ASG CO2 BB Guns
Pat Farey takes a closer look at three new CO2 powered BB guns from ASG
The name Action Sports Games may be new to you – it was to me – but this Danish company has been around since 2003, being a merger of two large suppliers of Air Soft Guns and accessories, Pedersen & Grobelnik A/S (founded 1992) and Vestergaard ApS (founded 1960).
While ASG have their roots in Airsoft guns that use ‘green’ gas or mini-electric motors to fire plastic 6mm BBs, the guns that we are looking at here are designed to use CO2 propellant with .177 (4.5mm) metal BB shot ammunition. The common denominator between all three of these different ‘models’ are that in appearance they are accurate 1:1 scale replicas of real firearms.
Towards the end of last year, Highland Outdoors, the pro-active importer and distributor of hundreds of shooting products (including Nikko Stirling and Nikon scopes, Laurona and Silma shotguns, Howa rifles, Hogan and Norica air rifles, etc.) announced that they had been appointed as the new exclusive agent for the range of Action Sports Games (ASG) C02 Pistols and accessories.
No fan of BB guns
I must admit that apart from a brief flirtation with Daisy ‘Spittin Image’ BB guns in my long distant youth, I’ve never really liked BB guns, preferring to use air pistols that could use the much more accurate .177 airgun pellets rather than cheap steel balls. Later as a teenager I didn’t have the opportunity to use a CO2 gun – they were banned at the time – so I only really used spring powered or manually pumped pneumatics.
When the law on owning CO2 powered pistols was eventually (and sensibly) repealed, I was as surprised as many other airgunners to see how realistic modern CO2 ‘clone’ pistols had become. With many CO2 guns being supplied with good working magazine systems and rifled barrels, they were efficient and reasonably accurate – certainly good enough for action shooting disciplines – and above all they were the nearest thing to a real (cartridge) pistol that you could legally own. There were still some BB firing guns available, but they never really became as popular as those that could fire airgun pellets.
Several years down the line, and there’s a new kind of BB pistol available. These new pistols made by AGS are very different to what has gone before. ASG have several exclusive licenses with top firearms manufacturers to replicate their guns – these include CZ, Dan Wesson and Steyr-Mannlicher. Could these change my opinion on BB pistols?
We’ve been taking a look at three of these new reproduction models – a CZ75D Compact semi-auto, a Steyr Mannlicher M9-A1 semi-auto and a Dan Wesson 8” revolver. All three models appear well made, with an outward appearance that closely follows the lines of the original guns, in fact they even go someway to replicating the feel and handling of the real pistols.
Strangely enough, although all from the same source, and all using 12g CO2 capsules as a propellant, the magazine system is different for each of these guns, so let’s take a closer look.
The CZ75D Compact
This replica is based on a world famous and extremely popular 9mm semi-auto – Pete Moore reckons that ‘back in the day’ almost every sports pistol shooter would have owned one at some time or other. AGS have made a good job or reproducing it.
The AGS CZ75D Compact has a 17 BB shot drop out clip magazine that also holds the CO2 cartridge, all neatly concealed behind chequered ‘rubber’ feel grips. The sights have a blade with hi-viz white dot up front, and an adjustable rear sight with two white hi-viz dots flanking a square cut-out. A Weaver accessory rail sits under the front of the barrel.
Controls are simple, with a safety switch on the left of the frame (above the grip) – up for safe, and down (exposing a red dot) for fire. A ‘dummy’ slide release lever sits in front of the safety. Between the grip and the trigger is the push-button magazine release. When the magazine release is pushed in, the magazine unit drops clear. This magazine unit carries the CO2 bulb power source at the back and has a spring fed 17 round BB ‘stick’ magazine in front. The magazine is loaded by depressing the follower until it slots into a retainer catch at the bottom of the magazine. It can then be filled with a BB speed-loader. Once full, the follower is released putting tension on the BBs. With a CO2 bulb in place, the magazine can be reloaded into the pistols grip.
To cock the mechanism, you can either pull the slide back or manually cock the hammer ring to fire in a single action mode, or alternatively you can just pull the trigger and operate the gun in a double action ‘semi-auto’ mode.
The action operates smoothly and although the barrel isn’t rifled, accuracy was reasonable at around 20ft, and certainly good enough for informal target (plinking).
The Steyr Mannlicher M9-A1
The AGS version of the Steyr M9-A1 features Hi-Viz sights, an under barrel Weaver accessory rail, an atrticulated trigger and a stippled ergonomic grip design. Controls are restricted to a slide safety on the right of the pistol (above the trigger) and a magazine release catch on the left side of the grip, beside the trigger guard - all other ‘controls’ on the pistol are dummies.
The push button magazine catch releases a slim 19 BB metal stick magazine (attached to the mag floor plate) from the bottom of the grip, which is filled in a similar manner to that on the CZ model (see above). Behind the BB magazine is a separate fixed chamber for the CO2 cartridge which is accessed by pulling the wrap-around grip backwards. The CO2 cartridge is tightened by a thumb screw at the bottom of the grip until it is pierced by the pistols inlet valve mechanism and ready to use.
The AGS Steyr is a double action pistol only, so once loaded you just fire until all 19 BBs are used – or you can make it safe before emptying by engaging the safety slide and/or dropping the magazine out.
This pistol has a modern ‘squared-off’ look, giving it a chunky feel and if anything it is even more accurate than the CZ. Due to its separate high capacity mag and easy filling, it might be worth a look at by ‘action plate’ shooters that know a bit more about that particular discipline than I do.
Dan Wesson revolver
This last AGS gun is particularly impressive – a replica of a DanWesson revolver with an 8” shrouded barrel, ventilated top rib, fixed blade fore sight with white dot, an adjustable rear sight, a detachable accessory rail and ergonomic grip. The only control is a release lever for the swing out rotary magazine.
The grip conceals the CO2 power source, but BB’s are loaded into removable dummy bullet ‘carriers’ then loaded into the swing-out wheel magazine – a speed loader is supplied for this purpose and you can get spares (£11.95 each). The bullet shaped BB ‘carriers’ do not break any laws as they are not pressure vessels – they simply hold the BB and allow CO2 to pass through them, so they are effectively more like part of the magazine. The Wesson can be shot in either single or double action mode.
The accuracy of this revolver is by far the best that I’ve ever seen in a BB pistol, and even I managed to get a sub 2” group at 20ft firing freehand – not bad for an unrifled barrel, and absolutely brilliant by my normal low standards with an air pistol.
Change of heart
Maximum power output for each of these models is between 2.3 – 3.3 joules depending on model. They have certainly changed my mind about BB guns, especially the Dan Wesson – I’m even contemplating buying one.
|Model||CZ75D Compact / Steyr Mannlicher M9-A1 / Dan Wesson 8” barrel|
|Weight||595 grams / 532 grams / 1040 grams|
|Length||185 mm / 187 mm 338 mm|
|Magazine||Drop out clip / Drop out clip / Swing out cylinder|
|Capacity||17 BBs / 19 BBs / 6 BBs in cartridges|
|Energy||2.3 – 2.7 Joules / 2.7 – 3.3 Joules / 3 Joules|
|Priced||£99.99 / £99.99 / £139.99|
|Maker||Action Sport Games (ASG)|
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates