Amoeba M4 CQBR AEG Review by Booligan
Table of Contents:
Basic Gun Information
Amoeba Airsoft is a subsidiary of Ares, the sometimes controversial manufacturer of airsoft replicas, some of which I've previously reviewed. Amoeba seems to be their more budget oriented line, largely featuring polymer bodies but with very interesting parts configurations including short little pistols and PDWs, and things like this, dubbed their CQBR. Now, it's not a true CQBR, but for the sake of brand consistency, that's what we'll call it. I'm going into this review with zero hands on experience with Amoeba guns, so let's take a fresh look at this gun with no preconceived notions of what this product line entails.
In this case, with a new gun comes a new sponsor, Airsoft Megastore. Now, Airsoft Megastore has certainly been around for, well, pretty much forever. Some of the feedback about the company in the past has been less than stellar, however, from what I've seen in my own investigation of them, it seems that things are certainly on an upward swing of product quality and customer service. So far, I'm happy with the service that I've received, and I look forward to seeing how well we continue to work together.
Now, with the Amoeba, you'll find it available HERE, priced at the time of this review at $199.95. This does not come as a complete package, as you will need to purchase a battery and charger to make the gun run, but compared to the price of most Ares guns, it's quite reasonable. The gun is fully capable of running a mid-output 11.1v LiPo battery out of the box, so feel free to shop around in the LiPo section for your battery needs.
The gun was shipped to me very quickly, arriving 2 days later, my standard UPS ground shipping time on packages from California, and was very well packaged with large inflated packaging keeping the gun's box secure inside the shipping box. Definitely some major plus points for Airsoft Megastore in the shipping department.
Basic Gun Information:
As mentioned before, Amoeba guns are made through Ares and generally feature polymer bodies with metal components where required, at a reasonable price. They feature full metal gearboxes, and lately come equipped with the programmable internal MOSFET system that allows for burst firing modes if you purchase the separate programmer. This model features a 7" rail, flip up front sight, fixed rear sight (kind of a funky look), stock with battery storage, and a short outer barrel. It also features Amoeba's custom designed pistol grip and magazine, both of which are quite comfortable and have some great features on their own.
Amoeba has very attractive packaging emblazoned with a large photo of a very tactical looking gentleman wielding a different gun than the one held inside the box. Inside the box, you'll find a molded cardboard lower insert cradling the gun safely during shipping. In short, it's an attractive and professional package.
Along with the gun itself, Amoeba included a single 300 round hi-cap magazine, cleaning rod, basic instruction manual, and in a nice touch, a black metal flashhider, which is very useful considering the gun uses the less common 14mm+ muzzle threading. There is no battery or charger included, however the gun is well equipped to fit a 9.6v nunchuck pack or many configurations of LiPo batteries.
Weight: 5.4 lbs
Length: 26.25" - 29.5"
Height: 10.5" (sight to mag)
Sight Radius: 14.5"
Length of Pull: 10.75" - 14"
The Amoeba is made predominantly out of a "nylon fiber" polymer, making it lightweight and less expensive than a full metal bodied AEG. The gun has a matte black finish throughout adding to the professional and realistic look, and on very close inspection, there is an extremely slight texturing visible which makes it look hard anodized like a real AR. The overall appearance is, in my opinion, quite good.
Click on the individual thumbnails to see the full size photos
External overview, left side
External overview, right side
The stock is a custom designed piece which looks similar to a Crane stock but with smoother lines and a chunkier overall look. The extended butt pad has a small latch that slides down, allowing the pad to pivot down for easy battery installation either into the buffer tube or into one of the two battery compartments. The stock is fitted onto a metal six position buffer tube which is very securely attached to the receiver.
Battery compartment latch
The receiver is, as mentioned before, a nylon fiber reinforced polymer which is fairly sturdy, but does have some flex, especially in the upper where it meets the rail. The lower receiver is a custom design with an integrated trigger guard, enlarged fencing around the trigger guard, ridges on the front of the receiver, and a few other details that you'll notice. The controls are largely AR standard parts, aside from the enlarged magazine release button on the right side. The pistol grip is also a custom design by Amoeba with aggressive texturing on the sides and a ventilated motor base, complete with flat head motor height adjustment screw.
Receiver, right side
Fancy trigger guard
The upper receiver is also an angular, chunky affair with a metal dust cover and large forward assist assembly. The dust cover locks in place until you pull back the charging handle, pulling back the faux bolt carrier and exposing the hop-up.
Faux bolt carrier pulled back, exposing hop-up
The handguard is a solid 7" long quad rail setup which is made of the same polymer as the receiver. It has proper markings on all four faces and has nicely molded rails for mounting your accessories. It is mated to a metal outer barrel which is made up of several different pieces, contributing to the previously reported upper receiver flex. The barrel is terminated in 14mm+ threads, something Ares does on all of their guns for some reason. The installed flashhider is made of orange plastic, however, Amoeba included a black metal unit which is easily installed.
7" railed handguard
Front end with metal flashhider installed
Aiming the Amoeba is quite simple, but they went in a wonky direction with their iron sight choice. The front sight is a very nice metal unit built into the railed gas block which can flip up for use. The rear is a standard plastic chopped rear sight which is entirely nonadjustable. The wheel clicks like it's moving, but it doesn't move at all. The combination of fixed rear sight and flip-up front sight is just a dumb move that looks bad. Ditch that nonadjustable rear sight as quickly as you can afford to.
Flipped up front sight
Folded front sight
Amoeba's trademarks, which resemble a Spartan's helmet, are quite professional and realistic looking. This is good, because they slapped it on the gun in 10 different places. Seriously, you'll find little helmets everywhere. There are also caliber markings on the left side and a serial number that does not appear to be unique to each gun.
The included magazine is Amoeba's new design polymer hi-capacity unit with a few very cool features. First off, it looks awesome. Aggressive texturing, a window showing fake rounds, realistic markings, and even a rubber flip down loop that can assist you with pulling the mag out of a pouch. The winding wheel is located on the bottom and is somewhat recessed into the base, which might make winding difficult with gloves on. It holds 300 rounds and feeds quite well. Unfortunately, it does have some wobble when inserted into the gun, a problem shared with several of the magazines that I tested, however, the gun doesn't seem to be too picky about feeding.
Fancy flip down loopy-pully thing
Performance after a 500 round break-in, using Echo 1 .20g ammo is as follows:
High FPS: 403.1 FPS
Low FPS: 389.5 FPS
Average FPS: 392.7 FPS
Rate of fire will vary depending on the battery that you choose to use, however, using my standard Tenergy 11.1v 1000 mAh 20C LiPo pack, I got exactly 20 RPS. The trigger response is quite good, something I attribute to the microswitch trigger system.
Using heavier Echo 1 .25g ammo, I was able to put rounds on my standard torso sized target out to 160' with 90% accuracy. Further than that, it seemed like my rounds would just fall off from side to side. A split hop-up bucking would probably improve the consistency at range. The rotary style hop-up holds its position very well and has plenty of spin even for heavy weight ammo.
A quick note about the burst function: it's awesome. Seriously, such a blast to use and helps conserve ammo and keep your fire relatively accurate. To access it, you still have to buy the optional programmer which is a bit of a drag, considering the gun is fully capable of burst fire out of the box. It's like having to buy video game DLC that comes installed on the main disc.
Accessing the guts of the Amoeba isn't too difficult compared to standard M4 AEGs. Simple pop out the front pin to slide the upper receiver off of the lower. This will expose the fabulously pink cylinder.
To disassemble the gun further, follow your normal disassembly procedures, tapping out the body pins, unscrewing the magazine release, remove the buffer tube mounting screw, and remove the pistol grip. The only strange part is the quick detach spring guide which you'll find at the base of the buffer tube extension.
This is different...
Unscrew it to remove the spring. Handy!
With the gearbox removed, you'll notice that it's far from your standard V2 gearbox. A massive electronic board, externally ran wiring, different selector plate, funky pistol grip attachment point, and a big blue panel covering the rest of the trigger assembly. This thing is quite different, but really, it's still basically a V2, so accessing the rest of the guts is a simple affair.
Gearbox, left side
Inside the gearbox, you'll find steel gears, a polymer piston with steel teeth (but a shaved down second tooth), flexible polymer tappet plate, cylinder head, and o-ring equipped air nozzle. The piston head is a ventilated red polymer unit, but the air-seal inside the cylinder isn't the best. A new #14 o-ring will help here. The gears are well shimmed, but everything is way over greased. You'll notice the magnetic insert on the sector gear which works with the sensor on the right side of the gearbox shell to trigger the semi-auto cutoff.
Steel gears mounted in 8mm solid bushings
What's underneath that blue cover, you'll want to remove this before opening the gearbox for easier re-installation.
Magnet equipped sector gear
Which works with this little sensor
Steel tooth equipped polymer piston
Cylinder head and air nozzle
Electronically, this thing is a supercomputer compared to most AEGs. It features a programmable microswitch trigger system with LiPo battery monitoring, an extremely crisp trigger pull, and the ability to run a burst mode with the separate programming unit. The motor is a long type standard torque unit and all of the wiring quality is quite good. The plug is a mini Tamiya type located in the buffer tube.
The hop-up is a one piece rotary style hop-up fitted to a black anodized 290mm inner barrel. The bucking is a standard design so upgrades will be very simple if so desired.
Honestly, I've heard people rag on the Amoeba series guns for having crappy internals, but I'm really not seeing that. The gearbox is well made, fitted with decent components, and the electronics are exceptionally good. The air seal and hop-up could be better, but honestly, these are very small detrimental marks.
Honestly, the first thing that needs to happen with this gun is that the rear sight needs to be pulled off and tossed in the trash. It just doesn't work, not cosmetically nor functionally. Add a nice flip up rear sight and the gun will look great. Another option will be to swap out the outer barrel for a unit that's threaded 14mm-, as it'll allow you to run a much wider range of muzzle devices.
There's really nothing that NEEDS to be done to get the gun skirmish ready. Toss a battery in there and you're ready to roll.
Affordable Ares-level gun for under $200
Micro-switch trigger is compatible with the Ares gearbox programmer
Comes with several unique parts that you can't find on other guns
Consistent rotary style hop-up
Amoeba's magazine is a very functional design
Enlarged magazine release button works fantastically
Stock has a small latch to open it up easily for battery installation.
Skirmishable performance out of the box
My package included a metal flashhider
14mm+ threaded muzzle may limit your options for muzzle devices
Some wobble in the upper receiver and outer barrel
No buffer plate sling mount for single point slings
Burst function requires purchasing a separate part, a complaint I had with the Ares M4 as well
That rear sight is just pointless
Air-seal could be better
In my previous experiences with Ares' guns, I've walked away feeling pretty impressed, but a little taken aback by the price. This seems to mitigate most of that price concern, as you get quite a good gun for under $200; pretty far under that price depending on the configuration that choose. The only major concerns that I have are that, like the full fledged Ares guns, you need to pay an extra $70 or so to access the burst functionality that the gun comes pre-equipped with, and the slight flex in the upper receiver. I love the furniture that Amoeba came up with for the gun, both the stock and the pistol grip. Overall, I'd give the Amoeba series a thumbs up, especially with the shorter versions which should have minimal wobble compared to the longer models.
Many thanks again to Airsoft Megastore, and of course, Airsoft Retreat!