|Shoot modes||Semi-auto Auto|
|Fire rate||1200 rounds/min|
|Creation date||February 24, 2014|
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Looking for something besides the "typical" M4, AK, MP5, etc. that all your buddies are running? Then check out this review of the JG SL8-4!
The real H&K SL8 is a civilian version of the iconic G36 rifle. The side-folding stock is replaced with a fixed stock that can be extended with a series of inserts and the pistol grip is replaced with a thumb-hole type grip. The real version is semi-automatic only but this replica adds full auto capability.
I've put the SL8-4 through it's paces as well as performing a full teardown. Let's see what this thing is made of!
Huge thanks to Airsplat for providing this AEG for review!
The replica arrived in a plain cardboard box with sticker detailing what was inside as is typical of many JG offerings. The SL8-4 sticker has a nice shine to it and I'd say the packaging is minimal but does the job it needs to and everything is packed securely.
Upon opening the box you'll be greeted by the following items:
-JG SL8-4 AEG
-8.4v NiMH battery
-Long cleaning/unjamming rod
-JG G36 series manual
-5x plastic stock spacers
-20-round plastic non-winding magazine
-Bag of 500 .2g BBs*
*Not pictured, mine broke open during shipping and had spilled all over the inside of the box. These could use some better packaging obviously.
The battery charger actually had some corrosion on the terminals right out of the box. Because of this and the low quality of the included battery I will be not be testing either in this review.
The body and almost all external parts of the JG SL8-4 are made of plastic. This is accurate to the real rifle as H&K's G36-based rifles all have polymer receivers, grips, stocks and other parts.
The build quality overall is above average with little to no wobble when the weapon is shouldered. Despite the plastic construction I am confident this thing could take some serious abuse at the field. Weight is just around 9 pounds which is on the heavy side for a plastic replica but the balance was excellent and most players could use this all day without getting tired.
Main features include:
-Ambidextrous 3-position fire selector
-G36 style magazine release and handguard
-Carry handle with integrated 3x scope
-Ambidextrous charging handle
-Non-threaded "heavy" outer barrel
-Stock length adjustable via spacers
-Top rail for additional accessories/optics
The 3x scope integrated in the carry handle is one of the most interesting features of this replica and probably caught a lot of people's attention. Sadly this is one of the low points of the SL8-4 as the quality left a lot to be desired.
On this particular model the scope appeared to have been incorrectly assembled. The end result was that the reticle was severely canted to one side and it was almost impossible to get a clear target picture due to a very small window of correct eye relief.
I had to disassemble and rebuild the scope before it was really what I would consider playable. I realigned the lenses and reticle which centered the reticle properly and improved the eye relief. After doing this it's a decent optic for medium-range engagements but nothing to write home about. Long story short, don't buy the rifle just for the cool scope/handle combo.
Breaking the rifle down is very similar to other G36-based replicas. You can follow these steps:
-Remove handguard pins, remove handguard.
-Remove magwell pin, remove magwell.
-Remove 3 screws securing the barrel group, disconnect the wiring harness and pull out the barrel/chamber assembly.
-Remove all remaining body pins, remove upper receiver.
-Remove pin above mag release and screw from base of grip.
-Set selector to semi-auto and pull out the gearbox and motor from the lower receiver.
Now we're ready to take a look inside!
Inside the JG SL8-4 is a standard Version 3 gearbox and motor cage. Opening up the gearbox I found the following parts:
-Standard type motor with ferrous magnets
-7mm potmetal non-reinforced Version 3 gearbox shell
-7mm plastic bushings
-Metal spring guide with integrated spring spacer
-Typical JG "cream" plastic tappet plate and cylinder head
-Plastic piston with steel release tooth
-Ported plastic piston head
-Non-ported brass cylinder with chrome coating
-18:1 standard ratio gears
-Air nozzle without internal o-ring
-M120 (estimated) spring
Overall it's not bad but there are some things that just don't belong in a $200 replica. The plastic bushings and weak motor are particularly disappointing. The piston, spring guide, cylinder and gears would be fine for most builds but I would suggest replacing the other parts if you want to go high power/high speed.
One concern with this gun in it's stock form is the poor shimming and lubrication. A basic tuneup will really improve things!
Since this gun has "long range build" written all over it no review would be complete without taking a look at the barrel group. It's identical to a G36K barrel group so there is nothing really new to see here but let's examine the quality of each part.
The barrel itself is a typical stock brass barrel. The exterior finish is fine and I didn't see any large scratches or streaks on the inside either. The inner bore was filled with dust and debris from the factory so it's highly recommended you clean the barrel right away before use!
The bucking is bright blue, noticeably lighter than a Madbull Blue. It is around 70D hardness, and the internal 'mound' is identical to most other standard buckings on the market. It seals well with the inner barrel and chamber.
The chamber itself is a typical G36 one-piece type. It's made of fairly brittle plastic. The C-clip which holds the barrel broke when I removed it which is extremely common with G36 replicas. Be careful!
All testing was conducted on an 11.1v 2200mAh 20C LiPo connected via Deans-to-Tamiya adapter.
I tested with .25, .28 and .32 gram BBs. Most people using this type of AEG are not going to bother with .2s, and .43s are a bit heavy for this power level which is why they are not included. Chrono results are as follows:
.25g - 315 FPS average over 20 shots
.28g - 301 FPS average over 20 shots
.32g - 280 FPS average over 20 shots
The average FPS deviation between shots was about 4 FPS which is pretty consistent for a stock AEG. Rate of fire on the 11.1v LiPo battery was 20 rounds per second which is very good considering the weak motor and M120 spring.
Overall FPS is a bit low considering the spring power which can be traced to a leak at the air nozzle. Installing an O-ring air nozzle should push this gun closer to the 400FPS range.
Effective range with .28g BBs was around 180 feet. At 100 feet I was able to hit a 4" square target with every round on semi-auto.
The JG SL8-4 is definitely something different. The scope and bipod that make this gun stand out from the pack are mostly gimmick features in my opinion and don't add much value to the overall package. However on the bright side the performance after a basic tune is very good. Making accurate shots at 150' and further is a breeze with this thing which you don't see from just every stock AEG.
If it were not for the small issues here and there this gun could have earned an 8 or 9 overall score but there were enough small problems adding up together to bring down the overall package in my eyes.
The SL8-4 seems most suited to field players who prefer to use semi-auto and engage targets in the 100-150' range as this is where it really started to shine. The long barrel and fixed stock would make close-quarters engagements difficult.
Thanks for your time and again many thanks to Airsplat for the chance to review this cool replica!