249 SAW - First Impressions & fixing the problems:
most of the Airsoft world knows the long awaited TOP FN249 was released late
last month to mixed reviews. While an in-depth review of the depth and scope
of the positive and negative elements of this electric gun is beyond the scope
of this article three issues are examined:
The bipod, battery,
and ammunition feeding.
Author's 249 with custom box-mag and .223 linked ammo
On my FN249 the tabs that were cast to hold the bipod in an upright position
were, by my judgment, not correctly aligned. This may be, however, so that the
guns operator has two bipod positions. I looked at the tabs and was considering
either filing the bipod legs or the tabs themselves to correct the situation
when the situation took care of itself. Both tabs promptly broke clean off -
see pictures - in my normal handling - I have not used the gun to skirmish yet.
Bipod tabs - dissapointing:
This was not the most frustrating detail that I have had to work through on
this squad weapon. As detailed by many new FN249 on the Internet this offering
by TOP has problems feeding BBs from the M16 magazines it can use. On my gun
the problem seems to be that the magazine well and latch for the M16 mags is
way to loose. This prevents the M16 mags from releasing their BBs and thus the
gun from firing. I must admit this was VERY frustrating since the 249 cost as
much as much as 3 or 4 of my other guns. This led to me developing a motorized
box magazine for my 249, which I am happy to report, has fixed the BB feeding
My box magazine is made from a real steel SAW ammunition box, a Classic Army
hi capacity magazine, a gear box from an old Taymia T-34 model tank I had in
my hobby room, some wood and sheet metal for the frame and BB hopper (it holds
almost 2500 BBs) a R/C battery I cut in half from Radio Shack and some custom
parts (bracket, BB feeding tube, switch, etc). This was NOT an easy task. It
took a significant amount of time - 2 destroyed CA high caps - feet of pipe
trying to find a bend angle that worked and finally a overall understanding
of how the BBs should be fed into the 249.
Custom BoxMag: As you can see from the pictures once you attach
the feeding tube to the 249 with the bracket - you can attach the BOX next.
There is no solid connection between the feeding tube and the box mag - the
high cap keeps pressure on the BBs that are fed into the tube. Through experience
I found it much more important for the BB feeding tube to have a perfect fit
into the 249 that from the BOX itself. You can see the push button switch that
is operated by the fore hand when shooting the gun. I experimented with having
the trigger operate the feeding of the BBs but found the system unsatisfactory
since there are many times that you want to feed BBs but not shoot the gun.
I can now report
that I have put over 9000 BBs through using this system and it is very solid
except for the odd dry fire if you are not operating the box mag when you are
shooting and the 249's high rate of fire expends all of the BBs that are loaded
under the internals pressure.
I really hate
how small the battery space - I cut my fuse right out and replaced the small
AUG battery connector with a large type so that I could neatly ffed them back
into the gun - I also painted my battery back so that when you look in you dont
see green battery cells. I think it makes the gun look more realsitic.