Arcturus Tactical Ak
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- Last updated: 14/10/2019
In years gone by, if you wanted to own a really good tactical AK then it was a case of buying a decent donor and then buying all the parts that you wanted to fit onto it. For a long time these would have been real steel parts that in the main required a fair amount of not just fettling but out and out re-machining to get things nice and tidy. Of course, these days you can pick up airsoft-specific parts that in the main will fit your 6mm BB AK straight from the box or packet, and that’s brilliant!
Probably like you I am constantly scouring the interwebz for new and interesting models, and Arcturus is a brand that has been quietly but steadily gaining ground. I first saw the odd AT model appearing on the Taiwangun website a little while ago, but then they started appearing with other retailers based in the UK. Whilst I was wrapped up in other new AK models hitting the market I kept my airsoft-eye on Arcturus, and again slowly but surely I noticed more AK variants and even some tasty looking ARs appearing from them. At the time of writing, if you check out taiwangun. com you’ll find (at the time of writing) a number of different AK variants, ARs, and the Centaur B which is a classy-looking hybrid. Add to that some very tidy upgrade parts and you could say that Arcturus most definitely has my attention! Luckily, I have a great working relationship with Taiwangun so I reached out to them to see if there might be a test/review model available
The Arcturus AKs start their life with MOS Manufacture in China who are best known for their E&L Airsoft and Meister Arms brands, and now they have added another great line of airsoft replicas under the new brand. MOS specialise in airsoft and have been providing a high-quality products for years, delivering the most exclusive AEGs, parts and accessories. They also manage the shipping and warehousing for their partners, and years’ of experience have allowed them to build up an efficient logistics network to ensure their products reach the retailer, and ultimately the end user in a timely fashion.
Speaking of quality, throughout their range they use solid materials like Full Steel or CNC Anodised parts; some are steel stamped and QPQ processed (is this become more standard in the airsoft industry I wonder!). With 8mm bearings, 19000RPM motors, Micro Switches, Spring Tension Release systems and LiPO ready MOS ensures quality inside as well as outside.
The drive for the modern AK has been with us for a while now, and I’m certain that Mikhail must be spinning in his grave seeing what we’re all making of his “child”! Whilst trends are driven in the main by manufacturers pushing forward with new models, the whole “AK Thing” seems to have grown more organically, and to my mind has been driven by the players themselves. The move to OPFOR and the rise of Russian- themed teams has certainly helped in this, but I would go further and say that the adoption of the AK platform by many more seasoned players has filtered down via games and sites to the newer player.
I’ll bring this down to a thoroughly local, grass-roots level; my local shop sells many, many AR AEGs and in truth that is their bread and butter. However, there are a bunch of us that play together and hang out at the shop socially that use Tacticool AKs; in recent times the shop has seen a rise in the sales of AK models, and I would have to draw the conclusion that these two things are connected.
The newest AT- AK04 Carbine from MOS/Arcturus is an absolutely classic example of this, as it provides a modern, clean look with precision performance. If you look at this particular AEG from end to end the only giveaway that it’s an AK is the central section combining the lower receiver with the top cover. In this area you’ll find the traditional AK selector, but even this is upgraded with a tacticool thumb lever! Going to the rear of the 04 you’ll find a rock-solid buffer tube with singlepoint sling plate, along with a super “MOE L” style sliding stock.
Go forward from the receiver group and you’ll see a lovely slimline M-LOK rail made from high-quality alloy that looks great and feels just right in the support hand; it also has an MOE AK style pistol grip to round things out nicely. To me the only thing that jars slightly is the chunky super-74 style flash-hider, but this is on a standard 14mm CCW thread so is easily replaced with an after-market part; I quite fancy one of the new muzzle-blast devices for it which would make it thoroughly modern in my eyes. In addition to some first-rate flip-up front and rear sights, the 04 is also equipped with a unique magazine funnel which helps to make mag changes easier and faster.
Each 04 has a unique serial number and most of the external elements are made of metal. It should be noted here that as in the real thing the receiver, top cover, the safety selector and the trigger guard together with the latch of the magazine have been cold pressed from steel sheet. All these metal elements have been protected against corrosion using a real steel industrial process.
Knowing the other brands that MOS bring to the party the gearbox is first-rate. There is a quick-change spring system and the spring guide, as well as the piston head, has bearings. The polymer piston is equipped with steel teeth that work with high-quality gears. Gears are mounted on slide bearings to be able to cope with the highest loads; only the motor rack is mounted on ball bearings to ensure that it is free to spin at high speeds. The 04 benefits from an electric trigger Micro Switch that is connected to low-resistance wiring, so essentially it is 100% Li-Po ready; the use of an electric trigger eliminates the problem of burned out contacts and improves the response to the trigger too.
The gearbox is finished with a Teflonsealed nozzle. Teflon provides durability and most importantly has very good flow properties, so no lubrication is required. This works with a metal hop-up chamber in which a hardened 6.01mm precision steel barrel is mounted. The gearbox has been equipped with a spring tension release that has been placed next to the trigger; the spring-loaded lever basically pushes the antireversal latch to release the spring tension, keeping the gearbox in top shape over time.
Huge thought and attention to detail has gone into the AT-AK04, and this shows on the range! TaiwanGun offer a service to UK players to ensure what you receive is legal and compliant and on testing the 04 came in at 109 Joule/344fps on the my usual RZR .20g BBs. Once I was happy with the power level I upped to .25g RZRs the shot distance was great, sending the BBs right to the extent of the 30m range with a dead-flat trajectory; after running a couple of full mags through the 04 I was able to achieve a nice tight group, and switching to full-auto delivered a line of BBs straight to target. The 04 comes with two magazines as standard, a 550 BB hi-cap, and a 120/30 BB model; this can be easily changed out by removing the magazine cassette and simply flipping a clearly marked switch! Both magazines feed perfectly and are black 74-style; between the two you get a lot of game options, so bloody well-done, Arcturus!
Overall the Arcturus AK CARBINE AT-AK04 is one hell of a package. It’s beautifully put together and finished, the parts are completely bombproof, and it shoots really, really well. And the best bit? It costs under 240-quid! Yup, you heard that right, a top-of-the-line tacticool AK with everything you need to get in the game for £237.56 at the time of writing! If you’re not an “AK Guy” already, then this AEG could well change your mind!
My sincere thanks go to taiwangun. com for providing the test sample, and please do be sure to visit their website to check out the other models from Arcturus and much, much more!