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G&G GR16 Raider-L

#1 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 12:34 PM

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This was my very first airsoft purchase, back in late November 2018. It was a preowned, what I assume to be first generation G&G GR16 Raider-L full metal body M4. I had read everywhere that it is a good beginner rifle to get, due to it being built like a tank and fully compatible with upgrades that can take its performance to the next level. The pic above is a photo from the ad I got it from.

After taking it apart, I believe the piston head (and possibly the piston itself) was upgraded due to the piston head being red-anodized aluminum with a thrust bearing to relieve spring tension. The piston was black plastic with one metal tooth on the end of the rack. Other than that, I believe the rest of the gun to be stock.

I have not fielded the gun yet, but with the various outings I've had sighting in red dots and plinking with a bunch of friends, along with fully disassembling the receivers and gearbox to replace parts I believe I have enough experience handling and working on the gun to give an accurate review of it. Keep in mind that it was not purchased brand new, and it was well loved before I took over ownership - and this is very much so an entry level 'enthusiast' tier airsoft gun.

POSITIVES
1. Full metal exterior, barring the usuals (stock, pistol grip, orange tip)
2. RIS is free-floating, solid attachment system to barrel nut
3. Solid hopup construction, mine came with the G&G Green bucking as well
4. Orange tip held in by pin (not glued), can easily reveal standard 14mm- CCW threads for suppressor attachments
5. Quick disconnects between gearbox wires and wires to battery/fuse in the buffer tube and stock for easy disassembly

NEGATIVES
1. Inner barrel is probably best upgraded, stock aluminum barrel is not of good quality
2. Charging handle spring WILL overstretch if you do not have experience disassembling the platform
3. Outer barrel has a strange left/right grub screw securing system to the barrel nut rather than a barrel nut

PRICE POINT/AGE NOTES
1. Charging handle is nonfunctional, does not drop ejection port cover for hopup adjustment
2. Unique (to my knowledge) G&G RIS design, not sure if the RIS rails are full Picatinny/MIL-STD-1913 spec
3. Oldschool v2 gearbox design

I will go into detail about each point, for the tl;dr this initial post is done. Modifications and other work on it will be documented beyond this post in the thread.

1+ Full metal exterior
The receivers, RIS, and buffer tube are all made out of what I believe to be aluminum. This leads to the body feeling very solid when in use, and there is no rattling or build quality issues that I noticed while working on it. The fit of the upper receiver into the lower receiver right at the rear above the buffer tube attachment is quite tight on my gun but this means there is no play when they are joined by the single forward body pin.

2+ Free-floating RIS
The RIS attaches to a mount held in place by the barrel nut and aligned by the mock gas tube. The RIS itself attaches to that mount with what I believe to be M6 countersunk screws for a very solid connection. I was not aware of the 'rail wobble' issues other budget guns have until I worked on another budget gun with a two-piece KAC style RIS that was only held together by the spring-loaded delta ring and the front handguard cap. Running the G&G RIS with either a Magpul AFG1 or a vertical foregrip/flashlight combo feels really nice, and there is no discernible play or wobble.

3+ Great hopup
I wasn't much of a fan of the stock hopup assembly as I was getting unreliable feeding and wayward shots in the beginning but after cleaning it out and reseating the bucking it is now shooting reliably and relatively true. Not bad for a stock plastic hopup, although admittedly it comes with one of the most well loved buckings on the internet. I was under the initial impression that the stock-style side dial was inferior to the rear rotary style (KWA, Krytac) but after working with a truly awful rear rotary style hopup and fixing the issues with the stock G&G one, it grew on me. I am assuming either the nub got loose and was leading to irregular hop being applied, or there was gearbox grease in the rubber and cleaning it out reset both of those possible problems. Also to be noted is that the hopup in my gun had very little play, and seems to hold its settings well even under 3s lipo automatic fire.

4+ Orange tip removal
The stock orange tip is a QD birdcage type with coarse threading on the exterior to accept a suppressor. The pin on the side holds it in, and with a bit of wiggling the pin loosens itself and falls out allowing the flash hider to be removed easily. It is made of relatively soft material (nylon?) so I believe it can take a few knocks without cracking. The threads on the outer barrel are 14mm- CCW, and I believe the hole that the pin sat in is actually threaded for what looks like an M3 grub screw.

5+ Wiring
For a factory installedsystem, the wiring is well done. There is a cylindrical fuse right behind the battery connector, and because the inline fuse holder doesn't fit through the wire hole in the buffer tube assembly there is a set of quick disconnects at that end. The wiring appears to be consistent gauge throughout, and although it is by no means adequate for any type of upgraded motor or battery it does its job well for what it was designed to do. It does come with the standard mini Tamiya style plug, which is easily swapped out for a Deans plug to support hobby grade batteries.

1- Inner barrel
The inner barrel being mediocre is kind of to be expected at this point. I am not sure of the bore or wall thickness but it is made out of unfinished aluminum which is not the best material especially in Hilo where it is prone to corrosion. Good enough to have some fun with it out of the box, but seeing as how inner barrels are frequently upgraded anyway I'm not sure if that's a big deal.

2- Charging handle spring
The charging handle is aesthetic only, but it does provide some semblance of realism of the real steel function. However, the extension spring it uses to provide a return force is prone to overextension if you do not disengage it immediately after you clear the gearbox hub that limits travel. I ripped mine out upon first disassembly, and unless you've worked on G&G M4s before you will not know how far is too far.

Fortunately, there are plentiful cheap replacements, some of which you may even be able to source locally. Here's compatible springs that I found:
  • McMaster 9654K416 (McMaster-Carr, recommended by the AEG online community, not so easily obtainable in Hawaii)
  • Handyman Springs SP-9657 (Amazon, some local hardware stores)
  • Century Spring C-13 (Amazon, some local hardware stores)
  • Swordfish Tools 8056 (Ebay, I went with them and they are perfect)


3- Barrel grub screws
Not much to say here, but it does damage the barrel due to the grub screws biting directly into the outside base. It does allow you to center it, which I guess is a positive side effect. Not something I would have liked to seen though, but the upper receiver is standard barrel compatible, and I have put a different brand barrel in temporarily to test.

1$ Nonfunctional charging handle
Should be considered standard fare at this entry level price point, but the spring at least allows you to pretend you're charging the rifle. The hopup is accessed in the same place, through the ejection port, although thankfully there is a spring on the cover to keep it closed under normal operation. There's no easy way to pry it open without fingernails, but I am fine with that.

2$ Attractive but out of spec RIS
I do appreciate that it's attached solidly, and I appreciate that it's technically free floating with a plug on the front to cover that open mouth, but I believe that it's out of true Picatinny MIL-STD-1913 spec. The rails are not 'tall' enough with regard to the center axis of the RIS, as I was not able to attach both a foregrip-flashlight on the bottom and genuine KAC rail covers on the sides due to it interfering with the foregrip-flashlight's thumbscrews. On a KAC style RIS off a different gun, they were both able to be used simultaneously. Only the 'corners' of each rail segment are the true height of the picatinny rail while it drops back down to the base height in the middle. Visually this means that there appears to be two rows of nubs going down the rail when viewed from above, which is aesthetically amusing but that means certain central-screw based locking accessories (such as some slide-on polymer foregrips) cannot get positive engagement to truly lock in place.

3$ Oldschool v2 gearbox
This may be expected due to the age of the system (2011 era from what I hear) but there are no modern conveniences in this gearbox with regard to the person working on it. Springs and small parts will fly out immediately upon cracking the two shells apart due to the main piston spring tension being held in by a fully captured spring guide. I lost the trigger for awhile the first time I took it apart, and shot myself in the stomach with the spring guide. I could not put in a stronger spring than what was in there (probably stock) due to the increased tension causing too much pressure for me to hold everything together while trying to put them back together again. The quickest FPS change you can do in the field will be to change your inner barrel diameter and hope it's close to what you wanted. I brought in Retro Arms v2 gearboxes for this very reason, and hopefully this Raider-L will be a sleeper performance combat machine.
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