A year on, and the PinoyAirsoft crew are back, just in time to ring in the new year with some appropriately heavy artillery: the modern-day Pig! The A&K M60E4/Mk43 Mod 0 gets its trial by fire in another long term test. This time it’s a test of both man and machine through dense tropical terrain.
Hello and welcome to PinoyAirsoft Evolution 5. Tonight, it’s all about heavy metal and plastic rain as we look at the A&K Mk 43 Mod 0 / M60E4.
World War 2 in Europe taught the Americans a hard lesson in dealing with machine gun squads. So they sought to replicate and improve on the lethal German designs they fought against with the T44 prototype. The prototype led to the M60, a general-purpose machine gun meant to be the ultimate squad-level weapon. From conflict to conflict, it has evolved to keep up with modern war, until we come to the ultimate version, the M60E4 or the Navy Mark 43 Mod 0.
This isn’t the first airsoft version, but A&K are the first to mass produce an affordable one that isn’t made of plastic. This one is a metal monster that looks to live up to the ferocity of the real thing. And you can have it for the price of an iPod.
Out of the box, it shoots at 407 FPS on 0.25, or a staggering 470 FPS on 0.20g. Or 2 Joules. That’s the maximum legal limit in Hong Kong. And unlike your garden-variety upgraded M4, it delivers that power in an unbroken hail of plastic death. An unrelenting 10 to 12 Rounds Per Second, on the standard battery. The hail just goes on and on and on.
Contrast this with the M249, where ROF slows down after 3 or 4 seconds. The 249 is for a boxer with finesse, pouncing with quick jabs. Meanwhile, the M60 is for a drunken brawler. It just corners you and punches you. Repeatedly. In the face.
This isn’t to say it’s messy and inaccurate. The 470 mm inner barrel delivers respectable 30 millimeter groupings at 15 yards.
The M60E4 has a vertical grip, designed to be fired in offhand stance, like a rifle. The revised bipod puts the center of mass below its pivot to make a stable shooting platform. Barrel release and handle are faithfully replicated nice touches but serve no real purpose.But the ambidextrous safety works and will come in handy.
The gas regulator actually controls rate of fire electrically. It’s a nice touch not even the high end VFC version can claim to have.
The Mark 43 is shorter than the standard M60. At a little shy of 1 meter in length, it’s actually as short as an M249 PARA with stock extended. Fully loaded, it weighs in at a solid 16 pounds.
The sound activated autowinding boxmag is also made solid, unlike the paper box VFC throws in. But unlike the M249 and more like older SAW designs, the box magazine sticks out awkwardly out on the left.
In The Box
A&Ks kit comes with everything you need to rock and roll. No extra batteries needed as the boxmag plugs in to the gun for power. About the only thing that’s lacking in this package is a couple of kilos of ammunition to fill up the boxmag. It’s all there, and everything is usable. And yes, even the user manual is useful, having been photocopied from a good source.
Popping the top cover gives you easy access to the barrel-style hopup, which is not unlike on the 249. Teardown is an easy task, with everything but the gearbox readily disassembled without tools. Popping the top cover gives you easy access to the barrel-style hopup, which is not unlike on the 249.
Under the metal, you’d expect there to be some very scary upgrades. Outside the massive gearbox certainly looks solid and is also cleanly constructed. All the wiring into the gearbox is routed through a connector that plugs into the receiver.
The spring is longer than normal. The motor is heavily magnetized. The gears are nothing special but reassuringly well lubricated. The tappet plate, cylinder and piston are longer than normal.
Amazingly, the compression can only be described as appalling. It’s baffling how it even manages to do 2J. Another mystery is the hopup. Turning it even all the way up seems to do nothing to the BB flight path.
Now then the chinks in the metal monster’s armor are showing. It gets worse.
Issue 1 – Boxmag Switch Location
The boxmag, a rare design innovation, is ruined by having the switch in the most awkward place it could possibly be. Even punching a hole through the ammo bag doesn’t remedy this issue, as the switch stays hidden behind the battery.
Issue 2 – Loose Front Set
More seriously, though, the front set, given time to bed in, has a tendency to wobble. With some stress, the screws can come off the body, which, being made of a weak alloy, tends to let the screws destroy the threading. In point of fact, we had to change out all the screws with common stove bolts to hold it together long enough to complete this review.
Issue 3 – Mag Mount Loses Thread
The problem extends further elsewhere. Putting stress on the magazine mount can cause one of the screws to shear off the receiver and later cause the entire mount to separate.
Conclusion: Recommended With Reservations
In the end, we can only recommend the A&K Mk43 with some reservation. Out of the box it is quite a capable BB hose. But ultimately the A&K Mk43 is let down by all the shoddy materials used to keep it affordable. If it could only take as good as it dished out, this gun would actually be skirmishable.
Granted, it’s still the most powerful support gun you can get out of the box. That is, until the screws come loose.
Got an A&K Mk43 Mod 0? We’d like to hear your opinions in the comments!