Classic Airsoft guns were originally made in Japan, and were produced during the 1980’s and 1990’s. They were made by a few famous companies named JAC, Maurzen, Asahi, MGC, and Sheriff. They were later updated during the late 2000’s by Escort, under the name of Sun Project and Youth Engineering. These later products were externally fpowered by a CO2 or HPA tank (as all classic airsoft guns are) but were also gas blow back. Generally, the classic airsoft guns came from the factory without an external air setup (aka. a Palmer’s female stabilizer screwed on to a gas tank, with a straight or coiled hose attached), so this is required to operate a Classic Airsoft gun. The advantage to Classic Airsoft guns, is that since they are utilizing a different internal mechanism than an AEG or a GBB, (one called Bullet Valve or BV for short), they can take a modified barrel called a Long Range Barrel (LRB), and these (hop-up) barrels can reach a maximum of 300’ range. Classic guns can also (depending on the model) take SCS barrels, which are more like the modern hop-up systems you see nowadays with a rubber bucking.
A Youth Engineering (YE) MP5A5.
The BV system is primary, and existed for the longest time. It required an air line go push air into one nozzle on the top of the magazine, and through the BB tube, and force the BB into the chamber. Then the chamber would move forward, compressing the barrel spring, allowing the spring on the chamber to rocket the chamber back and forth. The chamber would move, and also result (through potential barrel weights) in a small amount of recoil.
A diagram of the bullet valve (BV) firing system
I hope I explained that right, see the .gif image to reference this description. The Escort manufactured guns used a blow back system that actually had a moving bolt, they were the newest Classic variant on the market, and are hard to find, but used to be available in the US via SniperX on ClassicAirsoft.net.
Escort (Sun Project) XM177E2
For building air setups, you need some small parts from McMaster-Carr, as well as O-rings, which are the only replacement part on the BV system, from the same retailer. Usually maintenance on Classics is fairly cheap, and buying magazines becomes the most costly part of the whole process, as they are hard to find. Airlift 3 Less) AS4L was a source for modifications as well as Long Range Barrels, you can see if they are still available for hire. Andrew@as4l.com is SniperX’s brother, he can work on BV or Escort guns alike.
A photo of my last classic, a Asahi M60E1 SDX W/ LRB and remote air setup on the side.
Also, the Escort blow back classics are revolutionary, as they can take AEG magazines, whereas the BV guns took proprietary magazines.
Written by Shadowbane (admin on ClassicAirsoft.net).