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Arcturus AK105 Review


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Old December 17th, 2019, 01:32   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Richmond Hill and Waterloo, Ontario
Arcturus AK105 Review

Arcturus AKs have been in the Canadian market for roughly a year now, and they seem to be fairly decent AKs for the price, especially for those after the look of the SLR Rifleworks AKs. While the outward appearance and steel bodies seem quite attractive, internal parts and upgrade potential are nowhere near as well documented as other AK brands such as LCT.

Full disclosure here, I was given an Arcturus AK105 by the Canadian Arcturus distributor for the purpose of writing this review.

Now with that out of the way, lets get started.

Arcturus AK105

Initial Impressions

The gun is what you would expect of a decent quality AK. The body feels solid, and is covered in oil. The quality of the finish to me seems around the same quality as E&L, maybe a bit better. Not as bad as CYMA, not as good as LCT.

The gun comes with one midcap and one hicap mag. The mags seem to be of decent quality.

Magnet test - The following parts appear to be magnetic:
-muzzle device
-front sight
-rear sight
-dust cover
-mock bolt
-buffer tube adapter
-trigger guard
-magazine release
-sling mount

I actually quite like the Magpul style pistol grip. I kind of wish it were available as a standalone grip, as I find it significantly more comfortable than other airsoft AK grips on the market. The quality on the grip also feels quite decent.

The handguard seems like a decent replica of the older design SLR Rifleworks AK handguards - the SOLO series, as opposed to the newer ION. For anyone that is after the look, this is a decent buy since the cost of getting your hands on the real handguard alone probably costs as much as this whole gun. Having spoken with SLR Rifleworks at SHOT Show 2019, the Arcturus is actually an unlicensed replica. Dytac makes the licensed copies, so you won't be seeing any sexy SLR Rifleworks engravings anywhere. I have milled and installed roughly 5 or 6 real SLR handguards on LCT and GHK AKs, so I feel like I am qualified here in assessing faithfulness and quality. Obviously the quality of the Arcturus handguard is nowhere near as good as good as the real SLR, but it is significantly better than other airsoft AK handguards.

The SLR handguard by design clamps to the barrel, and is not the shitty file and hammer fitment you get from Zenitco style handguards and their even worse clones. Yes, I've handled real Zenitco rails and they are absolute trash. To be honest this Arcturus SLR handguard probably will hold zero better than a real Zenit handguard.

Disassembly and Internals

The leaf spring underneath the sight is extremely stiff. I really don't like leaf springs this stiff as it makes disassembly kind of annoying. I guess some people will like the unnecessary stiffness because it is closer to a real AK leaf spring.

The front end is similar to the VFC design with the through pin. It also has the two grub screws.

Despite being a buffer tube AK, this AK is top wired. There is plenty of room for it to be rear wired, but the top wiring isn't that bad. You can tell that the gearbox shell was originally designed for a mock blowback AK.

The wiring looks relatively clean, and has a Tamiya connector as you would expect for a stock gun. It looks like it is probabaly 16 AWG wire so it is probably more than enough for a stock gun.

The hop up unit is metal and is secured against the gearbox with the L bracket. Another set of brackets underneath it secure it laterally and prevent rotation. The barrel is coated steel and seems to shoot decently well for a stock barrel. It is able to hit a 3" plate at 66 feet most of the time. I will confirm and also measure the bore with a caliper and update this thread.

The gearbox is quick spring change. Gearbox removal is basically the same as the VFC style CYMA AKs. Remove the grip, remove the selector, remove the L-bracket and one screw on the lower bracket so you can slide the hop up forward, and the gearbox will come out.

The gearbox itself looks pretty standard. The motor is your standard stock ferrite motor. It would benefit from an upgrade down the road but is fine for a stock gun.

There is a decocking lever next to the trigger. You can press it up to disengage the anti reversal latch. I guess its a nice feature, but I consider it unnecessary. Decocking can sometimes leave the sector gear in the semi auto seizure position, which would require a brief cycle in auto before semi will work.

The selector piece that goes through the gearbox is a slightly different design than is standard, it should help a bit with loose selector issues that plague most airsoft AKs.

The trigger mechanism itself is basically the microswitch V3 trigger mechanism that started in the Ares and S&T G36 series. The proprietary mechanism means that it will not be compatible with most V3 trigger board MOSFETs, and will only be compatible with wired MOSFETs that have a signal debouncer. One notable improvement over the regular V3 microswitch system is a cover that prevents the trigger from bending outward over time and not working.

The gearbox seems decent for a stock gearbox. It is overgreased like most gearboxes from China. The gears look similar to the ones Classic Army used to provide. The gearbox tolerances are tight enough that nothing immediately flew away, which is surprising for a gun from China.

The cylinder is steel and is ported. It looks decent with no major burrs. The cylinder head is your standard stock plastic one with a small rubber impact pad and a metal snout. It would benefit from an upgrade to an aluminum one.

The nozzle seals quite well. It has an internal O-ring and is machined from white plastic, I'd guess POM.

The piston assembly looks quite good for a stock assembly. The piston head is plastic and is ported. It isn't great, but it seals. the piston itself is pretty good, it is a plastic body with a heat treated steel rack. It should be quite durable.

There is one notable problem with the piston. The spacing between the pickup tooth and the third tooth (second tooth removed) is too wide. This is a problem present with some Ace1Arms pistons and SHS pistons. One factory probably made an off spec mould and used it for a bunch of different brands.

Piston rack with sector gear aligned on pickup (note space on the third piston tooth):

Piston rack with sector gear aligned with third tooth (note space on pickup tooth):

This is obviously not ideal, I have seen hundreds of pistons with these off spec racks and I have never seen a failure caused by this. I have let several suppliers of these pistons know about this problem since 2016 and apparently they're still using the off spec mould. I would recommend modifying the third tooth on the piston so that it is slightly angled, that way when the sector gear engages it, it engages a flat surface instead of misaligning and applying a sudden upward force to the piston.

Modified piston rack:

One more notable problem I have found is that the tappet plate is slightly too short for the thickness of the bushing on the sector gear's shaft. The bushing prevents the tappet plate from returning fully forward. This is a problem that is common on a lot of airsoft guns, and is one that I always check for when I tune a gun. This causes the nozzle not to seat fully forward, and can cause air seal issues.

The solution is quite simple, use a circular file and make a small notch in the tappet plate where it contacts the sector gear's shaft bushing.

Overall, the internals on the Arcturus AK seem fairly decent, and extremely reasonable for a stock gun.

Closing Thoughts:

The Arcturus AK is still somewhat new to the Canadian airsoft market, but it seems to be a solid gun out of the box. There are some minor improvements to be made, but overall the gun is quite good out of the box. If you are a person that likes to keep guns stock or only lightly upgraded and you like the look of SLR Rifleworks AKs, I actually highly recommend this gun. I personally think the SLR Rifleworks AK platform is both the most aesthetic and the most practical AK platform.

-One of the best airsoft AK handguards out of the box
-Decent stock gearbox
-Good air seal out of the box
-Decent stock barrel group
-Very low lemon rate
-Improved microswitch trigger
-Comes with pretty decent external hardware (grip, stock, etc)

-Limited gearbox upgradeability
-Microswitch trigger (limits aftermarket trigger upgrades)
-Tappet plate slightly short
-Piston slightly off spec

If you are looking for the gucciest of gucci AK upgrade platforms, I would not recommend this gun. I would recommend upgrading an LCT to upgrade. But if you are just looking for a reliable and pretty good looking stock AK, this one definitely fits the bill.

Any further questions, feel free to ask.

Last edited by pestobanana; December 17th, 2019 at 13:01..
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