I kind of backed into discovering airsoft guns just about a month ago. I was online looking for toy guns and came across a lot of airsoft sites. Since I was looking for toy guns (for my son), not really for airsoft guns, I just bought a bunch of cool-looking, cheap spring guns. While they were on the way, I started reading a little bit about was airsoft was about. By the time they arrived, my son and I were ready to shoot each other with plastic bbs.
He and I have played with toy guns for years (admittedly, I am just a big kid), but now I think we are ready to move up a little. Of course, most of the guns that we bought, none more expensive than $20, were pretty poor quality, but we got a few that we could shoot each other reliably at about 50 to 75 ft. (and we do have goggles and masks and we wear them when we play). Now that we've been bitten, we want to move up.
I found and ordered a couple of LPEGs that are supposed to arrive today. I'm still trying to keep my investment low to make sure that we like playing, but I also don't want to discourage my son by only having poor quality guns. So basically, my question for you folks is what might be the next step up.
We will primarily be playing in wooded terrain. We live on a 140 acre farm - it has about 50 acres of wood and the rest is open hayfields. We also have areas with lots of buildings (barns and such) to play around. As far as I can tell right now, we won't be looking to play in a competitive nature, but mostly just when his friends come over. I would like to be able to pick up 5 or 6 decent guns eventually so that several kids can play at once. My son and his friends are in the 12-14 year old age range.
Most of the shooting distances will be at 100' or less in the woods. Around the buildings where we play, it might be longer than that, but I really don't know what an expected range for an airsoft gun is, either. Right now (in winter) there are some longer shots because of less vegetation, but thats only a few months out of the year.
We don't have any airsoft stores anywhere near us, so we are pretty much limited to department store stuff and online. I've read that there are several online places that are a bit shady, so I welcome any recommendations of where to purchase as well.
Here's a couple of specific guns that I have questions about: My son really likes the looks of either the M4 or a SCAR. The LPEG that we have ordered is an M4, but I'm hoping to pick up a better AEG SCAR in the next couple of months. Given my circumstances as listed above, is it reasonable to think I could get one for $200 or less? I think I've seen a D-boys for that price or less, but honestly so many of them run together I can't quite keep them straight. Any recommendations for this?
Secondly, I'm a fan of the M36 and the M14. One of the cheap springers we got was a Double Eagle M36 (or it may say M41 or M85 on the side, I can't remember) and I'm really impressed with it, for a spring gun. It was easily the best of the bunch that we got. I've been looking at a JG M36C, and they look available in the $120 to $150 range. Is this a good "next step up" from where I'm at now? Any other comparable items.
Finally, we were at Dicks Sporting Goods over the weekend and looked at their selection. Several pretty cool looking guns, but seemed expensive and I couldn't figure out who the manufacturer really was. They had a Firepower M14 for $100. After we got home, I searched for some information about it, including here, and it looks like it is either maybe a Cybergun or a Cyma, but I can't tell for sure. I have found versions of it for sale for about $50 that claim it shoots in excess of 300 fps, but I can tell you I don't know what to believe.
All of this said, I'm willing to spend some bucks, but overall I would rather have 5 or 6 servicable, lower grade guns than 1 or 2 high quality guns, because as I mentioned before, I would like to be able to equip his friends with guns (and eye/face protection) when we play. The guns will probably see relatively low usage, but again, I don't want to just buy junk.
Sorry for the long post, and I apologize if I've missed some things when I was searching. I'm trying to learn as fast as I can, but could definately use some guidance.
Thanks for the help.