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FarEast

Echo1 M16A4 Review

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Introduction and Warning.

 

Veterans of Arnies will know me as a die hard fan of anything Tokyo Mauri and only one or two other manufactures items making there way in to my collection. They will also know my concerns and disapproval of all the clones making there way out of China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

 

So having a reputation as a Tokyo Marui Fan Boy the guys over at Echo 1 decided I was the perfect candidate to review and critique their product for the readers of Arnies Airsoft.

 

I received the new Echo 1 M16A4 about 3 months ago, and I would like to apologise to the guys at Echo 1 for not getting the review out earlier but a lot of the skirmish fields are under about a meter of snow and finding an open venue is hard, I have also been taking advantage of the snow and heading out to the slopes pretty much every weekend for the past 5 weeks! So sorry again for the delay guys!

 

So what makes Echo 1 different to all the other clones pouring out of Asia? Well first off Echo1 is an American company thier products have a 30 day warranty protecting the consumer from manufacturing defects, this is identical to the warranties that Tokyo Marui have on their products, not only that but Echo1 is offering after sales service including replacement and spare parts service, which is way ahead of other brands currently available to consumers in the US, even Tokyo Marui owners don’t get this service outside of Japan.

 

So with the 30 day warranty, after sales service on parts and also talk of an upgrade program, does the gun meet up to the same standards as Echo1 customer support?

 

The Box

 

The parcel containing the M16A4 was delivered by UPS and was pretty beat up, no fault of Echo1’s and I have received other items from UPS that have taken a real beating in transit and I often wonder why they charge more when EMS is just as fast and the packages seem to be treated with a little more respect! ….sorry rant over.

 

The outside packaging is reminiscent of the older M16 variants like the M733 Commando and the Vietnam version of the M16 by Tokyo Marui, and compared to some of the latest creations by other companies it looks a little dated. On the other hand as I never keep the boxes being made out of recycled corrugated cardboard is a real bonus when it comes to the environment and disposing of it.

 

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The layout and design of the box is like I said reminiscent of the older M16 variants and won’t stand out as a display box like the current M14 boxes, but its early days and the team at Echo1 seem to be open minded to critique and new ideas. One of the great things about the packaging of the Echo1 is the polystyrene inside the box which perfectly grips the gun and holds it in place, while two other inserts hold the gun firmly in place when the lid is on, added bonus to those of us that either order overseas or have it shipped direct to their door. So even though my box was battered to hell and back the gun inside was unharmed.

 

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Upon opening the box was I was both impressed and a little disappointed, and the internal layout and design really doesn’t do the Echo1 product any justice. The plain polystyrene is very bland and looks a little cheap with no internal design detracting from the vast amounts of empty space, this is though a two edged sword as it leads the eyes directly to the product, and on the vast white expanse of polystyrene she really stands out.

 

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Once you get rid of the polystyrene it’s a whole different story, and everything is laid out nice and neatly.

 

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You’ll also notice that the gun also comes with everything you need to get started, 1 high capacity magazine, battery, charger and some 6mm BBs. One of the things that was a let down was the battery, I would have thought with all the work they had done on the exterior of the box and the excellent protective packaging they would have packaged the battery a little better, Even Marui uses a sticker to brand the generic batteries that they sell and I think this would have been a nice touch to inform the consumer that this is a quality purchase. The charger is pretty much like the generic charger that you get with some of the Marui AEP’s and again for any player who already has all the gear it will either be junked, binned or given away. For new players it’s pretty good and will get you up and running until you’re to purchase a speed charger, yet another saving aspect to new players.

 

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One of things I was very impressed with is that the Echo1 magazines in the M16 range are key winding, so along with the winding gear at the bottom you can also insert a hex key/Allen Key and speed wind it. Absolutely excellent and is a real time saver before a game! Out here in Japan a high capacity fast winding magazine will set you back around ¥5,000 JPY or $42.00 USD. The gun itself is $145.00 USD!

 

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The Gun

 

Now at first I though Damien at Echo1 had played a practical joke on me and packed me off a Tokyo Marui M16A3.

 

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It was only on closer inspection that I noticed that it had no trademarks what so ever.

 

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One of the first things that caught my eye is the hand guard, having owned a Tokyo Marui M733 Commando, M4A1 (v1) and an M16A2 I’ve noticed that on each one the plastic used in the hand guard is of a very low quality and has a tendency to be loose fitting. The Echo1’s came with a much higher grade hand guard that stayed firmly in place even when handled roughly.

 

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The barrel is also of a much higher quality than the one that came with my original Tokyo Marui M16A1 and rather than it being a 3 piece barrel set it is now a two piece set and this cut’s down on barrel wobble and also play in the fore grip. I would like to point out at this moment in time that the flash hider shown in the pictures is actually from a third party as orange tips are not required here in Japan. (Players in the US need to note that removing the flame Orange tip is against the law)

 

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Now the other thing I like about the Echo1 is the finish to the barrel, compared to the Tokyo Marui version which is gloss black the Echo1’s colour is more true to form and a lot less tacky looking. The front site though uses silver retaining pins rather than grey/black treated ones like the Marui’s, but this can be easily remedied with a marker pen. (Yes I am being Nit picky about it!)

 

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The one thing that does stand out is the lack of trades! Now some of you will know that in the US trademarks are a big no, and is one of the main reasons why Tokyo Marui products aren’t shipped to the US directly, in a nut shell Tokyo Marui doesn’t want to be sued, but they are too set in their ways to produce blank bodies. So it looks like Echo1 has decided to fill that gap.

 

The quality of the body is pretty much identical to Tokyo Marui (Yes it pains me to say it but it’s true) the plastic used is pretty much identical and is of the same standard, saying this though even with Tokyo Marui’s the first thing I do is switch it to a 3rd party metal body, so for me and a lot of other players out there the body being without logo’s or trademarks is a mute point and for me to praise or reproach it using another manufacturer as a benchmark is to say the least hypocritical and pointless. But for new players the body will certainly withstand a lot of punishment on the skirmish field and should last the owner more than enough time to judge if the sport is for them or not.

 

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Many other parts of the gun are of a high standard on par with Tokyo Marui, and the carry handle is pretty much identical, I had to mark the underside of the Echo1 so that I wouldn’t get it mixed up with my Marui one during the comparison shots. The sight is fully functional and the windage and elevation all work and are adjustable. The added bonus is that it is detachable allowing players to add 3rd party scopes and sights.

 

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The top rail is very sturdy and has very little play allowing players whom use the handle when running to securely grip and manoeuvre the gun without fear of damaging or breaking it. (Remember though guys it’s still made out of plastic so it does have its limits!)

 

Up until I built my dream M16 (M16A2/M203 Full metal) I haven’t been a fan of solid stock M16’s, but having a full length rifle really gives you a totally different feeling and game style compared to the collapsible versions out there. The stock it’s self attaches to the gun in exactly the same way as all the others out there, and is made out of pretty sturdy plastic, again there is no colour variations unlike other brands and it gives the gun a very professional finish. The battery is still accessed through the metal plate at the back of the gun used for storing the cleaning kit on the real steal and is easily accessible.

Taking the gun by the barrel and placing the butt on the floor I gave the gun a little shake to see how much play there is in the gun. Now players who have owned older Marui’s especially those with 3 section barrels will know how much wobble there is, the Echo1 how ever was very solid and had very little play, so those players thinking of upgrading to a metal body will be very happy with the final stiffness. I must say it feels a whole lot better than my standard M16A2 straight out of the box, and the two piece barrel that Echo1 uses really does make the difference!

 

The overall look and feel of the gun is excellent and does feel like you have made a quality purchase, and side by side to our bench mark Tokyo Marui M16 there is very little difference. One thing I don’t understand though is rather than just leaving the body totally unmarked Echo1 has left indentions where the actual trades should be, this makes me wonder if there is a reason for this. Possible Echo1 is looking to legally obtain the rights to either sell them with Colt or other companies logo’s and trademarks. Let’s hope!

 

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Internals and Gear Box

 

Now I must say I was very impressed with the external image of the Echo1 M16A4, and having read about the lemon rate, poor quality of internal parts and overall poor reliability of Airsoft guns manufactured in China I wasn’t expecting too much from the Echo1 M16A4.

 

The M16A4 breaks down in exactly the same way as other Tokyo Marui M16’s which makes it very easy to get access to the hop-unit and other areas that you might want to upgrade.

 

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Straight away when opening the Echo1 anyone familiar with Marui guns will be very familiar with the above shot, as the gear box and cylinder look almost identical to the Marui. Things are off to a good start!

 

Having removed all the pins, stock and grip I was then able to easily remove the motor and gear box from the body.

 

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Already I am noticing some details that are actually better now than the Marui, the selector plate is of a much higher standard and should take a bit more of a beating than the original plate and the contacts seem just a little more robust. The motor looks very much like a non branded EG1000 and is of a very high standard compared to other established manufacturers.

 

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Another nice touch to the gear box is that it is screwed together with standard “Philips” type screws, so beginners to the sport or players new to upgrading by themselves will not need to go out and purchase specialist tools to do the job.

 

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Now is the moment of truth! Popping open the gear box I was surprised to find a very high quality gear system, everything came well greased and shimmed very well. The piston, spring and spring guide are of the same type as the Tokyo Marui. The tappet plate is of a much higher standard than the Marui, which I have found to be very brittle and one of the first things to wear down on my gear box.

 

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The gears themselves are also of a very high standard and you’ll get a lot of hours out of the Echo1 before any of them will need replacing. Also due to the quality of the gearbox upgrades to performance and power are going to be easily achievable.

 

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All in all I’m extremely impressed with the quality of the gear box and already our cousins across the Atlantic have start to get some very impressive FPS out of the Echo1 without totally overhauling the internals. I did Chronograph the gun, and it gave me a very impress FPS well over the legal limit here in Japan and also the forum rules on Arnies. So players in the USA need not worry about upgrading it like a Marui to bring you up to par with guns that have already been modified.

 

For me on the other hand I had to place a 1 Joule spring in it before I could take it anywhere near a skirmish field!

 

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Skirmish Report & Final Conclusion

 

Now for me a review isn’t complete until the item has been put through its paces on the skirmish field. Now as I said at the start of the review a lot of the fields have been closed due to inclement weather so this is the first time I have managed to get on to the field this year. So I was a little dubious about taking the Echo1 out as I really wanted my first game of the year to be on a high note and I really didn’t want to spend half the day fixing problems with any of my guns, but I was also very curious to how well the Echo1 would perform. I have a 15 meter range at the house, but even that won’t tell me how accurate the rifle actually is when it comes to true engagement ranges.

 

Fortunately we were honoured with an early spring Sunday and the temperature was warm enough to break out my TM 1911A1 as a backup (Although I did need to leave the mags out in the sun) I decided the 1st game should be played using the Echo1 M16A4 and it really did draw the attention of the Japanese players at the skirmish field.

 

The first thing they said was “Another M16!” and they were equally shocked to learn that it wasn’t a Tokyo Marui, one comment was “Hey! You need to take this back as it’s faulty. They haven’t stamped the trades on it!” and they were very impressed when they learnt it wasn’t a Marui.

 

The 1st game was a standard capture the flag game and with the sparse foliage the barrel length of the M16A4 really gave me an advantage when it came to log range shots, and within 10 minutes of the game starting I had racked up 3 kills with the Echo1. Some of the veterans of my reviews will know I play Recon so the full length rifle change my playing style so rather than rushing forward I stayed back from the point position a took a more marksman role.

 

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Things got a little hairy when I did take point as I am used to the shorter M4 which is a lot quick to target.

 

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Having played one game, I decided to use it for the rest of the morning, both the battery lasted and also the gun functioned without jamming or double feeding once!

 

Final Conclusion

 

I have to say overall I’m extremely impressed with the Echo1 M16A4, a lot of the features straight from he box actually eclipse that of the Tokyo Marui, and has some excellent features as standard, such as the fast winding magazine and the high quality gear box. The overall presentation in my opinion needs a little working but as I throw away the box it’s neither here nor there, but it would allow the Echo1 to stand out a little more on the shelf and a lot of 1st time buyers are drawn in by the design of a box more than the actual gun it’s self.

 

For veterans of the sport like me I would have to say that this is an ideal gun for upgrading, for the price of a Marui you can kit out the Echo1 with a metal body and get some cool external extras like sights or scopes.

 

The quality of the Echo1’s gear box is very high and for players who have a limitation on the power of their Airsoft guns won’t even need to alter a thing!

 

Accuracy and range of the Echo1 is excellent and a lot of my shots were going home at over 25 meters plus. I would however upgrade the barrel to a tightbore such as the MadBull Black Python as this is always one of my 1st upgrades on any gun.

 

Having skirmished hard with the Echo1 I can honestly say that it will take a beating on the field and deliver the goods when needed and the only thing that would give me more confidence is a metal body.

 

It pains me to say it but if the Echo1 was available here in Japan then Marui would have a real contender on their hands! For the price you can’t go wrong the saved cash will get you probably all the upgrades a veteran of the sport needs while for a beginner it’s an affordable price to get into the sport.

 

Overall 8/10

Pros:

 

On Par both internally and externally with Marui

Speed winding High Capacity magazine

For beginners comes with everything you need to play

For veterans it’s an excellent base for a project gun

High quality internals

Cheap enough to purchase one for spares as its like for like to Marui

30 day warranty

Replacement Parts Service

 

Cons

 

Only available in the USA

Warranty only available to purchases inside the USA

Box is easily damaged

No trades

No original guns as of yet

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JG seems to be at the top of the clone field. I may have to pick up an M733 for some reason not benounced to even myself.

 

Thanks for the excellent review, seems like a quality peice of equipment.

 

Did you find the gun to be rather high-pitched and whiney? I'm happy with my JG G36C except for the rather uncouth noises the gearbox seems to make.

 

Steve

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Did you find the gun to be rather high-pitched and whiney?  I'm happy with my JG G36C except for the rather uncouth noises the gearbox seems to make.

 

Steve

 

No problems with it here, remember that this is not a JG but an Echo1, yes they may come from the same factory but there are a few difference on the production line and off it..... the sound of the gear box is same as my Marui's

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No problems with it here, remember that this is not a JG but an Echo1, yes they may come from the same factory but there are a few difference on the production line and off it..... the sound of the gear box is same as my Marui's

 

Actually, no, there isn't.

 

The only difference is that JG produces guns specially for ECHO1 where they go through a much more stringent QC process.

 

But yes, JG/ECHO1 are pretty much at the top of the chinese clone food chain.

 

Last skirmish, someone brought along a TM AUG and someone else had a JG AUG - the JG was such a close copy that we actually swapped upper reciever units to test - and they worked perfectly.

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Actually, no, there isn't.

 

The only difference is that JG produces guns specially for ECHO1 where they go through a much more stringent QC process.

 

erm isn't that on the production line?????

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One thing that really, REALLY winds me up about airsoft reviews in general is that everyone always seems to harp on about the bloody BOX for several paragraphs. The condition on receipt, the artwork, the packaging materials... even mentioning things like a complimentary bag of BBs as if anybody cares :P And god forbid any manufacturer should NOT provide one...

 

I'm sure none of us are avid box-collectors, nor do they serve any purpose on the "battlefield" so why can't everyone just cut the ###### and get right on to the good stuff. It's almost as pointless as comparing the specification "side by side" with the real thing. Anyone who cares has Google to help.

 

Sorry for the mini-rant, it was a good review, really :) Good detailed photos and information. I've just been reading far too many of them recently and box-worship is starting to get on my nerves!

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Couldn't have written a better review. Great review man. Hey I have the Echo1 M4A1 and that baby is a beast too. I just dont understand why M4A1 has a 20 fps higher than M16. Shouldnt a longer barrel like the M16 have more power?

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Great review Far East. Hey how do I give +1 ratings?

 

These clones are almost unbelievable, I think I'll wait for airsplat to get the RIS M4a1s in before I make a decision just because they're cheaper by 30USD.

 

Does anyone know if JG/ECHO1 will ever produce clones w/ metal bodies?

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... Shouldnt a longer barrel like the M16 have more power?...

 

 

In fact longer barrels can limit fps, due to the air being sucked back when the piston is pulled back by the gears. If a bb is still in the barrel, they can be sucked back too, or at the very least, be slowed down. In replicas that are single shot only, that problem doesn't pose a threat, since the cycle will not be complete in such a fast way as in AEG.

 

Hope to have enlightnened your mind, as anybody else wondering the same.

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One thing that really, REALLY winds me up about airsoft reviews in general is that everyone always seems to harp on about the bloody BOX for several paragraphs. The condition on receipt, the artwork, the packaging materials... even mentioning things like a complimentary bag of BBs as if anybody cares :P And god forbid any manufacturer should NOT provide one...

 

I'm sure none of us are avid box-collectors, nor do they serve any purpose on the "battlefield" so why can't everyone just cut the ###### and get right on to the good stuff. It's almost as pointless as comparing the specification "side by side" with the real thing. Anyone who cares has Google to help.

 

Sorry for the mini-rant, it was a good review, really :) Good detailed photos and information. I've just been reading far too many of them recently and box-worship is starting to get on my nerves!

 

Actually it does have a purpose, storage! Also for companies looking to stock this brand Point of Sale is also another reason why the box is very important.

 

the other point is transportation, If you are having this product shipped overseas or across the USA, how the box withstands abuse is very important, there is nothing worse than receiving your product and it's already trashed.

 

As I stated in the original review the Echo1 range is perfect for beginners and people are drawn to box detail, I have been in the sport for a long time now and i still get a drowl factor over the new Marui boxes. But veterans or poeple who wall mount a box isn't so important for people like me with over 30 guns in their collection you need somewhere to store them.

 

Also as i write reviews for the masses I include pretty much every aspect that can be reviewed.....so if you feel you could do better, actually do so and contribute to the community rather than trashing it.

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Whoops! Apologies, brainfarted. I thought you were implying that the ECHO1 AEGs were different to the JG ones.

 

They are, JG don't come with a 30 day warranty nor an after sales service.

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