Jeep's guide on Support gun replicas and mini multi review:

Postby Jeep » Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:47 am

Below is a repost of one of my earlier post, trying to be through as possible here,

Currently I can not stand the run away gun issues that I am having, basically the cheap trigger switch is not bent right, so when you pull the trigger it fires and release the trigger it still fires, and continues to fire and fire and fire some more while you curse the thing out while being pelted with BBs because its is continuing to fire and players still think you are in play and not taking your hits because it won't stop firing, sheeesh! So arise old post from the dead while I update the repairs for this issue.

The A&K/Echo1 M249 is the exact same replica. They are both 100% compatible with the Classic Army M249s but not exactly the same.

The are some excellent post on these replicas at ASF and arnies especially Far east's M249 review. at Arnies.

My A&K M249 is a fairly recent purchase of mine but at $180 shipped from E hobbies asia I could not pass it up. I have done a lot of researching and lots of players in my neck of the woods use this replica. I do not have enough field time to do a proper review but I am going to reference some things I have seen first hand so please bare with me.

First impressions, one large Operation type game of play. (incidentally I was yelling arnie quotes and acting like a general loonie when this pic was taken at op Prometheus glory. "Get into Da CHoppar"

Image

This replica was much heavier and surprisingly longer and bulkier to lug around the field than my M60E4 , part of the day I actually carried both of them due to feeding problems which I'll address in a moment.

I have been in contact with over 12 individual A&K and echo1 M249s and they all chronograph different! Mine chronos 330fps with .20 another one right out of the box chronoed 385fps and the third was 410fps all with the same .20 gram BBs. All were right out of the box that day. This tells me that either the factory is using up what ever left of springs they happen to have or there is a serious consistence problem in production. Regardless this is not a big deal as it is very very easy to change out springs.

One of the very cool features of this mechbox is the quick change spring.

Open the feed cover.

Then unbolt thread the thumb screw near the stock and bull the pin out, this will pivot the stock down the below image show where the pin and thumb screw are, note the hole at the rear of the receiver.

ImageImage

Press this button down once the stock is rotated down. then press the round part in the back of the mechbox body. This will release the spring guide allowing you to quickly and easily change out your spring to adjust fps to filed limits. You may want to upgrade the solid lump of aluminum that is your spring guide to one with a bearing on it as it will reduce stresses in your gearbox and may increase rate of fire a scotch.

Image

Image

Do NOT do this on the field. After changing a spring you should re chronograph this replica to make sure that you fall in the games fps limits and adjust your minimum engagement limits appropriately. Failure to do this can get you thrown off fields, get SAW replicas banned from certain fields (this HAS happened already) or killed by other players when you are shooting a HOT gun.


Oh and just like the real M249, mk46 or FN MINIMI as it is also called. This replica will also feed from M16/M4 family magazines. I have tried MAG, CA, TM, JG, G&P and Echo1 magazines with no issues thus far.

It it is also very easy to change out the bucking and inner barrel as the whole assembly pops out with a press of a lever. Another known flaw is most of these replicas come with a totally nonfunctional hop up. This is because the nubbin is miss formed and does not have a impact on the bucking. It is easy enough to replace the nubbin with a piece of wire insulation, alternatively you can use the ink reservoir of a BIC ball point pen to source a new nubbin to replace the old one. Several players local to me have been disappointed with the inner barrel quality, I am with holding judgment until I get the hop up functioning a little better

Below is the description I got from a guy in our group:

"I got the fix for you
I did it with mine after have the same problem
First disassemble the hop up and take out the rubber nub or what ever you want to call that thing (by the way mine was ripped as well)
Replace the piece with the plastic tube found in a standard pen(cut to same size as rubber piece) Try that first then if need be make plastic tube a smigg bigger about 1mm maybe even less than 1mm. but try the same size first because you don't want to go to big as it will block up the barrel. I would recommend giving the end that contacts the bucking a little sanding to deburr with a nail file so it wont rip the bucking
also after you get the hopup set make with a sharpie that location on the outer wheel and the hopup chamber
Try that.
It took me about 5 min. and increased the range by about 25 to 30 feet "

Currently my hop up has two setting worthless and jammed, I am going to fiddle with making a nubbin while I wait for a new CA hop up chamber.

Batteries, fit either in the fore grip on PARA or ranger versions or in the stock, below is a pic I got from google images that shows the difference between a Clone stock and CA stock, (verified by comparing them in person at the last op. As you can see the CA stock necks down a little less and there for will take a bigger battery, they are completely compatible with each other. My end cap will not stay on as the BB indent that is supposed to retain it does not put up enough force to retain it, I just duck taped it on.

Image

Image



This image is taken from a on line army manual. It shows how the sights adjust. My suggestion is to set your hop up for the average range you engage targets at and then adjust the sights to match up.

Image

There are some well documented issues with these M249 clones, Which include. Faulty trigger switches, which are easily fixed by re bending the contacts or simply replacing them with a CLASSIC ARMY replacement. It is common on any support replica to eventually have burnt contacts, you can avoid this to a extent by not laying on the trigger for so long or think about upgrading to deans connectors and/or MOFSET switches that handle current better.

Feeding issues which have been solved by Killbucket who has marketed a replacement feed spring and has a how to make your own FAQ on DIY version full instruction his site using McMaster-Carr # 966K49 spring and McMaster-Carr# 3038K192 silicone tube. regardless any machine gun replica is sensitive to BB quality. You are feeding so much ammo through it so rapidly that jamming on a malformed BB not only caused a stoppage in your cover fire but may have jammed things up enough to damage the mechanism of your box magazine or mechbox. Currently mine does not feed reliably, I have been told by another user to look in the box mag his feed wheel had quality issues inside that may be causing it. I have not had a chance to screw around with mine yet. I ordered a CA box mag so it is a back burner project for me. Below is a image of my M249 replicas box magazine compared with my surplus Real steel (blank) M249 box magazine for reference.

On my box mag the lid is taped on because during the game it popped off with the loss of 3000BBs and much bad language uttered.

Image

This is the EVIL orange birdcage flash hider. not only is is ugly, and incorrect but it is cheaply made and glued on. My best suggestion for removal is to first unscrew the outer barrel form the replica, Then dip it into nearly boiling water. Then wrap in in a towel and clamp it into a bench vise. and use a gentle but firm turn with the biggest pair of channel locks you can get your hands on. If that does not work you may try some glue debonder sold a a hobby shop or failing in that cut it off with power tools like a dremel and delicate use of a e xacto knife. Mine did eventually turn off. with the hot water and a big wrench method. Also shown in this picture is the This is the “Gas Collarâ€
Jeep
Grunt
Grunt
 
Team: N/A
Posts: 101
Age: 43
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:38 am

Postby Jeep » Wed Jul 01, 2009 11:44 am

All right, the deed is done, Here are some of the repairs done to this AEG.

Image

trigger switch.

Image

trigger switch contacting spur gear. NOT good.




First, the trigger switch and run away gun issue. This is fairly well known issue with the clone M249, it is caused by a cheaply made trigger switch that is a smig to long and not bent correctly, In some circumstances the trigger contact is long enough to get caught in the spur gear of the gear box, This is BAD. In my case it would get caught and not release. You could trim it down and re bend it or, just spend $10 and buy a replacement Classic Army switch as I have done here.

Image

Remove the gear box is a pretty straight forward operation, then take these two set screw out, It is NOT necessary to take down the gearbox further.

Image

The trigger switch will slide out of the bottom of the gearbox, simple CAREFULLY unplug the wires and replace the switch. then reassemble. Its a pretty easy operation only taking a few minutes.

While I was working on it I reinforced the butt plate retainer, This is also easy to do. The butt plate is retained by a spring loaded BB that puts tention on the plate to keep it from sliding off. The problem is this, the place has very loose tolerances and the BB does not protrude very far out of the stock. I cleaned a bur off the stock where the BB is with a micro file and screw driver. then trimmed down a electrical slide connector and glued it to the butt plate. This should tighten up the tolerances a little and keep the plate in place on the stock. If you use a U shaped connector it should face the opposite way from what is shown in the image.

Image

A word on A&K quality control. Below is a image of my wiring with a big section of insulation torn away. I also found several screws that were partially stripped out and or loose. This gearbox had never been taken out before so I can only assume that this is shoddy assembly at the factory. I checked gear box shimming and it seemed a little loose but with in tolerances, There is not any abnormal wear pattern on the gears and it seemed well lubed with what ever the heck they are using, I left it along for now. But it should be brought up as a warning.

Image
Jeep
Grunt
Grunt
 
Team: N/A
Posts: 101
Age: 43
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:38 am

update:

Postby Jeep » Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:45 pm

A&K M249 I ran through 24000 BB during OP Hotel Sierra, GALLERY, The only issue I have had was a kinked feed spring (due to beating around in the MOUT range) on one of my (2) box magazines. I also lost the read stock pin probably while climbing a ladder. So far my replica is handing support gunner abuse well.

Image

Image

Image

M60E4/mk43 Also during Op Hotel Sierra, The STAR M60E4 got some use (9000BBs worth) Since I remotored the box mag and added a fourth AA battery to power it it feeds better, but it is still not great, This really irritates the hell out of me as I like its well SO much better than the M249. It also had rails on it that allowed me to use a tactical flash light (those building are pitch dark) I have tried to get a Ares box mag and gear box for the last 6 months, I have not found a retailer here or in Hong Kong that has them in stock. I now can not even find STAR box mags now. When I do lay my hands on them I plan on gutting them, for MAG or CA M249 box magazine mechanisms. What finally did arrive was the bearing spring guide that I ordered a eternity ago, thank you e hobbies asia. This gained me slightly better battery life and a small increase in rate of fire.
Jeep
Grunt
Grunt
 
Team: N/A
Posts: 101
Age: 43
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:38 am

Postby slipstream » Mon Sep 21, 2009 10:17 pm

Jeep wrote:
Image




in the R/C world, Tamiya=fail. it didnt used to be, it used to be like marui, it was one of the first R/C companies around and for along time it set the standards, but not anymore lol.
Image
User avatar
slipstream
Ranger
Ranger
 
Team: N/A
Posts: 1118
Age: 24
Images: 1
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2009 4:42 pm
Location: Tigard, OR

Postby Jeep » Mon Sep 21, 2009 10:33 pm

be that as it may. That tamiya motor was 1000 times better than the STAR motor that came out of the box mag, the problem with the box mag is just piss poor engineering in the mechanism now. This causes intermittent jams that can be usually cleared by shaking and beating on the side of the magazine.
Jeep
Grunt
Grunt
 
Team: N/A
Posts: 101
Age: 43
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:38 am

Update, including the A&K M60E4 and M60VN

Postby Jeep » Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:17 am

Image


As you can see in this image that my love of all things belt fed continues. As I also have several competing machine gun replicas a direct comparison is possible as well my hope is that this will make the review even more informative and comprehensive.. I will be initially comparing closely with the STAR/ARES M60E4/Mk43.

Image

Purchasing/ and packaging

My A&K was purchased at Airsoft Atlanta for $395 on Thursday and shipped via UPS, It arrived today a few hours ago due to the weekend and the holiday. Packaging was excellent. One of my concerns with A&K is the resent raid by Chinese government official has shut manufacturing operations down, whether or not this is permanent or not only time will tell. In the mean time replacement parts for any A&K products has proven to be difficult. (I can not find a replacement upper stock pin for a M249) What this means to us and this review is if you want this replica don't wait, once they are gone, they are GONE! at least for the near future.

The replica arrives with a proper metal flash hider which is sadly painted orange and a improper M16 plastic flash hider which is glued on. To remove this one needs to back off a set screw and apply moderate twisting force onto the plastic flash hider, initially I thought it was threaded on to but it is a press fit. After it is removed you only have to clean the glue residue off with a wire brush and screw the metal one into place (it is left handed threads) In addition the replica is shipped with a pouch, powered box magazine and a user manual.

Physical impressions and Description

The A&K M60 replicates the first issued M60 machine gun, nicknamed the pig, it is a awful heavy hunk of fire power. So much so that the military considers the M60 a crew server weapon to help lug its weight around. The replica itself is massive compared to most airsoft replicas most players are familiar with even in comparison to the now common M249. What surprised me is the difference in weight between the STAR/ARES M60E4/MK43 (12.2 .lbs empty) and the A&K M60 (20.2 .lbs empty) Understand that the M60E4/Mk43 is a improved lightened, easier to handle M60 machine gun so it makes sense that the full size one would be awkward and heavier, I just did not expect it to be nearly twice as heavy! If you are a small person, this is NOT the replica for you.

I knew from a excellent review of the A&K M60E4/mk43 done by Hillslam that the A&K M60 replicas where body chassis is in two major sub assemblies that bolted together into the middle. I had serious concerns about this as it has been proven to be problematic in other replicas. Mine is no different, the screw in my replica are mechanically tight but the forward portion of the operative charging handle has a wobble not unlike that of the infamous barrel wobble found on some M4/M16 replicas. I intend to look into eliminating this wobble in the near future. luckily this loose fit is much better than the prototype which looked bent.

The gearbox is massive, It is if not the same then based on the M249 gearbox that is known for its resistance to abuse. It does have the quick change spring/ spring guide found in the M249 and M60 replicas however there is NO space in the body to use this feature, one much remove the gearbox to do so. In the competing STAR and ARES M60s there is a cavernous space for a battery behind the gearbox. There is not room for even this in the ARES, instead it is wired to the side with the intention of placing a battery into a hanging nylon pouch that also encloses a plastic powered box magazine.

Image

The box magazine

I have high hopes for this box magazine, The biggest problems I have had with the STAR and ARES M60E4/MK43 has been with the box magazine. The A&K box mag looks very similar to its competitors. Thankfully upon closer inspection it is not (thank lord) I have not yet disassembled it yet but some of the difference appear to be more than superficial. More on this at a later date. One thing I can mention is that the box mag does lack the mounting buttons that the ARES and STAR box mags are fitted with. It is wired into the gun with a 3 pin connector (ARES uses a 2 pin connector and the STAR used 3 AA batteries (or 4 A or a 9 volt depending on how desperate you where to get it to feed)

Image

The feed trays are also different between the two replicas as the A&K rightfully is the earlier style. Guess I'll have to find a B3 C ration can to make a feed ramp which was a common GI field modification.

More on this replica review after I get some field time with it.Image


3/20/2010
Skirmished it HARD today, I ran 10000 BBs through it, One bag 4000 cnt. .20 and nearly 8000 cnt .25s (two bags) This thing is a beast! I am really pleased with the box mag in particular, It is everything the ARES and the STAR magazines are not. It feeds consistently and it feeds EVERY BB in the hopper. Chronos a very consistent 364fps with .20s. With .25s it has the ability to chew a "tunnel" through the thickest brush along the tire field at LP. I could see first the bark then the branches disappear in my cone of fire. I was on the trigger for very long periods of fire and it never paused. My only complain is it is a BASTARD to lug around the field. It is not a little awkward to bring around to bear in a different direction. I recommend a padded sling (got a M60 sling at the surplus store for $10) and carry a good pistol AEP, you will need it.

4/17/2010
Ran it through another hard day at LP, the first couple of issues are appearing now.
This replica has a good 25000 BBs through it now. First was before I even made it to the chrono station. The cocking lever assemble literally fell off as a walked over to chrono, I picked up these pieces but for the life of me I can not find them now. As far as I can tell this was due to a disturbing trend with this replica, ALL of the screws holding it together are coming loose. This includes the 6 (three on each side) located on the lower receiver and the feed ramp/magazine hanger all started to come apart on me through the course of the day. This led to long delays in the safe zone while I tightened and re tightened components that were coming loose. I have just written a E Mail to A&K inquiring on replacement parts for the now missing cocking lever assembly and a spare magazine.

Speaking of magazine, at the very end of the day, it stopped feeding, I just popped the bottom off the box mag here at home and found it was jammed up on a miss formed BB. This is the only stoppage I have had in 25000 rounds. Impressive. I can now tell you that this box mag has NOTHING in common with the ARES or STAR magazines, it has a spring assist and a weighted flywheel that helps it pick up BBs a move them up the feed tube.

While I was trying to clear the jam on the field, I used the barrel release lever to pop the whole inner and out barrel and hop up assembly out, (great feature by the way) be careful when you do this the ROF rheostat has a plug and wires that lead from the gearbox wiring harness, these wires are thin and break easily, Just be cautions if you end up doing this.

As for effectiveness on the field? It is a awesome, I had no feeding problems that were the fault of the design it has the power to push .25s but not to much to make .20s inaccurate. My Padded M60 sling made its size and weight a little more livable on the field. Do NOT use the "carrying handle" this is thin and flimsy it will bend or break under the weight of this replica.


4/23/2010
Micro update: the last two LP games I have been using this replica hard, Another 15000 BBs through (40000 BBs total) it with out any mechanism problems and only one jam. however due to impatient stupidity I busted it up pretty bad. Basically I ninja 'ed into a well concealed unexpected direction on my opponents deep into a brier patch. After the game while fighting my way clear I got caught, thinking it was the sling I powered my way clear, sadly what I was caught up on was the feed spring and power wires that lead from the box magazine to the replica. I tore these up pretty badly. But don't dispair, below is the repair. This also applies to most box magazines including STAR,ARES, A&K,ECHO1, Classic Army and TOP. I have not tried this with any real sword, Inokatsu, Trigger Happy or other replicas.

This is the damage done to the M60, I was pretty mad at myself.

Image broken wires:

Image elongated feed spring"

Image Missing bolt mechanism, still not response from A&K on replacement parts.

4/28/2010
First, this box magazine is NOTHING like the STAR or the ARES M60 magazines internally. It is closer to the classic army mechanism the feed mouth inside is double the size of the for-mentioned competitors. In addition the feed mechanism is not only spring assisted, but also has a counter weighted flywheel both of which help the motor to force BBs up the feed tube with out issue. No wonder that it feeds so well!

On tho the repairs:
much like the STAR/Ares box magazine start by removing the bottom panel by removing 4 screws:

Image

Then remove the jam nuts form the damaged feeding spring and set a side, take the opportunity to slide the feed spring inside the box magazine proper so its not flopping around.

Image


Once that is done flip the magazine so the bottom is up and remove the mechanism and the feed ramp by removing one screw,

Image

Remove the feed ramp by backing out a jam screw and carefully spinning it off so you don't force anything.

Image


Then push/pull the damaged feed spring from the box magazine, careful that you don't pull off any wires from the mechanism while it is loose from the box magazine.

Now the fun part, I made replacement feed springs and tube stock available thru McMaster Carr The specific part are below. The springs wire is slightly thinner than the stock components, with a higher number of coils per inch, this is not a big difference as to make the use of the feed ramp and jam nut at each end unusable but it is less coarse allowing BBs the feed better and smoother. This is a great MOD to do to balky A&K M249 box magazines which sometimes feed poorly.

1 3038K192 1 Each High-temp Nsf-51 Silicone Rubber Tubing, 5/16" Id, 7/16" Od, 1/16" Wall, Translucent, 10'l
2 9664K49 1 Each Spring-tempered Steel Cont Extension Spring, 36" Length, 5/16" Outside Diameter, .028" Wire

There is enought stock here to do several box magazines for less than $20


Image

The last step is to prepare the need feed spring by cutting it with a dremel tool to length and insuring that the cut end is smooth and flat by squaring it off carefully with a dremel.

You are now ready to reassemble the box magazine in reverse order of disassemble,

OPTIONAL by SUGGESTED To prevent future tangles and snags that damaged the feed spring in the first place, you can slide the silicone tube over the feed spring, this will protect the coils, keep out debris while remaining flexible, It will also keep the feed spring coils aligned which also will help achieve smooth feeding from the box magazine and the replica.

Image


5/1 Op Frequent Wind, The M60 lasted through the first evolution and then the feed spring socket dropped off the replica. I have tired for 5 months (its now September) to get replacement parts to fix the replica from A&K. After repeated emails and one phone call I have had no response from A&K, let this be a warning that replacement parts are made of unobtainum and if you break this replica you are pretty much screwed. The ARES and STAR feed sockets do NOT work, I tried. I will pick up this review when I manage to locate parts or another box magazine. I have every intention of usingA&K M60 box magazines on my STAR and ARES M60s as they are far superior. If only they were available.
Jeep
Grunt
Grunt
 
Team: N/A
Posts: 101
Age: 43
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:38 am

A&K M60VN update

Postby Jeep » Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:17 am

I apologize first for the long period of time that it took to post a update and that it ended up being a necro post, BUT, since it contributes to good information and this is after all a review and those are only useful if they are revisited I hope that this will be forgiven.

Extra magazines are available through any retailer that uses spartan Importers, I bought two spare and intend to adapt the broken one to my STAR Mk43


3/3/11
I have experienced my first mechanical failure in the M60, as it locked up last game, Initially I though it might have been battery related or maybe the motor as A&K motors are starting to develop a reputation for weakness. I am not that lucky.

Image

The gearbox is probably the easiest to pull that I have ever come across. Just 4 set screw two per side and it pulls out, even the electrical connections disconnect them selves as you slide the gearbox back in the body about 1/2 inch, then it pops right out.

The M60 gearbox, is different from the Classic Army or A&K M249 or the STAR or ARES M60 gearboxes although very similar. At this point it looks version 2/3 compatible except for the nozzle with measures roughly 1-3/8inches long by 9/32 to a taper of 1/4 or so. Don't trust what some of the others have said this is a DIFFERENT gearbox than the others mentioned.

Image

Image

The gearbox features the same quick change spring and spring guide as the M249 but it is not accessible with the gearbox in the body.

Image

Initially I found wear at this point from the spur gear catching on the gearbox, I carefully dremeled this back a tiny amount and reassembled with a Tokyo Marui EX-MAX Hyper 1000S hi Torque motor short type (same as a TM G36c) Upon testing it is still locked up internally. When I have a bit more time I am going to dissemble the gearbox further and see if I can figure out what is going on.

3/4/11

I opened up the gearbox again today and tested it with out the spring cylinder or piston in it. still jammed up. I noticed that this gearbox only has ONE SHIM on Each side of each gear. While I noticed this yesterday, I did not check the shimming as it had not been a issues until now. I discovered that "shimming" is totally absent from this gearbox, I am kind of amazed that mine worked through 61000 BBs before it locked up. There is a LOT of play in the gears as they flop around inside the gearbox. I have not discounted that this couldbe a problem with the electrical rheostat that controls rate of fire, Several others have had issues with them and I plan on finding my by-pass plug and retesting but it is clear that this gearbox needs to be reshimmed at least.
Jeep
Grunt
Grunt
 
Team: N/A
Posts: 101
Age: 43
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:38 am

Postby Cap n pickles » Fri Mar 04, 2011 12:40 pm

Wow, lots of info in here. Thanks for all this work jeep!
Image
"All our liberties are due to men who, when their conscience has compelled them, have broken the laws of the land."
William Kingdon Clifford
User avatar
Cap n pickles
1337
1337
 
Team: N/A
Posts: 3757
Age: 27
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2008 8:25 pm
Location: The dalles, OR

Re: Jeep's guide on Support gun replicas and mini multi revi

Postby Jeep » Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:28 am

Arise old thread for a update:

Finally : how to make you STAR M60 not suck (as much)

Sigh, as mentioned earlier the STAR M60 has some real internal issues, but it is lighter than its direct competitors, externally it is a more solid and durable than the A&Ks the body is NOT bolted together in the middle). So How did it get fixed. First in took a couple of years to find them, but I finally got my hands on a ARES gear box. Initially I was going to use a Classic army M249 gearbox but it is to wide, to fit the gun body, it would not work, The only alternative is the ARES gearbox, this got a sector chip and a reshim/ rewire job from Shuky as I don't have much time anymore. Further he has a better understanding of wiring and he solders better than I do. While he had the replica, he wired my STAR and my ARES box mags to run on the gun battery and but in a force feed pressure switch to "prime" the feed spring. I am still going to try to adapt a A&K box mag but there are some issues with this, including the thickness of the plastic on the box mag shell and the nylon pouch does not adapt well to the STAR/ARES feed tray. With one large scale op as its first test, this just might have worked. I'll update when I have some more BBs though it as a edit. In the mean time, some eye candy images of this years testing.

Image
Image
Image
Jeep
Grunt
Grunt
 
Team: N/A
Posts: 101
Age: 43
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:38 am

Previous

Return to SAW/LMG

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest