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Old May 1st, 2006, 20:48   #1
Skruface's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2002
Review - Hands-on STAR L85A2 (in progress)

Okey Dokey Folkies,

I guess I'm one of the lucky few to have already recieved my STAR L85A2 from Grim Fandango's preorder, so here's a hands-on 1st-handling review.

1. The case - Part of STAR's marketing on this peice is that it came with its own hardcase instead of a cardboard box. The case is a heavyweight plastic - it's pretty thick, and comes lined with egg-crate-style open-cell foam. It appears to be airline-lockable, as it has lock holes. The hinges seem solid. I was disappointed to find that despite the fact that it looks like a waterproof case, it does not have a rubber gasket. Worth the MSRP of $149 that STAR suggests? No. Maybe $50, as it does the same job as any similarly-priced Kolpin or Pelican gun case from Canadian Tire or WalMart. As an aside, my manual was included underneath the top foam. I was expecting the case to be larger; however it looks like it will fit an M4A1 or similar-sized gun. I don't think you can get a full-sized M16 in there.

2. The gun - heavy and solid, stamped steel, good welds. Some minor casting marks on the plastic (foregrips expecially) that could be finished nicer. NO creaks or wobbles in the front end, though. Changing the battery requires foregrip removal, and that requires using the gun tool (more on that later).

The trades and serial numbers are stamped pretty deeply into the steel - they're not going to rub off like some "lazer-etched" pot metal Armalite bodies.

The stock iron sights are rock-solid, take some effort to adjust (they will not slip), and about the same height/distance as M4A1 sights. Armalite users will transition easily to this.

The outer barrel is not a solid one-peice, but rather is a 2-peice unit that threads together at the front sight. I detect no wobble in the barrel....yet....but the threads extend quite far down the barrel so I don't imagine this will be a problem a dab of Blue Loctite won't fix. Still, I wouldn't swing it around by the barrel.

The cocking handle is very plasticy, and is painted, which I can tell you right now will rub off quite easily. Also, the ejection port cover appears to be plastic - I get the feeling that if left open and caught on a doorframe or something, it's going to tear right off. Also, even with the cocking handle pulled back and the ejection port open, there's not a lot of room to adjust the hopup...or maybe I just have fat fingers.

The wiring, from what I've seen, is a little on the thin side and seems to have a very plasticy insulation jacket.

Additionally, I noticed the mag has a LOT of side-to-side wobble when inserted - moreso than any TM or CA Armalite variant I've owned. The magwell itself is not slab-sided like an Armalite magwell, but is slightly oblong and rounded. When looking at my gun, I thought maybe it had been crushed; nope, it's supposed to be that way to assist in seating the mag. Annoying, yes, and pretty rattly, but not a fatal flaw. Add a strip of hockey tape on either side of the factory mag and no more problems. I have yet to test it with other Armalite mags.

Finally, when I looked inside the magwell (to see why mag fit was so loose) I noticed that there is a 1cm X 2cm open space in the mechbox.....getting sand in your magwell may go straight into the mechbox itself. Not impressed with that; will try to bodge a solution or cover.

My gun came with the blaze-orange plastic (US-spec) flash-hider installed, and a steel flash-hider was in the case, as well as a loading tool. The plastic one comes off easily, and the steel one has a tiny grub screw to hold it in place.

The gun tool is inside the pistol grip. The bottom of the pistol grip pops completely out and is a friction fit...and not a very tight one at that. I'll be keeping my grip bottom in my gun case. The tool itself is steel, and comes wrapped in some kind of cellophane (like on a pack of smokes) with some kind of yellow-brown petroleum-based lubricant/rust inhibitor on the gun tool. My tool bag was torn open and the liquid was leaking out, and slightly discolored the inside of my pistol grip; the tool itself was DRIPPING with oil, so I wiped it off, tossed it in a ziplock bag, and tossed it in the case with the pistol grip bottom.

3. The mag - some kind of painted metal; I get the impression it will scratch up quite easily. The bottom plate does not have locking tabs like TM mags; rather, it is a slide-on friction fit. I think I'll keep the mag in the case and buy some STAR mags. It's also a bit loose and rattles around a fair bit.


Great finish - easily the match of Guarder Steel AK kits I've handled.
Relatively solid
Free case
Bragging rights - not many people have this model
Good Value - all-steel, ready-to-shoot gun at a price less than a Guarder kit, and similar to all-metal guns my CA, G&G, and G&P.

Magazine fit
Hole in mechbox
Odd battery shape
Cocking handle/ejection port cheaply constructed
Odd-sized scope-rail (can only use STAR SUSAT, or else user will have to buy adaptor rail)

The Unknown:
Inner barrel: Although I haven't taken it apart yet, it looks like any other AEG inner barrel in the diagrams. I'll have to measure it for length.

Motor: There have been many reports of the motor giving out at 2K-4K rounds. Thankfully, it uses a standard short-rotor motor (AK motor) so suitible replacements from TM, Systema, and Eagle are readily available.
Originally Posted by TokyoSeven View Post
That was a very bad move on your behalf. Sort of like cutting off your foot for money, but not getting the money first and then letting the person with the money run away.
Originally Posted by MadMorbius View Post
Liberals rely on emotion. Conservatives rely on evidence, and the Socialists rely on everyone else.
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