TSD/SRC Basic Polymer M4 AEG
TSD/SRC "Basic" Tan M4 review by Booligan
Discuss this review HERE
Team Specialized Distribution (TSD) is one of the older US based airsoft companies, and they continue to work with overseas companies to make high quality and affordable airsoft replicas. This SRC manufactured M4 being reviewed today is their newest offering, giving you a high quality AEG in a very affordable package. I will discuss all of the subtle nuances of this gun in this review!
I obtained this AEG directly from TSD in order to review it here on Airsoft Retreat. It should be available in stores at the time of this review, with an MSRP of $170. As with all TSD AEGs, it includes a warranty, which, in this case, is for 60 days. The TSD "Basic" M4 comes as a ready to run package, and I will discuss everything that it includes in teh following sections.
The Basic M4 comes packaged in a relatively plain cardboard box, with a sticker placed on the front identifying it as a TSD imported gun. The box has a foam liner to hold everything secure during shipment, which it did perfectly. When I first opened the box, I was very pleased with the overall finish of the gun, as well as the immediately apparent sturdiness to the furniture.
From this point, click all photos to enlarge
Minimalist box art
As mentioned earlier, the gun comes as a ready to run package, including the gun itself, a single hi-capacity magazine, an 8.4v 1600 mAh Intellect battery (!), basic trickle charger, cleaning/unjamming rod, front sight adjustment tool, small box of BBs, and a manual. Add your own BBs, and you are ready to go!
Weight: 6.5 lbs
Width: Â 2.5"
Height: 10" (sight to mag)
Sight Radius: 14.75"
First and foremost, this AEG has a sturdy polymer receiver, which gives it a very lightweight feel. I don't see this as a bad thing, as the body is not creaky, nor does it seem particularly fragile. It is a sturdy design, which helps lower the price of this AEG.
External overview - left side
External overview - right side
Starting at the rear of the gun, you will find the six position adjustable LE stock, which is tan colored. The stock tube is metal, as is the sling mount at the bottom of the stock. You can easily adjust the rifle to fit your frame or for storage. The finish on the stock looks like a nylon polymer, however, I cannot confirm the actual material used. Rest assured, the stock is plenty durable!
Stock - retracted
Stock - extended
Six position stock tube
The next thing you will encounter is the aforementioned polymer receiver. It is also tan in color, and has a very slight textured finish to it. The upper receiver attaches to the lower using the pivoting TM style system, secured with allen head screw topped pins. All of the controls, pins, trigger, and trigger guard are made of metal, which is black in color, giving you a nice contrast against the tan receiver. The selector switch is located on the left side, designed for right handed users. It, like the trigger, function flawlessly, and make shooting the gun a very easy and enjoyable experience.
Receiver - left side
Receiver - right side
The dust cover is also made of metal, and is opened by pulling back the charging handle. When pulling back the handle, the mock bolt carrier is retracted, exposing the hop-up adjustment wheel. The dust cover can be closed, locking securely onto the receiver until you pull back the charging handle again.
Mock bolt carrier
The pistol grip is a standard M4A1 piece of equipment, which shares the color and texture of the receiver. The motor adjustment base is a non-ventilated heat sink design, which is adjusted using a 1.5mm allen head wrench. The grip is plenty comfortable, and shouldn't give issues to right or left handed operators.
In front of the receiver, you will find a standard M4 handguard, which doubles as the battery compartment. The handguards are TM style, meaning they are held in by the spring tension of the delta ring compressing it against the handguard cap. The handguard has a mm or so of rotation, nothing too noticeable. Installing the battery is pretty simple, only requiring you to pull back the delta ring, remove the handguard, and install the battery.
The front sight/gas block houses a side mounted sling point, which can be rotated to either side. Also, the outer barrel, which is made of aluminum, extends past, reaching about 13.5" before the 14mm- threading starts. Completing the front of the gun is a metal, orange painted flashhider, of the standard M4 design.
Aiming this replica is accomplished using the standard M4 style sights, which are fully adjustable for windage and elevation. The front sight is located on the gas block, and can be adjusted for elevation using the included adjustment tool. The rear sight is located on the polymer carry handle, and is adjustable without using any tools. The rear sight also has dual peep holes, one for close range, and the other for longer, more precise shooting. Underneath the carry handle is a polymer 20mm rail, designed for mounting your choice of optic.
Overall, the externals of this gun are quite good, even considering its polymer body. The gun is incredibly robust, with no noticeable creaks or wobbles to detract from the overall feel of the gun. There are a few slight casting marks on the receiver and carry handle, but nothing that should cause any problems with the functioning of the gun.
There are no trademarks on the gun, save for a single "Made in Taiwan" located on the left side of the receiver.
The included magazine is a 300 round capacity metal hi-cap, which is wound up using the bottom mounted winding wheel. The magazine clicks into the gun quite solidly, with a minimum of wobbling while in the receiver. Feeding is good, with no noticeable misfeeds after breaking the gun in. I tested the gun with a variety of magazines, and didn't find any compatibility issues to speak of.
Bottom of magazine
Baseline performance after a 500 round break in period is as follows:
FPS (Recorded using TSD.20g BBs shot through a Madbull V1 chrono):
High: 351.5 FPS
Low: 343.8 FPS
Average over 10 shots: 348.7 FPS
Rate of fire, tested with the included 8.4v Intellect battery and recorded using Audacity, came in at just under 15 RPS. With a higher voltage battery, the rate of fire jumped quite a bit, in the low 20 RPS range. The included battery is certainly acceptable for most players' needs.
Accuracy was actually quite impressive. Even with a nasty crosswind, using TSD .25g BBs, I was able to hit my standard torso sized target at 150' with 90% accuracy. The hop-up is easily adjusted, and provides plenty of backspin for even heavy weight ammo. With the stock power output, I would recommend BBs in the .23-.26g weight range.
Here is a quick video showing some of the features of the gun, including a test firing.
Internally, this gun is equipped with a V2 gearbox, fitted with 6mm steel bushings, steel gears, and a ported piston head, giving you astounding compression. Disassembly is straightforward, as the gun is a TM clone, so if you need advice on that, I would suggest www.mechbox.com.
Inside the gearbox, you will find the aforementioned bushings, gears, and piston, as well as a nylon spring guide, brass cylinder head with dampener, and nylon air nozzle. The compression and airseal on this gun is fantastic, something I am used to seeing with TSD/SRC guns.
The motor is the new version of the super high torque up model. It is a STIFF motor, very difficult to turn by hand. Like all M4s, it uses a long type motor, but this thing does not need to be upgraded.
The inner barrel is 363mm long, and is housed inside a plastic/metal hybrid two piece hop-up. The lower part of the hop-up is made of metal, with the upper being made of plastic. It is a standard hop-up bucking and nub, and it can be upgraded as you see fit.
Hop-up and barrel
Like all M4s, this gun came out of the factory with limitless possibilities as far as modification goes. You can tweak this gun however you desire, and its TM compatibility gives you plenty of options and parts availability.
Very affordable - $170 MSRP
Includes a great starter battery
Sturdy polymer body
Lightweight - good for skirmishing
Adjustable to fit most users
Near perfect air-seal
Very skirmishable performance out of the box
Polymer body - Some users may see this as a con
No rails for mounting lights/foregrips/etc - I prefer simple guns, but some users love their accessories
Slight casting defects on the receiver/carry handle
As with most TSD products, I was pretty pleased with the "Basic" M4. It is a great entry level AEG for new players, however it offers good performance and solid potential even for seasoned vets. It comes as a total package, making it pretty much ready to skirmish out of the box!
Many thanks again to TSD and of course, Airsoft Retreat!