My newest designated marksman review is for the newest ACM M14's, this time made by CYMA, who are following up their hugely successful CM031 AK74, CM030 G18C electric pistol, and their excellent Thompson with what appears to be the best ACM M14 to hit the market. Now, I realize that's a big statement to make, especially with the Kart EBR coming out as well. But this one has some interesting features that I think you'll probably appreciate. I received this gun as a free review copy from Keith at RSOV, who I highly recommend as a friendly and reliable retailer. RSOV also gets the newest and best ACM's before anyone else except Gunner Airsoft and maybe CheckSixAirsoft, and has the full lineup of Dboys accessories. So, let's go ahead and take a look at this new China M14...
As always, let me provide you with a brief table of contents so that you know what you're looking at.
Table of Contents
Real Steel History
Accessories and Modifications
Pros & Cons
The Final Word
I have to say that I'm really very pleased with how this gun looks. The faux wood is very good; I'm really impressed with how good China faux wood looks. Unlike the Kart, it's not shiny, and looks much more realistic. In fact, the overall finish of the gun is much better than the Kart or the AGM; more on this later. It comes in a nice big M14 box, although I should mention that it comes with a China charger also. Fortunately I have tons of chargers, so that's not going to be a problem. Okay, so here's what you get:
The CM032 comes with the usual accessories, including a sling (which isn't the best quality), absurdly long barrel clearing rod, manual, battery, charger (which is a China charger if you get it from RSOV or Gunner, so if you buy from overseas, make sure you have a compatible charger for wherever you live). Nothing really special here, so I'm going to move on to discuss the real steel history.
Real Steel History
The M14 is the heir of the legendary M1 Garand. The famous WWII rifle unfortunately had several problems. Its eight round stripper clips could not be easily refilled during combat, it was large, heavy, and unwieldy, and the 30-06 ammunition was too bulky for soldiers to carry as much as might prove necessary. Various attempts were made to fix these problems, including the T20, T37, T44, T44E4 and E5, culminating in the M14. The M14 was designed to replace the M1 Garand, the M1 Carbine, the M3 Grease Gun, and the Browning Automatic Rifle. Yes, that's right, it was supposed to be a battle rifle, a carbine, a submachine gun, and a heavy squad support rifle.
While Springfield Armory is, in the airsoft world, the most well-known producer of M14's, it was also produced by Thompson-Ramo-Woodridge (TRW Inc), Harrington and Richardson Arms Co (H&R), and Winchester-Western Arms Division of Olin Mathieson (Winchester). Approximately 1,380,000 M14's were produced, but production stopped due to problems encountered in Vietnam. The gun was too long and heavy to be effectively used as a battle rifle, too light to handle selective fire (the muzzle would rapidly climb skywards when firing bursts), and too powerful to be an adequate SMG. More, the wood stock was given to thermal expansion in jungle climates, which affected accuracy.
However, the gun was not a complete failure. It has been adopted for use by snipers and Designated Marksman, in updated forms including the M21 SWS and the XM25. The USMC still uses an updated M14 for their DM's and some snipers. The gun was also made famous in the movie Blackhawk Down, in which SFC Randy Shughart uses an M14. The gun has since become beloved among airsoft snipers and DM's. Unfortunately, during the Clinton administration, the BATF declared the M14 receiver to be a machine gun, and almost 500,000 were destroyed. Tragedy! However, a semi-automatic version is available for sale to civilians courtesy of Springfield Armory.
So, let's take a look and see how the CYMA M14 compares to the other models out on the market, and to the real deal.
The appearance and feel of this gun is very good, on par with the TM in many ways, and better than the Kart M66 or AGM MP008. The finish is much cleaner, and you can tell that QC is much better with this gun than on the other ACM M14's. The Kart, for instance, is notorious for having a shiny stock; this one is nice and dull, and looks very much like a wood stock would. The color is nice, although I'd prefer it to be a bit darker so it would look more like a stained walnut. I might try sanding it with coarse sandpaper, using some brown and black latex paint, finish, and then soaking it in wood finish to see what it looks like. We'll just have to see... Anyways, here's a shot of the gun:
I want to remark that the massive orange flashhider is just a quick job done by RSOV to get it to clear customs. They won't all be like that.
There's also more metal parts, including the front gas tube and the buttplate is full metal. Even the battery door is metal, which is a noted improvement over the Kart, which used crappy shiny plastic. Here's the buttplate:
The receiver is completely blank, with no trades whatsoever, not even a Made In China. I'm pretty pleased about that, although I plan on engraving trades on the receiver myself. The finish on the bolt, bolt cover, receiver, and sights is much better than on the Kart also, and even, dare I say it, a hair better than the AGM, which in my opinion had much better finish than the Kart. There's no rusty parts, no chipped or blotchy paint, and the build material seems to be decent quality metal, not pot metal like the Kart. As an aside, I don't know why it's called pot metal, since most pots these days are made out of much better metal... Okay, back on track.
Another feature of this gun that I really like is that the front sight castle nut on the flashhider is turnable. I haven't, as yet, managed to figure out how to use it to get the flashhider off, but it does adjust, which is really nice. Here's what I'm talking about:
The heatshield is another thing that I really like on this gun. It's still plastic, but this time it's made out of matte black plastic, instead of "Come and Shoot Me" shiny plastic like on the Kart. It's also very durable, and much more solid, since they seem to have used better quality and thicker plastic than the Kart. Here's a video demonstrating what I'm talking about:
I also want to mention that it still sounds very good when you :censored2: it, which was one of the major draws to the Kart. If you don't own an M14 yet and you get this gun, I'd expect you to spend a bunch of time cocking it just to hear how sweet it sounds. Makes a nice cha-chunk metallic noise. The sling mounts are also very solid, and don't move around, so there's no worries about squeaking.
The gun, unfortunately, does not come with a scope mount; I hope to see this addressed in future versions, since we of course must have scope mounts to mount our scopes. Heft is very good; this is a big gun, and eminently suited to use as a Designated Marksman's Rifle. Plus M14's are incredibly sexy... Yea. Fortunately I have an aftermarket scope mount that I got from ehobbyasia, which you saw in the first picture. The hopup dial feels really solid and nice, and is in the mag well.
The rear sight is fully adjustable for elevation, and looks much better than on the Kart or AGM models, although it doesn't adjust for windage. That's a bit unfortunate, although that feature never worked on my Kart. The vertical adjustment is smooth and easy, however. It also has the good old M14 selector switch, which clicks on and off quite neatly. I expect it to have the same problems with the semi-auto cutoff breaking off eventually, but we'll have to see.
The trigger assembly is full metal, as is the safety, which clicks on and off quite nicely. I want to note that there's also a catch for the trigger guard, so it doesn't fold up easily. You insert a screwdriver and pry it up, as is illustrated in the manual. Since it locks into place like that, the gun feels much more secure. The other thing that helps this gun feel more sturdy is the fact that, unlike previous M14's, it has a setpin in the gastube, which you unscrew with a small Torx wrench. Then the whole gas tube assembly slides down the barrel, allowing for easy disassembly, although when the set pin is tightened, it feels very very solid. Here's a reference picture:
The flashhider is solidly built from metal, although I don't see any easy way to remove it. The outer barrel feels very solid as well. The plastic stock feels as solid or better than the Kart or AGM, and there's no flex. I'd say that it's probably the best ACM M14 on the market in terms of appearance and build quality, and not too far behind the TM in that regard either, despite the lack of trademarks. Finally, unlike the Kart or AGM, this gun has a functional bolt catch, which I think is a nice touch. Of course, it's nothing compared to the new G&G M14 with walnut stock, but still, it's a very nice rifle. Okay, so let's briefly discuss the internals.
I'm sure you're all wondering about the internals. This gun is reported to have a number of differences from the other ACM models. But, in order to find out how that works, we need to disassemble the rifle. First things first, we remove the magazine and clear the gun. Next, we have to unscrew the set screw from the gas tube, and slide that back. Next, we need to fold up the trigger guard using a screwdriver through the hole in the back of the trigger guard, and then we can pull it out of the stock.
Then we can just lift the meat of the gun out of the stock. Here's a quick picture of the gearbox. I want you to note that this gun comes with metal bushings, not nylon. That's a nice touch.
The bolt spring guide is very clean, and looks a bit different from the Kart and AGM. The bolt cover is also cleanly finished, and looks very good. Following the M14 disassembly guide, you can finish taking this gun down from there. One more brief thing that I want to note is that this gun comes with a stock 6.04mm brass tightbore, which is nicely crowned (despite the orange paint from the flashhider paintjob):
The barrel is also compatible with aftermarket tightbores, which is a nice change, although since it has a stock tightbore, I don't plan on getting another until I get around to getting a dbcustom barrel for it. This gun also has a fully TM compatible gearbox with nylon fiber piston, small v.7 spur gear, steel gears, and decent shimming. I wasn't super impressed with it's trigger response with the stock battery, which is a large 8.4v 1200 maH NiCd with a small Tamiya connector. I plan on installing a 9.6v small type battery. However, I just tried another 8.4v Intellect small-type battery, and it worked great.
This gun appears to be a full TM clone, as advertised, unlike the AGM or Kart. The battery connection is standard, unlike the reversed polarity wiring on the AGM, so it can take other batteries besides the stock battery. Overall, I'm very impressed with this gun. About the only thing I would do to it would be to regrease it. Eventually I might upgrade the internals and install a M120, but I like it pretty well stock for now. Knowing me, I'll have modded or upgraded it within two weeks of writing this, however. No gearbox pics, because my camera is out of batteries, but it's a standard v.7 gearbox, so nothing terribly special there. It does come with metal bushings, as we mentioned earlier.
I really should stop doing these, but hey. Like any AEG, you just have to insert the magazine, :censored2: the charging handle (well, you don't have to :censored2: it, but it sounds cool), remove the safety by pushing it forward out of the trigger guard, aim the gun, and fire. Pretty simple, as usual. But, how about performance? How does it perform?
I have to say, I'm truly impressed with the performance of this gun. First thing that I did was a quick coke can chrono. This gun is easily capable of penetrating both sides of the can, but only puts a serious dent in the bottom.
It chronos in at 336 fps, which is pretty good after 5000 rounds have been fired through it, since that means that's about what it shoots when it's been broken in. The 340 advertised is probably pretty fair. The real test is accuracy. As usual, I'm setting up my test in controlled conditions, with sandbag stabilization. I've cleaned the hopup bucking and barrel thoroughly, and made sure to leave an even layer of silicone lube in the barrel to maximize performance. Okay, so, here's a 10 shot grouping at 100 feet:
As you can see, the tightbore really has a huge effect; this is much better than the Kart or AGM by about an inch. That's just under a 4" grouping, although it looks tighter. After hearing about Darklite's adventures, I also tried shooting ketchup packets, and can hit them every time with my scope from 60 feet. Not too shabby. The CYMA SOC16 has also been confirmed, for those of you who like shorter guns. Okay, so what sort of accessories and modifications can you do here?
Accessories and Modifications
Well, first off, it's an M14, so you shouldn't do that much. The stock has a hole for a swivel stud or bipod in the front, and it can also accept various kits, so you could put on M14 RAS, scope mounts, leather swings, etc. It's also fully compatible, so basically anything you could do to a TM, you can do to this gun. You can install any number of upgrade parts, and it even takes the aftermarket barrels that the other ACM M14's didn't.
Its an M14.
Full metal receiver, with really hot cocking handle action.
Nice solid stock, full stock configuration.
100% clone of the Marui.
Accepts v.7 gears.
tightbore barrel, 500 mm long, 6.04mm inner diameter.
Adjustable rear sight.
Metal Hi-cap magazine which works quite well.
Solid magazine catch, no wobble when mag is inserted.
Functional bolt catch.
Best finish of any ACM M14.
Metal gas tube.
Secure construction with trigger guard latch and gas tube set screw.
Metal battery cover.
Marui compatible hopup that's better than the other ACM M14 hopups
It's an M14, so its pretty long and heavy.
Stock battery doesn't yield very good trigger response.
Requires modification to fit larger batteries.
Selector switch, as with all M14's is probably weak.
It doesn't have a walnut stock.
I want to thank Keith at RSOV for sending me this gun for review. It hasn't gotten nearly the kind of hype it should have with Nachosdesign2 gone, but suffice it to say that this is the best ACM M14 on the market. It is available currently from www.rsov.com and www.gunnerairsoft.com. Average cost is around 150-180 USD shipped to the door, although I expect this to go down once U.S. retailers start to bring these in in containers, since they range from 90-100 USD in Hong Kong. This is the most expensive M14 clone to date, but it's also much higher quality.
The Final Word
My final word on this gun is that it's definitely worth a buy if you're in the market for an M14, or even if you're just looking for a long AEG or DMR. While it's still almost as expensive as the TM at the moment if you're ordering overseas, I'd expect to see it be priced around 130-140 in the near future, and it comes with some nice internal features that the TM doesn't. And, it's fully upgradeable, comes with a stock tightbore and metal bushings, and a great hopup unit. The G&G also offers those features, but it's much more expensive also. This new offering from CYMA is great, even in stock form, and I have no reservations about recommending it.
Edited by Dragon M., 11 November 2007 - 01:48 PM.