Evolution Through Innovation: Amoeba Striker AS01
The spring rifle is one of the oldest concepts in airsoft. You manually cock a spring back. Once you pull the trigger, it slings the piston forward and fires the bb. It doesn't get much more simple. This simplicity has also been the cause for a real lack of successful innovation by most companies in this category. Ares and Elite Force are flipping the script and taking the road less traveled to innovate with the AS01 Amoeba Striker sniper rifle, but will it satisfy your lust for long range combat?
The AS01 Amoeba Striker takes the concept of the traditional long rifle and manages to find a bunch of new amenities you didn't know you needed all this time. For a long while now, airsofters have been content with some of the outdated notions present in popular sniper options such as the M24 and VSR10. Unrealistically placed magazines, no tool storage, and poor construction methods and materials made the guns feel cheap and gimmicky. They did not embody the potential and power these guns can ultimately harness when fully built out.
The AS01 does away with any notion of tradition or sensibility. It freely sheds it's modular panels (of which you can buy in different colors to customize to your liking) to reveal hidden tool storage. These panels also allow you to adjust length of pull, comb height and easily and quickly swap out front ends for different styles and colors.
The polymer used to construct the gun is top notch. It feels solid and depsite being plastic does not have the slimy plastic-y feel that the JG Bar10 has. While you immediately recognize the lighter material when you hold it, it does not feel cheap the way plastic often does. It provides a solid positive grip as you wrap your hand around the stock and prepare to pull the trigger.
The bolt pull is smooth and short. This is due to the AS01's shorter cylinder length that provides a few extra benefits at the expense of cylinder volume. Among these benefits is a very large magazine placed in the correct location on the rifle. This magazine is released by an AK-style paddle in front of the trigger guard. This release also flares down and extends towards the underside of the trigger to make actuating one handed easier. I would have been content for the paddle alone, but this added feature makes reloading faster and easier and I certainly won't argue with the design choice.
Everything about these guns is designed for ergonomics and to improve on some area in a traditional airsoft sniper rifle where it is lacking. In fact, of all the improvements to the rifle, I only really have one complaint. The location of the hop up adjustment screw means adjusting after mounting your scope is a huge hassle. However, Ares has rectified that with a replacement screw featuring a large thumb accessible head to remove the need for the allen key. It would be preferred for this to just simply be included, but at least it's an option.
The evolutionary measures on the outside all serve to protect the ways this rifle tries to redefine the traditional notions behind a spring sniper rifle. The AS01 does things differently, and whether that's better or worse is more of a matter of opinion, but it certainly gets the job done adamantly.
Before we dive into how it works, our model was shooting 450 FPS on our standard testing bb, the Elite Force .20g Biodegradable BB. We were able to range test it with the standard .20 to the maximum distance we have available at 200 Feet without issue. I'd be remiss if I did not mention however, that I have seen properly upgraded strikers hit out to the legendary 300 foot mark with the right parts. We'll touch on that in a bit.
As we mentioned earlier, removing the cap on the bottom of the stock reveals a pair of allen keys. The larger of these is used to do the lion's share of take down on the AS01. You can field strip it for cleaning easily, and the process is simple. Remove two screws and the action comes out without much fuss after you pull off the trigger guard and magazine release. Using the allen key as a punch, you can remove the retaining pin that also functions as your loaded chamber indication and slide out the bolt.
Once you begin investigating the trigger box, you begin to see some of the places where this rifle starts to change the nature of the game. The trigger box is mounted to the receiver, and to access the internal parts, you remove a panel from the side. This requires a small phillips head screw driver, and it was the only extra tool I needed to use to work on this gun beyond the allen keys included in the grip. The parts are laid out simply, and removing the cover only takes the safety mechanism with it. This means you can get a much easier understanding of how all of the springs and parts are meant to sit inside the housing. This is a much easier rifle to understand as a novice, which is saying something, as spring rifles are already one of the easiest to learn to tech on.
I'm no metallurgist, but the parts did not appear to be made of the typical cheap pot metal found in cheap budget options. They did not appear to be the finest metal in the world, and upgrades if you are chasing high FPS will be necessary. However, they are certainly more adept at the DMR range of velocities. This mechanism is overwhelmingly similar to how other spring rifles work, but the way the parts are staged in this side-access housing, coupled with the tunable trigger out of the box is certainly an innovative approach to a concept thought to be at the end of it's innovative rope.
This rifle uses a smaller cylinder than a typical sniper rifle. This is to allow it to utilize AEG springs, which makes adjusting your FPS a bit easier to do. Most airsoft retailers have AEG springs available in a surplus. This also allows the breach to be exposed when the bolt is to the rear. If you manage to get a jam or need to clear some debris in the field, this is a handy ability to have. During one of the occasions previous to this review that I was able to play with a friend's Striker, I was able to remove a bad BB from the hop up using only one of the included allen keys, and didn't have to leave the field to do it.
While it can be a little more difficult to get the necessary air out of this rifle for great stable long distance shots, this gun certainly fills the role nicely. With the right upgrade parts, this gun can slap targets with ease at long distance. It's better at it stock than most other rifles in it's price range as well. While it does utilize a different system to other rifles on the market in most respects, it does utilize VSR10 barrels and hop up buckings which is also a bonus in it's favor.
Upgrading this rifle is pretty straight forward. Parts on the market slot in without much fuss, and taking the rifle down to do so is easy. They are insanely customizable aesthetically with new barrels and stock parts to swap out.
Inside, there are a few parts to focus on. A tight bore barrel is a must. Coupled with a high end VSR10 hop up bucking and quality CNC Hop up unit, you should have no trouble sending heavy weight sniper BB's out to long distance. The last thing there is to upgrade your trigger components for durability and slap a high FPS spring into the bolt.
The rifle is pretty straight forward to upgrade, and not even very expensive to do it too. It's certainly found it's way onto my project list for the future, and I can't wait to see how far I can take this dark horse on the sniper market when it's reached it's true potential.
This is the question we always strive to answer with every review here at Airsoft Rifle. Let's break down the pro's and con's for this rifle first.
In it's favor it has very ergonomic well built externals. It also is very easy to take down and upgrade. The performance of this rifle is no slouch, and it can reach out pretty far stock, and is more than capable of being a platform for upgrades. It includes the tools for takedown not just in the box, but in the gun itself. It's very aesthetically customizable without much effort.
In the negatives column, we really only have two things and could add a third if we really tried. The lack of a thumb adjustment wheel for the hop up is an oversight. The small cylinder size will make upgrading a bit harder, even if it was in service of a more realistic design. Lastly, if we had to find one issue with the magazine, it's that the included midcap is so big it can be difficult to find a pouch for.
So how does that all shake out?
We give the Amoeba Striker AS01 our seal of approval. At $185, this rifle is a bit more expensive than other platforms, but what you're getting for the extra money more than justifies the cost. It has parts support on the market, and is easy to upgrade. It shoots well out of the box. Most importantly, as a vessel for all your hard earned dollars in upgrade parts down the road, it is a sturdy build that will require some effort to break.
This innovative evolution of the sniper rifle is a must buy if you are interested in sniping as a part of your airsoft journey.
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