Modifying the VSR

It’s been a long time since I did anything with my VSR internally. No reason to really, it shot well, up to around 90m. Was reliable enough. Had seen a few years of action and never missed a beat (I was going to type target there…). As with many good VSR builds, it centred around the Action Army hop chamber, with a Maple Leaf bucking and Crazy Jet barrel, which is superb for the price. Most of the cylinder assembly is Maple Leaf too, with a Springer custom trigger.

But then a few months back, Longbow BB, a UK airsoft sniper store, very kindly sent me some of their Orange Guide Rings (review here), and with the existing guide rings being pretty much the last stock part on the gun, I was really excited to complete the build with them. But then I hit upon a problem.

The old guide rings, being a bit loose and worn down, hid a worrying issue with the Maple Leaf cylinder. When I went to install the new Orange guide rings, they would only slide an inch or so on either end before getting stuck. Under the duress of shooting, over time, the cylinder had expanded and warped slightly in the middle. I’d lost a few fps and a bit of range over time, and reasoned that if it expands, then as the piston moves forward, air escapes back past it due to the increased diameter. It’s certainly not something I’d ever thought to check before, so I’ve switched to a spare (*cough*stock) cylinder for the time being. And then thought about a bit of a rebuild while I’m at it. Already during lockdown I’d received a Gunsmithy TDC set, which applies top down pressure perfectly onto the hop, adds the functionality of an easy to adjust dial on the top of the rifle (the Action Army is horrible, having to cock the gun, turn it over, remove the mag and fiddle around with a hex key). Full review to come soon.

I have a box of spare buckings in my tool kit. Everything from Madbull, to every Maple Leaf under the sun, to an original Flamingo. I do get a few bits to test and review, so not a lot of them see a great deal of use. The one that always stood out to me though was the Modify Tan.

It’s a pretty basic bucking (link here) and doesn’t seem to have any cleverly designed contact patch. But the airseal is brilliant and it just works. It’s a very high quality rubber and does as good a job as any I’ve used before. Longbow also sent me out a set of Modify X-Range buckings last year but unfortunately the window on my barrel was too narrow for the large contact patch. Testing at a quiet woodland site without any wind, the lift generated was excellent but unfortunately I couldn’t hit a caravan at twenty metres because the narrow barrel window caused the bucking to sit twisted and deformed. From that moment, I knew I needed to figure out how to get that bucking into my gun.

Cue Longbow yet again with more stuff to test and save the day. The newly released Modify 6.03mm VSR barrel, and some new X-Range buckings.

Pictured attached here is the Modify X-Range 55° bucking. For those who don’t understand the degrees on buckings, it’s a hardness. Traditionally, airsoft buckings have been made in 50, 60, 70, and 80°. The 50 is softest, wears quicker but adds more grip. The 80 is the hardest, less grippy but more durability and more common with high fps setups such as sniper rifles. Because I like grip, and therefore more hop effect, I’ve always stuck to 50°, bar some 60’s in the buckings box I’ve been sent out because some people tell me 50 is too soft. Personally, I’d rather buy a new bucking each year than have a harder one that doesn’t apply the hop properly.

The good news from Modify is that they’re now doing INBETWEEN hardnesses. Like the 55° in the picture. Glorious.

As for the barrel itself, it’s by far the heaviest barrel I’ve ever fitted to any airsoft gun, which I guess equates to quality. It’s solid stainless steel, unlike some barrels which are cheap metal underneath but then coated for a smoother finish, which is fine as long as you can guarantee the coating doesn’t get scratched. It has a very large window

Which obviously is designed for the X-Range buckings. It’s worth noting here that the Crazy Jet barrel is optimizer for Maple Leaf buckings and the Flamingo, so always match barrels with buckings.

The bit that really caught my eye though was this very deep crown at the shooty end. I would imagine it works similarly to the Crazy Jet. Basically, the BB suddenly popping out of the barrel into the air can destabilise it, whereas these barrels create a cushion of air around the BB to help smooth that transition between different air pressures.

First day of testing at the site went really well, very pleased with the setup although the cylinder will need looked at in the near future. Sniping is all about getting that extra few % improvement, although I don’t think the ridiculously priced stuff is enough of an improvement to justify the cost. I’d give the Maple Leaf setups 8/10 and the buckings and Crazy Jets are an easy drop in upgrade for any stock rifle, but the Modify stuff is just that little bit ahead for me and both are probably somewhere in the middle of the price range for upgrade parts.

As mentioned, I got my stuff from Longbow so huge thanks and if you want to get hold of some, use the discount code “GSG” for 5% off.

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