|DumboRATs Newbie FAQ, v.1.2, June 2001|
|Written by ORCA|
I will be editing the broken links from this original document, since alot of sites referenced are long gone. Even though this info is a bit dated, it's still a solid reference for the new airsofter.
DumboRATs Newbie FAQ, v.1.2, June 2001
So, Ive been involved in airsoft for about two and a half years now, and have placed some 4000 posts on the http://www.airsoftzone.com/ Forums, well over 400 on the http://www.airsoftplayers.com/ Forums, and 270 or-so on the old, now defunct www.airsoftguns.com d-board yet, guess what, the SAME questions still pop up. You know: Is the AK better than the AUG? Which AEG should I get? Which AEG is best? Which GBB should I get? The list goes on .
And with this set of newbie questions, comes the same remarks from most of the veterans on the various Forums and d-boards Do a search, the answer is already there. Then, inevitably, the newbie will complain that they either already did the search, or are just in need of a simple, quick reply whereby the veterans will then call the newbie lazy and ignorant . Thereafter, predictably, a flame war ensues.
This is exactly what I wish to avoid.
I hope that this post will serve as a decent starting point for newbies seeking basic information regarding AEGs and GBBs, and even BBs and batteries. While I most definitely DO NOT know everything, and make NO such claims of being all-knowing, I am writing this mini-FAQ with the best intentions in mind in that my very limited experience may help answer the questions of a newbie player. What I have posted here is all from my own personal experience as an active skirmish player and collector, as well as knowledge passed on to me in a direct, first-person manner from TRUSTED, well-respected members of the local, regional, and on-line national/international airsoft community.
The information contained here, are, as far as I know, completely true. If anyone feels that I may have been mistaken or have posted false information, please feel free to post replies in this thread and also to contact me privately at:
Again, I sincerely hope that this reading will help you, the newbie player, transition in a smooth manner into the wonderful sport of airsoft.
==========NEWBIE MINI FAQ, AEGS, GBBS, BBs and gear===========
Section One, AEGs:
Typically, youll want to know about Tokyo Marui, or TM, Automatic Electric Guns AEGs. This mini FAQ is limited in scope with regards to the AEGs exclusively to the factory stock, OEM TM models, and does NOT cover their new (as of June, 2001, the submission date of this article) standard metal-bodied models.
Also note that I do NOT know anything about the Korean-made models (i.e. Academy), and as such, I am unable to comment on them. Furthermore, my knowledge is also greatly limited with respect to the popular, and quite highly-regarded Taiwanese AEGs namely, those made by Classic Army (CA) and Airsoft Elite (AE). For information regarding these pieces, I would highly recommend that you take the time to read the past posts about these pieces that are floating around on the various Forums/d-boards (keep in mind that there have been several iterations of these models that have been introduced, as of June, 2001, I believe that the CAs have gone through 3 revisions, while AEs have undergone 2).
So, back to the topic, TM AEGs --
Basically, ALL, thats right, all Tokyo Marui AEGs share the same durability/reliability characteristics as one another and furthermore, they all share the same typical performance characteristics based on a very few set of variables.
The first is motor type.
Motor type is one of the major factors that will affect rate-of-fire (ROF). Honestly, while there are some differences in ROF performance based on motor type, unless you are doing a back-to-back or side-to-side comparison between two differently equipped AEGs, or are testing specifically for this variable (i.e. holding all other factors constant and bench testing the AEG in a lab-type situation/setup), youre NOT likely going to notice a difference. Lets put it this way. ANY of these AEGs are capable of spitting out a near constant stream of BBs at upwards of 800 rounds per minute. And if thats not enough for you to hose/suppress your target and keep their heads down, then youd best spend the $3000 to get a replica minigun .. Of course, there are advantages to be had for having a higher ROF, but really, in field use during skirmishes, you more than likely will NOT notice this factor as based on application to the three motor types. And sure, when upgrading, this particular factor may be of some concern, but as a newbie, really, you shouldnt be worried about upgrading, anyway (more on this later).
The second variable is battery type, size, and capacity.
Aside from how long your AEG will get juice to power its internals, this is also one of the determinants of ROF. Very, very basically speaking, the larger the battery, the longer it will last, and the higher the ROF provided. And what I mean by large here isnt necessarily a measure of the physical size of the battery, but rather, both its voltage (V) and capacity (mAh) (details about this set of factors and its impact on durability and ROF can be found in the various d-board and forums on-line, just search around).
While an AEG will function on 7.2V, the nominal voltage for operation of TM AEGs is 8.4V. At 1.2V per cell, youll see that this means youll need, nominally, a 7-cell pack. With 8.4V, you can rest assured that youll have more than sufficient juice to run your AEG at its utmost potential. So, what about increasing voltage? You do see a lot of up-voltage battery packs out there 9.6V, 10.8V, or even the tremendous 12V battery packs. These will increase your ROF, but without proper precautions, especially with the latter two, youre like to do some damage to your internals. So, in a word, just stay with the 8.4V packs theres really no need to increase your power until you start upgrading the internals of your AEG, which, as a newbie, you shouldnt be upgrading your AEG anyway ..
Now, what about how long your battery lasts? Well, this is a function of the mAh value. The larger the mAh value, the longer the battery will last. Typically, your 600 mAh batteries will last anywhere from 400 to 900 rounds. Why such a big range? Batteries are very sensitive to temperature, and the lower the ambient temperature, the shorter your battery will last. For example, the worst Ive seen is a 8.4V 600 mAh mini pack that only managed to last 200 rounds before needing a recharge but thats at a temperature of near 40 deg. F. Pretty darned cold! With a 1700 or higher mAh capacity battery, you can pretty much assume that youre going to be able to crank out over 1200 BBs.
There are many battery pack sizes, too. Theres the flat mini along with its other 2/3 A cell type sisters, the stick or AK-type, as well as the many custom-shaped packs designed for increased capacity that fit into stock locations. On the other hand, theres the large or standard sized Sub-C type cell packs. With the latter Sub-Cs physically being much larger than the minis, many newbies are lead to ask if the physically larger battery packs will provide better performance. Again, as with motor types, unless you are specifically controlling to test for this size variable, youll likely NOT notice a difference either in overall capacity or ROF when comparing a large battery with a mini that BOTH HAVE THE SAME VOLTAGE AND MAH values.
What does all this technical mumbo-jumbo mean? Basically, if youre considering a solid-stock AEG variant over its retractable or folding-stock variant solely based on the type of battery -- large vs. mini you actually dont have to worry that much. A-sized cells are now available with up to 1700 mAh capacity, and there are custom shaped mini 2/3 A-sized packs for use in many applications. With such a pack, even the retractable-stock AEGs (which forces the battery to reside up front in the forend grip of the SMG/carbine) can have as much electrical power as their full-stock counterparts that use large packs. As such, unless you are seeking the ultimate in capacity (i.e. 2000 or 3000 mAh, which are, so far, only available with the Sub-Cs), you can rest assured that your performance, overall, between your mini and a similarly rated Sub-C will be equal. You no longer have to decide on your choice of AEGs based on their battery capacities.
For more information, I highly recommend that you take the time to read through these linked articles:
http://www.blackrain7.com/faqs/battfaq.html (An excellent beginners intro, courtesy of BlackRain7.com a highly respected west-coast hobbyist site.)
http://www.technick.net/guide_bpw2_00_toc.htm (Thanks to Wallace for pointing this one out to me! This is an EXCELLENT reference, written in English for players of all levels to understand. )
(Both of these are commercial links from Panasonic, but still offers considerable and easy to digest information for The Everyday Joe. It covers both NiCds and the NiMH types.)
http://www.repairfaq.org/ELE/F_Battery.html (Directly off of the RepairFAQ guides -- written by NASA scientists and MIT profs and grads a most excellent technical discussion, if youve got the patience to sort through it. I guaranty that once youve read through this document, youll be a total expert!)
(Note that this last one, from RedWolf Airsoft Specialists, has a few small mistakes, but is, overall, good use it as a secondary source, again, focus your study efforts on the Technick Batteries in a Portable World document and the info. contained in the BlackRain7.com Battery FAQ, approach the RepairFAQ.org Battery FAQs if youre technically inclined.)
The third and final variable to consider in your AEG purchase is inner barrel length. This is the ONLY variable youll need to consider with respect to accuracy and range.
The AEGs can be sub-divided in many forms based on their overall body structure as much can their real-steel counterparts. However, a more accurate organization would be according to each AEGs inner barrel length. Pretty much, the inner barrel length of the AEGs also fall, conveniently, into those very same categories as their real-steel counterparts. As such, they can be grouped into the following:
Compact sub-machine guns: HK MP5K and PDW
SMGs: the rest of the HK MP5 Series, IMI Uzi
Carbines: HK G3 MC51, Colt M4A1
Full-sized rifles (with or without folding stocks)/Bullpups/Semi-auto only sniper rifle
If you are interested in a particular model, check the inner barrel length on the page of vital statistics provided on the AirsoftZone.com Gun Database. ( http://www.airsoftzone.com/gun_database.cfm ) As such, what are their respective accuracy and ranges?
At 30-40 feet, in an windless indoor range, all of these AEGs are capable of hitting a 1 inch tall by ½ inch wide target, repeatedly, with the help of an auxiliary sighting device (i.e. scope, laser, etc as it is really very, very hard to see the target at that range, much less align it with ironsights). This is pretty impressive, isnt it?
Now, what about range? Well, rather then absolute range, I like to speak of this in terms of effective range. I consider effective range to be the ability of an AEG, loaded with 0.20 gram BBs and with the HopUp properly adjusted, to hit a moving, man-sized target, center-mass. As Ive said before, the best determinant of range on stock AEGs is internal barrel length. Therefore, the following generalization can be made:
Compact SMGs: 60-70 ft.
SMGs: 70-80 ft.
Carbines 80-100 ft.
Full-sized rifles/Bullpups/SA sniper rifle (PSG-1): 100-120 ft.
So, as you can see, theres not one AEG here thats not suitable for CQB-type play, in terms of effective range (although to tote a full-sized assault rifle in CQB will surely be a feat simply due to the physical length of the rifle) Furthermore, even though theres quite a bit of difference in the effective range spanning between the SMGs and the full-sized rifles, youll note that such differences are not so tremendous as to make the SMG use too greatly disadvantaged in even open outdoor skirmishes if a players aggressive enough and can move smartly, a distance of 20 to 40 ft isnt all that much of a tactical advantage.
Where does all this lead to in terms of your decision? Simple, just about every one of these AEGs perform similarly, especially when matched in their own sub-categories. Does that put you into even more of a delimma? It really shouldnt.
Basically, focus on what your needs are first. Do you want a small, maneuverable piece for the close-in CQB work? Simple, get one of the smaller AEGs. Are you only 52 tall and are blessed with short arms? Fine, one of the smaller AEGs will do you well, too and youd not only look ridicoulous with a meter-long SG-1, youll find that it would be akward for you to handle! What if youre a tall, lanky guy whos looking only to play outdoor games? The full-sized rifles will do you just fine, then. Not only will you be able to handle them just fine, thanks to those lanky arms, youll also be able to use the additional range to good effect outdoors.
With that decision made, move on to the particular replica that, cosmetically, pleases you the most. Are you looking for a long-gun with a long inner barrel, but are tired of the classic looks of most assault rifles? Fine, go for one of the bullpups. Do you dislike the M4A1 as it seems that everyone and their brother has one? Thats OK, too just take the MC51 instead.
Of course, the possible upgrade paths should be of some concerns as well, but again, as a newbie, this should be the LAST thing on your mind see below for why .
Heres what Kenny, aka 888 (or previously, aka Spasman), wrote:
========== begin ====
I'm sure you notice that almost every *newbie* that gets into this sport want to start off with a fully upgraded AEG. Hard not to since this seems to be the big *trend* nowadays. I must admit I too after field playing with guys with maxed out guns, I wanted to have something that would hold up as well. Unfortunately, I went at it the wrong way and tore apart my gun with upgraded parts not knowing exactly what I was doing. Lucky for me, INFERNO helped me out NOT by cleaning up my mess for me, but by walking me through the correct process. So now, I have a better idea of how my internals work, and can troubleshoot minor problems. I have also learned that from the moment you take apart your mechbox, your durability of the gun goes WAY DOWN, even if you don't change anything. The higher the upgrade, the more often you'll end up taking apart your gun to fix whatever.
So, back to the original topic, ANY AEG with ANY upgrade will be prone to failure in a very accelerated time span. So whats a newbie going to do when his first AEG thats been upgraded fails? Most likely panic and asked every Tom, **** and Harry what to do, how to do it, and even more likely post all kinds of troubleshooting questions on the board without even reading first. I have seen firsthand many of my friends who are new to airsoft go through this situation. Many have actually been so "bummed out" that they haven't even given the sport a chance and have given up. Of course you know that even a stock AEG will fail after a given amount of time. However, I think that time span is long enough to give the player more than enough time to really feel out the sport, and will give the player enough experience and information to strip down the gun when it is really needed. I personally think this is the best way in getting every pennys worth out of your small investment in a really big hobby.
=========== end ===
This reminded me to put in a word about "upgrading."
First, I am definitely NOT the man to talk to regarding upgrading your airsoft replicas. I have performed very, very few internal upgrades on AEGs and GBBs. This is definitely NOT my area!
However, I am familiar with simple mechanical systems -- and one of the concepts that everyone should remember is that the more you increase a system's performance, the more you will decrease its overall durability. It's much the same way as with using higher-powered gasses on GBB's. The more you run your machine on the ragged edge, the more likely it is that it will experience failure from being pushed so hard. Inevitably, when you upgrade for performance, you will likely stand to lose a bit of durability.
As a newbie with likely only one AEG, the failure of such an upgraded piece will effectively put you out of the game, with no chance for a quick return. And if you're at a multi-day event for which you've traveled hundreds of miles for, this could indeed spell disaster. As such, having a stock AEG that has a known average durability and liability for failure, rather than having that factor being an "unknown" with an upgraded piece, will surely serve to somewhat settle your heart, not to mention improve your odds of not suffering such breakdowns. Additonally, once you have accumulated other, possibly upgraded AEG's to your growing aresenal, this first-purchase, internally stock AEG will undoubtedly become a trusty "backup" piece, which is always nice to have at hand.
Furthermore, as a newbie, you should really take the time to first allow you to get your heading in the sport prior to plunking down the dough for an expensive upgrade. Unless you play through several game-days with your new stock AEG, you're not going to really have a feel for how well it really performs or have a good idea of *exactly* and *realistically* what an upgraded AEG is capable, or not capable, of doing (here, it's simply best to ask players with upgraded pieces to kindly let you "test" their replica at the range -- this way, you'll get first-hand experience).
Finally, what many newbies do not realize when they first start out is that many clubs, fields, and events impose strict limits with regards to velocity/hit-energy due to safety concerns. If you outright purchase an upgraded AEG that shoots a blistering 450 fps. with 0.25 gram BB's, but all the events that you are interested in attending only allow 350 fps. with 0.20 fps, then you've just wasted a lot of money; as well as caused yourself undue trouble.
For example, at a recent multi-day skirmish, limits of 300 fps. were placed on SMG's and carbine replicas, with 350 being allowed for assault-rifles, and a top end of 385 for single-shot "sniper rifles." All this with 0.25 gram BB's. Imagine showing up for one of these events, after having driven hundreds of miles, with a brand-spanking-new MP5 that cranked out 400 fps. with 0.25 gram BB's, and therefore not being allowed to play -- talk about disappointment!
As such, if you MUST have initial upgrades, check with your local club, field, or look on the various d-board/Forums mentioned above at posts regarding velocity/hit-energy limits that have been set for PAST games/events.
Honestly, I implore you, I *beg* of you to purchase your first AEG in factory-stock form with regards to internals for the above mentioned factors.
But if youre still INTENT on making upgrades, well, heres something to chew on its from my friend Wallace, a fellow Airsoft Ohio member:
========== begin ====
I can understand your thinking, and maybe I didn't word my third point precisely. I agree that upgraded internal puts more load on the gearbox, and then with higher capacity battery the increased speed would further stress the gearbox. What I want to convey is that stock internal, contrary to popular believe, is even more likely to sustain damage then upgraded internal.
=========== end ===
Now, Wallace makes a very good point here, but remember he speaks of proper upgrading versus improper or otherwise sub-optimal upgrading. And unfortunately, as a newbie, your knowledge about the complex inner workings of AEGs, as well as your ability to decipher the varying truths of the many conflicting posts out there on the Forums/d-boards, will enhance your chances of NOT performing acceptably installed upgrades. I am not saying this to belittle newbies, to degrade newbies in any way Im simply stating the fact that the relative inexperience of newbies with regard to general knowledge in this area will more than likely cause them harm, and that such problems can indeed be avoided easily by just being content with their new AEG in stock, unmodified, out-of-the-box, OEM format, and giving themselves a bit more time to learn the intricacies of the such replicas before making the jump into tackling the ultra-technical areas.
With that said, youre now probably back to worrying about the durability/reliability of these models again. Once more, Ill remind you that as TM AEGs, they all share approximately the same track records when it comes to these two factors.
Even though they share much in common, you should keep in mind that each model will differ slightly in certain mechanical, performance, and aesthetic areas. As such, you should either perform thorough searches on the Forums at http://www.airsoftzone.com/, the Forums on http://www.airsoftplayers.com/ and X-ring ( http://www.best.com/~vxl/airsoft ) to familarize yourself with these special, model-dependent variables. And again, I stress that you should DO YOUR OWN SEARCHES. Why? Simple depending on the players who post information as a response to your question for your sole source of information is plain lazy, not to mention dumb. Whos to say that these people have actual experience with your chosen AEG? And even if they say they do, how do you know theyre not lying? Better yet, how can you possibly even be sure that they know what theyre talking about? And really, do the posts you receive truly reflect the status of the AEG, or are you just seeing a bunch of posts that, when totaled together, barely amount to enough cases for you to even begin to draw a conclusion? By DOING YOUR OWN SEARCHES, you will be able to see the complete picture youll read about items that you havent even thought about, and problems that perhaps no one else has even mentioned. Furthermore, youll get a historical perspective; youll get a feel for how many players are or have been satisfied with this AEG, and how many have had problems, as well as the extent of these problems, and if there have been any documented cures. To let go of such information is to chose to be ignorant, and to be so stupid will surely land you with an AEG that youre not happy of once you receive it. Please, I beg of you, do your OWN searches before you spend your hard earned money to buy a replica.
One last item that you should keep in mind is that often, theres a tremendous amount of production variability in even just one model liine. For example, the infamous chassis-flex that plagues the HK G3 SG/1 and the barrel wobble that similarly affects the Colt M16 Series, while it has been extensively documented by several players, has also been decidedly denied by others. Are these other players lying? No, they simply lucked out, and, for whatever reason, just received a better put together item off of the Tokyo Marui production line. Its much the same as buying a car, or any other major piece of high-tech equipment. Sometimes, you luck out, and you get a piece that is drop-dead reliable; other times, your luck isnt so great, and you wind up with a lemon thats broken as soon as you take it out of the box. As with anything else thats mass-produced, theres a bit of production-line variability in quality of build to be expected with these AEGs.
And as for maintenance, simply follow what the Tokyo Marui manual that arrives with your AEG dictate. Theres enough English directions in there that you should EASILY be able to figure out what to do and when to do it. Get yourself a bottle of pure silicone spray or oil lubricant (AVOID any and all petroleum distillates [yes, some petroleum distillates are indeed safe for natural and artificial rubbers, but such products are very, very hard to find and/or, MORE importantly, make sure are indeed safe for use, as their claims may suggest), as it will harm your rubber seals/Hop bucking Team Associated Shock Oil, between 5 to 15 grade weight, is an ideal lube/general purpose cleaner; you can easily obtain this item from any large Hobby Shop [it is used as the fill for scale-model remote-controlled car RC-car shock absorbers), and youre set to go. Theres a bunch of information about maintenance and lubricants available on the various d-boards and Forums, and I again recommend that you turn to them for more complete information. In the mean time, this should prove sufficient as a starter:
(Again, a link from the RedWolf Airsoft Specialists commercial website.)
Finally, having done all of your homework, youre ready to make the purchase. Now, then, who has the best prices? Again, here, a simple-minded can anyone tell me who has the best prices post will only land you in more trouble. Prices change, and retailers are now in the practice of running specials all throughout the year. As such, you can never be guaranteed of getting the best price if you simply trust someones word for it (it may have been the cheapest place for him a month ago, but the prices may have changed in the interim). Use the Soft Links on the http://www.airsoftzone.com/ and http://www.airsoftplayers.com/ websites, as well as Richs personal compilation of links:
http://members.home.net/richardtheiv/Low/Nopics.htm, to take you to the various retailes commercial websites. Spend a moment and look through their pages and note down their prices on a piece of paper (dont forget cost of shipping!), and then, e-mail a few for a complete price quote, including shipping and to check for item availability. Only by doing your own leg-work can you be guaranteed to get the best prices.
Section Two, GBBs:
Hate to break it to all of you like this, but there are NO 100% reliable GBBs. Thats right, NONE not even the fabled Western Arms marque. Trust me, even the best of this genre, the true thoroughbreds, are tempermental bitches.
Empirically, GBBs are simply more prone to operational failures than their respective AEG counterparts. Their action is inherently harmful to their parts, and, moreover, the necessary containment of pressurized gas makes them constantly vulnerable to leaks. Additionally, they are arguably more maintenance intensive, requiring a much more regular diet of lubricant oils as well as attention to other types of mechanical cleaning. The argument, however, can be reversed.
Since I wrote the first draft of this FAQ half a year ago, I've come to have a different opinion about the GBB vs. AEG durability/reliability issue.
The way I see it now, it's actually what the *player* himself feels most comfortable maintaining and repairing that makes the most difference in this matter -- as it is often a *_PERCEIVED_* lack of durability/reliability when comparing one genre to the other that is at the root of this debate.
For example, those who have messed around with electrical components all their lives may think that an AEG is easy to repair, while someone who may have started off with paintball feels more comfortable working with the straightforward pneumatics of the GBB's.
Nevertheless, it still remains that NO GBB is 100% reliable ..
As there are many, many more brands of GBBs then AEGs, one is led to the inevitable question, first off, of: Which brand do I choose? This is absolutely impossible to say. Within just about ANY of the GBB makers, from Taiwan, Japan, or otherwise, both good and bad can be found. Basing your decision on any one brand name is liable to land you in a world of trouble.
What does this mean for you, the buyer? Again, you simply MUST do your own homework. With the abundance of different models out there from different makes, unless you are well educated in the specifics of the particular make/model you are interested in, you can pretty much be assured that you will not make the best decision. Grab a cup of coffee or a bottle of soda and a snack, and get ready to just READ. Use the same resources as Ive cited above for the AEGs the http://www.airsoftzone.com/ Forums, http://www.airsoftplayers.com/ Forums, and the old X-Ring posts.
The only other advice that I have for you newbies is to also become familiarized with the various technical aspects behind the entire GBB genre. A good place to start would be to become conversant about the various types of propellant gasses available please read my Gas Primer post in the Gas Forum of either the http://www.airsoftzone.com/ or http://www.airsoftplayers.com/ Forums (and I PLEAD with you, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE carefully and thoroughly read through the entire contents of these two reference posts, as they will both help you tremendously in your basic understanding of the world of GBBs). And once you have a good basis in that, move to the How to fill your GBB magazines post thats also in those Forums to familiarize yourself with the proper way to charge up your magazines once your GBB arrives. While youre at it, you should also check out these links:
http://www.executiveairsoft.com/gas.htm (An excellent step-by-step fill guide, for use with real airsoft gas canisters good for the first-time GBB owner to read before he gasses-up for the very first time.)
http://qphreak.iwarp.com/airsoft/butane.htm (Adaptors for duster gas canisters, fashioned out of butane lighter refill canister adaptors, from the respected Kevlarman.)
http://www.virginiarangers.com/pictures/GBB-dustermod/dustermod.html (Yet another adaptor idea, this time from the guys at the Virginia Rangers a highly respected team/club on the east-coast.)
http://www.dentrinity.com/Topics/magna.htm (From the DEN Trinity commerical website.)
The first three should reinforce what you have learned through my How to fill your GBB magazines post, while the last should give you a nice understanding of the actual functional cycle of GBB pistols, with the Western Arms proprietary Magna system as reference.
As a secondary reference, you can read:
http://www.redwolfairsoft.com/images/bite/bitenov99/bitenov99.htm#Gas-it-up (Again, from the RedWolf Airsoft Specialists commercial website.)
Like the other RedWolf article I reference earlier, this one also has a few mistakes. Use it again as a secondary reference, but focus your study efforts on my Gas Primer post, as it contains more factual information with correct use of terminology.
Again, I must emphasize that each of the GBBs, regardless of brand of make, is an individual onto itself. Each individual GBB will share specific performance, durability, reliability, and gas-efficiency characteristics that are unique to that pistol itself, and not generalizable to any other replica pistol. So instead of asking about comparisons in various posts and such, simply sit down, search, and read as much as you can about the replicas that youre interested in its the only sure way to go.
One important item to note about GBBs is that regardless of what many retailers may say about their supposed durability i.e. x or y model can take a or b gas, straight out of the box NO GBB IS IMMUNE TO THE GENERAL LAWS OF MECHANICAL OBJECTS. This means that the more you stress the system, in this case, the GBB, with higher-powered gasses, the more likely it is that you will experience some kind of catastrophic mechanical breakdown or breakage of a critical component, and, for sure, you will experience increased wear and tear as compared to a counterpart GBB thats been treated only to exclusive use of the lower-powered gasses. If you are having a hard time believing me, just think of it this way: race cars. These things are tuned to provide the most performance with commensurately the most stress placed on their parts and while they are durable for the duration of the race, they routinely get full engine and other critical items replaced, many, many times per season due to excessive wear on critical components. Furthermore, they are also much more prone to having a breakdown than our everyday commuter cars. Another example? Think of the higher-powered gasses as nitrous for your GBB. Sure, you can run your car on nitrous all the time, but Id be willing to bet that sooner rather than later, youre going to blow your engine. So please, unless you are a power hog and are willing to deal with the consequences of having a broken GBB due to use of the more powerful gasses, just stick with HFC134a or the other lower-powered alternatives. Dont come crying to me later cause Ill just say I told you so!
For general maintenance on GBBs, reference the silicone oil cited in the above AEG section. Typically, while most true airsoft gasses (again, if you dont know what Im talking about, please reference my Gas Primer post) such as those marketed by various Japanese and Taiwanese airsoft manufacturers (i.e. Tokyo Marui, Western Arms, HFC, UHC, Top Gas/Toy Jack) contains a very small percentage of silicone lubricant, the content is NOT sufficient to effect lubrication and cleaning of the GBB its only there to serve as an extra dose of protection during normal use/cycling of the pistols mechanical components. You MUST perform routine oil lubrication as well as cleaning with supplemental silicone oil to effect complete and proper protection of your replica.
Apply anything from 5 to 15 grade silicone oil to any area specified in the GBBs manual. Again, I know that its most likely in Chinese or Japanese, but still, there should be enough figurer and illustrations to point you in the right direction, should you read carefully. Additionally, make sure you apply the lubricant to any area of the GBBs internals that may make frictional contact with each other such as the contact points between the slide and the frame, etc also, a thin layer should be applied to any and all rubber components. Furthermore, the lubricant, especially of lower viscosity, such as 5 to 10 weight, can easily be used as a cleaning solvent for the barrel.
One item of note is that the lower weight oils, should you use them in warmer weather, may run excessively. Also, a heavier grade weight, such as between 20 and 30 weight, or even a silicone grease, may confer more protection to the slide/frame frictional interfaces. However, keep in mind that such high-viscosity oils or grease may cause binding should it start to solidify under extreme cold conditions. So, as you can see, you must use your own best judgement to select the proper lubricant grade. A IMPORTANT side note is that furthermore, under NO circumstances should you use such viscous oils/grease as a barrel cleaning solvent youll have a very hard time getting your barrel cleared of residual excess oil/grease!!!!
The final item to note is that should you desire to use substitute airsoft gasses, such as computer duster gasses, you will need to supplement the dry gas with a bit of the low weight grade silicone oil to effect lubrication of the magazine and its various seals. The process is well documented in the Gas Primer and How to Fill Your GBB Magazines posts.
A good reference article is the Airsoft Atlanta.com Gas Gun FAQ:
As for shopping for the best deal on your GBB, my advice remains the same as that above -- please refer to that part of the AEGs section above
Section Three, BBs:
Which are best, and which are worse. If youve done any searching at all, youve undoubtedly noticed that there several heatedly debated threads about just this topic that already exist on the various Forums and d-boards. And if youve actually read these threads, youve undoubtedly noticed that while some players will vehemently denounce one make and/or grade as being totally unacceptable (for whatever reasons, from lack of BB consistency [such as roundness, or lack thereof] to breakage in the barrel), others will, at the same time, praise the very same BBs and swear by their use.
Why this inconsistency? Possibly the same as with the varying reports of performance and durability with the AEGs and GBBs some players just have had better luck with one make than the other. Similarly, you may notice claims of BB superiority from a specific retailer that markets their own brand of BBs the problem is that they neither provide raw data for analysis by the skeptical, nor, do they, per se, provide quantitative data for review by the shopper. Instead, they just make qualitative claims with minimal cited backing data, which are often pseudo-scientific in nature, and often designed to make you think that their item is better, for no better reason ...
What can you do? Here, theres simply no substitute for your own experience. Until someone can step in to do a truly quantitative study with statistical power, theres simply no way for you to be sure that any claims are true until youve taken the initiative to try the BBs in question for yourself.
As for the various gram-weight of BBs and such, heres a post on the http://www.airsoftplayers.com/ Forums from a player named Mirage:
.12gm - best used in shotguns or for weak handguns - they have very low accuracy at ranges beyond 30ft and will deviate wildy outside
.20gm - the standard round used for bench-testing and normal indoor skirmishing - they are decent rounds for use outdoors but they are not too accurate beyond 30yds - best used in indoor guns/handguns or high volume of fire type guns
.23gm - new round recntly released - designed to be a compromise between the velocity lose from using .25gm rounds and the low accuracy of .2gm rounds. I have tested some and they performed very well- better than .2's for sure. Best used in anygun.
.25gm - Standard round for outdoor skirmishing - They maintain flight path accuracy better than .2's especially in the presense of a cross-wind. Best used in any gun to gain accuracy.
.30gm - Good round weight to use in upgraded gun for an excellent level of accuracy on the field. They have a much better ability to punch through vegitation than lighter rounds.
.36gm - Round typically used in sniper applications. They carry a good part of their momentum for a better downrange impact force and they maintain stability even in the presence of a good wind. The Straight series of teflon bbs are very good and help preserve the life of you sniper barrel. Typical guns this round will be used in: PSG-1, APS, M40, M24... typically shooting over 450fps with .2gm bbs.
.39gm - Again another round that would be used almost exclusively in sniper rifles. A further step up in accuracy and stability but the higher weight requires a strong setup and good hopup to get good results. Expect to get consistent shots and wind should only play a part when engaging targets beyond 80 yards. I would not recommend this round for a gun shooting slower than 450fps. Again the round will be teflon coated for better barrel life.
.43gm - The highest weight round currently avalible and only made by Straight. It is an extremely heavy round in comparison to normal skirmishing rounds. Expect the .43 round to maintain flight stability well beyond 100yards. I would only be concerned with wind if you are engagin targets at 100yards+ because in all honesty this round flys exceptionally true. Again this is a teflon coated round. Only use in rifles with a base velocity over 500fps.
Hope this helps a bit. I have tried all these rounds in guns with velocities ranging from 180fps to 600fps so I know what I am talking about - I'm not feeding you second hand info.
Section Four, a general word about gear:
As a new player, unless you are entering into a VERY well-established team/club (i.e. the Cimmerians), theres really no absolute and necessary and required load-out you will need to bring to your first game. Even if you join one of those established teams/clubs, chances are that should you make contact with the players/organizers, they will either exempt you from having to have such complete gear, or, alternatively, give you a complete list of exactly whats required and where to go to find them to make life easier for you.
While this means that you likely wont have to go all-out and spend the big bucks on tactical gear when you first join these teams/clubs (pieces which you may or may not need later), or, should you be joining a club that has more relaxed dress-codes or perhaps even one without a guideline as to what your load out should be, you shoule still be prepared to spend about $20 to $50 to equip yourself with the bare essentials of skirmish play.
For those who are on a tight budget, youll likely have purchased only one or two extra high-capacity magazines to supplement your AEG purchase. You can either stash these extra magazines in your pocket, or, alternatively, you can purchase a single 2-3 magazine capacity magazine pouch from a used/surplus military supplies retailer for around $5 to $10.
Should your budget be higher, and youve decided to obtain a cache of standard-capacity magazines, youll need both a number of these pouches, as well as a spent-magazine dump pouch (most players use either GI Butt Packs or some kind of large-capacity [i.e. 6-magazine or SAW Gunners Ammo Bags] magazine pouches for this purpose) set your budget for at least 2 of the previous magazine pouches to store your loaded mags, with about $15 to $25 set aside for the dump pouch. Total here for the more extravagant spenders would be between $25 to $65, depending mostly on the number of full magazine pouches you need. Whatever you do, should you desire to use standard-capacity magazines, DONT decide to skimp and not get a spent magazine dump pouch. Trying to shove spent mags back into their orignal spots during an engagement is slow and frustrating (especially in the dark) and the same can be said for your BDU pockets, too.
With that out of the way, remember that youll need a pistol belt to take the load go to a surplus store to purchase a genuine military pistol belt, or alternatively, hit a tactical supply shop to purchase a 2 inch or wider police duty belt. Youll need the width and rigidity of this type of belt to truly support your tactical load. Look to spend between $5 to $15 on this item. If you have a slightly bigger budget ($5 to $15 more), you should think about a set of suspender harnesses for your belt which will take the weight of your load off your hips and evenly distribute it over your shoulders. Should your budget be even bigger than that, again by about $10, and you are a serious multi-day scenario player, you should seriously think about obtaining a pad set for your pistol belt, which will GREATLY enhance your overall comfort.
Speaking of pistol belts, what should you purchase to hold your sidearm? While it is tempting to purchase one of those el-cheapo, $5 belt holsters or an el-cheapo $15 thigh rig, trust me, DO NOT do it. Ive seen more than enough players having their day totoally ruined by losing their expensive GBBs in the field, after it falls out of their cheap holsters. Why would you trust your $200 GBB to a $15 holster? I could never figure that one out.
When purchasing holsters, look for its retentive capabilities. Police duty holsters are especially good for this, as many offer double or even triple retention protection. Should you be a very active, highly mobile player who likes to jump and run a lot, this, along with holsters that offer an additional outer flap (i.e. airborne or assault holsters) that can close down over the entire pistol to further secure it (in ADDITION to also having a traditional thumb-break) will provide you with the best protection.
With belt holsters, you really dont have to worry so much about the gun flopping about as you run however, this will be an issue with both shoulder holsters and thigh rig holsters. For the former, choose ones with tie-downs that latch on to the pistol belt for stability. For the latter, look for DUAL adjustable and (ideal) / or elastic thigh straps. Also, keep in mind that the bigger the rig (typically indicative of a bigger pistol, or one with a underslung sighting accessory), the more likely it will flop about, regardless of design.
Look to spend at least $15-$20 for a good belt-holster, and at least $40 to $80 for a good shoulder or thigh rig.
Do you need a cup and/or elbow/knee pads? Thats up to you to decide, we all prefer different levels of protection. Atheletic supporters and protective cups are usually of minimal cost, and cheap foam-filled volleyball elbow and knee pads can be had for less than $10 per set hard-shelled rollerblading pads for around $20 per set. Should you decide to splurge on neoprene or even rivet-secured tactical hard pads, the cost is still unlikely to exceed $30 for the set.
One important item that you should not forget is that youll need some king of hydration equipment. Traditional military canteens work just fine, and theres now even special cap adaptors and flexible drinking tubes that can attach onto these models to facilitate drinking on-the-go, without having to actually remove the canteen from its pouch. Of course, youll still get noisy liquid slosh, but at least its cheap, at only around $10 to $20 for either a canteen and pouch or with the drinking straw attachment. Alternatively, CamelBack or other such systems are very popular they offer both excellent storage capacity as well as the ability to collapse as you drink, minimizing any liquid slosh sound. Cost is a bit higher, though a bladder itself, with drinking straw attached, can run anywhere from $20 to $40, depending on size, and the holding pouch/pack, along with a bladder, can run from $40 to upwards of a hundred bucks.
Finally, but most importantly, goggles. DO NOT think that simple safety glasses, lab goggles, or shop goggles will suffice. These items may or may not offer sufficient impact resistance, and most do not provide enough of a seal around your facial bones to totally enclose your eye sockets. Several well-respected teams/clubs here in the US have already banned the use of such eye-wear at their skrimishes.
Instead, choose eye-wear that will actually seal-in your eyes. Paintball goggles from JT USA, Scott USA, and Brass Eagle are all highly impact resistant, and have withstood repeated testing by many clubs/teams gaining wide acceptance for just about all skirmish events nationwide. Many would even debate that these are indeed the current standard eye-wear for airsoft. Alternatively, you can use actual tactical goggles that meet or exceed ANSI Z87.1 1989 impact resistance standards (this claim should be enclosed with the goggle, printed on the box, or described in the catalog you are ordering from). In any case, this is NOT necessarily an expensive proposition paintball goggle-and-mask sets can be had at discounters such as WalMart for around $20, and many such impact resistant tactical goggles can be had for under $30.
If you have more money to spend, spend it first on getting either a set of goggles that have anti-fogging properties, or, alternatively, an anti-fog lens for your goggle set. Should you have even more dough in your wallet, get a set that offers a built-in fog-reducing vent fan (i.e. ESS Turbo), or, an aftermarket miniature fan (such as the JT USA CrossWinds fan, for JT USA goggles). These last two areas are critical for players who tend to sweat a lot (chemical anti-fogging, in the form of liquids or solid wipes, may also be necessary), and the fans are an excellent addition for those who wear prescription eyeglasses under their goggles (here, note that certain Bolle models offer a supplemental prescription lens frame within their outer goggle shell, and can be fitted for a supplemental prescription lens).
Whatever you do, DO NOT short-change yourself on proper eye-wear. You only have two eyes, and even the loss of one will leave you PERMANENTLY impared (loss of depth perception and a HUGE portion of your overall field-of-vision. DO NOT FUCK AROUND HERE, SPEND THE MONEY AND GET A GOOD SET OF GOGGLES IF YOU CAN AFFORD THE MONEY TO GET A GBB OR AN AEG, YOU CAN AFFORD TO SAVE YOUR EYES.
First, other general FAQs that you should read include:
Pikachoads Searchable FAQ at: http://www.airsoftplayers.com/faq/listing.asp
Thinkers Airsoft for Rookies at Black Ops Medelpad: http://home.swipnet.se/blackops/rookies.html
Both of which are EXCELLENT resources for new players.
Second, for those who wish to use this post on their own personal or commercial website, I welcome their invitations, and am honored for their consideration. However, please abide by the following conditions:
Please use the ENTIRE post, including my beginning disclaimers/remarks.
Furthermore, please do NOT alter the contents without first letting me know exactly what you are going to change -- but feel free to add your own disclaimers and/or retorts *separately* (and clearly indicated) - AFTER - the body FAQ, if you are so inclined (as corrections or for an alternative point of view).
Also, I do not mean to be disrespectful, but if any commercial retailer (or any commercially-tied websites) wishes to use this post, I would ask that this post NOT be used for any possible commercial purposes.... This post was intended to be used by hobbyists.
And this goes for *anyone* who wishes to post this "FAQ" on their site. I always feel honored when others think highly enough of my posts to merit valuable space on their personal or commercial websites -- but I just want to make it clear that the purpose of this post was not to be to anyone's financial or personal gain; but instead for the good of all the newbies who are coming into our sport.
I hope that this general guide has been of assistance to you in your airsoft shopping process. Best wishes.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 19 August 2007 06:49|