I did not write this review. This Review is originally found here: http://www.ukasc.net/content.php?review.82
G&G S.O.C 16 by Comega on Wednesday 21 September 2005 We take a closer look at the latest addition in G&G M14's range.
G&G SOC16 Review
The G&G (Guay Guay) SOC16 is one of the latest AEG’s in the M14 range from the Taiwanese manufacturer who have only fairly recently turned to the market of AEG production. That is not to say that they are new to the game, they have been around producing accessories for our beloved Airsoft guns for a fairly long time. They have also it seems been paying attention to what it is the Airsoft market outside Japan is looking for and have targeted these guns mainly for this market. After the GR16 armalite range which came with every imaginable configuration and optional accessory bolted on, we saw the M14 series and recently the UMG (UMP) and if rumours are true on various forums around the web we should be seeing a SA-80 variant by the end of the year. These guns have been on Airsofter’s "wish list" forum threads for many years and as a new manufacturer they are definitely leading the way by giving us even more choice in terms of models of guns. G&G launched their M14 ahead of Tokyo Marui and beat them to the goal post as TM kept pushing back the release date, however earlier versions of the gun were met with bad reports and problems with reliability and Q&C as a result of rushing the gun to get it out before TM. Quick to respond and actually caring and taking on board feedback from users and retailers, G&G released new versions of the gun with these problems addressed. The original G&G M14 came in a black finish and I imagine the SOC16 was dependant on the success of the original gun. It must have done well as they now have a range of 8 M14’s which come in different colours and markings. The SOC16 is the baby version as it were as it is the newest and features a short barrel making it also the shortest. Introduction to the SOC16
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Chris and Danny at Redwolf UK for providing us with the gun used in this review. Redwolf are the sole distributors of Guay Guay products in the UK and it is thanks to them that many people are able to enjoy the G&G range in the UK making it extremely easy for retailers to get their hands on these products. They are also the first major overseas retailer to setup a wholesale division in the UK and Europe.
The G&G SOC16 and UMG at the AA stall in July 2005
The SOC16 was first introduced to most of us in the shape of photos available on the internet and on G&G’s website. Those of us who visited the War and Peace show had the opportunity to handle a pre-production version of this very gun at the Airsoft Armoury stall. The representatives of G&G who were visiting the show visiting various retailers and talking to Airsofter's. The SOC16 it seems is not to everyone’s taste, some prefer the shorter barrel and maneuverability this gives you when moving thru tight spaces while others prefer the look of the traditional M14. I personally prefer the look of the SOC16 so I had my eye on one of these rather then one of the full length M14’s. Real Steel SOCOM 16
This 16" version of the venerable M1A can be an effective close quarters battle rifle or just a great "ranch gun." This rifle has the minimum length barrel for a rifle under federal law. It has a proprietary muzzle brake, tritium front sight and a forward-mounted scope base that is ideal for electronic sights or other accessories" The above is taken from the manufacturer’s website of the Real Steel SOCOM 16, Springfield Armory. The picture on the Springfield’s website is like a mirror image of what you get in the package when you buy a G&G SOC16, right down to the mounted Aimpoint. Chances of seeing one of these in use by Real Steel military units on sites such as militaryphotos is fairly low. As far as I am aware it has not been adopted by any units per say but that does not mean that it is not available to them.
The gun comes in its very own box with English markings and an English/Cantonese (?) manual which is a nice red colour, a nice touch it has to be said. Also included is a 470 round hi-capacity magazine which is modeled after the pre-ban 20 round real steel magazine. We are told the first 1000 units of the gun also come with a free Aimpoint replica scope which attaches directly to this weapon’s built in RIS rail / scope mount rail. On picking up the gun you are surprised just how solid and heavy the gun is, the gun has a nice texture to it and the overall look of the gun is extremely aesthetically pleasing. G&G has built this gun with a fiber stock, all metal upper receiver/barrel (non removeable flashider), and a flip-up butt stock cover. Although the scope is technically a free gift it can not be ignored. It is a full metal construction and is one of the better replicas currently available on the market and comes with batteries and a scope mount.
The metal parts of this gun are very solid and feel well made and of good quality to the touch, when you lock the bolt back with the bolt stop and release it, there is a reassuring "clank" as the bolt slaps back. Doesn’t feel or sound like any low quality "monkey" metal here.
The magazine is inserted in a similar fashion to the AK47, you don’t just slap it in like you would a M16 but first you seat the front of the magazine and then the other end clicks in. The battery is fitted in the stock and can be a fairly large battery due the amount of space available in there. If anything there is too much space but this shall be covered a bit later. The safety of the gun is similar to the real steel version or so I am told anyway, push the lever that can be found in front of the trigger towards the trigger and the gun is safe. Push it away and the trigger can be pulled. It also has a hole in it I imagine making it easier to physically lock the gun in safe when traveling with it or storing it.
The fire selector is located directly above the trigger on the right hand side of the gun and to switch from full auto to single or vice versa the selector has to be pushed in and rotated. To the right is full auto and to the left is single shot, there are no visible markings for single shot but there is a large A on the selector switch itself. The fire selector also doubles as a spring release which you use by simply moving it backwards, without pushing it in. You will also need a sling for this gun, its heavy and there is no two ways about it. The spec sheet says this gun is 3.6 Kg’s but due to the fact that the gun is also fairly long at about an overall length of 9400mm or almost a meter. Don’t expect to see many rentals or younger Airsofter’s running around with this as it does require a bit of upper body strength to maneuver although not quite as much as you with a traditional M14. There are also no obviously large visible seam marks on this gun, something that was seen and commented by many after seeing photos of the early UMG release. In the field
You can sit in your garden shed taking chronograph readings all day long and imagining how a gun will perform but that is no substitute for running around a day or two with a gun to give you a good feel of its capabilities and faults.
The gun is fairly accurate and has an amazing range and rate of fire. The hop-up is fairly easy to set not only because it located under the bolt which can be held opened and locked back but also because it is a simple wheel mechanism which clearly says "Hop Up" with a + and - on either side making it an extremely easy task to set the hop correctly. I have heard reports that previous models of the M14 you could only set the hop to fully on or fully off and there was no in-between but I am pleased to say there is no such fault in this gun. Even with a 8.4v 2300 mAH battery the gun was churning them out at an exponential rate and seemed to rather enjoy emptying the only one hi-cap magazine I had with me for day, resulting in some hasty reloading. While there was no way to really test the range as I don’t have a gun range handy, the gun was easily on par with most of the tweaked guns out in the field and easily out ranging my stock Tokyo Marui M4-S. I feel the M4-S is one of TM’s best M4’s with the best out of the box accuracy and range compared to the rest of their Armalite range.
Using the gun was a pleasure as it is extremely well balanced even with the scope sitting slightly forward on the gun. It did not prove to be too much as much of a hassle as I had first imagined getting thru the deep undergrowths and thick vegetation at the local skirmish site. The location of the scope is slightly forward then I am used too and this needed some getting used too when aiming the gun and using the red dot.
Shown above next to a fully extended M4-S to give you a rough idea about the overall lengthFPS
G&G boast that the gun can do 330-350 fps out of the box. I chrono’d the gun and the readings were as follows using 0.2 BB’s: 345, 343, 341, 345 and 343. There was a variation of only about 1-5 fps which was impressive. However since my local site, like most around the UK have an upper limit of 328 fps, the gun had to be downgraded before being taken out on the field. After the downgrade it chrono’d in at 322, 324, 329, 327 and 330 fps. I know Airsoft Dynamics are offering free downgrades on this gun when purchased from them and I imagine so are other retailers.Pricing
This gun retails for around £370 which is definitely at the higher end of the scale when compared to other guns on the market. The hi-cap magazines are roughly £25-£30 a magazine depending on who you buy them from. What you have to keep in mind is that the gun is upgraded and ready to rock out of the box without having to spend more money on it, having it upgraded and tweaked. When you consider how much internal upgrades cost on top of the price of a standard TM gun, the price does not seem that much.Markings
There are a few markings no the gun, the most visible one of all is the "S.O.C 16" printed on the side bolt of the gun in white, this is a slight variation of the "SOCOM 16" markings the real steel version has. There is also "US RIFLE 7.62 MM M14" followed by G&G Armament in a smaller size and a serial number just below the rear sight, the serial does not appear to be unique to each gun. There is also the now familiar "Capital of Greedy Island" markings that are seen on most G&G products, under the hop-up wheel adjustment, located inside the bolt. Availability
Once again thanks to Redwolf, picking up this gun is fairly simple. Most retailers are now stocking quite a large range of the G&G range. It is also the first time that I am aware of that the guys at Airsoft Dynamics have stocked a non - Marui AEG that was not a collector or rare piece. Also worth mentioning is that retailers in Hong Kong are offering this gun with free shipping, even to the UK. Keep in mind that you are not covered by any warranty when you buy from the far east, should the gun wrong you would be left to fix it yourself.
Shown above next to the Tokyo Marui M14, the G&G out performed the stock TM version "out of the box".
Problems The gun does have a few things that could be classified as problems in my opinion, although fairly minor. The first one being that the space in the stock is a bit too large for even some of the larger big batteries. This results in the battery moving around which can be felt when shouldering the gun or lowering it after firing. This can be rectified by wrapping a bit of foam or bubble wrap around the battery, but it exists none the less. The gun did suffer from the occasional mis-feed issues, after speaking to other SOC16 owners the problem was tracked down the mag not seating properly even though it had clicked into place. To rectify this all you have to do is push it back and it works fine (it's a bit of a strange one) only happens evey now and then normally when you rush a mag change. The only part of this gun that I felt was not up to the quality to the rest of the gun was the plastic upper hand guard which to be honest felt a bit on the cheap side as it had a bit of movement in it and not very solid. We have 3 SOC16’s amongst us and although our experience of these guns has been almost entirely favourable, we have heard of one or two with problems straight out of the box. It might be a quality control issue but we can not confirm that as the ones we have seen have faired fairly well. To be on the safe side, it would be wise to purchase this gun locally where you are backed by the retailers 12 month warranty (in most cases) should the gun fail on you out of the box. The retailers are also backed by G&G's offer of a replacement gearbox should the gun go wrong. As far as I am aware, no other manufacturer has ever offered this before. It says something about a manufacturer that they are willing to stand by their products and offer free replacements to retailers when problems with releases do arise.Conclusion
I am a big fan of M4’s and Armalite guns; in fact the last time I owned a non-armalite gun was a MP5 A4 almost 3-4 years ago. Since then I have predominantly used M4’s from various different manufacturers and in different configurations and have never considered another gun as a main AEG even with the variety of different releases over the years. For some reason I found myself rather liking the look of the SOC16 and having used it in the field I must say the overall performance of the gun has not let me down. In fact I was quite pleasently surprised by its performance. It might be a bit rough around the edges with a few minor problems as highlighted above, but G&G from what it would seem are willing to learn and accept feedback and have done an extremely good job on this gun. My suggestion to them would be to spend a little bit more time with their releases in quality control and testing rather then rushing them out and then following up with fixes such as the recently announced UMG tappet plate issue, although this might not always be ideal solution to beat the competition with hot releases, it does stop people just tarnishing a brand because of a few mistakes with early models. The fact still remains though that they are receiving feedback and releasing fixes to the problems is a sign that they do care about their products and the people using them, rather then just letting us resolve it ourselves. To give you an idea about just how much they care, it is worth reading the document on their website put up by the President of G&G Mr. James Liao entitled "G&G supports all clients". If you are looking for a M14 based weapon that can hold its own in woodland skirmishing and yet be maneuverable in tight quarters, the G&G SOC16 is an impressive weapon worth.