Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A&K M249

As of 4-6-08 I have received notification from Airsplat that an order was put in for our A&K M249. At this point it is unclear which exact model we will receive but in the grand scheme of things it is irrelevant as internals appear to be identical throughout the three model variants.

The delay in acquisition has been due to apperantly astronomical demand for this model. And I don't blame people, from the sound of things, there is a lot to like!

Arnie's review was more or less positive citing lots of positives with a smattering of negatives. Apperantly there are some issues and complaints such as some wobble in the foregrip and carry handle, but according to the reviewer it was over all an impressive offering especially considering the price point. ($250). To see Arnie's review click here.

There has been speculation that the foregrip across the model line will accommodate a full sized battery and of course we will be looking to do just that.

Additionally, the gear box allows for the relatively quick replacement of it spring and guide rod (If you have the inkling). By all accounts this is a gearbox that is interchangeable with V2 style gearbox parts. Although, if the gearbox is anything like the CA version, the positioning of the gears is not what you would see in a V2. Frankly, if this is true, it was a VERY prudent move to make as there are so very many V2 internal parts available.

Of course anyone in the market for a SAW style airsoft gun will have come across the usual suspects including (Most likely) the Classic Army version. The word on the Web is that A&K has (Not surprisingly) copied CA's design and internals. If this is true, then this excellent article on the CA M249 style gearbox will be quite helpful.

Another Classic Army Review can be found here.

Moving on to the A&K version, another interesting feature is the quick change barrel function. Now, in the realm of real firearms it is quite obvious why having the ability to swap out overheated barrels would be advantageous. In airsoft alas, the practicality is diminished. Although being able to more easily clear a jam can truly be a blessing. The down side is that there is the potential to damage the rather vulnerable hop up assembly. I.e. the Steyr AUG which is also endowed with a "Quick" barrel takedown feature and can suffer from this very problem. We will reserve judgment until closer inspection of the actual assembly. In the mean time we found this short clip on Youtube to help you get a better idea of the function we are talking about.

The SAW is really at its core a support weapon. That is it is intended to lay down suppressing fire and thus ROF will be an important part of this offering. Based on our findings online the ROF appears to be above average, not by much but above average. The fact that the M249 is equipped with a sound activated 2400 round box mag will definitely help in terms of volume of fire. But we wanted to see how it performed stock. Here is a clip we found that should demonstrate the M249's capabilities until we get our test model in the shop.

Of course a little fiddling and a larger battery will undoubtedly increase this. If we find the M249 to be as well liked in our shop as it is elsewhere, we might just take the time to go even higher with some upgraded wiring, re-enforced gearbox, probably a weaker spring and who knows maybe well go MOSFET.

There have also been some concerns about certain key parts in the M249 such as a trigger switch with an unnecessarily long throw and the box mag that was shoddily constructed. Airsplat has assured us that the model we will be getting is the latest model which hopefully will have addressed some or all of these issues. Obviously we wont know till its in our hands, but even if we do have to contend with some quirks, based on our research, I am confident that a little minor tweaking will bring things into true.

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