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Army Armament R85 (L85A1)

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ARMY™ ARMAMENT R85 (L85A1) Review

Arnie’s Exclusive


As like me, pretty much the whole of the British Airsoft community has been eagerly awaiting the release of the Army™ Armament R85 (L85A1) which is a clone of the G&G L85A1. Many are eager to see if this is going to be the L85A1 replica for the masses or if it’s just another low quality clone to be relegated to the back burner.


Army™ Armament is new to the Airsoft Industry and the R85 (L85A1) is their second model released on to the market, the first being their AK 47. What with companies like Jing Gong and A&K and CYMA already dominating the market with high quality, low cost replicas and the added pressure of the Airsoft community demanding a reliable and cost effect replica of either the L85A1 or A2 Army™ Armament has their work cut out for them.


So is the ARMY™ Armament R85 going to cut the mustard, or is it just a cheaper paper weight like the original?


I would like to thank Keith and the team at www.rsov.com and KND trading co. for supplying the R85 for this exclusive pre-release review and also ARMY™ Armament for allowing us this exclusive review.




I would like to point out that I unfortunately do not have a G&G L85A1 to compare this against, so I will be making all external comparisons against the STAR L85A2. Please feel free post replies and comparisons between the review of the ARMY™ Armament R85 and any personal experiences with the G&G


The Box.


I have to say that I was very impressed when I removed the wrapping with the ARMY™ Armament R85 box even more so as it’s an ACM replica as they tend to be boring. As many people are aware this is a direct copy of the G&G version and it seems that they have done this in all aspects of the replica.


The Union flag background and the R85 make for a very visually impactive design and get’s the blood pressure rising in anticipation for what’s inside.




For players ordering from overseas you will be happy to know that the ARMY™ Armament R85 box is extremely strong and as you can see from the corners of my box it can take a beating in transit without splitting. Upon opening the box you are greeted with the familiar white polystyrene tray again this is nice and thick giving you that added piece of mind if your countries postal service tend to be on the rough side.

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What You Get.


As well as the R85 (L85A1) ARMY™ Armament has add a few extra things to the package to leave you wanting nothing to get this gun out the box and on to the skirmish field, apart from the SUSAT of course!


In the box you get the R85, Front Iron Sight, carry handle/rear sight, 450rd high capacity magazine, rifle sling, 8.4v 1800mAh Ni-Cd battery, battery charger, cleaning rod and the supplementary pack of 0.20g bb’s.




The magazine is a weighty steel fabricated magazine with Tokyo Marui quality internals; the winding gear is nice and smooth with a nice tight spring. I fired off around 1000 rounds through one of my other guns and the magazine worked flawlessly without double feeds or blockages.




As you can see though compared to the STAR L85 magazine this is basically an M16 mag, not really a problem but for die hard realism fans it doesn’t match up to the real item both in design and colour.



Left: Star L85A2 Magazine Right:Army R85 Magazine


Although it is 100% compatible with other M16/M4 variant guns, there is a snag when putting other magazines in the R85, due to Marui magazines being slightly thinner you will need to slightly modify them to catch against the release mechanism. The modification is easy and requires only a pair of needle nose pliers and bending the metal at the top of the hole where the latch catches.




The R85 magazine is a tight fit and needs to be aligned perfectly the first few times to get it to slot in, but after a few insertions and releases the magazine can be quickly engaged while staying firmly in place, perfect for skirmishing.




Also contained in the package are the front and rear iron sights, these are full adjustable and from the feel of them, pretty indestructible.



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The front sight is pretty much indistinguishable from that of the STAR apart from the actual pin isn’t painted or coated.




The rear sights/carry handle is also well made and you will need to attach the mounting screws yourself, one of the things that I did notice is that the grub screw used to fix the carry handle in position was a very tight fit and needed to be screwed in and then unscrewed again several times to finally get the grub screw to go all the way through.




Again the rear sight is 100% adjustable and comes with an open sight and a closed sight for 200 meters and can be adjusted by flipping them either up or down. Again these affix into place with a nice firm click.




As you can see from the comparative shots the ARMY™ Armament R85 is a matt finish rather than the high gloss of the STAR. I for one prefer the matt finish even if this isn’t truly correct.






Now here is the downer, the R85 rail mount is too wide to fit the Star SUSAT replica, which leaves you with two options, you can either file down the rail to fit the scope or wait to see if G&G release their own version.


The R85 also comes with a sling, now anyone in the know will straight way inform us that this is not the sling type used by the British armed forces, but it does give anyone new to the sport or anyone who is unable to track down an authentic L85 sling something to use.




Finally we have the custom 8.4 V 1800mAH Ni-Cad battery, now it always ceases to amazing me that Airsoft manufacturers coat the batteries in the brightest colour wrapping they can find, why on earth can’t they coat them in a black, tan, OD green colour wrapping?




Needless to say the one supplied in the box is a yellow that can be seen through the vent ports on the fore grip it’s not really that noticeable but it’s the little things that count sometimes. This can be easily remedied using some black electrical tape. But it’s a nice touch that you actually get a custom large type battery in the first place, but that’s as far as it gets.




The battery it’s self is Junk and it’s a little disappointing that Army Armament went to great lengths to make a quality product and then threw in the cheapest battery they could find. Either supply a battery that is going to operate and last or don’t bother, as I really feel it leaves that bad taste in you mouth and to be honest I don’t think the majority of players will miss it if it wasn’t advertised with a battery.

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The R85.


The ARMY™ ARMAMENT R85 is a direct copy of the G&G L85A1 but if you are like me and have never handled or seen one in person then you won’t be disappointed with the R85, those that have will also be happy that this version is almost 4 times less than its original counterpart.


Even before I lifted this replica out of its box I was impressed with its finish and straight away it cries out quality, more so than Jing Gong replicas. Just like many of the 3rd party metal bodies that are available on the market the R85 body is also made of pressed Steel Magnesium and the quality of the product is surprisingly excellent considering the cost.





Upon removing it from the box you’ll notice its reassuring heaviness of this product, although not as heavy as Star’s rendition it’s weighty enough to have that”it’s not a toy” feel to it.


The furniture of the R85 is surprisingly good and better than what I had expected, as Keith from www.rsov.com had told me that it wasn’t as good as the G&G L85A’s.


The coloring of the R85’s furniture is a good shade of olive drab, which is consistent throughout the product; the quality of the furniture though is on par with some of the older Tokyo Marui renditions such as the original P90 and the FAMAS, but don’t let this put you off, both of these are perfectly skirmishable straight out of the box and remember it’s only the fore grip, cheek rest and butt stock, the latter being made of high density rubber.





The trades on the fore grip are not the same as the real steel but there is something there, which does look somewhat like real markings and is better than nothing at all, any one who has seen Jing Gongs will agree that some guns without the trades look very odd indeed.




The fore grip is removed from the receiver by unscrewing the front sling mount, I was surprised to find that the fore grip then breaks in half, very different to the Star.




This enables you to insert the battery, but I found it very fiddly to reassemble the fore grip as you need to reattach it to the receiver one half at a time. But once in place the battery is securely in place and will not bounce or knock around inside.



The battery compartment is well made and locks into position securely when closed, one of the cool little features is the gas tube that runs through the entire length of the gun the R85 it seems is actually modeled on the real steel L85A1.



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The barrel is surprisingly made out of steal and has an excellent finish to it, one of the extra features noted in the design of the R85 is the inner sleeve to the barrel, due to the length of the inner barrel of the R85 being a bullpup it needs bracing, and this is achieved by using the inner sleeve.






The 14mm CCW flash hider is also well machined and has a very professional finish.




The main receiver is well made and doesn’t feature any other trades that look like real ones although both the series model and the ARMY logo both blend into the gun without drawing the eye.






The metal work on the receiver is also excellent and will certainly take the abuse associated with the sport. I did notice though that the weld points are a little messy in some areas but this is so small it will not be noticed by the casual observer.




The ice cutter trigger assembly feels exactly the same as the Star and the tension on the trigger feels very good. One thing that did standout out is the bottom of the trigger spring is visible on the out side of the gun, not really noticeable but there all the same.




The construction of the trigger and guard is excellent and very durable, meaning that you won’t knock it out of shape during use. The pistol grip is also contoured nicely to fit the ergonomics of the hand making it very comfortable to shoulder.


The magazine release catch is well made but required at first a lot of pressure to release the magazine and also a little force to get the magazine to engage when loading. After a few magazine changes it loosened up a little.




Now one of the cool features of this weapon is that the bolt actually cycles (The Star also does this but required either the gearbox upgrade or some custom work.) This adds that added realism often lacking in most Airsoft replicas, now I know the G&G has been plagued with faults in this area but I fired the R85 on fully auto until I had drained the battery without mishap or jams. I will do this everyday this week to see if I can replicate the malfunction associated with the G&G.



Please click on the image to view video.]


One of the other brilliant little features is the bolt can be locked back thus disabling the bolt cycling action it also allows easier access to the hop unit when zeroing the weapon. This is then released by pushing down on the bolt release catch.




All in all you can help but smile when pulling the trigger and watching the bolt cycle with that nice metallic clack.

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The Gear Box.


Now I’m totally unfamiliar with how the G&G breaks down so I would like to thank Stealthbomber for the following information as it really helped.


Fareast: When you get the gun do the following immediately:-

- Whip out the TMH pins

- Pull off the upper receiver (after releasing the battery clip)

- Pull out the little clevis pin that locks the upper gearbox to the lower (you'll need to whip out a tiny split pin with a spring attached to it)

- Lift off the upper gearbox


Upon breaking the R85 I was impressed with how simple it was and also by the layout of the internal parts. Just the look of the gearbox was slightly reassuring that the internals were going to be of a descent quality.




To fully remove the gearbox you will first need to remove the upper half, this is very easy to do and only requires you to remove a single pin and then lift off the top half. This might sound that it’s weak but it’s remarkably strong and withstood my initial prying at it with a screw driver.




The break down of the top half of the R85 is very easy and just requires you to remove the four Philips head screws, allowing you to split the gearbox in half. One of the first things I notice was that this gearbox comes standard with a rotary spring guide with thrust bearing; these will set you back around $12 to $15 USD depending on brand.




The air nozzle, cylinder and piston have a very good seal and I couldn’t detect any major air leakages when operating, unfortunately the piston has 18 teeth just like the G&G version rather than 16 teeth that everyone was hoping for. But like I said this has caused any problems so far with the operation of the R85, time will tell.




The lower half of the gear box will need you to remove some more of the pins and also another Philips head screw located under the rubber stock of the R85. Again I was impressed with the build of the gear box. The visible gears are well made and made of quality materials rather than cheap pot metal like many of the other brands on the market for the same price.



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The layout of this gearbox and design is great, although I didn’t open the lower half I did push the gears around and gave it a good inspection; the gears have either metal bushings or actually have axle bearings. Once I have stripped the lower gearbox I can verify this.




The wiring of the R85 is excellent and is much better quality than that of Tokyo Marui’s which I tend to find to be on the rather thin side. All in all I’m very impressed with the gear box, but as I said before only time will tell.





Looking through the ejection port at the hop unit you’ll see a lot of similarities between the R85 and the classic M16/M4 hop unit. In fact the hop design is a plastic version of the G&P metal Hop units and for players wishing to you could switch them over with little or no modifications at all.


The hop is pretty consistent and was able to hit the standard Tokyo Marui target with pretty good groupings at 15 meters; I was unable to test further than that due to weather conditions and lack of space. But the first modification I will do is switch over the hop unit to a Tokyo Marui and change the hop rubber, for no other reason than that I’m spoilt due to the cheapness of parts out here.






To be perfectly honest with you I wished I had waited for the R85 rather than paying the huge amount for the STAR L85A2, the ARMY™ ARMAMENT R85 has to be one of the best quality ACM clone replicas I have seen. The finish of the weapon shows that ARMY™ ARMAMENT has a very good QA system in place (although this again can only be verified once the masses have this product in their hands). If I was faced with the decision again on which Enfield L85 replica to purchase my money would be on the ARMY™ ARMAMENT R85.


Even if this replica does have the same problems as its original counterpart for $119.00 USD or £59.99 GBP you can’t go wrong and with the huge savings over the original you will have enough left over in your wallet to correct any mechanical faults. The battery was utter rubbish and the soldering came away very easily rendering the battery useless. Also its a real shame that the Star SUSAT doesn't fit without modifying the rail.




The ARMY™ ARMAMENT R85 has to be the best bang for buck on the market and is not only one of the best ACM’s on the market but also a serious contender in the industry. A serious recommendation for both players on a budget and also the serious enthusiasts wanting an excellent rendition of the L85A1.


Get a high quality battery and away you go!


For those interested here is a comparison between the Army™ Armament and the star, here’s a photo:




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Does the inner barrel match that length? what i mean is is the inner barrel 1.5cm longer than the star too?


also, off topic, any chance of a reply to my PMs? :unsure:





Also, it looks as if there's not a guard around the mag release, a la the star/real one. could you confirm that as well, please?

Edited by Tinkerbell
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Also, it looks as if there's not a guard around the mag release, a la the star/real one. could you confirm that as well, please?


The mag catch shroud was added in the L85A2, I am told, so this (mostly) A1 replica doesn't have one.


edit: I fail at parts.

Edited by seanlavelle
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Does the inner barrel match that length? what i mean is is the inner barrel 1.5cm longer than the star too?


also, off topic, any chance of a reply to my PMs? :unsure:



Also, it looks as if there's not a guard around the mag release, a la the star/real one. could you confirm that as well, please?



The guard around the mag release was only introduced on the A2 version along with the modified cocking hande / shell deflector, as this is the A1 it wont have it.



edit : beaten to it

Edited by falconfour4
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Does the inner barrel match that length? what i mean is is the inner barrel 1.5cm longer than the star too?


also, off topic, any chance of a reply to my PMs? :unsure:



Also, it looks as if there's not a guard around the mag release, a la the star/real one. could you confirm that as well, please?


It's an L85A1 replica. The A1 did not have a guard around the magazine catch - this was one of the improvements of the A2. Soldiers used to put their weapons in the high port position and their mags would fall out. Strangely enough though, it would seem that it has the A2's snowcutter trigger.


Edit: yeah I know, beaten to it as well...

Edited by morpcat
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wonderfull review fareast, many thanks indeed, for poss the most read review on arines ever!

as u say..times going to be a factor on the 18 tooth issue.( hope steathbombers still got hair after pulling it all out!.. ^_^ gutting i know)..looks good so far tho :)

excuse the spam. but thanks were in order

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