Javelin Battle Veteran AKS74U review by Booligan
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Basic Gun Information
Javelin Airsoft was one of my favorite airsoft companies last year, due to their unique product line and the fact that they were consistently coming out with new stuff. This year, they're keeping up with that progress and have released a new product line, the Battle Veteran series. These AEGs have Javelin's standard features (metal bodies, blowback gearboxes, etc), but come with some new features like a MOSFET and a weathered look from the factory. This unique design makes your gun look like it was pulled straight out of a battlefield, and today I'll be reviewing the AKS-74U, their most compact model currently available.
I was sent the Battle Veteran AKS74U directly by Javelin Airsoft, through their US distributor, Spartan Imports. It is currently available at various retailers including Airsoft GI, priced at $209.99 at the time of this review. This price puts it on par with Javelin's other full metal AEGs. It includes Javelin's 60 day warranty against manufacturer defects, giving you a good safety net against problems with the gun.
Basic Gun Information:
As mentioned before, the Javelin AKS74U Battle Veteran is a full metal AEG, complete with a stamped steel body, side folding stock, real wood handguard, electric blowback system, and integrated MOSFET system. It's an impressive collection of parts, that's for sure, but it's how it's put together that really surprised me. The thing is incredibly solid, with no wobbles whatsoever in the stock, handguard, or outer barrel, making it feel great in your hands.
The gun comes packaged up in a typical Javelin orange box with their unique cardboard segment retention system. The thing is held rock solidly in the box, helping it avoid damage during shipping. My first impression of the gun was how nice the weathering job looked, without being overly done and looking tacky. It is heavily weathered, but in the right places so that it looks fairly authentic.
Along with the gun itself, the package includes a single magazine, small pack of BBs, and a cleaning/unjamming rod. Some packages include a metal 74U type flashhider, and I believe some packages will be including a battery and charger.
Weight: 5.8 lbs
Length: 19.5" - 29"
Sight Radius: 9.25"
Javelin put together a really rock solid gun, comprised mainly of a full steel body with side folding steel stock, real wood handguard, and a polymer pistol grip. It's a full metal replica, as everything that is metal on the real gun is metal on this replica. The big selling point of this gun is the weathered finish, making it look like a war torn item. The finish is applied by sanding down the black finish to the bare metal on the areas that would be receiving the most damage and friction during normal use.
From this point on, click on the thumbnails to view full size photos
External overview, right side
In keeping with my standard format, I'll start with the stock. The stock is a standard 74U left side folding unit, that is made entirely out of steel. It features a sling mount on the right side of the stock, that is actually held quite tightly to the stock body itself, preventing it from rattling around like most stocks of this type do. When extended, the stock is rock solid, as it has a small rubber nub in the stock base to keep it from wobbling. When folded, there is some free play, but it locks onto the spring loaded latch preventing it from unfolding.
Stock folding button
The receiver is made of steel and has the majority of the weathered finish applied to it. The receiver has the mount for the side folding stock installed, and serves as the main backbone for the gun, providing a strong mounting point for all of the various other facets of the gun. It is a two piece receiver, with the main lower portion housing everything inside the gun, and the upper dust cover housing the battery compartment and cocking handle.
Receiver, right side
Receiver, left side
The pistol grip is polymer and has a brown finish, which I'm assuming is supposed to represent bakelite. It has a diamond texture on both sides to give you good grip while using the gun. In front of the grip, you'll find the trigger assembly, which uses the integrated MOSFET to give you a crisp trigger response.
Moving forward from the receiver, you'll find the wood handguard, which oddly isn't as weathered as the rest of the gun. It is very secure and has no wobble at all, unlike some other AKs I've used. I'll be beating up the grip a little bit more to make it match the rest of the weathering on the gun.
The outer barrel is made of metal and has a 14mm- threaded muzzle. Unlike some other AKs, the threading is actually on the barrel, instead of the front sight base, making it much more secure. The included plastic orange tip is a 74 type unit, instead of a 74U type that should be on the gun. I've installed a proper metal 74U flashhider to better match the look of the gun.
Orange plastic tip
Metal 74U flashhider
Aiming this gun is accomplished using the adjustable metal iron sights. The rear sight is integrated into the dust cover hinge, and has two settings. The front sight is adjustable for elevation and windage using the proper tools.
Javelin has laser engraved their name onto the gun, as well as a unique serial number for each gun. A small "Made in China" mark is located on the bottom of the receiver, and the selector markings are labeled in English.
The included magazine is a steel AK47 type hi-cap mag, which isn't technically correct for the gun, as the 74U uses a polymer mag with a different design. The reasoning behind it is that the steel 47 mag takes to weathering a lot better than a polymer mag would. The mag wobbles a bit in the magwell, like all Javelin/APS guns, but is able to be fixed using a little bit of velcro in the magwell to fill the gap and prevent any free play. The mag feeds well, and the gun is compatible with other TM equivalent magazines.
Performance after a 500 round break-in period, using Matrix .20g BBs, shot through a Madbull Chronograph is as follows:
High FPS: 367.1 FPS
Low FPS: 361.2 FPS
Average FPS: 363.9 FPS
Rate of fire with an 8.4v battery was pretty low, only coming in at 13 RPS, however I threw in an 11.1v 1500 mAh stick battery, and got 19 RPS, with the blowback unit still installed. By removing the blowback unit, I think you'll get another 3-4 RPS easily, as it is a piston actuated unit.
Range and accuracy were what I've come to expect from my Javelin guns; slightly better than average in relation to the power level and barrel length. With this gun, even with the short inner barrel length, I was getting torso sized hits at 145', which was a little bit further than I expected given the gun's stats.
Inside this gun you will find a modified V3 gearbox with a ventilated shell and open upper section designed for use with the blowback system. It features 7mm metal bushings, a plastic spring guide with washer, steel gears with sector chip, and a stainless cylinder and air nozzle. The guts of this thing are great, ready for you to tweak to your liking for optimum performance, or just to be ran stock and still be competitive on the field.
Opened up, showing gears and other internal components
Gears, note the sector chip
Polymer piston and spring guide
Stainless ported cylinder and air nozzle
The motor is a standard torque unit, short length, and is secured in a cage that is much more solid than my older Javelin AKs. The wiring installed is high quality with an integrated MOSFET unit for better trigger response and protection against trigger unit damage. It has a small automotive type fuse installed in the end of the MOSFET unit.
MOSFET unit and wiring
As far as modifications go, I'll be downgrading the spring to get the gun shooting right at 300 FPS for CQB use at my local facilities. I'll also be weathering the pistol grip and foregrip to better match the rest of the gun. So far, I've managed to beat the crap out of the wood with a hammer, screwdriver, pliers, and kind of lit it on fire. You know, standard AK stuff.
Full steel externals
Side folding stock to keep everything compact
Electric blowback system adds realism
Includes a MOSFET from the factory
Pre-weathered body makes it look like a battlefield find
Good performance out of the box
No included battery/charger with most packages
Comes with the wrong style of mag – purely an aesthetic issue
Magazine wobble, easily fixed with a bit of velcro
Piston driven blowback affects ROF, battery life, and durability
I was really eager to see what Javelin would work up with their Battle Veteran series, and I'm really pleased with how the 74U turned out. They did a great job with the weathering on the gun, and the added features such as the blowback and MOSFET just add value to it. Overall, it's a unique AEG from an interesting gun series by Javelin Airsoft Works, and I'm glad to add it to my stable of guns!
Many thanks again to Javelin Airsoft Works, and of course, Airsoft Retreat!