Airsoft Expert: Zac the Sniper

Canadian airsoft player Zac on the field at Flagswipe London Ontario Canada

Our airsoft expert Zac with his airsoft DMR Sniper Rifle and gear at Flagswipe Paintball just outside of London, Ontario, Canada.

Why do you love airsoft?

I love airsoft because it is a well rounded hobby. There are many aspects to it that I enjoy such as: the teamwork, strategy, realism, exercise, planning, and the guns.

I enjoy the teamwork portion because it is an easy way for me to spend time with my friends, and work with them to strategically achieve a common goal.

Airsoft makes me think of Hannibal from The A-Team says it best, “I love it when a plan comes together”. There is something about successfully executing a strategy against another team and winning while using that strategy.

The realism with airsoft is really great. With airsoft when you are on the field using a gun that doesn’t require a hopper or a gas tank (like paintball) to operate and carrying magazines full of ammunition. It gives you the feeling like you’re on a battlefield. You get into a mindset that you really don’t want to be shot. I enjoy this feeling of realism.

Playing airsoft is a workout. You have to run and dive for cover, know when to advance, push hard, carry lots of equipment around, and still achieve your goal. On top of that, in many cases you have to go all the way back to a set ripsaw point, which if you were far up the field can be quite a distance to cover, and then try to get back around your previous position. From experience being shot at can be more motivational than a personal trainer. Also the fact that I can get out of the house, do something active is a big bonus for me.

Probably my most favourite part of the game is your gun. I enjoy that everyone has their own style, and many guns are not alike. This is because there are so many attachments from sights, to fore grips, to flashlights, to barrel lengths, and many more kind of attachments that people put on their weapons. There are also many different kinds of gun platforms to choose from giving you nearly endless options. Everyone has their own play style and the fact that I can customize a gun to fit my own style is a great feeling.

What is your play style?

My play style tends to adapt depending on the situation of the game, and depending on the game mode that is being played. However I do have some preferred play styles for outdoor and indoor game play.

When it comes to an indoor field I find that I push hard, and try to gain as much ground as possible. This is my main strategy because the less room you can give your opponents to maneuver around and setup the better your team will perform. The only way you can achieve this is by taking risks very early in the match, but it can pay off greatly. If I find myself in a position where the enemy has taken more ground, I always try and let them come to me, this way I get the drop on them and can take more enemies out with the same amount of lives.

Then there are the outdoor fields. There are so many options when the field is larger and has terrains that are very different from flat ground. Typically I play a sniper roll when I am on these fields. I find that with my gun set up as a DMR I get much more out of my lives then as a direct attacker. The range advantage plus still being able to send several rounds down range quickly really helps the team overall. If I get a position where I can see past my own team and take out targets without being hit then I am essentially helping my team push up. Because I am in the backline of the team I can also reposition easily because I am not pinned down by enemy fire. This means that I can help different flanks depending on their needs as a game goes on.

What guns do you use?

I really enjoy the M4/M16 platform type weapons. As a result I chose to buy a G&G CM16 Raider CQB. The primary reason for this is that I wanted a good base platform that I could build on. I did not want to limit myself to just one field so because the M4 platform can be customized very easily I decided on this weapon. Now as far as a stock gun goes I have made so many modifications that it is almost completely custom. I have rebuilt the insides of the gun to make it even more durable, and to perform better and more consistently. I was really happy with the stock weapon, and as a result I did not even change the gears in the gear box. I decided that I only wanted 1 main gun so what I have done is have 2 different setups for the G&G CM16 Raider CQB. One is more or less its stock configuration which is perfect for indoor play. The other configuration I have is a different cylinder and barrel which is longer, and a heavier spring, with a higher torque motor to turn it into the DMR (Designated Marksman Rifle) setup for outdoor play. I am receiving a consistent 370 FPS in the CQB setup, which is perfect for the 380 limit that is set on most of the indoor fields I play on, and I and receiving 450 FPS from the gun in its DMR setup which is just within outdoor limits set for airsoft snipers. It is a great FPS because with the 6.01mm tight bore 455mm barrel I am using I am pretty much the most accurate and furthest range gun on the field.

What equipment do you bring onto the field other than your gun?

I will do a breakdown of my gear by the categories clothing, accessories and other.

Starting with my clothing I have gone for a contractor look. For this I use Tan BDU cargo pants which are great for holding extra stuff. With this I use a tan t-shirt, or long sleeve depending on the weather. Overtop of this I use a black chest rig to hold my magazines and side arm. I also use black knee pads which come in handy when I am in a crouched position, or prone. When palying outdoors I would say the most important is a good pair of boots, personally I stick with 6-inch high boots. The high height of the boots you choose will depend on your personal preference and height. You want something light, that has ankle support because of all the running and jumping you will be doing. The last thing I want is to get hurt.

I would argue that my accessories are the most important part of my equipment. For me this includes my magazines, which consists of 7 mid-caps that hold 140 rounds each, and 2 high caps which hold 450 rounds each. Although it sort of counts as clothing I also use a tan baseball cap to protect my head, along with my all important tactical crusader goggles to protect my eyes. Also on my head I use a mesh face mask which I have cut and reshaped to fit my face perfectly. The flaps which I created from moddifying the face mask gives my goggles a nice place to rest on, keeping them on my face better. I use the face mask to keep my teeth from getting chipped, which can happen when guns reach over 400 FPS.

The other stuff I keep on me when I am in the field is a spare battery for my gun. This is because some games can go for a long time, and if you have already played for the better part of a day, you don’t want to find yourself without the ability to fire your gun. The last thing I keep with me is extra ammo for my magazines. This is for the same reason that games can go a long time, and it is possible that I could go through all my magazines that are full of ammo. Instead of carrying even more magazines, I typically carry speed-loaders (1-2 of them) in my cargo pants so that I can reload at least 2 of my mid-cap magazines if need be in the middle of a fight.

What game type do you enjoy to play?

I enjoy almost every game type that can be played for indoor and outdoor. Cutting down the more specifics for outdoor I would say that I enjoy a good old game of TDM (team death match) with large numbers of players on both sides. The other preference I have is a game of domination.

When it comes to TDM I find that it is fairly simple and clear cut as to what your team has to do. There are still great strategies that can be applied to help your team win. This is the most classic mode to play on an airsoft field, and it normally doesn’t have any extra objectives to capture at the same time. In most cases players have 1-3 lives and then they are out. The first team to clear all the enemy players off the field wins. As a sniper roll I find that I am almost always one of the last players on my side of the field, if I let this happen I and pretty much going to lose. Once people get in close I run into problems where I cannot easily relocate, and with being an airsoft sniper the engagement distance rule can be a challenge, and make it difficult to not get shot when you’re backtracking, and giving the enemy more space at the same time. I am hoping to resolve this problem by adding an airsoft pistol to my arsenal.

The other mode of domination I find to be much more challenging, especially for a DMR like I. This game mode revolves around holding multiple areas on the field at the same time. Usually the goal is to get your team into a particular area and hold it and a second area at the same time for 10 minutes. This mode has many sub rules that range from number of lives to how someone comes back to life. It is usually played with medics who bring players back to life a maximum amount of times (usually 5). For a sniper I much rather prefer to be able to see everything that our team has to capture because it’s usually just one objective. The problem arises when I have to make decisions between helping multiple objectives at the same time. I enjoy this challenge because it really forces me to communicate with my team and find out where my ammo is best spent. I want to make sure that both of the objectives are doing well because we have to hold them both for 10 minutes. It can be challenging to make these decisions, and although I’m not the only player on the team having a weapon that can get many kills and is good at sitting and defending a position once it’s held can become a win or a loss when I make the wrong decisions. Walky-Talkies come in handing during modes such as this.

What did you do to your G&G CM16 Raider CQB to make it a DMR?

This could probably be an article in all its own, but I will give a more basic rundown of how I achieved this.

I started with deciding what barrel I was going to get. Through a bunch of research I determined that 455mm what the optimal length, because barrels beyond this length actually are not that much more accurate, but then to help this (knowing that I would be shooting semi only) I bought a 6.01mm tight bore version to help tighten the groupings.

From here I knew that I would need more air to propel the BBs through the barrel with this new barrel length. You have to have the appropriate volume of air to barrel length, after some research I ended up with a non ported cylinder. This alone would not give me the FPS I wanted. This would allow for the standard 360-380 FPS which may be accurate because of the tight bore, but would not get me to the 450FPS that I needed to be able to engage targets from a safe distance.

This brings me to the spring. This is what was going to get my FPS up with this new setup, and give me the tight bore accuracy, and range of a sniper. After some testing (tearing the gun apart and rebuilding it) I decided to get with a M130 spring. I tested both the M140 spring and the M130 spring and the M140 spring just put the FPS too high at around 470-480. This was too much for the field that I play on, which has a max FPS of 450. With the M130 spring installed I was in the 440-450 FPS range which was perfect.

This was exactly where I wanted my gun to be firepower wise, but I needed to consider longevity of the gun. I also wanted to make sure that I was getting the most out of the gun. Since I had the gun open I decided to re-shim the gears to make sure they were operating as smooth as possible. I also added a new motor which was high torque. I did this because the new spring is much harder to pull back. My old motor might have died after a while because it is straining to pull back the spring. My piston had all plastic teeth which would have lasted me a while, but I replaced it with a full metal teeth piston. The metal piston teeth would mean it would not wear down under the new strain of the gun. I also added a new piston head with ball bearings and double o-ring seals, and a new cylinder head with double O-ring seals. I then added a new spring guide with ball bearings in order to get the most force on the spring as possible. I topped everything off by greasing everything to ensure that it would operate quietly and smoothly.

I have been very happy with my airsoft load out and gun modifications. Please feel free to leave comments below if you have any questions.

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