Echo 1 Robinson Armament XCR review by Booligan
Discuss this review HERE
Table of Contents:
Basic Gun Information
Echo 1, being part of the Jag Precision family, which holds the exclusive trademark rights to Robinson Armament firearms, has produced a replica of RA's flagship model, the XCR. This full metal AEG is a very unique design, taking the best parts of several guns, all rolled into a compact, ergonomic, and damn sexy package. It brings a few new designs to the table, all of which I will discuss in this review!
I was fortunate enough to receive one of the first guns in private hands, in order to have an exclusive first look and review here on Airsoft Retreat! It is on pre-order at retailers such as ASGI, priced at $395, with an estimated arrival date of 3/01/11. My information indicates that this gun was designed by Echo 1/Jag Precision, and manufactured by the same factory that builds VFC AEGs, putting this at the top as far as quality goes, and jusified in its retail price. As with all Echo 1 AEGs, it has a warranty against defects, which Echo 1 is great about honoring if you happen to need it.
Basic Gun Information:
The Echo 1 XCR is a new AEG design, using a special split gearbox, and coming stock with a quick change outer barrel system, folding stock, full metal body, functional bolt catch, and a laundry list of other features that I will cover in the following sections. The real firearm is available in a slew of calibers and sizes, with multiple accessories available directly from the manufacturer. Interestingly, Robinson Arms is located only a few miles away from my home, here in Salt Lake City, and hopefully, I'll be able to get some comparison pictures between the real gun and the AEG shortly!
The XCR is packaged in a compact cardboard box, which is lined in soft foam to keep everything safe in transit. A simple sticker on the front indicates that an XCR is held within, and that the gun is properly licensed.
From here on, click all pics to enlarge
Echo 1 put together a fairly basic package with the XCR, only including a single mid-cap magazine, an empty PEQ-15 battery box (no battery included), and a manual. My understanding is that the first few shipments of the gun will include a vertical grip, which has a removable rubber plug that holds a CR123 battery.
Opened by unscrewing this screw, and unscrewing the large knurled knob
King Arms labeling
Able to fit a mini 10.8v battery
Weight: 5.2 lbs
As mentioned previously, the XCR is a full metal AEG, with only the pistol grip, butt pad, and cheek pad being made of something different. It utilizes a unique monolithic upper receiver, and a quick detachable lower receiver, allowing the gun to be disassembled into the major components without tools.
External overview, left side
In following my normal review format, I will start with the stock, which on the XCR is a full metal side folding model. It has an incredibly robust hinge and locking mechanism, both of which are constructed entirely out of metal. At the front of the stock, on the top, you will find a button, which is used to unlock the stock and allow for folding. It does not lock in the folded position, but is stiff enough to keep it from flopping about. The top of the stock is covered in foam, making it comfortable to shoulder. A textured rubber butt pad is installed at the rear, keeping the stock from sliding off your shoulder when firing. At the top of the stock, towards the rear, you will find a sling loop, for mounting multi-point slings.
Solid hinge design
Lock release button
Rubber butt pad
The stock is attached to the lower receiver, which is similar to the design of an M4/16 for ease of use, but with a few cosmetic and functional differences. The selector switch is located on the left side, but is a "45 degree" design, with each selection 45 degrees from the other, with a total range of movement of 90 degrees.
The pistol grip is notably narrower than a normal AR pistol grip, making it extremely comfortable to hold. The pistol grip cannot be easily replaced with an aftermarket unit due to the different gearbox design. It features a very large motor height adjustment screw for easy tweaking.
Large adjustment screw
The rest of the controls are located on the receiver, including a magazine release, which is located on the right side of the gun, and an ambidextrous functional bolt catch, which is located in front of the trigger guard, behind the magwell. On the left side of the receiver, you will find a very large charging handle, similar to a FAL, which pulls back the faux bolt, exposing the hop-up adjustment dial. When you pull back the charging handle, the bolt will lock back, and can then be released by pushing down on the bolt catch.
Charging handle pulled back
Bolt locked back
Moving forwards on the receiver, you will encounter the integrated monolithic RIS, with rails at the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock positions. At the bottom of the RIS, you will find a protruding screw, which is used to remove the quick change barrel assembly. Since the rails are integrated with the upper receiver, there is no wobble, and the top rail is one continuous piece.
Barrel quick change screw
The outer barrel system is incredibly solid and robust, and has an integrated faux gas tube. As mentioned before, you just have to unscrew the screw at the bottom of the RIS, and slide the outer barrel off the front of the gun. It is terminated in a 14mm- threaded muzzle, which has an orange, plastic flashhider installed from the factory. I've removed it for most of the pictures, and replaced it with a metal birdcage style flashhider.
Outer barrel removed
There are no iron sights included with the gun, much like the real gun, which ships without sights as standard. The top rail is a bit higher than an M4 rail, allowing you to use low profile optics without the use of a riser. Of course, you can install iron sights if you so desire.
Overall, the externals of this gun are incredible, absolutely surpassing most airsoft manufacturers, and putting it on par with the highest tier companies. The texture is incredibly realistic, with a slightly satin black finish that looks and feels amazing. There are zero creaks, wobbles, or other detrimental qualities.
Being that this is a properly licensed model, Echo 1 spared no expense with having deeply engraved trademarks placed on the gun, without any "nanny warnings" slathered on like some companies require. It also has a unique serial number laser engraved on the left side, as well as Echo 1 trademarks on the bottom of the trigger guard.
Present on the real gun as well
Right side of the magwell
Discrete Echo 1 trademark
Unlike most other guns, the Echo 1 XCR includes a metal mid-cap, which holds about 130 rounds in my use. I was able to try it with most other major brands of magazines, and haven't found one that didn't work in it yet.
Chrono results using Airsoft GI .20g BBs, shot through a Madbull V1 chrono, after a 500 round break in period:
High FPS: 367.5 FPS
Low FPS: 361.8 FPS
Average FPS: 364.5 FPS
ROF will vary depending on your battery used, but with an ACM 10.8v mini pack, I was able to get 21 RPS on a full charge. Battery usage will very depending on how you want to run it. With the battery box, you can use a small LiPo, or a custom NiMH pack like I have done, alternatively, you can run a stick lipo of limited length inside the upper receiver, over the gearbox. From the factory, the gun is wired to the front, with the wire sticking out one of the upper vent holes on the left side, however, a mini Tamiya connecter is located underneath the receiver as well.
The hop-up is very stable in this gun, due to the way it is attached to the outer barrel. There is hardly any rotational free play at all, and the rotary dial stays in its selected position well. This lets the gun have decent accuracy and range, considering its short barrel length and mid-level FPS. I was able to hit my standard torso sized target at 150' using .25-.28g ammo with no problems at all.
As mentioned previously, the XCR uses a brand new split gearbox design, which can be accessed without any tools. The upper receiver can be removed from the lower without any tools as well, aside from a small prying tool to undo the front clip.
To get to the gearbox, you must first remove the upper receiver from the lower. This is easily accomplished by pushing out the front pin, and sliding the upper receiver off of the lower. You can now see the upper gearbox in its entirety.
Upper receiver slid off
Rear pins keep the upper receiver stable in the lower
To remove the upper gearbox, you must flip up the plastic retaining clip, which is at the rear of the inner feeding tube. It can be pried up using a screwdriver, unlocking the upper gearbox.
Gearbox clip can be seen, right behind the feed tube, marked "XCR"
Once it is unlocked, you can push the upper gearbox slightly forward to clear the locking lugs, then pull it up off of the lower gearbox. No fuss, just easy disassembly.
Shot inside the gearbox
Yeah, that's about to be voided
Removable strengthening spine
Undo the screws, and pry off the spine, and you can open up the upper gearbox, exposing the polycarbonate piston with aluminum ported head, ported cylinder, polymer cylinder head, long air nozzle with internal o-ring, and ball bearing spring guide. Top notch compression components all around.
Piston teeth, note the removed tooth for reliability
Cylinder head and nozzle
Long air nozzle
Ball bearing spring guide
The lower gearbox is a bit trickier to get to, but still not impossible. You must first remove the pistol grip, which includes undoing the two screws, removing the motor plate, removing the medium length motor, and unscrewing the two phillips head screws inside. The grip can be removed at this point, which is the first step to removing the lower gearbox.
Pistol grip removed, showing the screw placement.
Motor – medium length, standard speed
You then will need to remove the two screws on each side of the receiver, and the two inside the receiver at the rear of the gearbox. You then need to unscrew the selector switch, and remove it from the gun, freeing the lower gearbox.
The lower gearbox features standard torque/speed gears, 8mm solid metal bushings, a TINY metal selector plate, and a self shimming system. The trigger system is different, with the safety acting as an electrical cut-off instead of a mechanical one, but it gets the job done.
Gears, well lubricated
Itty bitty selector plate
Trigger switch system
The hop-up is made of plastic, and is attached to the 250mm inner barrel very securely. The rotary dial is very consistent, and holds its selected position well.
In my opinion, the gun is nearly perfect as is, however, with a plethora of available rail space, you can accessorize it as you see fit. I foresee additional barrel systems being available soon, as well as an adapter to mount M4 style stocks. I've added an optic, and it's pretty much perfect for me!
First Robinson Armamant XCR produced for airsoft
Fully licensed trademarks – deeply engraved
Quick change barrel system
Great performance out of the box
Split gearbox makes maintenance a breeze
Outstanding externals and overall finish
Limited battery options
No included battery
No included iron sights
I've been anticipating the release of the Echo 1 XCR for quite some time, and I'm thrilled that it is finally here! I'm especially pleased that it lived up to my high expectations, and that Echo 1 has produced an extremely high quality product, well worth its price tag. They've done it properly, with permission and design assistance from the real steel manufacturer, and the end result shows that. The XCR's quality is unprecedented in Echo 1's line-up, and I hope it's a sign of great things to come!
Many thanks again to Echo 1, and of course, Airsoft Retreat!