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 Rules of the Game Part I

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Jonzki
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Join date : 2009-04-20

PostSubject: Rules of the Game Part I   Sun Apr 26, 2009 9:46 am

Early history:

Airsoft began in Japan in the mid-1970s where real guns were prohibited by Japanese laws. It traced its roots from 1:1 scale plastic model kits of popular real firearms. From that point on, it went into three separate directions; air-driven pellet guns, cap-type guns, and pellets driven by a spring.

The guns which had bullets driven by a spring had a spring in each shell. The bullet was forced into the shell and held by two small locks. Placing the loaded cartridge into the chamber, and firing the gun, forced the cartridge forward, releasing the locks on the bullet. The spring propelled the bullet forward. Pulling back the slide cycled the next cartridge. However, this design only had a maximum range of 20 feet or 6 meters.

The cap-type guns used powerful explosive caps to make the noise of the gun and in later versions, to actually eject the spent cartridge from the gun. More sophisticated versions included the MAC-11 and CAR15 - with fully loaded magazines, can fire fully automatic. These guns were good alternative movie-prop guns. But since these guns only made a bang, the popularity of these cap-type guns never really caught on because no projectile was fired from it.

Early Japanese air-driven pellet guns had soft plastic bullets shaped like a pointed mushroom, which were inserted into hollow cylindrical plastic shells, about the size of real gun cartridges and actually looked like one. These guns were based from semi-auto pistols, and the plastic cartridges were loaded into a magazine which was then inserted into the gun. The number of cartridges loaded into the magazine would be similar to a real firearm magazine. The gun was spring-powered - normally by pushing the slide forward to strip the cartridge off of the magazine, loading it into the chamber to fire, and simultaneously thingying back the spring air piston. Pulling the trigger of the gun released the spring piston, the air went through the rear of the hollow cartridge and expelled the plastic pellet through the barrel. By continuing pulling back the trigger, the locking mechanism for the slide would release, the slide moving rearward and the empty plastic shell would be ejected. By repeating this process, another pellet can be fired until the magazine was empty.

Unfortunately, this process had some drawbacks. The shells were easy to lose, and the pellets were few and expensive. The next evolutionary design step was to replace the plastic bullet with a round BB (pellet). The shell was kept and the BB was inserted into the shell to make a cartridge. A rubber O-ring in the lip of the hollow shell held the BB in place. BBs were plentiful and easier to manufacture compared to the plastic pellet. Eventually, the plastic shell was removed from the design to evolve into the airsoft guns we know of today.

Airsoft in American culture began with several abortive attempts in the 1980s by the Daisy BB gun company of the USA to market a BB gun that could be safely shot by opposing players at each other. It was known then as 'Replisoft' and 'soft air,' a name which airsoft is still sometimes known by. These spring guns used the plastic shell and BB design. The products did not prove popular in the U.S. market. However the sport continued to prosper in Asia and gained significant popularity. Most modern airsoft technology developments were created in 20 years of expanding interest in Japan.

Airsoft guns

Modern airsoft weapons can be grouped into three general types by their operating mechanism:
• Spring powered Airsoft Guns
• Gas Powered Airsoft Guns
• Automatic Electric Airsoft Guns

Spring powered Airsoft Guns:
These weapons fire a BB using a simple spring that must be thingyed by hand prior to the shot. Most spring weapons are for indoor playing as they have limited range and cycle rates (because they must be hand operated). Typically, spring airsoft weapons are inexpensive compared to similar models in gas or electric format because they do not use any external power to assist in firing the BB. The most inexpensive and readily available of any of these are 'springer' pistols, which generally operate by compressing a small piston/spring assembly and simultaneously chambering a BB from the magazine by pulling back the slide every time before firing a shot. Therefore, you cannot shoot fully or semi automatic. Though these guns constitute the vast majority of airsoft guns, there is a large selection of mid-range spring powered rifle replicas on the market, and a handful of high-end precision bolt-action sniper rifles which employ manual cycling in order to drive extremely heavy springs (and hence produce higher muzzle velocities).

Since the airsoft spring pistols are inexpensive, they are suitable for beginners. However, spring guns in the form of rifles are normally not for beginners. A rifle shoots out a more powerful force, sometimes stronger than airsoft electric guns and gas airsoft guns. Some good airsoft sniper rifles also uses spring as the mechanism. The long barrels really boost the speed when firing a shot. Since snipers do not engage in a field combat, airsoft spring guns are suitable as snipers do not need to fire many rounds of shots.

Gas Powered Airsoft Guns:
These weapons fire BBs using HFC 134 gas or Green gas, also known as common propane, which is used in most guns with metal slides (upper receivers). In modern gas guns, this is usually a diflourothane or tetraflourthane gas, similar in composition to Freon. This is a liquid when inside its container, and remains in that state when injected into the magazine of an airsoft gun. When a valve on the top of the magazine is tripped, some of this liquid is ejected as a gas at high pressure and operates the specific cycling mechanism of the gas gun. Gas powered Airsoft Guns can typically be grouped into NBB (Non-Blow-Back) and GBB (Gas Blow-Back) categories. NBB guns do not feature a cycling bolt or slide while GBB guns have some sort of moving bolt that realistically chambers a BB from the magazine when cycled. Most NBB and GBB guns come in the form of pistols, with detachable magazines that contain both the BBs and the gas. Some rifles and machine gun replicas are gas operated as well, whether to take advantage of the realism afforded by bolt cycling or to allow adjustable muzzle velocities. The vast majority of all gas guns are produced in Japan and Taiwan. Modern airsoft guns typically can use both HFC134 and the more powerful green gas (propane) and HF22. It is usually recommended that the weaker HFC134 be used with Japanese guns and the stronger HF22 be used with Taiwanese models, for reasons of pellet velocity limitations and because Taiwanese models are now often equipped with metal slides rather than plastic (which is universal for Japanese guns), meaning that they can take the higher pressure and may not even cycle with lower-pressured gases.

Many older gas guns, now out of production, use CO2 or HPA nitrogen through an external tank and regulator. With the advent of electric guns, this system has become very rare, due to the high cost and instability of gas operation. But the level of quality in construction has prompted many current collectors and players to continue to favour these 'classic' airsoft guns.

Recently, players have begun to use propane as a power source, which produces similar results to Green Gas. Chemical composition of green gas has been suspected actually to be either propane or a fluoropropene. Additionally, new gas gun models have appeared that are powered by standard 12 g CO2 capsules, either on a regulated external rig or build into the magazine of the gun itself.

Gas guns generally require more maintenance than an AEG or spring gun. This is because of all the seals and valves required to hold the gas, and keep the gun from leaking. They need to be lubricated frequently to keep the seals from drying up and cracking. A small solution to this is that Green Gas (HF22) has silicon lubricant in it, therefore it keeps the gun lubricated while using it. Gas guns also have certain weather restrictions, they can be used in just about any weather, however the colder it is outside the less efficiency the gas will provide. Also operating the gun in the cold could cause the valves on the gun and or magazine to freeze and not be able to work until thawed out again. That is typically why gas guns work much better in warmer climates. In the long run, gas guns are also more expensive than buying a spring gun or AEG because you must continually buy more gas to power it, and lubricant to keep it working well. As opposed to AEG's which only require lubricant, and a battery which can be recharged many times.

Automatic Electric Airsoft Guns:
Also known as AEGs, these weapons are powered by batteries and an electric motor, which cycles an internal piston/spring assembly in order to launch the BB projectile. These are by far the most common Airsoft weapons in serious competition use today. These guns were originally developed in Japan, and the Japanese model giant Tokyo Marui dominates the market today with many quality models. In a Marui AEG, the motor drives a series of 3 gears mounted inside a gearbox. The gears then compress a piston assemble against a spring. Once the piston is released, the spring drives it forward through the cylinder to push a BB into the chamber, through the barrel, and forward from the muzzle. Many manufacturers have now more or less replicated this basic model, adding reinforced parts or minor improvements. But it remains the general design common to almost all modern AEGs (with the exception of the TOP machine gun line).

In recent years, challengers to Tokyo Marui from Taiwan and Hong Kong have begun producing AEGs as well, emphasizing primarily on inexpensive metal parts. Classic Army of Hong Kong and ICS of Taiwan, who both have had long experience producing aftermarket accessories and reinforced parts for Marui AEGs, first began with versions of the Heckler and Koch MP5, a model which Marui had produced for some time. Both versions boasted metal receivers and parts, with essentially the same internal design as their Marui predecessor. And both initially suffered from quality control issues which marred their brand name for several product generations. Currently, both companies have begun to branch out in different directions from Tokyo Marui. The ICS M4/CAR-97 carbine features an innovative swing-open gearbox and receiver and an anti-reversal latch disengage built into the forward assist button. The Classic Army CA33E replica of the HK33E is a rifle model which Marui does not produce at all. Quality control has appeared to have improved as well on current models for both brands.
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Rules of the Game Part I
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