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Old 06-21-2008, 12:36 PM
EvolutionxTheory EvolutionxTheory is offline
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Clone vs. High End: an Eternal Struggle

Ok, I'm looking at an Echo1 M4/M16 or a CA Sportline and I was wondering what are the pros and cons of each and which one is worth it. I'm planning on leaving it stock (my first gun) and doing some skirmishes with friends. Thanks in advance.
Old 06-21-2008, 12:37 PM
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A friend was telling me that the internals of the CA sportline suck. Me and my friends all have JG or Echo 1 guns and they perform well
Old 06-21-2008, 12:53 PM
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I would go with Echo 1. Now if it were the high-end CA or Echo, I would go with the CA anyday.

Im not very impressed by the CA sportline myself, but Echo 1 have great stock performance.
Old 06-21-2008, 02:18 PM
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BOSS, sorry, but your friend needs to post about it and why first.

First, I will say that I am very biased towards CA. I have had very negative experiences. If they cant put the M16 trigger pin hole thing in the right spot, they dont deserve to breath.

I would buy the E1. Better part compatability and they have more consistant manufactures. Sturdy, better hop system, better wiring, better price... And read Mr Blacks post. Hes one of the most experienced smiths around here, and certainly the most vocal. Hes got the right Idea.

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Old 06-21-2008, 02:57 PM
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First off realize that I have no personal experience with the CA sportline series.

The echo 1's definatly shoot hotter when you first buy it, they require almost no upgrades if you did plan on doing the usual "m120" style upgrade. Ive seen very few problems with them. However if you were planning on buying from a local store like airsoft smith, you would be garunteed to be covered by the store if your CA were to break due to factory defects within the warrenty period. The Echo 1's have a warrenty, but Im not sure if Smith deals with it any differently. If your ordering off the internet, I would go with the echo 1 (partly due to the variety), but Im sure you would be very satisfied with the CA gun aswell, so don't let me turn you off from them as I have NO personal experience with the CA sportline, but I have only heard good things.
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Old 06-21-2008, 03:06 PM
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I would definately go with the E1, I have had no problems with mine at all and it works great. I have had friends whose CA Sportline have stopped working properly after using them just a couple times.
Old 06-21-2008, 03:29 PM
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Go with echo 1. Shoots 30 fps faster, my freind has had two sportlines and they have broke, but my echo 1 still hasn't. they both have plastic bodys. Also echo 1's ris m4 is like only 5 dollars more than the m4 while CA sprt's don't.

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Old 06-21-2008, 04:58 PM
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Look up Mr. Black in members list and go to his post about echo1 VS CA
Old 06-21-2008, 08:15 PM
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ECHO1! Just get the ECHO1. I have 4 and have nothing bad to say about any of them.
Old 06-21-2008, 08:37 PM
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Here is the post that Mr. Bob is referring to. I would say that the CA sportline guns make great CQB weapons out of the box, they shoot 350fps and have a high rate of fire. This is the result of CA putting a relatively high speed motor in these guns. However, the motor cannot take any fps upgrades above 350fps. You will need to replace the motor and spring if this is what you want. Echo1 is great for outdoor play, they shoot 400fps out of the box and are reliable and well made weapons. Here is the post:

Hey guys,
Four months ago this statement would have caused an uproar, but now that Echo1 has been around long enough for everyone to see them in action, I feel I can just outright state my opinions about what is “better” between these guns.

The Echo1 Vector Arms MP5 RIS version is the best MP5 on the market for outdoor use. If you want to play indoors it is worth having the FPS taken down to 350fps or lower. YES, better than a Tokyo Marui and Classic Army. Not just in price, but in every way.

There, I said it. Whewww that felt good..

OK. Classic Army M4 vs Echo1

Quite frankly, as a custom smith I am so happy that Echo1 has come out with plain, plastic body guns with great internals. It's for this reason: IM SO TIRED OF SEEING THE SAME OLD CLASSIC ARMY OVER AND OVER AGAIN. And broken, but Ill get to that later.

When airsoft was new to our country Tokyo Marui was the only real option for airsofters, and the incentive to upgrade their externals to metal was well justified because the internals were worth keeping well after the body had broken. And metal bodies are always stronger and more satisfying than plastic ones. This began a sort of renaissance of creativity in the airsoft community because everyone needed to buy metal bodies and externals anyways, "So why not have something unique," they said to themselves. And so it was quite common to have unique and beautiful weapons that their owners cared for and devoted time and interest in because it was special, and not just to them, but it was indeed special among airsoft guns.

Then Classic Army began not to suck, made gearboxes that were made to hold up at 400fps, and came with metal bodies out of the box. And so it was that everyone bought a Classic Army or two or eight. What people found was that instead of saving money on the cost effective Classic Army they just used that money to buy many different kinds of them. And how unsatisfying it was indeed, for none of these guns looked that much different than anyone else's gun. What was once unique and special was now replaced with normal, good enough, and lots of it.

The introduction of the Echo1 may cause what I feel will be the most important change in attitude toward these guns since the days of Tokyo Marui. Unlike the days of TM where having a unique gun also meant that you had spent a Crap Load of money on it, (which is by the way is where the so called “elitist” attitude came from that only started to reside recently). The Echo1 guns have the potential to be externally upgraded for around the same amount of money that a new Classic Army would cost. This is thanks to the Chinese manufacturers and their belief that this resurgence of creativity will happen. Low cost externals and accessories of every kind imaginable are now becoming available to the US.

If things work out the way I see them, a new-found interest in the artistic uniqueness of these weapons will resurface once again, this time without the added elitism found in previous times. Now anyone will be able to afford to create their ideal weapon. In the future one's checkbook will not be the main factor in the uniqueness and BadAssery of his weapon, it will be for the first time further dependant on his own personal vision and creativity. As an added bonus of the externals not costing an ***load, the player will not feel himself “hold back” while playing with it in fear that he may potentially scratch his Precious Baby.

ALL of us who have owned a really expensive Tokyo Marui gun can attest to this feeling of “I didn’t pay this much $$$ for it to look like crap, so lets not rest the $240 body against that brick wall.” Usually this part of owning an expensive gun is never talked about, mostly because we know what it will sound like when we tell someone that we didn’t give the game all we had, "Because we wanted the gun to stay looking pretty at the end of the day."

One of the major sites that are suppling these sorts of cost-efficient upgraded parts is Other suppliers and distributors will be catch on once local shops begin to carry these sorts of items and the community at large accepts that their inexpensive echo1 has held together longer than their Classic Army and is worth spending more money on.

So, this begs the question: Is an Echo1 worth putting money into?

The answer is yes. As compared to Classic Army, the internals of an Echo1 are actually superior in most ways. I know I know, big surprise. They come with metal bushings, guide rod, a stronger piston than Classic Army, better O-ring, much stronger compression, lack of the use of over-lubing and under-lubing like CA guns.

The lube on the Echo1 is AWESOME and is more comparable to my Hi-Performance lube that I use for my custom guns. CA lube is the primary cause of broken pistons and bad accuracy (the grimy stuff slows down the piston enough that the first tooth of the sector gear slams into the middle of the piston prematurely). Also because of CA gun's infamous use of over-lubing, the white muck gets flung off of the gears and into the cylinder and then forced out the air nozzle and in your barrel.

If you know your stuff, you might ask how gear grease gets past the O-ring on the piston and get into the cylander and then down the barrel. The answer is because CA O-rings are terrible and so bad at making a good and consistent seal that CA has been known to put the equivalent of an m120 spring in their guns out of the factory just to get 350fps out of the box. That’s right….. you may be able to add 30 or more fps onto your stock CA gun by just changing the O-ring and replacing the CA white stuff lube with good cylinder lubrication. (BTW the best cylinder lube is paintball lube used for low pressure systems.)

But that’s not all...!
Echo1 uses gears that are not only just as strong as CA gears but E1 gears are also beveled inward so that there are no burs preventing the factory from shimming them closer together. This is also found in new CA guns but I have found that they have NOT taken advantage of this and still shim the gears too far apart. The Echo1 tappet plate, cylinder head, and wire harness are made out of the same strong fiber material as the piston. The O-rings on the cyllender head that secures it to the cylander are tight and leak no air. CA guns usually need me to wrap them with Teflon tape in order not to leak air (which can add up to 10fps by the way). The nozzle fits more precisely than the new CA guns that I have seen, (which can add up to 5 fps). Some new CA guns and 1st version CA guns have a small O-ring inside the nozzle to keep air from leaking. This is great, but most CA guns don’t have this.

Small modifications that have been done by Echo1 to these guns lead me to believe that they really know what the hell they are doing.

These next three mods come standard on each Echo1, and I have been performing them on my custom guns for a long time. The first is that they use a light rubber glue under the houp bucking so that it does not slip from the barrel and keeps air from leaking. The only thing close to this is the well-known “Teflon mod” on the UTG master sniper. The second mod they do is once again use this rubber glue to fix the hopup *** onto the arm directly. This way it does not move about and create inconsistent shots, the way all CA guns do. And the brilliant thing was their choice to use a light rubber glue so that if you need to change it out, you can. One of the most used mods that designers of the Echo1 guns have incorporated into their assembly is that they modified the traditional selector plate and wiring assembly so that the wiring does not disconnect when on safety from the selector plate. This feature on TM and CA guns are unnecessary because when the selector plate moves into position it also moves an arm that prevents your trigger from moving. This small detail prolongs the life cycle of your wiring assembly and also makes it sooooooo much more efficient than the CA or TM guns ever did.

The only companies that are doing this same thing are the very high end VFC, G&P and KWA guns. I would explain exactly what the mod is but that would take awhile and I see your attention is already waning.

SO: what is the most impressive element of the Echo1? The gearbox!!!

The gearbox is a copy of the Tokyo Marui which is actually compatible with TM upgraded parts, but with addition of one important change. It is reinforced inward and not outward. This means that you have to use fewer shims on the gears but it means that it will fit in all TM based metal bodies. At the same time the reinforcing allows the gun to take a 400fps upgrade right out of the box. Assuming that it doesn’t already shoot 400fps out of the box, which is the case with some types. This shell is so well made that the exclusive distributor of Echo1 demonstrates their Echo1 M4 at full auto shooting 500fps. When I asked what they did to it they said that their smith just dropped in a spring and that’s it. And they have been doing that demo for the last 3 months for anyone who wanted to see it.


I realize that I will get all sorts of people who will disagree with this or that or claim to have had different results from what I have stated above. So, here is something to think about that every smith can agree on. I call this “the Smith’s Dilemma”. Most Smiths prefer to work on and upgrade Tokyo Marui guns over Classic Army. Why is this? It’s because Tokyo Marui is the standard for all high end upgrades and components that have proven to us to work the best. When it comes time to replace or upgrade a part they enjoy the peace of mind in knowing that the part they have installed will work and continue to perform over a long period of time. Now when I wrote the word, "standard," I meant quite literally that Tokyo Marui has created for us a standardized gearbox which utilizes certain detentions and tolerances which are not only precise now, but have remained consistent and unchangingly precise for all of these years. It's been long enough that our highest end upgrade part companies like Systema, Prometheus, and Guarder, base their products off of this standard and this alone.

Classic Army seems to be similar in dimensions to Tokyo Marui at first look, however they are indeed NOT the same. What is even worse for the smith is that they have and continue to change the dimensions of their gearboxes frequently and in very subtle ways that makes it impossible for upgrade companies justify dedicating an upgrade part to a specific set of specifications set to a certain CA gearbox which may soon change and wont even work on previous versions of that same gearbox. Every smith has his own combination of parts that they trust to fix X, Y, Z problem when working on a Classic Army guns. (Primarily because they are the main-stay of what we work on because they are always coming in broken.) The rule of thumb that one smith says to the other, “Just use CA parts in CA guns.” And then says the smith in response, “But CA parts suck.” So it was this small rebellion from the safeness of suckieness, that has become a major factor in distinguishing one smith’s “skill” from another. This deviation drives the smith to work through hundreds of frustrating hours trying different manufactures and combinations of parts, based on their own time, creativity, personal experience and experimentation. The end result and recognition of truly expert smith is one who can successfully install non CA parts in a CA gun and have them work for a long time.

Needless to say, smithing should not be this complicated or as unpredictable as CA has made it for us. Echo1 is based off of Tokyo Marui, and so far they have proven to be very consistent and will take the aftermarket TM parts. In fact new companies like Modify who are in communication with the designers of the Echo1 guns are confidant enough in the future consistency of the Echo1 gearbox that this company is working in conjunction with Echo1 to produce upgraded parts based on the their design. I have not seen this done for Classic Army, and how long have they been out? The simple truth is that Echo1 guns are more precisely and reliably compatible with the trusted aftermarket parts available, and have a plethora of parts which have proven to be just as nice or nicer which are specifically made for the gun.

In closing, I would like to sum up what this all means. The stock Echo1 beats the Classic Army in almost every way possible. The only thing Classic Army guns have going for them is that they are worth more when you go to resell them, because it will take a while for people to truly trust an inexpensive gun like this. This "short" essay is a comparison between Echo1 and Classic Army. NOT other brands.
Old 06-28-2008, 09:53 AM
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CA sportline

I have the sportline tactical carbine let's see plastic bushings,plastic spring guide,and a crappy motor.I will never buy a classic army ever.They r junk.I was going 2 buy a CA scar,but not anymore the tappet plate breaks in like a week according 2 airsoft smith. Buy a Echo 1 there so much better.
Old 06-28-2008, 10:07 AM
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Yeah, I'd go with an Echo 1 also. I have a G36c and it works really well. As many people have said, the FPS is better and the Sportline guns aren't the best quality. Echo 1 pretty much doesn't need upgrading, and you said you just wanted to keep it stock so that sounds pretty good paired with what you want.
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Old 07-02-2008, 11:17 AM
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Arrow Echo1 M249 vs. CA M249

Hey guys, I was just wondering if anybody knows any significant differences between the Echo1 M249 PARA and the CA M249 PARA. I am thinking about purchasing one of them. If anyone can give me some information I would be greatful.


Last edited by Ghost of AOT; 07-02-2008 at 11:21 AM.
Old 07-03-2008, 07:11 AM
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All the reviews I have read say the only difference is really the type of plastics used. If I remember right the E1 comes out of the box shooting around 400fps. CA shots a stock 300 + or - a few. CA used good materials in their construction but leaves a little to be desired in the gearbox machining. I have a CA 249 that's had less than 2000 rds put through it and I am already changing the piston and air nozzle on it (Piston teeth were stripped and air nozzle cracked. I am replacing the piston Echo1 piston). Echo1's plastics doesn't feel as sturdy as that used on CA, but they do seem to have decent QC when it comes to GB tolerances and the plastic does hold up. Now, I have never used an Echo1 m249, but based on the quality of the Echo1 line, I'd probably buy the Echo1 if I had to buy another 249. A little less money spent on the gun means a little more money to be used on the ammo it's gonna take to feed that thing.
Now, I feel I must let you know, I base this opinion on personal experience with my own CA 249 and my experience so far with Echo1. I do not and have not used an Echo1 249 so they may be a little different.
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Last edited by Wraith; 07-03-2008 at 07:15 AM.
Old 07-03-2008, 09:41 AM
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CA Hands down.

I put 600,000+ Rounds through my original CA, which is still alive and kicking in Mr.Kong's hands now. I didn't even change a piston, went through about 9 hop ups (Rubber wears out after 50-90k rounds depending on make) And about 3 springs. x2 SP110's and x1 Sp120 (When an Sp120 is shooting 350.. needs changed )

My second one has probably already seen 10,000 rounds @ 400 FPS with an PDI 170% in it
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Old 07-03-2008, 10:49 AM
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I currently own the echo 1 249 Para and have for about six months now and I must say it is a beast...i've yet to have any issues with this gun i've proably ran about 20,000 rounds throught her...

But the echo 1 has my the price of only 360.00 where I think the ca is up around 600...I know one thing if my para ever dies on me i'll be looking for another echo 1.

(Just FYI the echo 1 249 para is just a renamed A&K)
Old 07-03-2008, 10:56 AM
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I've talked to two people that had to modify their box magazines in order for them to work on their Echo1 SAWS. Also one thing that really ticks me off about the Echo1 MKII is that the full stock is skinny and doesn't allow for a large type battery and it has a mini connector in the large stock. This may or may not be a problem to many people, but with a SAW you want to try to have the largest battery possible.

The quality is much higher on the CA's (which it should be for the money you pay) I've had my CA para for a couple of years now and it shoots really great.
Old 07-03-2008, 02:15 PM
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I own the Echo 1 M 249, like grease man said I have also had to somewhat modify the box mag, and also did a little bit of a mod to the stock. The fixed stock is too small for a big battery, so Iput a battery bag on it. Very, Very good gun for the money, if IK had the money I might have thought about the CA but went with the E1 instead. Ive put about 25 thousand rounds through it and no problems so far.
Old 07-03-2008, 08:55 PM
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We have an Echo 1 on the team, 2-3 CAs and a couple frankenstein TOPs ( actually custm builds by this point).

I personally own a CA.

The differences are mainly in the materials used. Echo 1s are MUCH MUCH lighter due to their lighter weight material used. Having said that structurally they are also weaker. The CAs are tanks, no way around.

Like Fox and Grease, I've had my M249MkII for years now, it too is well over a half million rounds (although I've changed pistons. I consider going a half million rounds on a SAW without wearing out a stock piston akin to winning the lottery, the math's about the same). Its never failed me and its been dropped, kicked, stepped on, fallen on, piled on, sunk, stuck in mud, rained on, snowed on, battered thru doors, and probably a few other humilating abuses I can't recall. As for the mechbox - mine regularly sees 450fps+ use and other than wearing out a piston(s), nothing has broken. With the tightbore on there and the hop dialed in it will put snipers down for breakfast and then turn around and suppress an entire townhouse for lunch.

The CA is without question the better gun, inside and out. Echo (A&K, same thing) were right to copy the design and change only the materials for savings. The Echo 1 is good for what you pay, and if you're going to be a part time support gunner, get it, you won't go wrong. But if you're going to be in the gunning business for good, pony up past hte entry level guns, and skip the $2000 boutique queens (VFC, Inokatsu) and get the armored personel carrier of the airsoft world: the CA.

As the Brits say: "The Classic Army M249 is the gun to own when you need to go out there and steamroll *****es."

Sooner or later, karma catches them all.

Last edited by Hillslam; 07-03-2008 at 08:57 PM.
Old 07-03-2008, 09:08 PM
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My first experience with a CA M249 was very disappointing. The shop I was working for went through four before getting one that worked for more than 1000 rounds. AT that time, the price on them was just under a grand and I thought it was a total rip off. When they dropped the prices on them, I thought that was a little better.

MNy first experience with the Echo 1 Saw was impressive. The first gun the shop got is still firing after 45,000 rounds. Wiring issues aside, its still a far better value than the CA.

I'd readily buy an Echo1 Saw over any of the others on the market.
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Old 07-04-2008, 12:44 PM
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for the interests of clarity:

The early CAs were plagued by user error on the hopup - the design allows an overhop that can result in a jam and stripped piston. Boards were filled with "wtf my piston shredded" posts. Until the reason began to come clear. Bad design? Maybe. The Echo1 has the exact same extreme range of hop adjustment and the same jamming issue, but now 3 years later owners are not as new to these guns.
Also the early production runs of the CA had QA issues no doubt. Its three years later and I suspect those are a long gone thing of the past.
Lastly, because of the lengthened stroke of the PCG style gearbox, pistons will either work forever or break right away - and this *always* comes down to a lining up of the first sector gear tooth with the piston. Or a not-lining-up. Fix is to file off the first tooth of the piston if your gearbox has a sync issue with a particular piston (stock or no). Again, exact same thing on the Echo1. Its an individual gun thing due to the stroke design and not a parts issue. Both guns will eat stock, systema, prometheus, you-name-it brand of pistons if the individual gun and or piston you bought exhibits this first tooth sync behavior.

Is the Echo1 QA better than CA's early QA - absolutely. Is it better than the current QA of CA M249s? I don't know. I *do* know there's no problem with these guns that does not have a known, documented, 5 minute and completely permanent fix to it. Ditto, foretunately, therefore the Echo since its an utter design copy - barring is crappy early boxmags (which I think Echo has fixed now).

I love the Echo1 and A&Ks being on the market - airsoft NEEDS more true support guns imo at events. Buy either one of the those clones or a CA - you won't go wrong.

Regardless, the CA remains the stouter gun, by build and material, (just check the weight side by side for your immediate confirmation), so if you're going for longevity I'd put my money on the CA, but if you're going for a part time support role - get the Echo1.

Sooner or later, karma catches them all.

Last edited by Hillslam; 07-04-2008 at 12:49 PM.
Old 03-29-2009, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Black View Post
[B]ALL of us who have owned a really expensive Tokyo Marui gun can attest to this feeling of “I didn’t pay this much $$$ for it to look like crap, so lets not rest the $240 body against that brick wall.”
I can attest to many things about the Tokyo Marui's. Take the M4 R.I.S that i recently owned as an example. Very consistent gun, very reliable and excellent QC. Out of box accurecy for stock fps is very good.

Personally, it sucks. Stock 280 fps and no tightbore barrel, are kidding me. Is this suppose to be some kind of sick joke. $300.00 dollars for TM M4 R.I.S when i got it several years ago and for what, to be out shoot and out performed by my Cyma CM035 every time. Now if i were to upgrade that said, TM M4, it would blow that said Cyma right out of the waters.

Tokyo Marui as of recent is starting to get with the program. There next generation guns like the AK74MN, M4 Sopmod, etc. are coming with metal body, recoil engines, stock fps has gone up but dont expect anything more then 335 fps. The average being between 300 fps to 330 fps and still, no tightbore barrel's. My Tokyo Marui AK74MN reaks of a level of quality and out of the box accurecy unseen before in any Tokyo Marui aeg. Upgrade this gun to 350 fps and install a prometheus 6.03mm tightbore barrel and it will hold it's own with an aeg shooting 400 fps.

Back on the subject at hand, nothing against Echo 1 mind you, why not just save up a little more extra and get a G&G M4 or a KWA M4 and be done with it. Regardless of your choice, Echo 1 is a good gun for it's price and it will serve you well.

Last edited by Spec-Ops; 03-29-2009 at 01:38 PM.
Old 03-29-2009, 03:01 PM
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Dude don't listen to any of them. why buy a starter gun for $150 when if your spending that you have a interest already and probably will get a good gun so just skip that step. just get a ca m15a4 there the best bang for your buck,at $270 there not to pricey and they'll compete with any gun out there upgraded or not.
Old 03-29-2009, 03:06 PM
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This topic has really been beaten to death. As well, this is a semi-necro post.

So thread closed, there is plenty of information out there.
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