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So you want to get into sniping...
We frequently receive a lot of questions asking us how to start out as a sniper in airsoft. Most people who are interested either prefer a slower pace style of play, keeping distance, the stealthy aspects of the game, or want to emulate their favorite Youtuber. There is nothing wrong with any of that but on a sniper rifle you could easily spend hundreds of dollars, which can be bad if you are new to the idea and don't know what to expect. What if you spend all that money and it's not as cool as you thought? What if you are coming off a less expensive rifle and moved your way up to a really expensive sniper rifle and the performance was only marginally better? That would be a big disappointment and a waste of your hard earned money.
Well these are the pitfalls of not doing enough research or simply not knowing enough about what is out there. And that's where we come in. Here at Fox we made a few sniper rifle starter kits for those who want to get into the sniper role. We have a few choices of rifles to match everyone's budget and get you going in the right direction. If you've already had a good amount of experience with airsoft sniper rifles or think you're beyond looking at beginner level stuff these kits may not be for you. But if you want one as one of your first airsoft guns and want the essentials to get you going, this is something you should consider. In this blog I'll cover not only the packages we offer but what each item does and how to use them.
To keep it simple for our customers, we offer all of our sniper rifle starter kits with two tiers: the basic package and complete package. The basic package will come with a scope, bipod, some heavyweight BBs, and a sniper rifle. This is enough to get you started with being able to shoot the rifle. The complete package adds to that by giving you the safety equipment required to play at most fields at a discount versus buying everything separately.
BASIC PACKAGE - The Bare Essentials
As of the publication of this blog, we offer sniper starter kits with three different rifles.
- ASG TAC 6 - CO2 powered sniper rifle - The TAC 6 will be the only gas powered rifle we offer with a package. This rifle is popular because of its ease of operation. Once loaded all you do is pull the trigger to fire. The CO2 is stored in the grip and the stick magazine is very easy to load and swap out. You will find this is the fastest to shoot follow up shots due to its semi-auto like nature. This gun has a laser sight included that is integrated into the body which is a nice added feature for plinking on your targets (just do not shine it on people or animals). These rifles have hopup however it is fixed, so you won't be able to change your BB weight too much without affecting range negatively. A 5-pack of CO2 is included for you to start off with and is good for hundreds of shots. The TAC 6 is the only rifle in our packages that will require you to purchase "fuel" to make it operate so be sure to factor that into your budget.
- ASG M40A3 Sportline - bolt action spring sniper rifle - The ASG M40A3 Sportline is a popular choice due to its inexpensive price and unique looks. This rifle is spring powered, so you must cock the bolt before each shot. Spring action rifles are probably not suited for younger players because it does take some arm strength to operate. The hopup is adjustable on these rifles and there is some upgrade potential with tight bore barrels.
- Classic Army M24 LTR - bolt action spring sniper rifle (top choice) - The CA M24 LTR is the top tier of sniper rifles not only of our kits but also for what we offer in general. These are a value at their price but built with the serious players in mind. These are shooting similar or a little harder compared to the other rifles in terms of velocity, but are built tougher and better and have more upgrade potential built into it. These have great aftermarket support to allow you to upgrade your rifle to enhance your performance in case you want to take it to the next step.
* It is important to note that some of these rifles require assembly. If you are ever tightening the stock to the receiver of any sniper rifle, only hand tighten the bolts/screws. Over tightening will strip out the threads and is not covered under warranty. *
The scope currently packaged with our sniper kits is an LT 3-9x40mm scope. Magnification is adjustable from 3 times to 9 times power and the objective lens is 40mm. Scope rings and tools are included to install the scope. When you receive your package you need to install the scope onto your gun. After that you will adjust and shoot your gun until your scope matches where your gun shoots. There are two knobs on the body of the scope that you will be adjusting. These are called turrets and it may appear as an external knob that you can turn or a protected knob under a cap. on the LT scope it is a cap so you will unscrew the caps to expose the adjustments. This process of adjusting your scope by the way is called "zeroing" your rifle. A common misconception is you can simply install a scope and it will be immediately correct and accurate to what you are aiming at. Sorry guys, it isn't a video game and there are many factors involved. Not to mention that every rifle shoots differently so even so much as moving one scope from one gun to another will mean the scope is not zeroed anymore. Now we are ready to do some adjustments to your rifle to get it setup for play. First shoot your gun with no scope and adjust the hopup so your flight path is as straight as possible to as far as you can see with the naked eye. Usually this is about 175-200 feet before a non upgraded gun's BB flight will start to taper off. For reference an AEG might be good to 150-200 feet. After your hop is set, we move on to the scope.
So for the actual act of zeroing your rifle, in order to zero your rifle you will shoot and observe the path of your shots and where it hits and adjust the scope to match that. This will take some patience, time, ammo, and a proper place with distance to do it. Be sure to shoot in a safe area for airsofting be it a large personal property or on a field. Make sure you have a proper backstop so that your shots do not go past and hit something unintentionally. Back to zeroing the rifle, your scope has to knobs to adjust your scope. The side knob/turret on the scope is the windage adjustment. This controls the left and right adjustments of the scope. The top knob/turret is the elevation turret. This will control the up and down (vertical) settings of your scope. The way I like to adjust first is to do the windage as this is very critical. Try to adjust on a clear day and not a windy one. Depending on your scope, each click of the knob can adjust anywhere from half an inch to more per click so you will want to shoot and make coarse adjustments then minor ones to finish off. Once your windage is set your shot should be in line with the vertical line for the crosshair. Now we move on to adjusting the elevation. This one is pretty simple and is done like the windage, just adjust your scope to match where the impact is now.
You will also get a bipod which will help steady your shots when your rifle is rested on something, be it the floor or on some cover. The bipod can fold out of the way when not in use and the legs will have adjustments so you can shoot at different heights. These will increase your hit potential greatly but if you find that it is unnecessary weight at the front of your gun you can choose to omit it. The TAC 6 and M40A3 will utilize a picatinny rail system to accept the ASG lightweight bipod, which slides on and locks in place. The Classic Army M24 LTR uses a bipod stud which you will see more often. The aluminum bipod included in the CA M24's package grabs onto the stud and then you tighten the nut on the bipod so it grabs tighter onto the bipod stud.
Heavyweight BBs are essential to achieving the desired accuracy out of your sniper rifle or even AEG. You will want to experiment with different weights because using an excessively heavy BB on a gun that does not shoot very hard will shorten your range by quite a bit and be counter productive. Soon you will develop a preference on what you like to use.
In our packages, we offer a preselected weight to match the guns offered. The ASG TAC 6 will come with a bottle of .25 BBs and the M40A3 and CA M24 LTR will come with .28 BBs. These are our recommended starting points but you are welcome to try others. Guns with adjustable hopups can switch very easily between different weights.
COMPLETE PACKAGE - The other items you will need to actually play
You will get a set of full seal Z87 ANSII rated goggles which are the required impact rating for eyewear to be considered safe for airsoft. If you use non-rated goggles they could shatter, and anything not fully sealing your eyes means you have a risk of BBs bypassing your goggles altogether. The other component to the complete kit is the mesh mask which you wear in conjunction with your eyewear.
The mesh mask will protect your lower face (more importantly your teeth), but it is not restrictive as wearing a fully covered mask or some sort of cover over your face. These being ventilated are popular in airsoft because you can maintain your safety but breath much easier and without restriction. This is probably one of the most popular items for airsoft gear because this and the goggles will allow you to properly aim your rifle.
And that covers all the items you will typically be running when playing as a sniper in airsoft. Whether or not you enjoy it will really depend on how well you know yourself as a player. If you aren't sure, at the low price we are asking it is not a huge commitment to get into something you could potentially have a blast at. For people who are uncertain of their play style I would recommend an AEG first because it will allow you to play in ways that we see is more common and is more versatile. But for those who know that they want to play the more precision shooting role that requires skill, patience, and more sneaking, this is the type of player who will enjoy the sniper role. And to get started in that direction you should try one of our kits. See you out there on the battlefield!
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