Those who know me would agree that my purchasing behaviour tends to be influenced by price point. I naturally gravitate towards the more expensive item, because I strongly believe in the adage that you get what you pay for. I’m not what you’d call well off, but I will always make sacrifices to afford what I want.
However, after due deliberation, I bought a 416 kit a few weeks ago…and my choice may surprise some people.
There has never been a better time to buy a 416 PTW kit. The kits on the market right now (FCC, SGT and the newcomer – Eagle Eye Airsoft) cater for different price points and different requirement sets. After being honest with myself and fair minded with the products on offer, I selected the one which I felt best fit my requirements. We all have different requirements and what may be of little value to me may be of great importance to you – and vice versa.
Right from the start, I was particularly interested in the Eagle Eye (EE) 416. Not just because the price seemed too good to be true…but because I’d spoken to owners about the fit and finish of the kit and heard some really positive things.
The EE 416 is something of a word of mouth phenomenon, which has seemingly appeared out of nowhere. There has been no marketing by the brand – just the delivery of what many consider to be a competent, solid, high quality, well priced product. EE simply lets the product speak for itself, presumably because the company is so confident about their offer.
However, I do wonder if EE’s silence also has something to do with evading the watchful eye of H&K license holders, Umarex. With this in mind and given the kit’s origins in Taiwan, it’s been alleged that EE is OEM’d by VFC (VFC makes 416s for Umarex).
You can imagine what sort of priority access VFC could have to RS H&K technical data. Plus, who wouldn’t want a VFC PTW? VFC is a good brand. A very good brand. Obviously that’s all speculation, but the EE – like the SGT – is bundled with VFC accessories (including the RIS).
So, by now, it will come as no great surprise when I say I bought the EE.
I’m using a number of RS parts on my 416 and all fit without modification – which shows that the EE’s form factor is no guesstimate. EE has thought things through. I don’t have an RS RIS to test with, but EE has published pics of their 416 with an RS SMR – which I think is really positive:
The 416’s build and form factor is intrinsically solid, robust and ergonomic. This carries over to EE’s version. Unlike some other receiver sets on the market (and I’m mainly counting M4 ones here) the fit between EE’s upper and lower is precise. There is no gap when upper and lower are closed together and in particular, there is no gap at the end of the upper – so it doesn’t look like the shimming is over done.
However, the EE set is not perfect. Nothing is.
With mine, there was marginal flex between upper and lower at the front take down pin. This wouldn’t have bothered most, but for me it was easily and entirely eradicated by fitting a Magic Pin.
Likewise, if you’re looking for a skin tight cylinder fit, the EE may not be the one for you. Cylinder fit is within spec, but it is looser than Prime, say. Having said that, I think this is what lends the gun its clean, harmonic tone when fired.
Similarly, if I’m being hyper critical, I’d say the RIS on top of the upper is a little off spec. Most optics will sit perfectly, but my EXPS cants slightly to the left – the same as some OEM Systema uppers. Most wouldn’t notice this, but I did so I need to mention it.
Back to positives, which, in fairness, vastly outweigh the negatives.
Mag fit is comfortable and, of course, it’s difficult going back to using a standard M4 lower after experiencing the 416’s extended and flared magwell. Likewise, mag release is crisp, as it should be. Also, the curve on the EE’s upper is nice and smooth, not graduated/striped, like Prime’s.
I’m glad I was able to see beyond my obsession with price point on this one. It feels like progress. Not that I would have been disappointed if I’d bought the SGT kit, or the FCC – far from it. But selecting the EE kit feels right, right now.