What makes a great airsoft sniper rifle? “I’m lying under a bush with my barrel barely sticking out from under it, I’m almost invisible. In the scope I see movement in the tree line… Three guys slowly moving towards my position. I slowly but steadily move the cross-hairs towards the middle guy with the rapid firing support machine-gun. I center in on his chest, breathing slowly, my finger moving towards the trigger while my thumb gently pushes the safety off. Holding my breath now, the rifle feels like a rock, I gently start pressing the trigger, I feel the break-off point. The rifle suddenly shakes violently, I see the little white bb make a straight flight towards the SAW wielding opponent, I hear a snap. A hand rises, the player is hit! The two other guys break into sprint and retreat back into the forest. I now pull the bolt handle back and reload my rifle. Lying there in complete stillness I look for my next target…”
What makes a great airsoft sniper rifle?
So you decided to play as a sniper in airsoft, what you now need is a tool for the job. “What gun should I get?” Well, get a sniper rifle of course! But that is not so easy. First of all you should think what kind of “sniper” you want to play as. The sniper role in airsoft is much more different than in real life, your rifle will barely, in distance, outperform a well setup assault rifle, because… you know, it is airsoft! So you might have to do some upgrading to get a desired effect. So let’s see what to do, to get a great airsoft sniper rifle.
What is out there?
There are some choices when choosing a platform. First, and maybe the simplest, there is the spring sniper rifle. Can be cheap, easy to configure, and perhaps in some ways easy to upgrade. Then there are electric snipers, or DMR’s (designated marksman’s rifle) which brings us into the world of gearboxes… And last but not least the gas powered sniper rifle which is maybe in a league of its own, you know… because they can be very temperamental in use… get it, temperamental…no!? Ok. Let’s move on.
What should I get?
First think how you want to play, want to sneak around in a ghillie and do scouting missions in op-force territories then maybe a spring-powered platform might work best for you. But if you want to be with your squad and sometimes try to support them with more accurate fire then you want an electrical DMR. Gas-powered can go either way, maybe you want a GBB DMR or just single-fire gas eating rifle. In the end it is mostly dependent on the environment you play in. I sunny warm areas it is perfect, while not so perfect in colder areas like in Finland… unless it’s a hot summer. Yes, we do have does! And no, we do not have polar bears in the streets during winter.
Ok, now I have one. What now?
Now you go out and play! Ok, maybe it’s not most accurate and powerful rifle, but we have to start somewhere.
So now we have to think how to make it great. Like most players we didn’t have the resources to put out a fortune on a super-upgraded-custom-sniper-rifle straight from the shop. Let us see what can be done to improve it. Let’s hope we got a decent stock gun that can handle some upgrading, because nothing sounds more depressing like spending a lot of cash on piece of garbage and then having it break all the time.
What to upgrade?
First upgrade to do in most guns is maybe a barrel and a decent hop-up rubber, and in sniper rifles there are no exceptions. Unless you rifle comes equipped with a tight bore then there is your starting point. The most important thing in a sniper rifle is the accuracy. You don’t have to spend a fortune on barrels, it’s an easy and mostly cheap upgrade. Hop-up rubbers is also a great investment, there are even some highly modified rubbers out there to make any gun perform way better than out of the box. Hop-up chambers can also be switched for some better versions but mostly it will be enough with the stock hop-up chamber at the beginning, of course if there is a lot of jams or air leak then that can also be a well spent investment.
Next upgrade could be the power, because nothing kills the mood like someone with an AK outperform a sniper with a rifle. If you got a spring-sniper then this can also be a not-so-expensive upgrade, unless you want it to be. Getting a harder spring is the first step and depending on how high you want to go then of course that also means you have to strengthen the cylinder and also maybe the trigger group. This will not break the bank unless you go for some über-custom setups. If you got an AEG sniper/DMR then there is the-always-tricky gearbox upgrading to do. So you get a stronger spring, then you have to upgrade to stronger gears, stronger motor, stronger piston etc. So this can be a little harder on your wallet, but it doesn’t have to too hard.
There are cheaper choices to be made compared to high-brand parts, but it will take some time to find great parts, but there are a lot of reviews on the interwebs, so just go explore. Maybe you will find some great advice there at the same time. But usually it means torque-up gears and motors and maybe better bushings or bearings. And if you go all the way, then a more solid reinforced gearbox shell. Gas guns can be tricky to upgrade, but usually you can get ready upgraded cylinders and parts. GBB’s also comes with its sets of great brands with upgrades, but in my mind prepare to fork out some cash. While on topic of power, make sure what is allowed at you airsoft site before committing to the upgrading. Some site can have strict rules on how hot your gun can shoot, so make sure you don’t spend a fortune on something you can’t use.
Snipers come with huge scopes… well, again if you want a specific look then get what you want. But it is airsoft, so you are not going to pick off opponents at several hundred meters, you are lucky to get hits out over 70-90 meters. BB’s are flawed that way (as designed not to hurt people), they don’t carry enough power and mass to reach out and hit so far away. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have that big long-range scope. Here again you can have your wallet do the talking, there are cheap replicas intended for replica use so you won’t have to spend too much on a nice looking scope.
Also you should choose what will fit your need or specific look. Bipods are also a great add-on; they will help you get a more stable shooting position. These come in few different versions, make sure it will fit your rifle before buying. Camo-painting your gun is also a good idea, or wrapping it in camo-tape/-net. This will help you conceal your gun if you also wear a ghillie-suit, because nothing looks more out of place like a straight black barrel sticking out from a suspicious looking bush… Silencers and other tactical accessories are only cosmetic so just add what you need or just skip them. If you’re on a tight budget, then get these for last.
So by now you might have a great airsoft sniper rifle, go out and have a great time. If you got a very powerful rifle, then be considerate and not shoot at guys who are to close, even though it doesn’t kill it will hurt if hit in the wrong place. So be safe and make sure everybody is having a great time. ;)
If you got any suggestions or remarks then feel free to comment, I am not an expert and this is just my opinions so don’t worry no feelings will be butt hurt!
Written by Robert Backman