PART 2 - Choosing a base rifle
Choosing your base rifle is a very important descision and should not be taken lightly. What you choose can effect upgrade potential, logetivity, and overall costs. Here are some of the options to consider:
Probably the most cost effective and consistant form of airsoft sniping, Springers are the go to rifle that most everyone starts with. They are uber reliable if you take care of them also. Here are some of the options to consider with a springer.
1) TM VSR10 or any of its clones. Needless to say if you get a clone, make sure its a better quality one. The TM L96 uses a lot of VSR10 parts so that is pretty good to have also.
Pros- The VSR10 has the most aftermarket support. It's lighter and shorter than many other BAR's. The TM stock hopup and a good bucking are the best the hop up can get for the rifle. (Unless you want the get the PDI chamber which allows for side spin adjustment, but is a POS to adjust. It also allows for AEG barrels).
Cons- The VSR10 and its clones are the most popular. (Its like the M4 of sniping). To get the hopup super stable takes some mods and tuning time. Mags like to get stuck in wag well. the stock trigger sear is 45 degrees so it may not hold up to high power springs, which mean you have to either buy 90 degree sears and a compatible piston, or a zero/v-trigger and a compatible piston.
2) Maruzen APS-2 and L96 systems. This is what I run. There are not many clones of the APS-2 but there are a lot for the L96. Only difference between the systems is a different cylinder head for different models. Triggers are different for the different models though.
Pros- Good after market support. I believe most of the clones have stock 90 degree sears ( though the trigger boxes are plastic so reinforce if putting in a heavy spring. The stock sears are pretty good) Very easy to quite, mod. Stock hop is ok, but switch out the plastic arm with a metal one)
Cons- Hop up is hard to adjust unless you TDC it no matter which unit you are using. Heavier than most BAR's (The L96 is anyways). The APS-2 clones ARE NOT actual clones. They like to use proprietary parts and that severely limits upgrade potential unless you can lathe out your own aluminum and steel parts.
If you stick with Tokyo Marui or APS (Maruzen) guns, you will have good aftermarket support.
Snow Wolf M28's now have PDI support for upgrades, It is now viable to purchse one for a base.
These can be somewhat tempremental, inconsistent, and or heavy, they can become great when tuned to perfection. Gas rifles are good for when you want a gun that is hard shooting straight away and take minimal amounts of work to get ok results.
1) KJW 700's Don't know all that much about the clones.
Pros- No mods needed immediately for power. Able to short stroke for faster reloads. Pretty good out of box.
Cons- For consistency, this needs to be polarstared or else there is too much fps fluctuation throughout the mag. Hop up can be hit or miss, to get the best possible hop, it needs to be R-hopped. Not much aftermarket support.
Tanaka gas guns are pretty good, but build quality can be hit or miss.
Research ANY gas rifle before purchase extensivly, it will save your bacon later.
AEG Snipers (DMRs)
These take a WHOLE lot of money, time, skill, and labor to do right. There ae many paths to achive a good DMR platform, but plan your path to make sure its what you want. Good platforms are M14, AR-15, G3, SIG550, PSG-1, essentially any gun that has great support for upgrades.
Notes for other stuff and upgrades.
Things to stay away from.
1) NEVER BUY A ARES SNIPER! They suck. The externals are great, but the internals are both proprietary and of bad quality. They're hard to upgrade and if it is possible expensive. That new ARES MSR only lasts 50 shots because the piston lip shears off and its not compatible with anything.
2) Never buy a super cheap clone. They like to have bad tolerances (which disallows upgrades), sealed cylinders, and proprietary parts.
3) While a lot of the M24/28 are nice, they don't have very many compatible parts. And if parts are compatible, they like to come from different guns, making it hard to know which part to get. The Echo1 M28 is not compatible with many VSR parts unlike what the sellers say. Their ASR is the same way.
PDI now makes a full upgrade kit for M28 platforms. This is extremely good news.
4) The APS M40A3 looks good, but again, most of the parts are incompatible.
5) Stay away from the Angel custom springs. They suck
-Use a softer bucking, as it is easier to break in and is a little more consistent. Though I have found that harder silicon bucking work well too.
-Always upgrade the accuracy components first. It doesn't matter what your range is if you can't hit it.
-Cylinder sets are one of the easiest ways to overhaul the cylinder. All of the parts are meant to fit together and its cheaper than buying parts individually.
-Good brands are: Laylax/First Factory, and PDI. Angel custom is making some pretty good quality clones of Laylax or PDI at a fraction of the cost, but the percision isn't quite there and its still relatively new. Pretty safe to buy aside from the springs.
-The way to get the most range is to R-hop. ER is good, but you have to cut the barrel.
-If you have good compression, a SP170 or equivalent spring is the hottest you can possibly get if max fps is 550. I believe a sp150 is around 500fps.