This is a review of the new(ish) SOCOM Gear X36 Magwell Adapter for the JG/Echo1 G36 series of rifles.
For those that don't know, this is a magwell adapter to allow the G36 to accept STANAG magazines (normal M4/M16 magazines). The modular nature of the G36 allows easy changing of the magwell.
Anyone familiar with G36 magazines knows they're a royal pain in the ass. In physical area, a G36 magazine takes up more space than a 7.62mm magazine. The strange shape and tabs make them a bitch to get in and out of mag pouches in a hurry. Not only are STANAG magazines easier to handle, their also much cheaper than G36 mags.
Ordering and Shipping
I originally inquired about a Private Parts magwell with Jugglez at airsoftparts. He informed me he didn't deal with PP anymore and that the SOCOM Gear one was higher quality. He informed me when he got them in and I ordered one. As per usual, the service and communication from Airsoftparts was amazing.
The SOCOM Gear magwell is made out of high quality, black ABS plastic (the website says it's polycarb nylon... but it looks like ABS to me). For owners of a TM, JG, or KWA G36 this may not be an issue. However, the Classic Army G36 is a non-shiny, dark grey nylon. The colour difference is quite obvious, which is a bit of a turn off. I had always hoped my G36 wouldn't end up being a multi-coloured one... oh well.
The build quality of the magwell itself though is quite good. Very sturdy, no flex or anything and all the separate parts are well attached.
Fitment and Test Firing
On all the websites, it says the SOCOM Gear adapter is for the JG/Echo1 G36 and requires slight modifacation to fit a Tokyo Marui or Classic Army gun. However, it snapped into place just fine on my CA36 without issue.
Since I don't have STANAG mags, I borrowed a King Arms VN mag from my friend to test it with. The spring on the mag ketch is VERY tight, and you can't force the mag in without holding the catch down. Well, you can.. but when I did that it created a bunch of feeding issues that took a lot of mag-in-mag-out to solve. When I held the catch down until the mag was in it usually fed fine. It's a slight bit finicky. This might improve with use.
The magazine fed fine on both semi- and full-auto. Because of the longer S-shaped feed chute in the magwell adapter, the magazine leaves 6 or 7 BBs that won't feed instead of the usual 3 or 4.
Magazine fitment is pretty good. There isn't any more movement than what I normally see in plastic-reciever guns (though more movement than standard G36 mags). It doesn't seem to effect feeding any if you got the magazine seated properly to begin with. I'm told this was a big problem on the PP Magwell conversion. I have some VN mags on order; I'll update after I have it out to a game.
Not bad. I'm not a fan of the shiny on the magwell.. I might see what I can do about that. But considering the magwell adapter is $30, and STANAG mags are cheap as hell, it's not a bad conversion, especially when you factor in how much you'll have to spend on pouches to hold a G36 mag.
UPDATE 02 MAY -Testing with MAG magazines
I wanted to use VN style mags in the G36 because normal STANAG ones look like ass. So I ordered a set of MAG VN mags. They came in the other day, and I did some testing with them.
First off, these things are TIGHT in the reciever. And I don't mean date-on-prom-night tight, I mean barley fits it at all tight. I pulled one mag out of the magwell and the top part of the mag stayed in! Out of 7 mags, 2 of them wouldn't fit.
The issue is that they sit too far forward. This was fixed by filing down the guides in the back of the magwell. They lock in nicely now (with much less movement than the KA metal ones), but still don't feed. The issue seems to be the alignment of the magwell with the hop-up. The mags themselves feed fine. When a mag is inserted, one round gets placed in the hop-up but after firing nothing else feeds. I'm currently trying to troubleshoot this issue, but whenever I do manage to get them to feed I can't seem to reproduce it. Still playing with it.
Update 14 June
Skirmished with it at Wasaga today.
I found that if I don't put the retaining nut on the magwell pin, it feeds fine. I actually didn't have a single misfeed all day. Of course, this isn't a perminant solution (although the pin is friction fit enough so it shouldn't be an issue), but seems to work for now.
I'm not sure if the problem is that the hole on the magwell is off spec, or my pin is off centre, or what. All I know is that if I put the retaining nut on it moves the magwell about 0.5mm, which causes it to stop feeding.
Compare the CA36 and X36 magwells
G36 with magwell attached
My G36 with VN Mag