 50/50 on getting rid

Sling – BFG and Magpul Industries Corp. mix

Patches (most important) – Snake Hound Machine, MilSpecMonkey and Gear Whores Anonymous

Primary – PTS ACR AEG w/ folding stock, 11.5″ barrel, AAC 51T flash hider, ‘real size’ handguard, Magpul MVG, Mission First Tactical rear BUIS, some cheap clone 4x ACOG that I don’t have to worry about taking BB hits

Secondary – Tokyo Marui P226E2 with absolutely nothing done to mess with it

Airsoft Site – X-Site’s Lane End

I was pretty lucky with the weather on Sunday over at Xsite Airsoft Limited​, just cool enough to run around without over heating but also not freeze when stationary. As expected the staff there run some good games and ran them well. The format hasn’t changed much at all over the years since I last played at their Lane End site, but it all works. The actual setup they have is honestly one of the best in the game in my opinion, what you get for your money is unrivalled (at least in southern England). The site’s been running at least 12+ years now and the lunch they provide within the price is quite genuinely impressive, very nice food and there’s an incredibly well stocked snack shop if you want to buy more. In all seriousness, given the remote location and the fact it’s all run out of ISOs I don’t know how they manage to supply such a wide selection of nice stuff.

A lot of the staff have been there for many, many years and do a good job of the safety and game briefings and generally running things throughout the day. It’s just simple, relaxed and enjoyable. As with most sites you’ve got the old regulars all the way down to about 11 years old and the games work for everyone.

It’s not the biggest place by any stretch but it’s so hilly in a lot of the areas that’s not a problem. There’s a lot of paintball gunk on the structures and I was a little disappointed to see how some of the wooden buildings and barricades had really fallen in to disrepair since I last played, but some other areas had also been repaired with new fences and boards etc so it’s not like the place isn’t being looked after at all.

Good crowd in attendance, didn’t see any arguments or shouting, just a really good bunch overall who were there to play the game and have fun with it. Always a pleasure to hang out and chat to decent people like that.

Loadout picture/description and some gear discussion will go up tomorrow.

VFC KAC SR-16 AR-15 AEG

A few years ago when Magpul were all the rage and those DVDs were all everyone was talking about, there was a very strong trend within airsoft towards buying the likes of CTR stocks and MIAD grips for replica guns.  Either the real thing, or the PTS replicas for most folks outside of the US.

During that time period, the ‘pinnacle’ that got you the most likes on discussion forums (Instagram was not a thing yet) was to have a black KAC rifle replica outfitted with a real Magpul Industries CTR, a PTS MIAD and other Magpul bits on the Picatinny rail – All in FDE.  It got a bit repetitive so I decided to try and find an FDE coloured KAC AR replica, then put some black Magpul parts on it.  At the time (late noughties) VFC were turning out these copies of Knights rifles with fully realistic trademarks at a serious rate and they were a common sight because they had ambi selectors before basically any other AR replica in airsoft.  Looking back now I’m pretty certain they were being naughty with said trademarks, but I was entirely ignorant of those sorts of issues at the time.

Luckily I found this SBR style sewing machine for sale 2nd hand but unused at an appealing price over on the ArniesAirsoft forums.  I already had the stock and pistol grip in FDE so I slapped those on, added a terrible knock-off T-1 clone, some Magpul ladder covers and an XTM hand stop, as well as a SureFire X600 and SR-07 tail switch; finished with an old PTS Gen2 style AEG PMAG.

IMG_1818

This looked realistic to an offering from Knights Armament, but it wasn’t what I wanted to build, the rail was too fat and heavier than more modern options and there were a few other niggles.  So change work began.  Compared to the Krytacs and the like you can buy today, the internals are supremely basic and while the RIF functioned fine when I first got it, the gearbox developed a habit of getting its’ piston stuck to the rear for no reason, so the whole thing went off to LC’s Engineering Outpost.

My buddy Jim over there did a bang up job of making the internals cycle as they should as well as re-tightening the QD sockets integral to the lower receiver, which had somehow worked themselves half way out.  I also asked him to remove the quad 1913 rail, which proved to be a pretty epic task for an airsoft gun.  The KAC URX 2 design comprises 2 levels of threading inside the rear portion of the rail; the lower quadrant is removable via the screws at the sides, but the main body comprising the other 3 rails is actually screwed on to the upper receiver as one whole unit, no separate barrel nut like other companies which you mount to the gun and then affix the main portion of the handguard to.  To make things trickier, there’s then another separate nut which slides over the barrel and nestles inside the base of the rail.  This had been (I found out when collecting the gun) doused in what was near enough super glue and torqued to insanity levels.  A custom tool was made, which broke, so it was remade much tougher, then that one broke, but the 3rd iteration of the peg spanner that was all steel using threaded spigots did eventually remove the inner nut.  I then myself mounted the upper receiver in a vice at home and used a combination of a strap spanner, plenty of heat and a lot of shouting to break the tension/glue and unscrew the main body of the forend.

IMG_1650

I had the black MOE stock and pistol grip already here so they went on and the cheap T-1 is just an ornament for pictures; I stopped mounting any BUIS for airsoft usage long ago because it’s extra expense (and a little more weight) for something I’ve never used and wouldn’t ever actually need.  Also, given that the supplied dual-QD sling plate at the rear of the lower was made entirely redundant by the two integral sockets, I moved over to a standard AEG plate that only features 1 QD point directly facing the firer.  Overall a massively better design since it allows a sling with QD swivels to function like a Magpul ASAP when transitioning shoulders.  Switching to shoot around the different sides of any given cover/barricade is quick, easy and snag free.

IMG_1668

Having purchased some fairly pricey AR-15 forends from the US in the past I really wanted to see how something cheaper might compare, so I went for the ALG Defense EMR V1 to replace the VFC URX copy.  In retrospect I should’ve gone with the EMR V2 (in Black) because the V2 incorporates a small section of pic rail right where you’d usually mount your front BUIS.  On this gun the Magpul plastic M-LOK section I attached sits right over the fake gas block and the screws on the rail segment end up contacting the block if properly tightened; this is the ‘I didn’t see it coming’ issue that happens literally every time I change up a gun because I’m always using new things from different brands to try and gain as wide a field of knowledge as I possibly can to facilitate sharing out said knowledge.  However this was my very first M-LOK forend and the great thing about ELG is all their rails use the same barrel nut, so when I get around to changing to a V2 it’ll only be a case of undoing the visible allen bolts.  The other huge bonus is their pricing; being a sister company to Geissele Automatics the quality is superb and their rails do not feel cheap vs the Geissele SMRs.  I can only presume ALG works on something close to a no-profit business model and they’re just turning over money for their most part, because their entire EMR line is priced more cheaply than the likes of Madbull’s airsoft-only rail systems and a lot of the offerings from PTS, yet all the ALG tubes are made from extruded 6061-T6 aluminium with a 2″ 7075-T6 barrel nut that fits inside the tube immaculately creating a zero wobble lock-up that genuinely feels solid as a rock on your upper receiver.  The anodising is very shiny, at least on ALG’s ‘DDC’ option, but it’s also as smooth as silk.

The Magpul polymer rail section weighs almost nothing and in spite of the interference issue I’ve got it mounted quite satisfactorily.  The Inforce WML does sit rather higher than anyone would like and I’d imagine Magpul could make their M-LOK compatible 1913 segments slimmer if they wanted to, but I’d also imagine they were tested on hundreds of different accessories and mounts and the extra clearance was a deliberate piece of design work to ensure fitment across the board.

While I’d not recommend the Inforce over a Surefire light for duty or defensive usage due to the more fragile plastic body, the WML is comparatively quite cheap and extremely easy to mount and use, a good option for sporting applications and still somewhat rugged.  There’s no option for remote switches so you simply clamp on the integral mount (which is much lower profile than the standard Scout mount) and you’re away, no routing wires or buying extra accessories to mount a pressure pad or manage the cable.  When mounted as pictured you’ve got incredibly easy access to the angled pressure switch using your thumb regardless of which shoulder you might be shooting from at any given moment.

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Once I’ve changed the forend over to ALG’s V2 the M-LOK vs Gas block interference issue up front will be removed and the aesthetics will be pretty much there, I’ll just have to paint or swap out that nasty chrome washer behind the KAC Triple Tap Brake replica.  Not a gun I’ll pull out often because the internals are so basic and the trigger response on semi auto is a real dinosaur, but with the 11.5″ barrel and a rail that only weighs around 10 ounces including the mounting hardware it’s still a handy package that works with common magazines and generally does what I’d need it to do for ‘CQB’ or Indoor type games.

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Oh and the sticker is from 4 Guys Guns.  Their handy moustache decal packs come in multiple colours with 4 different styling options in each that allow the operator to quickly transition from their shooting stance to a comedic pose whenever the need should arise by simply turning the gun 90 degrees to the side and lifting their collapsible stock to their upper lip.

MOE-SL on TM

Modified some Magpul Industries Corp. MOE-SL Mid length handguards the other day.

Needed a new forend for one on my Tokyo Marui ‘SOCOM’ M4s (NGRS with the front wiring) and simple plastic handguards definitely fit the bill.  Plenty of space inside and easy to open up for access. The metal heat shield needed removing from these however in order to create enough space for a battery, which turned out to be no easy task. The rivets used to hold in the shield were both extremely tight and made of seriously tough stuff; yet at the same time loose enough that when I tried to drill them out, they simply span.  Holding the tails on the back face while drilling was a difficult job even for 2 people.  I tried a Dremel bit with embedded diamond dust, however the rivet metal just ground off the diamond and cut in to the metal of the dremel bit in a matter of seconds.

Got there eventually with a combination of drilling followed by a hefty hammer and punch. Cleaned up the holes by drilling out the scuffed up portions with a larger diameter drill bit and scraping out any flash left over.  With a fake mid-length gas system on a 12.5″ Dytac barrel using a standard delta ring and standard circular handguard cap behind a low-pro gas block, the fit is absolutely solid. Not nearly as gucci looking as a freefloat rail system, but this setup is light and enables a solid direct connection between the LiPo and the workings of the gun, as well as permitting usage of basically any stock.