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A&K Para SAW (56k warning!)

 Post subject: A&K Para SAW (56k warning!)
PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 9:56 pm 
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[img width=640 height=480]http://i35.tinypic.com/2s7gia8.jpg[/img]

Introduction
I've had this gun for several months now, and given it a thorough workout, so I figured it was time to give my thoughts on it. Most larger retailers carry this, and it will run you about $350 with a drum. A few sites sell it for a lower price without the drum, but in my opinion, it's next to useless with AR mags, so I would strongly suggest you don't skip out on the drum.

First Impression
When I pulled this out of the box for the first time, my first thought was "Dang, that's huge!". With the stock extended, it's only 36" long, so it's nearly the exact same length as an M4. Of course, it is about twice as bulky. You will immediately notice the weight of the gun. Fully loaded, this weighs 17 pounds.

Performance
I was extremely disappointed the first time I fired this. With the stock hop-up bucking, I am being generous to say that it had a 75 foot maximum range. No Joke. Obviously, I couldn't have that, so I pulled out the stock bucking and put in a 1st generation KWA bucking that I had on hand. That swap made all the difference. I would guesstimate that I now have an effective range of at least 150 feet, possibly a bit more. The accuracy with .2's is nothing to brag about, but it is quite a bit better than most chiclones. Mine came stock with an M110 spring, so it's chrono'ing at roughly 370fps. I think they're being sold with M100's now, though, so I wouldn't expect that power out of a new model.

Feel
I've already mentioned the weight, so I won't go into that. I'm not sure if all of them come like this, but when I got mine, there were loose screws everywhere. Most of the externals were wobbling, and the stock fell off almost immediately. I tightened everything in sight, though, and so far I haven't had any more issues. Now that everything has been tightened, the gun is rock solid. I've never held a real SAW, but I've been told that this feels exactly like a real one. The bipod is realistically loose and wobbly, and serves its purpose perfectly. I'm not exactly sure what type of metal the gun in made of, but I don't think that it's pot-metal. I've heard rumors that the 2009 A&K's like this were made out of steel, but I can't confirm that.

Internals
I haven't opened the gearbox yet, but I plan to soon. All I can say is that the gearbox cycles very smoothly, and the hop-up works perfectly. I've fired about 5,000 rounds through it on full auto (duh :roll:), and never had so much as a hiccup. I've heard that lots of A&K's have issues with the trigger switch, but so far mine has worked fine. One huge plus of this gun is the Classic Army brick style gearbox (picture below). I think it's probably one of the best designed boxes I've ever seen for two reasons. First of all, the entire complex trigger-assembly of other version gearboxes is eliminated by the electrical trigger switch. Also, the spring can be swapped literally in seconds. (I'll outline that process at the end of the review.) Finally, this has a one-piece metal hop-up. It's a dial type, so it holds it's setting very well.

[img width=640 height=480]http://i47.tinypic.com/21e4v80.jpg[/img]


Modification
The only upgrade which I've done is the installation of the KWA bucking. As it is, I have no plans for any further upgrades until necessary. The performance is everything that I could ask for from a support-weapon.

Recommendation
I switched out the spring for an M100 last month at tried using this at Welford. Depending on your playing style, you could use it for CQB, but I don't think I will again. I really didn't like it for that use because of how much it limited my agility, but others might not find that a problem. For field use, though, I strongly recommend it. The range is good enough to compete with most AEG's, and what it lacks in range, it makes up for in the amount of ammo it can send down-range. No matter what, you will need a sling. A standard three-point will work fine if you wear a plate-carrier, but otherwise you're going to want a padded sling.

Pros and Cons
Pros
- Very nice externals
- Satisfying range and accuracy
- Can be used for CQB
- Internals seem to be solid
- Brick type gearbox

Cons
- Terrible hop-up bucking
- Poorly assembled
- Very heavy... could be considered a pro or a con

Dissassembly/spring change/barrel removal
All right, all that good stuff being said, I'll show you how to break this gun down. Next to the P90, I would say this is one of the simplest disassemblies that I've ever done.

First, remove these three pins which are circled in red. The upper-right one can be difficult to get out, but it will come with enough elbow grease.

[img width=640 height=480]http://i48.tinypic.com/282mhlk.jpg[/img]


Next, remove these two screws. They fasten the gearbox to the receiver.

[img width=640 height=480]http://i46.tinypic.com/2l91642.jpg[/img]'


Now the gearbox is loose in the receiver. Carefully pull it towards the rear, and it will slide out the back of the receiver. All in all, the process only takes a moment or two, and you've got the gearbox in your hand.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Changing the spring is a piece of cake. To do so, simply push in on the large round button on the rear of the gearbox. (See below) While pushing on this button, put pressure on the latch on top of the gearbox, then let go of the button. This will allow the spring-guide to disconnect from the gearbox shell. Once the spring guide is out, you can just pull the spring out freely.

Before:
[img width=510 height=639]http://i46.tinypic.com/9a5tuq.jpg[/img]

After:
[img width=640 height=480]http://i50.tinypic.com/2duh7kg.jpg[/img]


Finally, you can remove the barrel on this in exactly the same way as a real SAW. Simply push in on this lever, and the outer barrel will slide off the gun, allowing you access to the hop-up and inner barrel.

[img width=640 height=480]http://i46.tinypic.com/30m1i4w.jpg[/img]

Final Words

All in all, if you want to give-support gunning a try, I would definitely recommend this gun to anyone. Not up to the quality of CA or G&P, but in my opinion, it's well worth the money.

I give this gun a 9/10 rating.

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Last edited by MCG on Sat Jan 30, 2010 10:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: A&K Para SAW (56k warning!)
PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 10:38 pm 
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To find out if it is made of steel, just see if a magnet sticks to it.

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 Post subject: Re: A&K Para SAW (56k warning!)
PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:13 am 
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idiot88 wrote:
To find out if it is made of steel, just see if a magnet sticks to it.


I would never have thought of that. I just checked, and the magnet stuck to everything except for the flash-hider. So... cool, it's not pot metal ;D

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 Post subject: Re: A&K Para SAW (56k warning!)
PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 2:10 pm 
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I've held and shot this thing. The gearbox has a nice "popping noise" to it. It sounds very smooth. The thing is awesome with the bipod out and lying on the ground with it.

Didn't your gun come with box mag problems and rear stock problems?

Good review.

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 Post subject: Re: A&K Para SAW (56k warning!)
PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:30 am 
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Esteban wrote:
Didn't your gun come with box mag problems and rear stock problems?

Good review.


The sound-activation on the drum is a little bit finicky, but I chaulked that up to mine being a lemon, since I know several other people with A&K SAW's who haven't had any issue with their drums.

The stock was very loose, and I thought the inner threads on the butt-plate had stripped out, but it turns out that they were just very hard to screw together.

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