Aye the full stock version is very nice too (and has the folding bayonet mount heheh) I just needed an underfolder to fill out my collection so went for that one first
Part 2 - internals
Chinese manufacturers have come on leaps and bounds over the past couple of years when it comes to their clone products internals, though even then they do tend to build to a price.
So on receiving the Real Sword through the mail I was more than a little interested to see just what they could deliver when it came to a gun in the mainstream price bracket. Would they fill the guts of what is externally a top line AEG with average or even sub par components or would they make the effort?
Truth is they've gone above and beyond what most folks would expect. None of the established players ship guns with this level of internals,nor with this attention to detail.
Moving onto the internals of the gun, the type 56-1 incorporates a well crowned tight bore barrel and decent marui style hop unit with plenty of hop adjustment. All barrel and hop parts are well made and finished and there's no sign of 'dirty/greasy hop in need of cleaning straight out the box' syndrome.
The gearbox boasts a smooth matte grey external finish rather than just plain ole cast alloy, is 5.5mm shorter at the rear than a standard V3 gearbox casting (allowing it to fit into the Real Swords correct length receiver) and has 7mm bearing bushings. A CNC machined gearbox shell would have obviously been nice but as a next best alternative Im happy with the quality of the cast box RS have fitted.
A selector plate with proper marui style contacts, provides an electrical as well as trigger locked safety. The plate contacts themselves are hard-plated quite substantially.
The corresponding selector linkage on the opposite side of the box has been beefed up from the stock marui examples, primarily where it meets up with the cam that passes thru the receiver from the fire select lever (allowing for less play between the parts).
The rear of the gearbox features an externally trippable anti reversal latch just above the motor cage, which Real Sword created by simple expedient of extending a spur from the rear of the ARL that protrudes through the gearbox casting. As a result the ARL can be tripped simply by removing the pistol grip.
Course a reset rod hidden inside the pistol grip and running all the way up the rear of the motor cage to trip the ARL without
removing the grip would have been uber cool but there's little room inside an AK grip as it is (and would have introduced a non realistic external feature to distinguish the RS type 56 from the real one).
To be honest the only real external dissapointments of Real Swords gearbox is their decision to stick with the traditional captive rear cover latch (rather than the increasingly common cover latch that can be fitted and removed from a fully assembled gearbox) and a plain jane top strip that lacks the wiring stays of the VFC design. Other than thats theres nothing wrong with the externals of the gearbox and neither 'fault' could be considered more than nitpicking in any case.
Gearbox takedown follows the normal V3 convention of a bundle of screws and release of the motor cage
Opening the mechbox reveals a nice clean lube job with no giant dollops of brown goo to be gutted out. The cylinder is a basic unvented brass one and the cylinder head is your usual single oring design with brass nozzle, though compression is good.
From the spring guide thru to the nozzle al the parts are made from Delrin (ie POM) material the insde of the cylinder head being faced with rubber amd the spring guide having a plated steel strengthening insert and washer fitted to it. No bearing thrust washers are fitted to either the vented piston head or the spring guide. All parts look as though they've been made to a high standard and capable of withstanding a hell of a lot more than the power of the stock spring.
Even the trigger switch assemblyhas been built with a bit of care and attention. The plastic is strong, the trigger switch and its contacts are quite substantial and all electrical contacts are chrome plated with decent soldering throughout (and not a hint of over cooked insulation from a hamfisted assembly worker anywhere to be seen). My only dislike is the hard wired motor contacts, as per the rest of the wiring they're very well done but in all honesty Id still prefer the convenience of mini spades on the motor than have to drag a motor cage and motor around the workbench like a ball and chain
The motor itself is a high torque unit and the gearbox wiring is finished off with a vehicle type flat blade fuse (25A type)
Real Sword have fitted a pretty long spring in the mechbox of this gun particularly when you consider its only puting out around 290 to 310 FPS (manufacturer quotes 290 FPS while mine chronos consistently at 306). The photo above shows the stock RS spring at the bottom compared to a 410 FPS spring I had knocking around (I think pulled from a Dboys AKSU) With the gearbox being 5mm shorter than normal it feels even longer when trying to fit it
All springs in the mechbox from the trgigger switch return thru to the mainspring have all been given a black coating rather than left bare metal hardly a radical move but a nice touch nonetheless.
Moving onto the gears these are well shimmed with no excess play. Id be interested to see a few more examples but I get the impression from the mix of shims used that the box has been given a proper shim job rather than just a factory default of X here and Y there.
All three gears are cut from steel with a very clean finish and eletro etched 'RS'. The bevel gear has a straight splined shaft that provides ten positions for the ARL to lock onto rather than the usual 2 or 4 position designs.
Prerformance wise it consistently scores 306 FPS on pretty much every shot with an occassional 1 FPS higher or lower over a test of 30 rounds. Rate of fire on an 8.4v is around 14 RPS though use of the higher rated dboys spring for comparison made little impact on that. the box sounds good in both auto and semi with no sense of it straining in anyway and is none too noisy.
Overall I'd say the gearbox is both very well put together and capable of withstanding a far more demanding spring that the one fitted as standard. 305 FPS is fine for over here but those of you abroad shouldn't have to do much more than ditch the stock spring in favour of something a bit meatier and still have a perfectly reliable box.
Far as Im concerned this is a near perfect AEG for 370 bucks. The hassle of having to loosen the outer barrel to gain access to the gearbox unless you mod it, and the incredibly short bolt travels impact on hop adjustment aside, none of its other 'faults' amount to more than 'wouldn't it have been nice' and 'I'd liked to have seen' minor quibbles.
If you're in the market for a Kalashnikov variant at the moment you had three choices:
Go low end and pick up a bargain gun that might need bit of fettling here and there (i.e. the Dboys range)
opt to play safe by spending a bit more on a traditional TM
or go high end and buy VFC Inokatsu.
If you're in that last category and have the cash available then Id say strongly consider this gun over its competitors Real Sword have raised the stakes when it comes to both external authenticity and quality of internal components. even if you're in the second category Id say consider spending a bit more money on this than a midrange from marui etc.
a word or two on compatibility of internals
In respect of Real sword parts versus off the shelf parts heres how the internals break down (I'l skip including a bundle of addiional photos for these as there's no real need):
V3 TM compliant parts interchangeable with other off the shelf brands
trigger switch assembly and housing
semi auto cut off lever and spring
tappet plate and spring
7mm bearing bushings
Anti reversal latch
(while the latch fitted is a modifed type allowing external access there would be nothing to prevent it being replaced with a standard one if you were stuck and needs must)
as with the ARL this isnt strictly a 1:1 copy of the TM version (the Real sword is beefed up) however as per the ARL theres nothing to prevent usign a stock marui type one. Instead you just wont have the benefit of the extra grip the Real Sword one offers when mating up to the fire select lever cam (ie losing breaking the original one wont be the end of the world).
Mixed parts not TM AK parts, but TM designs nonetheless
is a TM M14 equivalent
is a TM Type 89 equivalent
RS specific parts
- 1 tooth shorter than normal and 7mm shorter than normal overall length
- correspondingly 1 tooth less than normal for the piston teeth
7mm shorter than a standard marui V3 mechbox in order to allow the rifle to retain its original real steel dimensions - As yet unavailable as a spare part.
As above if you have to then just about all parts bar piston and sector gear can be sourced elsewhere without requiring a Real Sword specific part to be bought. However bear in mind that the Real Sword parts are damn good quality I wouldnt be going out of my way to swap them out for 'branded' equivs in some sort of upgrade-itis frenzy (thinking what you're sticking in is going to be better than what ships out of the box).
The only exceptions would be the cylinder and piston head where I can see the attraction of maybe opting for a guarder cylinder and a funky viton o ringed piston head if you've got a few spare dollars to burn.
Personally I'd just grab a couple of real Sword type 56 pistons and a spare Real Sword type 56 sector gear from Redwolf around same time as you purchase the rifle Those parts are 11 US dollars a throw and light enough that the international shipping wont break the bank. Helps avoid the usual Sods Law scenario of being stuck without them just when you need them the most, plus whatever nice short spring that takes your fancy to hit the FPS you're looking for.
battery wise the Real Sword recomendation is to stick with 8.4V though theres sufficient room internally to go with 9.6v if you prefer. Standard 8.4v 1400mAh stick battery is a tight fit thru the gas tube but does fit and would give plenty of spare room at the rear for the battery to be configured as a 9.6v or 10.8v stick.
If you run into problems fitting a stick battery thru the rear sight block and down into the gas tube then check your gas tube for any burrs etc that have resulted from it being demilled (a big slot has been milled along the gas tubes length so it cant be used on a real rifle and a little sliver or metal left unfinished on there could easily trap the batteryand prevent its full insertion)
well that ends part 2 expect parts 3 (takedown and rebuild guide) and part 4 (performance and accuracy tests) in next couple of days if all goes to plan