Matrix/A&K 1892 Lever Action Rifle review by Booligan
Basic Gun Information
Lever action airsoft replicas have been around for many years now, but they were generally extremely expensive and hard to find. A few years ago, A&K released an 1892 replica, but it was only available in limited numbers and quickly disappeared before it ever really hit US stores. Luckily, it recently made a reappearance and is currently being stocked by most US retailers, available with real or fake wood, as well as a model being imported by Bravo Airsoft. Today, we'll be reviewing the fake wood A&K OEM model, so keep reading for more info!
I was sent this airsoft rifle through Evike, who currently has the gun in stock HERE, priced at $170 for the fake wood, $200 for the real wood, and $185 for the Bravo Airsoft model. It arrived a few days later using UPS Ground, which is Evike's free shipping option.
Basic Gun Information:
The A&K 1892 is a full metal airsoft replica, as the entire thing is manufactured out of metal, with the fake wood furniture being the only non-metal part. It's a pretty faithful replica of the Winchester Model 1892, which is a smaller, pistol caliber version of the Model 1886. It's deceptively small when viewed in photos and has a compact stock neck, thin handguard, and narrow receiver. This is a gun that doesn't really have a true purpose for airsoft skirmish use, however I'll go over a few cool uses for it in various scenarios.
The 1892 arrived in a cardboard box with a foam lower section. The foam lower had individually molded compartments for the gun and accessories to prevent damage during shipping. When I pulled the gun out of the box, I was impressed with the overall size of the thing, but I was a little bit wary about the iffy paint finish and slight wobble in the parts.
Along with the rifle itself, you'll find a loading tool, cleaning/unjamming rod, and a manual that is written pretty much completely in Japanese. You will need to supply your own gas and BBs to make this gun ready to run.
From this point on, click on the thumbnails to view full size photos
Um... this could be a problem
That's a lot of parts
Weight: 5.3 lbs
Width: About 1.5"
Height: About 6"
Sight Radius: 16.75"
This gun's lever action layout is what really makes it unique and stand out among other gun options. Its full metal construction has the potential to be rock solid, but due to the complex multi-piece construction, it has some wobble between the receiver and barrel, and between the stock and receiver. The paint finish is pretty bad, with the matte black finish seeming to peel and chip already, showing both the satin black base coat as well as raw metal in some spots. It's a bummer, because the design of the gun has potential to be absolutely beautiful, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.
Overview, right side
Overview, left side
The stock is a design straight out of the 1800s, with a very thin grip portion and brass butt pad. Don't expect an incredibly comfortable experience shouldering the gun, but the angle of the grip and curve of the butt fits well enough for my tastes. There is a rectangular molding mark right on the top of the stock, detracting from its otherwise good appearance. The fake wood looks quite nice, and I thought it might have been the real wood model at first glance.
Moving forward from the stock, you'll find the metal receiver. The receiver houses the entire firing system, including the very rudimentary fire controls. The controls consist of a trigger, hammer, and cocking hammer, and that's all you really need with a gun like this. You don't need complicated safeties or selector switches, just cock the lever, point, and shoot.
Receiver, right side
Lever fully extended
On the left side of the receiver, you'll find a metal saddle ring which would be used to mount the gun on your saddle. As you most likely won't be throwing this thing onto a saddle, feel free to mount a sling here if you so desire. The right side of the receiver houses the loading port, just like on the real gun. The top of the receiver pulls back when cocking the gun, and houses the gas firing system. When pulled back, you can see the air nozzle as well as access the hop-up adjustment screw.
Receiver, left side
Top of the receiver, note the detail on the fake bolt
Complex loading and firing system
At the front of the receiver, you'll find the thin faux wood handguard. Unfortunately, there's some noticeable wobble at the receiver/handguard junction, which could affect accuracy, as it causes the barrel to wobble as well. The handguard itself is thin and easy to grasp, but if you thumb break grip it, you'll block the iron sights.
The outer barrel is just under 19.5" long and has a faux magazine tube underneath that houses the gas chamber. Access to the gas loading port is accomplished by rotating the plug at the end and pulling it out, which can easily be done in the field. The outer barrel has some fake rifling that extends down a bit, but the inner barrel sticks into it, making it clear that this is an airsoft replica. I don't have any gas leakage yet, but it's something to look out for with extended use.
Barrel and faux magazine tube
Close up of barrel clamp
Gas fill port
Aiming the 1892 is assisted by the adjustable iron sights. The front sight is securely attached to the barrel, and the rear has a flip up ladder sight portion for long range shots. You can loosen the screw and adjust the rear sight for windage as well, making it fully adjustable.
Ladder sight flipped up
The only trade mark that I could find is located on the top of the stock tang. Molded into the metal tang, you'll find Model 1892, San Jia, No. 3137.
The 1892 doesn't use a traditional magazine, instead utilizing an internal magazine tube holding 24 rounds. It is loaded just like the real one, through a port in the side of the receiver. You can't really load it by hand, so you need to use the included loading tool to do it.
Performance after a 100 round break-in period, using Matrix .20g BBs, shot through a Madbull Chronograph is as follows:
High FPS: 331.7 FPS
Low FPS: 314.5 FPS
Average FPS: 325.7 FPS
I was expecting it to shoot a lot hotter, however the cold testing temperatures that I currently have (42 degrees F) skewed the FPS down a bit. I'll revisit the FPS once it warms up a bit. I was really surprised with how consistent it is with taking a few seconds between shots. Even rapid follow up shots are only down 5-10 FPS on average. Gas economy was actually quite good as well, giving me about 50-60 shots per fill if I took my time between shots.
The hop-up is adjusted using the included allen wrench on the adjustment point located at the top of the chamber. Due to the low FPS, I only tested it up to .23g BBs, and using that weight, I was able to hit a torso sized target out to 120'. It's not the longest shot I've ever attempted, but it managed to hit the target just fine. I suspect in warmer temperatures I'll have higher FPS, giving me better range.
Frankly, this is not a gun that is recommended for people that like to open up their replicas and tinker with them. I know of another experienced member who opened his up, only to have various pieces come out, never to be seen again. If you look at the exploded parts diagram in a previous section, you'll find that it is a very complicated replica, using dozens and dozens of small parts. Due to this, I will not be opening up the 1892, and I'd recommend that you don't open it up unless you absolutely have to.
Modifying this thing is kind of a moot point, as there's pretty much zero aftermarket support for it either with replacement parts or with upgrades. In addition, butchering this thing with rails or other crap would be a crime against the gods of firearms, and would cause you to be haunted by the ghost of John Moses Browning. While you may consider being able to hang out with the ghost of Mr. Browning as a good thing, he's very busy in the afterlife and would be cranky about having to haunt you. Just don't do it.
A full metal 1892 replica!
Affordable, compared to the alternative options
Available with fake or real wood
Decent gas economy and consistency
Internal magazine loads up similarly to the real one
Adjustable iron sights
Wobbly parts throughout
Fake wood has a nasty molding mark on the stock
Sub-par paint quality
My tested performance is lower than expected, but that may be due to cold testing temperatures
In all honesty, this gun has potential to be an absolutely beautiful replica, but a few things mar this potential. The wobbly construction and paint finish really lower my opinion of the gun, however the gun does have some nice features that make it fun for use in specialty games. The performance seems to be skirmishable, even in cold temps, but the internal magazine makes reloading tricky. I can see myself using this gun for zombie games, as it would be perfect for taking out the undead. Another fun game use option would be for "Red Dawn" type scenarios, with an under-armed guerrilla force taking on a better armed opponent until they secure fully automatic weapons. However you use it, it seems like it's a somewhat fragile gun with limited uses on the field, but that won't stop me from taking it out to score some kills!
Many thanks again to Evike, and of course, Airsoft Retreat!