Posts Tagged ‘purchases’

To balance out todays previous bad news it occured to me that we did not say cheers to Stitch me up for their excellent patches we took delivery of at christmas.

Coveted & sexy...

Coveted & sexy…

They do loads of work for airsoft teams and I’ve yet to hear a single bad word about them. Our’s was certainly delivered promptly and in great packaging protecting the patches – at a very reasonable price! You can check out their facebook page for loads of examples of their work and they’ll do batches large and small…
Well done Swamps for picking them!
BZ

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Off I went…
Not often I get to buy new gear at the moment, so after first having had a few goes on Derkas Ares Vz58 I made the trip south to Patrol Base to make the purchase. I know if you’re prepared to hunt around you can probably knock a tenner off, but there is still something I like about going to a shop, picking out the one I want and leaving with it.

Everyone loves a new gun!

Everyone loves a new gun!

Some comments on Patrol Base. It’s easy enough to find and we had no trouble parking up. Once inside its a spacious shop with plenty of stock. The guys were very enthusiastic even letting me shoot off a few rounds on the display model they had on show in their test range. My only proviso was they tried to sell me a battery they insisted fitted, and only the fact that I had experience of actually using a VZ58 made me cautious. When I said fine if they could fit it for me I’d buy 2 did they concede (after much trying) that none of their batteries in stock fitted. More of the batteries later though…

Almost fresh out of the box...

Almost fresh out of the box…

As the Ares website highlights, the VZ58 series comes with a propriety mag which are about £30 each at the moment, and you can see I went for the compact version. For those who like to read up on the real world counterparts there’s some info here.

Also in the box were cleaning rods, mag loader, and some reasonably decent instructions. Read them! No batteries of any kind, which I don’t mind as they’re usually inferior and never get used in any case.

Read them! You never know...

Read them! You never know…

I added a few modifications to my initial purchase. First up and probably most pragmatic was the magazine adapter to allow the VZ58 to accommodate M4 type mags. This gives you access to a far wider variety and they tend to be cheaper!

Mag well adapter for all those M4 mags you already have!

Mag well adapter for all those M4 mags you already have!

Next up was a suppressor, reasonably short and simple dual ended type. Primarily because I liked the look of it, but having skirmished the VZ58 now it definitely mutes the noise of the gearbox taking a lot of the sharpness out of it. It turns it into a satisyingly solid thump rather than a crack and seems to be harder to position from any sort of distance.

extra sneakiness fitted....

extra sneakiness fitted….

Lastly for now was the quick release sidemount attachment that allows me to use the QR sidemount from my AK105. Fitting was a matter of minutes allowing the VZ to mount a toprail for scope and sights. This top rail does make fitting the battery more fiddly so be warned!

QR sidemount ready!

QR sidemount ready!

The ring for attaching sligs is definitely robust and feels secure. After the somewhat flimsy affairs on the side of some CYMA AK’s this was a welcome find.

Why aren't all guns fitted with one of these?

Why aren’t all guns fitted with one of these?

..and of course it has a folding stock, with the stock folding to the right so you can still make use of the QR sidemount and access the selector switch with ease.

Even shorter...

Even shorter…

However!
This brings me to a definite gripe. The folding stock relies on a screwcap retaining a small spring over the pin in the hinge. I was warned by other owners this would be loose and to get some threadlock on it immediately. Like an idiot I hadn’t got round to it before I skirmished it the first time. The VZ didn’t even make it past the safety brief before this pinged it’s way across the carpark. Why they seem unable to secure this I have no idea. Sheer dogged luck and some very helpful friends enable me to find the escaped parts (and they go a long way) and it was replaced having been smothered in threadlock. I may look into a more permanent securing pin mod at a later date.

PAY ATTENTION! THREADLOCK THIS BIT!

PAY ATTENTION! THREADLOCK THIS BIT!

Power it up!
Right. Batteries. The only batteries I can find that currently fit the recived space are G&P 7.4v lipo at the moment. You can get them on the usual popular auction site from overseas, but I also recommend checking out our pyro supplier Jack Rabbit who have supply at wholesale prices here in Blighty. Replacing them can be fraught so here’s my best method so far…

Step 1 slide pin to unsecure rear of top receiver

Battery step 1

Battery step 1

Step 2 remove the receiver top completely.

Battery step 2

Battery step 2

Step 3 move the cocking handle rearwards

Battery Step 3

Battery Step 3

Step 4 remove the cocking handle reciever section as well to permit access to the battery with ease.

Battery Step 4

Battery Step 4

I find it easiest to lay the new battery in position carefully and essentially go through all the above procedures in reverse to fit. BE WARNED it remains a tight fit, be wary of trapping wires and damaging LiPo batteries when doing so!

But having done all this you are presented with a tidy tight and refreshingly rattle free AEG. Having skirmished it once I can assure that the electronic programmable gearbox seems to work well. using 7.4v LiPo gives it more than fast enough rate of fire, although I tend to leave it in semi. (see our video from the last game day report. I intend to program this to either a 3 shot burst or semi auto only at a later date, so I’ll update the performance then.

In action I found it beautifully nimble and accurate for it’s size. Power was dead on 326 fps out of the box (1 Joule) so no need to be using the quick access for the spring just yet that the current Ares AEG come fitted with.

Pros
Solid
Small size makes it agile (ideal CQB)
Good range on stock hop set up
Perfectly powered out of box
Can take standard mags with adapter

Cons
Make sure stock hinge is secured properly!
Battery compartment is small and fiddly

Overall? A cracking little AEG. I mean, just look at it...

Admit it, you want one now don't you?...

Admit it, you want one now don’t you?…

Costs…
VZ58 Compact £192
Mag Adapter £29.99
Suppressor £10
plus I went for some additional Ares Amoeba mid cap 140rd M4 magazines at £9.99
G&P 7.4v LiPo batteries £25

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The eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed a new page above on the menu – The Armoury. It will be the home of gear and gun reviews. Unlike most magazines or popular sites we do not get free (or even cheap) gear , we’re not sponsored, and like every other player we have to shell out our hard earned for our Airsofting supplies. So you can trust us!

Having said that, if anyone wants to send us free gear we’re totally for sale, and utterly without morals.

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A quick review.

Those of you who have visited our ramblings before may be aware that we picked up a pair of Cyma MP5 PDW last year from Action hobbies.

Great shop, very friendly when we visited, and good service, and the AEGs perform well, although wildly different fps when first chrono’d! (330 and 400!)

One think we both mamanged to accomplish was to snap the muzzle break in the first few months. Something neither of us had done with any other airsoft weapon.

This weekend whilst enjoying a cracking day out at NSC I ran into a group of 3 guys, all sporting either MP5 PDW or Ks, and ALL THREE had done the same. Everyone I have met who has one has snapped the same part.

So, what to do?

Well first up is to warn you if you buy one you will probably break it. After all 5 experienced airsofters all managed to.

Second, how to fix or prevent it?

Well, I fixed mine with 2 part metal epoxy resin which seems to have done the trick

Then to stop it happening in the future a new front end such as this from RSOV which protects the vulnerable part (and looks awesome into the bargain)

I still think it’s a great little weapon. Perfect sniper secondary or CQB gun. Just be aware what you’re letting yourself in for.

********** 28/08/2012***********

Swampy edit….

After playing with the PDW in a couple of open woodland and semi woodland games it was good to get to use the MP5 in a full on CQB game setting at the Stan in Sheffield. With 6 mags and a recently added reflex sight (v cheap imports) it was a cracking little gun for the tight corners and limited space at the Stan. Saw people with M4’s and AK’s struggling in the corridors and stairwells and for me (and I think spider too although haven’t asked him) it was a dream. Collapsible stock was a boon too allowing for side swaps at short notice and never felt encumbered by the rig that I used with it. Looking forward to the next CQB site…

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Have we seen the passing of the golden age of airsoft?

It’s a thought that has been bothering me more and more. Airsoft in the UK faces pressures from all sides, and in some regions struggles to continue.

We had the VCR act passed and its assault on liberties. The threat to completely remove our hobby was narrowly averted by concerted action by retailers, sites and players. The bastard offspring of that stalwart defence, UKARA, continues to this day. A de facto licensing of airsofters without which it is nigh on impossible to obtain equipment for your hobby. Run and maintained by a cabal of retailers it’s short history is already tarnished with claims and counter claims of sites punished for offering memberships and other sites not punished for similar breaches. The stranglehold on the UK airsoft scene is undeniable, a power which is controlled by several retailers which exist in a competitive environment where they seek to maximise profit. It does not leave you with a comfortable feeling.

As for the airsoft guns themselves. China, long the source of cheap kit which enabled players to enter the hobby inexpensively cracked down on the producers. Either for breaches of law or more likely failure to pay off the correct officials. This saw a drought in the £100 region of AEGs which has continued to this day. As with all pricing habits, UK retailers seem to have maintained the higher pricing that resulted from the crackdowns.

Sites seemed to be springing up all over the place at one point. You could always find a site that you had never heard of before somewhere in the UK. Now, in similar fashion to the dot.com bust we seem to be seeing consolidation by the major players. The larger companies are grabbing every available site for their portfolio, and more and more single site operators seem to be going to the wall. With Council planning permissions increasingly difficult to obtain thanks to Daily Mail reading nimbys and left wing gun hating lentil munchers we are faced with a dwindling variety of sites as everyone is swallowed up by the Tescos and Wal-Mart of Airsoft operators.

So we seem to be entering a phase of commercialisation of the hobby. Is it all bad?

Not necessarily.

Larger site operators have more resources and have a depth of experience, so hopefully well thought our game days that hold your interest (and yes, better toilets!). The Internet allows players to purchase kit globally which will hopefully limit UK retailers prices becoming astronomical.

We are becoming mainstream. You are the norm. No longer some dodgy activity on the back of a farm that locals think is a paramilitary training camp but a legitimate hobby that brings leisure money into the economy.

Lastly, the best hope is you. The players. We are increasing in numbers. We will continue to as long as we keep making sites welcome for others to join, because that is the life blood of the hobby. Noobs. Without them rejuvenating the stock of people who play, and ultimately who pay for airsoft, we will dwindle to irrelevance and find ourselves ignored, and then outlawed.

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Well I took the better half up on the offer of an early Christmas present in time for the Anzio trip so I ordered the SRC M4 SR933 VerIII.

Bit of a mouthful but basically a CQB length (not one of the Micro jobbies) m4 extendable stock.  Also got three lipo batts and a new charger.  After my last foray into lipo which left me angry with a broken gun and batt, i decided to tame it down so went for 7.4v 20c 1200 mah batts plus balancing charger.

All at a very good rate from the store that shall not be mentioned….

Will write up when it gets here.

Oh… resisted the urge to Magpul it up the cahooney after ribbing Spider all sunday for looking elite.  And tan.  And like a wookie. ….. / teddy bear……./shit stain.

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