Alright, so maybe I should clarify a couple of things
First, thanks for the events list/list of AV's, that will be helpful.
Second, in case it starts sounding like I'm asking to/where to buy a gun I'm not, so read it and don't just ban me, I know I need to be age verified to ask all of that (although it's not exactly hard to look online myself lol)
Third, here's what I know or have read:
In general, some brand names just suck, and the rest kinda go up and down depending on the model and the version, for example, I've read reports that go both ways even on Tokyo Marui, and that lately CYMA and G&G have been stepping it up with their products even though they sucked at first, while other brands have been doing not as good of a job. I also know that you never touch anything from Crossman (not hard to figure out...I remember looking at one of those when I first started looking and almost choking when I read 'gravity fed hopper') or generally fully clear guns (although Aftermath seems to have decent guns for an extreme beginner, just with a 50% survival rate).
So, what I'm looking at now are the G&G ones offered by a few places, but I don't want the Combat Machine versions as I have heard they are the lowest quality grade offered by the company. I've also looked at a number of CYMA guns, because originally I wanted one of those that's only available in the US and then stumbled across Velocity Arms, which to the best of my knowledge sells rebranded (and potentially upgraded?) CYMA guns and accessories to fit. Both of these are what I would consider TM clones, as they are 100% compatible and didn't come up with the design first...is there a better name for them? And are they actually 100% compatible?
I don't particularly want to invest in a TM or CA to start, simply because the costs are enormous, and long term I'm probably not going to keep many of the internals, as airsoft in North America has been improving quite a bit every couple of years. I'm essentially the guy who would like a sleeper car, if you know what I mean. And no, at the moment I don't know how to rip apart and upgrade an airsoft gun, but that's only because I haven't tinkered with one yet, and if I got really stuck I could always ask my dad for help (I'm 21, not 14 remember-it's just that he's a mechanic)
I also know what I want in a gun, long term, so here's what I need at the start: Large type battery (at least compatible), 100% TM compatible (that's to change gearbox, springs and guide, motor, barrel, etc. as I go, not right away) potential for add-ons like scopes, and definitely a long type barrel (like an M14 or 16-preferably not as heavy as the M14) so that I can get the best accuracy when I need to. Useable but not necessarily great out of the box. I do not care about the externals, as I have both spray paint (lol) and will probably camo my gun with whatever I can find to do that (assuming it's not illegal to do so in a match?...I've been surprised to not see that too often on the internet)
So all of that amounts to "I'm looking for a decent gun, one that I can use right out of the package or needs very minor upgrades to start, but that I can tinker with and use for a long time to come if I so choose"-preferably under 350, maybe 400?
I'd also appreciate a velocity arms review and suggestions, simply because I haven't found one that goes into depth yet.