by Tom Gaylord
Exclusively for PyramydAir.com. Copyright (c)2007. All Rights Reserved.
At the end of this article, there's a short video that shows the fast-action fun you'll have with the Drozd bulk-fill gun. You'll see how the switches determine the rate of fire and the number of rounds per burst. Mac users and most Windows users will find that the video works just by clicking on the play button. Some Windows users may not be able to see the video until they get a QuickTime plug-in. Remember to turn on your computer's sound!
I have something doubly exciting to show you here. The Drozd BB submachine gun is a blast all by itself, and I'll show you in detail how it works. But Pyramyd Air has made it even better by adding a bulk CO2 tank that reduces what you pay to shoot the gun and gives you thousands of shots per fill.
One of the first things a new buyer discovers is that the Drozd isn't a true full-auto gun, at least not what most people imagine. You can't just mash down the trigger and shoot until the ammo is gone. This gun operates in the burst-fire mode, only. Why is that?
Well, the CO2 gas that powers the Drozd is a refrigerant. When it expands, it draws heat away from whatever it contacts. In the case of the Drozd, it cools the action of the gun - rapidly! If the gun were allowed to keep on shooting, it would freeze solid after not too many seconds. So, the designers put a limitation on the gun to allow it to fire in short bursts. There are two burst modes - three and six shots. In either of those modes, all the shots are fully automatic - the trigger just has to be held down to complete the burst. To fire another burst, let the trigger return to the forward position before pulling it again. When you pull the trigger again, you'll get another burst.
Power and selector switches
The firing mechanism of the Drozd is electric and runs on six AA batteries. Instead of a safety switch, there's a power switch. Turn the power ON to fire; OFF and the gun is safe - it cannot fire. A red light on the left side of the gun next to the power switch tells the shooter if the gun is on. A word of caution...this light is very small and not very bright. I find it difficult to see unless I look down from the top of the gun.
The power switch on the right turns the gun on and off and acts as the safety. The red light is on, so this gun is hot. The selector switch on the left determines how many shots will be fired by one pull of the trigger.
The selector switch is next to the power switch on the left side of the gun. There are three settings - 1, 3 and 6. They refer to the number of rounds you'll fire each time the trigger is pulled. The No. 1 means the gun fires only once with each pull of the trigger - essentially, mimicking a semiautomatic gun. The No. 3 means three shots will fire every time the trigger is pulled, and the meaning of No. 6 should be obvious.
The burst mode is actually not that foreign to tactical submachine guns. There are some models that are rigged to fire only semiautomatic or in three-round bursts. A shooter doesn't have the option of blasting through the entire magazine. It's done for ammo conservation, but perhaps not the way it sounds. The designers don't really care how much ammo you shoot. In a real firefight, it's so easy to blow an entire magazine and have nothing left for the future. In tactical situations where submachine guns are used, that's a very bad thing, so the designers put the burst limitation in. The Drozd is entirely correct in having this feature.
Rate of fire
There's one more switch on the gun, and it's on the right side. The rate of fire switch determines how rapidly the shots are fired. Not how fast the BBs go - that's fixed. Rather how fast one shot comes after another. This feature is only rarely found on machine guns. There are three rates...300, 450 and 600. They refer to the number of rounds that would be fired if the gun was fully automatic. Obviously, the rates apply only to the two burst modes. The rate at which the single-shot mode works is determined by your trigger finger, alone. The video will show all of this clearly.
The Drozd is labeled as a 4.5mm gun, and it has a rifled barrel, so you would logically think that it's designed to shoot round lead balls and not steel BBs. Steel BBs are 4.3mm and are injurious to most rifled barrels. However, the importer, EAA, says the gun was made to shoot steel BBs only, and they even pack a small amount of them with the new gun.
I've tried the gun with steel BBs, 4.4mm lead balls and 4.5mm lead balls. It's most accurate when shooting 4.5mm lead balls, such as Beeman Perfect Rounds or Gamo Round balls. The performance isn't very good with 4.4mm round balls, and I shoot BBs least often of all - they go all over the place! However, others who shoot their Drozds more than I do say the 4.5mm round lead balls will jam the mechanism. I have shot them a lot and never seen a jam, but one thing I don't do is blast away all the time. I tend to go for accuracy more than rate of fire, and I think that makes a difference. However, my advice is to follow EAA's recommendation and just shoot steel BBs.
Steel BBs deliver an average velocity of 535 f.p.s. lead balls are heavier, so, of course they're slower...but not that much - 4.4mm go an average of 460 f.p.s. and 4.5mm go 475 on average. The 4.5mm lead balls weigh 8 grains, which translates to about 4 foot-pounds of energy, while the lighter 5.3-grain steel BBs only get 3.37 foot-pounds. Because of the good bore fit, the 4.5mm lead balls are the most efficient ammo in the gun.
The Drozd has nice fully adjustable sights, and you're as likely to use them as you are to win the lottery! This just isn't the kind of gun you sight. You tuck it into your side and pull the trigger. When the BBs start to fly, you walk them onto the target like a World War II fighter pilot strafing the beach! If you don't know what I'm talking about, just watch the video.
Loading the magazine and CO2
The magazine holds 30 BBs and inserts into the bottom of the pistol grip. It also holds the single 12-gram cartridge the gun uses for power. Remember, CO2 is used only to propel the BB; all the cycling of the action is done electrically. How many shots you get from a cartridge depends on how fast you fire the gun, which is both the size of your bursts and the rate of fire combined. The faster you shoot, the faster you'll go through a cartridge, because the gas cools the action, making it less efficient. Don't expect to get much more than two magazines from one cartridge, because this gun is powerful and uses gas like a Hummer. However, that doesn't have to affect YOU!
The bulk-fill conversion
Pyramyd Air offers an exclusive conversion to bulk CO2 tanks. I have a 20-oz. tank installed here, which is enough gas for over 2,000 shots! You aren't likely to run out of gas in an afternoon with this thing mounted on your gun. A smaller 12-ounce tank is also available. Pyramyd Air can even send 12-oz. and 20-oz. tanks pre-filled. Start shooting the minute the tank arrives! When you run out of CO2, go to any paintball store for a refill (there's one in almost every community). Using bulk gas this way drastically reduces the cost for gas, because those individual cartridges cost about 50 cents unless you buy them in huge boxes. However, don't expect your gas budget to drop!
The CO2 tank screws off and continues to hold the gas. Only one shot's worth of CO2 is lost when the tank is removed, and there are thousands in each tank. The gun can also be converted back to fire with a 12-gram cartridge.
During this test, I found that the convenience of having more gas than I can use causes me to shoot more than I normally would. So, if you buy the modified gun, just plan on buying more BBs, not on saving money on CO2. It just seems to work out that way.
The adapter for the bulk tank is connected to the gun via a hose that enters the pistol grip on the left side. Because Pyramyd Air had to cut a small window in the grip, the warranty is void with this modification - something you need to know before buying. The photos on the Pyramyd website make it look like the grip panel is permanently rotated forward but that's not the case. As you can see, my gun has a normal grip except for the hose running into it.
Can YOUR gun be converted?
It sure can! You don't have to buy a whole new gun, because Pyramyd Air sells the conversion adapter. You can even remove the adapter and go back to using cartridges by simply installing a replacement magazine. So, this adapter is handier than it might appear.
I hope this report has answered some questions for you. Now, look at the video and see how the gun actually performs.
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