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Getting into a New Role


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(have this on another forum, but curious to get more opinions/info)



Well, its been a decade of airsofting for me in the same role (assault, slinger, etc). With my only field lately being cqb/indoor (which never liked), happy to find my old outdoor field was recently reopened. Seeing as it still is winter, but spring/summer only few months away im excited to head back there. That said, looking for a new role/gun. Ive wanted to get into this role for years now, but being only had indoor field it never made sense.
So, backstory over; as its been a while since ive dabbled into the area of airsoft snipers, and just with a quick glance, a lot of the topics/parts changed in that time, i hope i can do a bit of a mass brain picking from the more experienced players in this field.
1). If  it's possible to do a ground up build (from vsr), what parts would you be needing/missing if you didnt get a donor gun that you'd need to make/look for, both internal and external (including screws, etc) ? (as id most likely replace everything, as one negative a remember is people said the VSR felt "toyish" ; as id prob put into a modelwork stock or something along those lines)
2). Back when i was looking into this area, desired company parts were more limited, it was mainly a PDI v. FF/Laylax.  Are there other company parts that are on that level now (ex: AA hopup and 0 trigger unit); so now, is it a less of a full company build and more of a mix-and-match
3). Are there some parts that wont mesh with each other ? 
Ty for the aid/info (and anything else i may of not mentioned if you know it), and hope everyone has a good day
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I'm old school, and built 2 guns with PDI/laylax parts.


The first was a warrior L96, and the only standard parts were the bits you could see. The PDI twin arm hop unit was an evil thing though. Truly horrible to set up, and never ran how I wanted it. I put hours and hours into tuning that gun, shimming, filing and tweaking. Also, bed the scope rail down if you get one. They can wobble.


The second one I built was a vsr g spec. Second hand, but I knew its history. They do feel 'toyish' but that is actually a good thing. You aren't lumping around several pounds of rifle all day, and it's a breath of fresh air to be honest. Light gun, light rig. You notice the benefit, and I'm not a weakling, and lifted heavy *suitcase* for a living!


The standard hop unit is fine, barrel too if you want. I love zero triggers, but the price now is insane. Firefly hard hop rubber (are they even still available), tune it properly, and you will have a 90+ metre gun at 500 fps.


The clone vsr guns were always off when I was sniping, not properly compatible, and I know of one that blew itself apart with upgrades. The stock vsr by TM is an awesome gun in itself.


Don't just lob parts together and expect an accurate long gun. You need to put the effort in to make them work. I spent many years sniping with bolty's, always shimming, filing, tweaking. Never touched another gun apart from a sidearm. I don't profess to be an expert, but have experience. Saying that, it's been over 4 years since I picked one up now :)

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When I started airsoft 17 years ago I had started to upgrade APS2s, then later on the Super 9s, TM/JG VSR, Tanakas, Wells, A&Ks.  PDI/KM barrels, zero triggers, alu/SS pistons etc..etc


Full circle, I now have a UTG APS2 (stock parts), a 5th hand WELL L96 (530fps spring, SS piston), and a PPS Kar98K (stock).  All capable of man size target 80m.  With both the UTG and WELL I have been able to hit an A4 target at 50m.


I would like to say, making a decent shooter is not about the aftermarket parts.  Its about engineering.


- Accuracy is dependent on 1) How straight is the inner barrel, 2) How straight the outer barrel is holding the inner barrel, 3) How stable the outer and receiver is holding the inner barrel.  Once that can be determined and modified/reinforced/supported then even the most stock rifle can shoot straight.  Of course there is a limit to each design so you need to work with that.  A gun that has a bent inner barrel will never shoot straight, or a receiver that doesn't hold the outer barrel stable will never shoot straight.


- Don't use grease at all if you want accuracy to last.  First thing I do to any airsoft guns I buy is strip it down and clean the factory grease, then learn about the parts and structure to determine if it can be accurate or not.  If it cannot, then sell on.


- Custom parts always comes at a cost.  If you put in a reinforced trigger sear, you will wear the piston.  if you put in an upgrade spring you will wear the sear and the cylinder wall etc..etc..  Only use reinforced parts if it is a critical stress part.


- Learn to work with what you have, then upgrade.  Pot metal works with poly carb pistons sub 450fps, and works well, you don't need full steel anything.


- Learn to calculate airsoft trajectories.


- Practice and learn behavior of the rifle.  Each rifle/pistol has different behavior in the real world.  My UTG tends to lob after 40m.  My WELL shoots flat and then lobs after 60m.  Both rifles are rated for 1cm groups at 25m.

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good info. I ask, as atm i run PTW's, and dont really touch them internally (i did a bit w/ my old AEG) as to much $$ if i mess up.  If i did got the sniper rifle route atm, i think id prob forgo and ground up build, as i did a parts cost and it was quite a bit more, so ill work on externals at a later time.


My concern was, id be putting a 550 spring in asap  (as said above, my PTW's go out to about 200ft), so id want to be past that. I know stock that'd wear parts down quite a bit. I was curious based on your exp, what parts would work well.  In the current parts build i have ....


AA 0 trigger (or laylax , worth the extra $?)

AA hopup unit

???? tightbore 430mm  (im unsure on company, as know usually PDI, but others good, Orga?, etc)

PDI cylinder setup (minus the piston)

PDI barrel spacer

550fps spring

Firefly hard bucking



When tuning done to a setup like that; would it work (part wise) ? Reason for PDI, was it seems more available, and from the past they were a "top dog" for parts 

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Potentially you have a good bucket of quality parts there, its making them work together thats the trick:


- Barrel length:  430mm is short for a sniper rifle, but its not undoable, just means the BBs would tend to arc a little more rather than fly flat.   The shorter the barrel the more arcing.


- Barrel selection: 

  1) You need to look down and determine if the barrel is bent or has unreleased pressure to one side (look down the barrel in the light, for perfect circles one after another down the barrel, if there is any bending the circles will be off centre or the circles will be warped shapes) .  I handpick barrels to ensure this doesn't happen.  If there is a bend and you can't replace the barrel, you can "bend" it back (not advisable normally)


  2) What you want is a very rigid barrel that either doesn't bend much if slight pressure is applied by the barrel spacer or from the vibration of the spring during firing.  The stiffer the material the better it is.  A light and stiff material is best but a heavy and stiff will work just as well, otherwise find an outer barrel that fits perfectly around the inner barrel so that it stiffens and keeps the inner barrel straight.


- Hop up:  Any hop up that takes a VSR hop has a distinct advantage for accuracy, but after that the actual performance it up to the hop rubber and the hop nub combination.  I recommend against a hard hop rubber as that tends to make the BBs arc rather than fly flat.  Or if you are using a hard hop rubber, use a soft nub, etc.


- Zero trigger/piston/cylinder: nice to have


- Assembly:  Since you have checked the barrel and have ensured it is straight, you need to check at each stage for barrel straightness when:

  1) Placing the barrel with spacers inside the outer barrel.  Often the spacers can push the barrel to one side, causing BBs to hook left or right. Also, the hop unit AND the end cap may not be fully aligned and may causing undue pressures on the inner barrel.  End caps you basically enlarge the hole to change the pivot point, while with the hop up you will need to file away at certain areas to elevate the pressure.

  2) Placing the outer barrel onto the stock.  Sometimes mounting the barrel/hop unit to the stock will cause the inner barrel to warp.  Test and modify accordingly.


- Sighting in the rifle.  After that you can sight in the rifle,  first at long ranges to get the right hop level for the ammo, then 20m to zero on 0.5" squares. Make sure the scope crosshairs are aligned to the hop up direction else you will veer off target.


So there you have it, how to tune any airsoft bolt action rifle out of the box to work like a high performance sniper rifle, most of the time without additional parts. 


The take home message is:  Ensure that the inner barrel is straight, of rigid construction, and is firmly sitting in the outer barrel, receiver, and stock, with no undue pressures applied to it during aiming or firing so it maintains its straightness with little effort.


There are other more extreme methods to get superior accuracy, such as replacing the spacers with a complete eproxy resin support inside the outer barrel, but the barrel still has to be sitting inside the outer barrel straight, so you will need to do this process.


After which, you will get something that will surprise many people.  I took my UTG to a 25m range and surprised rifle shooters and airgunners alike.  Sure, after 25m its not really the same class as a .22lr but gives the airgunners a good run for their money.


Then you will need to work on fieldcraft. 

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- Hop up:  Any hop up that takes a VSR hop has a distinct advantage for accuracy, but after that the actual performance it up to the hop rubber and the hop nub combination.  I recommend against a hard hop rubber as that tends to make the BBs arc rather than fly flat.  Or if you are using a hard hop rubber, use a soft nub, etc.




this may seem rather silly/stupid; but in searching for parts, i havent come across anything for just a nub. Have found tons of different buckings, so yeah, where are these nubs ?

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Normally a hop nub is a piece of rubber/plastic sits between the hop arm (usually a hard plastic lever, that moves up and down on the hop rubber) and the hop rubber.  Its purpose is to ensure the pressure applied to the hop rubber is spread evenly onto the hop rubber which then applies to the BB evenly.


On many bolt actions the hop nub is not present and is usually moulded as a piece of the hop arm.  VSRs are like this.  Other systems may have springs as a hop nub.


Most important part of the hop rub is it has to work in conjunction with the hop rubber and arm.  In that "system" the only way you will get hop up to work properly is that there is some elasticity/springyness as the BB touches the hop rubber.  Too rigid and BBs will lob/arc and will not hop properly, but too soft and hop will be inconsistent, or if soft rubbers + high velocities are concerned it will wear the hop rubber.


Then there is the round hop/flat hop debate as to which is more effective.  Its all about surface area and the pressure applied by the hop nub.


So here is what I found by experience, a generalised 80/20 rule:


- If the hop nub is moulded into the hop arm as with most bolt actions, then generally use a soft hop rubber, these will be the normal marui rubbers, KJW rubbers, with round contact hop areas.  


- If you have the opportunity to get/modify a hop arm that takes a rubber hop nub, use a soft round hop nub on a hardish flat hop rubber (things like maple leaf, A+ or similar).  This will ensure you have enough elasticity to ensure pressure is applied equally to the BB.


- if you have a normal round soft hop rubber but want to have better accuracy you can use a "first factory" flat hop nub.  That will give you the advantages of a flat hop without expensive hop rubbers.  Issue though is that they are rare as hens teeth, and does not fit all hop units.


- Do not use flat hop nubs on flat hop rubbers. The Hop only works for a very specific BB and weight and it takes way too much effort to tune.  


Finally, Test the FPS before and after your new hop rubbers as some hop rubbers don't seal within your hop unit.  ALWAYS do this.

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