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WE M16A1 (Open Bolt System) Review



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Old July 16th, 2011, 16:32   #1
Disco_Dante's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: GTA
WE M16A1 (Open Bolt System) Review

The WE M16A1 Open Bolt Review
Reviewed By Disco_Dante
I'd like to give a special shout out to Garrison Airsoft for making this review possible. Thanks for the shirt!

Externals and General Overview
WE have definitely stepped up their game since the early generation one m4a1s they released a few years ago. The finish on the body of this rifle is very impressive, and is more of a matte black than the dark grey the previous models were finished in. The paint itself is a lot smoother, not as rough and speckled as my old CQBR was. Interestingly enough, the gun is also noticeably lighter than my CQBR, which had 10" less barrel, but also had a metal rail system. According to the bathroom scale, the WE m16a1 is 6lbs, which definitely means you shouldn't get tired having this thing shouldered for long periods of time. So here's some beauty shots of the rifle for you to admire.

The handguards do not fit together 100% smoothly, and they feel pretty cheap.

Inside the chamber (no brass tube!)

With a round about to be loaded

This is everything you get in the box, not including the Armourers wrench. It slipped my mind when I took this photo.

The included armourers wrench.

The Magazine

Included with the rifle is one 20-round m16 magazine. This will work with any open bolt WE Armalite. The finish on the magazine is not as impressive as that of the rifle, and after only a few insertions and removals there is serious paint wear.

WE seems to have switched to a TM GBB style magazine as well, with a screw to tighten the innards of the mag to the shell. Hopefully this will result in less leaky mags. To be fair, I never had any problem with my closed bolt mags. I guess some people just can't take care of their toys, or I got really lucky.


Basic armalite sights, simply marked so you know how to adjust them.


Unfortunately I've sold both of my closed bolt rifles, so I can't do a direct comparison of the trigger mechanisms, but hopefully these pictures will help.

Uncocked Hammer

Cocked Hammer

The new bolt catch

The F*cking hop up. That grub screw just above the barrel is what you turn to adjust the hop up. Using the provided allen key, it is a huge bitch. Screw it in for more hop and screw it out for less hop. To access it without separating the upper and lower receiver means you'll have to pull the bolt back, lock it in place, AND keep the charging handle back as well, as the front of the charging handle blocks the grub screw. And after you've done that, you still probably won't be able to turn it through the ejection port, or at least not turn it a significant distance. Adjusting the hop up this way is only really appropriate for fine tuning your hop up. Any serious adjustments will require removing the bolt and charing handle and separating the two halves of the receiver. However, the good news is that the hop up stays where you've adjusted it to, and it is a damn accurate rifle. The benefits of switching to a TM style hop up I guess.

The bolt

WE has filled in the back of the bolt here to add a little weight and give this rifle some kick. The open bolt series of armalites definitely has a more noticeable recoil than my old closed bolt CQBRs.

The nozzle

Mo' Nozzle

Fully Extended. After a bag of BBBastard .30s (1000 rounds), there is no noticeable wear on this part.

You can just see the spring that pulls the nozzle back after every shot here.

Take-Down Guide

This is part 1 of my review. I'll be doing an extensive shooting test tomorrow and Monday night, and I'll get back to you guys with FPS, gas efficiency, range, accuracy, and all that jazz. So far, after 1000 shots, I'm very impressed. It's more accurate than any stock AEGs i've owned, and I haven't had any actual issues yet.

NOTE The inner barrel is not completely snug with the outer barrel, there's probably .5mm-1mm of play in there, so I'm going to wrap that in tape after I do my shooting test. This is definitely something that you'll have to fix out of the box.

Please feel free to post any questions or picture requests here, I'm sure I missed a photo of something important that you guys would like a look at.

Not for glory, nor riches, nor honours, but for freedom alone, which no good man gives up except with his life.

Last edited by Disco_Dante; July 16th, 2011 at 16:40..
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Old January 23rd, 2012, 17:55   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Winnipeg, Namitoba
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Have you had a chance to game with the rifle yet? If so how did it perform? Have you run into any troubles with it?
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Old January 20th, 2019, 15:55   #3
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Quebec , CANADA
Any toughts about it 5-6 years later now ?! would be highly appreciated
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Old January 21st, 2019, 18:04   #4
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Location: Oshawa
Originally Posted by Airsoftbluberry View Post
Any toughts about it 5-6 years later now ?! would be highly appreciated

Save and buy a GHK

BA Level 3 Certified
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Old December 4th, 2019, 17:01   #5
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Ontario
Originally Posted by BobbyDangerous View Post
Save and buy a GHK
But they dont make an M16A1 though
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Old December 4th, 2019, 17:02   #6
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Join Date: Dec 2011
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Originally Posted by Airsoftbluberry View Post
Any toughts about it 5-6 years later now ?! would be highly appreciated
Mines still going I got in 2011 , upgraded the bcg trigger and inner barrel.
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Old December 8th, 2019, 06:30   #7
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Hamilton, ON
How is the reliability of we,m m16
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Old December 9th, 2019, 02:53   #8
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Montreal, QC
Originally Posted by ric_ View Post
How is the reliability of we,m m16

The main problems I've seen with the WE M4s/M16s are (in no particular order):

1) cracked nozzles (its plastic);

2) cracked/broken "bolt face" (also plastic, same parts group as the nozzle): if a BB or debris gets into your feed port, the bolt carrier can break as the BCG slams it forward. Mostly an aesthetic problem unless it's really messed up badly and interferes with operation. I've played with a broken one without issue;

3) bolt catch failing to hold the bolt open on an empty mag. This has a lot to do with some mags not seating properly and having a bit of wiggle. There's a few solutions to this, including swapping out the mag catch, shimming the bolt catch, etc. I think the Magpul style mags are a snugger fit in the magwell, but I'm not sure if they were converted from real PMAGs or from the MSK (maybe someone else can comment);

4) some upper/lower receiver combinations exhibit more play (wobble). The "magic" receiver pins can fix it;

5) you'll want to run an NPAS to increase reliability/consistency;

6) partial internals upgrades always seem to lead to disasters: mixing steel parts with non-steel parts doesn't end well.
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