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Review - Hands-on STAR L85A2 (in progress)

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Old May 1st, 2006, 21:48   #1
Skruface
 
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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.

Summary

Pros:
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.

Cons:
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.
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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.
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Liberals rely on emotion. Conservatives rely on evidence, and the Socialists rely on everyone else.
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 12:30   #2
Skruface
 
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*UPDATE*

Pics are on the way. The gun itself is physically shorter than an M4A1 with full stock (I compared them side-by-side today) and a little longer than an MP5 w/ full stock. An M4 or AK will fit in the case, but nothing larger than that.

Chrono: Average of about 375 fps with .2's. Low of around 365, high of 390+. A little too inconsistent for me, so I'll be looking into it.

Noise: Holy crap is this gun LOUD. There is a very pronounced "CRACK" when the gun is fired. As loud (maybe louder) than similar guns with aluminum pistons I've seen.

Trigger response: No issues in full auto; trigger pull on semi is heavy and long, and sometimes just doesn't fire at all. Not happy with it, but I'll look at fixing that, too.
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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.
Quote:
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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Old May 3rd, 2006, 14:14   #3
NuttyHunter
 
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Hey Skru,

Thanx for the review. To me it's right in line with a clear warning for people new to airsoft- If you want somethign that's going to work and work well right out of the box get a TM. If you want something that looks cool and isn't TM then be prepared to tweak and mod a bit. Or a lot in some cases.

Seems like any other non-TM tweak deal. The mag you're using for it is? Do the M4/16 mags work well or is that what you're using/you don't know yet?

Megan
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Ok, so let me get this straight here Megan.

- You wish to buy your boyfriend some airsoft stuff and/or video games for christmas
- You enjoy playing airsoft
- You enjoy playing video games
- You like to drink beer
- You seem to have a reasonably healthy obsession with sex

Do you happen to have like, a sister, who is like you in all these ways and is single, and lives in Toronto
?
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 17:23   #4
Skruface
 
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Well, it comes with an "Radway Green" L85 mag (which is compatible with M4 mags IIRC), but since I want to keep the mag like new and I'm not impressed with issues in it's design as outlined above, my intention is to use STAR plastic realcaps.
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Quote:
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.
Quote:
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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Old May 6th, 2006, 10:25   #5
Mordarski J.A.
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Excellent review so far! Just wondering on a few points though:

How much does this AEG cost (average)?
Is the front post removable to accomodate a SUSAT 4X combat sight?
Have you attempted using a TM mag yet?
Would you recommend this AEG to anyone aiming for a full British loadout?

Obviously the last question will be answered when your review is complete.

- Josh
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Current Armoury:
WE C7A1 x2 - WE M14 DMR - WE L85A2
CA C8 - CA SLR105 - TM FAMAS

WE Browning Hi-Power - Tanaka Browning Hi-Power
WE M1911 - KWA SIG Sauer P226 - KSC SIG Sauer P229
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Old May 6th, 2006, 10:41   #6
Skruface
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blinky
Excellent review so far! Just wondering on a few points though:

How much does this AEG cost (average)?
I got mine on Grim Fandango's pre-order for $670 Canadian to his place, and another $40 in shipping, which was a LOT less than I thought it would be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blinky
Is the front post removable to accomodate a SUSAT 4X combat sight?
Yes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blinky
Have you attempted using a TM mag yet?
Yes. TM locaps & hicaps and my old CA hicaps work fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blinky
Would you recommend this AEG to anyone aiming for a full British loadout?
Well DUH. :razz: It's a very nice handling gun. solid, well built. Decent performance right out of the box in my testing, but can still use a little tuning up. I'm gathering up some parts to swap in. Stay Tuned!

Obviously the last question will be answered when your review is complete.

- Josh[/QUOTE]
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Quote:
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.
Quote:
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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Old May 6th, 2006, 14:00   #7
Droc
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hmmm

The star G36 review had some mechanical issues also. Its sounds like star has a bit of learing to do. I like the idea of the blow back system though.

Good review, jesus, you get alot of guns.
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Old May 8th, 2006, 16:42   #8
Flying Squirrel
 
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Is the SUSAT needle illuminated like the real one?
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Old May 8th, 2006, 16:43   #9
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Also what type of battery are you using?
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Old May 8th, 2006, 21:42   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flying Squirrel
Is the SUSAT needle illuminated like the real one?
No, although I don't have my scope yet - it's on the way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flying Squirrel
Also what type of battery are you using?
I opened the handguard and connected a standard large battery, but I'm having an Intellect 8.4v-3800 pack built for the gun. It uses an odd battery shape, somewhat like a large battery except the last cells (2 vertical and side by side, and one horizontal one) are seperated by a length of wire from the rest of the pack - sort of like a large-semi-nunchuck battery.
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Quote:
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.
Quote:
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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Old May 23rd, 2006, 21:24   #11
swatt13
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skru...... please.... please, give us more!
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 22:09   #12
Skruface
 
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Be patient. It's gonna be another week or 2, at least. I'm on track to work 60 hours a week every week this month, so I'm super busy. Yay to summer holidays in 5 weeks!
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Quote:
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.
Quote:
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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Old May 24th, 2006, 04:48   #13
Stargrave
 
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hey, im thinking of potentially buying this gun (after looking at the L85 alternatives its looking more and more appealing) i was wondering if i need to worry about this thing crapping out on me. i dont want to fork over a meager paycheck to get a realistice L85 prop.
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Old May 28th, 2006, 01:22   #14
Mordarski J.A.
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I hear ya. I'm looking at starting a team based on Canadian load-outs, but ever since working with the Brits in Alberta I've had a hankering to get my hands on an L85. That, and it gives me more of an excuse to complete my British gear. Not that I ever needed an excuse :P
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Josh Mordarski
South Manitoba Rifles

Non Sibi Sed Omnibus

Age Verifier - Manitoba

Current Armoury:
WE C7A1 x2 - WE M14 DMR - WE L85A2
CA C8 - CA SLR105 - TM FAMAS

WE Browning Hi-Power - Tanaka Browning Hi-Power
WE M1911 - KWA SIG Sauer P226 - KSC SIG Sauer P229
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Old June 6th, 2006, 11:25   #15
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Be forwarned Brit gear is damn hard to get. I finally got a para capbadge and i'm still looking for a new (or just slightly less screwed up) helmet cover. But hey searching for stuff is half the fun.
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