Lately I have seen a lot of questions pertaining to this rifle. Having a few years of experience with this rifle, as well as encountering a large number of issues along the way, I felt that it would be good to write it all out for all of you.
NOTE: THIS IS JUST WHAT I HAVE SO FAR. I AM STILL WORKING ON THE REST SO BARE WITH ME...
The Ultimate Guide to your VSR 10
Welcome! If you are reading this, you are probably looking for some assistance in your efforts to building your sniper rifle. Whether it be your first, second or even tenth build, hopefully this guide will answer some questions that you may have along the way. This way, you can continue to use your rifle and build it to be the best that it can be, without letting the pesky little issues that come with building any airsoft gun get in the way. Along the way of building my VSR 10, I came across what felt like every possible problem in the book, some of which took quite some time to figure out, and others were a quick fix. The goal of this guide is to help you get through these issues quickly without much of a hassle or stress. In addition, this guide will help answer any questions you have about the upgrading process, and how to go about this mind bobbling task on a strict or if you are lucky/fortunate, loose budget. So with that, I give you the ultimate guide to building your VSR 10, good luck!
Table of Contents
Choosing the Rifle:
First things first, its time to choose the right rifle for you. Now this shouldn't be too hard, after all this is the guide to your VSR 10. You are either reading this because you already have the rifle or you plan on buying it very soon. However, there are various VSR 10 rifles out there, and multiple routes to go.
There are a few VSR 10's out there that would be just fine to choose, but some are to be avoided. When looking to buy your rifle, avoid one's that take a mix of VSR 10 and l96 parts, or to be more technical, PSS10 and PSS96 parts. For instance the AGM l96 runs a mix of these parts, making it a bit more complicated to upgrade. With that said, avoid any AGM model VSR 10 for it is likely to be built the same way. Stick with the known to use VSR 10 (PSS10) parts such as the JG Bar 10 and the TM VSR 10. Both of these are very common on the airsoft web stores, and are easy to find and purchase. I personally went the route of the TM VSR 10, but either will do, and serve as a fantastic base for upgrading.
While the JG Bar 10 is much cheaper than the TM VSR 10, and most of the internals will be parted with anyways for aftermarket ones in the long run, there are some pros of going with the TM over the JG. For one, the TM in my experience, has better overall quality. The mag catch and magazine well fit well with the mags and popping them in and out is a breeze. With the JG, the mags are a bit tighter of a fit. I found that the JG mags were slightly different than the TM, and the JG served a bit tighter in the TM mag well. Overall, the TM's dimensions in proportion to its mags seemed to be a better fit and provided for smoother reloads.
In addition, depending on how long you plan on waiting between upgrades, going with the TM will provide with more consistent shooting out of the box. Despite its weak spring, the range is not affected near as much as one might think. The TM designed hop up with a TM bucking stuck in there provides with ample results despite being in stock form. To this day, I still run a stock TM hop up with the exception of an aftermarket hop up arm. But we will get to that later.
Basically, what you can take away from this, is that overall quality of the rifle goes to the TM VSR 10, which has the heftier price tag. But like said above, depending on how long you plan on keeping certain areas of the rifle in stock form, it may be a wise choice to go with the better model. But both serve as great platforms and you cannot really go wrong with the decision as either way, some work will need to be done to the rifle to get it performing better than your average long range rifle.
So its up to you, make the choice based on your wallet, your needs, while also considering your plans for the rifle in the future. By considering all of these things, you can make the decision that is best for you.
Got the Rifle, Now What?
Okay, so now you have acquired your rifle and you are wondering what to do next. This is where things can seem overwhelming. When I got my first sniper rifle, I used it for over a year before even considering upgrading it? Why you ask? Well firstly, I was new to using sniper rifles, and hadn't even dived into the upgrade section of the webstores yet. I was more worried about getting enough cash together for an extra mag and a pouch to carry my gear in games (money was tight back then).
But with these struggles, came a good time to figure out the role of using a sniper rifle. If you are new to sniper rifles, this section is going to be important. If you are here just looking for some information in regards to building your sniper rifle, and have done so before, this section may not deem necessary. But feel free to continue reading.
So you have your rifle, and are getting accustomed to using it. Common amongst the VSR 10's come a few things that are noticeable out of the box.
Specifically with the TM VSR 10, you will notice a lack of fps due to laws overseas regarding the fps output of the air rifles. Shooting around 280-300 fps out of the box, you will notice time from shot to target takes a bit longer than you would like. However, it is important to note that this rifle in its stock form is not built to be shooting at a higher fps output. With that said, don't just go sticking in a hefty ass spring, and have it shooting at above 500 fps. This rifle will break on you and the parts are not built to last in general, let alone at that fps output.
If running the rifle in stock form before even diving into upgrading, it is important to choose the bb right for you. In my experience, the VSR 10 in stock form has a hop up that is much weaker than its friend the l96. The hop up lacks overall power, and using heavier weight bbs, especially in stock form, is going to be hard. However, out of the box, .28s will do just fine. And with the rifle shooting in the low 300s, the .28s will serve well, and will not be flying all over the place. I have found that the .28s can be carried, but require the hop up setting to be placed on 95% power. With that said, the heavy .36s, .4s, etc. that you find, will not be very effective in this stock rifle.
In regards to the JG Bar 10, shooting at over 400 fps out of the box, has an ability to use heavier weight bbs with less of an issue. With that said, you have some more options in regards to bb weight, but its up to you. I recommend trying several weights and actually stocking up on all kinds of weights to use. I sometimes find myself switching springs depending on the field of play, and have various bb weights that will meet my needs for that specific fps output. Its all trial and error, mixed in with some personal preference and how you like to have your rifle shooting. For me, its all about consistency and ability to shooting accurately, as in least effected by wind, while being able to reach out further than the standard AEG. We will dive into bb weights further during the upgrading process, when you have more options regarding fps, hop up settings, etc. But for now, just remember that the TM rifle in stock form, has trouble carrying the heavy weight bbs, and the .28s are recommended for best performance.
By now, you have been getting used to using your rifle and are itching to take it to the next level. You start your computer up and go to the webstore to check out some aftermarket parts that can get your rifle shooting like a champ. Before we go any further, here are a few of my favorite STATESIDE stores for ordering parts from.
These three carry a variety of parts and have everything from buckings to new sears for your trigger box. These are the places I usually order from, with the exception of my Action Army Parts which I get right from Action Army due to them either being out of stock or the specific part I need not being sold in stores.
You may notice that there are a variety of upgrades available, and lots of routes to go. Your rifle is in stock form, so remember that there are so many options. But upon adding everything you want to your shopping cart, you realize that you don't have nearly the funds required to make the purchase. This is where choosing the upgrades to make becomes a little tricky. When it comes to upgrading, there are certain pieces that go together in the VSR 10 series design, and are required in order to function. With that said, this next portion of the guide will help you in determining which upgrades to make and in what order, so that you do not find yourself with a bunch of upgrades that you cannot install because you are missing other pieces necessary for it to function.
Upgrading the Rifle:
Depending on your financial situation, you may be able to buy more parts than what is written below. However, this chart of sorts is meant to help organize and prioritize what you need now, and what you can hold off on until future purchases. If you can make multiple of these purchases at one time, then go for it, but this guide will break it down into small and itty bitty pieces.
Upgrade 1: In my experience, the VSR 10 series rifles and any bolt action rifle in generally lacks overall durability. The stock trigger boxes, specifically the sears and the shell itself are weak and prone to breaking quickly. If I had a dollar every time someone's rifle started slam firing, I would probably have enough money to pay the rent for a month or two. People are often confused why this happens, despite not upgrading the spring at all. This reinforces what I said earlier, in that the rifles are prone to breaking because the parts are overall lacking durability and quality control. Top that with the high fps output that the UTG mk96 series rifles have and you got yourself a problem. Lucky for you, the JG Bar 10 only runs at 400 fps as opposed to the 500 fps that the UTG l96 runs, so you are good right? Wrong. The VSR 10 series trigger boxes are some of the worst and the sears will break sooner than later. Whether you have the TM VSR 10 or JG Bar 10, the trigger unit is the place to start for making sure your rifle performs in the long run. With that, here are a list of upgrades to make during your first purchase.
-New trigger unit: The laylax zero trigger is one of my favorite, and has served me well in the 3+ years of using it. The light trigger pull makes it easy to fire and is smooth and effortless. In comparison to the stock rifle, you will notice a difference, and you will never want to go back. It's well worth the money, but if you are on a budget, you can look into a new sear set, including the trigger and piston sear. However, be cautious that while you are reinforcing the sears, the shell to the trigger box itself is plastic and is prone to cracking or breaking as well. There are aftermarket shells available, but I find that a new trigger box in general is worth the no hassle. You can also look into the Action Army Trigger unit which is a clone of the laylax. But don't let that fool you, the AA trigger is well worth it and after using one first hand, I am confident that this trigger unit is a safe alternative to the laylax version.
-New Piston: With the new trigger unit comes the need for a new piston. The stock version uses a 45 degree system, but the laylax and AA triggers use the 90 degree system. If you are just purchasing the trigger sear set be sure to know what you are dealing with and to see if a piston is needed to go with it as well. There are aftermarket pistons that are with the 45 degree system and others with the 90 degree system. For instance, the red laylax piston is meant to work with the stock trigger unit, while the orange laylax piston works and often comes with the aftermarket laylax zero trigger. In addition, the Action Army Orange piston works with the stock trigger unit, while the blue AA piston goes with the aftermarket trigger unit using the 90 degree system. And yes, I know what you are thinking. The Laylax zero trigger does work with the blue Action Army Piston. Since AA cloned the laylax zero trigger and piston, they will work together. But remember, you need to go the blue one, otherwise you will have compatibility issues with z-trig.
These two upgrades, which go together, will help alleviate the possibility of slam firing and any similar issues. Slam firing is one of the most common issues with bolt action rifles and to get rid of the possibility of this happening early, will prove to be beneficial in the future. While I am a big believer in upgrading the hop up unit first as it deals with performance and getting the rifle shooting accurately and consistently, I just cannot trust the stock trigger units on the VSR 10 series enough to use them for more than a brief period of time. With that said, upgrade them now and avoid the unavoidable issue in the future.
Remember, its not a matter of if it will break, its when it will break.
Now that you have added these two purchases to the cart, you can keep on shopping! The good news is that you have now gotten your durability parts under control and can look into upgrading the spring. I know what you are thinking though, what about the other cylinder parts that require upgrading for increase in durability. Well, if you are on a budget, and are struggling to get all the parts you need right away, have no fear. You can hold off on the cylinder head for the time being because the stock head is not going to break on you any time soon. In addition, the cylinder itself is strong enough to hold its own. While an aftermarket cylinder makes bolt pull a breeze, upgrading this expensive item now is not required. But again, if you have the funds, go for it. Lastly, the spring guide, while plastic and cheaply made, can actually hold its own. I ran a stock spring guide in a rifle shooting 450+ fps for a few months before switching over to a laylax spring guide. With that said, if money is tight, you can skip on this for the time being.
-Aftermarket Spring: Depending on where you play and your field regulations, it will determine which fps output is right for you. Just know that fps is not everything. I got a rifle shooting sub 400 fps out to over 200 feet easy. However, fps does play a role, and to get that extra push I now run a rifle shooting 465 fps, pushing out to 250 feet on a good day.
Since there are many variables that determine fps output including bucking, overall how well your rifle is sealed, the barrel you run, etc. it is hard to say that "this" spring will run you at "this" fps. Therefore, trial and error may be required for you to figure out what works for you and which spring will get you shooting at the desired fps.
So now you have the following three upgrades added to the list. Some of you may be thinking why the spring is on there now, and not last on the list. While there are many routes to go in upgrading a rifle, the VSR 10 series, due to lack of overall durability requires a new trigger box or sear set almost instantly. By doing so, you now allow yourself to upgrade the spring without fear of breaking or damaging the sears. This also gives you the opportunity to get your rifle shooting above the 280 fps that your rifle (if you run the TM) is shooting out of the box. This varies from upgrading the l96 such as the UTG mk96 because that rifle comes shooting 400+ out of the box, and its 90 degree trigger system is slightly more durable and able to stay in stock form for a longer period of time.
So by making these upgrades, you set yourself up for success in the future, and you can begin to work towards the rifle of your dreams.
After making your first upgrade purchase, you now have the following…
-Aftermarket trigger box, piston and spring
While you save up some more money, in the meantime, you can work on your rifle and perform some DIY mods to get your rifle performing better. These vary from inside the hop up to the cylinder unit, as well as within the stock of your rifle as well. Before we move ahead to your second upgrade purchase, we will now direct our attention to some DIY mods that can help you get your rifle performing the way it should.
DIY (Do It Yourself) Mods
-Barrel spacers: I put this as the first one because this is such an easy mod that makes a world of difference. The stock rifle usually comes with one or two spacers, but neither are of good quality and often don't do the job that they are built to do. The idea behind the barrel spacer is to eliminate barrel vibration when the rifle is fired. You may notice when dissembling your rifle that your inner barrel wobbles like a motha tucka, and is not stable at all. Now imagine firing it, and the barrel beings vibrating frantically while a bb is traveling down the barrel trying to make its way to the designated target. By putting in some spacers, you can eliminate this barrel wobble and allow for more consistent and accurate shooting.
Simply wrap some duct tape (preferred over electric tape due to its ability to stay on tight on the barrel) around the barrel until it fits tightly inside the outer barrel. Note that the VSR 10 series uses a barrel that has a circumference that gets wider as it goes from end of barrel towards the receiver. Keep this in mind when building your spacers and be sure to make the ones on the tip of the barrel smaller than the ones on the end towards the receiver. I recommend at least three spacers evenly placed along the inner barrel to get the job done.
-Shim the hop up unit: The hop up unit has an issue that almost every VSR user has come across. The "right curve" issue. Many users will notice that their VSR 10 is constantly shooting and curving to the right after around 100-120 feet. This issue is a result of the uneven pressure on the hop up bucking and in turn uneven pressure on the bb. To the untrained eye, nothing will look like its uneven in the hop up. But if you look closely and fiddle with the hop up, you will notice that the hop up arm pops slightly in and out, bending every once and awhile. By once and a while, I am referring to the fact that this bending occurs but sometimes fixes itself. Hence, when shooting the rifle you may notice that your right curve issue is not 100% of the time, but still enough that its noticeable and effects overall performance of your rifle. I discovered this issue by examining the chamber with the barrel installed. I slide the hop up arm back and forth and noticed the bending taking place. To remedy this, simply add a shim to the hop up unit and keep it in place with a screw. This will keep the arm from bending up, and allows for even pressure on the hop up bucking and again, in turn, on the bb itself.
Here is a video with the shim (brass) to help you get a better idea: