APS CAM870 CO2 Shotgun Review by Booligan
Table of Contents:
Basic Gun Information
The unmistakable sound of a shotgun racking its pump is one of the most distinctive firearm sounds out there. It's a sound that tends to strike fear in people. With most airsoft shotguns, that sound is normally quite unsatisfying, and is generally backed up by a single BB, or 3-5 at the most when fired. APS wanted to change all of that with their latest boomstick, the CAM870. This shell fed, CO2 powered, pump operated full metal and real wood shotgun is the single most realistic airsoft gun that I've ever had my hands on, but does that make it a good skirmish weapon? Keep reading to find out!
I first got my hands on the APS CAM870 at the Airsplat Customer Appreciation event, videos of which can be found on my Youtube channel. They had received a small number of the 870 shotguns, and I instantly fell in love. As soon as their shipment showed up in bulk, I had one of these beauties on my review desk! This is not an inexpensive replica, priced currently at $519.99, and that really is the biggest downfall of this gun. It is available HERE, and Airsplat has a full range of parts and accessories to trick this gun out to your liking!
Basic Gun Information:
The APS CAM870 is, for all intents and purposes, a nearly perfect replica of the real 870 shotgun, both in the way it looks and operates. It is shell fed, with each shell housing about 12 BBs and its own individual CO2 reservoir. This thing is an absolutely perfect training replica given its identical controls and firing process. It is made entirely out of metal and has a real wood stock and pump handle. The thing really is as close to a real 870 shotgun as you can get in airsoft.
The 870 comes packaged in a large cardboard box complete with carrying handle, and the gun itself is secured using molded cardboard inserts at the front and rear. The cardboard inserts are zip tied in place keeping the gun secure during shipping. Inside the box, there are a few additional smaller boxes holding the included accessories.
When I first popped the box open and pulled the gun out of the box, I was happy to see the same gorgeous shotgun that I handled at the Airsplat walk-in store. The same beautiful metal finish and real wood furniture fell comfortably into my hands, and the grin hasn't left my face since.
Along with the shotgun itself, the package includes 2 shells, 50 plastic wads, 50 paper caps, a mesh shell catcher, a dual 12g CO2 capsule holder and CO2 shell filler. To be competitive with this gun, you will obviously need more shells, which are available for about $10 each, making this already pricey gun a bit more expensive to operate. The shells are reusable thankfully.
Click on the individual thumbnails to see the full size photos
Weight: 6.8 lbs
Sight Radius: 14"
Were it not for its orange plastic sleeve placed over the metal barrel, it would be very easy to mistake the APS CAM870 for a real 870 shotgun. That first impression continues when you slide a realistic shell into the chamber and pump the handle, the metallic clank backing up the nearly perfect appearance.
External overview, right side
Overview, left side
The stock is a real wood, single piece unit with a rubber butt pad making it very comfortable to shoulder. The stock also includes the grip which is thin, but still comfortable. At the bottom of the stock, you will find a sling swivel which you can use to mount up your choice of sling.
The receiver is full metal and houses the entire firing mechanism for the gun. Its a solid backbone for the gun, keeping it extremely solid with zero creaks or wobbles. It is finished with a matte black coloring with a polished silver bolt assembly.
Receiver, right side
Receiver, left side
Chamber visible with pump handle pulled back
The controls are very simple, comprised of a short pull trigger, push button safety, and an action unlock lever. The safety button has a red ring to indicate when the gun is ready to fire. The action unlock lever is used to, well, unlock the action, allowing you to pump the handle and eject a shell without firing the gun.
The bottom of the receiver has the loading ramp, just like on a real 870 shotgun. To load a shell, push the loading ramp up slightly, allowing you to press a shell into the magazine tube. It's a very simple process, however, to fully load the gun, it will take some time.
Moving forward from the receiver, you'll hit the real wood pump handle, which is fairly wide and comfortable. Pumping it back will pull the bolt back and pick up a shell, which will then be loaded when you pump it back forward. The pump handle is now locked until you either fire the gun or use the action unlock lever.
The front end is comprised of a 19"barrel with matching length magazine tube, both of which are made out of metal. The barrel and magazine tube are attached using a clamp with a sling swivel on the side. The barrel itself is completely open, with no inner barrel at all due to the way this gun fires.
Wide open barrel
Even though this is a shotgun and therefore, not designed for precise long range shooting, there are still adjustable iron sights located on the barrel. The rear sight is adjustable for windage and elevation using a flat head screwdriver, and the front post is adjustable for windage after loosening the post with a hex wrench.
Rear iron sight
One of the included accessories is the mesh shell catcher which slips onto the receiver and locks in place over the ejection port.
There are a few markings spread throughout the gun on both sides of the receiver as well as the barrel. Some of the markings are cosmetic in nature, some of them serve as warnings and precautions to read the manual before use.
The 870 has an internal magazine tube that looks like it'll hold 7 of APS's 12 gauge CO2 powered shells, 2 of which are included. The shells each hold 12 BBs placed inside a plastic wad and secured with a paper cap. When the gun is fired, the wad is propelled, pushing the BBs out with it in a single shot, expelling all of the CO2 stored inside the shell at the same time.
To load the shell, you first must fill it with CO2. Follow the steps pictured below for the proper loading process.
Place shell in CO2 loader, pushing it down to open up the valve.
Screw knob down to lock valve in place
Slowly open valve to start filling shell. Close valve after shell is full.
Slide shell body upwards to close inner valve
Place wad inside shell
Place 12 BBs inside wad
Push paper cap onto shell to keep it sealed
Insert shell into gun, and pump handle to load shell into the chamber
Performance using Crosman 12g CO2 capsules and Airsplat .20g ammo is as follows:
High FPS: 802.4 FPS
Low FPS: 39.2 FPS
Average FPS: Um...
So, yeah, about the FPS. The Madbull chronograph REALLY doesn't like multiple projectiles. I got velocity readings ranging from 39 FPS all the way up to 800 FPS. Obviously, the gun was not firing at those speeds. My educated guess, based on other reviews as well as my own observance would estimate the velocity between 250-300 FPS. Honestly, with a different chronograph, you'll probably get more consistent readings in that ballpark. Regardless, this thing should be good to roll at any field you bring it to.
Range and accuracy are another interesting part of this gun. Surprisingly, this gun has some legs behind it! With 12 .20g Airsplat BBs, I saw a very good, torso sized spread out at 100', and total range of about 140'. With heavier ammo, that spread tightened up, but the range shortened. The trajectory out to 100' is pretty much flat and in line with the sights, something that really surprised me. For CQB hall clearing duty, this gun will really be hard to beat.
Interesting things to note about the CAM870: You will see the wadding fall short when you shoot, out at about 35' or so, just like a real shotgun. These waddings are reusable if they aren't damaged and you recover them. The paper caps aren't particularly reusable, so don't worry about picking those up. Also, take care when pumping the gun to make sure the shell loads properly. For the first few shells out of the gun, I would get jams if I pumped it too quickly, or with the gun on its side. It really likes to be straight up and down, with a smooth, consistent pump.
There really aren't many internals to speak of with this gun. The shells provide the internal power for the firing mechanism, and the shells are triggered by a hammer system inside the shotgun, just like the real gun. Honestly, the thing has cleaner and better built guts than the last Norinco 870 clone real steel shotgun that I owned.
Internal striker assembly
One of the nice things about this gun is that its largely compatible with real M870 accessories, and I've seen these things fully kitted out top to bottom with real components from Magpul and others. APS also makes different barrels and magazine tubes, rail mounts, optic mounts, and many other parts to trick yours out. Airsplat stocks many of these parts on their site, making it easy to pick everything up in one purchase.
Probably the single most realistic airsoft replica ever made
Functions exactly as a real 870 would
Full metal construction
Real wood stock and pump handle
Includes everything needed to start shooting, aside from BBs and CO2 capsules
CQB skirmishable performance
Expensive (about $520)
Only includes 2 shells, and spares aren't cheap
Low estimated FPS, however, for CQB, this thing is very well sorted out
Reloading the shells is a laborious process
It is a little fickle with how you pump it
If you're in the market for a training shotgun or CQB ready skirmish gun, and have deep pockets with cash to burn, the APS CAM870 might be the right gun for you. This gun's price is the largest ding to its otherwise stellar laundry list of features. In order to get this gun really squared away for skirmishing, you'll be investing over $600 in the gun and shells, and even then, you'll have continued costs in the form of wads and paper caps for the shells. It's not a cheap gun to operate, but for training or close range CQB use, it really is hard to beat.
Many thanks again to Airsplat, and of course, Airsoft Retreat!