MadBull Noveske NSR & Crusader Barrel
22 Sep 2014
MadBull Airsoft have simply the best and most realistic accessories for Airsoft guns in the market nowadays. The fact that they have several major real steel brands licensing airsoft versions of their products is an obvious sign that they’re doing what it takes not only to provide realistic Airsoft replicas as well as superbly manufactured products.
The Noveske NSR Handguard and Crusader barrel are no exceptions to the rule, as I’ve had the opportunity to assess during the past few months that I’ve been running these on my badass WE Katana AEG which after a while of being stopped, is working again!
DESIGN, BUILD QUALITY AND ERGONOMICS
I chose to go with this setup since I was looking for a longer barrel for my M4 AEG that would give me the extra range, and at the same time I wanted to keep the weight down and the attachment options high.
This usually means you have to make a trade-off and sacrifice one of the two. Well, not always, thanks to the Noveske NSR Handguard being the most lightweight 11 inch handguard I’ve ever had the opportunity to run on my guns, weighing only a mere 220 grams! Incredible!
Its design is simple but effective: Noveske have trimmed this rail to a bare minimum, with the intent of creating the lightest and smallest free floating fore end available to the M16 family today.
I may sound like a broken record, but again MadBull Airsoft have used great materials and craftsmanship while producing the NSR Rail replica. And just like the real steel version, they were able to keep the weight down and keep the structural strength, making this an extremely sturdy handguard with a low profile.
This is one of those products that you think is different and better just by touching and handling the gun when you first install it, since the way you grip it feels much more comfortable and natural than the majority of weapons rails out there that are heavy and bulky.
The ergonomics are amazing and the shape of the rail is a sure bet it will go well in your hands. Also it makes even the heaviest and lengthiest AEG rifles a joy to grip and handle, almost an experience on its own.
In order to be as lightweight and sleek, the NSR rail doesn’t have any other rail apart from the monolithic rail on top of the handguard. Instead of having more built-in rail space, it uses a system called the KeyMod, which has been growing in popularity in the Real Steel and Airsoft industries since it also allows about the same attachment options as traditional rails, but keeping the weight down.
And if you think about it, unless you want to create one of those aberrations we see in many Airsoft memes, most users only need to attach two or three accessories, such as a flashlight, a PEQ to hold the battery and a grip. So you get plenty of spare rail space which you end up wasting. And this waste of rail space means more weight that is there for no reason.
KeyMod was created by VLTOR Weapons Systems and is an open-source design that allows you to attach sections of rail to the handguard in specially designed slots by fastening a screw to secure the rail to the free floating handguard.
So now you’ll only use the rails you’ll actually need and depending on each situation, making your AEG a flexible and lightweight platform ready for several scenarios and missions.
Finally the Noveske Crusader outer barrel is made of CNC aluminium and is a 12.5 inch outer barrel, again fully licensed by Noveske.
It’s part of a series of several licensed barrels that start at 10.5 inches, all the way up to 18 inches with the SPR barrel. These mainly add more realism to your setup and they very nicely with the NSR handguard.
These barrels are sold with included gas tube and gas block. The gas block shows the Noveske logo and looks extremely nice with the bead blasted alike finish barrel. You can see on the photos all the attention that went into these small details by MadBull Airsoft so that their barrels would look as similar as possible to the real steel ones.
Together they are a perfect match and I can tell you that it’s a pleasure not only to hold and use but also look at my WE Katana now!
INSTALLATION AND FEATURES
Installation of the barrel is fairly easy, as all you need to do is slide into the receiver, install the gas tube and gas block by fixing the gas block to the barrel with the included hex screws.
However, when I tried to install the NSR handguard with the gas tube it simply wouldn’t fit. Somehow, MadBull Airsoft in the middle of all their perfection and attention to detail had a small relapse and didn’t accommodate enough room for the gas tube in a very small section of the handguard. Fortunately, it’s a really quick and easy fix and all it took was a file and a couple of minutes and the gas tube now fits in the handguard perfectly.
The handguard comes with a locking nut and 8 hex screws. Once you thread the locking nut to the receiver of your AEG, just slide in the NSR and tightly screw each hex screw. But be careful not to over tighten them, and also don’t force the screws as these are slightly on the soft side. I damaged one and had to do a small cut so I could unscrew it again.
Now bear in mind that while you have a huge rail on top for optics and say a PEQ, if you want to attach another accessory such as a flashlight to the sides or on the bottom of the NSR you’ll have purchase a KeyMod Rail, which is sold separately.
To screw the rails to the bottom of the rail you’ll have to remove the self-tightening plates and tighten the screw on the small holes present at the bottom of the handguard.
You can of course get more rails than one depending on your attachment needs and probably run as much as 4 rails, with 2 on each side. But are you really going to need it? Perhaps 1 or two will be more than enough for most people and it will allow you still have a very lightweight setup.
brought into the real steel world by Noveske and then manufactured to the high standards we know that only MadBull Airsoft is capable of. Of course there are some small issues like the quality of the hex screws on the handguard and having to file the handguard slightly so it could fit with the gas tube, but these are only minor issues when compared to the quality of construction and the durability of these products.
Also, the benefits are huge as you’ll be getting one of the most, if not the most lightweight and customizable handguard in the market today thanks to the sleek and slim design and the KeyMod System.
Most of all, I really appreciated how ergonomic it is to grip, and used together with the Crusader Barrel it really balances my AEG and makes my Airsoft experience turn up a notch.
The 11-inch NSR Handguard is priced around £114.99 at Wolf Armouries, or around $110 at eHobby Asia, and each rail goes for £16.99 at Wolf Armouries or $16.99 at eHobby Asia.
- Ultra lightweight at only 220 grams
- Sturdy and well built
- Very ergonomic design makes it a pleasure to grip
- Easy to install
- Very customizable
- Great attention to details and trademarks
- Both the barrel and the handguard provide great balance to the gun
- Very nice looking setup
- Soft hex screws
- Need to file a little in order to install both products together