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Review

TOP M60 E3
  • Manufacturer 
     TOP
  • Model 
     M60 E3 Squad Gun
  • Capacity 
     1200
  • Weight 
     5000
  • Power 
     285
  • Motor 
     TOP Special
  • Hop-up 
     Fixed
  • Battery 
     Custom Type battery
  • Shooting Mode 
     Full Auto
  • Construction 
     Full Metal Construction

Pros

- Unbelievably heavy, rigid, and real
- Bullet hose capability
- You'll be the envy of your entire team
 

Cons

- Lack of upgrade options in terms of power
 

Verdict

A great psychological weapon in the world of airsoft, the M60E3 delivers as much visual threat as it does firepower. High capacity means you keep shooting without having to reload for full cover fire. Lots of fun to shoot and probably one of the best guns from TOP.

 

Probably the most heavy weight airsoft gun available today, the M60 series by TOP must be the most sought after skirmish weapons of all time. So what's so special about the M60? First a little background on the real steel M60 and the M60 E3. The M60 Machine Gun has been the US Army's general purpose machine gun since 1950's. Designed to fire the standard NATO 7.62 mm round, it was intended to be a general support crew-served weapon (meaning one to fire it, one to serve the rounds). It has a removable barrel which can be easily changed to prevent overheating. The M60 has an integral, folding bipod and can also be mounted on a folding tripod. The M60E3 machine gun was intended to be an improved and lightweight version of the M60; being a lightweight, air-cooled, disintegrating metallic link-belt fed, portable or tripod mounted machine gun. Slightly different from its "parent," the M60, the M60E3 has a receiver-attached bipod which easily deploys for stability. It has an ambidextrous safety, universal sling attachments, a carrying handle on the barrel, and a lightweight barrel. One main drawback of all M60's, however, was the need to replace the barrel after several hundred rounds of firing!

Soldiers shooting real steel M60 E3 However, the light weight barrel is not safe for overhead fire and is not capable of sustaining a rapid rate of fire of 200 rounds per minute without catastrophic failure of the barrel. While the light weight M60E3 was fielded with the intention to reduce the load carried by the gunner, it's firing limitations and a lower reliability have limited its acceptance in the field. In the movies, the M60 has been featured in numerous box-office hits; from Sylvester Stallone's original Rambo to the more recent Three Kings (one mounted atop a Hummer, above). The very fact that directors from many action movies choose the M60 in certain scenes within their movie pays tribute to the visual message that the M60 sends. (Yes we're talking about how invincible Rambo seemed as he fed and gunned his M60 from a standing position while his opponents cowered fearfully behind cover!) While the entire M60 series from TOP is worth mention, we focus here on the M60 E3 (the latest release from TOP). Released in 1999, the E3 was a long anticipated gun which promised heavy firepower and looks to boot. In holding our E3, we must agree. The E3 is comprised mostly of metal and weighs a hefty 5Kg which we found quite difficult to hold and aim with one arm. The large metal components give the M60 E3 a strong sense of ruggedness (suppressor, barrel, sight assembly, etc).

Movie Three Kings starring George Clooney
M60 E3 muzzle means serious business
Real steel M60 STD at the range

In fact, it makes more sense to list what is plastic: front pistol grip, lower barrel guide (forward section), front pistol grip and assembly, rear pistol grip, stock, and part of the receiver. The result is an extremely heavy and solid weapon that's exciting simply to hold. Being much more compact that the older M60s, the E3 is comfortable to shoulder and it's shorter barrel and overall length (930mm) is much more maneuverable. Where the longer M60 DX and STD versions were only usable for outdoor skirmishing, we found that the E3 was useable for indoor skirmishes as well. It's integral bipod is also quite easy to deploy when you want to camp out and provide cover fire. And that's what the M60 E3 was really designed for. In fact, platoons often only refer to the M60 as "the gun" while referring to all other weapons in the platoon as simply "weapons".

A flip-up sight allows you to take precise aim, though it is not adjustable much to our disappointment. But who would want to aim the E3 anyway when shooting it from the hip is so much more fun? An adjustable sight is available though as an aftermarket add-on, but it is rather pricey. The folding metal carrying handle is quite sturdy and allows easy carrying of the E3 like a briefcase. The M60 E3 does not use a magazine system but rather has a BB reservoir where you can pour in 1200 rounds at once. Access to this reservoir is easy by flipping up the ammo cover (the top part of the receiver above the fake bullets in the photo to the right). This cover is fastened by way of a metal lever rearward of the stock. Fastening and releasing is done by twisting this lever approximately 90 degrees. One nuance that we experienced was that you could not point the M60 downwards and expect to empty all 1200 rounds. Since the assembly that feeds the BBs into the barrel is toward the rear of the reservoir, you need to tilt the M60 E3 back occasionally to make sure the BBs were getting through. To add to the realism, we also attached a chain of 7.62mm dummy ammo (we bought this on a trip to Japan) by simply clipping one of the metal links to the receiver and then closing the ammo lid. The result really adds a lot of realism to this already extremely authentic gun.

The M60 E3 is powered by a custom 9.6V battery stored in the front fore grip. This custom battery is built like a square and there is no room to store a generic battery designed for Marui AEGs. (In contrst, the M60 STD DX uses a standard LARGE battery). Much to our relief, the E3's front fore-grip is secured much more firmly than the M60 DX and STD, on which the front grip sometimes fell out under the weight of the batteries.

Flip up sights and dummy 7.62mm rounds
1200 rounds of horror held in BB reservoir. Note fake rounds
Real steel M60 STD mounted on a tripod

Soldier with real steel M60 E3 On the E3, we were able to put the gun through lots of banging and dragging without anything coming loose!

The M60 series guns only fire in full-auto mode, just like the real-steel guns. Pulling on the trigger resulted in a series of very smooth but loud whir and bangs, quite unlike that of Marui AEGs. The "whirring" sound is a little more pronounced than on Marui AEGs but strangely, it felt appropriate (this is hard to explain but bear with me here). The whirring almost brings to mind a series of chain links spinning at high velocities, much like the sound you would expect from belt fed ammo being fed in and ejected on the right side of the gun. The motor speed is also quite high (not rated by TOP) and rate of fire is what you would expect from a gun of this caliber. In our opinion, it fires just as fast (if no faster than) as a Marui AK47 with EG700 motor. Releasing the E3 to densely populated woodland, we unleashed a bullet hose with BBs sailing out rapidly. Power on the E3 is not mind-blowing. The stock E3 shoots about 270fps which is on par with an MP5 A5 or SD6. With the stock hop-up mechanism, the E3 can reach targets of 150 feet. Accuracy is about +/- 3 inches at 10 meters (not extremely accurate but enough to nail a human sized target). Remember though that the E3 is not meant to be a power-dog but is rather designed for cover fire. 270fps with 1,200 rounds of fire rapidly served in a hose can provide ample incentive for opponents to keep their heads down while your team members take forward positions!

Features Real Steel M60 E3 TOP M60 E3
Weight
Bore diameter
Maximum effective range
Maximum range
Muzzle velocity
Rates of fire:
Cyclic
Rapid
Sustained

Unit Replacement Cost
8.51 kilograms
7.62mm
3609.1 feet (1100 meters)
2.3 miles (3725 meters)
2800 feet per second
 
550 rounds per minute
100 rounds per minute*
100 rounds per minute*
(* with barrel changes at each 100 rounds)
$6,000
5 kilograms
6.05 mm
130 feet 
160 feet
270 feet per second
 
Approx 800 rounds per minute
Approx 800 rounds per minute
Approx 800 rounds per minute

Less than $1000 (at RedWolf Airsoft)

We've also found that the psychological threat of an M60 is also unparalleled by any of the Marui AEGs. Lug it out and watch them wince at the sight of it! Unfortunately, the M60 E3 does not hold immense upgrade potential since it does not have a gearbox design like Marui AEGs. Rather, it's gears and internals are connected directly to the body of the gun, which limits the strength and dimensions of upgrade components that will fit. Upgrade gears and pistons are available to provide modest gains in power but we feel that for such an expensive gun, it may be better to keep things stock so that it will last! Some die-hard airsofters have been known to put in Marui gearboxes into the E3 but again, we don't recommend this. The only thing we would add is the belt of dummy 7.62mm ammo and you're in business! Some die-hard enthusiasts in Japan even mount their TOP E3 on top of Jeeps and drive them around during skirmish events!

M60 STD DX (Top), M60 (Middle), E3 (Bottom) Soldier with real steel M60 E3 So you want an M60 but can't decide which one suits your needs. To be honest, we find it hard not to recommend the E3 for its sturdiness and rigidity (surpassing that of the older M60s). The more solid fore-grip alone makes the E3 a better choice (so you won't have to worry about the battery coming loose all the time). Then again, some of you might want a BIG gun and the M60 STD fits the bill with 5.2KG of weight and 1,100mm in length. Or you could go for the M60 E3 LONG, which is essentially the E3 with a longer barrel. The inner barrel, however, is the same length as the regular E3 so power is about the same for both versions. No matter what you choose, though, you can be assured you'll be the envy of everyone one at your skirmish. And for you M249 fans out there, we're hoping TOP will make one too as it seems logical for the to extend their heavy weaponry lineup. Keep your fingers crossed!

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