|Model||M14 EBR SOPMOD|
|Shoot modes||Semi-auto Auto|
|Range||60 meters (196.85 feet)|
|Weight||4000 grams (8.82 lbs)|
|Creation date||August 19, 2011|
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In 2010 ARES released a new AEG series. The M14 series was based pn the .308 battle rifle currently used by the US army. The M14 EBR (Enhanced Battle Rifle) was a resigned of the original M14 as commissioned by the US Navy Seals. The rifle was first brought into service in 2004 however the exposure given by the Call of Duty series lead to a increased demand for the M14 MOD.0 & MOD.1.
ARES have released a whole range of variations on the M14 EBR ranging from the standard MOD.0. to the unusual SOPMOD. The internals are mainly metal however the SOPMOD exterior is mainly fibreglass/ ABS. The rails and recievers are steal but with no trademarking.
Upon opening the plain brown cardboard box. I found a M14 SOPMOD, unjamming rod, magazine and instructions. This was all encased within a dark grey foam cut out which held everything in place firmly. When taking the M14 out of the box. The first thing I noticed was the weight. This gun starts off at 4kg without any batteries, or accessories - In later life we weighted it in at 7kg when "fully loaded". I was immediately disapointed by the static charging handle however I learnt to appreciate it as it was one less part that could go wrong! The gun wasnt very comfortable to hold initially due to having more rails than St. Pancras station! The barrel was full metal with a tastful flash hider and previously unknown method of securing the barrel. To fit a battery in the front under the handguard, there is a latch that turns and allows the support for the free-floating barrel to be wiggled out of place! This is a fairly tedious method of battery installation however with practice you can learn to swap batteries in the field in under a minute (like I did). The gun runs on a high torque ARES motor with a full steel gearbox which will tend to train a NiMH battery surprisingly quickly! The handguard will fit a 9.6V 2200mAH battery in the NiMH series however you can get a silly sized Lipo and fit it in there as well.
Sadly due to the design, I would highly recommend a voltage regulation component or a mosfet system because the Lipo will ruin the motor! This is advice from personal experience as I jumped on the LiPo bandwagon and it cost me a motor... At 9.6v the SOPMOD has an obscene ROF and has been clocked at slightly over 30rps. This drops dramatically as the battery is drained quickly. The 2200mAH battery will last half a day... I have managed whole days on limited ammo scenarios.
As I have now owned the M14 for a year, I have had plenty of time to try it out. The ARES stigma was a large weight on my mind for this first few months however, this gun has demolished what ever reservations I had of ARES! The internals are full steel with a decent motor. The gearbox is the ARES quick swap system but this still requires you to seperate the body to swap the spring. This can be done with the removal of two retention pins. The gearbox works like every other ARES quickswap gear box but in the M14 (Version 7 i think) shape that TM started. It can be easily removed from the barrel and upper receiver unit by pulling back the hop and lifting out gently. You required to unscrew the fire selector (I would strongly recommend keeping an eye on parts as the fireselector rolls on a ballbearing that is easily misplaced!). The hope is a full metal hop with an hex key vertical adjustment. This is very sturdy and has NEVER wobbled loose in my experience. There was no front iron sight and the read ironsight was static which kind of felt like ARES was giving me lip-service i.e. giving me a feature that looks like it should work but is in fact pointless. There was also a distinct lack if sling loops.
The gun has a nice 6 point skeleton stock which allows for a range of positions depending on your size and status. In my case, I kept it short for CQB, long for DMR settings and had it about 4/6 notches out for regular woodland games. This worked well combined with the adjustable cheek rest.
The M14 performed better than expected out the box. The 180round midcap didnt need any "wearing in" and in fact all 5 midcaps I have bought from ARES have worked perfectly out of the packaging. The only problem I noticed with the mags was for a DMR setting. You cannot get more than 50 rounds in the mag when the bb's weigh any more than .25g! This is an accidently feature I reckon however ARES are free to correct me on this!
The M14 chrono'd at its first game at 390FPS however this droped down to 380 at later testing dates. The maximum ROF recorded was 31R/s which was far above what I expected. I very much enjoyed the performance of this gun as the semi auto allowed for accurate "pot shots" and the full auto allowed for very good support fire which gave the edge in many scenarios. Hop adjusted and firing at 350fps the range was very impressive! Firing true at 60-70m without arching. The potential when arching rounds allows for a far longer range! Testing on the shooting range, the semi auto accuracy was within 10cm at 30m and on full auto the target was hit less than half the time at 30m. Given the ROF I was suprised by this set up. With 3 modifications this rifle became a DMR at 400FPS. I changed the spring and the barrel. I also tightened the grub screw so that the fire selector could not move.
I came across very few problems with this gun during the first year of use. My first problem was the motor burning out due to extensive use (which was disapointing). My second problem was the new motor (replaced by a workshop) burnt out when using Lipos. This was easliy rectified by ARES who sent me a new motor for a very reasonable price. I also purchased new fireselector components and a range of screws for the M14 for an extra $10 inc P&P which I thought was amazing value for money!
The problems with lipos were due to the current, the motor could override the fire selector plate when the batteries were 25C or more! The final problem was the pistol grip. This became loose from time to time however another SOPMOD owner has suggested threadlok which is an adhesive that helped the screw stay tight!
Overall I was very pleased with this gun, it proved my previous opinions of ARES wrong & gave me new hope for the company! The overall build quality and materials were fantastic however it is still overshadowed by G&G's fantastic EBR Mod! The FPS was hot out of the box however this is nothing that cant be fixed with the easy swap gearbox. However, my box had an incorrect user manual which meant I had to work out the inner workings of my gun through trial and error. Now-a-days ARES host all of their user manual online & keep them upto date!
The overall build was impressive. The performance was impressive. The sheer quantity of rails gave me headaches over what to do with it. There are so many rails that even with an attachment per rail... you still have a phenominal amount of expansion space! The static charging handle ended up being a pro as it was an asthetic that didnt break! The ROF was amazing and the accuracy and range were respectable out of the box. The feel of the gun was great once you modified it and the adjustable cheek rest was a nice little feature for ARES to add. The internals were good and could handle a DMR set up without any major rebuilding or placement of parts. The hop was sturdy and well built!
Unfortunately, due to the pointless asthetic features which annoyed me & the insane ability to drain batteries so quickly this gun had its moments of frustration! The gun was uncomfortable to start off with and required getting used to. The lack of sling loops really annoyed me and drove me to buying RAS mounted sling loops and loops for the skeleton stock.