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skyclark

Quality of airsoft in comparison to real steel

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Why are there no companies that produce an airsoft gun that matches the quality of the real steel counterpart?

 

Even the "high quality" guns have cheap pot metal gearboxes and sub-standard plastics. No major company is offering billet gearboxes or plastics that match those of HK and glock. The magpul stuff seems good but their receiver is cast. I would rather pay a few hundred dollars more for a machined part.

 

I have seen many people who have modified their guns with real parts and have spent large amounts of money building great guns but they are still built around troublesome pot metal gearboxes.

 

I would like to see a company offer a gun that is as beautiful a piece of machinery as the real guns and I am willing to pay for it. It seems like the industry is slowly moving in this direction but they are taking their time.

 

Any thoughts?

 

 

 

Edit: fooling with putting up a poll.

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well no one cares enought to make a toy the same quality as a wepon ment to blow someones head off. honestly i understand your frustration i wish my ak was like the real deal but mine shoots plastic balls and the real deal shoots molten lead at people.

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If the replica were to be made with the same quality as a real firearm, then it would be easier for the replica to be modified to fire real ammunition.

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If the replica were to be made with the same quality as a real firearm, then it would be easier for the replica to be modified to fire real ammunition.

 

Uhh.... riiiight.

 

If the guns were made to the same tolerances as a real firearm, there is a good chance they would be LESS reliable than they are. Keep in mind we have way more moving parts to have break than a real firearm does. If the quality bumped up they would have to "up" the price because of the apparent shift in quality. In reality, they are making a killing off of us when they get a design that works.

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The whole reason behind using plastics and cheap metals is so that if someone did try to get it to fire a real round, it would explode in their face or melt.

 

 

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The RealSword guns are some of the closest to what I am looking for and I am excited to see them on the market.

 

Keeping the guns from being able to fire bullets makes sense but making the guns higher quality can be done in ways that still keep them from being used with real bullets. I imagine though, that as they get higher quality and more realistic it will be harder to convince politicians and people who fear guns that these are just harmless toys.

 

 

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The saddest part of this type of debate (for me) is always in comparing airsoft to its nearest shooting sport counterpart, paintball.

 

For less than $200 I could pick up a Smart Parts Ion or Spyder Pilot (ugh, Spyder) and I get break beam eyes, electronic trigger, 25 bps, multiple modes of fire, etc.

 

In airsoft for $200 I could get a decent looking clone with a "meh" gearbox.

 

As I've mentioned before, airsoft innovation is all about aesthetics over performance. The result is that we have some sweet looking AEGs whose performance is only marginally better than their low-end counterparts.

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The whole reason behind using plastics and cheap metals is so that if someone did try to get it to fire a real round, it would explode in their face or melt.

 

Yeah right. There isn't a single airsoft gun in production that can first of all take real ammunition and second has the mechanims for firing that ammunition. The Tanaka cassiopeia system might be an exception to this but I doupt that it's hammer strikes hard enough to fire a real cartridge. Besides, there's a bunch of different guns that are made from the same materials as their real counterparts (full steel AK's, aluminium and steel M4, etc.). You seriously think that airsoft manufacturers make their products from cheap materials so that as a safety feature they can explode in the users face?

 

No, they are made from cheap materials because it's just that, cheap.

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Yeah right. There isn't a single airsoft gun in production that can first of all take real ammunition and second has the mechanims for firing that ammunition.

 

IIRC, in Japan, they make the airsoft gun fit a live round, and test it. Which is probably why Tokyo Marui is required by law to use metals with a low-melting point and "non ballistic" plastics. What other reason for having "low-melting point" and "non ballistic" materials is there?

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I have seen many people who have modified their guns with real parts and have spent large amounts of money building great guns but they are still built around troublesome pot metal gearboxes.

 

 

Then move onto something that...oh, isn't an M4/M16 variant with a V2 gearbox. ;)

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So they take an airsoft gun, manufacture entirely new internals for it and then fire it just to check if the plastic it's made of can handle it? I think not. If you look inside an airsoft gun you will see that to "make the airsoft gun fit a live round" you would have to machine completely new internals. The live round can't fit in there, and there's nothing to strike the primer.

 

Marui and others use low-melting point metals like zinc, copper and aluminum because you cannot make casts with metals like steel. The die casting process actually requires metals that have a low boiling point. And they use die casting because again it's a lot cheaper than machining. Also toys in general are not made from ballistic materials.

 

Edit: Small correction; you can cast steel, but not in this scale. Sure you can make engines and railroads, but not AEG gearboxes.

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Edit: Small correction; you can cast steel, but not in this scale. Sure you can make engines and railroads, but not AEG gearboxes.

 

Actually you can, its called investment casting, similar to lost wax casting. I'm pretty sure thats how the better quality gears are made.

 

At the end of the day, its down to cost.

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IIRC, in Japan, they make the airsoft gun fit a live round, and test it. Which is probably why Tokyo Marui is required by law to use metals with a low-melting point and "non ballistic" plastics. What other reason for having "low-melting point" and "non ballistic" materials is there?

 

A cost

 

B Experience - they're toys the major manufacturer for which in japan already had experience of using such materials and manufacturing techniques (and the plant to produce them bought and paid for)

 

C Custom and practice - the vast majority of the existing model gun and PFC manufacturers had already moved over to those materials by the time airsoft came along Building model guns (where the internals do have more than a passign resemblance to the real deal) out of 'high melting point' and 'ballistic mateials' not really being seen in Japan as a particularly good idea. Given the existing regulation that would have been in place for those by that point then why rock the boat by releasing your 'model gun that shots a small plastic ball' and risk getting mired in hysterical nonsense.

 

D the japanese have a completely different view of airguns from airsoft guns. It doesnt have to fire a live round to get you in hot water Building internals out of higher grade materials not only adds to cost whilst having little appreciable impact at the rated performance your marketing them at (where the parts are good enough) it also makes potentially law breaking higher performance much easier to achieve.

 

At sensible velocities and ROF you also need to balance the cost of your uber (almost) unbreakable internals against the likelyhood of having to replace the low(er) cost standard internals Not much point reducing your replacement part count by a factor of three if you've increased your initial purchase cost by a factor of ten.

 

 

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Tom: Ok, I was thinking sand casting.

 

Anyway, if they do have a test like that in Japan, I'm guessing it's got more to do with whether you can make the gun fire a live round (ie. is the something to hit the primer) than with if the materials can take it. From a safety standpoint, who cares if the gun blows after the first shot, if it can be fired once its still deadly.

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What about that one airsoft rifle that used shells, each individual shell stored gas? The pin on the back of the shell would be struck and the gas would then be released from it, allowing the bb to be propelled. IIRC, somebody was able to put actual .22 rounds into said gun, and it worked...

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Okay I don't know wtf your doing/looking for in an airsoft gun but a decent $200 steel/aluminum body kit is more than enough for airsoft purposes. Having both an M16 (colt) and an M4 (also colt) issued to me I can honestly say this "beautiful piece of machinery" is a total bs thought. Some airsoft gun's I've held seem to look nicer and are actually more solid than the realsteel (my M4's stock wobbles like crazy, as does the handguards) and as far as machining goes about the only thing the realsteel body has over the airsoft gun is that you could probably take a sledge to my M4 without having any "serious" implications (I wouldnt try that though :P ) So I don't know what you want from an airsoft gun, or what "harshness" you putting on them to decide "Hey I need a TOY to stand up to the same standards as a real gun."

 

Oh and on the real bullets subject, even REAL guns can't handle their loads sometimes. We had a training video shown to us during basic of a M4 being fired with the chamber/barrel/gas assembly filled with water and the top half of the receiver was shattered off when fired. Similarly they showed us what happens when you try and put "Heavy ammo" in the gun, (basically secondhand bought ammo) and essentially the same thing happened (cracks at first then catastrophic failure) so I wouldnt worry to much about a TOY handling a real load when at times the real guns can't.

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I am quite familiar with the manufacturing process and materials that are currently used as well as those that could be used. It makes sense that the Japanese companies are designing them the way they are (toy background, laws, etc), Snorkelman makes these points well. Outside of Japan there are possibilities for improvement.

 

I'm surprised a company in the US or another less regulated country hasn't started making a "boutique" class of guns. I understand that the initial development and tooling would be expensive but I imagine that this type of gun would be popular enough to return the investment well. If higher quality guns were on the market we might start to loose the stigma associated with airsoft by the gun community and bring in a new group of players. Even at low (CQB) velocities, a quality gun would be very appealing.

 

 

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Okay I don't know wtf your doing/looking for in an airsoft gun but a decent $200 steel/aluminum body kit is more than enough for airsoft purposes. Having both an M16 (colt) and an M4 (also colt) issued to me I can honestly say this "beautiful piece of machinery" is a total bs thought. Some airsoft gun's I've held seem to look nicer and are actually more solid than the realsteel (my M4's stock wobbles like crazy, as does the handguards) and as far as machining goes about the only thing the realsteel body has over the airsoft gun is that you could probably take a sledge to my M4 without having any "serious" implications (I wouldnt try that though :P ) So I don't know what you want from an airsoft gun, or what "harshness" you putting on them to decide "Hey I need a TOY to stand up to the same standards as a real gun."

 

Im a designer, I like the best of everything. I want a gearbox made with the precision of a watch. I know its excessive and what is on the market will get the job done but I want an amazing AEG for the same reason I want a super-car.

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Well what your talking about doesn't exist. Short of machining your own parts or paying someone to machine them for you, your never going to get a real steel quality. The only option you having is milling a real steel upper/lower receiver which is a) Illegal (in most states), and B) a total sin against guns.

 

Also, as a "designer" you should know better. You allocate the appropriate funds/equipment/manpower/time/energy/quality of work/materials to the appropriate situation/job/device/intent. Having an M series or AK that could stand up the the same stuff that a realsteel receiver could makes zero logical sense other than a) showing off, b ) experimenting to see IF it could be done (I doubt it), or c) . Gearbox precision is one thing but having real gun quality externals is a whole 'nother ball game. And, btw, if we're talking quality, I find airsoft guns to be MORE reliable than my issue. (My Star M4 get a stoppage once ever... 200 or so rounds, if that (once per highcap usually) whereas BOTH my M16 and M4 have stoppages once ever three-4 mags (the M16 is worse) mainly feeding issues (double/partial feed and such).

 

IDK if you have any (real) experience handling real firearms but other than Tip top marksmanship quality guns, even realsteels have many common issues among which are quality of the build. I think you need to really sit down with an airsoft gun and play around with it a bit (and I mean do some swamp ops, that's what made me respect my favorite brand, Star, fully submerged in a dunk, let it drain, worked fine) and then work off of the results.

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Ranger, you might want to ask your armorer to actually fix your M4 if you're having that many problems with it.

 

A properly cleaned and maintained high quality AR can go several thousand rounds without issue. Sure, a light primer strike or other malfunction requiring immediate action may happen very now and then but every three to four magazines? Thats excessive.

 

I am one of the people that wishes my Airsoft guns mimicked the quality of my real guns. For me, its simply a desire to have a durable toy, thats it. I dont like going out into the field and wondering if today is the day that something is going to snap off of my rifle. Ive seen dust covers snapped clean off of "high quality" G&P and king arms bodies.

 

Ive seen trigger guards broken off, dents in the sides of the bodies and broken upper receivers where the handguard/barrel nut/delta ring attaches.

 

Tell me. Have you seen these kinds of things during your term of service? Sure, bolts break, other small items break but colossal weapons platform failures? I dont know about that.

 

The solidity of my real AR's is never transferred over to my airsoft guns. Here is the issue surrounding my desires. My airsoft guns are toys, my real guns are not. How far do we have to go in order to reach that level of durability while still maintaining the true purposes of each item? I dont want my airsoft guns to be anything more than toys. I do however want realistic surface finishes, durable materials and the confidence the aforementioned items inspire when i train or game. I do not believe that airsoft guns are good enough just yet.

 

Custom built guns do almost reach that level of quality but again, there is still a gap that needs to be bridged between the real thing and our replicas.

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Well what your talking about doesn't exist. Short of machining your own parts or paying someone to machine them for you, your never going to get a real steel quality. The only option you having is milling a real steel upper/lower receiver which is a) Illegal (in most states), and B) a total sin against guns.

 

Also, as a "designer" you should know better. You allocate the appropriate funds/equipment/manpower/time/energy/quality of work/materials to the appropriate situation/job/device/intent. Having an M series or AK that could stand up the the same stuff that a realsteel receiver could makes zero logical sense other than a) showing off, b ) experimenting to see IF it could be done (I doubt it), or c) . Gearbox precision is one thing but having real gun quality externals is a whole 'nother ball game. And, btw, if we're talking quality, I find airsoft guns to be MORE reliable than my issue. (My Star M4 get a stoppage once ever... 200 or so rounds, if that (once per highcap usually) whereas BOTH my M16 and M4 have stoppages once ever three-4 mags (the M16 is worse) mainly feeding issues (double/partial feed and such).

 

IDK if you have any (real) experience handling real firearms but other than Tip top marksmanship quality guns, even realsteels have many common issues among which are quality of the build. I think you need to really sit down with an airsoft gun and play around with it a bit (and I mean do some swamp ops, that's what made me respect my favorite brand, Star, fully submerged in a dunk, let it drain, worked fine) and then work off of the results.

 

 

You are correct about the allocation of funds etc. The companies currently designing and manufacturing airsoft guns are allocating enough effort to satisfy the mass market and return good profit. I am looking for a gun that will fit in a different market so it will require a different allocation of funds/development/energy/etc. You may not think its worth it, but I think there may be others who agree with me.

 

To compare this to an actual firearm, take a look at the Noveske/Magpul limited edition AR 15. You can pick up (or could before the election) a quality bare bones AR 15 for around $800. The limited edition gun was around $3,000 and all 50 sold in a day. The lower alone is currently on gunbroker for >1,500. This, to me, demonstrates that people are interested in going above and beyond what is required from time to time.

 

I am working with a couple friends to develop a gearbox that is more to our liking and when its done I will post pictures. This threads purpose was to see why nobody was making Noveske/Magpul quality airsoft guns and I have received some pretty good answers. I guess the next question is: Does anybody else feel the way I do?

 

 

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