It’s time to put on your “man pants” and activate “beast mode” because we’re going to be dealing with the Rifle Dynamics HMG (Heavy Machine Gun) from Echo1 USA which was supplied to us by Airsplat.com. Bringing anything less to the table is going to leave you short of glory. What does that even mean? I don’t really know, but what I do know is that I’m fired up about this gun. It’s Big. It’s Beautiful. It’s a Weapon. Does that qualify this gun as a “BBW” then? I think so and, therefore, I’m going to declare myself a subject matter expert on the HMG, given my first-hand experiences with “BBWs.” Sadly, the details of those BBW experiences will have to be left for another time. However, the details of my experience with the Rifle Dynamics HMG will be shared with you here and now.
AT A GLANCE:
WHO MAKES IT: Echo1 USA, OEM by A&K
MODEL: Rifle Dynamics HMG
TYPE: Machine gun, support weapon
WHO IT’S FOR: Anyone who is “man enough” to handle it
HOW MUCH: MSRP $579.99
FPS: 410 FPS w/.20g BBs
The Rifle Dynamics HMG from Echo1 USA could arguably take one’s breath away if caught at the right moment. I would think most PKM-lovers of a sound mind are going to be quite pleased with how well this turned out. The HMG boasts quite a few admirable traits, which I’ve mapped out for you here in this article.
+ Steel body construction
+ 30-day limited warranty
+ 5,000-round, auto-winding metal box magazine
+ Box magazine’s feed tube is internal, keeping BBs and hop-up safe from dirt and debris
+ Box magazine has plenty of space for a large capacity battery
+ 9.6V 1200 mAh battery and charger included
+ Adjustable rate of fire, using on-board two-button ROF mechanism
+ 8mm steel bearing gearbox
+ Gearbox features quick-change spring release
+ Fully licensed by Rifle Dynamics, owned and operated by world-class AK builder, Jim Fuller
– The 17-pound weight of this gun requires the user to eat his Wheaties ahead of time or perish at the hands of exhaustion and fatigue
– Sits on the higher end of the cost spectrum, although this is to be expected for a high-quality, heavy machine gun due to higher production costs necessary to manufacture.
– No Picatinny rail space on the upper receiver for mounting an optic.
RIS (Rail Integrated System): N/A
STOCK: Fixed, Plastic PKM-style
OVERALL LENGTH: 47 in. (Almost 4 feet long!)
BODY: Receiver and outer barrel primarily steel or otherwise metal
GRIP: Plastic Pistol Grip
BOX MAGAZINE: Metal, Auto-winding, 5,000-round capacity
SLING ATTACHMENT(S): Front and Rear
SIGHTS: Adjustable, Front and Rear
MOTOR: Short-type, Standard AEG
GEARS: Three Standard-ratio, Steel AEG
BEARINGS/BUSHINGS: 8mm Steel Bearings
WIRING HARNESS: SAW-Style (wired to front with a fuse)
PISTON & HEAD: Nylon with a steel tooth
SPRING GUIDE: Metal with bearing to relieve unnecessary torque on spring
INNER BARREL: 509mm length, 6.06mm diameter
HOP-UP UNIT: Metal Assembly (adjustable)
This young lady has a great body, with the majority of its figure being metal. The major components appear to be well-assembled, leaving limited wobble and/or moving parts when they shouldn’t be moving.
The HMG gearbox with 8mm steel bearings is a robust internal engine of both terror and delight (depending on what end of the gun you’re on). The internal components, like the nylon piston with a reinforced steel tooth and the steel gears, were selected to hold up under heavy stress from the M120 spring being fired on full-auto.
TRIGGER & ELECTRICAL COMPONENTS
The Rifle Dynamics HMG utilizes the standard micro-switch trigger and has a MOSFET-style system on board which allows the user to adjust the rate of fire from around eight rounds per second, up to about 17 rounds per second. The range will vary or shift depending on the voltage of the connected battery pack.
HOP-UP & INNER BARREL
Another critical element to any Airsoft gun is the hop-up and inner barrel assembly. Luckily, it does not appear that any corners were cut; no shortcuts taken, when it came to the hop-up assembly. The hop-up is made of metal and easy to adjust using a large rotary dial that is accessible by lifting up the feed tray.
METAL BOX MAGAZINE
It’s not too often you see an airsoft box magazine comprised almost entirely of metal. In fact, the Rifle Dynamics HMG may be the only the one I can recall. I really like the design of it, from the latch system to attach the mag to the gun, to the internal feeding tube which starts inside the magazine and connects directly to the underside of the gun, keeping all points of the tube protected from outside elements like dirt and debris. This can be an issue for other types of support weapons on the market, like the M249 SAW platforms, where a portion of the spring feeding tube sits unprotected, outside the box mag and the gun itself, leading to feeding issues for some users in the past.
Ah yes. Performance. The meat and potatoes. The bread and butter. The peanut butter and jelly. It’s all about the performance right? Well, actually, no. Not when it comes to airsoft. It’s more about looking good; performance is just an added bonus.
Seriously though, Echo1 is no stranger to producing incredible airsoft machine guns. For example, their M240 Bravo is one of my favorite guns across all genres of Airsoft guns and is one of the best-performing AEGs I’ve ever own, right out of the box. The downside to that is that I came into this review with very high expectations for the HMG. It wasn’t just going to breeze through my examination unscathed unless it brought it’s “A-Game.” I’m happy to report, however, that I have been very pleased with the performance. The gun cycles very smoothly on full-auto and the box mag seems to be able to keep up with the rate of fire, regardless of where you have the system set up.
With an M120 spring coming standard with every Rifle Dynamics HMG, range is going to be very good and will allow the user to provide effective suppressive fire to support his advancing teammates upon the OPFOR.
While I never expect nor require my machine guns to fire on a precision marksmanship level, it is important that some level of consistent accuracy exists. From what I’ve seen so far, I’m satisfied with the level of accuracy that the HMG possesses. Once I set up the hop-up, I was good to go for the rest of the day and the two subsequent times that I’ve taken this gun out to play on the field. It’s pretty stable, and my groupings are tight enough for the standards I’m accustomed to for support weapons.
If you’re not in shape and/or on the smaller side as body frame sizes go, you may encounter some difficulty trying to move this gun around on the field. Its 17 pounds in a four-foot long, steel package is not for the faint of heart. Be aware of this before dropping all the Benjamins required to take one of these bad girls home with you.
WRAP-UP & RATING
Perhaps the most important question some of you may ask is whether the build quality and performance justify the sizable price tag. I’m comfortable vouching for the Rifle Dynamics HMG at this point and feel fairly confident that buyers are going to enjoy their purchase with little to no buyer’s remorse. It’s a pretty hefty investment, so I’d want to feel pretty confident before I bought one myself, and I don’t just throw these recommendations out lightly. Brian Holt and the Echo1 crew know that they’d better bring the thunder if they want my approval. I think, here again, they were very successful in doing so. The thunder has been brought on like a big dog.
My overall rating for the Rifle Dynamics HMG is five stars. There isn’t really anything that truly bothers me about the gun. I think it is well-made and performs at a high level, exactly like I would expect it to for a gun in this price range.
Words: Tom Harris
Photos: Walter Sidas & Tom Harris