Apex Airsoft R5 M12 AEG Review by Booligan
Table of Contents:
Basic Gun Information
This is my second foray with Apex's AEG line-up, the first being the Apex MK13 that I reviewed several months ago. If you recall, I thoroughly enjoyed that gun and was impressed with its construction and performance, but less than pleased with the piston driven blowback system. Well, Apex has been hard at work with their new line of guns, the R5 series, and today, we're looking at the M12 model in this gorgeous burnt bronze finish. How will the R5 compare to the earlier MK13? Read on to find out!
I was sent this gun directly by Apex through their website, 6mm Gunworks. It is available HERE priced currently at $309.99. It shipped out a few days after speaking with them arriving safe and sound a few days later.
Basic Gun Information:
The R5 series of AEGs is a line of fully ambidextrous AR pattern guns built around a modern receiver design and featuring the latest rail systems to help them stand out from the crowd. They use the same modified V2 gearbox from the MK13 series, but with the piston driven blowback system removed for better performance and durability. They come in both CQBR and M4 length outer barrel lengths, with different rail systems including Keymod setups, and in either black or burnt bronze coloring. This model is the M12, with a 14.5" outer barrel, 12" URX type rail kit, and the burnt bronze finish which instantly separates it from the hordes of M4s out there.
The packaging on the R5 looked similar to the MK13 that I reviewed earlier, including the white foam liner that managed to flake off everywhere and found its way lodged in everything on the gun. Such is the way of the foam box lower. Regardless, the gun held within was absolutely gorgeous and the bronze finish was damn near impossible to tear my eyes away from all day. Seriously, I had the package delivered at work and kept getting woefully distracted by the beautiful piece of equipment sitting on the other side of my office.
Click on the individual thumbnails to see the full size photos
Along with the rifle itself, you'll find a single hi-cap magazine, manual, and a cleaning/unjamming rod. There is no battery or charger included, so you will need to provide your own. The gun is designed to run a nunchuck style battery, however, a buffer tube LiPo will fit in the gun with no problems.
Weight: 7.2 lbs
Length: 31.5" - 35"
Sight Radius: 17.6"
Length of Pull: 11.5" - 15"
The R5 is a full metal replica as the only polymer components on the entire gun are stock and the pistol grip. Other than that, you'll find metal as far as the eye can see. On my model, the receiver and handguard are finished in a burnt bronze color that all the kids love these days. I know I love it! The rest of the metal components are finished in a matte or satin black finish that contrasts nicely with the bronze.
External overview, left side
Overview, right side
The stock is a custom designed unit based on a Crane style stock, but with a large loop removed at the bottom. Unlike the MK13, the side tubes are standard size, limiting your battery options slightly, but you still have plenty of room for a split cell battery or a buffer tube LiPo. The stock is fitted to a 6 position buffer tube for easy adjustability to fit most users. An ambidextrous three hole type sling plate is installed between the buffer tube and receiver.
Three hole style sling mounting plate
The upper and lower receivers are the biggest change from the MK13 as it's now a modern, angular design with fully ambidextrous controls. You'll find selector switches, magazine releases, and bolt catches located on both sides and all of the components were fantastically. The pistol grip is a TD type unit with a flathead screw adjustable heat sink motor base. Unfortunately, there is some upper receiver wobble, but this can be fixed with an o-ring placed around the front pin hole base. The pins are a captive design so you don't need to worry about losing them when you disassemble your gun.
Receivers, left side
Right side receiver
Additional controls on the other side
Functional bolt catch
Easily adjustable motor base
The handguard is a URX type unit that's 12.5" long. It's mated to the upper receiver with no wobbles or free play aside from the upper/lower receiver wobble. The outer barrel is a one piece 14.5" unit which is terminated in 14mm- threads, and unfortunately, on my gun, is angled slightly to the side and able to wobble if pushed.
Free float handguard
The iron sights are flip up units similar to the units on the MK13. They lock firmly in place requiring the button on the side to be pushed before they can be folded. The rear is adjustable for windage and the front for elevation, but both need tools to adjust that aren't included. Other than that, you have plenty of rail space for mounting accessories or optics if so desired.
Rear sight folded
Rear sight flipped up
Front sight folded
Front sight flipped up
Like the MK13 before it, the R5 features some trademarks and brand markings on both sides of the receiver. On the left side, you'll find Apex's trademark wings (still begging for the application of a Triforce) as well as a serial number which I believe is unique to each gun. On the right side, you'll find the actual Apex markings, which aren't as deep as they are on the MK13 series. The selector markings are pictograms, adding to the modern look of the receivers.
Pictogram selector markings
The included magazine is a standard M4 design unit, holding 300 rounds and with a slightly gray finish. Nothing too groundbreaking here, but the gun does fit other magazines quite well, so swapping your preferred magazine in should be a piece of cake.
Performance after a 500 round break-in, using ASG Devil .20g ammo is as follows:
High FPS: 411.2 FPS
Low FPS: 407.9 FPS
Average FPS: 408.5 FPS
Rate of fire using my trusty Tenergy 11.1v LiPo battery came in at 19 RPS, 1 round per second faster than the blowback equipped MK13. Not amazing, but it gets the job done. Like the MK13, a higher speed motor will go a long way here to improve the rate of fire.
Range and accuracy was all but identical to the MK13, getting netting torso accurate fire out to 170' with heavier weight .25g BBs. Like the MK13, my shots broke side to side at that range, so I'd recommend going with a more modern hop-up nub setup for optimum accuracy and range.
Accessing the internals of this rifle aren't too difficult compared to any other M4 AEG. The big thing that you'll be fighting with is the bolt catch which must be removed before taking the gearbox out and the gear system that allows the ambidextrous selector switch to work. Just note the way that gears line up and reinstallation will be a relatively simple affair. The big thing you'll need to do is remove the right side selector switch to make disassembly easier, and to note the little notch in the left side selector switch which you'll need to slide the gearbox into.
Gearbox, right side
Gearbox, left side
The modified V2 gearbox is equipped with a quick change spring guide (the gearbox must be removed in order to pull the spring out), 9mm ball bearings, a custom selector plate, and radiused cylinder window to prevent the gearbox from cracking.
Detail of the selector gear setup
Quick change spring guide
9mm ball bearings
Inside the gearbox, you'll find a polymer piston with steel last tooth and aluminum ventilated piston head, an aluminum cylinder head, o-ring equipped air nozzle, steel gears, and a standard trigger system, no MOSFET here. The gears were overgreased and the AR latch wanted to escape every time I looked at it, but overall, the internals are quite stout.
Aluminum cylinder head
Aluminum cylinder head and o-ring equipped air nozzle
The hop-up is a steel rotary unit fitted to an inner barrel that appears to be 350mm long long. The hop-up holds its position well and has good hop-up effect for most BB weights. The motor is a standard long length unit and the wiring is top notch throughout.
There aren't a whole lot of modifications that NEED to be done, but there are a few things that I'd recommend. On my gun, the outer barrel tended to hook to the side, and nothing I could do to it would lock it in place. I swapped the outer barrel for a similar length unit from another manufacturer and still had the wobble. I ended up fixing it by installing a faux gas block that held the outer barrel in place and kept it from drifting to the side. Not the best solution, but it worked. I also slipped an o-ring around the front receiver pin hole to eliminate the upper receiver wobble.
Otherwise, I'll be tossing an Echo 1 mock silencer on the front and calling it a day. The gun looks gorgeous on its own, it doesn't need a lot of work to be perfection.
Gorgeous bronze color
Full metal construction
Fully ambidextrous controls
Skirmishable performance out of the box
Great gearbox components
Radiused cylinder window for durability
Well made flip up iron sights
Functional bolt catch works great
Upper receiver wobble - easily fixed with an o-ring
My outer barrel is off center
Rate of fire is better than MK13, but not as good as other guns with similar components
Some paint flaws on my gun
Apex may be a new name in the airsoft market, but they've done a good job with the guns they've put out so far. They've worked with a good OEM manufacturer (the Classic Army factory) and have picked good components to shove inside the gun. The performance out of the box is skirmishable, and the gun doesn't have too many flaws to speak of. The issues I had with my gun are mainly about attention to detail. Some small paint defects here and there and the slightly angled barrel are problematic and can't be easily fixed unless you have a pile o' parts like I do, but they're not things that every gun should have. Overall, I'm pleased with the R5 line, but more so, I'm impressed with Apex's resolve to evolve and improve their product line with each new iteration. It's a trend I'd like to see from more airsoft companies!
Many thanks again to 6mm Gunworks, and of course, Airsoft Retreat!