G&G GSS (VSS Vintorez) Review by Booligan
Table of Contents:
Basic Gun Information
It seems like the VSS Vintorez is one of those airsoft guns that just plain didn't exist until a year or so ago, when suddenly, several different companies launched their own versions of this unique weapons platform. G&G launched their "GSS" a short time ago, and with it, promised a lot of technological advancements over "normal" AEGs. It has a laundry list of features not found on other airsoft replicas, but how well did these things turn out in the final product? Let's take a look at it and find out!
I was sent the GSS directly through G&G, official website www.guay2.com, who is a manufacturer and therefore doesn't engage in direct sales. You can currently find the gun for sale at most overseas airsoft retailers, with a full US launch coming soon. It is currently priced at $450.00 at eHobby Asia, so I'd expect the US price to be similar once it lands. The gun comes as a complete package, with everything you need to hit the field and start playing. You can find G&G on the web at youtube.com/guay2tv and twitter.com/ggarmament
Basic Gun Information:
The GSS is a replica of the VSS Vintorez, a Russian designed integrally suppressed sniper rifle designed for special unit use. It's a unique looking gun, that's for sure. The GSS is a full metal replica, as everything that should be metal on the real gun is properly replicated on the AEG. The only non-metal parts are the real laminated wood stock assembly and the polymer handguard and magazine, just like on the real gun. The gun includes an advanced MOSFET system that gives you features like LiPo battery monitoring and empty magwell detection. The gun is designed for LiPo use and even includes two special batteries custom designed just for this gun. You can use your own LiPo battery if it'll fit in the compartment using the included adapter.
I had previously reviewed Echo 1's version of the Vintorez, so I knew generally what to expect from looking at this type of gun. I was very impressed with the G&G though, as it looked simply perfect as soon as I opened the lid on the box. The box itself is nicely decorated, styled after a gun case, but in actually, is still just a cardboard box.
Click on the individual thumbnails to see the full size photos
Box art. Say hello to Svetlana.
Along with the gun itself, G&G includes two custom LiPo batteries, a balance charger, Tamiya adapter, a magazine, and manual. Toss in some G&G BBs and you're ready to hit the field.
Weight: 7.5 lbs
Sight Radius: 12"
Externally, the GSS is comprised almost entirely out of matte black metal, aside from the large, extremely gorgeous thumbhole wooden stock. The main body is aluminum, with steel components and a large steel made mock suppressor. The handguard is a high strength polymer with a matte black finish perfectly matching the rest of the gun. The overall feel and build quality is top notch with absolutely zero creaks, wobbles, or freeplay to be found.
External overview, right side
Overview, left side
The thumbhole style stock is made of real laminated wood, finished in a very attractive coloring that adds to the realistic look of the gun. It houses the motor, and as such, makes the grip portion quite chunky. It's not the most comfortable gun to hold onto, but it's certainly not the least comfortable I've tested either. The stock is fitted with a large rubber butt pad as well as a metal sling mount on the left side. You can quickly remove the stock and motor assembly in one piece by pressing the button at the top of the tang and sliding it off towards the rear.
Rubber butt pad
Button to remove the stock
Motor and electrical connectors
The lower receiver is made of aluminum and houses the trigger system, safety switch, separate selector switch for semi and full auto, magazine release lever, and the scope mount on the left side. The trigger pull is simply perfect, given the microswitch firing system. The safety switch is similar to an AK unit, however, it only has two settings, safe and fire. The switch for semi and full auto is located behind the trigger, like on the real gun, however, it can be tricky to quickly manipulate.
Receiver, right side
Receiver, left side
Moving forward, you'll find the tiny little handguard that features a tiny little slot on the left side to attach a sling to. There's no rail or anything else like that on this gun, and that's precisely the way it should be!
The outer barrel is, for all intents and purposes, nonexistent. There is, however, a massive mock suppressor in its place, and it can be quickly removed to install the battery by rotating the base. It locks securely in place when tightened up with no wobbles or free play. It features an aggressively knurled finish, just like the real gun, and the whole front end is painted orange for federal shipping compliance. The inner barrel is not centered in the can because of the battery installed inside.
Large suppressor assembly
Offset inner barrel
Aiming the GSS is accomplished using the AK style iron sights, both of which are mounted to the suppressor assembly. The rear is adjustable for elevation in the traditional AK style, and the front requires a tool. You can mount optics using the side mount if so desired, just ensure that you're getting one compatible with SVD type mounts.
There aren't any trademarks to be found on the GSS, however, a "Made in Taiwan" and serial number are located on either side of the magwell. The serial number appears to be unique to each gun, but I haven't confirmed this yet.
The included magazine is a hicap holding about 250 rounds. The magazine is made of a high strength polymer with steel reinforcements at the front and back. It locks into the gun very securely and feeds very well. It's a custom design engineered to trigger the microswitch inside the magwell to tell the gun when a magazine is inserted. The GSS uses a special computerized trigger system that will lock the gun out if a magazine isn't inserted. This can be bypassed by flipping a small switch inside the magwell.
Performance using G&G .20g ammo, shot through a Madbull V1 Chronograph is as follows:
High FPS: 351.2 FPS
Low FPS: 344.6 FPS
Average FPS: 348.2 FPS
ROF with the included 11.1v LiPo battery is 15 RPS. Honestly, given the velocity that this gun is shooting at, that ROF is a little lower than I expected it to be. It's still perfectly skirmishable, but seems a little low given the parts involved.
Range and accuracy is good for a stock AEG, but certainly not a DMR or sniper rifle out of the box. I was easily able to get my shots on my standard torso sized target out to 160' using .25g G&G ammo. The hop-up does a good job with heavier weight ammo, but the gun didn't seem to have the power to effectively use ammo over .28g. The hop-up adjuster is easily accessed by pulling back the charging handle, letting you adjust the M4 type dial.
The GSS uses a custom designed gearbox fitted with a QD spring change system, MOSFET trigger system, 8mm ball bearings, steel gears, and a custom designed air nozzle system that eliminates the need for a tappet plate. The system works fairly well at the stock performance levels, but it seems a bit sluggish, and may cause feeding issues at higher rates of fire.
Funky gearbox design
Quick change spring removed
The gearbox shell is made of G&G's standard metal material with two steel clips on top. The whole microswitch trigger assembly is its own unit that connects to the side mounted MOSFET assembly. A mini automotive style fuse is installed on the MOSFET board and can be easily accessed by popping off the top cover.
Magazine sensor and switch to disable empty magwell function
A full exploded diagram can be found here:
The hop-up uses an M4 style adjuster but is a custom design for this gun. The hop-up bucking and inner barrel are standard units, so upgrades are simple if desired. The gun uses a 430mm long inner barrel, which is fairly long for a relatively compact gun like this.
I won't be doing any modifications to this gun, as it's returning to G&G following my review, but I would certainly recommend ordering an optic, or at least an optic mount for it to allow for more accurate aiming.
High end external construction
Massive steel mock silencer
Quick detach stock assembly
Real laminated wood on stock
Designed for LiPo use
Includes two LiPo batteries
Microswitch trigger system
Empty magwell cutoff system
Quick change spring system
Pistol grip is quite thick
Spare magazines may be hard to come by
Selector switch is a little tricky to use
Inner barrel is off center in the suppressor due to the battery compartment
The GSS is one of the latest guns from the G&G factory, and by all means, it's one of their best. The body is very well made, internals are up to par for a gun of this type, and the performance is good for CQB type play, which is a little off considering it's designed as a "sniper" type AEG. It's an expensive gun, certainly at the top of G&G's pricing and therefore, towards their top tier of gun quality, and that shows in the overall construction and design. They just made some funky decisions in order to make certain things work. The inner barrel is offset towards the top of the suppressor because the battery is fitted inside. The battery had to be fitted inside the suppressor in order to make the detachable stock work, but why did the stock have to detach in the first place? Yes, it's a realistic feature, but doesn't have much use other than to make the gun slightly easier to store. Same with the empty magwell cutoff. If it were an empty magazine cutoff, it would have much more use for realistic skirmishing, but since it just cuts it off when a magazine is removed entirely, it seems like more of a safety feature as opposed to a realism one.
It's a good gun, well built, with a full feature list and a price to match. If you're in the market for a VSS replica, it's certainly one of the better options available, if you can get over the few strange things like the offset inner barrel and fat grip. G&G threw all of their current generation tech into this gun, and it certainly shows in the end product.
Many thanks again to G&G Armament, and of course, Airsoft Retreat!