G&G L96 G96 AWP Gas Airsoft Sniper Rifle
- 570 fps (0.20g BB) / Range 250-300 feet
- Barrel Length: 23.5 inches / 60 cm
- Magazine Capacity: 18 Rounds
- Integrated Top Scope Rail
- Adjustable Hop-Up
- Metal Sling Mounts
- Made in China
G&G L96 G96 AWP Gas Airsoft Sniper Rifle Manual
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The first thing to get out of the way is the fact that despite the name, this is a replica of the M700 AICS not the L96 hence the above history on the M700. I am unsure if G&G is unaware of this distinction or decided to call it the G96 for marketing reasons but whatever the case, it's an M700 replica. From an airsoft standpoint, it's about a 95% clone of the Tanaka M700 AICS which I will explain in more detail later in the review. With that out of the way, the gun comes in a dark gray box with a nice shiny label which seems to be G&G's default packaging scheme. The package includes the gun (disassembled), one 15rd magazine, cleaning rod, and baggie which contains the brief manual and two allen wrenches to assemble the gun. Airsplat does not currently carry spare magazines, although I have been advised they are already working on getting them in.
Product Description/First Impressions:
As the owner of a Tanaka M700 AICS which this is primarily based off of, I immediately noticed two things. First off, the stock has a much nicer feel/finish than the Tanaka which was sub-par by Tanaka's normal standards. Secondly it's substantially lighter than the Tanaka M700 AICS or the Ares/Well AWP. The magazine is inserted in the stock when you receive the gun to conserve space. The manual is pretty short but covers how to assemble the gun (which consists of two screws) as well as a parts diagram. The cleaning rod had fallen down the side of the packaging on mine so I did not realize there was even one in there until I took the plastic tray out. The tray the gun comes in is your basic plastic tray. Nothing out of the ordinary, holds the gun in place, that's pretty much it.
I was very excited to see the externals of the gun since the Tanaka's are a bit lacking. First up is the stock itself and it does not disappoint in that regard. The plastic on the stock has much more of a texture finish than the Tanaka which is both better looking and better feeling than the Tanaka. The stock still has some seem lines due to it's clamshell design, but they are much less defined than the Tanaka. The gun does however, lack the cheekrest found on the Tanaka which is a bit of a disappointment but certainly not a deal breaker. The butt pad is rubber and is adjustable by removing sections from the butt pad just like on the Tanaka. The actual chassis that the receiver sits on is a plastic material rather than metal like the Tanaka which explains the greatly reduced weight of the stock. As with the shell of the stock, the chassis appears to be a high quality plastic and I do not have any concerns about it breaking.
The gun is completely devoid of markings or trademarks save for the above sticker which practically falls of the gun instead of leaving a gooey residue like more stickers. At first I was disappointed by the lack of any markings, then I remembered the marking on my G&G F2000 and realized I would rather have the gun just be completely blank. As you can see, the screw holes for the bolts that hold the stock together are nice and clean. The screws themselves are a dark grey which accents the stock nicely and appear to be good quality.
At the front of the gun, you will find the included Versa-pod style mounting post for a bipod. The post is solid metal and has no rotation what so ever. It does however have a bit of forwards to backwards play. This doesn't cause any issues when using the post but it a tad annoying. I'd recommend keeping an eye on the post to make sure the movement isn't causing premature wear. The gun also had metal sling mounts at the front and back for mounting standard 2 point slings. The mounts are integrated into the chassis and are rock solid. As with the screws they are a dark grey color and look to be very high quality.
If you've ever owned a Tanaka, the first thing you will notice when pulling the upper assembly out of the package is "hey, the barrel didn't fall off". Unlike the Tanaka M700 (and it's clones) the barrel is free floated which means it's mounted to the receiver and does not use the stock to hold it in place. This is a very good thing in a sniper rifle as it reduces or even eliminates barrel wobble which makes the gun more consistent at range. Length wise, the barrel is a bit odd as it measures at almost 25" or 630mm which makes it a bit longer than normal M700/M40/M24 barrels.
After you notice the barrel, the next thing you would notice as a Tanaka owner is that G&G made some tweaks to the receiver, bolt, and chamber design. The gun comes with G&G's Power Bolt that they sell for Tanaka M700's which is why the gun has a non-standard bolt handle for an M700. I greatly prefer this bolt handle to the standard M700 design, unfortunately the design of the power bolt prevents you from switching bolt handles with regular Tanaka bolts.
The truly exciting part of the gun starts here. On Tanaka's (and their clones) The front of the receiver is squared on the bottom at the front to accommodate the hopup/chamber. This was probably done for strength concerns as the chamber is plastic on Tanaka's. Unfortunately that prevents Tanaka's from being dropped into real steel M700 stocks as they don't have the squared bottom. So, I was quite surprised when I found that G&G redesigned the receiver and chamber so that it's completely rounded like a real steel M700. I will be confirming this as soon as possible, but this should allow the G96 to drop right into a real steel M700 Short Action stock with no modifications which is quite exciting for those looking for the upmost accuracy or even anyone looking for a lighter platform.
The outer barrel, as mentioned above is a bit odd, not just because of it's length. As you can see the gun has a somewhat odd tapered front end. I am not really certain the reason for designing it like that rather than a straight bull barrel design. The next oddity is that the manual insists the front piece is just an end cap which can be removed to reveal threads which would make sense since their Heavy Barrel kit for Tanaka's is designed in that way. However, I have been unable to get the front piece to come off or for that matter even find any indication it's a separate piece that comes off. This brings me to my first complaint about the gun. The finish on the barrel scratches extremely easy, to the point where I hope I got a lemon as the slightest rub of a branch is going to scratch it. So, I decided I would just sand it down and either refinish it or polish it. With 320 grip sandpaper, the finish came off with zero effort.
Moving on to the internals, the trigger appears to be a straight Tanaka clone. The trigger is adjustable for weight and length of pull using 3 screws, two on the front of the trigger, one on the back. This does have to be done with the gun disassembled, but since that's just two screws, it's not a big deal. The manual details which screw does what and how to adjust it. It should be noted that the trigger can be adjusted to the point where the gun will not fire. This will not do any harm to the gun, but make sure you test out the trigger before reinstalling the receiver into the stock.
The bolt can be removed from the gun by pressing in the button you see right in front of the trigger. It takes a little bit of practice to get to as there's a bit less room to get to it with the AICS stock than with a normal M700 stock. This unfortunately is the next issue with the gun. On mine the assembly sticks in the unlocked position meaning the bolt will come right out if you pull back far enough on it. I don't see anything physically defective/broken, so I suspect it just needs to be worn in a bit.
The bolt itself, as mentioned previous, is what G&G sells as a $150 "Power Bolt" for the Tanaka's. The bolt is certainly stronger from a metallurgy standpoint than a stock Tanaka style bolt however it's much harder to take apart for repair/maintenance and is not compatible with standard M700 striker springs such as are available from G&G as well as Polarstar. The gun has G&G signature red gas route rubber which is part of a $17 rubber set you would normally buy as an upgrade for a Tanaka M700. So, just the bolt it self represents $167 worth of parts you would normally buy separately as upgrades for a Tanaka (or clone).
The other thing you will notice as a Tanaka owner is how short the nozzle is on the gun. This is not something you want to see, at least on Tanaka's. In fact an extended nozzle is one of the best things you can do on a Tanaka. However, as stated previously, G&G did redesign the chamber which may resolve this potential issue. We will see if that's the case when we get to the performance section of the gun. The lower bolt you see in the picture is from a Bell M700 which has the longest nozzle of any stock Tanaka style gun.
As the gun is a Tanaka clone, it is powered using Green Gas/Propane stored in the magazine. The magazine itself is the next difference between the G&G and the Tanaka (and it's clones). Tanakas have two styles of magazines available, 10rd "Short" magazines which do not extend past the stock and 30rd "Long" magazines. The 10rd magazines are standard on most Tanakas, except the AICS which requires the use of the long magazine. G&G decided to design their own 15rd magazine which is a bit longer than the 10rd "Short" magazines but is not as long as the 30rd "Long" magazine. The magazine comes with G&G's upgraded plunger installed which is a welcome change as the stock plunger on the Tanaka (and clones) was usually one of the first things to wear out.
The overall design of the magazine will be quite familiar to owners of a Tanaka M700 (or clone) save for the length. Therefore I was quite surprised to find it will not fit in a Tanaka rifle nor will Tanaka magazines fit in the G96. I really can't understand why G&G would do this as the changes have no benefit to the performance of the gun and they've lost the ability to sell the magazines to Tanaka owners. Given the fact these magazines at $45 are about half the price of a Tanaka long magazine is quite disappointing for Tanaka owners.
As a sniper rifle, this is probably the section you were most waiting for. Unfortunately this is going to be a bit of a disappointment to many people. The follower on my magazine currently sticks, badly, which prevents the gun from feeding properly. Basically if I take the magazine out after every shot, pull the follower down, and let it shoot back up, that will usually get the follow to push the BB's up enough to feed the next BB in. But after you shoot that BB you have to repeat that process. So, I'll have to do some sanding to get the magazine to properly feed BB's. However, due to this, I was unable to get reliable accuracy testing done as I had to pull the magazine out after every shot and fiddle around with it. The gun does have G&G's 6.04mm tightbore barrel stock which should give it above average accuracy compared to stock Tanaka's. I did manage to get some chronograph results though.
That picture there probably just sold the gun to at least a few people. That was the highest reading I got out of the entire 15rd magazine using propane and ICS .20g BB's. Ambient temperature was approximately 80° F in direct sunlight with sufficient pauses between shots to prevent any cool down. The bad news however is the lowest reading was the 527fps which is a variance of 68fps. I wish I could attribute this to light strikes on the magazine, low gas in the magazine, or anything. Unfortunately, I know exactly the reason for this variance and as stated in the internals I was worried this would be the case. The stock nozzle is too short to properly seal with the chamber which results in these horribly inconsistent FPS numbers. I pulled out the stock G&G Power Bolt and put in the bolt from my Bell M700 which slid in perfectly. With the Bell bolt, the gun chronographed at 618fps-625fps which equals a 30fps peak increase and far more importantly a 61fps reduction in fps variance. In fact, with the Bell M700 bolt, the consistency was down right impressive.
Externally, the gun will take G&G's Heavy Barrels for Tanaka rifles which in my testing negated the minimal amount of flex present with the stock barrel. They do add a respectable amount of weight to the gun however. The gun should also drop into real steel M700 stocks, but I will attempt to confirm that as soon as possible. The gun has a scope mount installed but due to the design you must use individual rings. You cannot use QD mounts or mounts that use more than one slot on a rail such as Larue style QD mounts or G&P's Knights Sniper mount.
Internally, the gun has all of G&G's upgrade parts pre-installed so you are pretty much set other than getting a longer nozzle which I would say is all but a requirement. Unfortunately the nozzle included with VSR conversions for Tanaka's is too long and is not compatible with the G&G chamber. I plan on taking apart the chamber in the near future however to see if this can be remedied.
I really have mixed feelings about this gun and even after a couple days to think about it, I'm not sure how I feel about it. One one hand, the gun has several very positive improvements over the Tanaka design and basically has $200 of upgrade parts pre-installed in the gun which effectively makes this gun about $400 cheaper than a comparable Tanaka and a smoking deal. But, on the other hand the gun has several flaws. Some, like the bolt release sticking should resolve itself with a little use. Others like the proprietary magazine and the short nozzle will require time and/or money to resolve. Due to those issues, I have to stop short of flat out saying this is the way to go for people looking for a gas sniper rifle. If you are prepared to give the gun some TLC and do a bit of upgrading right of the box, then I would highly recommend starting with this gun. However if you are looking for a gun you can go out and skirmish with right out of the box, I'm going to have to recommend you stick with a Tanaka (or Bell if you are on a budget) until these issues are resolved.
Many thanks as always to Airsplat for their continued support in allowing ASR to keep fresh reviews coming. I will be revising this review down the road if the issues with the gun can be resolved by the manufacturer.
G&G G96 review by XavierMace
This airsoft gun is not to be misrepresented as a real firearm or gun that is manufactured by Accuracy International and is merely an airsoft gun that fires 6mm pellets. The manufacturer of this airsoft gun is Well.
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