Bravo Airsoft High Performance Internal Parts
Bravo Airsoft High Performance AEG Internal Parts review by Booligan
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High Speed Gears
Your choice in Â parts can make or break your custom gun buildup, and parts from relatively unknown companies can be an absolute gamble. Luckily, a new company is on the market, and has put together some fantastic internal parts! Iâ€™ll go over a few of the new offerings from Bravo Airsoft in this review!
Bravo Airsoft is a relatively new company, largely specializing in external parts and a single complete AEG model, a replica based on the KAC PDW. Theyâ€™ve recently started making internal components, and have a few parts coming out in the first quarter of 2010. I was sent a few of the new products directly from the company. Their website currently shows a laundry list of parts, including those reviewed here, as well as springs, wiring, AR latches, and pretty much every other part that you could need. Pricing is competitive with most mainstream aftermarket parts companies. Some retailers, such as ASGI, are currently carrying these parts in their inventory, ready to go in your gun!
The parts that I was sent were Bravoâ€™s 8mm V2 gearbox shell, high speed gears, reinforced polycarbonate piston, and a special shock absorbing aluminum cylinder head. These parts, in my use, will be used for a high ROF setup, but all of the parts, aside from the gears, will fair quite well in high FPS setups as well. Iâ€™ll go over each partâ€™s details in their own sections later on in the review.
The internal parts were all individually packaged in their own retail packs, ready for display on store shelves. The gears, piston, and cylinder head were all packaged in plastic with cardboard backing, like most aftermarket parts. The gearbox shell was packaged in bubble wrap in in a sturdy cardboard box. The packaging is pretty basic, but it kept the parts safe in my normal hellacious shipping route, so they did their job.
Everything all packaged up
Gearbox shell packaging
The gearbox shell is a version 2 design, and is thankfully devoid of the useless reinforcement in the lower rear. It is an eye catching piece, being Chromium 3 plated to a silver finish. Now, this coating wasnâ€™t just chosen for the bling factor, but for its low friction characteristics, and sturdy finish. The gearbox comes equipped with Japanese manufactured 8mm ball bearings preinstalled, along with a sturdy polycarbonate selector plate, and high strength hex screws. Each gearbox has a unique serial number stamped on the left side. The shell is also labeled as being made in Taiwan, and a V3 will be available soon as well.
Shell, right side
Shell, left side
The outer finish was pretty flawless, with an even metallic silver finish. Inside the gearbox, I was pleased to see that there were no major casting flaws or leftover material that would need to be removed before use. The bearings spin freely, but are secured extremely well inside their respective holes. The chrome plating makes the piston rails extremely smooth and slick, helping the piston travel easily during use.
Cylinder head post
I canâ€™t report on the long term longetivity, but I've got about 2,500 rounds through it, firing at 335 FPS/28 RPS using aluminum piston and cylinder heads with ambient temperatures at 25-35 degree Fahrenheit, and have yet to see any ill effects.
The cylinder head is one of the most unique pieces from what I can see. It is made of a single piece of aluminum, and features a rubber bumper at the front to minimize energy transfer into the gearbox shell. It has an aggressively tapered inner surface, including the internal rubber dampener. The rubber used in the dampeners is a good compromise between hard and soft, with enough give to soften things out, but enough firmness to avoid damage from being flimsy. It also features a double o-ring seal, which, when used with the proper cylinder/piston head setup leads to very good compression. Lastly, the cylinder head has a great metallic orange anodized finish.
For my buildup, I installed the cylinder head inside an SRC Gen 3 type zero cylinder. I chose this for two reasons:
1. I knew that it would help give me perfect compression using the SRC piston head.
2. It's anodized blue, and BSU had just won the Fiesta Bowl, so I needed to go with the orange and blue theme...
Run and hide horned frogs...
High Speed Gears:
If you have weak gears, nothing will work in your gearbox. Luckily, these gears are strong and have a well executed multi-piece construction. The Bravo website lists them as being "Special steel powder tempered". They feature the Bravo Airsoft logo molded into the sector and bevel gear, so they won't Â be mistaken for another brand in your box o' parts.
Now, my gears are their high speed units, but they also have high torque as well as standard ratio selections coming out soon. For my buildup, I installed them in the gearbox and shimmed them to perfection, but I didn't install any of the compression components. I then ran them using a standard motor and a specially constructed 3.6v battery for 40 minutes, in 10 minute increments. This breaks in the gears by compressing the metal in the teeth, as well as taking out any tiny imperfections that may not even be visible. I recommend a similar break in procedure for ANY gears, aftermarket or not.
The piston is made of polycarbonate, and features 10 heat treated steel teeth, along with a pre-removed 2nd tooth. The first 4 teeth are made of polycarbonate, which is fully caged in on the sides. If you look at a cross section of the piston, it'll look like a raindrop with the tip cut off, as opposed to the standard uncaged toothed design, which looks more like a circle with the gear section just slapped on. This is a stronger design, plain and simple, as it puts more material in the vulnerable parts of the piston, like the first tooth. The piston rail grooves are in three segments on each side, to allow lube to get inside, as well as to provide less surface area with the gearbox shell for less friction. The piston is quite light weight, but it seems exceptionally strong.
First polycarb teeth
For my buildup, I wanted to test the strength of the gearbox, so I installed an SRC aluminum piston head. This is a very strong head with perfect airseal using the included o-ring, but at the sacrifice of weight. It's heavy, and therefore transfers a lot of energy with every cycle.
What good are a lot of high performance parts if you don't actually use them in a high performance gun? For these parts, I decided to refresh my DBoys based M4 "PDW" buildup, which had previously only seen bone stock internals and a high speed motor/11.1v LiPo battery combo. This had given me 30 RPS/300 FPS using those parts.
Using these parts, I saw an increase in FPS, up to 335, due to the MUCH improved compression. I saw a slight dip in ROF, which I was expecting, due to the higher reciprocating weight of the piston assembly. Currently the ROF only hits 28 RPS, which I can certainly live with. I ran into one slight snag during assembly, and that was that the DBoys trigger axle was slightly too big for the hole in the gearbox, most likely due to the chrome plating. 30 seconds with a dremel tool fixed it, and led to a trigger that doesn't fall out during assembly, which is great!
One thing that can't really be quantified is how much better the gun sounds while firing now. Before, it sounded like it was running on the razor's edge of destruction (and it likely was), but now, it sounds like a well oiled machine. I've put a few thousand rounds through the setup now, in freezing temps, and haven't seen any ill effects as of yet. I opened up the gearbox and looked for signs of wear, and was happy to see that there was none. I think that this setup should last me quite some time, even running just shy of 30 RPS.
Here is a quick video demonstration:
Great build quality
Unique design on some parts
Deliver solid performance
They certainly are pretty...
Gearbox shell required a tiny bit of dremeling to fit my trigger (may not be an issue with all triggers)
No external reinforcement on gearbox shell (but it's taken my abuse thus far)
I didn't really know what to expect with these internals, but I'm officially sold on them. They each do their job perfectly, and work great in concert with each other. Overall, I give these guts a thumbs up!
Many thanks again to Bravo Airsoft and of course, AirsoftRetreat!