Date product posted
Fri November 2, 2007
Well R-10 XM8
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Table of Contents:
Real Steel History
Gun first impressions
Preparing gun for firing
Real Steel History:
The XM8 is a developmental U.S. military designation and project name for a lightweight assault rifle system that was under development by the United States Army from the late 1990s to early 2000s. The Army worked with the small arms manufacturer Heckler & Koch (H&K) to develop the system to its requirements in the aftermath of the OICW contract, for which H&K had been a subcontractor to ATK. Although there were high hopes that the XM8 would become the Army's new standard infantry rifle, the project was put on hold in mid 2005, and was formally cancelled on October 31, 2005.
However, despite reports to the contrary, the XM8 is not dead. In July 2007, the US Army announced a limited competition between the M4 carbine, FN SCAR, HK416, and the previously-shelved HK XM8. Ten examples of each of the four competitors will be involved. Each weapon will fire 6,000 rounds in an "extreme dust environment." The purpose of the shoot off is for assessing future needs, not to select a replacement for the M4.
Real-steel H&K XM8
I obtained this gun from www.airsplat.com for the purposes of testing and reviewing. They are the only retailer that I have seen who carries this unique gun, including stores based in Hong Kong. Airsplat has it priced in at $84.95, before shipping. If you order more than $150 worth of products, shipping is free, although their shipping prices are fair otherwise.
Less than 48 hours after ordering, the gun arrived on my doorstep, in perfect condition. That is a testament to Airsplat's improved focus on customer service, as well as customer satisfaction.
The box that the R10 arrived in is matte black with tan writing, with the image of the XM8 on the front, and the whole package weighs about 7 lbs. The box has a lot of information printed on it, stating that it is the Well R10, has changeable hop-up, and my personal favorite, that it is a battery operated blaze away gun. I eagerly tear open the box to see what lies within!
Included in the box are the gun, mock red-dot sight, one hi-cap magazine, an 8.4v 1100mah NiMH mini type battery, 8.4v 300mah output charger, very cheap sling, cleaning/unjamming rod, the usual bag of cheap bbs, and a 1 page fold out manual. The manual actually has some helpful diagrams for stripping the gun, although it is quite self explanatory.
Gun first impressions:
The gun isn’t as heavy as I initially expected it to be. It weighs in at 4.75 lbs with battery installed, but no bbs loaded. It appears to be constructed entirely of plastic. The first thing I want to check is the red-dot sight, and I am disappointed as soon as I pick it up. Alas, it’s not actually a red dot sight; only a tube with a ghost ring setup at the end, and red coated lenses. This really disappoints me, as the advertising on Well’s website stated that it had an included red dot sight. The sight is removable, however, and has a standard picatinny rail underneath, so you can mount your own sight. We’ll touch on the sights more later in the review. The body looks good, but let’s have a closer inspection.
The externals of this gun can be summed up in one word: plastic. From the butt to the muzzle, and everything in between, all you find is plastic. Now, in the R10's defense, the actual gun’s external metal content is very low, and the replica has metal in the important spots. The metal parts consist of the trigger, outer barrel, and the assorted body pins. The fire selector switches are made of strong plastic. They click with little difficulty into the firing positions and they will not fall out of position. It is a little bit difficult to get the gun into semi, but I'll touch on that more later. The plastic on the gun averages in at 3mm thick, with reinforcing ribs in all necessary spots. The finish is smooth, and feels good in your hands. The gun has very little flex, no creaks, and the finish of decent for the price. There is a little bit of paint overspray on the stock, where the black cheekrest meets the lower stock. It’s not that noticeable, but I am a perfectionist, so I notice everything. The paint finish is a little glossy, especially on the black pieces, but it can be remedied with some flat black krylon spray paint. The tan doesn't look bad, and works well in my play environment. The stock is retractable, and extends to each of it’s five settings with a satisfying click. To extend or retract the stock, you must first push the button indicated below.
Stock adjustment button
The magazine release is made of plastic, but is a tactical style, with side levers attached to the main lever. This allows you to expel a used magazine with your trigger finger, instead of the non firing hand’s thumb.
The hop-up adjuster is located under the mock bolt cover. To access it, you must pull back the mock charging handle, which is ambidextrous, just like a G36.
The gun has integrated sling mounts, and can be used ambidextrously. The front sling mounts are built into the upper handguard, while the rear is built into the top of the stock. They appear strong enough to support the R10’s light weight.
Front sling mount
Rear sling mount
The stock sight is more or less useless at anything other than extreme CQB ranges. It is merely a plastic tube, with a smaller lens at the front, which causes a pseudo ghost ring effect. This is ok for CQB, but you will have no real accuracy at woodland range. The sight is plastic, with a nasty seam line along the whole thing. My suggestion is to ditch it, and get a different sight. Luckily, it is easily removable by unscrewing the two thumb screws on the left side. The sight is glued together, but I suppose you could open it up and install a functional red dot setup inside the shell.
Stock sight picture
As mentioned earlier, the gun has a built in scope mount underneath the mock red dot sight. This is a very functional addition, but if you plan on putting your own optics on the R10, ensure that the point of aim is at least 3/4” higher than the mounting base. The mount is very low, and the carrying handle may get in the way. I’ve found that a BSA red dot sight fits and functions perfectly, and in my opinion, looks awesome.
BSA red dot in place
The flash hider is made of orange plastic, and is threaded 14mm positive. This means you can fit any 14mm + mock suppressor on it, provided it is smaller than 1.5” in diameter, in order to fit in the handguard. You can fit a larger silencer, but you will need to cut notches in the handguard to make it fit.
Orange flash hider
Flash hider removed
Flash hider removed, top view, showing how far back in the handguard the muzzle is.
Overall, the externals on the gun are decent. The paint is good, the body feels solid, and it is quite comfortable to hold. The only downsides I can see are a nasty seam, quite noticeable visibly, but not uncomfortable to hold, and the incorrect placement of the pistol grip base. The seam line extends on the entire perimeter of the gun. On the real steel XM8, the pistol grip base flares to the rear, not the front as the R10 has. This is only a cosmetic problem, not affecting function at all.
Surprisingly enough, the gun has some trademarks! Molded into the body, on both sides are a stylized “XM8”, just like on the real gun. Other than that, it has molded in fire selector settings, labeled safe, semi, and fire. There are no “Made in China” markings that I can find.
The gun includes a hi-cap magazine, which holds about 400 rounds, made of a semi-transparent plastic. It fits and feeds perfectly, after the normal shot of silicone oil down the feed tube.
The R10 uses standard G36 magazines, and is compatible with TM and equivalent replacement magazines. This is a big improvement over the BE model! I’ve used MAG mid-caps, as well as JG hi-caps in it with no fit or feeding problems. The only problem I’ve had with the factory magazine is that the linking tabs are a little too wide on the male side. This means that you can’t link an aftermarket magazine to the left of the stock mag, only to the right.
Top of magazine
Comparison with JG G36C mag, R10 is on the left
Another JG comparison, showing thicker linking tabs
Preparing gun for firing:
In order to fire the R10, you must first charge the included battery. Using the standard formula of battery mAh divided by the charger output mAh, (1100/300) we get a charge time of 3.6 hours, or about 3 hours and 40 minutes, using the included charger. After charging the battery fully, remove the handguard pin by tapping it out to the left. You can then lift the rear of the lower handguard, and remove it from the gun. Install the battery, ensuring that it will be out of the way while reinstalling the lower handguard. It looks like you can install a mini 9.6v battery, but nothing larger than that will fit without extensive modifications.
Handguard re-installed, battery visible
After you install the battery and handguard, load the included magazine with approximately 400 6mm bbs. You can then wind the bottom of the magazine until it clicks, and click it into place in the gun. You can then click it from safe to either semi of full auto, and fire away. The fire selector moves smoothly, but does not click into semi auto very well. Sometimes it seems like it is in semi, but it is actually in auto. I think it will get smoother with time, and more switching.
Poor man's chrono punches clean through both sides, but does not penetrate the bottom. This indicates a rating of 350-370 fps, confirming Airsplat's rating of 360 fps.
Effective range is about 120 feet stock, which is pretty good for a gun in this price range. The shots get a little wild after that, and your hit probability drops markedly. You have straight and level flight up to about 120 feet, then the bbs tend to veer in random directions. It's not predictable, as they fly either left or right. The left-right inconsistency is due to the basic U-hop design. Accuracy and range would greatly increase with the addition of a tightbore barrel and replacement hop-up bucking, especially an H-hop design. These parts are TM compatible, so all standard upgrade parts will work.
Short range accuracy is like any other MPEG I've tested, about 3" 10 shot group at 30 feet. The barrel was quite gunky when it first arrived, so be sure to clean it out using the included cleaning rod and a paper towel.
The ROF is acceptable with the stock battery, in the 13-15 RPS range. The gearbox sounds quite smooth, especially compared to the Well R6 and R8. The gun is pretty quiet, which makes it a decent start to a DMR platform.
The gun is easily disassembled by tapping the handguard, stock, and 2 other body pins out, and sliding all the assorted body panels off. It slides apart easily, with nothing getting jammed up.
After this stage of disassembly, you can see that the gun has a full metal V3 gearbox. The cylinder is a type 1, which makes sense due to its short barrel. The air nozzle is made of opaque white plastic, and slides smoothly front and rear. The wiring is 18 gauge, and has a nice silicone sleeve. The bushings are plastic, and are most likely 6mm. I am not sure if Well still makes there guns with 6.2mm bushings, but if they do, you can install 6mm bushings with a bit of super glue, or bore it out to 7mm and install those.
Closeup of cylinder
Closeup of air nozzle
The upper receiver comes out smoothly, and contains the barrel and hop-up assembly. The hop-up can be accessed by pulling back the spring loaded mock cocking handle, just like on a G36. The hop-up is a G36 type, and is made of opaque white plastic. It rotates easily, but does not vibrate out of position while firing. The outer barrel is metal, but the mock gas tube assembly is made of black plastic. The inner barrel is made of brass, but I have no tools to measure inner barrel diameter.
Inside of upper receiver
Closeup of hop-up unit
The gun has limited modification potential, due to it’s uncommon design. You can add assorted mock silencers or flash hiders, as long as they are smaller than 1.5” in diameter, and are threaded 14mm+. Other than that, you can custom paint it, add a different optics package, or tune up the internals for improved performance.
Light weight – good for skirmishes
High Velocity - Approx. 350 fps
Rail for replacement optics
Inexpensive - $84.95
TM compatible magazines
Smooth firing gearbox
Garbage stock sight
Incorrect grip design
Hard to find - only available at www.airsplat.com at the time of writing
If you are looking for the top performing, best looking, and most accurate XM8, buy the SRC XM8, but if you are looking for an inexpensive, fun to use, skirmishable XM8, then the Well R10 will serve you nicely. It has more potential than the BE, since it is compatible with TM style mags with no modifications, and can use aftermarket optics. Compared to the BE, with it’s aluminum inner barrel, shoddy internals, non-compatible magazines, and non-removable sight, the R10 is a better choice, even though it is more expensive.
Currently, the R10 is only available at www.airsplat.com, for the price of $84.95.
Many thanks again to Airsplat for providing me with this great gun to review!