Surprisingly Precise Rifle: Double Bell SPR Review
Most of us don't expect airsoft guns with a price tag under $200 to be very high performance. We don't expect excessively long range or absurdly fast rate of fire. What guns in that price range should aspire to be is externally solid guns ripe for upgrades. The Double Bell SPR had other ideas.
When I heard Double Bell was putting this gun back on the market, I was ecstatic. The SPR Mod0 is one of my favorite AR variants. For many years, I had a gun I had built out of an Echo 1 M4, fitted with the same DBOYS front end found on this rifle as my go to rifle. Mine certainly cost me way more than $200 to build even before performance parts, so how does this gun fare against all of the amazing BB slingers we have available to us today?
The Double Bell SPR is exquisite externally. While it has some design choices I'd personally for-go, they fit the theme of replicating this once-issued marksman rifle. Every external part on this gun coalesces into a nostalgic return to form from a time when DMR style rifles didn't need to all be big-bore fat-magazine hungry baseball bats in rifle form.
Starting from the rear, the SPR hosts a full stock perfect for large battery selections, or housing multiple batteries so you can stay in the fight. A standard mil-spec style AR15 receiver set makes up the core of the rifle. The ergonomic pistol grip is well made, but as someone who frequently shoots left handed, this is something I would change. If you are right handed, and don't frequently shoot off hand, you'll likely never notice. The piece-de-resistance is the SPR front end that gives this gun it's unique look. The tubular handguard gives you enough picatinny rail space to mount the essentials and a massive monolithic upper section for all of the biggest scopes, IR and NVG filters or laser aiming devices you could possibly want.
It is not a terribly heavy rifle either. It points easily, and as long as you are smart and realistic with your accessory choice, you shouldn't run into any issues with weight. Our model did show up with the flash-hider mounted sideways, but a quick hit with a heat gun and some allen keys to loosen a set screw fixed it right up. You may want to consider an O-ring behind it to get it to sit flush and tight in the correct position if you are picky.
Overall, the externals on this gun did what every gun under $200 should do. They create a perfect housing to start slapping upgrade parts into the rifle and build a true custom masterpiece without blowing your budget on a base rifle you were just going to gut anyway.
The insides of this gun don't immediately strike us as the kind of rifle you'd lust after on sheer performance alone. When you open it up, everything seems... fine.
Nothing struck us as particularly awful in the gearbox, everything needed a little grease and shimming, but so do most guns in this price bracket. Material choices were better than expected, with no obvious machining or casting issues present in Double Bell guns from back in the day. The addition of a quick change spring was a nice modernized touch.
Where we were blown away with this gun was in shooting it. While rate of fire and trigger response were average, and could use some updating, the range and accuracy of this gun was incredible: with one caveat.
We were able to consistently hit incredibly tight groups at 250 feet. For about a magazine or so.
The bucking and barrel in this gun had the right specs (despite not being a tightbore) to deliver consistent long range shots, but the hop up unit itself was so dissapointingly loose we kept running into issues with it backing out after each magazine. Once we readjusted, it proved it was capable of great things, it just needs some coaxing.
How would we fix it? Consider a new hop up unit, like the MAXX ME pro, which we tested for fitment, and while you're in there, swap out a Modify Flat Hop bucking. We chose the soft, as our model was only shooting 350 FPS, and we got even more consistent shots, that no longer backed out after each magazine. For a combo of parts still costing less than an Avalon, the range and distance of this gun was outclassing the 416A5 we reviewed last year.
The nostalgic airsofter in me says yes.
The gun only costs $173.99 on Airsoft GI. It's got a modern V2 gearbox that isn't anything special, but has plenty of room to grow and will take most upgrades. The hop up needs to be replaced, but I'd honestly do that to almost any gun I buy personally already.
If you want something different from the sea of 417's and SR25's clogging the DMR field at your local airsoft arena, the Double Bell SPR makes a great choice to add to your collection.