Tokyo Marui spring powered replicas – Part 1

Given the wide availability of gas and CO2 powered replicas, many people tend to disregard spring powered replicas. However, some of these are actually pretty good and the cost of shooting spring powered replica is virtually zero. World of Replica Air Pistols reader R-Gun Pete has owned several Tokyo Marui spring powered replicas for almost twenty years. Here he explains how he came to own them and what they’re like to own and shoot:

I will start by explaining the path that brought me to the discovery of airsoft pistols.

Sometime at the beginning of 1998 I bought an airgun but I had no clue that by the end of the year I would have caught the Collector’s bug. My first interest was limited to plinking. It started with a BB pistol ( Crosman AutoAir II) which was some sort of replica, then this was followed by a Crosman 1377 and a Crosman 2289 (both multi-pump pellet airguns) that were more accurate than my first purchase. In the case of those latter two airguns, they are not replicas at all.

Having realized that pellets were giving better accuracy, I acquired a Crosman 1008 and a Crosman 357 (revolver) which were somewhat styled after existing handguns. At the same time I started to actively look up what was available in air pistols through the internet and magazine subscriptions. In the early Fall of 1998, visits to the local army surplus store made me discover that other options also existed.

There was a display of nice handguns that seemed out of bounds for me since I didn’t have a permit but, out of curiosity, after asking the owner how they could sell firearms in their store I was told that they were not real steel handguns.

The world of airsoft had just opened up in front of me. Up to this point my knowledge of real steel handguns was fairly limited. It was cowboy or police revolvers, detective or gangster semi-autos or war movies American Colt .45 and German Luger, but nothing really more specific than that. Basically what I knew was limited to several legendary names such as Colt, Browning and Winchester and not that much more.

What I saw in the Army Surplus display cabinet was a real eye opener. Beretta, Glock, HK, Ruger, SIG and Walther were hanging there behind the glass doors. I just got my first exposure to the Wonder Nine. Basically, the Wonder Nine have large capacity double stack magazine of 9x19mm projectiles, they have a polymer, stainless or alloy construction for ease of maintenance and a double/single trigger system. They could also have additional safety features such as decocker and mag safety.

Being excited by the number of models available, I bought a Ruger P85 to try this different type of airgun and evaluate how it would shoot. It was a Tokyo Marui 6mm BB spring pistol with the Hop Up system. It was made from ABS plastic but it, nevertheless, looked totally gorgeous.

With young kids in the house, my lead pellet shooting was strictly limited to my garage, so if the airsoft system proved marginally accurate it might be used safely in the house. This would allow me to extend the shooting practice into the winter months.

The first test in my basement made me realize that the loudest noise with this type of spring guns is the plastic BB hitting the paper target. It would be a perfect indoor shooting system. As for accuracy it was better than I expected but a far cry from what can be obtained with pellets. At the time, both in my garage and my basement I had about 16-17 feet available (approximately 5 meters) so based on my average score with pellets I calculated a ratio that I could apply to the airsoft pistols.

I am not sure how to describe the mechanism of the Ruger P85 airsoft. It is a single shot but it is also a repeater. The magazine contains several BBs but the pistol must be recocked manually for each shot by racking the slide. This loads the BB as well as compressing the spring and piston which, when released, would push out the air and shoot the BB with enough force to pass through a paper target at 5 meters. The trigger pull on all these replicas is fairly good because at this point it is single action. The BB moves fairly slowly and, depending on light conditions, can practically be tracked in flight. Even at that slow speed the Hop Up seems to keep the projectile stable. Nevertheless the resulting pattern is appreciably larger than with a regular airgun.

Instead of getting frustrated with scattered groups (after all the goal is to have fun and not to get frustrated), I increased the size of the airsoft target until I obtained a score comparable with my target used for pellet shooting. In the following picture the difference in size can be seen.

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Being satisfied with the Ruger P85, I bought a Beretta M92F Military Model then a Beretta M8000 Cougar G.  Shortly after, these were followed by the purchase of a CZ75 First Model, a Sig Polizei P228 and a Glock 17.

During that period, there was some talk that a new Canadian law preventing the sale of those low power replicas will be in force at the end of the year 1998. In view of that, I decided to buy the last two models in the display.  So before the deadline I added a HK P7M13 and a Walther P38 to my spring airsoft collection.

Mine were bought close to 20 years ago but a quick check on the internet seems to confirm that, with the exception of the Glock 17 which is no longer available, they are still manufactured now. For people closer to Asia the price would be a lot cheaper than what I paid a long time ago in Canada (North America).

The picture below shows my treasure chest.

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Each Tokyo Marui Airsoft comes in boxes sharing the same design. There is a molded Styrofoam case that keeps the pistol, magazine and BB bag from moving. The top part of the box is printed cardboard showing the model name and photo. An instruction manual and a small catalogue are included with each model.

As these were not made for the North American market and were (I assume) privately imported, all the documentation is in Japanese. Anyway, the images are enough to make sense of what should be done to make them go bang (in this case more of a pop than a bang).

I will start with the Ruger P85 since it is the first model that I bought.

Ruger P85

Here we can see the box and instruction manual.

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Even considering that these replicas are not metal but ABS plastic, they look great and are very photogenic as we can see in the next pictures.

This is the left side.

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And the right side.

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Real Steel Background

In preparation for the replacement of the venerable Colt 1911, the US Army announced a competition for the selection of a new pistol. It was in the early 80s.

The new military handgun designed by Sturm Ruger is a combat pistol borrowing features from some of the best. A tilting barrel with a link (1911) is married to a locked breech with short recoil action (SIG) then aircraft grade aluminum alloy investment casting is used for the frame, the slide is chrome-molybdenum alloy steel and the barrel is stainless steel. This resulted in a lighter gun than an all steel one.

It was a 15 round 9X19mm pistol having a double action first shot and single action for the subsequent. It also included active trigger safety and safety decock features. Having fewer parts (around 56) it was simpler than WWI and WWII era pistols.

Unfortunately the design was completed too late to participate in the US Army’s trials. However it had some success with police and civilian markets due to its low cost. The P85 was discontinued around 1990.

Visual Accuracy

I think that the Tokyo Marui replicas are spot on. Visually they are very difficult to differentiate from the real steel which is probably one of the factors leading to the law of 1998 in Canada.

Being relatively cheap and easily accessible (at least before the ban), criminals probably used them for their intimidation potential which eventually attracted the Authority’s attention.

As for the Ruger P85, the Tokyo Marui replica showcases the locked breech functionality so when the slide is pulled back to cock the pistol, the “squarish” locking end of the barrel moves with the slide on a short distance and falls slightly down in a recess to let the slide continue by itself.

Functional Accuracy

The pistol being spring operated is already a big handicap for the scoring so I didn’t place any score. The Ruger P85 has an ejection port that works like the original but the controls (located where they should be) are not functional and are molded in place. The slide doesn’t lock on the last shot so the shooter must keep track of how many rounds have hit the target. In this case, the slide lock is in fact the safety but I never use it, because if it is on and too much force is applied on the trigger it could be broken.

The other thing that should be mentioned is the weight. Since it is all plastic, it is way lighter than its powder burner counterpart but the manufacturer tried to minimize the fact by adding weight to the full size magazine. It helps a bit but the balance of the gun is still off as it becomes mostly only grip heavy.

Shooting

Again, this is a low cost pistol so top notch accuracy is not expected. Keeping that in mind, what I did with my target size adjusted to mimic my regular average gives me the same satisfaction as when I shoot my pellet guns.

Quality and reliability

The Tokyo Marui spring replicas are surprisingly robust. I have shot probably a few thousand rounds in the Ruger P85 without any problem as I did with most the others to the exception of the last two I bought later in the year (HK P7M13 and Walther P38). For some reason I tested them but I didn’t shoot them as often as the series of models that I bought first (Ruger P85, Beretta M92F Military Model, Beretta M8000 Cougar G, CZ75 First Model, Sig Polizei P228 and Glock 17).

Anyway the first six were well used until 2003 when I placed them in storage to be kept as collector’s items. Over time the plastic could become brittle and having so many other pistols to shoot I had no reason to continue to use them until they break.

Overall Impression

Personally I still like very much all the Tokyo Marui spring replicas that I own. The Ruger P85 is one of the best and it is still looking as good now as when I bought it close to 20 years ago.

Beretta M92F Military Model

Here we can see the box and instruction manual.

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This is the left side.

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And the right side.

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Real Steel Background

In the early 80s, the US Army announced a competition for the selection of a new pistol to replace the 1911.

Beretta entered the Model 92F in the competition, it is a 15 rounds 9x19mm pistol. The Beretta 92 evolved from previous models where the open slide came from the M1923, the alloy frame and locking block barrel from the M1951, the direct feed (elimination of the ramp feed between mag and chamber) from the M84. The double stacked magazine of the M92 was a feature found originally in 1935 on the Browning Hi-Power.

The model F was modified from the 92SB which came from the 92S. The 92S had a slide mounted safety/decocker and the 92SB had the addition of a firing pin block and the relocation of the magazine catch close to the trigger guard instead of the bottom of the grip.

For US government testing, the model F needed to have 100% interchangeable parts, some reshaping of the trigger guard and base of the grip and corrosion protection. The barrel was hard chromed and the slide had the Bruniton surface coating.

Visual Accuracy

The Tokyo Marui Beretta M92F Military Model has all the trademarks and is an excellent representation of the actual firearm.

For Functional Accuracy, Shooting and Quality and reliability and Overall Impression, what I wrote for the Ruger P85 would also apply to the Beretta M92F Military Model.

Beretta M8000 Cougar G

Here we can see the box and instruction manual.

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This is the left side.

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And the right side.

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Real Steel Background

The Beretta M8000 also known as the Beretta Cougar is caliber 9x19mm and has a double stacked 15 round magazine. It was offered as a compact alternative to the M92 which is a full sized service pistol and appeared on the market in the mid 90s. The M8000 has a rotating barrel locking system that is relatively rare (the French MAB PA-15 is similar) and this feature is shown on the Tokyo Marui Replica.

The advantage of the rotating barrel would be better accuracy as, during cycling, the axis of the bore doesn’t change.

Lightweight aluminum alloy is used for the frame and chrome moly steel for slide and barrel. The M8000 has the Bruniton finish.

Visual Accuracy

The Tokyo Marui Beretta M8000 Cougar G has all the trademarks and is an excellent replica of the actual firearm. The rotating breech system is functioning as it should when the slide is pulled back.

For Functional Accuracy, Shooting and Quality and reliability and Overall Impression, what I wrote for the Ruger P85 would also apply to the Beretta M8000 Cougar G.

CZ75 First Model

Here we can see the box and instruction manual.

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This is the left side.

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And the right side.

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Real Steel Background

The CZ75 is one of the original Wonder Nines; it was introduced in 1975 and was manufactured in the Czech Republic.  In 9x19mm calibre, magazine capacity is 16 rounds. The CZ75 is short recoil operated with a locked breech. The cam locking system is similar to the Browning Hi-Power and the slide rides, similar to the SIG P-210, inside instead of outside the frame. The tighter fit of the slide to the frame improves accuracy. The pistol can shoot in double action for the first shot and single action for the following ones.

The CZ75 design has been widely copied and cloned all over the world. This is an all steel (steel frame, steel slide and hammer forged steel barrel) pistol.

Visual Accuracy

The Tokyo Marui CZ75 First Model has all the trademarks and is an excellent replica of the actual firearm.

For Functional Accuracy, Shooting and Quality and reliability and Overall Impression, what I wrote for the Ruger P85 would also apply to the CZ75 First Model.

R-Gun Pete

Related Pages:

Tokyo Marui spring powered replicas – Part 2

ASG CZ75 review

KJ Works Beretta M9 review

Umarex Beretta 92FS review

Home

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