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Asahi M60E3 Review

Psst, ping, HIT!!!!!!
Someone is using a GBB and it’s not a pistol?
Someone has been making hits from 90 meters away?
Is that a gas M60? Wow!!!

Written by: Vaszi bacsi (Red Tigers Airsoft Team), Hungary.

Interviewing: Trasher (Skorpio Softair Team), Hungary.

I had to find out more about it…Mr. Trasher was more than helpful about sharing info of his delicious 15 years old (!!!) Asahi M60E3 for the Hellasairsoft forum.


Vaszi: I am impressed by that sweetie you got Trasher, but first of all I would like to ask what the retail price is for it. I am guessing a lot, right?
Trasher: You can find them on Ebay or classicairsoft.net from about 800 up to 2200 dollars. Mine was around 2000 dollars (including shipping and custom work).

Vaszi: Why such a wide price range?
Trasher: The lower cost ones have been poorly maintained and have seen 5 or more owners. Different versions have different price tags, some editions (Super DX) were limited to less than 500 models. Mine was almost brand new when it was acquired. It had been hanging on a wall in Japan for around 8 years. After the purchase it was shipped from Japan to the States where it stayed for 6 months and it was fine tuned by a gunsmith.


Vaszi: Can you explain to us how the system works?
Trasher: Actually the operation is quite simple - it's called Asahi BV (Bullet Valve) system. High pressure gas from an external source is connected to the gun via a hose and low pressure regulator. BBs are loaded from a BB reservoir into a tube by manually cycling the charging handle. When the trigger is pressed the system is pressurized. Pressure pushes the BBs through the tube into the barrel assembly or BV-unit. (The gas and BBs coexist in the same tube.) The only con of the Asahi M60 system is that only 30-60 BBs loaded each time (depending on the model) when you pull the charging handle. The magazine capacity of the gun is about 500-700 BBs. Long bursts, steady suppressive fire is not possible with this system since you have to rack the charging handle quite frequently.


Trasher: What makes the gun so efficient is the unique aftermarket hop up system. The original Asahi M60 had no hopup whatsoever and had a maximum range of 35-40 meters. Back in the '80-'90 a japanese custom shop called Sheriff developed a special kind of drop-in barrel which increased the performance of Asahi guns dramatically. It was called LRB (Long Range Barrel). These are much thicker than AEG barrels, usually made from barrel blanks with 10mm outside diameter.

The Long Range Barrel has an offset bore, so BBs are positioned under the barrel axis and rolling up on a feed ramp into the breech (similar to the feeding of real guns) when the Asahi is fired. With each shot the barrel moves forward and backward. The moving barrel and the offset breech together gives a very-very powerful backspin (hopup effect) to the BBs over the entire length of the barrel. It's completely different from AEG hopup systems and it makes longer shots possible at much lower muzzle velocity.


Vaszi: The gas feeding is being done from an exterior source. What kind of gas can be used?
Trasher: Every kind of compressed gas will do the job. Typically CO2 or HPA (High Pressure Air) is used.

Vaszi: What about the level of pressure used for optimal performance?
Trasher: Paintball guns operate at very high pressures (500-800psi) compared to classic airsoft guns. My Asahi runs smoothly on 100 psi. Anything over 200 psi would damage the internals, seals, etc. Actually it took me about 6 months to find out the correct pressure setting for the best performance.

Vaszi: Is this regulated from the can or the gun itself?
Trasher: The pressure is being regulated by a low pressure stabilizer or regulator which is screwed on the external gas tank. You set the operating pressure on the stabilizer and you are ready to go. No adjustments are made on the gun. It's all about the combination of BB weight and gas pressure that do the job.

Vaszi: Usually GBBs are temperamental about the environment’s temperature. What about the Asahi?
Trasher: There is no problem at all since you can use pressurized air in the winter. With CO2 there is no considerable "cooldown effect" above 10-12 Celsius, because CO2 has time to vaporize (turn to gas state from liquid form) thanks to the external setup and large tank.


Vaszi: What kind of ammo do you use for the beast?
Trasher: Due to the fixed and unadjustable hop up system that is indeed a very sensitive point. Using .20 BBs is completely out of the question. They are too light for the LRB. They go vertical, curve up to the sky after about 20 meters! .25s are somewhat better, but they are still over-hopped. As I mentioned before, it took me about 6 months to find the proper BB weight and pressure to reach maximum performance. Now I am using GP .28 high quality BBs.


Vaszi: What about the maintenance required to keep the beauty running? Is it similar to an AEG?
Trasher: Close but, the gun needs careful lubing every 5000 rounds to keep the barrel moving smoothly and to ensure the correct spin effect. Other than that you should keep it clean and make sure that there is no rust on the gun’s parts. The lack of gears, nozzle, tappet, motor, piston, bushings, wiring, battery, etc makes the maintenance easier than on a modern AEG. Very few parts do wear out. Some seals, O-rings must be replaced every 50.000-100.000 firing cycles. Springs are replaced even less frequently.


Vaszi: Are the parts of the gun interchangeable with AEG parts?
Trasher: Only some aesthetic parts can be used from an AEG because the contemporary AEGs are based on old GBB designs. The internals can not be replaced from AEGs’.

Vaszi: So, you can’t change the barrel for example for a tight bore one?
Trasher: That can’t happen because the barrel and the hop up system is one piece.

Vaszi: That means that in case of needing to replace some parts you got to an old man in a Japanese basement who hand makes them?
Trasher: Yes, but in case of a broken part it's easier to go to a machinist or a licensed gunsmith to fix it or make a new one. Most of the original parts are made from heavy duty steel or brass, and these are not too complicated.


Vaszi: I guess a lot of players have been wondering about the Fps and the range. Please enlighten us on that.
Trasher: Couple times I heard rumors back that some guys think I must be using a very high powered gun. They thought “hey, that is a 600 fps gun at least and it’s not allowed on the field”. That is not true in any way. The Asahi M60 performs best at 1.7 Joules which is 360fps with .28s (equals 420-430fps w/ .20 BBs). This gives me an effective range of 70 meters and maximum range is over 92 meters! It's not an exaggeration (check my video), I monitor all my test shooting very carefully with a Bushnell laser rangefinder and a Guarder chrono. My highly upgraded VSR has less range than the Asahi.
So the bottom line is: not the barrel length or Fps is the most important factor for getting more range - it's all about the hop-up's effectiveness. Asahi guns with LRB can have more range than modern AEGs at much-much lower velocitites. The tradeoff is that you can't adjust the hopup and the BB spread is much wider due to the moving barrel design.


Vaszi: Are there a lot of players that use these type of replicas?
Trasher: No, in any way. There are no more than a handful of people (8-10 perhaps?) in Europe who use these for skirmishes. Most owners are collectors only. This is due to the price range and the not too widely available information on classic airsoft guns. There are very few guys out there who know how to operate these guns - or how to fix them if something goes wrong. Original replacement parts can be very hard or impossible to get. It’s much more easier to get a “plug and play” AEG for the 1/5th of the price. Classics can be fun, but not for the beginner players.

Interview by Vaszi bacsi,
Red Tigers Airsoft Team,
Budapest, May 2007

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This review was brought to you by Vaszi bacsi (Red Tigers Airsoft Team)

Posted on: August 30, 2007. Budapest, Hungary.


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