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new open bolt gbbr or used closed bolt gbbr?


Newbie Tank

View Poll Results: First gbbr gun?
new open bolt GBBR from retailer 19 73.08%
used closed bolt GBBR + magazines from classifieds 2 7.69%
used closed bolt GBBR from classifieds + open bolt, mag conversion kit from retailer 1 3.85%
do nothing and wait 4 15.38%
Voters: 26. You may not vote on this poll

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Old May 3rd, 2012, 22:00   #1
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Toronto
new open bolt gbbr or used closed bolt gbbr?

Woodsballer (req: paintballer! boo! hiss!) and airsoft noob here.
And yes, I've read most of the Stickys and used the search button.

I'm considering getting a GBBR, either an M4 or HK416 as my first gun. I know an AEG is recommended, but I'd prefer to get my hands dirty and fix my gun myself if it goes down, and I don't think I'd be able to fix an AEG. That aside, though...

Looking through both the AV Retailer Section and the Classifieds, I'm finding that a new open bolt GBBR is roughly the same price for a used closed bolt GBBR plus a few magazines, or a GBBR with one magazine plus a open bolt conversion kit and mag conversion kit. From what I've been reading in the ASC threads is that open bolt is generally preferred over closed bolt, and that it's more realistic in terms of the real steel operation.

I consider myself a "weekend warrior" type, so I'm more willing to play at regular events but probably not big games like Operation Rhino (at this time, anyway), so in the immediate term I'm going to prioritize reliability over performance, if that affects your recommendation any. Also that I don't tend to shoot a lot, so I expect to use no more than 4 magazines in a game.

I'm also aware that importation laws have changed, and while I don't intend on personally importing a GBBR, I realize this might affect pricing of both used and new guns and my evaluations, so "do nothing and wait" is a perfectly reasonable answer for the time being.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on this, what you would recommend, and correct me if I'm wrong on anything.

TL;DR: Which would you recommend for first gun for an airsoft noob? (AEG not considered at this time)
(1) new open bolt GBBR
(2) used closed bolt GBBR + magazines
(3) used closed bolt GBBR + open bolt, mag conversion kit
(4) do nothing and wait

Thanks for your input.

EDIT: From feedback below, I thought I should clarify: I'd definitely go for a used open bolt GBBR in classifieds, but if they're not available or beyond my price range, then I'm back at my original 4 choices -- that's what I want to hear opinions on, and the value I'm looking to get out of the discussion.

Last edited by SmashySmashy; May 3rd, 2012 at 23:35.. Reason: Clarification based on feedback
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Old May 3rd, 2012, 22:06   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Edmonton, AB, Canada
My suggestion, go after an open-chamber that is already available in Classified

AWSS had a problemanic hopup system and the endothermic effect of liquid vaporization effect is greater on AWSS. AWSS's biggest plus is the steel bolt carrier and nozzle which OpenChamber use plastic nozzle and potmetal bolt carrier
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Old May 3rd, 2012, 22:12   #3
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Brampton, ON
Open bolt would be a better choice. New or used off of the classifieds. Used ones tend to have upgrades already done to any problematic parts.
I know you're scratched AEGs off your list but a good AEG will be far more reliable than even the best GBBR, in case reliability is a big priority.
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Old May 3rd, 2012, 23:29   #4
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Half of the GBBRs I see on the field are either on a table, or have some issues. :P
Thats why I will always have a trusty AEG.

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Old May 3rd, 2012, 23:50   #5
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Location: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Originally Posted by SuperCriollo View Post
Half of the GBBRs I see on the field are either on a table, or have some issues. :P
Thats why I will always have a trusty AEG.
Yes most people just buy a GBBR and expect it to work perfect out of the box when people say you need to replace certain parts due to reliability issue.

Serious guys, let this guy go. If he want play GBBR, let him.
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Old May 4th, 2012, 06:53   #6
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Kitchener, ON
For a GBBR, an open bolt is the way to go. If you have ever stripped a real semi/auto rifle, then the mechanics behind an open bolt is not very different.

Although people say that GBBRs are problematic, once it has been upgraded, they can be as reliable as an AEG once in play. Upgrades usually include an NPAS and steel replacements for hard-wearing parts (mainly in the trigger group). Their advantages includes easy maintenance/repair, no electrical gremlins and realistic behaviour. Their disadvantages are limited load (real/low caps), magazine cooldown, weight (mostly because of magazines), often potmetal parts when they should be steel, and slower reloading.

Just like AEGs, GBBRs may require internal upgrades out-of-the-box to make them reliable/gameable. Also, like AEGs, once a GBBR goes down in the field, there is the strong possibility that it will be out for the rest of the day if repairs are not possible.

Footnote: I purchased a used GBBR several weeks back via ASC that was partially upgraded. I completed its internal upgrades and have since fielded it with good results. Of course, I don't ever expect anything to work reliably out-of-the-box - even my AEGs have had to be tinkered with for reliability. Your mileage will vary.
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Originally Posted by kalnaren View Post
Stalker stays where he is.
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Old May 4th, 2012, 09:20   #7
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: North Delta, BC (Greater Vancouver)
Things to look for whilst buying a GBBR!

- Buy open bolt over closed (Seems to be the superior system)
- Buy new if possible (People over charge for used, and you don't want someone else's problem)
- Find out if you have a GBBR doctor nearby (Insure that they are well qualified)
- Buy a high end brand only (Consistantly good reviews over long use periods)
- Buy a model that has a full list of upgrade/replacement parts available (RA-Tech for example)
- Expect to spend a fortune by the time it's made reliable (Good quality GBBR parts are very expensive)
- Expect adverse effects caused by temperature change, even after upgrade (Everything from leaks, over expelling gas, severe FPS change, etc)

Now that you've made sure all the prior are in place, your ready for the frustrating yet possibly rewarding world of the GBBR.

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Old May 4th, 2012, 10:10   #8
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: with less oil industry than eco-hipster Vancouver
The WE open bolts, or KJW M4's are highly reliable
Unfortunately most of the opinion on GBBR's come from WA's abortion of a design. If you buy a WA, expect to spend $400 just to get it working, and expect it to break regularly.

With a KJ or WE open bolt, it's not uncommon to go one or two seasons without the gun experiencing any problems. The mags are usually the focus of problems on most GBBR platforms, but it's typically simple gasket leaks that can be easily fixed with gasket sealer.

However, the 'problem' with GBBRs is not the reliability, so much as the performance.
They work amazing in 18-24 degree weather, but if it gets too hot, they shoot too hard and are very prone to breaking. If it's too cold, you'll only get a few shots out before they stop. Also, due to the way gas guns work, you'll shoot harder with heavier ammo, so you need to chrono with the rounds you'll be using, not with .20g BBs. And related to that, as the temperature rises outside, so will your FPS, it's possible for a GBBR to jump 50-100fps from morning to noon. And you're typically limited to 30 (very accurate and long range) rounds per mag.

By comparison, an AEG can work in temperatures of -5 to +40, NiMH batteries die faster in the cold, but LiPo's do not. Parts are fairly cheap and always readily available. There's less maintenance involved. And it's very possible to have a stock gun last 2-3 seasons before breaking.
I know lots of guys that bought GBBRs and ended up switching to AEG's because they could only afford one gun. They're cool, but they're not work horses
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Old May 4th, 2012, 10:56   #9
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Location: Bowmanville Ont
I love my GBBR but I would never have bought it if I didn't have a back up AEG or something. GBBRs as earlier stated are finicky, Amazing for when they work annoying when they don't. Thats why I recommend a back up AEG ( a common AEG that you like, don't go crazy if its a back up.) I run a stock looking M4A1 as a back up. Maybe one day I'll rail it up and add a crane stock but for now its suppost to be simple, cheap and reliable back up to my finicky but awesome WE.
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I know that isn't really what you asked, but it's the internet, and I like to type things that don't matter.
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Old May 4th, 2012, 11:11   #10
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Toronto
only thing i can think of is that mp5s are closed bolt irl so if you're looking for something realistic, open bolt mp5s are not
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Old May 4th, 2012, 11:50   #11
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: GTA
Open bolt refers to the gas system not the actual firearms initial bolt position prior to firing. An "open bolt" mp5 from WE would have the bolt start in the closed position. Unfortunately we won't be seeing one due to licensing issues.

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Old May 4th, 2012, 12:02   #12
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Location: Montreal, QC
What Disco_Dante said.

In the GBBR world, "open bolt" is a misnomer: "closed bolt" refers to an older system where the bolt carrier cycles but gas system does not (you can see it when the bolt carrier moves back); "open bolt" refers to a more realistic system where the gas nozzle sits in the place of the bolt and moves with the bolt carrier, much as with the blowback unit in the slide of a GBB pistol.

As far as reliability, its important to keep in mind there are several generations of technology which was unleashed in very short succession (WE putting out 4 gens in about as many years). Newer versions are much more reliable, even out of the box; there's not much that NEEDS to be done except for the addition of an NPAS.

Of course, as with all things, certain parts are prone to premature wear, breaking etc. and a few models are particularly bad.

But unlike AEGs, just like the shooting experience being more realistic, expect to have to do more realistic maintenance on your GBBR -- albeit not nearly as time consuming or annoying as working on a mechbox. But I know some people just play with their AEGs for a year+ without doing more to it than charging the battery. GBBRs have greased parts, exposed to the elements to attract dust, sand and dirt, they only have a few moving parts but they move with considerable force and violence. You need to maintain your gun.
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Old May 4th, 2012, 12:18   #13
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Mississauga, Ontario.
Originally Posted by BennyBoy View Post
only thing i can think of is that mp5s are closed bolt irl so if you're looking for something realistic, open bolt mp5s are not
The difference between 'open bolt' and 'closed bolt' in airsoft is MUCH different than real steel open bolt or closed bolt operation. In airsoft open bolt means the chamber is 'open' to the outside, ie you can see the bb if you hold the bolt back. Airsoft closed bolt comes from WE's earlier system of having all the components sealed in a brass tube, which was 'closed' to the outside. In RS closed bolt means the bolt is in its forward and locked position when the gun is ready to fire, open bolt means that the bolt is held to the rear when ready to fire. RS open bolt and closed bolt both have advantages and disadvantages. In airsoft, open bolt is closer to the realistic method of operation, and it is highly doubtful you will see any more airsoft 'closed bolt' designs.

TL;DR Airsoft 'open bolt' and 'closed bolt' is completely unrelated to real steel open bolt and closed bolt operation.
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Old May 4th, 2012, 12:20   #14
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Location: Winnipeg
and don't buy the we scar. Open or closed.
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Old May 4th, 2012, 12:47   #15
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Ottawa
I know you've set your mind on gbb, and they're ridiculous fun, the WE ak is just giggle inducing to shoot. The guys have given good info... I will just go the other way a bit withe AEGs.

they are not hard to work on. Really. There are a few makes out there that are harder to work on, but there really isn't that much involved, even though a lot of people say there is.

IF you are scratch building a frankengun, yes, it will be hard to get proper airseal, and addressing airseal issues tend to be the most difficult.

The rest is not that hard, 3 gears a motor and 2 or 3 springs make up the mechanics of it.If you start with a gun that already has a good hopup/gearbox relationship, really the only thing you need to do is shim the gears, or, game it until something breaks THEN open it and address the issues, which when it breaks it's usually a piston that has lost the teeth, or a gear that's lost teeth.
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