Tokyo Marui M4A1 Full Metal Jacket
Very heavy piece that is extremely realistic to hold.
Much too heavy for extended skirmishing that will leave you yearning for that light plastic body. Upgrading to a metal receiver also forces you to give up the automatic opening dust cover that comes standard from the factory but not supported by the metal body.
A worthwhile upgrade to create a realistic M4. The metal body adds durability and enables you to toss the rifle around with much less worry.
As every owner of airsoft can attest to, there exists a little bug that itches behind your ear somewhere along the way that whispers "hey, it shoots and looks like the real thing, now if only if it could feel a little more real". Well our bug itched and we decided to see what we could do with the M4A1. An excellent project gun to begin with, the M4A1 sports an EG1000 motor and a long barrel that just yearned for upgrades. Our stock M4A1 chrono'ed at 280fps and had a useable range of approximately 80 feet. For CQB, that was all fine and dandy. Then came the day we took our M4A1 out into the woods and it truly felt underpowered (especially when we were up against some serious firepower). And thus began our quest for more power and realism.
Pictured here are two M4A1's modified to differing levels of power. The top M4A1 is modified using the Systema M130 upgrade kit while the lower M4A1 has been upgraded with the Systema Xtreme M150 kit. The power upgrades have done wonders for FPS and kill distance. The M130 upgrade chronos at 445fps while the M150 upgrade clocks at a killer 496fps. Measurements were made using 0.2g BBs. Both guns have perfect barrels installed which maximizes the potential of each upgrade kit. Both guns now make 150feet kills quite easily. However we were careful not to shoot anyone within 10 feet of us for fear of picking up a "real" fight! Rate of fire for the M150 upgrade also goes down due to the high torque gears required to push the M150. Despite this, the EG1000 was still able to pump out BBs at an acceptable rate (about the same rate as an MP5 using an EG700 motor)
A host of muzzle options exist for the M4A1 (or any other AEG for that matter). Pictured on the right, we installed the SOCOM silencer onto the lower M4A1 to give it that really tactical look. The addition of the silencer makes the gun much longer and it almost feels appropriate to put a bipod on to make it into a sniper rifle. The SOCOM silencer actually does notably reduce the report of the gun from a "Pock Pock" to a "Phut Phut". For those who prefer a shorter option but don't want the stock look, the Boltex flash hider (middle) is the perfect solution. Finishing is matt black and the lines are very well crafted. I personally think that the twisted 4-spoke fork design is very slick.
So what type of power source is needed to run these monsters? Nothing short of a 8.4v 2000mah Large battery for the M130 upgrade and a 12v 500mah Systema custom battery for the M150 upgrade. The beauty of the Systema battery is that it's custom made to fit into the front grip of the M4A1. Simply removing the fuse box allows a perfect fit. With the grenade-launcher installed M4A1, the stock foregrip is no longer present however and the M203 does not provide enough room for the Systema battery or a large battery. As such, we wired the battery lines out to the rear where an external battery bag carries the battery strapped to the extendable stock. For those who wince at this latter thought, a host of options are available for concealing and camaflouging the battery including hiding a custom stick type battery in a copper tube and attaching it to the side of the scope, or mounting it in the foward section of the gun to an RIS system. As we continue to work on our project gun, we'll bring you updates on ideas.
Apart from the power upgrade, we also installed the Classic Army metal bodies on both guns - an upgrade that adds a great deal of realism to the M4A1 as well as weight. The stock gun's weight is increased to approximately 5Kg with the metal body installed. That's almost the same weight as an M60E3. As you can see from the pictures, the Classic Army metal bodies are extremely well made with very nice original Colt markings. The rear sight is fully adjustable just like the stock Marui sights. One minus though is that the auto-opening bolt flap feature is not supported by the Classic Army metal body. This feature is supported by the Zeke metal receivers but the Zeke receivers don't have the trademark markings. After much consideration, we determined that we would rather take the Colt markings and hence the choice was made. One plus (or minus, depending on how you look at it) is that the magazine doesn't click into the metal body as smoothly as into the stock plastic body and requires a slight slam to get it in seated properly. We felt that this increased the real steel effect though and didn't mind at all!
If a full metal body is not enough for you, then how about installing the M203 Grenade launcher as well? Our M203 by Sunproject has an all metal receiver. The cocking tube and barrel are made from high impact plastic. Adding the M203 increases the overall weight to about 8kg. With all scope attachments included, the total weight comes close to 10kg! The M203 adds versatility by allowing the use of the 18BB ANGS shell which can shower an area the size of a doorway with BBs (now that's what I call a real shotgun!)
Trademarks on the M203 are also quite finely engraved and the finishing on the M203 gives the launcher a very real-steel look. In our opinion, the metal body's weight balances the M203's weight quite well and one without the other would cause slight imbalances in the over weight distribution.
So if you're looking to increase the realism of your M4A1, there are a host of options to look at. While it may be tempting to upgrade to an M150 kit for that maximum killing power, I here warn that upgrading to such an extreme may be less reliable than going to an M130 which still offers a much greater range than the stock gun. Just as a reference, our M150 M4A1 will penetrate the top of a Coke can in one shot using a 0.43g BB - for some folks, that may be considered inhumane so check with your team members before going to this extreme! After all, they're the ones who will feel the upgrade the most! ;-)