|Model||M3A1 Grease Gun|
|Range||100 feet (30.48 meters)|
|Fire rate||660 rounds/min|
|Weight||4500 grams (9.92 lbs)|
|Creation date||December 19, 2011|
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Ratty gives his opinion of Ares' M3A1 Grease Gun, which has been around (in real steel, of course) since 1944.
Published in Airsoft Action, Nov 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: Airsoft Action magazine DOES NOT give 'stars out of 10' ratings - not in the magazine, and not here. EVERY review we post will have default 'star' ratings - you'll need to read it for yourself and decide whether it's for you.
Replica photography copyright Airsoft Action (Blaze Publishing Ltd).
Source Airsoft Action, Nov 2011
In February 1941, the US Ordnance Corps set out a requirement for a cheaper sub-machine gun to act as an alternative to the Thompson M1 and M1928. A prototype, designated the T20, was a very simple weapon, made mostly from stamped steel. After trials, the newly designated M3 was put into service in 1943. The M3 fired .45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) rounds and was full-auto only, using a blowback mechanism from an open bolt.
Early M3s showed up some problem points in combat, mostly the cocking mechanism. These problems were overcome and in 1944 the newer, more reliable version (designated M3A1) served with distinction with US Armed Forces through the latter part of WWII. This version saw heavy use in the Pacific as well as service in both the Korean and Vietnam wars. It was still the personal weapon of US Army tank crews until the 1980s.
The M3A1 could be converted to use 9x19mm Luger ammunition by replacing the barrel, bolt and a magazine adapter so it could use British Sten gun magazines. The retractable stock, when detached, doubled up as a cleaning rod, and also featured a magazine loading tool. The hollow pistol grip contained a small gun oil bottle, which was required as the cheaper steel rusted quite easily in wet climates. A silenced version of the M3A1 was produced for special operations.
ARES is well-known for trying to make its airsoft rifles as realistic as possible. The company has done a cracking job with this weapon! On opening the box there is a basic operation manual which is very easy to follow, with a good exploded parts diagram.
Taking the M3A1 out of the box you’re instantly struck by how heavy it is (4.5kg), and its distinctive finish. ARES has really gone to town to make it look industrial-like, fitting the M3A1’s basic functions and crude weld marks. This façade works well as the receiver is stamped steel and the outer barrel aluminium, so the materials used are very robust and almost indestructible. With the wire frame stock fitted, this looks one awesome piece of kit!
Unique to the Grease Gun is the fact that the battery is housed in the magazine, which holds 65 rounds of 6mm BBs. There is ample space for an 8.4/9.6v stick type-battery and fitting is quick and easy. It will also take LiPo or nunchuck batteries.
The battery contacts are located at the top of the magazine, which marry to contacts inside the mag well. The downside of this system is that you are going to need a battery for each mag you have, as you don’t want to be scrabbling around in the middle of a fire-fight swapping batteries every time you do a mag change – and with a capacity of only 65 BBs you are going to need a few extra mags too.
The safety is easy to use as it is just a big lever on the right-hand side of the receiver. The hop unit is simple to adjust by lifting the hinged ejection port cover (which you need to do when firing) and sliding back the imitation bolt to allow access. The adjuster itself is a simple slide lever.
The stock is a basic two-position ‘all way in/all way out’ and the catch is located at the top right-hand side of the pistol grip. The magazine release catch is on the left-hand side of the receiver at the top of the mag well. Magazines fit very snugly and initially require a gentle tap to engage fully. The fixed aperture rear sight and fixed front sight, as well as the sling mounts, all add to the realistic look.
With mag firmly in, ejection port cover open and stock fully extended I took off the safety and pulled the trigger… Wow! Straight out of the box with the hop half-on, I was hitting my target at just over 100ft. The electric blowback mechanism really put a smile on my face. As the imitation bolt went back and forth with a ‘chugga-chugga’ sound I was really impressed – and still smiling like a kid at Christmas!
Firing at around 660rpm – which is faster than the real thing – I was achieving a reading of between 288-307fps (with hop on).
The Ares M3A1 is made mostly of steel so it is very important to keep the externals clean as part of your regular maintenance, or you could find rust getting into the bodywork. Secondly, keep the contacts on both the magazine and inside the mag well clean. It won’t take long for muck from your pouches to get on them, which would severely hamper your use and enjoyment, and keeping these clean will stop carbon deposits building up.
Having been a fan of Ares as a manufacturer since buying my L1A1 SLR a while ago, I’m really pleased that the thought put into the design and construction of the M3A1 has reaffirmed Ares as an attentive, top-quality manufacturer producing exciting weapons. The only downside I can see is the battery-in-mag scenario, but given the compactness of the Grease Gun I can see they had little choice.
Although not everyone’s cup of tea, the Grease Gun is iconic and, if you are doing WWII airsoft in a US role, this gives you another quality option besides the usual Thompsons that you see. Because the real version had such a long working life, it lends itself to Vietnam or even Cold War loadouts too.
All in all a phenomenal bit of kit. I just wonder what else Ares will be releasing in its classic line range…
Weight: 4,500 grams
Build: Steel receiver and stock, aluminium outer barrel
Length: 580mm stock retracted
750mm stock extended
Internals: Metal gearbox with high torque motor
Mag capacity: 65 BBs
Battery: 8.4v/9.6v stick/nunchuck type NiMH 7.4v LiPo
Velocity: 288-307 (hop on)
311-335 (hop off)
Price: Around £230