Chapter 1 - Chinese Surprise
A friend of mine was having feed trouble with his M14 from Buyairsoft.ca, so I took it to check it out. I made a surprising discovery, TSD M14s are not AGM, they're DE.
The exact relationship between the AGM and DE is unclear. Some claim that AGM is a subcontractor for DE and that DE rebrands, which is why you can find products listed as "DE/AGM" or "AGM/DE". However, their product are not exactly the same. Since AGM is a subtractor, when their product are labeled only as "AGM", you know you're getting an AGM. When something is labeled as DE or AGM/DE, it's possible that you're getting some other subtractor, especially when the specifications don't match up. This is probably the case with TSDs from Buyairsoft.ca.
This place sells the same M14s you'll get from Buyairsoft, with better pictures.
This is the review that Buyairsoft gives, which is on an AGM.
WGC sells AGM, and features some good pictures on it.
Externally, you can see differences with scope mount, magazines and sling points.
AGM: Fixed rear sling mount, low profile scope mount, hicap has a visible screw hole on its side.
DE: Swinging rear sling mount, high profile scope mount, RAS at front sling mount for flashlight and whatnot.
Internally, god only knows. There are enough external differences to raise questions about possible internal differences. Most reviews I've seen are based on AGM, not DE.
Chapter 2 - External in detail
Obligatory Box Review time! The gun is shipped in a styrofoam box with a cardboard lid branded by TSD. Rather than going into how good/bad the box looks, I'm just going to point out that the lid was not flipped inside out. This is a potential problem if the wrapping is damaged during shipping, exposing the box lid art, due to this issue with CP and Purolator.
Externally, the gun looks decent considering its relatively low pricetag. The faux wood is not terrible, in fact, it's kind of nice, in a well polished hardwood sort of way. And there's enough texture to the plastic to keep it from looking toyish. The stock is two-halves combined, the mold line is visible upon close inspection. I personally don't think that's a big issue, though.
All parts that are metal on the TM14 are metal on the DEM14, with the exception of the battery door. The battery door on the DE is plastic and unfortunately, completely non-function on the example in my possession. The only thing keeping the battery inside its compartment is friction and the shoulder rest. I suppose it's fortunate that no one ever uses the shoulder rest. All the other metal parts are of acceptable tolerance and quality, meaning that in casual observation and when running around exchanging BBs, they would be fine. However, some parts jiggle a little more than TM and loosen quicker. Plus some parts are casted as one piece whereas the TM version is comprised of multiple pieces. Also, the paint job on the metal is notably vulnerable to wear. The gun I have here is only a few weeks owned, and already significant portions of the paint around the most moved parts (bolt, safety) have worn off.
The gun comes with a scope mount and two M14-8 parts (metal chunck that's above and behind the bolt aparture and in front and below the rear sight). One of them is the same as you'd find on normal M14, the other one is made more attaching the scope mount. The scope mount is secured on to the gun via the normal screw on the side of the receiver and another on that special M14-8.
Note: the DE's flashhider comes with an orange tip.
With special regards to moving parts, the bolt catch on the DE is just as non-functional as the TM, right up to the GNDN spring underneath. The bolt sometimes fail to return to battery when released because the fake bolt cover binds against the rest of the receiver around it. My SOCOM had the same problem, but that went away after a few minutes. The binding on the DE seems like it might take some Dremmeling to fix.
The windage and range dials for the sights click, not as resistant to turning as the TM, but still much better than sights that require a frakking tool to adjust. They seem to lock into place well enough, if one remembers to tighten their screws periodically. The safety locks open crisply and securely, though it jiggles a bit in the safe position. The sling points seem tough enough to carry the gun, with is a tad bit lighter (or at least better balanced) than my TM14 SOCOM, although the sling that comes with the gun is trash. I like the RIS panel at the forward front sling mount, it's a nice addition that I wish TM had bothered to include on the SOCOM.
The DE shoulder rest doesn't stop open and close as crisply as the TM, but thankfully it still does it with enough force to keep the battery in place.
The mag catch on the DE is loaded considerably lighter than the TM, which could be a problem with accidental mag release. With regards to the mags, DE mags will fit in TM (a big loose), but TM mags will not fit in DE (refuse to lock). This is because the block at the rear of the TM mags is slighly longer than on the DE, meaning the DE mag catch won't engage the TM mag unless the TM mag has been modified.
Chapter 3 - Inside the Bucket
Unfortunately, I can't comment on the performance of the DEM14 right now, because the example I've got seem to have stripped a piston [or godsforbid, gear(s)] due to a BB jam. I can't say it's a problem with the gun, since I've gotten a chance to examine the BBs involved (Buyairsoft.ca "Top Grade" like hell BBs) and the mold lines are visible on many of them. And a BB jam killed my CA36's aftermarket piston, so they're not to be laughed at.
The rest of this review is slowly being compiled.