The guys at AirSplat were kind enough to send one of these my way for review, and I’m excited to get a chance to see what this shotgun has to offer.
For a long time shotguns were considered either entry level products in the Airsoft world, or show pieces. There were a few that actually offered the shotgun type of spread shot, but these were expensive and for the cost, often not worth it. Enter UTG. UTG has long been known to the budget minded Airsoft player for their work in the midlevel AEG demographic and low priced single shot shotguns. Now they are marketing an affordable multi-shot shotgun that is intended for skirmishing, not just backyard plinking and shelf sitting.
First Impressions and Construction
The outside of the box is covered in the bright vivid graphics that UTG has been known for. Face it, we’re not in this for cover picture… let’s take a closer look. Inside the box we find the manual, two shotgun shells, a strap for the shotgun, the shotgun itself all nestled in foam packing material.
The sling itself is not much more than a nylon strap. While it’ll probably do it’s job just fine it’s nothing to write home about.
The shells themselves are decent quality. You can see the mould lines and seams on the shells, but overall they do a decent job of replicating a real shell. The retention system for holding the bb’s looks to be quite good.
The gun itself is quite hefty! The stock is evidently weighted and for the most part the gun appears to be made of plastic from the front sights to the rear. The front grip used to rack the gun is covered in a rubbery texture which is a nice touch. I would have liked to see some sort of a rail system on the gun for the addition of a light. The center of the body appears to be the same as the original UTG shotgun series, only without RIS. It even has the same trigger guard as the previous varieties.
One feature that has come to be a standard in the Airsoft community is an adjustable hop up unit. That is the one thing I see missing from this. Hum… we’ll just have to see how that factor’s in. As it is, I don’t know how well you could implement a hop up unit on a 3 barreled gun.
Each shell contains 30 rounds, of which 3 are loaded at a time. The gun has 3 separate barrels, one for each round shot. This is how they are able to create a spread.
Just above the trigger is the shell release switch. A tug on this opens a panel on the bottom of the gun allowing you to change out shells. The panel has a rectangular window cut out to allow a visual check to see if the gun is loaded.
The rubberized texture is also repeated on the pistol grip.
Sling attachment points are found at the front below the barrel and at the rear on either side of the stock. This is nice as you can adjust the sling according to which side you shoot from most frequently.
Loading each of the shells is quite easy using the supplied speed loader. Each shell is filed with 30 bbs and we’re ready to test.
The gun fits one shell at a time, and they are easy to insert.
Getting ready to take my first shot I’m quickly confronted by the first drawback to this gun. The force required to rack the action is INSANE! I was expecting this to be more like my UTG single shot M87LA, but it’s more like an exercise session with an over jubilant and optimistic personal trainer. I wasn’t ready for that. Now it’s not really that tough, but it’s much tougher than most shot guns that you might be used to. I did find that after a couple of hundred shots, the pull lightens up a bit and is much more bearable.
Racking the gun and turning the safety off I took 5 shots (15 bb’s) at targets 25 feet, 35 feet, and 50 feet away.
At 25 feet, I was surprised to see a grouping of about 2 inches (tossing out the two greatest flyers). That’s pretty tight, and I was expecting that there would be a greater spread. A piece of 1/8″ cardboard was easily punctured cleanly at this distance.
At 35 feet I was presented with a spread of about 5 inches (tossing out the two greatest flyers as before). This is more like what I expected. The paper was easily punched through. The cardboard was usually punctured at this distance with a few imbedded bb’s.
At 50 feet we noticed the most drastic change in the flight of the bb’s. Only about 50% of the bb’s actually hit the A4 sized paper. The rest hit the cardboard backer for the most part, with a few strays that missed the target stand altogether. The cardboard was not penetrated at this range, but all shots that hit left indentations or imbedded.
Now this sounds worse than it is. An A4 sheet of paper isn’t really all that big, and we are looking to replicate a shot gun pattern, so we are expecting to see spread, but we only have 3 bb’s unlike the amount of shot in a real shotgun shell. So I decided to shoot out to 100 feet just to see how far the spread reached. The maximum effective range appears to be about 85-95 feet. At this distance the flight path is still consistent and the spread is still narrow enough to hit a man sized target with at least 1 bb. Beyond this the bb’s veer too unpredictably.
The sights are quite accurate and I was pleasantly surprised. More often then not, I was looking at where the center of the grouping would end up as long as I was aiming within the effective range of the gun.
For fun I thought I’d fire off 15 rounds at 15 feet just to see what the pattern would look like. I put a ragged hole the size of a half dollar in the target. That was fun.
One thing I must point out is that the shots are not consistent in direction. Do not expect each barrel to shoot the same each time.
Unfortunately I’m still without a chronograph so I can’t clock the FPS of the shotgun. I would expect, from my results with the cardboard, that it is shooting about the same as the other UTG shotguns.
If you’re looking for a shotgun that spreads multiple shots over an area, then this is the most economical way to get there. The build quality seems good, and the effective range is decent. I would like to see the groupings stay closer longer and an adjustable hop up unit might be nice if one dial could adjust all 3 barrels simultaneously. The amount of force needed to rack the gun is a bit much. I understand that it’s going to need more force to push 3 bbs, so in a springer (such as this is), you’ll need a stiffer spring. It does seem to work in though after a few hundred shots.
For CQB, I would prefer the shorter version without the full stock as it is a bit long. I do have to say I like the looks of both of them.
In my opinion, this gun is best suited for ranges of about 70 feet and closer, but can get you a solid hit from as far as 80 feet. You’re really beginning to push it at that point though, consider how you’re going to be using it before buying it. I would also suggest trying one out or at least working the action on it before buying it to make sure you’re comfortable with it.
Overall, if I had to rate it on a scale of 1-10 (10 being perfect), I’d have to rate it separately for woodland and CQB.
Woodland: 6/10 due to lack of predictability, difficult racking of the action, and short range
CQB: 8/10 due to difficult racking of the action
Once again, I’d like to thank the guys at AirSplat for providing me with this test sample!