As more and more people join this great forum, we will be overrun by those new "I'm going to snipe you" people that believe they want to get into airsoft sniping. So in this thread I will try to explain spring powered bolt action sniper rifles as best as I can, and the correct way to get into it by posting some usefull information and tips about being an airsoft sniper. Part 1: Money Most everyone will tell you that in order to be an effective sniper you must put a lot of money into your rifle. This is very true, having owned a few spring powered sniper rifles I know this quite well. Sometimes upgrading a rifle can cost more then buying a good AEG (such as VFC, G&P, Tokyo Marui, etc.) Which is why a lot of those new members might back away from the idea. A lot of you new guys will ask questions like "what's the best rifle I can buy that doesn't need any upgrades and will perform awesome". Questions like that mean your not willing to put out the money needed and you should consider an AEG. That way you'll still be able to enjoy this awesome sport/hobby. Here's some ideas on potential money you'll be spending on your rifles. My Classic Army M24 (internals + gun) Base rifle: $250 Prometheus barrel: $75.99 Laylax piston: $47.99 Laylax cup for piston: $23.99 Laylax 150 spring: $24.99 Firefly bucking: $18.99 Firefly rubber: $17.99 Total: $459.94 And that could be considered cheap. Luckily for me my base gun has some solid internal right off the get go, but not all rifles will be as lucky. Most clones will be less expensive then the real deal (TM, Maruzen, etc.) but when you open them up you see why. Cheap parts (plastic pistons/spring guides, bad hopup units, pot metal sear) are used in a lot of the clones. So, that's why money is so important when building a sniper rifle. Part 2: Choosing your Rifle So if you've decided that your willing to put forth the money then its time to pick your base rifle. This isn't exactly the most easy thing. The most important thing when choosing a rifle (especially for you beginner's) is its aftermarket acceptance. You'll want a rifle that can actually be upgraded. Look for things like "VSR clone" or "APS2". Those are signs that the rifle may be able to be upgraded. But, don't always believe what you read. A lot of the time the guns won't be entirely what there made out to be. Example: Echo 1's M28 was supposed to be "ready out of the box" but it uses a bunch of weak proprietary parts (hopup unit, piston) and WILL slam fire eventually because Echo 1 focused on high FPS but weak sears/piston. A lot of companies do this though. They'll upgrade it for power but won't focus on longevity (TSD is another example). So, once you pick a gun that is/claims to be upgradeable, make sure you research it and get a definite answer. Research is one of the other most important parts to buying any gun (AEG, gas or spring), and often will reveal more information then your retailer of choice will provide. Part 3: Upgrades In order for your sniper rifle to perform better then a stock AEG you will have to upgrade it. This is were most of the money comes from now. You've got a few different upgrade platforms to become familiar with, Tokyo Marui created the VSR system and it will probably be one of the first you hear about. But there's much more, such as, APS, APS2, Type 96 and AWS. All have differences, some might have the odd thing compatible with eachother, but for the most part, there different systems. When upgradeing your rifle you first need to figure out what kind of budget you want, then pick your parts from there. People with higher budgets will obviously be able to afford the better products from the better brands, but some might not be willing to spend $75 on an inner barrel or $200 on a V/Z trigger. So that's when the cheaper options become the obvious ones. Here's a little rundown of the top brands and the budget friendly ones. Top of the line (for the most part) -PDI -Laylax -Prometheus (Laylax) -Nineball (Laylax) -Daiki -Firefly Budget friendly -Madbull -ASH (Prometheus budget line) -Angel Custom -Action Army Some people like to buy all the upgrades at once (guilty) but that can be a lot of cash. So most people will buy the upgrades over time. When doing that its best to start from the front of the rifle (barrel, hopup unit, hopup bucking/rubber) and work your way back so the last thing upgraded is the spring. Some important things to note are when upgradeing your spring, be sure to equally beef up your trigger box and trigger sears. That will decrease your chances of slam fireing (when you pull back your bolt and it doesn't lock, causing it to jet forward). Another is if you choose to put a really powerful spring into a rifle that uses 45 degree sears (VSR-10 and its clones, M28, etc.) It's would be worthwhile to swap your trigger box out for a Z/V trigger, because it uses 90 degree sears and piston and will better hold your piston back while the strong spring is installed. Another really important part of your rifle is your hopup unit and inner barrel. You get your accuracy and range from them so treat them right. Upgrades include, -changeing out the hopup unit to a unit that allows AEG cut barrels and AEG buckings, this is because you have a larger range of aftermarket inner barrels and buckings to choose from, and most of the time there less expensive then the original cuts top line barrels. -install an R or ER-hop to your inner barrel. This creates a longer contact patch to give your BB better backspin. The ER patch will be even more beneficial because its longer (this requires cutting of the hopup window in your inner barrel). -choose a Quality inner barrel. Most people prefer 6.03 bore barrels as its known as the "sweet spot", but you can still do good with a larger/smaller bore as long as the barrel is quality. -Eliminate barrel vibrations. Best way to do this is to install some sort of barrel spacer. Some methods used are, simply wrapping tape around on certain spots of your inner barrel, or even making a one piece wax spacer. -install a flat hop. This will replace your rubber (the spherical piece that presses on your bucking) with a flat chunk of foamy material. It will help to put even pressure on the BB as it travels through your unit. -Airseal around your bucking. The airseal of your rifle will help with the consistency of your shots. When sealing your bucking you can use Teflon tape and wrap a light coating around the edge or even use dental floss and tie it off. So that kinda covers most (not all) hopup and barrel mods/upgrades. There's a lot you can still do, but some things get a little more advanced. Step 4: Externals This is all mostly preference, but I'll add some information here anyway. When you think sniper rifle most of you think scope, bipod, suppressor etc. In most cases these things don't have to be crazy though. For example, when you choose a scope you really don't need crazy amounts of zoom. Most of the time a cheap 3-9 scope will do just fine, but sometimes the bigger scopes add to the look of your rifle. Bipods can come in usefull for some, but not everyone uses them. Again, its whether you like it or not. But I can make your rifle look that much more awesome. And suppresors. In airsoft there useless. And on spring powered sniper rifles they are still useless. Especially since even without one, your rifle should be ridiculously quiet. But, the have some purpose. Maybe your new inner barrel is longer then the stock one, so it sticks past your outer barrel. You'd look pretty silly with this tiny inner sticking out of your outer. That's when the suppressor comes in handy, just choose the appropriate size and cover it up. Part 5: The play style Sniping in airsoft isn't like your video games, so don't play like that, or else I'll hunt you down... Joking... Seriously though, sniping is a game of patience, recon, and making the right move when it is called for. Most sniping matches will be slow compared to someone with an AEG or other fully automatic gun. But its usually the job of the sniper to "turn" the outcome of the game. Both with picking the right targets to shoot (squad leaders or other important player) and with organizing your team (giving enemy locations, targets, positions of interest, etc.). As a sniper you'll do a lot of sitting back in cover, and a lot of waiting. Camouflage for a sniper is almost as important as his rifle. So blend into your surroundings as best as you can. A good homemade ghillie suit usually does the trick. But the most important thing in airsoft sniping and airsoft in general is to always have fun. It's a game, and games are meant to be enjoyed. Stay safe, and eliminate the target. Thanks everyone for reading this. I hope it helps a lot of you new guys getting into snipeing or considering it. If I missed anything or my information is wrong let me know, I'll add that in or correct it. Please if you have any questions, ask away. I'll try to help as best as I can.