An example of AK airsoft gun tuning
AK airsoft gun tuning
There are many reasons to be interested in AK platform replicas. They have their own unique character and allow for a lot in terms of styling. We can easily play pretending to be military, military, security and even criminal formations or vice versa - police. AK replicas will prove themselves in post-apocalyptic stylizations and when we want to resemble characters from computer games.
Currently, there are few reasons to actively avoid this platform. Not to mention that it is one of the most widespread firearms platforms in the world. However, in the airsoft world there is still the issue of possible susceptibility to tuning. And here, historically, the replicas of the family in question showed some kind of difficulties.
I would say that currently tuning the AR15 airsoft gun is not particularly complicated. Of course, we are talking about basic improvements. It is obvious that we can go far and finally install a really complicated and well build assembly in our replica. However, for an ordinary player, even the basic tuning of the V2 gearbox is quite affordable. There are a lot of parts, a lot of material on the Internet and a lot of potential problems have already been covered. Unfortunately, it is a bit different with AK airsoft guns. First of all, there are still a lot of discrepancies between them in the way the body is assembled. We have two dominant standards VSR and TM. However, most manufacturers introduce these standards in their own shades, so sometimes even replicas in the same style, but from other companies may differ. Fortunately, these are not insurmountable problems and recently the tuning of AK replicas has become more and more popular.
What problems can we encounter?
As I mentioned earlier, the great advantage of AR15 airsoft guns in the context of upgrades is their affordability. I started my adventure with the service from this platform and I still prefer to work on it. First of all, it is quite easy to find materials on the Internet about various modifications and possible problems. Unfortunately, this is sometimes difficult to say about replicas with a V3 gearbox in general, and even more so with AK airsoft guns.
Another problem related to the tuning of AK airsoft guns is alignment. More precisely, it's not even the alignment, but the number of gearbox support points. This is probably best described with a comparative example. In the AR family replicas, we have two pins that stabilize the gearbox in the receiver. One at the trigger and the other at the stock mount. In addition, it can be said that another such point is the pistol grip. In the AK we basically only have a selector, which in itself is also not perfect, because it does not go through the entire gearbox like pins. The pistol grip is screwed more firmly to the engine basket and not to the body. For this reason, the replica mechanism is more prone to skewing. You can fight it, but it's more difficult than on other platforms.
What to install in an AK replica?
But enough about the problems. Certainly, more interesting are the different possibilities and configurations that we can use in our airsoft guns. Unfortunately, I have bad news to start with. I would not be honest if I claimed that there is one proven formula for tuning a replica. This basically applies to every construction, so it also applies to the discussed platform. It is always worth assuming that the parts must be selected individually. It happens that the manufacturer introduces changes to its components, changes the production process, or simply comes across a differently manufactured batch. This probably applies to hop-up buckings most often, but other components do not avoid it either.
With that little announcement above, we can move on to discussing specific components. I believe that the best thing you can do for your AK replica is to install a MOSFET in it. And here comes the dilemma. Unfortunately, the airsoft guns in question usually house their batteries under the cover. For this reason, they have little space for a power source. A traditional cable-mounted layout would waste valuable space unnecessarily. In addition, it is currently difficult for me to recommend MOSFET systems other than those replacing the trigger boxes. Maybe I am unnecessarily convinced, but I believe that this is the basis of replica tuning nowadays. Elimination of the trigger box helps in eliminating many problems and the additional functions of such systems only help in making a decision.
An important part of our airsoft gun's gearbox is the pneumatic system. In principle, the pistons, cylinder heads and heads are the same as in other designs. There are exceptions in the case of cylinder heads, but nowadays most are manufactured to fit V2 and V3 gearboxes. It's a big simplification. We can basically use our favourite components. Another issue is nozzle selection. Here it is best to follow the rule to start with a part of the same length as the factory one and change it only when problems arise. As for specific manufacturers, I have good experience with Specna Arms and EPeS Airsoft components. I also know from many reports that a set of pink or purple cylinder head and nozzle from SHS works well for AK replicas. It is definitely worth considering a piston with a full metal jaw and choosing the seals well.
Gears are often hotly debated among service technicians. With basic tuning, it is worth looking for those made in CNC technology. We shouldn't have any problems with Specna Arms or SHS components. When making a change, it is worth considering changing the gear ratio. The 16:1 system should improve our rate of fire and trigger response without unduly straining the rest of the gearbox.
The last ingredients for success
The bearings and the motor are basically a matter of our preferences and budget. There are people who immediately install ball bearings and think that this is the best way. I also met with opinions that it is better to bet on shims. Certainly, this debate is a topic for another article, so for now it's best to remember to choose good quality components. Same with the motor. Probably with a slight increase in power, even the factory one will cope. A better model with neodymium magnets will improve our trigger response and rate of fire. I would leave brushless motors for the most extreme modifications.
Above: SA-J73 CORE™ Carbine Replica
I left the issue of the gearbox shell for the end. I think that in the case of basic tuning, the gearbox V3 should not cause any problems. Unless we overdo it with the power of our main spring, even the power tuning should be without casualties. It is worth remembering that in the V3 design, the forces acting on the shell spread differently and do not concentrate as in the V2. Let's leave the gearbox in CNC technology for really extreme modifications.
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