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The King Arms VSS Vintorez AEG

The King Arms VSS Vintorez AEG Review

King Arms was kind enough to let us take a look at the main prize of Alpha Omega Protocol game at Mrcara -- the King Arms VSS Vintorez AEG.  This actual replica will be presented by Kreso (the organizer and founder of Adriatic Airsoft Alpha) to the lucky winner. Get in touch with Kreso if you're interested and want to win this King Arms replica. Recently G&G, LCT and King Arms released their VSS Vintorez versions and introductions were made on several Youtube channels but for now we will look at the King Arms version in more detail. When you look at the pictures below, please note that this is a display model and not a brand new rifle so it shows minimal wear marks.

In case you need a history lesson about the real steel then please head over to the Wikipedia page of the VSS. The name VSS translates to Special Sniper Rifle because it has an integral silencer, it can be taken down for concealed transport and it uses subsonic ammo. The airsoft version keeps only one of these three features in full: it uses subsonic ammo as well. This isn't King Arms' fault, this is airsoft's fault because the silencer on the airsoft version hides the inner barrel so only the stock can be removed to reduce overall length during transport. Designing a true 3-piece takedown airsoft version would be complicated but not impossible.

The box contains the rifle, one High-Cap magazine, user manual and cleaning rod. The user manual is quite useful especially with its last page that shows all the parts of the VSS with part numbers of course in exploded view.

Externally the rifle looks amazing, very detailed and the airsoft version is too perfect based on the high resolution photos I was able to find on the real VSS. No major wobbles, the silencer sits tight on the receiver and the stock does the same. At first sight, the combination of wooden stock and black polymer handguard can look a bit odd but I got used to it quick. The main external features of the real steel version are all there on the airsoft rifle as well. Adjustable front and rear sights are both made of steel. The only difference here is that on the original VSS, both sights are welded to the silencer while here, there is no visible welding-scar probably because the silencer is made of aluminum and the sight is steel.

Wikipedia says that the rear sight is notched up to 400m with 100m increments but on this replica we find an odd 420m sight with 20/30m increments. I couldn't locate too many high resolution images of the rear sight but there is one so I am convinced this sight actually exists in real life.

Sling attach points are all there front and back, both look sturdy enough to handle the weight of the rifle.  A side rail for the PSO-1 scope can be found on the left hand of the receiver, sadly the rifle doesn't come with a scope, I know this would raise the price tag a little.

Our receiver cover is stamped steel just like the original one. The fire selector looking lever on the left is basically the safety on the VSS because the fire selector is located behind the trigger which has a strong spring to avoid accidental fire mode changes. The charging handle only comes back 10mm or so when the safety is set to "safe"  which is not enough to properly adjust the Hop-Up but it is only bothering for those who actually use safety while adjusting the rubber.

The 380-round High-Cap magazine that comes with the box is not compatible with a standard AEG AK magazine as you can see on these images where I put the King Arms high-cap next to a CYMA 150-round "waffle" magazine. During the test I had no BB feeding issues with the magazine. As far as I know VSS (and VAL) magazines aren't “cross platform” that means for example the G&G magazines won't fit the King Arms replica.

The stock is a nice one with rubber butt pad just like the real one. Color, shape and texture matches the real version, at least based on photos I've found on the internet. King Arms really put some effort into this stock and in my opinion they're completely right because the thing that sells the Vintorez after the silencer is the wooden stock. They went for the aged look instead of the real light, almost yellow plywood color like the ones on the other VSS replicas. To transport the replica you'll need a 62cm (24.5in) long bag or case, this is the length of the VSS after the stock was removed, not much longer than a folding stock AK with short barrel length (like the AMD-65 with its 610mm transport length).

Breaking down the rifle is a bit complicated but not rocket science level. By complicated I mean I don't like too many push pins and here we need to get rid of four to access the inner barrel and/or gearbox.  In case all you have to acces is the inner barrel then you can leave the stock where it is but in order to get to the gearbox we need to remove the stock as well which is fixed in position by a screw on the bottom of the pistol grip. After the screw was removed all we have to do is push the button on the top of the stock, right behind the receiver and pull the stock gently downwards from the receiver. The receiver cover is an AK-style cover so removing that should be easy if you ever looked under the hood of an AK.

Now let's remove the silencer, which can be done easily by pushing a button at the bottom of the receiver. With a little twist left right the silencer comes off easy. Under the silencer, there is a plastic frame for the battery (King Arms recommends an 11.1V where all the 3 cells are separated), at the end of the gearbox wiring there is a small Tamiya plug and an aluminum tube which holds the inner barrel. The front end of  the silencer screws into the tube and it is fixed with the screw of the front iron sight. To pull off the polymer front hand guard, we need to remove our first pin from the push button that helped us remove the silencer. Once that's out of the way, the handguard pulls out towards the front.

The housing that holds the inner barrel and Hop-Up chamber is fixed with two push pins at the front of the receiver. Removing those pins will let us pull the barrel housing to the front and slightly up.  To pull the inner barrel out of its housing, a small Allen type screw has to be removed from the top of it. When the inner barrel is out we are able to pull the wiring through the housing and put the whole thing aside. The inner barrel is 420mm long and it's bore is 6.03mm with an Ak-style plastic Hop-Up chamber.

After we stripped the charging handle and its spring off the gearbox now we're left with the receiver and the gearbox.  The motor frame is wider than the receiver slot so we need to get rid of that one as well, along with the final push pin which holds the gearbox in position. There are no gears on the outside of the gearbox shell since the right hand side lever does nothing but safety. Fire selection is done nicely with a piece that reaches up between the gearbox and the inside of the receiver similar to a bolt stop seen on GBB rifles, no springs, nothing that can go bad.

Our gearbox is a standard Version 3 gearbox and this could be a plus if you're into gearbox tuning and of course it's a plus if something goes bad inside. After opening we can see that there is nothing special here except for the good old reliable Version 3 gearbox parts: full cylinder made of brass, plastic nozzle with no air seal, plastic cylinder head with brass tube and rubberized back, plastic spring guide with a steel washer, polymer piston head with large holes, and a polymer piston with steel last tooth.  This replica does 410 fps so I wouldn't touch it until something gives up inside. In the pictures you can see the spring pictured next to a Guarder 130 spring and the spring guide next to a Guarder Ver3 spring guide with bearings.  Note that some pistons tend to stuck when a spring guide with bearings gets installed because their inner diameter is not up to standards but we have no such problems here. King Arms says that this gearbox could handle a 130 spring without any other upgrades but I would change the piston, piston head and cylinder head just to sleep better. These internal parts deal with a 120 spring (since fps is at 410) so they might deal with a 130 as well. The gears are perfeclty fine including the 7mm ball bearings. All in all, I cannot say bad things about the gearbox because it does its job without problems.

The gun with magazine and some BBs (no battery) weighs 2760 grams. Outside of this, the stock weighs 650g and the receiver only 280g. That leaves roughly 1.8kg for everything else: mag, gearbox, inner/outer barrels, motor, iron sights and some BBs. Note the slightly heavy stock what will give you evenly balanced rifle once the batteries are placed in the front of the rifle. Also note the lightweight receiver, a steel CNC receiver would weigh about 1kg and probably would cost double.

King Arms recommends 11.1V LiPo or 12.8 LiFePo batteries. Its ROF is 14 BB/s using 7.4V and 20 BB/s using 11.1V batteries so I imagine the ROF would go up to minimum 24 BB/s when using a fully charged 12.8V LiFePo. Out of the box, the VSS does 410 FPS (using0.20g BB) with very little deviation. Because of the higher velocity I've used 0.25 BBs for all the test shooting. Grouping was not worse than average thanks to consistent FPS and the Blaster Devils I've used. FPS will vary and it's decided by the retailer/wholesaler who placed the initial order.

The rifle needs no accessories but a PSO scope and an AK two point sling. Current AK rear sight rails probably won't fit the VSS but I hope some manufacturer will eventually come out with such a product. Of course there will be a forward grip/flashlight adapter options coming from King Arms and LCT as well. We have to wait a few months for the Mid-Cap magazine which will be the shorter, 10-round style magazine. King Arms says along with the Mid-Cap magazine comes the flashlight/foregrip adaptor but suggested retail prices for these products aren't available as of this writing.

The gun retails anywhere from 300 to 400 USD which is quite a friendly price for a unique replica as this one. Some retailers still showing the Vintorez on pre-order but most Asian retailers already sold out their stock. It is hard to say goodbye to this replica and I hope it's new owner will like it just as much as I did. I prefer the VSS over an AK variant anytime and not because of its looks but because it is much lighter compared  to my LCT AMD-65. I like the fact that King Arms kept the traditional Version 3 elements (barrel, Hop-Up chamber, gearbox and motor). This way aftermarket upgrades parts are already available so tune-ups can start right away.

There are only two things I would change on the VSS. The first is the gearbox shell and replace it to one with quick spring change feature, so the rifle can adapt to various roles without breaking it completely down. Breaking it completely down requires only four tools (two different Allen keys, a pin push and a screw driver) but most people I know wouldn't do it on the field. The second thing I would change is to come up with a true three piece take-down like an Angry Gun or Ace1Arms power-up silencer where you can change the inner barrel diameters regarding your current role on the field. This would drive the price up of course but it would eliminate the need of a quick spring-change gearbox shell.