The TM revolvers
I would like to
Now Tanaka? Well
Tanaka call this
…sorry I had to
The new Tanaka revolvers utilise a system known as PEGASUS, which is the catchy
acronym for the
weird and strangely difficult to remember phrase: Progress, Effective GAS
Universal System. So what does it mean Jim? Sorry I’m a webmaster not
a ‘Japlish‘ instructor, so it means as little to me as it does to you.
terms this PEGASUS system is another fiendishly clever but hugely simple idea
– the gas and the BBs are stored in the cylinder. The cylinder contains a
simple spring loaded low-cap magazine affair and stores the gas. There are
actually two cylinders, one that spins around the other – the replica cylinder
(looks like the real steel), and a PEGASUS cylinder, that contains all the
‘worky bits’ inside that.
PEGASUS cylinder is fixed in place never moving, and the replica cylinder
revolves around this. As the external cylinder moves, the PEGASUS cylinder
feeds 1 BB into each shell space, as it revolves around with the trigger action.
When the BB reaches the top, a gas spurt moves the top loaded BB down the
barrel off into the real world for a short but happy life in search of some
poor sod on the opposing team. For a clearer view, I would highly recommend
checking out the full manual that I have scanned in for this review that you
can find here.
will have to get used to both charging the cylinder with gas, and loading
BBs with the speed-loader tool. Now I don’t know how funny the manufacturer
thought it was coming up with a catchy name such as ‘speedloader’, but the
tool is anything but speedy to use.
Loading Sadly because of the placing of the gas inlet valve
there isn’t quite enough room to get a standard gas cylinder near it. Tanaka
have therefore included a gas nozzle adapter, which you can see in the inset
photo. Now again, this thing requires great dexterity not to use, that’s the
easy part – he difficult thing is not to loose the tiny thing, this can be
cured by attaching the brass adapter to some sort of lanyard. Trust me, it’s
round small and you’re sure to loose it if you don’t keep it in the box all
the time, and as it’s the only one you get, you’ll need to look after it,
as your gorgeous M629 revolver is useless without it.
It really seemed
only fair to make a couple of movies, to show you this piece in action, I
mean video speaks louder than both words and pictures doesn’t it? The first
video is a demonstration of the trigger mechanism and the first part of the
‘double action’, and the second movie shows the functioning of the safety
mechanism and the second part of the ‘double action’.
Video’s are in WindowsMedia .avi format
Sadly my chrono is out on loan as I write this review, but then again my Chrombro
chrono really doesn’t like timing gas replicas (the gas discharge seems to
adversely affect the IR timing circuit). With a lack of technical equipment
to hand I had a look to see what I could find to hand. Handily a housemate
of mine is heavily into recycling, so there are plenty of spare drink cans
lying around. For this test I have chosen a can of ‘RedRooster‘ – some
sort of weird energy drink I gather… erm all I can say is that it’s not
to the improvised cokecan test. :) Placing the barrel of the 629 up
against the can, with a fresh 0.2gBB and loaded with HFC22 gas I let off a
round. You can see what was left of the can in the image here. For the record
a shotgun of the TM variety at point blank range will not break the can. The
M629 went clean through one side, and just through the other, but in a separate
test was unable to pierce the bottom of the can (which is a good thing).
We can therefore put the
power of the 6.5 inch M629 down to around 450fps with a 0.2g BB with HFC22
gas at room temperature (20degC). I have found that I can get about 2-3 BB
loads shot off without having to top up the gas. Please do note that the more
tweaked the performance, the less shots you’ll get per refill.
So why is it so powerful?
Well it’s simple, being of a simple non blowback design, with the gas feed
right behind the BB, all of the energy from the expanding gas is diverted
to moving the BB out the barrel. There is no obvious cool down, even when
testing the M629 in the British winter the performance is more than admirable.
Holy flying bungs Batman!
Another somewhat unintentional additional test of performance was that
when testing the M629 for review, I accidentally managed to shoot the red
‘safety bung’ out of the end of the barrel. Now that’s quite impressive, for
any replica. (NOTE you’re now half way through, time for that aforementioned
hot-dog and drink. Just make sure no-one’s parked outside the bank opposite
The 629 is a doddle to service, simply make sure you spray the O-rings in
the cylinder with plenty of silicon spray, as well as the rubber that meshes
between the cylinder and the barrel. I would highly recommend stripping the
629 down to it’s component parts about once or twice a year for a thorough
clean (more if you skirmish lots with it). I only say this as with the use
of HFC22 gas, better servicing leads to a longer service lifetime, it is by
no means a criticism of the replica itself.
use The Tanaka revolvers are designed to be used with a fixed
hop-up and 134a gas with 0.2g BBs. Here in the UK HFC134a is somewhat rare,
and because of low temperatures most people forfeit the disadvantages and
go for HFC22. Now this is where things get interesting. If you decide to use
HFC22, please do bear in mind that the added power of 22 means that you will
have to use a heavier BB. I would recommend anything from 0.2g-0.45g in weight,
without this added weight your shots will hook wildly with the excess hop
One advantage is that
with the fixed hop, your shots are more accurate, and more reliable. With
the use of 0.35-0.4g BBs and the fact that this replica comes with a 6.5inch
barrel and you have a very reliable and accurate backup pistol.
Well what can I say? I should think that the pictures speak for themselves,
in this matter. In terms of looks this is one of the best silver/inox replicas
I have seen that isn’t actually 100% metal.
quality: What’s it built of? Well parts of the frame are metal,
as is the trigger, and other working parts, the cylinder and the backsight
is metal too. So what’s left? The outer barrel, and parts of the receiver
are made of an ABS composite material.
(barrel/grip/receiver) The grip itself has the gold S&W
logo inset into it on both sides, and the right hand side of the body has
the S&W engraved into it, with ‘Tanaka works‘ marked below it.
On the frame itself just in front of the trigger you will also notice ‘Made
in Japan, Marcas Registradas, Smith & Wesson, Tanaka ASGK‘. On the
left hand side of the barrel plain an simply marked on it you’ll find ‘Smith
The quality of all the
marking is very good, and the Tanaka specific marks are barely noticeable.
Sadly I don’t have a real M29 to compare this replica to, but I think I wouldn’t
be out of order saying that this replica is almost indistinguishable from
the real steel. The only dead give away that it’s an Airsoft pistol is when
you look in the muzzle and find a 6mm barrel inset into it.
I can’t do a M29 review without mentioning “Dirty
Halley” (FYI for phonetic reasons in the translation from English
to Japanese Harry always seems to come out as ‘Halley’). I’m rather hoping
that most people have seen this film, as this 1971 Clint Eastwood classic
is often revered as a turning point in Clint’s career marking a ‘chasmic leap’
from such WW2 films as “Kelly’s
Heroes“, and spaghetti westerns like “Buono,
il brutto, il cattivo, Il“. For 1001 reasons this film went down
a hit in Japan, and for that reason there has always been a huge demand for
M29 revolvers, I suppose for much the same reasons that MP5’s and Stargate
SG-1 do here in the west. Anyway, enough banter from me, here’s a few screen
caps for you from my copy of the film.
Erm just to nitpick a bit here, the barrel length
of Harry’s M29 changes several times in the film for ‘effect’ purposes. In
some shot’s he has a 6.5 inch, in some it’s longer.
The ‘Good the Bad
and the Ugly’ features
hop Now there are good and bad parts to this, and it depends
entirely on which ethos you believe in (or which interpretation of the ‘Holy
BB Book‘ you read). With a ‘fixed hop’, you have a fixed hopup rubber.
This means that you need to adjust your BB weights to gain the range that
you want. Now as mentioned Tanaka designed this for use with HFC 134a and
0.2g BBs. If you increase the power using HFC22 you will need to increase
the BB weight or your shots will hook wildly.
Now not all of this is
bad news, the advantage of this fixed rubber though, is that your shots are
much more consistent simply because there’s less play in the system. Now to
be honest I much prefer upping the gas and the BB weight than messing with
tiny little hopup keys. Tanaka have put in a fixed hopup, most probably for
ease of design and to keep the price down, whatever their reasons I think
it was a wise choice. Don’t just buy a Tanaka and go skirmishing with it,
give it some loving care and practice with the weights so that you know what
to expect. Or to put it another way “…mans got to know his limitations”
(why thank you Harry!).
this is the ONLY disappointment with this replica. Now first a small
explanation – you have to remember that Tanaka are a lot like TOP
in a lot of respects, in that up until recently they didn’t intentionally
design their replicas for skirmishing and were mainly aimed for the collector’s
market. With the release of the new PEGASUS range, and specifically the M629
NATO, Tanaka would seem to have spotted a very obvious niche producing the
best Airsoft revolvers in town.
This is where the grip
harks back to the earlier days of Tanaka. The grip looks great, and holds
well, but the problem is that it’s hollow plastic, so feels a little weird
and makes an awful creak in my hands when held tightly that my TM SG1 foregrip
would be proud of.
Now again this problem
has a couple of easy solutions. You can either get hold of a Tanaka
Hogue Monogrip (as found on the M629 NATO), or you can
fit a real-steel grip. Handily Tanaka have kept the actual metal frame, and
hence the handle itself almost identical in construction to the original,
so real steel grips will fit (slight modifications may need to be made though..
but that’s why you own a Dremel don’t you?). This is great for anyone
in the US, but sadly for us bods in the UK we have to hunt high and low for
grips, as pistol firearms have been banned here since 1997. If anyone in the
UK finds a retailer with a hidden stash of M29 grips please do let me know.
Scott has sent in some information that MasterChief’s
in the UK now sell the grips for the M629! Here’s what they have and
can get (including RRP):
Amerian Legend (for round
butt) – SNR 00412 – £38.10
contoured wood grip with fingermould rubber insert (one piece – front and
Presentation – SN-L 03294 – £28.50
Rubber grip in classic shape (same shape as the ‘wood’ grips on Marui 6″
Gripper – SN-G 03292 – £33.90
Rubber fingermould grip (like on the Marui 4″ python)
Gripper Professional – SN-GP 03265 – £33.90
As above but bigger and chunkier
Compac (for round but) – SN-C 03297 – £31.50
little grips for concealment
You can find photos of
here . If
you are in the US, or are looking for another supplier, there’s one in the
US by the name of Gun
Accessory Supply, Inc. can also supply real Hogue grips, and will
A cheap remedy that I
may try is to fill the insides of the hollow grips with some sort of hardening
putty. I haven’t tried it myself (yet), but it’s cheaper than buying a new
grip. The list weight of this replica is around 800grams, now I seem to remember
that the real item weighs in at around one and a half kilos with a 6.5 inch
barrel, so adding mass to the grip will definitely bring bring it closer to
the weight of the real steel.
To do this, remove
The only two main
The M629 in this
Wednesday, May 9, 2001 9:37 AM Copyright 2001 ArniesAirsoft