Project R700 - Building the Ultimate Airsoft Bolt Action Sniper Rifle Part #1 - The Base Upgrades
Looking at the advantages and drawbacks of different sniper platforms, which I will be writing a separate article on, I decided to build a gas sniper rifle. However, I don't want to just go for a green gas powered KJW m700, as typically gas guns are incredibly inconsistent depending on temperature. It gets pretty cold here in the UK, which means gas is often not the greatest power source.
I'll list the parts and everything I'm putting together at the end of the article, as well as where I got them from and links to the pages.
What I decided on was a VSR platform, purchasing a JG BAR-10 from Taiwangun for £88, but then I wanted to convert it to HPA, as HPA is far more consistent than gas and I already have a spring VSR. This would give me consistent power, as I can adjust the regulator when and where I need it, as well as the effortless and silent bolt pull. However, the HPA kit I want to get, the Wolverine Bolt system, is almost £500 and there's no way in hell I can afford that right now. Plus, at the time of writing, my local airsoft site is closed so there's no point stretching my finances for something I wouldn't be able to use for at least a few months. I'll save a bit and get that later. That'll be Part #2!
But this is about what I've actually done now, so moving on from the JG BAR-10 base, which I'm highly impressed with, comes the other upgrade parts.
The Action Army hop up chamber is an absolute must to anyone looking to build a VSR platform, as the stock hop up is too weak (the arm doesn't apply enough pressure) and can sometimes be lop-sided due to how the hop is adjusted from the side. The Action Army hop up chamber solves all of these problems, with hop up being changed from inside the mag well. This makes the hop up very difficult to adjust in the field, though if set up properly this shouldn't be a problem. I've never found it to be an issue with my other VSR which also has this item installed. The advantages of this however are that the hop up is applied directly from the top, giving an even distribution, and the hop arm is more than capable of applying sufficient pressure to lift even the heaviest of BBs. Overall, as I said at first, this is a must-have for any VSR build and I will never go without it.
Next up is the barrel. In my spring build I had a mostly Laylax and Springer Custom Works setup, so I decided to go full Maple Leaf in this one. I've heard and seen good things from the Maple Leaf Crazy Jet barrels, having installed one in my mk23, so I decided to go with one in this build. I bought a 428mm one, as the JG BAR-10 is the full size version, not the shorter Gspec. I'm hoping that this barrel will give me the range and accuracy I'm going to be demanding out of this platform once it's all built, but honestly it wasn't massively expensive, picking it up for €45 from Skirmshop. The inner barrel diameter is 6.04mm.
After the barrel, I'll talk about the hop rubber and nub. As I said before, I wanted to go full Maple Leaf for this build, as the Maple Leaf components work fantastically together. I bought three hop rubbers at different degrees of hardness, choosing the MR Hop rubbers and an Omega tensioner. The Omega tensioner is specifically designed to work with the Maple Leaf hop rubbers and the MR Hop rubbers are designed to emulate the effects of an R-hop, applying the hop evenly to the BB over a larger contact patch. The reason for buying the different hardness versions is due to the fact I will be running this with a regulator, meaning if I feel like it I can attend a skirmish with the rifle powered down to 1 joule. Admittedly this won't be too often, as I'll generally just run it all the way up at 2.3J most of the time, but flexibility is nice. I installed the blue, 70 degree rubber, as I plan on lifting heavy ammo, either .45s or .48s. If it comes down to it, I can always put the remaining ones in pistols, as all my TM pistols use VSR hop rubbers.
Now, the following items I didn't buy, as I already had them, but I'll include them anyway as they will be part of the build. They're not internal parts, but are important for the build nonetheless. I'll also try and list their prices and where you can get it or something like it.
The sling I use is a Warrior Assault Systems 2-point sling. I find this is plenty large enough for my large self, but it also allows me to make it tight to carry on my back and not bounce around everywhere. It features a pull tab that allows me to change the tightness of the sling in the field, so if I need to loosen it for some more movement, I can just pull the tab and it elongates. It's a fantastic piece of kit and I use it on all of my sniper rifles. It's not even that expensive either, which is just the cherry on top.
This next item is questionable, as I may not use it because it adds extra weight to the front of the rifle, but I am toying with the idea of using my ASG universal bipod on this rifle. This will allow me to deploy the rifle for prolonged periods of time when in a hide a the trade off of the rifle being a bit more heavy when not deployed. Honestly, it's not too heavy with it on and I'm used to running it on my m14 platform which is far heavier than the VSR platform.
Finally, I'll include one of the most important external items... the scope! I use a 3.5-10x50mm scope by PCS. While I've never needed to use it, it's an illuminated scope with parallax adjustment capabilities. All the dials can be adjusted without tools and the scope picture is clear. I didn't want to shell out hundreds for a real steel rifle scope, but I find that this is a fair middle ground that works fantastically on my other rifles. It's the same scope I use on my other VSR, and I use the same in the 40mm version on my m14.
All of this was surprisingly cheap and, honestly, this rifle is currently good enough to run in a skirmish. The JG BAR-10 comes at around 420fps on .2s (~1.6 joules) and with these upgrades listed above I reckon it would put out some nasty range with heavy BBs. All that remains is the Wolverine Bolt, however this is the part that also costs more than everything else combined. As I said, that will be in part #2 which will come up in maybe a month, probably more. I need my June paycheque first, maybe even my July one too!
Here are the components and where I got them, as well as what country the site is located in and the price:
JG BAR-10: Taiwangun (PL) - £88
Action Army Hop Unit: Skirmshop (NL) - €63 (I got it on sale at €57)
Maple Leaf Crazy Jet 428mm: Skirmshop (NL) - €55 (I got it on sale at €45)
Maple Leaf MR Hop: Skirmshop (NL) - €10 per rubber
Maple Leaf Omega Tensioner: Taiwangun (PL) - £6
Warrior Two Point Sling: UKTactical (UK) - £54 (on sale £40 as of writing)
ASG universal bipod: fire-support (UK) - £37
PCS 3.5-10x50mm Scope: Taiwangun (PL) - £61
Total cost so far (including price for parts I already had): ~£362