UTG Special Ops M14 Sniper Rifle - Part 1
by B.B. Pelletier
Pyramyd Air made some software changes yesterday that slowed the publishing of the blog. Comment moderation was turned on for protection, but it was turned off, again. We should be back to normal now.
Two years ago, G&G (Guay Guay) introduced an M14 AEG with a lot of fanfare. The gun is realistic and appeared rugged, though initial shipments proved otherwise. The problem was quickly resolved and the world of airsoft had a major new combat gun. Interestingly enough, the U.S. Army appears to be in agreement with the Marine Corps that in certain combat situations, the larger more powerful 7.62x51mm round used in the M14 is preferable to the 5.56mm used in both the M16A2 and M4 carbines. There are certain scenarios where the larger round is needed to get the job done, so the Army is fielding M14s to the Middle East in increasing quantities. The Marine Corps never quite got rid of the rifle during Vietnam, when the M16 was supposed to have replaced it.
So there is a resurgence in popularity in the M14 rifle, and the airsoft community is sharing the interest. When G&G brought out their gun, there was nothing like it in the same price range. At $400, it seemed like a bargain compared to the $3,000 that was asked for a BAR many years ago. True, that gun was built on an actual rifle, while the new M14 airsoft gun was a ground-up new build, but people make comparisons like that all the time. Well - here comes another comparison!
UTG M14 is patterned after the M21 sniper rifle. Scope is optional, but necessary.
Now there's an M14 AEG for $150! The UTG Special Ops M14 Sniper is a copy of the Army's M21 sniper rifle, standardized in 1969. The gun comes with an 8.4-volt 1500 MAh battery and charger, two 350-round magazines, a cleaning rod for unjamming the barrel, a lightweight carry strap and a Picatinny rail for mounting a scope.
The gun also comes with adjustable sights, but I found them to go soft and mushy at either end of the range in both directions. I think they're more for show than for use. Besides, this is a sniper rifle, and that means a scope. The scope of choice is Leapers 4x40 long eye relief scope, specifically made for sniper rifle duty. It has a mil-dot reticle and red/green illumination for low light use. I have a feeling I'm going to be recommending this scope for a lot of airguns in the future, so be sure to check out the specs. I'll do a separate report on it soon. (Airguns usually have 11mm or 3/8" dovetails, so you'd have to buy airgun rings, as the scope comes with Weavers.)
The M14 has a plastic stock that looks remarkably like wood. Until you hold it, you may be fooled like I was. The upper handguard, also plastic, looks like the fiberglass handguard on an M14. The buttplate flips up to serve as a shoulder rest, and the battery box is behind the trapdoor battery compartment lid in the butt.
With the scope mounted, the rifle weighs 9.5 lbs., certainly in the range of the firearm. The weight seems well distributed when the battery is installed and a loaded magazine is locked up. That may sound trite, but some AEGs get very butt-heavy when the battery is installed. This one doesn't.
A word about installing the battery. There isn't a lot of room inside the butt, so you need to ensure that the wiring harness is tucked out of the way before the battery slides home. Otherwise, it will be very difficult to remove later. I didn't know this, of course, so I put the battery in first, and now the wiring harness barely fits inside the butt. I broke off the plastic battery compartment lid putting in the battery, so there's a word of caution to the rest of you. With the buttplate down, the battery compartment lid doesn't show and cannot open, so all is well, but you should be more careful than I was.
The owner's manual doesn't mention how to charge the battery; but having tested a number of AEGs, I know the first charge has to be a long one. The charger is a trickle-type that charges slowly, so I gave it an 18-hour charge the first time. There are no LEDs on the charger to give the status of the battery, but I will use a universal charger from now on and it has status lights.
Next, I will sight-in the gun and report on downrange performance.