Saturday, 30 October 2010
Guns, Guns, Guns: Part 1 (Updated pictures)
The big attraction of Airsoft is that you can buy pretty realistic replicas of real guns, which you can shoot your friends with, and unlike real life, your friends remain your friends, rather than becoming your dead ex-friends.
Above is an old picture of what was my whole collection, but I've since sold on a couple, because of storage, financial, or lack of usage reasons. I now have a new one in, an old one out policy. Quite frankly, you can only use one rifle at a time and once you have your main squeeze, plus a spare, plus a special, and the equivalent in handguns, then you are pretty much good to go.
The M60 was not the first gun that I bought, but when I first started in airsoft it was the gun that I aspired to owning as it looked awesome, and at Contact! game site the 1200 round hopper meant one didn't have to carry magazines for ones gun.
The Mk 43 Mod 1 you see above started as a M60 E3 shorty from Top, which can be seen in the first photo. Back when I started playing airsoft the only manufacturer of M60s was Tops. Nowadays of course you have a larger choice of M60s with superior mechanisms to the Tops bellows system. Mechanically this gun has been very reliable, as I've never had any of the problems that others report having with the bellows failing. There again, I play in a MilSim game and when I use the Pig tend to fire it in relatively short controlled bursts.
However, I will say that the first few years of ownership I was plagued with bits falling off the gun, and "fatigue" failure of pot metal parts. Anyway, various metal external upgrades over the years have made it a pretty solid gun. My M60 E3 first became a M60 E4, before morphing into the Mk 43 Mod 1 variant you now see here. It weighs in at about 14lbs, without battery, which is kind of light in comparison to the real deal. This gun desperately needs an internal upgrade to make its performance match its looks, as the Top internals means it only runs at 90 meters per second. Oh yes, the ammo box houses a 4000mah NIMH battery pack, so the "Pig" will shoot quite a while before the battery drains.
Ah the TM Steyr AUG, my first airsoft AEG. This is a civilian model with a custom made scope riser made to bring the Eotech holosight up to my eyeline when wearing a paintball mask. The SA80 three point sling was acquired through a surplus show and what can I say about but I loved this gun. The reason I sold it on was all down to the magazines, which won't fit into standard STANAG pouches.
After I had been playing airsoft for a while I realised that for me having a comfortable rig was the most important part of the game. Being able to spread the weight of the magazines, water and other kit over the body was more important than the gun. This may not be such a factor for a fit young man, or fit older man, but for a middle-aged woman it was a big deal.
My second airsoft gun, bought to replace the AUG, and inspired by watching too many episodes of SG1 on TV. This started as TM standard P90 that I then added an after market rail system too, as the built in sight is less than optimal for airsoft usage. This was such an easy gun to line up and shoot, but like the AUG suffers from using non-standard magazines that are a bit of fiddle to change when running around being shot at, so it too had to go. Loved it though.
Now this was an oddity I picked up second hand from a friend who also played in Contact! It's a Maruzen shell loading airsoft shotgun. It made a gorgeous sound when one racked it, and the shells being ejected just added to the thrill. However, shells are easily lost unless one has a shell catcher, and power was poor. It leaked gas like a sieve trying to hold air. I stripped it down and rebuilt it too.
This is what you you find after what it has to be said is a rather tricky job. The main gas leakage occurred at the the points where the hose main valve started (right hand lower corner). Next it leaks where the hose goes into the main storage chamber, which is probably too small to hold enough useful gas, and finally the mechanism that fed the gas into the shell (that can hold one to six bbs) leaked too. One really needed a lot of gas capacity, or good sealing to get the best out of this gun. It could be done, but it required lubrication and to do this properly that meant stripping the gun down after each game. I sold it onto another player who wanted it more as a good looking plinker.
Finally, my pistols. What we have here is two WA Beretta Cheetahs and a Maruzen Walther P99. I actually started off with a WA Beretta Cougar, a 45 cal replica, but found it too large for my hands, hence the Cheetahs. However, I now have two Walthers and only one Cheetah, because the latter is too small for a standard military holster, but the Walther is just lovely. The second Walther has been heavily modified to take a laser, which I use for target practice and for refining my trigger pull technique, as the laser dot allows you to see how much the pistol is moving as you pull the trigger. Good trigger pull is the secret to being able to hit a target and not miss.
That's all for now, but I will be back with part two, which will outline what other guns I've used, and my most recent acquisition my G&G F2000, which is lovely (like an AUG, but takes STANAG magazines).