Review (WIP) Of the CA M15A4 Carbine
Number of posts : 151
Age : 29
Location : NY, USA
Registration date : 2007-07-21
|Subject: Review (WIP) Of the CA M15A4 Carbine Mon Dec 17, 2007 9:06 pm|| |
A review of the Classic Army M15A4 Carbine by bioniclebert.
Table of Contents:
1.) Background information, Real steel information.
2.) The buying process.
3.) Packaging and Included parts.
4.) Brief first impression.
5.) Physical description, body parts.
6.) Internals, and take down.
7.) Pros and cons.
(Sorry, no accuracy tests yet due to weather).
8.) Concluding statements.
1.) Background information
- This model, manufactured by Classic Army, with licensed trademarks by Armalite, is made to resemble an actual M16 variant. This model features a removable carry handle, and a retractable stock, made to look identical to the M4A1. Most people familiar with the M16 series will note this gun to look similar to the other rifles, such as the M15A4 rifle, M15A4 tactical carbine, and plenty others. This review will cover the M15A4 carbine. For it's real steel counterpart, I consulted information found on the internet:
“The M4 Carbine is a family of firearms tracing its lineage back to earlier carbine versions of the M16, all based on the original AR-15 made by ArmaLite. It is a shorter and lighter version of the M16A2 assault rifle, achieving 80% parts commonality with the M16A2. The M4 has selective fire options including semi-automatic and three-round burst (like the M16A2), while the M4A1 has a "full auto" option in place of the three-round burst.
The M4 and variants fire 5.56 x 45 mm NATO ammunition and are gas-operated, air-cooled, magazine-fed, selective fire firearms with a 4-position telescoping stock. Original M4 models had a flat-ended telescoping stock, but newer models are now equipped with a redesigned telescoping stock that is slightly larger and the end has a curvature. ” (Wikipedia)
Shown here, the stock photo of the CA M15A4 Carbine:
2.) Buying the product
- I purchased this gun from www.airsplat.com
for $305 in March of 2007. As of the summer of 2007, the prices of each gun manufactured by Classic Army have dropped in price; the M15A4 carbine is now $269.95, as of October 20th, 2007. Shipping the gun with 3 day select, I can personally recommend Airsplat, as my item came on time. The only problem, was that the UPS tracking system did not show the status of my package, until after it was delivered. This is not a flaw of Airsplat.com, but rather the UPS tracking: But they got the job done on the scheduled time, as one should hope. The big brown box came in, which was unusually large. It was probably thick enough to fit three gun boxes inside, with room left to spare for a battery and ammo. A little awkward to carry, though it wasn't heavy. Overall, I haven't had to contact airsplat regarding any problems, so I cannot comment on their customer service. Though one can interpret from my experience, a factor of good CS is that one can successfully complete the transaction without the need of such contact.
3.) Packaging and Included parts
- The box itself, Is very nicely detailed, as shown in some of the pictures below. It came in a similar packaging to the Echo 1 MP5, in which the box is used not only to package M15A4 carbines, but also will fit a M15A4 Tactical carbine. Also, the manual is written for both rifles, in easy to understand actual English.
With the gun, came The gun itself, one high capacity magazine able to hold approximately 300 rounds, an unjamming rod, and a manual. Pretty self explanatory, as one would expect to see with an AEG. See below for more details on individual parts and accessories of the gun.
4.) Brief first impression-
Before I had used the Classic Army M15A4, I had never really owned a real AEG. I had no idea what to expect with a full metal airsoft gun, let alone what CA had to offer. So opening the box, and handling the gun for the first time, was really an incredible experience. The gun appears in a very deep dark black color, which I prefer on an airsoft gun. It has a nice weight, 6lbs, and felt very sturdy in my hands. With all my excitement, I had to go outside and take it for a few shots.
5.) Physical description, body parts
- Starting from the outer barrel, there is a nice and short orange tip. The tip doesn't appear to be much longer than 7mm on the edge of the barrel , which is nice compared to other models which sometimes may have an entire flash hider painted orange. The flash hider is also removable, revealing a 14mm CCW thread system, for a silencer. There is a hex screw in the bottom of the flash hider, so that screw must be removed before the threads can be accessed.
The rest of the outer barrel is metal, along with the front sight. Nothing special there, standard “bunny ears” as expected in any M16 variant. Next, moving down the gun, are the foregrips. These are made of an incredibly durable nylon fiber, which takes quite the beating. Both halves are tightly bound together, which provide ample room for a nun-chuck battery. A note to make, is that my nun-chuck battery did not fit in the Palco Firepower F4 ( Re-branded WELL R6), but it did fit in the Classic Army. Inside the foregrip, there is a fuse, attached to a decently long pair of wires running to the internals. The fuse is inserted in a small plastic container, which holds it in place nicely. In the hand, the plastic feels very nice, a much greater improvement over say, ABS, that I have used in cheaper M4 models.
One thing to note, is the tightness of the locking collar. It is very tight, and somewhat hard to pull back. To remove the foregrips for inserting the battery, pull back on the ring, and slip off the foregrips, and the battery compartment is accessed. To close up the gun, place the front end of the foregrip in place, (closest to the barrel in first) and then pull the foregrip down, while pulling back on the locking collar. It does take a few tries to get used to, but anyone familiar with the system shouldn't expect any new tricks in this area, except possibly a tighter grip. The sides of the foregrip where the plastics meet, is very tightly closed together, meaning that one not need to worry about the battery falling out, or having any rattle to the grip.
Next on the list, is the metal body. On the Fire selector switch side, Above the magazine well, are the Armalite trademarks. Nicely shown in a bright white color, which also provides an individual serial number. The trademarks on the M15A4 are labeled as laser engraved by Airsplat.com.
The metal itself is not of the best quality, but personally it's done the job. My opinion of the metals and the body itself is satisfactory, as I have had no problems with it since purchase, and it has been through quite a few games, at least 7 this year, and a lot of target practice. The bolt catch serves no function, neither does the forward assist or the charging handle. All are cosmetic add-ons, which is a downside, as even some other cheaper counterparts at least use the charging handle to expose the hopup. These however do not effect performance, again since they are cosmetic, but may still be a factor to be considered when purchasing an AEG. The magazine release on the opposite side of the trades, releases the magazine as expected. This is operated simply by pushing it inwards, and the magazine falls out of the well. It is important to note on my model, that the magazine was very loose in the well, and rattled even during normal movement. This could be a size difference of the magazine, or the metal on the gun itself, though either way, a small bit of electrical tape on the upper portion of the mag fixed it. Also on the body is the dust cover, which is held in magnetically. To open the dust cover to reveal the hopup, the user must actually pry it open; Though it requires not much force, you may need something thin to be able to open it up easier. The corners are the best bet, one could try slipping a fingernail underneath the edge and pulling upward, or carry a small tool to open it. One recommendation I can make is NOT to pull on the magnet. The magnet is very lightly glued on, and after I pulled the dust cover open by the magnet, it fell off. A small bit of glue on the underside has fixed it, but none the less, one should be aware. Last, are the fire selector switch and trigger. Both of which are metal, and are nothing out of the ordinary in an M16 variant. Moving the fire selector switch furthest to the right, yields the safety position. Pushing the switch into the vertical position puts the gun in the semi automatic position, and pushing it all the way forward is the fully automatic position. The fire selector switch gives a nice click when in each position, which adds a sense of reliability, and overall sturdiness. I have had problems when switching from auto back to semi, in which the gun remained firing in full auto mode. This has happened twice to me, however has a very easy fix. Simply put, change the selector switch back to automatic, fire a round or two, and then switch to semi and fire again, producing semiautomatic fire.
The magazine, is full metal, and is actually a lighter tint in color of the rest of the gun. The magazine appears to be a dark grey, while the AEG itself is a very dark black color. Holding near 300 rounds, it functions similar to the average high capacity magazine. The user inputs bb's into the large chamber, and winds the gear on the bottom of the magazine, to load in ammo to shoot. The mag does need to be lubricated, and properly done so. Any questions as how to lubricate a gun and/or its magazines should be consulted in the airsoft reports forum, at https://airsoftreports.editboard.com/index.htm
Bioniclebert is a moderator.
Number of posts : 151
Age : 29
Location : NY, USA
Registration date : 2007-07-21
|Subject: Re: Review (WIP) Of the CA M15A4 Carbine Mon Dec 17, 2007 9:06 pm|| |
Next, is the stock. The stock is made out of the same material as the foregrips, a nice fiber that is actually very nice to handle. It extends into five positions, which makes it very comfortable, in my opinion, for almost any user, compared to a full stock. The stock is held in place, by a large Phillips head screw inside of the pole of the stock. Users experiencing stock wobble can fix this easily. To tighten the stock, pull down on the large center tab of the stock itself, and slide it off completely. Then on the end cap, is a small hex screw. Once removed, the back end cap can be removed, and a large screw sits inside the tube. Then all the user must do, is tighten the screw, and the stock wobble is fixed. This may occur after a long period of use, so be sure to keep this method in mind in case you or one of your fellow airsofters encounters this problem. This method can also be used to replace the small piece of plastic in between the stock tube and the metal body, like say if the user decided to use a sling mount.
Iron sights are included with the M15A4, and are removable by means to two round knobs, exposing a metal rail system. The rail can support plenty of add-ons, such as scopes, red dot sights, and laser systems. The included sights are full metal as well, and have a nice weight to them. The rear sight is adjustable vertically and horizontally, and provides two apertures for different shooting environments; A wider hole to be used at close range, and a smaller hole for (theoretically) more accurate distance shooting. This system is full metal, and when adjusting windage and elevation, the turn of the knobs provide a “clicking” noise: meaning that the apertures are locking into place.
Note the difference in aperture sizes.
One last thing to note, is the pistol grip, which is also yet again the same material as the foregrip and the stock. It feels very nice and smooth in the hand, and feels very dense. Through it, one can access the motor, by unscrewing the two screws on the base plate. Once the motor is removed, there are 2-4 more screws holding the grip in place, before it is detached from the gearbox, so it is important to note that the pistol grip must be removed to access the gearbox.
6.) Internals, and take down
- First off, is the hopup system. This scores a very low rank, as it is, in my opinion, the worst part of the gun. Though it worked for the first month or two of use, after a few games, the hopup's pressure on the BB became relaxed, and the effect of the hopup system became null. If one were to purchase this gun, I would recommend looking into other brands of hopup units and bucking, if Classic Army does not change it themselves. It is very easy to adjust, one must turn the gear clockwise to increase the effect of hopup, and counterclockwise (CCW) to decrease the effect. If the whole idea of hopup is new to you, consult the users manual; The picture inside shows a good representation of what you should expect bb's to do. The hopup gear is located under the dust cover, and also behind a small metal plate symbolizing the bolt.
As for the barrel, It's nothing special. A nice brass barrel, which provides good accuracy, and distance. I would also recommend the user to change this, and to go with a Prometheus or Madbull tightbore barrel, in the M4 length. (recommended 363 mm) This is probably the best first upgrade for any AEG owner to do, as it increases accuracy without having to open the gearbox itself. Refer to disassembly below to see how to replace a barrel. Not a difficult task at all to perform, and provides noticeable results. Keep in mind to use the recommended high quality .20g and above weighted bb's, especially with tightbore barrels, as they have less tolerance for bb diameter variation.
Next comes the internals themselves. The motor is a Classic Army High torque motor. No word as to whether or not it is equivalent to any other motor, but it provides a decent Rate of fire with a 9.6V battery, has the ability to take a 10.8v battery stock, and according to the manual, a low amperage 12 volt battery. Performs nicely with an M120 spring installed, still keeping a decent rate of fire. Most of the internals in the gearbox are fairly durable. Nice metal busings and gears, the only noticeable problem is the piston, which shows excessive wear. Before too much use, any owner should look into getting the piston replaced, before it breaks and causes possible damage to other parts inside the gearbox. With a metal spring guide, sound casing, and tight gear positioning pertaining to bushings and shims, the Classic Army's gearbox is well built. One positive I'd like to mention, is the motor positioning. Having worked on other guns in the past, the motor has been an aggravating part to get exactly right into place on other guns. In this gun, I was able to disassemble the AEG, install a M120 spring, and reassemble the gun into working order, on the first try, which saved a lot of frustration. One last thing to remember about the gearbox is the 6mm bushings. CA's sportline series, the cheaper variants now use 7mm gearboxes, and some manufacturers also use higher. This means that CA's M15A4 carbine is being outdated in more ways than one, so CA should really reconsider creating a newer revision of this gun.
The take down of the gun, is fairly simple, yet different from other M4/M16 systems out there. First of all, remove the foregrips by pulling the locking collar backwards, and pulling them off. Inside, there will be a fuse, connected to some wires leading into the main body of the gun. To remove the fuse, open the small white plastic compartment and remove the fuse between the small copper clips. Replace the fuse with one found at a local hardware store or walmart rated up to 20 Amps. To continue take down, disconnect the red and black wire connectors by pulling on them, and you'll have removed the wires leading to the fuse and battery. Next up are the pins on the outer hull of the gun. Locate the two Allen screws, and take them out from the fire selector switch side. Then on the other side of the gun, pull the two pins out and set them aside. After that, remove the magazine, and carefully slide the upper receiver forward off of the lower receiver, periodically pulling back the charging handle, as it will get stuck on the top of the gearbox. Your gun should now be in two pieces, one with the gearbox, and the other with the barrel. From here, to remove the gearbox, simply unscrew the two Phillips head screws on the motor plate, located on the bottom of the pistol grip, and remove the cover. Disconnect both wires from the motor, and unscrew the four Phillips screws underneath. Afterward, lightly use a small screwdriver to tap out the last small pin holding the gearbox in place. To remove the stock, again pull the stock off completely, remove the small Allen screw, and then the large Phillips screw underneath. Finally, using another smaller Allen screw, remove the small screw on the magazine release button, and pull all the pieces out. (The button, the small spring, and the plate which holds the mag in place.) Now that you've got everything removed, try pulling out the gearbox from the body. I have read that one should put the weapon in the semiautomatic position and then pull out, which I have tried and worked for me.
As for the other half, the barrel is much simpler. Simply pull on the hopup chamber and barrel to pull it out. Not much detail to add, as this process is pretty self explanatory, especially when compared to a full disassembly; This is another reason why a barrel replacement is an easy and recommended upgrade. To remove the barrel, simply remove the small C shaped piece of plastic on the underside of the barrel, and pull it out. When replacing the barrel, make sure to line up the slot in the barrel with the ridge in the hopup bucking, and slide it into place. Replace the C shaped clamp, and you've successfully replaced the barrel.
7.) Pros and cons
Rate of fire is high.
Distance shooting about 150'.
Stock motor can take 10.8V battery.
Stock gearbox can take an M120 upgrade.
Nice appeal, fit and finish.
Comfortable, with a nice weight. Cons:
Yellow piston is not a good one. Replace it when it shows wear, but dont wait too long to do this.
Stock hopup unit isn't so good.
Internals are being beat by it's cheaper counterpart. (Sportline)
The metal quality is questionable.
Cost vs. Performance.
Rattle of the magazine upon purchase.
Wiring could be better.
8.) Concluding statements
- The Classic Army M15A4 was an incredible weapon several years ago. Nowadays, the CA has become nearly obsolete, stacking up against guns such as the KWA M4A1. Though both will preform nicely in a game, the better internals of other brands may effect ones decision. My recommendation (Not through personal use, but from other users and retailers) is for just a bit more, the ICS M4 series weapons, or the KWA M4A1. If you're looking into the lower end guns, I'd also recommend the CA sportline M15A4, as it's internals are dubbed better than these, and I would also recommend the ECHO 1 M4A1. For plastic bodied alternatives, both in my opinion are excellent airsoft guns for starters, and those not wanting to pay that extra cash for metal bodies. This has been a review from bioniclebert, I hope you found this review informative in the process of selecting the right AEG for the job. As always, constructive criticism is appreciated, as well as comments and other thoughts.
Just a side note, I'm having some problems with lighting, and the camera itself. Please bear with me while I try to supply an ample load of pictures to accompany the review, the pictures coming out now just aren't in very good lighting, thus suffering in quality. All pictures in the review so far are not
of my origin, so please do not accredit me to these photos. Most of them were taken from arnies airsoft, and will hopefully be replaced by my own snapshots in the future. Thank you for reading!
Arnies for the temporary pictures
Airsoft reports for critique, site of posting
Airsplat.com for general information and product itself
Various aforementioned internet reference sources.
Bioniclebert is a moderator.
Last edited by bioniclebert on Sat Mar 15, 2008 10:40 am; edited 1 time in total
Master Gunnery Sergeant E-9
Number of posts : 431
Age : 30
Location : San Diego, California
Registration date : 2007-05-28
|Subject: Re: Review (WIP) Of the CA M15A4 Carbine Tue Dec 18, 2007 12:18 am|| |
Looking good so far. Only a few errors. I'll point them out now.Errors that need to be fixed:
in your pros and cons section, bold the pro and con titles
- Quote :
- Today, the flaws in the CA have been surpassed by other companies, while this gun hasn't changed, making it nearly obsolete
Could you reword that sentence, that could be misinterpreted easily.Items that need to be added
Print out the 'BULLSEYE TARGET WITH 1" LINE SPACING' target paper from www.mytargets.com
Then shoot ten shots in semi auto, record the groupings on the paper, and scan it onto your computer, or take a picture of the target paper, and paste it in your performance section.
If you can, also test the ROF with audacity.
Thats all for now, just get 20-40 pics in and we will proceed.
|Subject: Re: Review (WIP) Of the CA M15A4 Carbine || |
Review (WIP) Of the CA M15A4 Carbine