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G&P M4 Special Operations (S.0.) Review

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Please note, I am going to add some more detailed photo's tomorrow!


G&P M4 Special Operations Review:


Just a little background on me (a review is only as useful as the guy doing the reviewing!). If thou care not then skip this preamble and onto the review!


I have taken part in airsoft for what must be around 9 years by now, starting at around 14/15 with a Sturm Ruger Spring pistol just plinking around the garden with a pair of goggles and some friends (oh the days...). I was hooked and soon I moved up in the world and, after buying a TM spas 12, went to my first proper skirmish at Mapledurham. Naturally I was 1) rubbish and 2) using a shotgun in a woodland full of these mystical devices I soon came to know as AEGs.... from that point on my wallet was never quite the same.


I do own or have owned various weapons (Maruzen APS2, TM XM177E2 [sold], TM Steyr Aug, Spas 12 [deceased], TM sig 551... the list goes on) and have had a lot of experience with many other weapons so consider myself fairly well versed in the airsoft weaponry world (except classics, alas).


So anyway, that's me... onto the subject of this review! I would just like to add that while I have much praise for this model, it is absolutely not without it's flaws. In this review I cover the flaws I have found and what I did to remedy them.


Initial impressions:


Initially I was awestruck by the stunning beauty/hideous malevolence of this piece of kit as you pick it up out of the simple brown box that it knows as home (not the sturdiest or most protective looking packaging I have ever seen by the way – seems to do the job however). The looks are very marmite in my opinion, it's either the sort of look you like or you don't... I'll assume since you are interested enough to be reading this review you are of the marmite loving variety. Either way here's a couple of pics and one against my aug for a sense of scale.


post-8292-1185665139_thumb.jpg post-8292-1185665336_thumb.jpg post-8292-1185665418_thumb.jpg


Subjective aesthetics aside, the finish and general feeling of quality is truly phenomenal and I have to say the best I have yet had the pleasure of handling. The metal receiver finish is a tough matt-black, slightly “rough” to the touch type which I find much more pleasing than the more glossy and smooth finishes such as can be found on ICS armalite models that I have used. The “Trades” are nicely laser etched and add a good look to the gun (as an aside, I have seen this offered in the “bulldog” receiver style which has a different emblem and “safe, semi, oorah” on the selector switch). What little plastic there is – limited to the crane stock, pistol grip and rail covers – seems to be good quality, well finished and pretty much colour matched.


Inlcuded in the box is a single point bungee sling and sling mount, a vertical foregrip, a red dot sight, some perhaps slightly superfluous flip up iron sights, and a 130rnd G&P mid-cap mag.


Build quality:


This gun is truly the epitome of solid. Before buying I had heard some rumblings about upper receiver wobble due to the lack of rearward “ear” lugs for the rear mounting pin to go through, but I can happily say there is none present here - it is totally immovable. The RIS section attaches to the receiver by means of screwing onto the collar and sits very tight with no flex or give. Running through this is the free floating short barrel and socom style silencer, and once again it is all very strong and wobble free. The metal stock tube again fastens to the receiver with limpet-like ferocity, upon which the crane stock sits (more on that later) and slides back and forth in 3 postions.


The included G&P red dot sight is typical good quality that users of G&P optics should be familiar with, nicely built and finished, with good quality lenses. The mount is sturdy and with a good tighten the nut doesn't seem to show any signs of slipping, despite being devoid of anything other than brute force to keep it stuck there. One possible drawback is that the mount isn't especially high, which could result in difficulty aiming if you use a full face paintball style mask. The dot itself is red and intensity is selectable via the knob next to the eyepiece... One thing to note here is that the lens cover pins have apparently been known to go on vacation without telling you. A dab of superglue either side to prevent their spontaneous holiday plans is recommended. The flip up iron sights are well made and lock into place with a satisfying click... they look pretty cool too!


So, it's perfect then? Well no... the magazines are too loose for my liking, so I stuck some very thin material onto either side of the inner mag well to tighten up the fit. Also, the crane stock is a bit loose around the stock tube, leading to it being a slightly rattly (although it is slightly less so with a battery installed). This can be somewhat ameliorated by the use of a bit of electrical tape to pack out the inside of the crane stock so it sits a bit tighter on the stock tube bar... not ideal but does the trick until I have the time to figure out a better solution.


While on the subject of the crane stock, I just though I would mention that I am using the GP 9.6v 2200mah designed for the G&P crane stock. The battery is very easy to fit in there and I can fully collapse and extend the stock with it in place (I had read some conflicting reports which seemed to suggest only the 8.4v would allow the stock to fully retract). This did highlight yet another flaw though, which is the deans connector. These came fitted to the gun and battery, and in theory help the rate of fire by reducing resistance through the connection.... however mine don't appear to be a very snug fit and there is no locking mechanism – end result being that after retracting the stock (thus pushing the wires forward) any extension would often unplug the connector leaving me with no shooty-shooty. Not a good situation in the middle of a firefight. Thankfully the solution is simple, either wrap the connector with a small piece of electrical tape after connecting it (works perfectly and is what I am doing) or change it over to a standard mini connector.


Other not so hot bits include the cocking handle which doesn't have an especially satisfying action, nor does it flip open the dust cover for hop up access. Hop up is instead accessed by you pulling open that dust cover and holding it open while fiddling with the hop up. Minor niggle, but a niggle none the less.


Into the belly of the beast:


Now onto what sits inside the lovely exterior!


Stripping down is simple, first knock out the forward receiver pin and the the whole upper assembly can slide forward and off... if you only want to get to the inner barrel and hop mechanism you can stop here, so let's talk errr... bb guidance systems.


The barrel is approximately 280mm long and brass construction much like any other standard AEG, peering down the barrel shows a nice smooth finish although there was quite a bit of muck in there – might be worth a look before you fire it. The hop up is metal, with cheapo blue plastic cogs and c-shape barrel retainer clip... the c-clip was so cheap in fact that it snapped in half rather than pop off the barrel. Great. Watch out for that. The hop up rubber itself looks a bit dire, but serviceable.


At this point I replaced the hop up with a systema metal hop chamber and hop bucking, simply because I had them around and have a bit of a thing for systema kit. There is nothing wrong per-se with the G&P chamber, although it didn't hold the barrel quite as tightly as the systema does. At this point I also fitted a Madbull 6.03mm barrel which I cut down to 290mm, taking it to within a cm of the end of the silencer... what can I say – I just love to fiddle.


Now, it was at this point that I realised the hop up chamber wasn't sitting quite vertical in the upper receiver, and upon further investigation I removed the RIS foregrip and saw that the small grub screw that holds the outer barrel straight in the receiver had been cross threaded and was sticking out at an angle. This caused the outer barrel to be rotated about 2-3 degress clockwise from vertical, and since the hop up slots into this outer barrel assembly, the hop up was also off vertical... interestingly this also caused the upper gear of the hop unit to foul the receiver making it impossible to move the hop up knob when everything was fitted. A quick trip to the toolbox yielded the correct size allen key and I simply undid it and put it back in straight – this fixed the problem and all was happy again. I slotted the new barrel and hop into place and then took the silencer off so i could wiggle the inner barrel and check for play – there was enough there to reduce accuracy (especially on full auto), but a small piece of electrical tape around the inner barrel to pad out it's diameter locked it in place – no more wiggle! I should add that this clearly will depend on the exterior thickness of whatever barrel you put in there, but it's something worth checking.


So, that was the upper section truly seen to, onto the lower receiver.


Removing the gearbox is a bit of a pain (especially compared to my other subject of much tinkering – my aug), and I found it is best done in this order:


removed the crane stock, then insert a long screw driver down the stock tube and undo the screw holding it to the gearbox. Next, unscrew the heatsink plate on the pistol grip, unplug the motor and slide it out followed by removing the 4 screws you can now see attaching the pistol grip to the gearbox. Lastly, pop out the rear receiver pin and the small pin just above the trigger (leaving these till last removes the strain on them and makes popping them out very easy), and out comes your gearbox.


Not quite sure why, but the gearbox is a version 2 with the cut out slot at the rear meaning the rear section of the spring and front of the spring guide are visible. Not a problem, but I'm just unsure as to why they didn't use the fully enclosed type. At this point I noticed that the cylinder was a full length job, and not slotted as one might expect on a gun with this barrel length – a slotted cylinder might be worth putting on the upgrade “to-do” list. The other thing you notice is the large (7mm) ball bearing raced bushings holding the gears in place – awesome. Not so Awesome is the wiring which looks rather thin and cheap, but seems to do the job for now... another thing to note is the absence of a fuse in the circuit, requiring slightly more cautious operation.


Opening up the gearbox revealed some very good quality looking gears, and the sector gear has a sector chip fitted – first I have seen on a stock gun! For those who don't know these are designed to modify the movement of the tappet plate, which gives increased reliability of feeding with high rates of fire. If you have the time, these gears could benefit from a bit of shimming, but then very few gearboxes come that well shimmed from the factory... other things of note were that the spring guide is a metal bearing raced type, which is a very nice thing for G&P to include, and the feeding nozzle is a metal piece with a sealing o-ring (a la jet nozzle).


Now, the first really bad thing I had come across in this gun - the seal between the piston head and cylinder was shocking. They went to the effort of including that metal feeding nozzle with sealing o-ring and then chucked this piece of junk piston head in there – baffling. The compression test revealed a piston that only too happily moved forward with the cylinder head nozzle blocked... I imagine this costs the gun a significant chunk of potential FPS. After replacing this part with a bearing raced systema aluminium cylinder head, the compression was perfect although it's worth noting that the cylinder wasn't the smoothest thing ever – mind you this will be remedied when you replace it for a slotted one eh!


Anyway, curiosity satisfied, I chucked in a spare prometheus spring I had lying around (of a rating which I shall not mention) and closed up the gearbox, adding a bit of lubrication and thread lock on my way, reassembled the gun (just reverse the disassembly steps) and waited for that damn battery to slow charge.




Now, bear in mind that as mentioned above I changed some bits and bobs so your mileage may vary. If nothing else though, the following should serve as a good idea of what to expect, especially if you plan to fettle.


Wooooooo nelly!!! Now consider that I am using a 9.6v battery, so ROF from a 8.4 will be accordingly lower should you choose to use one for some reason, but then also remember the spring is a touch stiffer than stock which goes some way to countering that... The first trigger pull left me slack jawed and in disbelief so I did it again... and again... and yet again. First mag gone... yikes. Of course, this is rather subjective and we are men of science dammit! I did the old trick of hooking up a microphone to my laptop, running a rather swish wave editing program and firing some bursts in front of a microphone. This yielded 10 rather large peaks in 0.5 seconds, or in other words 20 rounds a second... see it's like I said; “yikes”.


So, initial shock from that out the way, I tried some slightly more useful tests... By some freak coincidence the red dot sight was almost perfectly zeroed at about 20 yards (bonus), and I was plinking bbs off a coke can every single shot. Flicking to full auto revealed some surprisingly tight swarms of angry wasps with almost every bb (as far as I could tell) hitting the can at 15 yards. At longer ranges the accuracy still seemed to hold out, with full auto groupings remaining nice and tight – A piece of a4 paper at 30 yards was fair game every shot from a standing position, including in full auto... very nice for such a compact piece of kit.


On a related note, I have often heard much complaining about G&P mid caps, but I have to say my two have been operating flawlessly with no feeding hiccups even at these high rates of fire. Top marks so far, but time will tell.






- Finish and build quality excellent, but given the price one would hope so.

- Few small niggles both from a design front and QC control front, but mostly require easy fixes.




- lots of gucci kit, such as; metal hop unit, 7mm bearing raced bushes, quality gears (with sector chip!), bearing spring guide etc etc

- poorly shimmed, absolutely rubbish piston head (recommend replacing at purchase), non-slotted and not especially smooth cylinder, unimpressive looking wiring...




- insane 20rps rate of fire from a 9.6v, and (upgrades not withstanding) good accuracy and performance overall.




- A generally excellent bit of kit, all the more so if you have the ability/intention of upgrading or fixing a few weak links in the system. It's a shame, given the fact it's already so expensive and comes with so much gucci kit, that G&P didn't see fit to say a big FU to the firm's bean counters and just spend that tiny bit more rather than cut a few corners. One could take the opinion that at this price you really shouldn't have to be fixing odd bits and bobs and it's a hard one to argue against in all honesty. Alas it seems impossible to buy the perfect gun out of the box, with even extremely expensive models having sometimes glaring faults... With a few relatively cheap additions though, this thing is pretty damn good. All said and done, it's a good bit of kit so hop off that fence and go buy one..... you won't regret it.

Edited by rusty_y2k2
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