Review: Tokyo Marui M870 Tactical Shotgun

It has long been a dream for airsofters to one day use a gas powered shotgun that was still practical yet fun. Marushin have been the main producer of these style of guns – the M1100 and 870 are fine pieces but shell ejecting is asking for lost shells and trouble. The Mossbergs are solid but lack of shells and a long reloading procedure make them a little less desirable. Both also suffer from a little bit of a reliability problem is not taken care of. For the shotgun user, Tokyo Marui (and their clones sold by companies like ASG) have been the way to go – tri-shot for the shotgun effect, easily reloaded by a 30 shotgun shell and pretty hardwearing. The downside? Plastic construction and spring power requiring a fair amount of force to rack.

Now meet the latest present from Japan – Tokyo Marui’s M870 Tactical. Gas powered, trishot, easily reloaded and solid construction. What’s not to like?

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Background

The Remington 870 is one of the most popular shotgun designs of the last century. Most of the detail can be found on the Wikipedia page but its safe to say that next to the Benelli M3 this is the design to make for airsoft.

I ordered mine from Echihgoya, a site recommended to me via the Facebook page of Khan Seb. They are a fine company, very communicative and open to questions. From them, I ordered the gun and a spare gas tank (more on that later). After customs took their cut, it came to around £300 in total.

Impressions

First up, it comes in a box. Nicely packaged, the 870 isn’t jammed into some polystyrene to get ripped to shreds when you pull it out. It comes with one new style shell (the main difference is its colour) and one gas tank as well as the usual stuff (manual, cleaning rod, old style speedloader).

First impression was one of puzzlement. I hadn’t realised just how thin the 870 is compared to the ASG M3 I have previously owned (we won’t bring the SPAS 12 into a shotgun width competition). It’s a nice thin grip making it super comfortable to hold. In addition, minus the gas tank weighs very little. I can easily see it being slung over a shoulder with little to no effort

The barrel and receiver are metal (aluminium and zinc respectively) while the stock and front grip are both high quality plastic. Its very obvious from the moment you pick it up that this is something that a lot of time and effort has been put into. The only structural issue I have with the 870 is that the front pump does rock a little from side to side but this only really happens if you sit then and try to make it wobble. There is much less resistance on the pump as it is not tensing a spring making it less of chore to do compared to the old spring guns. You probably could rack it one handed but I’m not comfortable with trying to do it just yet – I’d like to use it a bit more. Continuing the body work, I originally would have preferred an extended mag tube but I’m starting to grow to like the shorter look. Similarly, I find the length fine for CQB play. A little shorter would be nice but it is nowhere near as bad as the M3 Super 90s. Of course, I can’t the body work without saying just how satisfying racking it is. It sounds like someone angrily popping bubble wrap but it feels great.

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On the top of the shotgun there is a standard 20mm rail with the last section being taken up by the rear ring sight. This is paired with a tall and solid looking front leaf sight. When they first announced the M870 I was not impressed with the sights – they looked too small to be practical and took up space on the rail. Well, I was wrong; the sight work great in CQB and target shooting and I can see myself forgoing the usual Gucci sights for the simple, clean look of iron sights. The rail is a little on the small side with my CMore hanging over the front a little bit and requiring a slight moving around of the mounting pins. The smaller Eotechs (551s, XPS etc) will fit but the longer style will not. Sadly, this means there is not enough space to mount your flip-to-side magnifiers. It is possible to remove the rear rail for a more traditional look, but there are two small dimples that stick up and ruin the small surface.

Of course, these are airsoft guns so they need both BBs and propellant. Like the M3s, BBs are fed from the 30rd cartridge magazines and inserted in via the bottom mounted shell door (opened by the button to the left side of the door). These shells do not eject miles when finished but act like a magazine and gently drop out the bottom of the gun when you hit the release to open the door. ASG, TM and new style TM shells all work fine. I did manage to increase the number of shots I could fire a fair bit by overloading but this is not recommended. Its also important to note that the chamber of the 870 always seemed to have 6BBs in it while shooting. This meant on three round mode there are two shots (rather than the usual one) still in the chamber once the mag has been released. Just a safety concern to be aware of.

Speaking of BBs, the gun has a fire selector hidden behind the ejection port cover. This is moved when the gun is pumped but it can also be dragged back by gripping it with your fingers. With this, you can switch between the standard tri shot and a six round mode. There are only three barrels, so the six round mode simply pushes an additional BB out of each barrel. Mode switching is simple although I can see players setting it to one and leaving it to prevent running out of ammo at the wrong time. It also has the standard push button safety you have seen before countless times.

Gas is inserted into the stock of the gun (hence the decision to go for a full stocked model first) and contained within removable gas tanks. These things are nicely made and feel really solid (always a good sign) and are about the size of a 20rd VN style M16 mag. They add a bit of weight to the stock of the gun although this helps to actually improve its balance. Inserting the gas tanks is one of the few oddities about the gun. If you gently insert the gas tank, the hose connecting tank to gun will not properly seal, leading to your gas being released into the environment without being shot. Instead, as recommended by Airsoft Tim of Redwolf and other, its best to lightly place the gas tank in the stock, put the butt pad over the top and then sharply tap the butt pad back on with your hand. This should reduce gas loss and make sure nothing drops out of the gun while running around.

Testing

Well then, that’s the run down, how does it shoot? Well, here is a short video to act as a visual aid.

The shooting tests were done at 7m (due to limitations of space), using Swiss Arms 0.25g 6mm BBs and ASG Brut Sniper gas. The targets were paper on two layers of cardboard with bubble wrap to soften the blows against the garage door/backstop. The ones shown below are from the video.

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The first target shows shots using the 6 round mode. Notice how the area close to the target has been ripped to shreds by 7 shots (overloaded shell) of 6BBs each. There are some across the paper but most are focused in on that small area.

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This one is done using the three round mode. The hits are a little more spread out and although the scanning has made it hard to see, there are a few holes that have been covered back up by the movement of the paper in the top right.

I managed to get seven shells out of a single fully charged gas tank, firing slowly with a small break after each shot. This is pretty damn reasonable although I think more testing of this is needed;

Of course, the best test is in an actual game and I took it down to Halo Mill on Sunday the 18th for a three game test. First of all, make sure to properly load your gas tanks. They are pretty big and if you try to fill them about the same amount as your normal pistol mags, you won’t get many shots at all.

Overall though, impressions are great. 6 round shots is a nice middle ground between shotgun place and 40mm shell and works at suppression (although it can cause you to eat through shells quickly) while the three round is just a step above the normal shotguns. Groupings seemed to be really good, with the three round mode being three BBs landing right next to each other with very few of the flyers you see in the spring shotgun. Overall, it was a great chunk of fun to have at a CQB site

In a nutshell

+ Lovely construction
+ Six round shot is horrifying
+ Three round burst is still pretty nasty
+ Fantastic to use in terms of feel and fun
+ Great performance with a decent FPS

– Expensive
– A little bit too much of an extra faff if being used as a secondary
– Ascetics choice maybe not the most popular

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Tokyo Marui is the great granddad of airsoft, responsible for everything from the standard gearbox designs and gas blowback pistol basics up to the king of all kings, the hop up. When they make new products, other companies take a look to see what the innovator has brought to the table this time. And ye gods this one is a doozy.

Overall, if you love shotguns, play a lot of CQB or just want to upgrade from a spring shotgun and are willing to pay the price, this is a must have. However, it is worth remembering that it is likely other types will soon be on the way and I have no idea what the customisation market will be like for these things. I thoroughly looking forward to using mine in the future.

On Summer 2, Holiday and Airsoft News

So the summer continues! I’m writing this at the start of my two week holiday which was a little shifted around from the original plan. Luckily this has meant that my holiday backs on to Ground Zero (more on that later) so it simplifies a lot of my relaxation plans. I really enjoy the process of being at work but after 10 weeks (and all the university work before hand) I am looking forward to two weeks of not working flat out. So there will be a lot of films watched, games played and time spent sleeping.

However, that doesn’t mean I’ll be entirely lazy. I’m going to be working with the Undercurrent team (now called Hammerhead Studios) on a new game being done as part of the Oculus Rift game jam. As part of this, I’ll be spending a day in Middlesbrough banging out code where I actually have access to a Rift and spending a few other days working at home thanks to the magic of the internet. Hopefully, we can throw another game using the Rift into our collection and give us another interesting game to demo. We have previously shown off Undercurrent multiple times (at Rezzed, Abertay’s own Dare ProtoPlay and more) and it seems to be very well received, with huge queues of people each time. I look forward to making more games with the team.

So airsoft. As I mentioned above, my holiday will see me heading back down south for the National Airsoft Event, something I haven’t been to since my very first year of airsofting. When I first went I wasn’t 100% sold on the event – it had some major issues in the gameplay with the assassin rules ending up with some rather violent encounters when it came to scan tagging. Combine this with no game plan, no comms, underpowered guns, lack of magazines and other small issues added up to a weekend that I still enjoyed (its hard not to when there are 1000+ targets against your 500 man team in some tense ass firefights). Last year we skipped it, instead spending our summer weekend knee deep in World War 2 and aliens at Operation Greenback and having a whale of a time. However, it sounded like the organisers of Ground Zero had heard our complaints and got rid of a swathe of rules which lead to a much better time. So we as a group decided to head back for some more super fun time with tons of people in the sun.

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In preparation for this, I’ve been doing a bit of purchasing and moving around of kit. The first is about pure stupidity. I sold off my M79 – it was a fun launcher but its manufacturing left a fair bit to be desired. To replace it, I picked up a M72 LAW from one of the marshals at Halo Mill. To be honest, its kind of a step down in functionality, as the LAW was a little more fragile when first bought. It is also a lot more bulky and harder to use effectively, as it us hard to use single handily. However, it is a much cooler weapon, with a lot more heads turning when its on the field. Its also intensely satisfying to unsling, unpack and fire in one swift motion. I’m most likely going to sell it but before then there is time for some hilarity.

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At the practical end of the scale, I have picked up a second pistol to add to my collection. Above all other standard size pistols, the 1911 and its family are classic. They are the finest designed pistol in terms of ergonomics and safety. Although the airsoft version suffers from a small gas tank due to the thin magazines of the original (that single stack design) its still a perfect pistol. I’ve missed having a sensible sized sidearm since I sold off my 1911 and P226 and although I love my MK23, it does have a few issues, especially in terms of its FPS when its warm. A friend was selling a TM 1911 MEU (the updated version of 1911 used by the US Marine Corps) with and I was more than excited to grab it from him. Tokyo Marui makes fantastic pistols – rapiers compared to the broadswords of KWA. I really like it and its a worthy assistant to my MK23.

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Finally is something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. Ever since they announced the upcoming release of a gas powered 870 from TM, I had been anxiously waiting for the pre-orders to go up. TM makes fantastic spring powered shotguns that form the template for all other tri-shots on the market. Their new shotgun takes the tri-shot model and replaces the spring with a large gas tank placed in the stock as well as including the option to switch to a 6 round mode. Overall, it sounds like the perfect upgrade to the spring shotgun. Now when Echigoya put them up for sale, alongside the gas tanks, I jumped it on it. Especially when the UK retailers are selling them for going on £70+ on top of the Asian sellers. SO I jumped on the pre-order train and now one is winging its way to me just in time for Ground Zero. I really loved using my old ASG M3 and before that the TM SPAS12 so I am excited to going back to the shotgun way of play. I’ll write something up when it arrives.

That’s it for now, I picked up a few other things and saw a film or two but I can write about that some other day. For now, I’m off to sleep seeing as I have to be in Middlesbrough tomorrow.

Summer Update

Ah the summer has continued! I’m around the half way point of my work contract and have been working flat out hence the lack of blog posts for a while. I’m finding it a little hard to find the time to write these posts in between work, airsoft, family events and finally actually playing some games. So to sum up, this is what’s been occurring.

  • First I got my final results from Teesside. Its seems the year of living madly has paid off and I am graduating Teesside University in November with a BSc in Computing with First Class Honours. This is above and beyond what I originally expected and I was a little blown away on results day morning. I know my Mum certainly was
  • This of course means that I am confirmed to be going to Abertay in September for a full year to do a Professional Masters (MProf) in Games Development. As you can tell from all the other posts, I’m really excited about this – its a way of making games, learning about the other disciplines and most importantly, meeting a bunch of motivated people there to make games. My accommodation is booked (a studio flat in Parker Street Halls) just need to finish the paper work
  • At work, its been madness. I’ve been primarily sorting out machines for store upgrades so lots of moving around. This has been slightly compounded by some stupidly warm weather and today downpour that has flooded out a large amount of kit. Working in IT has reminded just how hard work it is – I’ve actually lost some weight thanks to carrying around a silly number of PCs every day.
  • The Steam sales have been and gone and I’ve managed to survive relatively intact, with no major expenditure. Managed to pick up the whole of Max Payne 3 (with which I’ve been having a whale of a time!), the new Tomb Raider (which I’m enjoying but its not the best), and Witcher 2 which I still haven’t managed to get around to thanks to limited time and playing copious amounts of Wargame: AirLand battle and Civilisation 5: Brave New World.
  • I went to go and see Pacific Rim! It was pretty fantastic – well worth going to see at the cinema with a combination of giant stompy robots beating the pulp out of the realistic Kaiju and various actors I know and like (Max Martini, Charlie Hunnan, Burn Gorman and Idris Elba primarily) having great fun playing in this world that Del Toro has created. Mako is probably the best created character (and the actress was perfect for the role) but the world and designs all look like something that makes sense. The “totally not godzilla” Kaiju all look like standard animals (primarily fish and reptiles) but larger and nastier and the Jaegers are my type of mech design – almost human but not quite anime.

    I still can’t work out why the British where a major part of the Pan-Pacific Defence force though…

  • Speaking of Idris Elba, the return of Luther onto BBC1 has been great. Mr Elba plays off Luther as a man struggling under the weight of his various sins well and facing him off against David O’Hara’s slightly suspect IA inspector is a match made in crime writer heaven. I prefer the second  plot line to the first two episodes decidedly creepy one but I’m on the edge of my seat for the final episode tonight.
  • Finally, music. I’m taking full advantage of Spotify to increase the amount of music I’ve been listening to. By paying the £10 per month fee, I’ve managed to load up my tablet with tons of music without having to endlessly sync to it. Really enjoying the latest Passion Pit album.

That’s it for now, more posts when I find the time. Also I’ll put something up about my various youtube videos.

Summer Posts: On Working and Halo Mill(and also Good News)

EDIT: However, before all that rubbish about work and stuff, I’ve got some fantastic news. Today, I received the provisional marks for my last year of university. I have received a 2.2 in my Games Device Programming, a 2.1 in my Multiplayer Games Programming and 1st’s in my Advanced Games Development (the group project that spawned Undercurrent) and Online Business Systems modules as well as a 1st in my Final Year Project (Teesside’s name for your dissertation effectively). Overall, this works out at a nice and comfortable 2.1 which is just what I need to get to Dundee – in other words, unless the exam boards think all my teachers were going mad during the year,

I’ll be going to Dundee in September to do an MProf in Games Development!

I may be a little excited.

I’m back at work hence the slightly lack posting of new posts (not that you would notice). I’m odd in the fact that I like have the structure in my life of getting up a certain time every morning, going into work, doing and job and then coming home in the evening to make the most of what little leisure time is left before collapsing into bed. My job isn’t the most difficult or the most exciting but its still enjoyable. A lot of the time is just me getting on with the job be that entering data or testing machines while listening to music (currently the new Daft Punk or Studio Killers albums) but still there are points where I get to talk the crack with the other IT staff. I’m at work for a total of 13 weeks, including two weeks paid holiday at the end of July, start of August.

Going to work in Huddersfield everyday has, bizarrely enough, also allowed me to go airsofting much more. Halo Mill is on the other side of Huddersfield and is open on a Thursday night. My plan is to go down every week while I’m working to have a few hours of airsoft followed by a (non-alcoholic) drink (as I’m driving) at the pub. The guys down there are fantastic, with a welcoming set of staff, excellent marshals and some good players will to get stuck in. There were some fun games on last Thursday with the MK23 and LR300 both getting a good runaround. My much maligned Element LLM was finally put to good use and its a fantastic little torch/ laser. I’m going to get it set properly this week. Midweek airsoft is a bit of an odd thing but its fantastic to play at a site full of decent people.

Another cool part of Halo Mill is that I have paid for a year’s membership. As part of this I was given a free training session. The session is part 1 of a four part course that in total starts from the basics and goes up to using gas masks and hostage rescue techniques (stuff you will never use when airsofting). Part 1 is the very basics, covering safety procedures before getting on the range and practising with the pistol in a variety of draws, shots on target and turning to face the target. A little bit of carbine training is done, but most of it is done in the second part of the training course. Overall, it was a fun time on a Saturday morning. The instructor is a stand up guy who knows his stuff, and the course flow pretty quickly. I was really happy with some of my groupings, even when I was snap shooting. If you don’t get a Halo Mill membership, you can pay £35 to do the course.

Outside of Airsoft, I’ve got three separate games I’m working on. Two I hope to release very quickly thanks to their small size and design while the third is a labour of love I’ll probably be working on for a while. More details are available over at the Static Charge Studios page on my portfolio at http://hntdaab.co.uk/static-charge-studios/.

On the End, Airsoft and Summer

Well, this is basically it. My work has been handed in, I have one viva remaining next week to talk through my final year project and then I am finished at university. Its been a long few years but I’m eagerly looking forward to the end of my time at Teesside and the beginning of what comes after. I receive my results at the start of July. If I get the required grades, then I will be spending my next year up in Dundee doing an MProf in Games Production.

After finishing I’ve had a very nice relaxing week or two. I’ve had a lot of time to sleep in, read some books I’ve wanted to catch up on (really enjoyed Low Level Hell, a helicopter pilots account of Vietnam), finished off a few TV series I hadn’t finished and even got round to finally playing Bioshock Infinite. I’ve also jumped feet first into video editing, finally getting around to making a trailer for my youtube channel which I’m quite happy with the final product. I’m really enjoying improving my skills. I have an idea that I really want to do for another short show reel/trailer based off the old Commando comic books but its a little bit beyond my current skills. I’m planning to take a look into later in the Summer but before then I have plenty of airsoft trips to do (see below). I’ve included the trailer below for you viewing pleasure.

Channel Trailer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you might have guessed, one of the first thing I did after finishing off university was head down to Huddersfield for a quick bout of airsoft at Halo Mill. This trip (despite falling apart at the seams thanks to transport issues and some silly mistakes I made while playing) was still super fun. I had a good test of my new head gear (helmet, ear shrouds, face protection and goggles) which worked wonders in preventing my ears being covered in BBs but did lead to it fogging up. I also had fun using my MK23 with the silencer/tracer unit attached which was a great deal of fun. Sadly its a little too heavy for constant use, as later games had the slide jam mid way through a shot. But it looks superb.

So once work is over, its time for Summer. After the Rejunion on the 1st of June, I’ll be moving out of my house in Middlesbrough some time the following week. After that, I have a few days off before starting my summer job back where I have worked previously. The plan is to work there from June until September, with a two week break when my parents are on holiday.

Working is Huddersfield is fantastic for more than one reason – Halo Mill is 10 minutes away from work so every Thursday, I think I will be heading over there after work for a weekly blast. Should mean I’ll be well practised when it comes to Ground Zero in August. On top of that, I’ll also be playing a lot at NAA thanks to the fantastic marshalls and fun site.

I’m also going to try and write a little bit more on this but I can’t promise much. However, I am working on a GoPro lessons learned guide which will be up soon.

On Plans for Airsoft – March 2013

After writing about the Pot Factory trip and having looked at the lessons learnt from it, its worth looking ahead to the future for my airsofting seeing as the next few months are going to see some big things happening.

The big thing is that I’m having the next two months off airsoft. This is primarily to give myself plenty of time to work on my Final Year Project and the rest of the work I have to do to finish off my university course. I find airsoft open days take out more than just one days worth of time – you have the day before kitting up, the day of the manshoots and then the next day collapsed somewhere as your limbs attempt to function again. I might potentially go along to one of Northern Airsoft Alliance’s training days, as they are only half days and a lot cheaper as well. You also don’t use quite the same amount of ammo either.

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At the moment, my LR300 is at a friend of mine’s getting all the upgraded parts I bought over the last term installed (photo above was sent as proof of life). By the sounds of it, its a bit of a mess inside which was not helped by the trip to Manchester. But its got a few things to be done

So what’s on the possible buy list:

  • Helmet mounted goggles – as my ESS glasses and mask combination don’t work with my helmet, I though I might as well replace them with a helmet mounted set
  • Helmet mounted face protection – as above, these will fit via velcro into the helmet and with a cover of EVA so I don’t have hard mesh against my face. It also looks a little like something the ghosts would be wearing
  • Tactical Torch – my current torch is a little weedy and lacks a pressure switch. This one is 200 lumens and has an attached switch which will be mounted on my AFG.
  • Eotech mounted laser – Lasers are pretty handy when in CQB (and they look cool) so I really want to keep this functionality. Mounting it on the Eotech allows me to easily align it using the sight’s adjustment keeping it accurate and useful
  • 45 degree iron sights – These things look hilarious. There is just enough rail space under the magnifier to fit and as an aesthetic thing the look sweet.
  • Wrist strap for GoPro remote – I’m still trying to find the perfect place to mount this and I thinking using the underside of my wrist is probably the best. If I need to, I can hide the screen under my glove to give it a little bit of cover
  • Rail sets – The LR300 has no rails on it except the sight rail. For now, this has been fine but with the purchase of a cheap AFG and from looking into a gun mounted camera to bring something a little extra to my footage.
  • Cheap camera and rail mount – Watching the videos of KhanSeb (especially the one below) have shown me how having a different camera angle can really improve the footage, adding in a little difference to the monotony of all the footage pointing down at the ground. This isn’t my no.1 priority – its a fair amount of money to drop. However, I am chatting to a friend of mine so more on this at some point

I may be having two months off but that just means I’ll be raring for action come. The plan is to go to the two TSUAirsoft games in May, then do the Rejunion and depending on what my finance is over the Summer, I may be doing quite a few games alongside going to Ground Zero 2013. The aim is to go to every site within a two hour drive of Middlesbrough (the maximum at TSU trip can do) and then give the future chair a book of all the sites nearby that are any good.

Those are the plans, lets see how many will happen.

On Lessons Learned – March 2013

The trip to the Pot Factory was among other things a real test of my kit. Everything from guns down to the boots I was wearing – all of it was being tested to see. Most of it met what it was required to do, some was lacking and a few more bits are required to be bought before the end of the year. I’m going to split this into sections.

483732_10151449170474523_1925244608_n The only picture of me. God I have a leer.

Clothing

  • Border Guard camo is a great cover layer. Its way too thin to be worn as a standard layer but over my ABU trousers it works fine. The top can be worn with just a base layer underneath but in winter works with a hoodie or ABU jacket
  • My WW2 jump boots are great – really comfy, stood up well to the scrapes and scratches of the site. Need to work on walking in them as I kept moving around loudly due to the bottom of the boot clanging around.
  • Shemagh is still comfy while even worn under the helmet. Also helps to tie the look together

Tac and Safety Gear

  • Helmet – nice stable platform for the go pro and it saved my head from a couple of close range hits. The addition of the motto on the back brought a few smiles and makes be recognisable in a crowd. Paintwork seems to hold up to a few hits. Need to glue in the interior pads to stop them falling out.

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  • Gloves – They are starting to look really scraggy. I need to seal up the cut sections. I could replace them with mechanix gloves but its seems a bit much
  • Eye and face protection – My current combination is not working. To be honest, it hasn’t for a while. Both parts are fantastic in themselves (the ESS ICE glasses are some of the best I’ve ever used) but I need to modify them to work together. I’m going to look into getting a google and facemask set designed to work together and keeping my glasses as rentals/when I’m not using my helmet
  • Vest – Happy with the current arrangement of pouches on my vest, especially for the M4 mag using LR300. Might need to tighten it slightly. Rear radio pouch also need tightening up.
  • Dump pouch – some of the best money I’ve spent. Able to store everything from used mags to gas cans (especially for the Garand). Also folds up inside the vest for storage
  • Drop leg – This needs sorting. Kept moving around and being uncomfortable. Sadly I’ve got limited options due to the size of the MK23. Going to tighten the drop leg so it holds in place.
  • Radio – I forgot to lock the keypad so it turned itself on and off. However, it worked fine when I was talking to people – just now need more people on the other end.
  • MK23 – used only a little bit due to conditions. Heavy slide made a huge racket in an enclosed space giving it an edge, got a few good kills. Need a torch mount on it – the Harris technique only gets you so far.

LR300

I’m going to cover each attachment separately  as there is a fair bit for each. This was really a trial by fire for my setup and sadly a few parts were found lacking.

  • Silencer/Tracer unit – Looked cool, worked like magic. Due to the site, I was using a full load of tracer which meant every shot was a trail of green through the air before bouncing around (often off people). Only issue is that it needs taping up – its very easy for the cap on the end to twist off by accident.
  • Torch/Laser – This didn’t work. Not having a pressure switch made it hard to use, while the laser was useless as I couldn’t align it properly to my sights. The torch could also have been brighter
  • Eotech – The battery was dead. Ended up making good use of the front sight post. Need to remove batteries when in transit in the future.
  • Magnifier – The sight relief is a bit crap to use it while fighting. However, it is pretty good for long range spotting (which it wasn’t used for much in CQB) but primarily it looks cool. Mount is a little temperamental
  • Tactical latch – looked cool, had some comments on it, many of which were not just “this is dumb”

Overall the gun performed great. It was a little under-powered and the hop was in need of adjustment. But the rate of fire worked really well and all my mags worked fine. I also really loved the shape of it – it fit perfectly in my hands and shoulder. Also being able to fold the stock was very helpful.

Tactics

  • Chemlights – need to buy a big bag for CQB and drop them at room edges when moving around the site to make it easier to get around without requiring a torch. The light cast by used molotovs saved my life repeatedly in the pitch black corridor
  • I need to get used to carrying a large number of mags – its tiring but being able to not have to reload after every game yet still being able to suppress people with tons of ammo is great
  • Tracers are great distractions – got a few group of enemies to back off just by bouncing tracer rounds at them.
  • Need to work on my cornering. I kept revealing too much of my body when clearing corridors.

GoPro

The GoPro does not work well at all under low light conditions. I still got some footage but not much of it is useable. I have also learnt I need to disable protune mode in the dark as it stresses the sensor a little too much.

 

I’m going to include the things I need to buy in the next post but that’s all from this one. Keep your eyes open that last part of this set soon.

On Animex Week, Upgrades, Give It A Go’s and Films

Well time for another one of these blogs. I’m currently at home for a few days before a week off (har har har) for Animex so I have plenty of time to catch up on some uni work.

So far all of my work is progressing really well. I’ve managed to get working prototypes of both stages of my deliverables together by last week. As well as this, I’ve got large draft portions of my dissertation partially written. They need to be edited to fit the correct formatting but I’m feeling quite happy about how I’m doing. Simultaneously, my Advanced Games Development work has hit its second presentation which worked out pretty well. The gameplay is mostly complete and the artists have done fantastically. I just need to tweak a few kismet nodes into actual code. One of the flaws of doing a group project in UDK is that the programmers can be side lined quite easily by the designers using Kismet so I’m a little concerned about my final write up. The plan is to spend my Animex week hard at work for the entire thing. I’ve got what I have to do, I now have to sit down and get it done.

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Another reason to get it done is wanting to go on a few more trips before April/May time where i switch into final hand-in mode (apart from the Anzio trip but we’ll ignore that hypocrisy). My next trip is to Gunman’s new North West urban site in Manchester with a few friends outside of TSU. For this I’m hoping to have my LR300 all upgraded in time (hopefully) but it all depends on two parts arriving from abroad in time. Here is a brief list of what’s being done to it (the picture above is a work in progress):

  • Hurricane Upgrade Kit (M4 M90) / Polycarb piston / Guarder Shim set – So lets throw out everything from the gearbox apart from the casing and start again. Because clone parts. Should help to fix the airseal problem currently afflicting my LR300.
  • Tightbore Barrel – Increase in accuracy and improvement in grouping. Also LR300s have a tiny barrel.
  • R Hops, Hop Nub and Red Madbull Rubbers – Additions to the already installed Madbull hop unit should help to improve the range and accuracy even more. The R Hops were listed under “HOW UNFAIR DO YOU WANT TO MAKE THIS” on the list of parts to upgrade.
  • Upgraded Motor and Mosfet – improvements to rate of fire and more importantly trigger response. The mosfet also includes better wiring to replace the crappy stuff that literally falls to pieces while working with it.
  • Lipos and Deans Connecters – Improvements to rate of fire and trigger response. Also brings me screaming into the 21st Century.
  • Tactical Latch for the charging handle – IT DOES LITERALLY NOTHING. Seriously. All it does is make it look a little different and a bit more personal to me.
  • Single point sling – because its the best style of sling for a short length carbine. The three point I’d use for something longer or the L85 series doesn’t work so well with the LR300 due to the sling points
  • Torch/Laser combination on a barrel mount – I’m starting to do a fair bit of CQB and a torch always comes in handy. The laser is not aligned so its more for the effect rather than practicality. I would like to sort out something with a toggle switch I can attached somewhere else rather than pressing the button on the torch. But for now its fine.
  • Eotech with magnifier – The Eotech is my preferred optics for airsoft after having used it. Its cool looking amongst the rest especially on M4 style guns. It also pairs up with a magnifier making it useable as a 3x zoom scope. I need to adjust the mount a little bit to set it up properly but as a spotting device it works fine. IF YOU BUY A CLONE DO NOT TRY TO FLIP IT SHUT. It will not work. And then you will be sad
  • Tracer Unit – This was more a spur of the moment thing rather than a planned upgrade. One of these popped up on Zero In for cheap and so I grabbed it. This will be really cool at any indoor/night games and should lead to some cool effects on my GoPro. It does mean I need to buy tracer rounds (alongside 8mms, gas for 40mm shells and more) which is a little annoying but hopefully will be cool.

This upgrade is a fair amount of money but my LR300 will be my go to gun, its compact size making it perfect for packing into a rucksack and getting on a train to go to a site so I need it to be reliable, powerful and accurate. It will also be perfectly set up for me – a symbol of how I want to play airsoft, more so than any of my WW2 kit can really show off.

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However, since the last post I have actually had another day out using my LR300 at the TSU Airsoft Give It Go. Well I say using my LR300, I actually mean using my Mk23 (after forgetting to put the battery in my LR300) a Maurshin shotgun (because 8mm is hilarious) and an LR300. Overall it was a really fun day. I took some great shots with the GoPro which is up in two parts on YouTube. I am annoyed that I managed to miss out on a fantastic moment of heroism just because I got out of sync with turning my camera on and off. I really need to start using the remote but I need to find a way to protect it from BB hits and turning it on and off by accident in my pocket. However, I think the footage from this trip really shows off just how good the camera can be under the correct lighting conditions.

You may notice from the picture I’m wearing the latest version of kit, with my usual plate carrier on top of my ABU kit and a new helmet. The helmet is a Fast Helmet replica which was bought as the perfect mount for the GoPro, giving it a stability you just don’t get with the head band mount. I also like having a solid lump of plastic on my head, giving a bit of protection from hits while also giving me a way to make my kit more individual. I’ll soon be tweaking it slightly for needs but from now on I’ll be rolling that arrangement unless the game demands otherwise.

 

Finally films. Two recommendations -  Wreck It Ralph and Good Day to Die Hard.

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Wreck It Ralph is one of my favourite films of all time after seeing it. Its a fantastic animated film with some really clever ideas that makes the worlds it makes work. It isn’t just “LOOK GUYS WE GOTZ SONIC” – in fact after the first 10 minutes you hardly see them. The story is really good, voice actors perfect and well worth a watch.

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A Good Day to Die Hard is a fun dumb action film featuring Bruce Willis being an American in Russia and wrecking stuff. Don’t come to it expect anything as good as the originals. Instead its something to sit down to with some popcorn and enjoy the spectacle of stuff blowing up. Sadly, its obvious that this has been censored heavily for the UK release which means it loses some of its yippee-kay-yay. But its still a laugh.

So thats it. I should be posting, though it will be shifting to my project blog and focus more on my work. But see you around – expect a big article after my LR300 is upgraded talking about how cool it is.