Monday, July 30, 2007

JLS FN2000 AEG Airsoft Gun Review

Airsplat was kind enough to send me the new JLS FN2000 for review. This is the first time I’ve had a chance to get my hands on a JLS AEG, and was eager to tear into the gearbox and am excited to share what I’ve found. Grab yourself a chair and some popcorn, as this is going to be an in depth review that no other airsoft review site can rival.

Package
The AEG comes packaged in a plain brown covered box with a styrofoam bottom half. Upon opening the box, I was a bit shocked to see that the gun was in two parts. Now, it’s not supposed to come this way, but mine had actually field stripped itself to some extent during shipping. This gun is so easy to field strip, that I’m not totally surprised that this happened. Included in the package are the AEG, a small bag of bb’s, 9.6v NIMH battery, manual, charger, and a high capacity magazine. The packaging leaves something to be desired, but face it, you’re not buying it for the box are you?

Materials / Construction
The JLS FN2000 is a 1:1 scale replica constructed in plastic and metal. Metal parts include the RIS rail, front sling eyelets, cocking lever, magazine, outer barrel, selector switch and sights. The main body of the gun, trigger, hop up cover, mag release lever, safety lever, and flash hider are plastic. All the external plastic parts seem to be durable and well able to take a bit of a beating (I’ll cover that more in a minute). The metal parts are decent, but not to the quality you’d see in a Classic Army or ICS, but then again, this gun is only a mid-level electric gun. The finish on the metal components is a bit weak and the black color on the RIS seems to rub off on your hands if you swipe them along the side. There are imperfections in the RIS rail along the whole length. This will not keep you from attaching anything, but cosmetically it is not as finished as a higher end AEG would be. The rubber butt plate allows easy installation and removal of the battery, and snugly fits the included 9.6 volt battery. The butt plate snaps on and off, and is held in place by friction.

The outer barrel attaches to a bright orange plastic flash hider that is securely attached and cannot be removed without damage. That being said. Let’s all play nice and keep our orange tips as that’s just one way of keeping you safe while playing airsoft. We don’t need people afraid that you’re running around with a real firearm, and needless to say that could end badly for you if you were to remove the blaze orange tip.

Looking at the internals we’ll start with the inner barrel. The inner barrel is 363mm long (same length as the m4 inner barrel), and appears to be constructed out of brass. I do not have the ability to accurately measure the inside diameter of the barrel, so unfortunately I do not have that information to give. In the event someone out there can give me solid proof of the inside diameter, I’ll add it to this review.

The inner barrel connects to the hop up chamber which is constructed out of plastic. Personally I’d like to see a metal one, but at this price point, a plastic one is a given. The gears are also constructed out of plastic as well.

The battery connects via a mini tamiya connector to the gearbox through a 20 amp 250V fuse. The fuse container is a bit large, but fits easily in the space allocated for it in the butt stock. The wiring, while not amazing in quality, is much better than I expected after having looked in the gearbox of an Echo 1. Healthy 16-18 gauge wire that seems fairly flexible (read decent strand count), runs from the battery straight to the trigger mechanism and motor.

The gearbox (a modified version 2) is constructed of metal, and contains metal gears, cut off lever, trigger actuator, cylinder (brass), anti-reverse lever, and springs. I expected to see this. The spring guide (with washer), selector plate, tappet plate, and air seal nozzle are all plastic. I was quite surprised at the apparent poor quality of the plastic parts. The tappet plate and selector plate seemed overly flexible and the air seal nozzle didn’t seem to be held tightly in place. I would have liked to see some more ridged plastic in the selector plate and the tappet plate with a reinforced plastic or metal spring guide. I must say that I am impressed with the piston and piston head. The plastic appeared to be of good quality, the piston head ported, and a great fat o-ring that should seal well for a long time to come. The gearbox, as most are, came covered in the usual oil spill of lubricant. The motor seemed to be decent quality, and the wires are soldered directly to it. I would like to point out that the soldering job done on the wiring was not the best quality. I have very good soldering skills, but the quality of this was truly novice. No, I don’t expect the wires to break free of the terminals anytime soon, but I would expect less blobs of solder especially when they are that close to the gearbox shell (a possible short circuit contact point).

Features
The FN2000 is a no fills get the job done gun, not a multifunction “Leatherman” tool. The gun has what you need to get the job done. The sight rail features an integrated flip up sight in addition to the RIS rail that allows you to attach optics.

At the rear of the RIS rail is a flip up door that allows easy access to the hop up adjustment.

The gun features a tool free field striping procedure that is easy and straight forward. With a simple push of a button, you can field strip the gun and have the inner barrel and hop up in your hands in seconds.

Performance
Face it, no one buys an AEG without consideration of its performance. When I first opened the box, I quickly plugged in a battery from one of my other AEG’s (an 8.4v NiMH) and filled the included high-cap mag with the included bag of bb’s. Out to the backyard I headed eager to squeeze off some shots while the included battery (a 9.6 NiMH) was charging. Firing the gun on semi-auto I quickly noticed that the hop up was way to low. I opened the hop adjustment cover and gave it a bit of a turn and fired again, repeating till maximum range was reached without causing the bb to fly wildly like a toddler on a bag of pixie sticks. The maximum useable range seems to be about the limit of my yard at about 100 feet; beyond that accuracy began to diminish and the bb’s began to drop quickly. Like every testosterone filled male, I quickly switched over to full auto and fired off a quick burst. It wasn’t all that I had expected… then it dawned on me… the battery that was included was a 9.6 volt and here I am feeling melancholy about this gun while it has a 8.4 volt battery in it. I repressed the desire to empty mag after mag of bb’s while waiting for the battery to finish charging. If you’re going to buy one accessory with this gun, might I suggest an intelligent rapid charger so you don’t have to wait for your batteries to charge forever and lower the risk of killing your battery.

About 30 minutes later I’m back outside with the 9.6 volt battery installed and a magazine of bb’s. WOW. I had never had an airsoft gun that I felt needed a 9.6 volt battery, but this was down right amazing. The rate of fire is pretty impressive for a gun shooting 350 fps without bearings and on standard gears. Due to the bullpup design with the magazine in the back of the gun the gearbox is located at the back of the stock. This makes for an interesting sensation as the close proximity to your head makes the noise very loud and the vibration much greater than a metal body gun with a mid body gearbox. To some this might be a turnoff, to others a reason to plunk down some money.

Next I took a look at the consistency of the AEG over 3 different target ranges. The target consisted of a sheet of cardboard with a 1″ grid marked on it. Shots were taken at 30 feet, 60 feet, and 80 feet after making sure the hop up was adjusted for best overall performance. At each of these distances I observed groupings of about 2.5 inches. I found it odd that the groupings did not end up closer as I approached the target, nor did they appear to spread as I moved away from the target. All shots were taken unsupported from a standing position in dry conditions with a slight (less than 1mph) occasional breeze to the left from the shooter’s vantage point. I rule the consistency test to be inconclusive as the gun did not exhibit increased groupings at longer ranges. I would guess that due to using an unsupported shooting position, the accuracy test was thrown off. I will say that at 100 feet I had no problem hitting a chest sized target consistently.

I did find that switching from semi-auto to full auto took some getting used to as it is not easily accessed by your trigger finger. I also found the safety switch to be counter intuitive, but both of these observations can be easily remedied by practicing.

The trigger itself takes a bit of getting used to. After taking apart the gun, I was better able to understand why the trigger is not a crisp as the trigger on other AEGs I’ve used (such as the mp5 or m4). The trigger is held out with a stiff spring. The top of the trigger is connected to a plate in the gearbox by a long metal rod. This rod pushes the plate in the gearbox to make contact with the trigger contacts in the gearbox. This long rod must flex slightly, or have a bit of spring where it is bent at 90 degree angles to interface with the trigger and contact plate. I would say that I cannot fire nearly as fast in semi-auto with this AEG as I can with other designs, but that’s where using short bursts in full-auto come into play so it’s a bit of a moot point.

The rear flip up sight was a bit of an oddity. Maybe I just don’t know how to use it, or what my sight picture should look like, but looking through it at the front post would always cause my shots to land high. In order to accurately shoot with it, I had to aim with the front post just below the opening in the sight window. I personally didn’t find using the flip up rear sight to be of much use, as it was no better than the standard sight (which was faster for me to acquire).

One point to bring up is the magazine. The high cap included worked flawlessly. Never any issues with feeding or the spring unwinding prematurely. I did notice that my Classic Army high cap magazine did NOT work in this gun due to slight differences in the thickness of the protrusion above the cutout on the side near the top of the magazine, but others have not had a problem. There have been problems noted with ICS mags as well.

Conclusion
Typically you compromise price for performance and build quality and durability when you buy an AEG. The JLS FN2000 shows us that you can get a gun with high fps and good ROF without breaking the bank. I’d recommend this gun to players looking to just get in the game and would like an all in one package with a battery and charger to get them going, or someone who’s looking to start a new project gun and likes getting their hands dirty. If you like the bullpup configuration, but don’t want to go the P90 or AUG route, this is a good alternative at a great price point. Please check my “Tech Info” section @ http://infectedairsoft.wordpress.com for a full review of the gearbox itself and suggestions for those of you looking to make this a project gun. Again, I’d like to thank AirSplat for making this review happen and keep your eyes open for more reviews to come!

1 comment:

  1. Infected3:37 PM

    Nice article. Unfortunately I am the original author and the I have only allowed reproduction of this article to AirSplat.com, and the original article can be found at InfectedAirsoft.Wordpress.com

    Please remove this article from your blog immediately.

    ReplyDelete