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Review

Deepfire M4 review
  • Manufacturer 
     Deepfire
  • Model 
     M4
  • Capacity 
     320rds
  • Weight 
     3044g
  • Power 
     Electric
  • Motor 
     29000 rpm Deepfire Motor
  • Hop-up 
     Adjustable
  • Battery 
     8.4v Tri-Stick battery
  • Shooting Mode 
     Safe, Semi, Auto
  • Construction 
     Metal and ABS

Pros

+All metal
+Solid Build
+Secure Hop-up
+Abundant Accessory Rails
+Battery Stock
+Good Rate of Fire
 

Cons

-Difficult to adjust hop-up
-Cannot house Large Battery
 

Verdict

A good general purpose combat carbine for any Armalite lover who appreciates rugged practicality, quality construction and a refined finish. The new hop-up design complements it's performance that excels even with only an 8.4 volt battery.

 

Introduction:
The M4, carbine brother of the M16, is a modern classic in its own right. Initially developed quite simply as the latest attempt at a more compact solution to the much longer M16 assault rifle, the M4 has gone on to steal the hearts and minds of gun aficionados around the world as much as a true staple of military grade combat carbines in general as well as being a quintessentially American weapon. Once upon a time it was a weapon planned to offer a smaller option for personnel working as vehicle crews or other such deployments requiring a more petite weapon for the limited space and yet still shared the same magazines, accessories and vast interchangeability of constituent components; of course, with the growth of CQB combat scenarios in recent decades the M4 has seen so much use and has been so publicly exposed that it now stands recognized as a main stay weapon in its own right. Many Airsoft brands offer their own subjective takes at re-creating the weapon with results as wide ranging as the products prolific availability. Deepfire, a brand well known for their somewhat off-the-beaten-track conceptualization of weaponry, brings us their newest attempt to steal attention away from the usual crowd.

Initial Impression:
Right from the start, the sharp observer may notice the rather odd phenomenon surrounding the box; quite simply, the total lack of a weapon name. "Deepfire" and "Hop-Up Version" may adorn the outside but nowhere does it sport an actual name for the weapon therein. Lacking the fancy imagery of many a modern AEG box decoration, the simplistic packaging is a more conservative approach with low-key coloring and nothing more aggressive then the plain text "Airsoft Product" or the usual caution disclaimer of safe use. Opening the box, we find the weapon and its various bits and pieces to be cradled in the typical affair of shape-fitted molded voids. The plastic shell material has a "felt finish" presumably in a combined attempt to protect the contents from scratches and abrasions as well as trying to make it more robust and generally pretty up the packaging.

The black rail system matches the rest of the body.
The rail system has QD mounts built into it.
The dark earth version goes very well with ACU.

Close Inspection:
The weapon itself sports an all-metal construction (save the butt stock) with matt-black finish with rock solid fitting to the point that this reviewer can find absolutely no wobble anywhere despite twisting and contorting it under hand-applied pressure save perhaps the usual wobble one would expect from a plastic, multi-position extendable butt stock. The finish is generally decent although particularly fine on the rail system.

A pause to separate the upper/lower receiver immediately revealed one clear reason for the solid fit, the upper receiver porting diameter actually almost larger then where it was supposed to slide into on the lower making the disassembly/reassembly process tricky with ample squeezing, hammering and easing to get things to come apart and even more so when pulling things back together. Irritatingly tight, the result is an undeniably and relentlessly secure fit. The railed front system stands boldly apart from the otherwise conservative color scheme in a stark light grey tone with a slight green tint so subtle that it?s barely worth mentioning really but it is something different from the usual fare. For those who might not care for the funky coloring there is also an all-black version as well for that more classic look.

Once again, exactly as the upper/lower receiver interface, the front system is attached to the receiver with practically no give resulting in a flawlessly solid feel. The rail system sports the usual four facets of accessory rails including two ports each on the left and right for QD sling mounts. The weapon also breaks from the basic M4 design with its "Medieval" style muzzle break adding a touch of the eccentric to its aesthetics. As per usual M4 specifications, this weapon does indeed feature a rail-mounted carry handle as standard but is easily removed to reveal the railed top of the upper receiver which sits flush with the front rail system. The front and rear iron sight is the standard post style sight for the M16 with the usual rear sight adjustable for elevation and windage tweaking as well as the two-position rear ring. The adjust dial is nicely marked operates crisply; perhaps not the most used of functions for many AEG users but it is a nice touch nonetheless and although not particularly special it does reflect a degree of authenticity to the weapon. The included high-capacity magazine features the a similar grey color (sans the green tint) and although certainly a decent magazine its hardly anything worth writing home about other then the simple fact of its 320 round capacity.

The Deepfire M4 includes a medieval style flash hider.
The crane stock can take an 8.4 volt tri-stick battery solution.
The Deepfire M4 is wired with a deans connector and includes a spare set for your charger.

The stock is of the crane stock variety complete with T-shape connector for stabilizing that tri-stick stock stored battery solution. Rather strait forward, it may not be the most impressive looking option on the market these days but it is still something different from the bog standard stock, includes multi-position function and a practical battery storage solution so what more can you really ask for?

A small plastic bag contains a couple of short lengths of heat-shrink and a Deans plug connector, our first rather clear clue as to the nature of the battery plug on this particular weapon. As irritating as the little things can be, at least they offer a more compact and stable battery plug option complete with spare parts for your convenience meaning sticking with it or switching it out is a pretty strait forward future minor modification possibility.

Internals:
The upper receiver comes away from the lower by sliding out the forward placed self-retaining pin and sliding the upper receiver forward to disengage from the bottom receiver (just like modern M4 designs) rather than the older style removal of a rear pin and the upper receiver capable of pivoting upwards. This alteration in design trades in convenience for stability, the sliding action of attachment engaging a much larger surface area eliminating wobble in the receiver although making quick-access to the internals a larger challenge. This is secured further with Deepfires design including the upper receiver tabs having a slightly larger diameter then the lower resulting in assembly porting requiring the upper to be squeezed and eased into place; the assembly/disassembly is tricky but it is the price to pay for a mechanically robust fit.

The slick silver hop-up unit is a pretty little thing, closed and sealed very well and incredibly secure reducing adverse vibration induced effects to virtual non-existence and his handsomely robust. The awkwardly placed hop-up adjust is reached by removing the magazine and inverting it so as to gain access to it via the magwell. We had so much trouble reaching it with a standard alan/hex key that we resorted to a longer hex-key tool which is the same solution we would advise to all users of this weapon.

This reviewer, an avid and experienced wargamer with basic level technical proficiency, would not dream of relying on this technique to adjust the hop-up in the field, opting instead to optimize the hop-up prior to an engagement to a middle-range compromise and just sticking with the one setting. By all means, if you have the opportunity and proficiency, stealing time between rounds of gaming to pop it open and adjust is an option even if it is a fiddly one.

The new design hop-up is similar to systema's PTW style hop-up and is extremely consistent
The Deepfire gears are made of steel and are shimmed well.
The motor runs surprisingly fast on an 8.4v battery.

When removing the hop-up and inner barrel, we found the pull to have a great deal of resistance due to the rubber spacers which supported the inner barrel dead strait and wobble free; the hop-up unit itself is of the same style and build as the Systema PTW, a pretty little closed silver unit which promises, at least in theory, good range and accuracy. The long-type motor sat inside the weapon very snugly with the motor held in place by a pair of screws making the fit solid and clean, so far so good.

The piston head is metal and the piston itself has a full rack of metal teeth.
The bevel gear has five anti-reversal latch teeth.
The spring guide is metal so shouldn't need replacing.

Opening up the gearbox for a more comprehensive inspection of the internals and things continued to look good; metal gearbox, steel gears, decently but not overly greased, plastic piston features, good so far. We take particular mention of the ported piston head and well-fitting o-ring for a nice seal and a bevel gear with five reverse latch teeth (definitely the higher end for most AEGs) and a decent nozzle resulting in the crisp operation of the weapon that we found during testing. In terms of alignment, gears were properly shimmed, decent bushings, neatly wired and everything locked into place nice and secure where they were supposed to; the stock spring is of the non-linear variety and while it probably offers minimal practical difference, it does supply 380fps out of the box and it sits on a metal spring guide. Overall, a nice set of internals resulting in a good gearbox.

Performance:
Opening up the gearbox for a more comprehensive inspection of the internals and things continued to look good; metal gearbox, steel gears, decently but not overly greased, plastic piston features, good so far. We take particular mention of the ported piston head and well-fitting o-ring for a nice seal and a bevel gear with five reverse latch teeth (definitely the higher end for most AEGs) and a decent nozzle resulting in the crisp operation of the weapon that we found during testing. In terms of alignment, gears were properly shimmed, decent bushings, neatly wired and everything locked into place nice and secure where they were supposed to; the stock spring is of the non-linear variety and while it probably offers minimal practical difference, it does supply 380fps out of the box and it sits on a metal spring guide. Overall, a nice set of internals resulting in a good gearbox.

Initially just test shooting right out of the box to get a rough idea, at 20m groupings where upwards of 12inches and that was with elevation; that was hardly surprising, with hop-up turned off it behaves like any other AEG so no big news there. Moving on to the actual accuracy testing we just skipped strait on ahead to the post-hop-up-adjust phase; with our impression from the initial shots we decided to shoot at 20m and 10m to get a spread result to get a better idea at the weapon performance at various ranges.

The accuracy tests were conducted indoors so wind was not a factor; firing position was seated and making use of a table-height gun rest so as to minimize user end inaccuracy and for authentic product testing we stuck to using the iron sights. The weapon was operating on an 8.4v tri-stick NiCad battery and chronoed very consistently at 380fps with KSC Perfect 0.2g BBs; all things considered, the rate of fire was actually very decent so we suspect running it on anything higher should yield an impressive rate of fire. Three shoots in all, first was semi-auto 10 shots at 20m, second was full auto 10 shots at 20m and finally semi-auto 10 shots at 10m. Full-auto shoots where done with the included hi-cap magazine; the full-auto shoot was done with a mid-cap (not included) and counted out so as to limit the full auto fire to exactly one continuous 10-shot burst.

Bear in mind when looking at the results that these tests are really about the groupings, not the placement, as we are testing the weapons accuracy and not the shooters skill (or lack thereof) operating iron sights. The 20m/65? range was selected to replicate longer shooting (typical with outdoor gaming) and the 10m/33? range reflects typical mid-to-long range for indoor shooting and generic CQB.

20 meters Semi-Auto
20 meters Full Auto
10 meters Semi-Auto

First shoot, semi-auto 10 shots at 20m/65’; grouping was about 19cm/7.5”, not bad but not terribly inspiring, fairly typical for an AEG. Second shoot, full-auto 10 shots at 20m/65’; grouping was about 15cm/6” resulting in a negligible difference with semi-auto which demonstrates how stable and consistent the hop-up is as even with the reasonable rate of fire it had no problem keeping things constant. Final shoot, semi-auto 10 shots at 10m/33’; grouping was about 5cm/2” giving for a solid drilling of a small spot at that range with most shots actually landing on top of each other.

Conclusion:
Over all, the weapon is ruggedly solid with a nice finish and built conservatively but practical with the slightest hint of minor eccentricity; inclusion of a rail system, crane stock, deans connector and t-connector gives for a nice package ready to take accessories and good to go right out of the box. Power is good but not too high, rate of fire is decent, hop-up is very consistent; we would say that the weapon performs well on its own but those so inclined to modify would likely find the secure hop-up a nice basis for an accuracy build whilst also a nice base rate of fire gives for a multiplying potential for pushing the envelope in the ROF department. Adding a tightbore precision barrel (no need to increase its length) and stepping up to 9.6v battery or LiPo (making use of minor re-wiring and adding a battery box) would render a high performance weapon with only minor modification.

Overall, we would say that its accuracy characteristics are fairly typical at longer range but its incredibly stable and consistent hop-up is great for sustain/suppression fire roles meaning you can spend less time worrying about your weapon and more on engaging the enemy!