Tokyo Marui – M14 OD Stock Review
The M14 rifle was first developed in 1954 in a long line of experimental rifles designed to superceed the M1 Garrand. It was the initial idea to find a rifle that had the accuracy, robustness and stopping power of the M1 Garrand, coupled with the fully automatic capabilities of the B.A.R – and thus, the M14 was born. The rifle saw brief service in Vietnam before being replaced with the M16 during 1966-68, some would not have agreed with the change as the M14’s stopping power was far greater with it’s powerful 7.62mm cartridge, compared to the 5.56mm cartridge used by the M16. It is because of this reason that today it still sees limited front-line action with the United States Army and the Navy. Whilst having the raw stopping power, range and accuracy, the M14’s one major drawback was the ability to control the weapon whilst firing in automatic mode. The 7.62mm was such a powerful round that the recoil produced made holding the rifle on target virtually impossible. The M14 also paved the way for the XM25 sniper rifle, amongst other variants produced. Most notable film appearances of the M14 are ‘Full Metal Jacket’ and ‘Black Hawk Down.
Now onto the Airsoft version. Released by Tokyo Marui in early 2006, it was an instant success with Airsoft skirmishers and collectors alike. This has to be one of Marui’s best constructed rifles to date, the sheer number of metal parts add to a hefty weight, couple this with the realistic take down, awesome power (one of the most powerful stock rifles they have produced also) and range, make this gun an all time classic. Two M14 versions have been introduced onto the airsoft market by Marui, the standard version available in OD or fake wood stock, and the SOCOM version, shortened and all black with a texturised finish. The type we will be looking at is my very own OD version, possibly one of the best airsoft guns I’ve ever purchased.
At 1127mm long, it’s a big gun… no it’s a huge gun. To give you some idea, lets take a couple of examples that most people are used to seeing on the airsoft battlefield… The M14 is 91mm longer than a G3 SG/1, 126mm longer than an M16 A2 and a whopping 367mm longer than an M4. The first two examples are some pretty large guns, and the last is one of the most common in use today, this should give you some comparison. Now, most would think that this gun is far too large to use in a CQB environment, and for many, they’d be right. However, I happily use my M14 at Urban Assault, and if I get into a situation when I need something a little smaller, I just put it down and reach for my Glock 18C AEP. So lets look at some of the stats:
Battery: 8.4v Large type
Gearbox: Version 7
Magazine Capacity: 70 (lo-cap) 440 (hi-cap)
Power: 280fps – 310fps (more on this later)
As mentioned a moment ago, I use this gun in an Urban / CQB environment and it was purchased for a sniper/counter-sniper role. After some disappointing experiences with my VSR sniper rifle, I wanted to get something that could perform as well with regards to range, with the added bonus of full-auto capability, and the M14 was certainly that. Out of the box the gun fires extremely well, and it is one of the most powerful stock guns that Tokyo Marui have produced, with some models hitting 310fps with a 0.2g on the chronograph. This is interesting in itself as the majority of people I have spoken to, their models fall into this category, there are however the odd few who found their guns were shooting slightly less, around 280fps. Certainly nothing to laugh at, but disappointing if your buddy has just bought one that is shooting 30fps more, and an oddity for Marui who’s reputation for reliability is well known.
Unfortunately for me, the one I purchased was shooting on the slower end of the scale, and yes disappointment followed, so I decided to take the opportunity to have mine upgraded, to fulfil it’s role as a counter-sniper weapon. Fire-Support did the upgrade, and an excellent job they did too. A full steel gear set installed, tuned to spot on 328fps with Marui 0.2g’s and a 6.03mm tight bore barrel. How does the gun perform now? Absolutely flawless. It might be worth asking any retailer to chronograph an M14 for you before purchasing to make sure you’re entirely happy.
The box is a work of art in itself, similar in design to the Colt 1911 which Marui released around the same time. Olive drab in appearance and cloth lined, you would be forgiven for thinking this box contains a real fire-arm, at a glance. Serial / model numbers stamped all over the box, with the wording ‘The U.S Rifle 7.62mm M14 Is A Light-weight, Air-Cooled, Gas-Operated, Magazine-Fed, Shoulder Weapon’… The instruction manual, although 80% in Japanese, is easy to follow with clear diagrams, and is also styled like a military field manual. Inside the box you will find a BB loader tube for the 70 round lo-cap, a cleaning rod, along with two smaller ‘military style’ boxes, one containing the instruction manual and the other around 200 0.25g BB’s.
Removing the gun from the box, you really do appreciate how solid it is. Weighing it at 3.8kg, it’s a hefty piece too, primarily thanks to the large number of metal parts used in it’s construction. Possibly the most metal found on any stock Tokyo Marui airsoft model comprising of receiver, trigger and trigger guard, the fully adjustable rear-sight, flash hider and fore-sight, outer barrel, the flip up stock plate, sling mounting points, stock plate through to battery housing, selector switch, safety lever, magazine eject lever and last but not least the cocking handle… Ah the cocking handle, possible the best sounding action I’ve heard on any aeg… ever. If you get the chance to play with one, do so. Although it serves no function, it sounds so good it’s difficult not to pull it back and release it every so often, the fiddle factor is quite high! On the G&G model, I’m told you can actually lock the cocking handle back, and this serves as access to the hop-up adjustment (correct me if I’m wrong), however on the Marui model the hop-up adjustment is found in the mag well. There are other metal parts on this model, too many to list here.
The stock on my model is olive drab, although a wood version is also available. Not being a fan for fake wooden furniture, I find the OD version gives the M14 a certain tactical look. The black plastic ‘heat shield’ which furnishes the top of the weapon is standard on both models, however on the SOCOM version, it also comprises a 20mm rail for mounting a red-dot or scope. The stock is also chequered on the fore-grip and handle areas of the stock, which aids in gripping the heavy gun. The flip up stock plate also features chequering, although not rubberised, it doesn’t appear to slip off the shoulder in use. The stock plate was actually devised to assist in controlling the weapon when used in fully automatic mode, on our airsoft model it serves little purpose other than helping to distribute the weight a little when holding it on target for extended periods of time. The stock itself holds an 8.4v battery quite comfortably. I’m currently using an 8.4v 3300mah NiMH which provides plenty of juice for an entire days skirmish. You won’t fit a 9.6v battery in this gun, unless it’s customised, or you modify the stock in some way, still, the rate of fire on 8.4v is perfectly acceptable, even after upgrading to 328fps.
Markings on the gun are also a nice touch. Rather than ‘Tokyo Marui’ plastered all over the rifle, these words are instead found in tiny lettering on the left hand side of the receiver, right at the back. On the top, reads ‘U.S Rifle, 7.62mm M14, Springfield Armoury’ and the serial number ‘111849’. There is also some small lettering on the top of the ejection port, and on the rear sight adjustment dial. Also, peering into the mag well you can see written ‘Tokyo Marui Co Ltd, Made In Japan’. So, enough markings to indicate this thing is not a real weapon, should you get pulled over at a routine traffic stop and the thing is still in the boot of your car… but not too much to make you think you’re clutching onto a cheap toy at the next skirmish.
The functionality of the M14 is true to the spirit of the real weapon. Simple, yet effective, although not overly aesthetically pleasing. I think some find the ‘hunting rifle’ appearance of this weapon to be slightly off-putting, perhaps they feel it doesn’t quite have that tactical look, when compared to your M4’s etc. Personally, I love the thing, not for the beauty factor but for the sheer practicality. Holding 70 rounds in your lo-caps and a massive 440 in the hi-caps the rifle makes easy work laying down a carpet of 6mm plastic. With the long range and impressive accuracy this weapon is just at home as a support weapon, as it is a counter-sniper tool. I personally use it as a bit of both, and with a large capacity battery, it’s been easy to go through an entire bag of ammo in the morning alone.
In Operation – the bits to fiddle with…
The M14 was designed with right handed people in mind, both the selector lever and cocking handle are on the right hand side of the gun, not really a problem for lefties in the airsoft world as the stock, simple as it is, is ambidextrous. Of course, in the real world, left handed shooters would be hit in the face by red hot flying shell casings. For you, it’s just going to be a minor annoyance that the selector is on the right hand side, but not something that should put anybody off.
The magazine ejection is on the bottom, and is similar in style to that of the MP5 / G3 series, a lever in which you push forward. The safety is an interesting feature, it pushes into the trigger guard, and has a hole through it, I presume for some kind of gun lock on the real steel. It serves its purpose by stopping the trigger from being engaged, and physically stopping you from putting your finger into the trigger guard.
The hop-up adjustment on this model is located in the magazine well, and is fairly easy to get to. The hop-up on this model is excellent, which contributes to the excellent range and accuracy this model demonstrates. It is the ‘dial’ type, with a nice positive click for each movement.
The open sights on the M14 are also very practical and worth using. They are of the ‘peep hole’ variety, with the rear sight being fully adjustable for both windage and elevation. Again, very positive click from the dial when adjusting these, and you have to pull the dial out slightly in order to turn it, meaning there is little chance of them being knocked and changing the position. I have chosen to go down the route of a red-dot sight on my M14, which I would recommend to anyone, or indeed a scope with a low magnification (I always find 4x does best). If you do choose to do this, the flash hider on the front of the gun, which also incorporates the fore-sight can be removed. This helps by reducing the weapons overall length, and the 14mm ccw thread can be covered by an end-cap, similar to the one found on the Marui MP5-A4.
The selector switch on the gun is different from most too. An odd-shaped, almost triangular affair, the lever is turned clock-wise or anti-clockwise to select semi or full auto fire. An ‘A’ is presented towards the shooter when engaged in fully automatic mode, with no marking for semi-auto. It is easy however, from the levers shape to see at a glance which position it is located. My only criticism of the selector lever is that it can be sometimes easily knocked out of place, primarily due to where it is located on the gun… no biggie though.
Let me start by saying, I love my M14. I’ve never been so impressed with any airsoft model before in the almost 10 years I have been playing. I’ve never had so many kills, as such distance with any other weapon… for me, this was definitely £270 well spent. So how does it perform? Well, as mentioned at the beginning of the review, the out of the box FPS can vary, but even at the lower end of the scale, the range and accuracy is better than any other stock Marui AEG. In my case, this gun has been upgraded to shoot at 328fps, the gears have been changed for a steel set, and I’ve also installed a tight-bore barrel. Unfortunately, this was all done pretty much after the gun was purchased, so I’ve only ever skirmished with it once as ‘stock’, so to speak, but I certainly wasn’t disappointed.
In it’s upgraded form, you can expect effective range with a Marui 0.2g BB to be around the 60 – 65 metres, and from an elevated position, I’ve got kills from 70 metres. These measurements have been taken from our skirmish site map, which we know to be accurate. So that is a whopping 220 odd feet! That takes some beating… From stock, that drops slightly to around 50 metres, after that, and you’ll be pointing the gun into the sky to try and make the BB ‘fall’ on the target.
Accuracy is excellent too. With the lighter 0.2g ammunition, on a calm day, and with the assistance of the red-dot, you can easily hit a man size target at 40m, although using this weight of ammo, the slightest breeze will knock your shots off course slightly. With the stock FPS, you can easily get away with using 0.25g ammo in this gun, without much compromise on overall range.
So you can see now why I chose this rifle as a ‘counter-sniper’ weapon. You can take on an upgraded VSR with this gun and win, easily. Why? Because whilst they are cocking the bolt to load the next round, you’ve already put 20 odd rounds onto their position and hit them… Who cares if they have awesome ‘sniper’ like accuracy, you’ve got fully automatic fire-power and range to equal them!
Worth mentioning is the easy in which you can disassemble the rifle for routine maintenance, or upgrades. In the trigger guard there is a hole, in which you simply slot a screw driver, lift it upwards and click, the entire trigger guard comes out. This acts a locking mechanism, keeping the upper receiver firmly in the stock. With this removed, you can slide and lift the entire receiver out of the stock. From here you can see the motor fixture, and the selector mechanism. I won’t go into too much detail about the internals of the gun, as you’d be a brave man to disassemble the thing! Certainly not something I will be attempting any time soon. I did however change the barrel myself, and it was done easily within 15 minutes. A word of caution however, be careful when sliding the receiver back into the stock, as the bar at the rear of it, that is what activates the selector mechanism, and being plastic, can be easily snapped (yes… ok, I’ve done it!). From looking at the pictures, you can see what I mean.
If you want a better look inside the M14, take a look at this excellent technical review here – http://www.hammermods.com/ImpactM14.htm
I can’t praise the Marui M14 enough, I really can’t. I’ve been playing Airsoft for nearly 10 years now, in that time I’ve gone through a fair few AEGs including numerous MP5’s, G3’s, a P90, a couple of shotguns and a sniper rifle to name just a few… but I’ve never owned an Airsoft model as impressive as this one, that is, until now! The range and accuracy, even on the stock model are something to be proud of, and give the gun a little upgrade, and it turns into the Ferrari of the Airsoft world. On a regular basis I get people approaching me on a skirmish asking me about it, how much was it, how far can it shoot etc… I just hand it over to them and let them have a play, as they say, actions speak louder than words… and they’re rarely disappointed. The M14 has become more popular recently, especially in the CQB environment. If you ask me, it is the very real alternative to a bolt action sniper rifle, and at the price, a real bargain too.
So why are you still reading this? Go buy yourself one! You won’t be disappointed…