ICS L86A2 review by Booligan
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Continuing in their tradition of making high quality, unique AEGs, ICS has released their replica of the L86A2, the support version of the L85 bullpup assault rifle. This support weapon gives you a lot of unique features, including a gearbox with adjustable FPS, and an extremely long barrel in a relatively compact package. The gun even used standard M4/16 magazines, giving you a ton of options for spares, and the easy ability to share mags with your AR wielding teammates. I will discuss, in detail, my observations on this gun in this review!
I was sent this gun by Evike, with the assistance of ICS in order to review it here on Airsoft Retreat. It is currently available HERE, currently priced at $420.00. It qualifies for Evike's free shipping promotion, and even includes two magazines to get you started.
The packaging for the L86 is quite nice, in keeping with ICS's normal procedures. Everything is packaged inside a sturdy cardboard box, with a plastic liner to keep the individual parts organized. The inner liner on mine was a little beat up, but the gun itself suffered no damage, so it did its job well. My first impression upon looking at the gun was surprise with how long the barrel really is, and how the matte black finish made it look quite realistic.
As mentioned previously, ICS has included a second hi-cap magazine with the gun, as well as a manual, cleaning rod, bottle of BBs, and a DVD with information about ICS's product line. Add a battery, and you are ready to roll. I would recommend a mini 9.6v butterfly pack, or a small brick LiPo, as the battery compartment certainly isn't the biggest I've ever seen.
Weight: 11.1 lbs
Width: 3" (at handguard)
Sight Radius: 12.75"
Like most ICS guns, this AEG us full metal, with the only polymer parts being the handguard, pistol grip, rear grip, cheek rest, and butt pad, all of which are finished in OD green. The gun is laid out in a bullpup design, with the magazine being located behind the pistol grip, making it very compact and ergonomic. Overall, the gun is optimized for prone firing, however, it is still plenty comfortable to fire in other positions.
Click on thumbnails to enlarge photos
External overview, right side
As this is a bullpup gun, it doesn't really have a stock, with the plastic butt pad being attached directly to the receiver. The pad comes complete with a folding metal loop to help support the gun when carrying the gun, or while lying prone. Just forward of the butt pad is the rear grip, which is designed for you to grip with your non-dominant hand while laying prone.
The receiver is arguably the largest part of this gun, as it stretches all the way from the butt pad to the handguard. It houses the fire controls for the gun, which consist of the trigger, safety button, selector switch, as well as the magazine release and bolt catch. The receiver is made out of stamped steel, which is both sturdy and relatively lightweight.
On the right side of the receiver, you will find a cocking handle, which when pulled back, exposes the hop-up adjuster. The bolt can be locked back using the bolt catch lever, however, it doesn't smoothly release it when pushed, instead functioning better when you pull back the bolt to release it. The pistol grip, which is located at the bottom of the receiver, is comfortable and slim, since there's no motor installed inside. The bottom of the grip can be popped off to expose a small storage compartment.
Bolt pulled back and locked
The trigger pull is interesting, as it is quite light, but somewhat notchy, due to the special trigger mechanism required with this gun design. The selector switch, which is located on the left side of the receiver, has two options, semi and full auto. A separate safety button is located at the very front of the receiver, and is quite stiff. The magazine catch is also on the left side, and has a metal ridge welded on to prevent you from accidentally hitting it.
Moving forward still, you will find the handguard, which doubles as the battery compartment. It is shorter than the standard L85 handguard, but a bit fatter, and with a flared out front end to keep your hand from sliding forward onto the barrel support. The handguard opens by popping the top cover open, and undoing the bottom latch, allowing you to swing the side open. The battery compartment isn't terribly huge, however, it's big enough for a 9.6v mini, or some 11.1v LiPo packs.
The outer barrel is much longer than the standard L85, and when coupled with the stamped steel support located underneath it, is damn sturdy, with no wobble whatsoever. The support doubles as the mounting point for the bipod, which attaches at the very front. At the very front of the barrel, you will find a very beefy flashhider, which has the very tip painted orange.
The aforementioned bipod is made largely out of steel, and has a lot of freeplay when deployed, giving you loads of flexibility in your aiming. When not deployed, the bipod locks onto the steel support using a spring loaded sliding lever. If you desire, the bipod can be removed by taking out a small pin at the front of the mounting point, and sliding it off.
Bipod locked up
Adjustable iron sights, front and rear, help you aim this replica, with the rear being attached to the metal carry handle. The rear is adjustable for windage, and the front is adjustable for elevation. Both the front and rear sights can be removed , and a SUSAT scope can be mounted on the rear rail.
Overall, the externals of this gun are really top notch, with a great finish, comfortable feel, and sturdy build. You really do get your money's worth with this gun, at least on the external side of things.
ICS has placed a few trademarks on the gun, including one on the receiver, and one on the handguard. The receiver trademark is molded in, and the handguard is raised on the surface of the grip.
The included magazines are M4 style, metal hi-caps, holding about 450 rounds each. It is compatible with most aftermarket magazines, with the notable exception of some polymer mags, such as P-Mags and Thermold mags, due to the slightly longer magwell. The included magazines function quite well, and tend to feed most of the BBs inside on a single wind.
Baseline performance after a 500 round break in period is as follows:
FPS (Recorded using Airsplat .20g BBs shot through a Madbull V1 chrono):
Low spring setting:
High: 381.2 FPS
Low: 374.9 FPS
Average over 10 shots: 376.8 FPS
Middle spring setting:
High: 404.6 FPS
Low: 399.2 FPS
Average over 10 shots: 400.7 FPS
High spring setting:
High: 421.3 FPS
Low: 418.2 FPS
Average over 10 shots: 420.2 FPS
Range and accuracy were impressive, due to the long inner barrel and stable hop-up design. From a prone position, with the bipod deployed, I was easily able to hit a torso sized target at 175', using .28g TSD ammo. The cone of fire when on full auto is reasonable, giving you a good probability of a hit using burst fire techniques.
Rate of fire will obviously depend on your choice of battery, but with an 11.1v 1800 mAh 15C LiPo, it gets a reasonable 19 RPS. Certainly not the fastest gun out there, but all things considering, it shoots quite well.
This gun uses a custom designed gearbox, with a few really neat features. The main feature that jumps out on this gun is the removable spring guide, with multiple locking holes molded in to allow for FPS adjustments. Getting to the gearbox is a piece of cake, requiring only the removal of two body pins, and the separation of the upper and lower receivers. ICS utilized a wireless connection between the upper and lower receivers, to allow for easy breakdown and reassembly.
Metal bushings, appear to be 7mm
Beefy front end
Variable FPS ball bearing spring guide
Spring guide installed
The motor is a short type Turbo 3000, giving the gun a good blend of speed and torque, but with a fair bit of noise, especially since the gearbox is right next to your ear when firing.
Motor removed from the gearbox
As mentioned before, the gun uses a special wireless electrical system to bridge the upper and lower receivers. This makes it very simple to disassemble the gun, as you don't have to reroute any wires or anything of that sort.
Lower electrical connector
Last but not least, the L86 has a plastic hop-up with a beefy adjustment knob, complete with the ability to adjust it with or without a phillips head screwdriver. The inner barrel is damn long, about 590 mm in length.
There's really not too much that you can do with this gun, aside from adding an optic, or performing internal upgrades. You have a few options as far as that goes, as it uses standard internal components, however, with the no-tool adjustable FPS spring guide, you can adapt it to a variety of field conditions and rules with ease.
Rock solid externals
Great gearbox with adjustable FPS
Includes bipod, ready for support gunning
Includes 2 mags
Perfectly balanced weight ratio
Expensive - $420 or so
Bullpup design is comfortable, but the magazine can dig a little into your wrist
Limited battery options
I love unusual guns, as I like being unique on the field, and the L86 is certainly something that you won't run into too often. It gives you a gun with a quick change gearbox, great range and accuracy, and a super long barrel, all in a package that is shorter than an M16. It is a little pricey, however, it is a very high quality AEG that will serve you well.
Many thanks again to Evike, ICS, and of course, Airsoft Retreat!