An oddly entitled opinion on the DMR play style…
I’ve been playing Airsoft now for tapping on 6 years, I spent a very frantic initial 6 months on a TM Scar which I borrowed from a friend until buying my own Ares Amoeba M4. From that I very quickly romanticised about being a sniper and did a full VSR build. I took the role and really identified as an Airsoft Sniper although wasn’t keen on all the ghillie crafting, just opted to play medium-long length games, moving a lot and generally being first over the wall when attacking with pisotl drawn. I feel that having spent some 5 years in this play style I feel oddly entitled to judge my experience playing as a DMR for the first time, I’m no beginner yet still managed to make a few mistakes.
The base rifle
The build I opted for came off the back of a CQB obsession, new site locally, lots of hype, ran my stubby M4 and whilst it performed, I felt disadvantaged to when I used my pistols so with a Kythera in my hands, what else was there to build? I wasn’t going to sell it as it’d taken so long to get a hold of. The base rifle was a G&G CM16 SRXL. I opted for this as the SRS/Jack build went so well, it’s not ambi, decent polymer receiver and has a gearbox with alignment screws which I had experienced needing in the CQB build. The SRXL is not expensive either and whilst I could have upped the power in the base gun, the sites near me fall on a near 50/50 of DMR FPS being either 400 or 450 so adjustability was a factor for me.
As already mentioned, the engine inside this was the Polarstar Kythera, this is a mechanical HPA engine so the allure of not needing a battery for a solenoid was a big pull, it’s exceptionally frugal with it’s air usage and it is semi only, something which is a must if you are running DMR (also CQB near me funnily enough) so it fitted the bill fantastically.
From having put in many hours of work on the snipers, I had read and also experienced first hand that a gun that shoots well isn’t just thrown together and you need to really consider the parts you are putting into it. A DMR is no exception although not quite as precise as a BASR as you can get a follow up off quickly if site allows, you still need a decent accuracy and range to leverage your semi only advantage. Of course HPA+Suppressor means near enough silent as well so that was a must.
My SRXL had already benefitted from a full gearbox switchout so power was sorted but what about accuracy, well I broke my own golden rules here. Generally I will “only” shoot PDI barrels, I like them, they shoot well and they are renowned for their quality but I also know that the hop windows are a touch on the small side so I opted for a ZC Leopard (yeah I thought it was ZCI for the longest of times) inner barrel. I went 363mm for a standard 14″ top rail so the inner protrudes into the suppressor a touch to get every last drop of efficiency I can and it comes in 6.02mm flavour. Not a diameter I am keen on running a DMR but again it does help with keeping PSI as low as possible.
In addition to the ZCL inner barrel, I put in a ZCI plastic rotary hop unit (metal nozzle so no CNC chamber here), a gearparts omega nub which is essentially a maple leaf omega concave nub and then the reason for going ZCL inner as opposed to PDI, I dropped in a Maple Leaf MR bucking. I have never had success with macaron’s but just wanted to try it out and change things up a little as they are touted as being almost an Rhop drop in and I had the barrel window space to do it.
On the day this combo running at 120psi managed to kick out 353fps with a 0.32 which equates to about 446 with a 0.2 so I was a few spare FPS short of the limit.
Close up Playstyle
The first game of the day, always the warm up game at Skirmish Combat Games in Lutterworth was called Vampires, it’s an alteration of Zombies and not something I’d played before, these meat grinder games don’t suit the longer players too well as the emphasis is on getting stuck in, getting some shots off and getting hit to break you in. I found a couple of plastic containers in the left centre of midfield which gave a decent view of the centre and also allowed me to help out overwatch any attack on the left. There was a barricade about 30M in front of me, our team were posting our side and the opposition were trying to brute force their way through, there was a low foliage tree between it and my containers though so when I did see enemy coming through, 32’s made light work of the obstruction and I got a few good kills through that and around the barricade as attackers moved up.
There were a few occasions where our team were turned to Vampires, these were far too close for my MED so the pistol was drawn and that too also broke it’s cherry (long story – I have 4 capa’s now and this was the newest build). Sadly I wasn’t the last human, one of my battle buddies was though so well played Joe!
Roaming as a DMR
This is why I came to Lutterworth! Second and Third games are always a more drawn out affair, most of the site is in use and you are allowed to roam and move fairly freely across the entire upper or lower or the game area. This is where I combined my slightly off the shoulder of the core players usualy play style against that want to get stuck in a bit more, I had more range than most running AEG that was clear however we aren’t talking about hugely noticable range where I could see shots falling massively short, when spotted I had to move a little, back off, come back in and try again. Not using a scope was both a blessing and a curse, no close up vision and the red dot which gave the ability to not look straight meant a few shots whizzed off but generally when I got behind the gun, those Valkyrie 0.32’s flew straight and true.
One extremely memorable moment was playing into the A-frames, our team had spent a good while trying to clear out, Joe had pushed to an incredible trench position and was begging on our team to push up, Badger (Al) agreed with me that we should go head first so we sprinted up to the A-frames and got nestled in.
This was an incredible decision, I had bedded inbetween the nearest 2 frames, not inside them, between them, it gave me a terrific view up a path coming towards the equipment but also over a lot of the bushes the enemy was attacking from. Al had my back and Joe was still in the trench watching our left side, game on! My range advantage meant that I was picking the enemy off as they were trying to navigate through the bushes whilst they were working towards their firing position. Skirmish operate a “one in the air” rule so you can’t trigger spam (of fapp the trigger as I so eloquently termed) but a lot of shots were fired, I have no idea why but one player put their head up in the same player 3 times in a row, each time obliging to a shot to what was on display, the kill count went through the roof, even having to change out my EPM1 mag which I hope signifies how much fun I was having.
The fun ended as one of our guys got peppered by an LMG type gun coming up the trench, he was medic’d and the same again, Al was then taken and I was left, I still put a good amount of shots down the pathway taking a lot of players bu surprise and quietly let the LMG guy encroach further up, I popped that side of the frames to find a back towards me maybe 10M out so a quick single pistol tap did the deed, LMG down but we were overun, I was hit and then bled out as my team were now a fair way behind us.
Where I Screwed Up
A couple of thoughts for digestion came away with me and have given me something to work towards.
Ammo – I need to go heavier, I can hop a 0.32 easily and I seemed to drop a touch shorter than Al who on the day was running 0.36’s. I’m convinced 0.32 is fine for a 400 DMR but a 450 I need to be pushing the heavier weight to fully leverage the advantage.
Trigger discipline – There was 1 moment after lunch where I completely switched off to being behind a DMR, enemy was seen and 5 shots were off in blink of an eye, an irked look from Al and a “stop spamming” brought me back down to earth. Semi locked mechanical it may be but there is no DMR mode as there is no mosfet.
Experience – It was odd not having the full engagement distance of my Silverback SRS sniper but also having the regular M4 style rifle in my hands and not being able to go head first and light everything up on full auto (like my CM16 SRS Jack build). I enjoyed being able to push flanks and outrange slightly and being so used to pistol play meant that within my MED I was more than comfortable against full auto capable AEG’s but I do think I need to get a few more days under my belt. The gun came alive midday after bedding in most of the morning so I’m already looking forward ot my next day out.
I will always be a believer that an airsofter should start their journey behind a normal 350 AEG before digressing. My DMR experience as well as what I have read and taken in from those around me is that you can’t just sit at the back with a beefed up AEG getting mega range shots with almost full auto ROF and sniper like accuracy. You still need to be agile or sneaky, you still need to pick your movement and attack well but you can leverage the additional FPS if you play your position correctly. Overall I won’t be selling the SRXL any time soon, I may be tempted to drop it to 350 one day for a laugh and run and gun but for now, I will persevere with my DMR experience and work on embracing the role further.
Massive shoutout to the guys who I played with last weekend. Al (TBL & Rejects – Badger), Joe (The General), Andy (also TBL & Rejects) and Gary. It was an absolute blast, 50% of my airsoft enjoyment is shooting, the other 50% is the people I play with so thank you for your company that day.
Of course a huge thank you to Matt from Skirmish Combat Games Lutterworth for having an excellent site, not having a safety bried that lasts until lunch and putting on a truly awesome skirmish day.