The Tokyo Marui L96 AWS is a bolt action airsoft replica with the BB magazine correctly located directly under the cylinder-bolt window of the receiver. Due to this design, it has not seen as much adoption and aftermarket parts were scarce. Thankfully, I was able to get a hold of EDGI and acquired one of their TM L96 AWS upgrade sets, which turned out to be a good decision.
I am not as versed with the ins and outs of single-shot, bolt action airsoft replicas. Although I drooled over the Maruzen APS2, my first ever long-sized airsoft replica ended up being an AEG, the Tokyo Marui G3 SG1.
It wasn’t till much later that I managed to get an AGM MK96 for cheap which was based on Tokyo Marui’s VSR10 system, that I first dabbled with spring-powered bolt action replicas. I remember it was at that time I first looked into EDGI for their custom brass bull barrels.
Although I was able to get a brass bull barrel, I didn’t get to do much more with that springer and eventually lost it.
Fast forward to today, a friend of mine sent in a Tokyo Marui L96 AWS for some work which allowed me to revisit spring-powered bolt action systems.
TM L96 Low Cylinder Air Volume
The Tokyo Marui L96 AWS wasn’t the first spring-powered L96 airsoft replica. However it was the first to feature the BB magazine’s placement in the correct location, and accommodating this into the design meant that a lot of aftermarket parts available for more popular platforms at the time were not compatible.
The most notable difference is that the TM L96’s cylinder would be physically shorter to accommodate the loading mechanism that allowed the magazine which contained the BBs to be located in a thematically correct position.
Efficient use of heavyweight BBs helps long-range accuracy thanks to better stability. A shorter cylinder results in potentially less useable air to efficiently overcome the inertia of heavier weight BBs. Paired with this limitation is the TM L96’s long 499 mm brass inner barrel which results in a volume ratio that is not optimal for certain BB weights in this platform’s stock form.
EDGI Tokyo Marui L96 AWS Upgrade Set
I was finding it difficult to source name-brand parts for this platform like PDI, Laylax, and Action Army due to availability and shipping concerns. This lead me back to EDGI, and a quick browse on their Facebook Page confirmed that they did in fact make parts for the Tokyo Marui L96 AWS. After some inquiries, I settled on getting a full set to reduce the chances of compatibility issues which I hear is prevalent on bolt action airsoft replicas.
The cylinder is made of two stainless steel parts screwed onto each other and pinned, as depicted from the thread pattern. Immediately I was impressed by the tolerances of the cylinder body and how well it drops into the receiver and plastic guide rings without the need for any modifications.
Unfortunately, I ran into some trouble because the screw hole located at the rear of the stem did not have proper threads that prevented the stock screw from going in. Luckily I had a screw tap on hand to rethread the hole and secure the bolt block.
Cylinder Head Profile
The cylinder head’s nozzle has a larger bore and needs cleaning when it first arrives. The nozzle tip’s profile has less of a taper compared to the stock head and can sometimes interfere with loading and interfacing with the hop-up chamber and inner barrel.
Hard Headed Piston Body
The piston was light while the finish was prone to scratching. The piston head was surprisingly hard, but my observation is subjective since I would need something to compare it to. There was quite a bit of resistance against the cylinder walls, but I assumed this would loosen up over time. The cavity on the piston will accept springs 12.85 mm wide.
Spring Guide & Spring Guide Stopper Pin
Spring guide looks to be two parts pinned together and machined. The thickness is 7.75 mm. I was told that the Action Army M150 spring that I bought will not fit, but it apparently does. However, spacers are needed if you intend to use the AA spring to compensate for the length lost after repeated compression.
I found quite a bit of rust and residue on the spring guide stopper pin. I managed to clean it out with some gun solvent and lube.
I requested a target of about 500 fps and received an SP01 which managed 154 mps, or about 505 fps on the stock hop packing and stock inner barrel. Eventually, this value can drop as the spring is compressed repeatedly. However, adding a tight bore inner barrel and spring spacers can help tune it to your liking. Due to its length, there’s a bit of a twist to the spring when it is installed in the cylinder due to its long length, but overall I am pretty happy with how close EDGI got the rating to my request.
EDGI’s replacement “45-degree sears” are of a slightly different design. The profile on the second sear is slightly different and no longer requires the peg to keep it from excessively rotating. At first, I was not sure if they would fit due to this difference, but the dimensions were spot on and worked correctly.
We initially planned to build around a 90-degree sear system, but availability was a big issue. Thankfully the EDGI upgrade sears feel substantial enough to abate any worries. My one suggestion is that I wish that the shelf on the 2nd sear that interfaces with the trigger was not as rounded off. If it was more angled and sharp I am thinking that it would create a more distinct break on the sear’s release.
I decided to take before and after Joule readings between the stock cylinder and EDGI set across different BB weights without much fine-tuning. I put the results in the tables below for easier comparison. The stock cylinder on this barrel length starts with an average of 0.77 Joules of muzzle energy on 0.20g BBs and eventually a lower average of 0.63 Joules on 0.40g BBs. In contrast, the series of readings from the EDGI cylinder starts at a lower average from the set at 2.32 Joules of muzzle energy on 0.20g BBs which ramps up to 2.80 Joules at 0.39g BBs.
Muzzle energy in Joules on Stock TM Cylinder
Muzzle energy in Joules on EDGI cylinder set
Volume of stock Tokyo Marui cylinder:
3.14 x 9.60 mm² x 67.00 mm = 19,388.62 mm³
Volume of stock brass inner barrel:
3.14 x 3.04 mm² x 499.00 = 14,480.29 mm³
Volume ratio between stock cylinder and barrel:
19,388.62 : 14,480.29 or 1.338966 : 1; or 1.34 : 1
Volume of EDGI cylinder:
3.14 x 9.90 mm² x 67.5 mm = 20,783.76 mm³
Volume ratio between EDGI cylinder and barrel:
20,783.76 : 14,480.29 or 1.434313 : 1; or 1.43 : 1
***About a 6.71% difference of air volume between cylinders.
Should you buy?
I do not have enough prior experience to definitively state how EDGI compares to the competition. However, I was really impressed by how well the cylinder body fit inside the receiver and plastic guide rings. For reference, other upgrade options state that they require you to sand down the stock parts to get them to fit. The issue I had with the screw hole was a minor one and was thankfully easily fixed using tools I already had on hand.
If I were to recommend any improvements, maybe it would be to revisit the tip profile of the nozzle on the cylinder head. The more squared-off profile on the EDGI cylinder head can sometimes jam on the plastic centering nubs in the hop-up chamber which then requires you to be more gentle and wiggle the bolt around to load properly. They would have to be careful with the tapering though because the Maple Leaf Mr. Hop packing is shorter than the stock hop packing and might potentially be a point where air leaks arise if it is overdone.
The EDGI L96 cylinder set has a slightly larger air volume capacity compared to the stock cylinder, but the difference is small. If your target is getting a higher volume ratio out of the Tokyo Marui L96 AWS platform, then there are more gains to be had by shortening the inner barrel length. Luckily PDI does sell shorter outer barrel shrouds for the TM L96.
Despite the small difference in air volume between cylinders, there was a drastic change in the trend of the muzzle energy readings. I attribute this phenomenon to the higher acceleration provided by the stronger main spring that came with the EDGI kit. Unfortunately, I was not able to use the stock TM spring in the EDGI cylinder since I preserved the stock cylinder for the TM L96’s owner.
Regardless, the higher BB acceleration provided by the spring makes better use of the available air. There is more force behind the BB that helps it cover more ground per volume of air transferred into the barrel. Essentially the stronger springs help overcome the lack of air volume and greater inertia required to efficiently move heavier BBs.
Overall the parts on the set from the sears to the cylinder feel substantial and well made. Not having a 90-degree sear trigger option was a bummer, but I didn’t feel like the enhanced 45-degree sears were lacking. If you are having trouble looking for upgrades for your specific spring-powered bolt action airsoft replica, try contacting EDGI and see if they can do something for you.
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