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Apple Airsoft / 6mmProShop M1887

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Just a little bit of background, I saw a video of this gun back in October and immediately became interested. I'm a big fan of both the Terminator films and Westerns, own a modern reproduction of the Winchester 1887, and had been long considering buying a Marushin M1887 and seeing if I could convert it to 6mm- so when I saw that a clone of the Marushin was coming out, and in 6mm no less, I jumped at the opportunity.


So first things first, here's how it comes out of the box.




Not too bad, really. The finish on the wood is terrible, and the matte black finish looks a little weird compared to the distinctly metallic finish on the real thing, but the whole gun is aluminum and the grips are decent quality wood. It feels solid. I've owned quite a few cheap pot metal guns and it doesn't feel like that at all, and I wouldn't be concerned about breakage.


That said, it's aluminum. Repeatedly opening it up to mess with the grips and internals has worn at the threading and it's in danger of stripping screws. Just have to be gentle with it.


So firstly, working with the externals, I sanded the wood down, easily removing the cheap stain and finish. I stained it with a few light coats of Minwax Gunstock, then sealed with several layers of Tung oil. As I said, the wood is much better quality than the finish indicates, and I think it came out pretty well. I also wanted the gun to have a more metallic sheen, and while I could try wearing down the paint to expose aluminum, I was concerned that oxidizing aluminum would have the wrong finish. So, I buffed it with powdered graphite. My point here is that while it may look like a cheap toy out of the box, it's not made of terrible materials and can look much better with just a little bit of work. I did try fitting the full stock from my real 1887, and it would take just a little bit of removing wood to make it fit, so I ordered a second full stock so as not to modify the one I use on the real shotgun for obvious safety reasons.




Now onto operation. First, it uses green gas or duster, through a fill valve cleverly hidden behind the hammer arm. With the hammer uncocked, you open the action fully, and it exposes the valve. Because the valve is recessed, the gun comes with a small fill needle extension, but I found I didn't need it for my propane adapter. It was hard to get a good image here- the gun is pointing to the right, and you're looking at the lever assembly in the foreground.




Next, the shells. The gun comes with five of them. Each shell is a CNCed aluminum tube with a plastic sleeve/cap friction-fit over it, with an O-ring at either end. The design is almost identical to the Maruzen M870/M1100 shells, but slightly shorter and with an interesting recessed rim design. Unlike the Maruzens, the interior is not simply a single 6mm hollow tube. It has a larger 6mm hollow tube big enough to hold the BBs, which narrows into a 4-5mm channel for the gas, like airsoft revolver shells. Because the BBs can only fit in the short, larger section, each shell only holds up to 3 BBs. That's better than a single shot I suppose, but still pretty stupid since I see no reason whatsoever why the shell could not be opened up with a drill bit to hold 8 or 9 BBs instead like the Maruzens. It looks to me like it was just cloned from the 8mm Marushin, which only held 3 BBs, which is a disappointing missed opportunity for improvement.


Below on the right is the stock shell. You can see the O-ring that holds the BBs in and the 6mm tube, and just the end of the gas channel. On the left is a homemade shell- we'll get to that.




So now with the shells loaded with 1-3 BBs each, they get loaded into the gun. Oh, here's where the fun begins. It seems simple enough- open the action, push the carrier down with a shell, slide it into the tube. In practice, however, if you push the carrier too far down the shell just runs into the bottom of the magazine tube, and the shell won't go into the tube unless it's almost parallel, necessitating a very awkward motion to load it. If your finger slips, the follower or already-loaded shells ram the one you're trying to load back, and then you have to wedge it forward with your thumb and push it into the tube. This process can be dramatically improved, as discussed below, but out of the box it took me about a full minute to load five shells, and that's as someone already used to the funky loading mechanism from the real thing.


Here's what the action looks like. The lifter is the only significant plastic component on the gun.


Oh yeah, and the gun holds five shells in the tube plus one in the chamber. The manual says 4+1, but the gun holds five in the tube fine. By comparison, the real thing also holds five in the tube and one in the chamber, but can also hold an additional shell on the lifter, for a total of seven. This replica can't, so it's limited to six.




Once the tube is loaded, the user either loads the last shell directly into the chamber, or onto the carrier. Fully opening the action pushes the lifter up, then closing the action loads it into the chamber. Here's what it looks like with a shell on the lifter.




Pull the trigger to fire, then cycle the action with the lever. The extraction is extremely smooth and reliable, and doesn't ding up the shells or wear down the extractor the way the Maruzen guns do. It's very smooth in operation. Unlike the real one, it does not eject straight up, it flings the shell backwards and a little bit up, so they go across the user's wrist. No complaints here, it does exactly what it's supposed to. I will note that the gun is a little weak, firing about 330fps with 0.2s and propane at roughly 70F (21C) with just one BB, making it pretty weak with 3 BBs. That's also fixable.


I'll note here that not only does the gun have a hop-up, but it's even adjustable and works pretty well. That's a great feature for a multi-shot shotgun, as most seem to have a fixed hop or no hop at all. The gun comes with a dummy shell with a lever, you load it into the breech and turn the lever and it adjusts the hop. Pretty slick system.


So now, let's talk about how to make this gun actually useful and not just a cool-looking wall-hanger.


Firstly, the loading system is the worst part of the gun, by far. Having the lifter go too far down and needing to get the shell almost parallel with the tube before it will go in are the two big offenders. Both are surprisingly simple to fix.


To fix the lifter, I glued a small piece of ABS plastic to the lever mechanism, as shown below:


When the lifter comes down while the action is open, this piece of plastic is in its path, and arrests its movement, preventing the lifter from going down too far. Once the action is closed, it gets out of the way so the gun can feed.


Action closed:




Action open:




The second problem is with the tube. I don't have any pictures as it's hard to get to, but it turns out there's a small gap between the tube and the frame by design, which is what the follower engages to keep it in the tube. If the shells are being pushed in at an angle, they hit the lip formed by this gap, and won't go in. My solution was to fill this gap with a bit of epoxy putty, then smooth it out with sandpaper. Now I can load shells in at a steeper and less awkward angle. These two changes make the gun much easier to load and fix the main problem with using the gun.


Another issue is the power. It's pretty lacking. Thankfully the hammer spring is easy to get to and can be bent or shimmed to give it a bit more power. Piece of cake.


And lastly, the shells. Initially I was going to talk about how shells aren't sold separately, but it seems that in the last day Evike has added a 5-pack of shells for $18 to their site (despite telling me last week that they had no plans to do so), so the issue is now less the unavailability of shells and more their cost and 3-BB capacity. Although $3.60 apiece is cheaper than any other airsoft shell I've seen, getting a decent combat load of 30-50 represents an expensive investment, and again, 3 BBs apiece, so might as well just get a tri-shot.


My options were to use a drill to open out the stock shells, or to build new ones from scratch. I opted for the latter. These shells are composed of 5/8" ABS tubing, 20ga shotgun hulls, an assortment of steel and nylon washers, and rubber O-rings. They're extremely easy to make, feed and cycle as well as the stock ones, hold 9 BBs apiece (woohoo!), and only cost about a dollar in materials each. If anyone's interested I'd be happy to detail the materials and construction process.


Stock and custom shell comparison:




And in the gun:




One last shot, the final result:




A lot of people see shell-ejecting shotguns as unskirmishable gimmicks, but personally I've never had any trouble with my Maruzens, and I'm feeling confident that with these modifications this gun will be a serious contender in CQB. I intend to get some shooting footage as soon as I have the opportuntiy in the next couple of weeks. Hope this was helpful!

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Definitely interested in how you went about doing those shells.


Alright, tomorrow when I build some more I'll take photos and document the process.


This is hella interesting. 


How large is the gas reservoir? How many shells can you fire before having to regas? (is it feasable as a primary, is what I'm really asking ;))


Where did you buy it from?


The gas reservoir holds enough for 30-40 shots stock. After strengthening the hammer spring it's now 20-30. Refilling is not as terrible as I thought it'd be, once I learned how to line up the tank with the valve it became pretty simple. I got it from Evike because I'm over in Yankeeland, there is a Japanese company (JP Airsoft) that has it as well.

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Okay, I just gassed up with propane, tested, and chronoed. With my adjustment to the hammer spring it's shooting 350-360fps with 0.25s (same muzzle energy as 390-400fps with 0.2s), and got exactly 30 shots at full power before one lacklustre one and then ran empty. Pretty efficient, I'd say. If you keep it at the stock muzzle velocity I'd expect at least 40 shots. It's definitely using a lot less gas than the Marushin.


Renegadecow, I unfortunately have no idea what the company is doing. I haven't seen them advertise anything about a full-stocked version, though.

Edited by CatgutViolin
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So, let's make some shells.


For each of these I'm listing the McMaster-Carr item number. While I'm not sure if McMaster-Carr ships overseas outside of US government contracts, even if they don't, their website shows technical specs on each item so should make it easier to source a local replacement. If you go to their website (mcmaster.com) and enter an item number in the search box, it'll jump right to it, then just click Product Detail at the top of the box.


Parts list:

-Body: 5/8" OD, 2/8" ID black ABS tubing (1839T331)

-Sleeve: 20ga shotgun hulls, I got mine on Etsy

-Head rim: 0.500" ID, 0.688" OD black nylon washers (95606A470)

-Head plate: 0.260" ID, 0.688" OD black nylon washers (90295A450)

-Head O-ring: 0.239" ID, 0.379" OD rubber O-rings (9452K18) (NOTE: These are a little too big for the BBs, while the ones on the base were a little too small. I got around this by removing a 1mm sliver from each of these O-rings and gluing them back together. I imagine there's a metric size of O-ring that will fit the bill and then can be used on both the head and base).

-Base neck: 0.25" ID, 0.562" OD steel washers (90108A411)

-Base plate: 0.312" ID, 0.750" OD steel washers (98970A129)

-Base O-ring: 0.208" ID, 0.348" OD rubber O-rings (9452K17)


All assembly is done with off-the-shelf cyanoacrylate superglue. Very short cure times make it easy to grind through the whole process.


Okay, so, first things first, I take a pipe cutter and tape measure and cut exactly 4.5cm of the ABS tubing. Don't try this with a hacksaw because the cut needs to be perfectly perpendicular, a pipe cutter like this is a ten-dollar investment and well worth the time and frustration saved.





Next, although the tubing is rated at 0.25" ID, which is wider than a BB, most tubing is deliberately undersized ID and oversized OD during manufacture, so I run a quarter-inch drill bit through it. The bit follows the existing hole so exact alignment is not necessary. If you have a drill press you can probably get a smaller ID or even solid ABS rod and make the hole yourself, but that requires more precision than this method.




With the body of the shell done I now start on the base. I take two of the base neck washers and a base plate washer, rub them on a steel file to rough up the surfaces and ensure they're even, then glue them together lining up the holes. The base plate washer has a slightly wider inner diameter, which will be used to hold the O-ring later. I don't add the O-ring yet because it makes it harder to align the washers with the body.




Next I build the head. I start with a head plate washer, then glue two of the head rim washers to each side, to produce a stack of five washers.




While those dry, I sleeve the 20ga shell over the body. The 20ga hull is ever so slightly too narrow to sleeve easily, but being plastic will stretch to fit if forced. I initially used a hammer for this but found that using my clamp as a makeshift vice is a quick and easy way to do it.




Once the body is in the hull, I slice off the brass from the hull, then use a knife to pare down the material so it sits flush with the ends of the body. No glue is needed, that hull isn't going anywhere.




With all the secondary assemblies complete, the shell can be fully assembled. Top to bottom: Head assembly, head O-ring, body assembly, base assembly, base O-ring. The head assembly is glued onto the body assembly with the head O-ring in between, taking care not to glue the head O-ring (it should be free to move), then the base assembly is lined up with the body and glued on, and then I apply some glue to the interior of the base plate before wedging the base O-ring in, pressing the base against a flat surface to make sure the O-ring is even when the glue sets.


And with that, the assembly is done. I now go back with some sandpaper and clean up the head, which looks a little messy from the superglue, and then do a test to make sure it's aligning properly. So far I've built 24 shells and haven't had any shells fail to function, so it seems fairly foolproof.




That's all there is too it. Nothing especially difficult, just a bit time-consuming and reliant on having the right parts first. With documenting this took me just over an hour to make five shells, but I could build them while watching TV so it's not too bad.

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So the extractor is steel?  Might it be worth using brass baseplate washers to prolong the life of the extractor or is it seriously bombproof?


The extractor is under very little stress in this design. On the Maruzens, the extractor eats itself because there is no chamber, so rather than use the extractor to pull the shell out of a chamber and then eject it, the bolt flies back until the claw-like extractor whacks the rim of the shell and flings it out. This gun has a breech, so it works like a real shotgun. The spring-loaded extractor pulls the shell back and upwards, causing the shell to ride up over the horizontal flipper-like piece visible in the frame, and then the next shell coming up ensures it gets flung out. There's no impact to wear it down, so I'm not worried about the steel baseplates.


Also another note is that my shells are a lot lighter than the ones that come with the gun, and all the weight is concentrated at the bottom due to the use of nylon washers in the head, so they are very gentle on the mechanism and extract easily.

Edited by CatgutViolin
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Isn't it possible to just make use of the whole 20ga hull, brass and all by drilling out the primer pocket?


That was my initial plan when I got the 20ga hulls, especially since the primer pocket is 6mm, so it wouldn't even need drilling. The problem was the rims. Real 20ga shells have narrower rims than the airsoft shells, and are meant to use a claw-shaped extractor riding along the side of the bolt. The airsoft design is slightly different and relies on having a wide rim plus the recessed rim to give a lot of area for the under-bolt extractor plate to grab.


So I replaced the 20ga rim with a homemade one, and then filled the 20ga hull with plastic tubing, and then used a washer assembly to keep the O-ring in the front and mate properly with the barrel... and got what you see here. A bit of work.

Edited by CatgutViolin
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What's the prospect of modifying or fabricating a suitable extractor that works with the standard hulls?


I tried lengthening the extractor plate to work with the 20ga shells, the problem then became that the radius of the extractor was too long for it to snap over the base of the shell when loading. My other concern was that it wouldn't be able to grip the small rim of the shell near the end of the extraction cycle, where the extractor is gripping the shell at a shallow angle. The design is very different from how the real 1887's extractors work and it makes it very difficult to use a real shell design.


Could you post a short video shooting the gun? Or just estimate range and BB spread for us, please.




Unfortunately I don't have access to outdoor space at the moment, but I'm definitely going to do some shooting footage when I head home in two weeks.

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