Son-of-a-biatch, I need this gun!!! Another very
notable item of the 2011 Shot Show includes the SOCOM Gear Cheytac M200 Intervention Airsoft Sniper Rifle. Gas-powered, Bolt-action, licensed CheyTac trades and an incredibly solid CNC build are all words I would use to describe this rifle after I got to hold it. Technically, this is not a brand new item, but this monstrosity caught my eye first and I'm not sure there has been too many, if any, reviews posted of it online anywhere, so I thought I'd discuss my impressions of it. It's definitely not something you see everyday, that's for sure!. BTW (by the way), when I say monstrosity, I am referring to its shear size and mass, NOT that it is ugly in any way, shape or form. I'm a huge CheyTac M200 fan and consider it to be one of my favorite sniper rifle designs (externally speaking). Anyway, not only is the SOCOM Gear CheyTac probably one of the longest Airsoft rifles of any type that I've seen (a bit over 4 feet or 48"+ with the stock extended a couple notches), but it's by far the heaviest. Nothing comes close to its weight that I've held, and you'll note that I have a WE M14 Gas Blowback Rifle as well as a Classic Army M249 SAW. Neither gun hold a candle to the weight of the SOCOM Gear CheyTac M200. I'm not saying I'm the strongest dude around by any margin (and DEFINITELY NOT at Shot Show. There were big, scary mother lovers there that could probably snap my neck with one hand), but at 6'6", 245 lbs, I'm bigger than the average bear and I can generally handle a bit more weight than some. However, when I picked up that rifle for the first time, I was absolutely blown away at how heavy it was. I estimated that the CheyTac weighed in somewhere at or around 25 pounds with the loaded magazine inserted. Add a scope large enough so that it doesn't look ridiculously tiny on the rifle, and you've got yourself a serious full-body workout trying to walk, run or crawl with this thing. The SOCOM Gear CheyTac M200 is only listed at 9kg on the manufacturer's website, which is around 18 pounds, but that does not include the loaded mag or scope. I can pretty much promise all my favorite readers out there, and even my not-so-favorite readers
, that the weight of the SOCOM Gear CheyTac M200 will separate the Airsoft men from the Airsoft boys
Then, there's the shell casings that use 8mm BBs. Yes. You read that correctly, this is not only an 8mm BB Airsoft sniper rifle, but one that utilizes mock shell casings. From wind resistance standpoint, I can't say 8mm BBs were the best choice here, especially when one considers just how few options there are in companies that make a quality round in that diameter. My guess is that SOCOM Gear figured that since the real steel model is a large-caliber rifle, the AIRSOFT version should bulk up as well, but unfortunately, from what I know and have seen, it probably would have been a wiser move to stick with a 6mm system instead. In terms of the full-metal shells, there is some serious cool factor here. The bolt action, which is solid and smooth, ejects the "spent" rounds like the real steel version would do. Hendrix De Leon, of JAG Precision, kindly demonstrated this for me by cycling the bolt with a bit of testosterone in his grip, causing the action to spit out the round from the ejection port a good three or four feet to the right.
**Special note to aspiring Airsoft snipers interested in not giving away their position on the field: use less force when cycling the bolt so that the big shiny brass casing doesn't fly out of the gun, possibly catching the attention of those you don't want paying attention to you (if you catch my drift). Instead, use just enough force to pull the bolt back and get the shell to fall out of the port into your hand so as not to alert any nearby OPFOR that there's a sniper in the area who doesn't want to stay alive anymore.**
Hendrix did this for demonstration purposes and wasn't suggesting that the rounds be ejected in that manner during a game. Again, very cool feature,
but if you think about how that would go down in a game, you'll have to collect any shell you eject before you relocate to another spot on the field because the shell itself is very big, like an actual CheyTac .408 round might be, and it's made of metal, which means that it's probably expensive to replace in the event you were to lose one or more of them during a game. So again, a cool realism feature, but could be a fairly cumbersome problem, depending on how much or little you have your sh!t together when trying to play with the SOCOM Gear CheyTac in a game. HOWEVER, anyone who has the cash to purchase this amazing replica is going to probably be into that whole realism thing, which I totally respect, so it is not necessarily a bad thing to have to deal with. I'm just trying to show both sides of the coin, here.
Left to Right: A Trifecta of Big-Boy Airsoft Sniper Rifles
Echo1 M28 Airsoft Spring Sniper Rifle
SOCOM Gear Barrett M82A1 CQB Airsoft AEG Sniper Rifle (Version 2 Gearbox, I might add)
SOCOM Gear CheyTac M200 Intervention Airsoft Gas Sniper Rifle
NOW...THAT BEING SAID, I don't want to sound too negative here because I was still THOROUGHLY impressed by the SOCOM Gear CheyTac. I just want to point out that
this is NOT the Airsoft sniper rifle for everyone.
Whether it's the depth of your pockets or your skillset on the Airsoft battle field, if you don't have either squared away, BUYER BEWARE. In fact, Airsoft sniper rifles in general are not for everyone. But that's another rant for another time. Anyway, as far as the SOCOM Gear CheyTac is concerned, there was nothing cheap about this rifle, and I'm not just referring to the price tag ($1,299 is the price I'm seeing consistently). I didn't see much that wasn't crafted from solid metal and I don't recall any part of the gun having any sort of wobble to it. I am curious to know whether SOCOM Gear's version of the famous real steel rifle in .408 CheyTac will allow an HPA system to run on it instead of using Propane. Per Hendrix, this rifle houses the gas in the bolt, so you'd probably need to be pretty savvy with a mill or like me, know someone who is, in order to make this system work with an external air source. I didn't have a chance to have Hendrix enlighten me on the concepts of that particular gas design, but he did express his personal preference that the gas come from a better spot than the bolt. I would be inclined to agree, Hendrix. However, I think this system could still be very workable.
Below: Here's my best impression of trying to look tougher than Marky Mark Wahlberg in the movie, Shooter, whilst I brandish the beautiful and sexy SOCOM Gear CheyTac M200 Airsoft Sniper Rifle. Speaking of the rapper-"turnt"-actor (see T Pain for clarification), as much as I enjoy his movies, Mark Wahlberg is too short to run this rifle. It's probably about as tall as he is if you were to stand it up straight. It's a ridiculous notion. That's for sure. Doesn't mean I didn't love the movie though.
Additionally, in terms of skirmishability, I know for a fact, that there are guys out there that are into getting "all ghillied up" and crawling all over the field, stalking their prey and pulling off shots on the sneak. But those who are able to truly be effective at this technique or craft, are few and far between in the Airsoft realm. So I'm not saying the SOCOM Gear's M200 Intervention is unskirmishable, but I AM saying that it's really only going to be effective if used by an advanced, veteran player who knows not only how to get around the field and pull shots off undetected, but also one who is in phenomenal shape in order to do so with a 25- to 30-pound, full-metal Airsoft rifle of outlandish length. Would I like to have a SOCOM Gear CheyTac sniper rifle in my arsenal? You bet your sweet ass I do!!! So don't take this write-up as a negative review by any means. I'm just saying that you need to know what you're getting into before you throw down well over a grand on this thing, thinking that you're just gonna go out and own the field without having any of your ducks in a row. Maybe I'm wrong about my impressions, but I won't know for sure until I can get my hands on one, take it out to a game and put it to the test. If that happens, rest assured, my friends: I'll keep you posted.
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