AGM/S&T MG42 AEG Review by Booligan
Basic Gun Information
The WWII airsoft scene has been growing in leaps and bounds over the last few years, and with that growth, more manufacturers have been putting out affordable options of previously unattainable replicas. Today, we're going to take a look at one of the single most sought after airsoft replicas, the famed MG42 machine gun, this time manufactured by AGM and S&T and available at a relatively affordable price, under $500. If you're looking for a little more period correct firepower for your WWII airsoft scenarios, or, with a quick paint job, something for some more modern use as an MG3, this could certainly be the gun for you! Keep reading for more information on this new support weapon from AGM and S&T!
I was sent this gun for review by Evike, who has it available HERE, priced at $499.00 at the time of this review. This more than qualifies it for Evike's free shipping promotion, which can save you a fair bit of money since this thing isn't exactly lightweight. They also stock spare drum mags for it HERE, priced at $90.
Basic Gun Information:
The AGM/S&T MG42 is a full metal AEG featuring a real wood stock, steel bipod, LMG style gearbox with quick change spring, and battery operated drum magazine holding about 2000 rounds. This thing is an absolute beast, there's really no way to sugar coat it. It's built extremely well and is heavy, hard to wield, and absolutely intimidating. It's set up with a mini type Tamiya plug and a fairly small battery compartment inside the stock, however, it's very easy to swap batteries in the field if needed. It really is a hell of a lot of gun for $500, and previously, this type of gun couldn't be touched for less than $1000+, making it quite a good deal if you're looking for something of this type.
The MG42 comes packaged in a high quality box with a high density foam inner liner to keep everything safe during shipping. The gun is partially disassembled to allow for somewhat compact packaging, but it's very easy to toss together upon arrival.
Along with the gun itself, the package includes a single 2000 round drum magazine, manual, and a very small bag of useless BBs. The manual highlights many of the features of the gun as well as a very useful exploded diagram. It doesn't include a battery or charger, so you will need to provide your own. For my testing, I'm using a compact Tenergy 11.1v 1000 mAh 20C pack, which fits very well in the stock compartment.
Click on the individual thumbnails to see the full size photos
Exploded parts diagram
Weight: 15.8 lbs
Width: 10.5" (cocking handle to drum mag)
Sight Radius: 17.5"
Length of Pull: 15"
To describe this gun as a full metal replica is doing it a disservice. The only non-metal parts of this gun are the real laminated wood stock and the faux wood pistol grip side panels. Other than that, this thing is made entirely of metal, either stamped steel or cast non-ferrous metal that I can't identify. This makes the gun heavy, obviously, but not overly so. It's under 16 lbs, and frankly, I've used standard rifles that have come close to that weight after throwing on accessories. The overall paint finish is a gorgeous satin black with a small amount of shine, making it look like stamped steel throughout.
Overview, left side
Overview, right side
The stock is a laminated wood unit with a metal base that locks into the rear of the receiver using a latch secured lug system. To remove the stock, simply push on the latch at the bottom of the receiver and rotate the stock to the left, pulling it free from the gun. This will allow you to install a battery of your choosing. One thing to note, the wooden stock might loosen and will need to be tightened using the large hex screw in the base.
Stock removed, battery compartment shown
The receiver is made of metal and serves as the bridge between the stock and the massive front end of the gun. It does so very well with absolutely zero creaks, wobbles, or other weak points that I can identify. This thing really is built like a tank. The top cover can be opened to expose the plastic feeding block as well as the entire top portion of the gearbox. You can also access the quick change spring system without removing the gearbox from the gun.
Recevier, right side
Receiver, left side
Top cover opened, gearbox visible
Plastic feeding block
Feeding block removed
The front end of the gun faithfully replicates the visual appearance of the real MG42, complete with the large side cutout for quick barrel changes. You can't actually quick change the barrel in this gun, unfortunately. At the bottom of the heat shield there are several mounting points for the included bipod.
Heatshield, left side
Heatshield, right side
Included steel removable bipod
The outer barrel is a single solid metal peice which is terminated in a period correct compensator. The compensator is predominantly made out of metal, however, the conical section is made out of orange plastic. The details on this piece are great including the spring retained locking lever.
You have a few options for aiming the MG42 including a standard flip up adjustable sight and a large flip up anti-aircraft sight system. Both sighting systems fold down for easy storage and to prevent damage.
Large anti-aircraft sight
Front sight folded
There are no trademarks on this gun whatsoever. Seriously, it's a total blank slate, which I prefer over some crappy fake trademarks or big AGM markings. There is plenty of real estate on the gun if you want to do your own custom engravings.
The AGM uses a large motorized drum magazine which runs off of four AA batteries and holds about 2000 rounds. It's designed in a way that allows it to be refilled while still fitted to the gun, making spare mags unnecessary in most cases. It plugs into the gun allowing for direct activation of the internal motor when the gun is fired, instead of using pressure switches or sound activated systems, which generally aren't very good.
Large BB reservoir
Able to be opened for reloading without removal
To install the magazine in the gun, you first insert the plastic block onto the hop-up chamber, followed by inserting the coiled metal tube into the plastic block. You then clip the front of the magazine onto the little catch and pivot the rear down onto the locking clip. It's pretty easy to figure out with the gun in front of you. You'll then need to take the protruding wires and plug them into the coiled wire harness at the bottom of the gun.
Battery plugs in here
Plastic block inserted into the gun with coil inserted into the block
Performance after a 500 round break-in, using Matrix .20g ammo is as follows:
High FPS: 429.9 FPS
Low FPS: 421.2 FPS
Average FPS: 425.8 FPS
Rate of fire using a Tenergy 11.1v 1000 mAh 20C LiPo pack came in right at 20 RPS, making it spot on for the real gun's 1200 RPM rate of fire. It sounds quite good while firing as well, very smooth with no screechy noises or anything like that.
Range and accuracy were surpringly good, especially after resetting the hop-up bucking inside the chamber. At first, the gun was shooting about 350 FPS and had a noticeable hook to the right. I gave the bucking a quick cleaning and re-centered it in the chamber. The right hook disappeared and the FPS jumped all the way up to 425 FPS on average. That's one of the reasons why I always recommend cleaning and properly setting the hop-up and inner barrel on all new guns. After adjusting the hop-up bucking, I was able to get shots on my standard torso sized target all the way out to 180' with ease using .28g ammo from Echo 1. The thing is an absolute BB hose with a moderate output battery, and with this kind of accuracy, you can absolutely bring this thing to a skirmish in stock form and bring some pain.
The MG42 is fitted with a large, full metal gearbox which features predominantly V2 compatible internals aside from the air nozzle, and a quick change spring system. You can easily change out the spring without having to remove the gearbox from the gun, making this a very easy gun to modify for different fields.
Quick change spring
The gearbox itself is a unique design with a split design, however, it's MUCH beefier than any of the other split gearboxes that I've seen before. The motor and gears are housed in the pistol grip with the upper holding the airseal components. Unlike a split V2 with a thin, somewhat fragile looking upper gearbox, this thing is a damn tank, with the upper looking like what you would pull out of a SAW.
Grip panel removed, showing the ball bearings and short type motor
Detail on the bearings
The hop-up can be adjusted by lifting the top receiver cover, removing the plastic magazine piece, and sliding the lever back and forth as needed. It's not the most user friendly system, but it gets the job done. The MG42 is fitted with a 655mm inner barrel, one of the longest that you can buy.
Honestly, this thing runs great with the 11.1v Tenergy LiPo that I used in testing, giving me a perfect ROF for a gun like this. For higher FPS, you can easily swap out the spring and other components as needed. Externally, the only modifications that should be considered are painting the furniture black and swapping around a few parts to make a modern MG3 machine gun, or totally modifying it with motorcycle parts and a steadicam mount to make an M56 Smartgun from the movie Aliens. Nothing else should really be considered.
A moderately affordable MG42!
High quality, full metal gearbox
Steel bipod and drum magazine included
Properly heavy, but not so much that it makes wielding the gun impossible
Real wood stock made of nicely laminated wood
Drum mag uses a direct connection system for consistent feeding
Gearbox has quick change system for easy FPS adjustments
Ball bearings for smooth firing
Short type motor can easily be swapped out for different ROF goals
Hop-up is a little tricky to adjust
Dangling wires from the drum mag can get caught on things
Battery space isn't as big as you would think
Stock can loosen itself, I'd recommend giving it a good tightening with Loctite before use
Realistically, if you're in the market for an MG42, you're probably going to buy this one. It really doesn't have much competition in the moderately affordable German machine gun category. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, because it really is an impressive gun. Its full metal construction feels amazing in your hands, and the thing will absolutely turn heads both with its looks and its performance on the field. S&T and AGM put together a quality product with this gun, and it's really hard to find major faults with it. The major competition for this gun will be the upcoming Echo 1 ZB30, which promises a lower price, but a similar period correct alternative for WWII German re-enactors, and time will tell if it is a viable alternative.
Many thanks again to Evike, and of course, Airsoft Retreat!