Ares Amoeba Striker AS01 Sniper Rifle
31 Jul 2017
Ares have released their first sniper rifle under the Amoeba, the Striker AS01. The Amoeba Striker AS01 have made big headlines when it was released several months ago and was hailed as the best sniper rifle out of the box with one review claiming that it could be the only sniper rifle you will ever need.
When I heard about this news, I took the the chance to go and see it for myself in one of the local airsoft shops in my area. Initially, I thought the rifle looks really good and has a very tactical design almost similar to the Magpul Hunter stock. And then I saw the price! My local shop sells this rifle for under £160. For the look, feel and build quality of this rifle, this price now makes it even more interesting.
Since I had other reviews and projects pending, I decided to ignore the Striker then and finish all my work but it is very difficult to ignore the rifle as even experienced sniper players have started using it in the field and are actually saying that it is an impressively good rifle. Also, in doing more research about the rifle I found that it has tons of accessories ranging from internal upgrades to external aesthetic and functional parts such as cheek risers, adjustable butt stock ends, suppressor and muzzle breaks. Third party upgrade parts have also been available such as hop-up units, upgraded sears and cylinders and even a HPA kit. There are so many parts available with this rifle that any player can customise the look and performance of it as far as their budget can take them.
So I have made it a point to shell out some cash and get myself a unit as soon as I am able to.
I went to Gordon Bond of BattleZone Airsoft here in Essex who was kind enough to help me out when he learned that I was purchasing the rifle to do a review on it.
The Amoeba Striker is honestly one of the most if not the most impressive entry level sniper rifle I have seen. It is not perfect, but if you compare the price to what you will get then you will understand what I mean.
The package contains the rifle, a 45-BB capacity magazine, a BB loading tube and pusher, a cleaning rod, two Allen keys stored in the hand grip, and a user manual.
The stock, front grip, trigger guard and magazine are made of polymer material similar to the material used in the Amoeba AEGs. The outer barrel, trigger system, rail are made of alloy.
The rifle is very light compared to other similar rifles but it doesn't feel flimsy. The rifle feels very solid. It also feels shorter with its threaded cap. The cap hides a 22mm thread at the end of the barrel. The rifle doesn't look bad with just the thread cap on but it does look better with the suppressor and muzzle break that are available to purchase. The rifle features a fluted outer barrel which does look really nice and underneath the barrel is a front grip. This is not connected to the rear stock as the two are separated by the magazine well. There is a bipod/sling mount attachment near the front of the front grip which also acts as a retaining pin/screw which attaches it to the barrel. Unscrewing this will enable the user to detach the front grip and gain access to detaching the outer barrel as it screws into the main body of the rifle.
On top of the main rifle body is a rail system for mounting scopes. The rifle features an open bolt system meaning the nozzle is exposed when the bolt is pulled back. The rifle also has a feature where a small red indicator pops out from the bolt retention pin which indicates that the rifle is loaded.
The stock, as I mentioned before is mode of polymer. There is a visible seam where the two sides are joined but it is not too bad. There is a sling mount on the side and this can be switched from whichever side the user prefers to have the sling attached. Unscrewing the two Allen screws that holds the sling mount also detaches the butt plate and cheek pad.
The trigger on this rifle is wider than other rifles of this type. The pull can be adjusted with a screw behind the trigger. The magazine well is located just in front of the trigger and features an integrated magazine well adapter. This is a good feature as it stabilises the magazine when inserted into the magazine well. The magazine has no wobble when it is in place. The rifle has an AK type mag release but it also has a secondary ambidextrous mag release on the side of the trigger guard.
The hand grip can also be replaced with a more ergonomic design and also serves as a cover for a hidden compartment behind which houses two Allen keys that are needed to strip the rifle.
Adjustable cheek rests and adjustable butt plate like the ones installed in this rifle are available to purchase also are by Ares Airsoft.
Another great feature of this rifle is it disassembles very easily. Anyone who has read my reviews will know that I don't disassemble airsoft rifles that are what the airsoft gun techs are for. But with this rifle, it is very easy to strip it down and the only tools that are mainly needed are the two Allen keys hidden behind the hand grip.
To remove the stock, turn the rifle upside down. First, remove the screw behind the trigger guard. This will allow you to remove the trigger guard by simply pulling it upwards. The trigger guard is made of polymer so it will not bend as you pull it off. Then remove the second screw located in the front or barrel end of the magazine well, this will detach the stock completely off the rifle. Once the stock is off, this will give you access to the main trigger housing assembly.
To remove the barrel, unscrew the bipod attachment and slide the front grip forward to remove it. Then simply unscrew the outer barrel off.
To remove the inner barrel and hop-up unit, remove the hop-up screw located on the top rail completely to make sure it will not catch anything as you pull the barrel out. Also you will need to remove the loading tube located inside the magwell using a wide flat head screwdriver. Once these are out, pull the inner barrel and hop-up unit together slowly.
To remove the bolt, simply push the retaining pin out and slide the bolt out. Returning the bolt is more tedious as you need to make sure the bolt is aligned correctly and the sear is pressed down.
The rifle uses AEG springs which are much shorter than standards sniper rifle springs hence the short stroke bolt feature.
Rarely will you find an airsoft sniper rifle that performs well out of the box but the Amoeba Striker is one of those very rare finds.
With everything stock, the rifle fires at a very consistent 430-432fps using 0.20gm BBs. The rifle uses AEG springs hence has a short stroke bolt pull. The pull is still heavy but because the bolt travel is very short, this is barely felt. The stock sears are said to be able to withstand up to an M150 or equivalent spring before they will need upgrading. There is a screw underneath the trigger guard that adjusts the angle of the sears and is advised to adjust the screw so that it is flushed with the surface. The bolt pull is rather rough and on return, it tends to not go all the way in. You will know this as the trigger will lock until the bolt is pushed all the way in. Do not re-cock the rifle if this happens as you will load another BB into the chamber. Simply try and push it in. Some owners have resorted to polishing the paint off the bolt to smoothen the travel. It is also advised to pull the bolt with the thumb behind it to even out the force. The bolt is not a one-piece unit so it will break through wear and tear.
The trigger pull is also short and resets pretty much on the same place. There is a screw behind the trigger which can adjust the trigger pull although the stock setting is good enough.
One important feature that is a must with sniper rifles is accuracy. The Amoeba Striker is actually good when it comes to this. A very good addition that Ares Airsoft gave to this rifle is a TDC or Top-Dead-Center hop-up. There is a hole towards the barrel end of the rail where the hop-top can be adjusted using the smaller of the two Allen keys provided. Tighten the screw for more hop and loosen it for less hop. The rifle will easily hit an A4 size target at around 65-70meters and will shoot past 70meters. Heavy BBs over 0.30gms will perform better as the wind factor has a big effect on the accuracy.
One of the downside of having a short stroke bolt and a relatively short spring is that the air volume inside the cylinder is a bit limited compared to the longer cylinder sniper rifles. As a result the muzzle velocity can only go as much. I have read reviews that say the rifle even struggles to get to 500fps with some even reporting issues of a reverse joule creep or where the muzzle velocity drops when using stiffer springs. I should get into these issues more if I encounter them on my part 2 report on this rifle.
Weight is not an issue with this rifle as it is pretty light. It has a robust build so it will be able to withstand hitting tree branches.
The rifle has a safely lever located on the right hand side just behind the cocking lever. Pull the lever back to put the rifle on safety.
THE GOOD AND THE NOT SO GOOD
The Good Bits:
- Solid build
- Good looking kit
- Very tactical looking
- Tons of aftermarket and third party accessories and upgrade kits/parts
- Accurate and very usable out of the box
- TDC hop-up as standard
- Easy disassembly
- Adjustable sears
- Adjustable trigger pull
- Uses AEG springs
- 55 BB capacity Magazines
The Not So Good Bits:
- Rough bolt pull
- Bolt tends not to go all the way in when cocked
- Inner barrel vibrates/rattles due to absence on barrel rings
- Limited muzzle velocity due to low air volume
- Upgrading can be expensive and endless
The Ares Amoeba Striker AS01 is said to be the best out of the box sniper rifle out in the market today or is it?
I can honestly say that it is definitely a great out of the box sniper rifle. It is very usable in its stock condition which I would suggest using it first and getting the feel of it before doing any upgrades.
It is probably the best airsoft rifle for sniper beginners as it is light, accurate, solid, and looks good plus more importantly is within most players budget.
The STRIKER AS01 may become a best selling airsoft sniper rifle. Ares Airsoft have definitely listened and studied the market and were able to come up with this great product. There are still some issues with aftermarket parts when it comes to their quality but I am sure that this will be addressed by Ares Airsoft and third party manufacturers as they get feedback from airsoft players.
So now for the big question… is the Ares Amoeba Striker AS01 worth buying? For me, yes. If you are looking into going into more specialised airsoft roles like sniping, this rifle is I think, the best one to start with. You can start with an affordable unit that you can actually start playing with then customise and upgrade as the budget becomes available.
Big thanks to Gordon Bond of BattleZone Airsoft for providing us with the rifle for review.