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Review

INOKATSU M60 E3 KIT
  • Manufacturer 
     Inokatsu
  • Model 
     M60E4 / E4 / MK43
  • Capacity 
     1300rd
  • Weight 
     4500
  • Power 
     Variable
  • Motor 
     Variable
  • Hop-up 
     Adjustable
  • Battery 
     8.4v 1700mah and up
  • Shooting Mode 
     Semi, Full Auto
  • Construction 
     Steel & Aluminum

Pros

+ Very realistic with the right color tones
+ Easy maintenance thru smart design
+ Uses proven Marui gearbox design for unlimited upgrade options
+ You will be the envy of everyone around you
 

Cons

- Heavy gun so you'll need to be strong to carry this around all day
- Requires minor assembly
- A bit pricey
 

Verdict

The most realistic M60 / MK43 kit you can find with very authentic finishing. Flexibility to upgrade to high power and high speed with massive Marui and Systema aftermarket parts can turn this into a true support weapon!

 

UPDATE (JULY 2006) : As of this writing, Inokatsu has released the complete MK43 and M60E4 kits which you can find in our ACCESSORIES - CONVERSION KITS section, or by clicking on any of the links above.

Once in a while, you come upon an Airsoft gun that is so realistic and with such fine attention to detail that you'd swear that it was the real thing. The INOKATSU M60 is one of those guns. When INOKATSU showed up at our office last week with an M60E3 and an M60E4 kit (and subsequently the MK43 kit), we were at skeptical on how good their offerings would be. There are a lot of conversion kits on the market and many are difficult to install, and often end up looking like an expensive toy than an authentic replica. The challenge is that most Airsoft kit manufacturers have limited access to the real steel counterpart of which they are trying to create their kit for. As such, many end up with slightly cooked up dimensions, color, or materials. So when we opened up the box and saw the INOKATSU M60, we were pleasantly surprised at the realistic color tone, the solid steel construction, the accuracy of the dimensions, and the overall refinement in finishing.

So who is INOKATSU? You may not have heard of them before since this talented team of engineers worked behind the scenes as GUARDER's supplier of authentic conversion kits, like the famous GUARDER AKM, AK74, and various other full steel kits. So why has it taken so long for the INOKATSU brand to make its debut? INOKATSU has in fact been active in the Japanese and Taiwan local market for some time, and after thorough beta-testing of their products, they now feel confident in supplying to the rest of the world.

The photos you see here are the fully assembled versions of their M60 kit. These unassembled kits are immediately available, and INOKATSU is considering a complete gun release in the future (though no date has been set). Having said that, this is more than just an ordinary kit, which often require major portions of a donor gun and many small screws / springs that are not included with the kit. With this INOKATSU kit, basically the only things missing are (1) a type 3 AK style gearbox, (2) a battery, and (3) an inner barrel (480mm). (We found later that the M60E4 and MK43 kits come included with a brass inner barrel). Literally drop these into the gun and you are ready to shoot.

Realistic real wood box for M60E kit, painted in OD color with authentic markings. (Sold separately)
Wooden framework inside ensures the M60E3 stays in place during transport.
1. M60 Kit
2. A bullet belt replica (Optional)
3. Auto-Winding 1300rd Magazine Box with magazine pouch.(Optional)

"We wanted to allow the customer complete flexibility is choosing their internal power components.", says INOKATSU's chief engineer. "By installing a complete Marui or Systema gearbox, coupled together with a precision barrel of choice, the performance of the gun is literally guaranteed. What we set out to do was to create a beautiful set of clothes. So our kit is like an Armani suit that you wear over a gearbox of your choice."

The M60 kit is also surprisingly easy to assemble (as is the similar MK43 kit), and comes in about 30 separate parts. What initially sounds like a daunting task of assembly quickly turns into a realization that the kit is so well thought out that most components fit together with very few tools. For example, assembling the trigger assembly feels more like putting LEGO together. Making the process easier is a detailed photographic instruction manual, and a video CD (viewable on computer) to guide you through the installation process.

"Assembling the kit allows customers to train themselves in the process of assembly - and to fully understand how the gun works, so that they are capable of troubleshooting the M60 themselves should problems arise." adds INOKATSU's engineer. "The fact that it uses a Marui, Systema, or custom built gearbox means there are not going to be any mechanical issues (that plague other guns on the market). Fit and alignment are perfect and the gun shoots accurately and consistently by simply assembling the kit based on the instructions provided."

Auto-Winding box magazine draws power from main battery
Extra large space can hold up to a 15v battery
BBs load through a flexible metal tube from the magazine into the receiver

What's really striking and impressive about the M60 initially is the color tone and the materials used on the gun. The M60's entire receiver is made from steel, and is colored in the same grayish color as the real steel M60. In fact, many of the parts like cocking lever, magazine guide, top cover, windage and range adjustable sights, folding and extendable bipod, feed cover, folding carry handle, and an assortment of parts are all made from milled steel - making the gun extremely rigid and solid when you pick it up. Picking up a TOP M60 and the INOKATSU M60 is a completely different experience. While the TOP M60 is very beautiful, it does not feel anywhere as rigid and stiff as the INOKATSU's version. Attention to detail is also high on INOKATSU's list, where the top feed tray cover is padded in the cheek area with a rubberized padding (again like the real steel and missing from TOP's M60). The flash hider is also steel, and is screwed onto the barrel using 14mm CCW thread. (So for you silencer fans - yes you can install a silencer onto this M60 for that really odd look!) The pistol grip is also surprising meaty and thick (according to real steel dimensions), unlike the thin and slightly flimsy one on TOP's M60 series. The cocking lever works to the extent that it is spring loaded and moves back, but does not serve any particular function. You will need to pull it back for disassembly, which is also true to form on the real steel version.

Quick detachable outer barrel design is same as the real M60 series. Change barrel in 10 seconds!
Realisic color and steel receiver with aluminum outer barrel makes this MONSTER extremely rigid and solid
Steel folding rear sight is range and windage adjustable

Similar to real M60, the top cover opens by flipping a stiff steel switch. But unlike the TOP version that reveals a BB reservoir inside, INOKATSU's internal real estate is reserved for a large battery (most people will use 8.4v or 9.6v batteries, but there is enough room to hold up to a 15v 3000mah battery!) and the gearbox. One single wire plugs into the battery, and the other end leads to a splitter that powers both the gearbox and the auto-winding magazine (more on that later). The power is fed through a trigger activated electrical switch, and leads directly into the motor. When you pull the trigger, the motor spins and the gearbox runs. There is no selector plate on the gearbox and it is reduced to an engine that can be dropped in and out easily according to field power requirements! The gearbox is in fact held in place only by its frame, a retainer screw on the back which pushes the gearbox forward, and the spring loaded barrel and hop-up assembly in the front, which in turn pushes backwards. The result is that the gearbox is sandwiched under pressure from the front and rear, which keeps everything working tightly.

Drop in a Version 3 (AK type) gearbox and you're ready to shoot. (Gearbox not included in this kit)
Hop up unit is part of the inner barrel housing assembly, and is changed when barrel is swapped
Adjusting hop-up while shooting is easy using an allen key through this hole in the locker unit

For all its beauty and its elegance, it's the ease with which you can swap out parts that makes the INOKATSU so appealing to collectors and gamers alike. The entire trigger and grip assembly is extremely easy to take apart and can be done in a matter of 3 minutes using a single hex wrench. Take the pistol grip off, pull the trigger away, loosen the gearbox retainer screw, and the entire gearbox drops out from the bottom. Drop in a 8mm bushing 500fps gearbox for big outdoor games, or easily switch back to a 6mm bushing 300fps gearbox for indoor use. It's so quick and easy that it brings a smile to your face! The entire barrel with hop-up assembly is also replaceable instantly with a flip of a switch. A single twist of the retaining lever allows you to interchange the M60E3 barrel with a shorter E4 barrel, just like on the real M60! The entire process takes about 20 seconds, and you can move between the long outdoor E3 barrel and a shorter E4 barrel for indoor use. Coming soon is an MK43 upgrade kit that provides yet another barrel and an RIS foregrip that can be attached within minutes. When you pull out the barrel, you will immediately notice another smart detail - there is a small spring that holds the BBs in the magazine feed tube when the barrel is removed. This prevents the BBs from flying out everywhere and allows you to change you barrel without having to unload your gun. Change your barrels mid-fight and don't even worry about dropping any BBs in the process! But there is one small gripe that we would like to mention here. In INOKATSU's pursuit of ultimate realism, they decided against installing a latch to open the butt plate for battery access. As a result, you will need a flat head screw driver to remove the butt plate before you can switch out your battery. Small price to pay, we think, for authenticity. And if you want to avoid having to fumble with a screw driver mid-game, just install a larger battery like a 9.6v 3600mah that will last an entire day!

Steel cocking lever is spring loaded, and can be pulled back
Steel flash hider can be replaced for other 14mm CCW silencers and flash hiders
Pistol grip is dimensioned like the real steel grip and is thicker than TOP M60 series's grip.

Moving onto the auto-winding magazine, it too takes the real steel version into account. Housed in a Guarder magazine pouch made from rigid Dupont Cordura, the auto-winding magazine sits inside a carboard box that is designed to look exactly like the 7.62mm belt fed ammo that is issued to M60 gunners in the real word. These gunners basically take out these cardboard boxes full of ammo, and put the entire box into the magazine pouch on the side of the gun. They then take out the first round and hook it into the gun, close the magazine pouch flap and they are ready to fire. Adhering to the same concept, you can take your entire auto-winding magazine out of your vest and plug it into the magazine pouch on the side of the gun. Pull out the 6 dummy rounds and hook it to the M60's main body. Then take the electrical wire and connect it to the main battery's splitter inside the gun. Hook up the BB feed tube onto the side of the gun, close the flap on the magazine pouch - and you're ready to rumble! The auto-winding magazine is powered by a huge powerful motor that has no problems keeping up with any rate of fire. Pour the BB's in from the top and the magazine will feed 1300 rounds constantly as you pull the trigger. That means no additional buttons or switches to wind the magazine - it automatically detects your trigger pull and winds itself!

Steel top cover can be swapped out easily for one with a scope mount (MK43 style)
Folding steel M60E3 series follower is heavy and rigid, and feels like the real thing
Missing from TOP M60 series, this rubberized cheek pad is faithfully replicated on this kit

Shooting the M60 is quite an experience with our 8mm bushing gearbox upgraded to 500fps - which essentially delivers a bullet hose and covers a 200 foot range, making it a true cover-fire support weapon. Without the need for selector plates on our gearbox, we are no longer restricted to using 7mm bushings but were able to easily install 8mm bushings for super-smooth, high speed, and durable operation. (RedWolf lab tests have shown that on continuous uninterrupted trigger pull, a 6mm bushing gearbox will last about 1000 - 3000 rounds, while an 8mm bushing gearbox will last 100,000 rounds before the need for re-servicing) If you are wondering where you are going to get a complete gearbox to drip in, Systema has announced it will be releasing a complete Type 3 Mecha-box which will drop right into the INOKATSU kit. But for now, you can either donate an AK gearbox from one of your existing AEGs, or custom build a complete gearbox. For precision barrel, we installed a 480mm PDI precision barrel. Adjusting the hop-up is easy since it is accessible externally using a hex wrench. (through a hole in the receiver). INOKATSU includes a Guarder hop-up packing with its kit. Notice that the hop-up assembly is the part in anodized blue, which is precision CNC'd to give a perfect fit into the main receiver. Why CNC? CNC is an extremely precise process that has extremely high tolerances. INOKATSU recognized the importance of perfect barrel alignment with the gearbox, and therefore chose to CNC this part for a precise fit. And the results show. The accuracy and range of our INOKATSU M60 was on par with any highly upgraded Marui AEG - with no strange behavior or deviance in flight path. BB feeding was reliable and smooth with no interruptions. Of course the only complaint we had was how heavy the gun was! Shooting the aluminum barrel E3 was actually more manageable, while the full steel M60E4 is very heavy! But for the true enthusiast, we are guessing the heavier the better!

Aluminum outer barrel and gas tube can be upgraded to a 100% steel one!
Close up shot of the but stock.
Access to battery compartment requires unscrewing of one screw

So how long does it take to get up and running with this kit? RedWolf technicians were able to assemble the entire gun within 30 minutes after watching how it was done just once in real life. We estimate that assembly will take 45 minutes to an hour for the typical person, and probably less for experienced airsofters well versed in AEG servicing. The well illustrated instructions and video should prevent any kind of confusion along the way.
For those of you who just can't wait to get your hands on one of these, you'll first need to understand how INOKATSU is offering these kits. You will need to purchase the INOKATSU M60E3 Kit, which includes a steel receiver and aluminum E3 barrel / gas tube. This kit has a recommended retail price of USD 1300. From here, your options include the following

1. INOKATSU M60 E4 Upgrade Parts
Convert your E3 into an E4. Five key upgrade components are included: aluminum E4 barrel / gas tube, E4 front handguard with pistol grip, E4 rear stock with folding support, E4 type feed cover panel, and E4 type bipod. Recommended retail price is USD 1000.

2. MK43 Upgrade Package (Coming in June)
Convert your E3 into an MK43. Six key upgrade components are included: aluminum MK43 type barrel / gas tube, MK43 aluminum RIS front handguard, E4 type rear stock, E4 type feed cover panel, E4 type bipod, and MK43 type rail top cover to mount a scope. Recommended retail price is USD 1000.

3. Steel Barrel and Locker Set Upgrades
There are 3 models of steel barrel and locker sets that you can upgrade to. All three sets have a recommended retail price of USD 680. You can choose to get a 100% steel barrel and locker set in any of the following 3 styles:
- E3 Shorty Barrel & Locker Set
- E4 Barrel & Locker Set
- MK43 (Coming in July)

INOKATSU also will be offering 3 models of auto-winding magazines

1. Type A Auto-Winding magazine is designed for use in a rigid pouch.
2. Type B Auto-Winding magazine is designed for use in a soft pouch. (released in May)
3. Type C Manual Wind-up magazine (released in May)

And for those of you who muster up enough courage to take this monster home, you can also purchase an optional wood case (with authentic markings) to proudly display this beast in captured form! The wood case comes disassembled and requires basic house-hold tools to put together.

In conclusion, we truly welcome INOKATSU's launch of the M60 into the Airsoft world. If you are looking for a very authentic and highly configurable support weapon, then this is the one and only kit you should consider.

Extentable folding bipod, constructed from steel, making it very sturdy and rigid.
Realistic bullet chain(sold separately) for decoration, easy to configure for different lengths!