A morning session at the range at Dirty Dog Airsoft this weekend testing a new combination of VSR 10 parts threw up some surprise results. Want to know what setup I’m using? Read on…
Building my VSR
I get quite a lot of upgrade parts sent out to test. Some good, some need tweaked, some are in the bin behind my desk. As with any airsoft bolt action rifle, it’s sometimes a lottery of parts compatability. As I’ve covered in the Rifle Upgrading section, it’s often not the most expensive parts that work best together, but the most compatible; usually from the same manufacturer.
However, in the endless quest to find the perfect VSR setup, I like to try as many things out as I can. The goal I set myself a few years ago was to master this common, but now perhaps less fashionable rifle in the same way some well known players have adopted and learned other platforms (Brad Naus with his Mk23, Hutchy with his Ares Striker, and I used to love seeing Punimiles with his R93 Blaser but I think that’s now sadly fallen out of favour). Ever the benchmark by which all other rifles are measured, it has been overtaken in popularity by quirky new “tacticool” rifles peddled by Instagram posers and YouTube clickbaiters. But the VSR still remains popular because of its reliability, parts availability, and reputation, though in the last few years my personal rifle has been starting to look a bit dated on the shooting range compared to the newer models. It perhas needed an overhaul, though more valuable than that of course was the opportunity to test and learn.
The last VSR setup I had that I trusted was 465fps on 0.20, running at 2.2 joules which is just under the UK’s 2.3 joules limit. It could, after being looked at by Sniper Mechanic, hit around 85m comfortably, though it was a few metres under that after I’d had it back and tinkered with it a few times. The spring was stock as it has been since purchase, it had a WASP piston in and a variety of buckings throughout its life, most successfully the Maple Leaf Autobot and Modify Tan. I ran a Crazy Jet barrel which worked very well, and I was largely happy with the performance.
The next major upgrade was thanks to Longbow, who sent out some Modify X-Range buckings to play with. Unfortunately the window on my Crazy Jet barrel was too narrow and caused the bucking to deform, and sent shots all over the place, but it was clear it could really lift bb’s. The solution, also from Longbow, was a Modify stainless steel 6.03mm barrel with a wider hop window. I’ve found Modify buckings to be very consistent and they have a good airseal, meanwhile I’d discovered my Maple Leaf cylinder had warped so it was a case of Modify in and Maple Leaf out at the business end of the gun.
Then some guy in China decided to eat a bat and everything came to a halt. In the last year and however long it’s been, I’ve kept busy by blogging, exploring camouflage and tactics, and chatting to retailers and manufacturers just to keep my mind occupied. Inbetween UK lockdowns, where it was possible to get out and play, I’d had two summer game days meeting up with my teammates and playing some social CQB with them. While locked down, I’d had a few bits and pieces delivered from various places to give the VSR a makeover.
Thankfully, the shadow of covid is now lifting and things here in the UK are starting to return to normal. Which means the sniper kit came out, and the VSR finally got its chance to be let loose on the range at Dirty Dog.
Hitting the range
And here it is. Yes, I could have taken some better pics. I was very lucky to have Sniper Buddy Aiden with me, who had a rangefinder. The shooting is done from a steel container with windows in, which gives a nice static starting point, something to rest on, and cover from the torrential rain. We have 4 targets at Dirty Dog, shown here –
#1 at 20m (MED range, very important to memorise)
#2 at 30m
#3 at 40m (so typically the expected range on a basic assault rifle)
#4 at 70m, barely visible in the next section of the field in the photo, and is a big yellow metal thing for us snipers to aim for.
Unfortunately, the range in the past has suffered badly from crosswinds from the adjacent fields, and it’s not a very sheltered place to test accuracy. They’ve fixed this in part by adding earth either side at shorter ranges, but it’s not much good past the 40m mark.
It was a Saturday game day this week. Usually held on Sundays, Dirty Dog is pulling in 200+ players on game day. Saturdays are much quieter and with heavy rain, there are only 40 players out of which half look like they’re experiencing their first game day. All sniper rifles must be chrono’d and tagged in advance, so the first thing I usually do is hit the range anyway to sort that out, and check to see if it needs any adjustments. With a few new parts installed, list to follow, it’s hitting 441fps on 0.20 (the site chrono’s on fps), which is down from the old 465fps but i’ll take anything to start with. Using Longbow 0.45g bb’s, we worked out that it was hitting at 2.1 joules, so nicely inside limits anyway once I’ve switched to heavier bb’s. The mag catch kept sticking, so it was back to a covered area with a bench to strip it and sort it out.
The first game was CQB anyway, so I was happy sitting out while I talked upgrades with Aiden and the work I’ve done on the gun. Feeding still seemed to be an issue with a couple of mags anyway. Most of the morning is then taken up walking back and forth in the rain, and I used the time to zero the scope in again and adjust the hop.
I start zeroing by lining up the vertical line first, so I know it’s going straight, and then adjust the horizontal to hit at 40m using the target. Why 40m? Well, I reckon most engagements are 30-60m anyway during the summer months due to restricted sightlines with all the extra greenery, and using the targets I know what 40m looks like, so it’s a good point of aim to work from. Also, there’s a small red logo on the corner of the 40m target.
Aiden also used the time on the morning to get his VSR set up too (man knows a good rifle). It’s a little lower power than mine and he’s switched to 0.40, and his Visionking short dot needs zeroed too, so we were both busy getting set up. I started moving out to the 70m target just to test range, and hit one past to see, out of curiosity, how much further the shot went. It got Aiden’s attention. I brought the scope up against the darker trees right at the back of the range. The hop was set pretty flat, I wasn’t trying to overhop it and do anything clever to get more range. Nor was it a lob shot upwards at a 45 degree angle.
It went sailing into that treeline right at the back, though just starting to drop off at that point. Heavy ammo, once it runs out of steam, does tend to drop pretty sharply compared to the lighter ones, but you get a flatter trajectory until that point.
Aiden gave me the measurement. First thought, out loud, was “Fuck off”. I’ve never had a rifle hit past 90m before, not that it bothered me. Again and again we tested. Again and again, it reached the treeline. 115 metres. Yeah, I googled it afterwards too. Could I hit a person at that range? Probably not, the wind and rain can play havoc with accuracy so I don’t know how accurate it is at that range, and I don’t engage players at those ranges anyway for lots of reasons. Nonetheless, something was clearly right with the setup. Not being one to hide anything, except myself (sniper joke, you can save that one for parties), I thought I’d share what’s in it, in the hope it’ll help others set their rifles up within the sea of upgrades available for the VSR and hopefully get equally good results.
I imagine it’s like that moment when you find God, or win the lottery or something. Except that the lottery still doesn’t quite feed bb’s properly so it’s not quite perfect. But there’s no way I’m changing any of these parts ever again. Capturing evidence on camera just didn’t work unfortunately, because I only had my phone camera (I did try Hutchy), and I’ve only got the one witness, but thankfully it’s a rifle and not a fairy, so I don’t need people to believe in it for it to work. I can just sit here smug with it beside my bed.
Stock cylinder (sorry to disappoint, it’s all I have at the moment) with AA cylinder head
[New] Rapax 2j spring
[New] Modify 6.03mm Stainless Steel tightbore barrel
[New] Gunsmithy TDC and stock hop unit
Swiss Arms GOOB Silencer (no, it doesn’t affect the shooting but it is sexy as hell)
And there you go. VSR like a pro. Blow all these bullpups clean out of the water.