The guys over at Dogtag Airsoft have loaned me a brand new WE M4 Open Bolt GBBR to review for them. Expect skirmish video, pictures and other review material in the coming weeks.
UPDATE: REVIEW ADDED
WE M4 Open Bolt Review
I was asked by the staff of Dogtag Airsoft if I would like to test and review the brand new WE M4 Open Bolt. I was a bit shocked at first I was getting this opportunity but I gladly accepted the offer. So now I bring to you a review on the new WE M4 Open Bolt.
The first time I saw the WE M4 I was amazed at the external quality of it. It looked great out of the box, no cheap looking plastic or metal parts here. When I went to pick it up I noticed how light it was compared to some of my past AEG M4's. The thinner pistol grip also caught my attention, felt odd at first after using those bulky AEG grips for so many years, but I quickly became accustomed to it.
During my time in the shop I got to test fire it. The recoil is definitely there, feels to stronger than the WE L85, on par with the WE G39 series, but much less than the WE M14.
WE did not skimp out on the externals. The WE M4 uses metal on all the parts that should be metal. It has the Safe/Semi/Full markings engraved into the lower receiver.
The hand guard, pistol grip, and stock all use high quality plastics. These parts are nicely textured, especially the hand guard. It's not too smooth, yet at the same time it's not overly textured like some other brands. It feels just right. The hand guards also feature heat shields. Not really required, but it's a nice realism touch.
The outer barrel is a 2 piece design, allowing you to change it from a standard M4 length down to a length that sits just past the front sight.
(Flash Hider shown not included)
The collapsible stock is adjustable to 4 positions. There is some wobble to it, just like most LE stocks. Honestly I didn't even notice it while I was skirmishing.
Both the front and rear sights are made of metal and are fully adjustable. The sight adjustment markings have also been engraved into the metal. The adjustment knobs themselves are plastic.
The fire selector features your standard Safe/Semi/Auto functions on the left side of the gun. When turned it locks solidly into place. Moving the switch takes a bit of force, which is better than having it too loose.
The trigger doesn't require a long pull for it to fire. It does have some resistance when you pull it, but pulling off rapid fire shots on semi is still easy to do. It makes a nice solid click once you've pulled the trigger.
The charging handle does take some effort to pull back, especially if you're accustomed to those found in AEGs which offer little resistance.
The forward assist button does work on this model. I pulled the bolt back a little from it's home position, then attempted to press the forward assist. It does indeed push the bolt forward. Just check the chamber before you do it though, last thing you want is to be jamming the bolt up against a jammed bb.
I've found using the bolt release to be very easy, and a hell of a lot of fun to use. From being able to send the bolt home or to lock it back it does it's job with ease. It doesn't take much force to press the bolt release, way easier to use than those found on the WE M14 and WE G39.
Mag release is a little stiff out of the box but I'd imagine it will wear down with use. It holds the mag solidly in the magwell, though you will need to make sure you give the mag a good tap. There's was a time I thought I seated the mag all the way into the magwell, but turns it didn't and the mag began to slide out. Not something you want in the middle of a game.
Sight dials work great out of the box. They lock solidly into place and don't take a lot of effort to turn.
The magazine has a capacity of 30 rounds. Gas efficiency is pretty good, you'll have no problem emptying the mag with gas to spare on semi auto. You should be able to dump the whole mag on full auto and not run out of gas, but the cooldown effect will definitely be kicking in.
The magazine also features a dry fire mode. Simply flip the switch on the top of the magazine to the rear and this will disable the lever that interacts with the bolt catch. This is a great feature for those who want to use a GBBR for filming, or for showing friends how to operate a GBBR for the first time.
Opening the WE M4 is insanely easy to do. Simply press the rear pin out (pins stay in the receiver, they won't fall out) and lift the back of the upper receiver. To take the bolt out just pull back on the charging handle.
To completely remove the upper receiver, push out the front pin.
The bolt appears to have been die casted. It has some marks on the left side that show it was ejected from a mold.
Close up on the trigger mech
To remove the buffer tube spring simply press down on the spring loaded pin that's holding it in.
The WE M4 shares most of it's compatibility with real steel parts. It will only accept RS pistol grips, AEG pistol grips won't work here. Handguards that require the use of a RS style delta ring should still be compatible with this. If you want to put any other type of RIS on this you'll need to make sure it's RS or GBBR compatible, and not AEG compatible. As for stocks most AEG stocks that use buffer tubes will still work on the WE M4.
The stock FPS on a full mag is about 440-450fps. After having a restricter installed to make this shoot under 400fps I headed up to CQB City.
With a total of 5 standard mags and 1 VN mag I had more than enough to last the day. Right at the beginning of the first game of the day I shot out 3 people with the WE M4. From there on out I was killing people left and right with the WE M4. I was using .25g bbs and left the hop-up alone. Accuracy was great, was easily hitting people with iron sights at ranges over 100 feet.
Playing with a GBBR is much different than using an AEG. It requires a different mind set. You can't just stand still and keep shooting hoping to hit someone, you need to conserve ammo. I found that it was best to only take shots if I knew it would hit someone. If I missed the sound of the gun was a dead give away of my location. I also found myself on the move the whole time, pushing up whenever I had the chance. The closer I could get to someone the better chance I had of hitting them.
The new Open Bolt conversion is a must buy for any WE M4 owner. I was so impressed by the performance I picked up one of these bad boys for myself. For those looking for realism this is a great gun to go with.
Helmet Cam footage from the game is WIP
You can see it in action in Milsim Junkies latest video at 0:44.
CQB CITY AIRSOFT ACTION JULY 10th 2011 (WE M4 OPEN BOLT SHOTGUN REVISION EXOSHIELD)