Alright, my new Chinese clone Kart M66 (M14) has finally arrived, after much hassling with postal services having problems. But, without further ado, she's here, and ready to be upgraded to DMR standards. Although this gun has since been supplanted by the new AGM MP008, I'm still going to offer a full picture review and lots of disassembly and modification pics. I'm going to take you through the steps of modifying this gun, as I get the parts, and hopefully it will be similar enough to the AGM model that it will be useful for them as well. However, to date, the Kart is the only fully upgradeable M14 clone available, pending confirmation on whether the MP008 can be upgraded. So, on to the review:
The Kart M66 M14--DMR project
The M14 has long held a special place in many of our hearts as one of the most beautiful guns out there. The M14 is, without question, my dream gun, but I never had the funds to purchase a TM or G&G M14, which are among their most expensive models. Finally, my dream came true; the Chinese manufacturers released a cheaper clone of the M14, enabling me to get it and begin my DMR project. After much hassling with my bank, which screwed up my funds transfer the first time, and the post office, which didn't deliver the package, but also didn't leave me a notice that I could come pick it up, I finally managed to get the box. Now at this point, I'd heard that the Kart had a lot of lemons, although nobody on ASR seems to have any hard information as to what the problems were. So, here's what I've found out...First Impressions
Real Steel History
I finally got the M14 from www.gunnerairsoft.com
, and upon receiving the package, I'm amazed at how big the box is. Its the biggest box I've ever gotten, perhaps because the gun comes fully assembled. When I open up the box, I only have one thought: "Wow, that is a GORGEOUS rifle." Maybe its that I've always had a soft spot for the M14, and the fact that I do love wood stocks--even if they're just well done imitation wood. Maybe its the full-metal receiver with working cocking handle. Its certainly not the shiny black plastic of the upper barrel cover. I'll immediately remedy that with some nice flat black paint. Alright, here's a picture of what you see when you open it up:
And yes, its backlit because its so heavenly...Ok, I'm kidding, but I love M14's! The gun contains no trades, except for the "Made In China" on the left side of the gun. I'll be remedying that as well eventually. The hicap magazine is mostly metal, and fits really snugly into the gun. Hopup adjustment is in the usual spot for an M14, and clicks nicely. Here's some pictures of the magazine:
Alright, so now lets pull the gun out and see what it looks like up close.appearance:
Here's what it looks like:
I'm absolutely in love with this beast. It's just gorgeous. For those of you who don't like wood, there are also OD and matte black versions available, although I'm keeping my in wood, since its easy to paint it OD or matte black, but I like the wood. It looks really good, especially after I flattened the various plastic pieces, and the attention to detail is actually pretty solid for a Chinese gun. I've had to touch up a few spots where it was missing paint, and the bolt-catch doesn't work (which is an easy fix, requires the insertion of small spring), and I've oiled the moving parts, but so far, I'm really pleased. But why do I love this gun so much? It's not just for its dashing good looks, I also appreciate the history of the gun.Real Steel History
picture courtesy of www.world.guns.ru
As many of you know, the M14 is the heir of the legendary M1 Garand. The famous WWII rifle unfortunately had several problems. Its eight round clips were very difficult to refill 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. Here's a picture of the Garand:
While Springfield Armory is, in the airsoft world, the most well-known producer of M14's, it was also produced by Thompson-Ramo-Wooldridge (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 and other manufacturers. Here's a picture of a USMC M14 DMR:
So, how does this airsoft replica feel?Feel
The gun contains a lot of metal, and newer models are 98% metal, including the gas tube, and other plastic parts on the version that I have. It is quite heavy, and feels very solid, with no flex in the stock. The magazine fits perfectly, and yes, the full metal cocking handle sounds GREAT. When you first get it, you will spend at least half an hour just cocking it incessantly. This realistic and great sounding noise makes magazine reloads a LOT more fun. The full metal buttplate is nice, and the finish of the gun is pretty good. Not perfect, but definitely very nice.
As for handling, the gun IS pretty long, and handles very much like a sniper rifle. It has a nice heft to it, and is going to be absolutely ideal for a DMR platform. The only thing that I miss is that it doesn't come with a scope mount, so I'll have to buy one to fit my T168 RI scope onto it. The new AGM MP008 does come with a scope mount included. Oh well...Build Quality
Well, the build quality is actually pretty good externally. Most of the gun is metal, and the plastic stock is very solid. The gas block and other shiny plastic pieces are less likely to be terribly durable, so I'll eventually coat them with some clear nail polish or lacquer to harden them a bit more, and then paint over it again. The loops for a sling are solidly built, although a couple are a bit squeaky, which I'll remedy with a bit of lube. The hopup dial feels really solid and nice, and is in the mag well. Here's a picture of the hopup switch:
The rear sight is fully adjustable with nice metal adjustment wheels, although I can't get the horizontal adjustment to work. Here's a picture of the vertical adjustment wheel, and the now fixed bolt-catch. I took a spring from a clicky pen, cut it down, and put it in the little holes that are provided for a spring. Nice and easy. To get the bolt-catch out, use a nail and put it in the little hole on the muzzle side of the catch, push a bit, and then use pliers to pull the hinge out. Then insert spring, and put the hinge back in, and voila, you're done! Anyway, the picture:
The other side has the fire selector, which can be set at full or semi-auto. Now as with the TM, if you use upgraded gears, the semi-auto cutoff is going to wear off, so you won't be able to use it anymore. However, the selector switch is full metal, and feels fairly solid. Here's a picture:
The trigger assembly is full metal, as is the safety, both pictured here:
And here's what it looks like when you've cocked the bolt:
I think I'm going to paint a fake bullet in there, just for kicks. The gun also comes with a metal buttplate, which covers the spot where you insert the battery. Here's a picture of that:
There's also a Weaver rail for attaching a bipod or laser or something in the front, and it has the sling swivel on the backside of it, so it won't get in the way of a laser or a bipod. Hooray! Here's the picture of that:
Finally, the flashhider and muzzle are all solidly built from full metal, and look very good. Here's a picture:
Alright, now lets open her up. You first have to remove the trigger guard, which you do by pulling down on the trigger guard so it folds out towards the muzzle of the gun, as so:
I then removed the trigger guard by pulling straight down on it. This will allow us to start removing the barrel, gearbox, and receiver from the stock. Here's the trigger guard removed:
We next need to remove the heatshield (easily done, so I didn't take a picture), and then push forward on the clampy type business at the front of the stock, here:
This will allow us to remove the stock. We'll need to unplug the cord running from the motor into the battery compartment. Here's the stock removed:
The disassembly is exactly like the TM M14 disassembly. We first remove six screws from around the hopup, which allows us to remove the bolt guide:
Next we remove the bolt, by twisting it around and pulling it out:
We then unscrew four screws to access the inner barrel, which is the same diameter as the MP001 in outer diameter, so it will be upgradeable with Madbull inner barrels or deescustoms sniper rifle barrels. It's brass, however, and reasonably tight stock:
Here's the outer barrel and bolt detached:
And a picture of the inner barrel and hopup unit:
We now need to detach the bolt catch, by using a thin screwdriver or nail or something to push out the bolt pin. This allows us to access the screw that holds on the upper receiver. Here's the bolt catch removed:
And the upper receiver removed:
There's a little metal clamp thing, that fits over the the exposed nozzle, and slips into a groove on one side. I had troubles figuring out where that went when reassembling, so I thought I'd pass it on to you. Next we remove the pin that holds on the lower receiver (its the tiny silver piece in the picture, I put it back in the lower receiver so you can see where it is easier:
We're next going to detach all the wiring going to the motors, and then turn our attention to the fire selector knob. Here's how that looks:
And here's it removed (it requires a 2.5 torx wrench to remove the little screw in the side.
Next we remove the rest of the selector assembly, by unscrewing two small screws:
We also can remove the metal plate on this side, and take off the safety switch. There's a little spring and little silver metal piece that makes the safety click; don't lose them. They fit into the little two notches on the side. Sorry, no picture, my camera died before I could take it. Now we flip the gun over. Remove that big plate on the side, as so:
Then remove the two arms, making sure to note how they're supposed to go. Here's the first one removed.Function
Like any AEG, you just have to insert the magazine, remove the safety (push it forward to the outside of the trigger guard), set your fire selector switch to full or semi auto (full auto has the lumpier end down, semi has it up), aim the gun, and pull the trigger, and the gearbox and other mechanical delights do the rest. Oh, and don't forget to cock the gun after inserting the magazine. You don't HAVE to, but it sounds so cool... Well, on to the firing test.Performance
I'm going to start with stock performance, and add upgraded performance as I get the upgrades put into it. Stock, it fires about 330 fps with .2g bb's, easily penetrating one side of a coke can, but not the other. Its actually a lot quieter than I had thought it would be, certainly much quieter than my UTG MP5, for comparison. And no, I refuse to do any comparisons to other AEG's. This is not a thread for comparing this clone to everything else under the sun. There have been reports of lots of misfeeds, but I haven't had a single misfeed yet from the 10 mags I've fired (2550 shots), although I may pop a sector chip in anyway. I'm getting about 4"-5" groupings from 100 feet with iron sights, so its accurate enough--I suspect the longer inner barrel helps quite a bit. I'd say the maximum effective range is about 150-170 feet. I refuse to drop this gun since its twice as much as the MP001, and I'm worried about the durability of the top plastic piece, but as long as you treat it with respect, and do the lacquer or epoxy mod on the plastic, it will hold together just fine. I'll skirmish test it and have results up within the next two months.Skirmish test:
My first skirmish with this gun turned out very well. It's quite accurate out past 100 feet, and even without upgrades, it works quite well for a DM role. It's pretty heavy though, so it's definitely not a CQB weapon. ROF isn't super fast with the stock motor, but it's not supposed to be a spray and pray weapon anyway. Overall, I am quite satisfied with the skirmish. I was able to get some good shots out to 160 feet, although it wasn't very reliable past that range.Accessories:
This gun does have nice iron sights, but it doesn't have a scope mount installed, so if you want to mount a scope (I do, for DM purposes), you'll have to buy a scope mount. It comes with a bottom Weaver rail for a bipod or other accessories (I'll have to pick up another Harris bipod). The internals are for the most part clones of the TM, although the gears are not TM M14 size, but rather standard V2/V3 size, so you can install many upgrade parts. The gun comes with a single magazine and nothing else. I have no word about magazine compatibility, but I WILL be getting a TM lowcap to test. You may want to pick up the leather sling as well. I can't think of any other accessories that you'd need, so I'll leave this section at that.Modifications:
You'll want to epoxy or lacquer the barrel cover to make it stronger, and paint all the plastic pieces flat black. You can modify the bolt catch to make it functional, and you can remove the plastic pieces inside the stock to fit a larger battery pack. I'll be installing a new motor (EG1000, or better), better batteries than the crappy stock battery, steel bushings, shims, guarder v2/v3 steel gears, SP150, new tappet plate, teflon tape in the hopup, custom tightbore inner barrel, since the TM inner barrels are slightly too large to fit in the outer barrel, according to reports, polycarbonate piston and new cylinder head, new spring guide, and a scope mount to fit my Reticle Intensified scope.
Alright, the gears are standard v.2/v.3 gears which say xyt on the side, with plastic bushings. So, you'll need metal bushings (I'm using Systema oilless bushing, shims, and a Guarder v. 3 steel gear set). This also means you need a v. 3 piston. I replaced mine with a Systema polycarbonate piston and ball bearing piston head. However, the spring guide is v. 7, and won't fit a v.3 spring guide. I replaced mine with a Systema brass spring guide and an SP150. I also replaced the stock motor with an EG1000, although I need to get a new barrery--the 9.6v one that I got doesn't fit in the back. So, I'm shooting for a 8.4v battery, I guess. I electrical taped the piston head so I get a better seal, and will be working on tightbore eventually.
The inner barrel is 500 mm long, and is smaller than the aftermarket TM tightbores. However, an M324 inner barrel will fit, which means that you can get a dbcustom tightbore. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org
Its an M14. 'Nuff said.
Full metal receiver, with really hot cocking handle action.
Nice solid stock, full stock configuration.
Well cloned; solid copy for the most part of the Marui M14.
Accepts standard gears.
Nice long M14 length barrel, 500 mm long, 6.08mm inner diameter.
Modified v.7 gearbox, which is solid enough to handle up to a SP120.
Adjustable rear sight.
Metal Hi-cap magazine which works quite well.
Solid magazine catch, no wobble when mag is inserted.
Price--It's one of the cheapest M14's available, and is almost entirely TM compatible.
It's an M14, so its pretty long and heavy.
Plastic outer parts are shiny, and probably not too durable.
Plastic tappet plate.
Dummy bolt-catch (which can be easily modded to work)
Occasional misfeeds on many guns.
Weak stock battery and motor.
Hopup needs teflon and other tweaking.
Can't fit Marui inner barrels without modification.
Requires modification to fit larger batteries.
Plastic battery cover.
Selector switch is reported to be fairly weak.
Switch assembly may require a relay to keep it from burning out when firing lots of bursts.
No trades except for MIC.
Thanks to buddy-rich from Arnies for pointing out many of the problems that need fixing on this gun.Ordering
Well, I got mine from www.gunnerairsoft.com
, but its since been replaced by the AGM, which has better stock performance and quality control, according to reports, and I have no idea where to get more. Hopefully the AGM models are also upgradeable like this one, although if its like the MP001, chances are many of the parts will NOT be upgradeable. Oh well... Anyway, it should cost about 130 USD new in box before shipping, and is available in black and OD as well as wood. If anyone knows where, go ahead and post.Conclusion
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that most of the rumors about this gun being so bad that it wasn't worth purchasing were just that--rumors. The gun looks, sounds, and feels phenomenal, and its cosmetic problems are easily fixed. Stock performance is reasonable, and the gun can (and will) take heavy upgrades. The only thing I wish it had was a scope mount, but they're not terribly expensive. All in all, I'm quite satisfied, and will spend many a happy hour upgrading this gun. Keep an eye out for updates as they arrive, and forgive me if I double post when I get the updates in to let you know that I've updated. And, to close things out, a picture of some of my Chinese clones: