The Echo1 M1918 SLR Browning Automatic Rifle (M1918A3 licensed from Ohio Ordnance Works) is a classic gun used extensively during WWII, Korean and Vietnam war. It’s a beautiful airsoft replica that, of course, is just begging to be converted to use the PolarStar Fusion Engine.
The M1918 is a huge gun. The only other airsoft gun I’ve worked with that is comparable in size would be the M240B or the Barret M82. It has an extremely long barrel, but the gun only comes with a 490mm inner barrel, which stops far short from the flash hider. I replaced the inner barrel with a 650mm ORGA barrel that now properly goes to the end of the gun.
Converting the gun to use the Fusion Engine was relatively straightforward. The M1918 uses a variation of the V6 gearbox, and the gearbox shell is actually very plain and simple, no extra reinforcements on the shell. So with some cutting and light milling the Fusion Engine upper cylinder could go right into the gearbox shell, and reuse the two mount points on the gun, following the same technique I use on the ARES LMG. The Fusion Engine is set back in the gearbox to reduce the amount of milling needed, and it also helps keep the cylinder and hopup perfectly centered. An extended nozzle is then used to make up the difference in length to reach the hopup.
The M1918 has an interesting trigger setup. The trigger contact is actually attached directly to the back of the trigger, and the electrical contact points are mounted into the top of the trigger well. The fire select switch, when rotated to Safe, blocks the motion of the trigger. In stock form, the gun only fires in Full auto, so there isn’t any other action of the fire select switch. I modified the trigger setup so the gun will shot in both semi auto and full auto modes by using a two stage trigger. By changing the wiring on the trigger switch and bending one of the trigger contacts back a little, a short pull on the trigger has the gun shoot in semi auto, and a full pull on the trigger has it shoot in full auto.
The FCU and battery are stored in the stock, but the gun has a very awkward door for accessing the battery. The small door at the back of the stock pushes inward, which basically makes it impossible to grab or manipulate any battery connections are the door, which is spring loaded, gets in the way and is always trying to close. This would end up forcing you to remove two large standard screws and take the whole stock back plate off to access the battery. Very painful. Instead I simply completed removed the spring loaded door and just oriented the FCU and battery wires in a way that made it possible to disconnect more easily.
The magazines for the M1918 are fairly large, but there is a relatively small hi-cap mechanism inside of the magazine shell, so it’s capacity is only about 180 BBs. For a gun designed to shoot on full auto, you can blow through 180 BBs in no time, especially with a Fusion Engine. I made some modest modifications to the magazine mechanism to attempt to increase its capacity, by cutting away part of the hi-cap mechanism and making a new inner wall, but was only able to take to the magazine to about 300 rounds.
With the extra long ORGA barrel (wide-bore 6.23mm), flat-hopped, I was able to run using a red-bore nozzle and the gun was shooting approximately 420 FPS (w/.2g BBs) at 80 psi. I fielded the gun using .28g BBs, and the range of the gun was amazing. It was shooting very nice tight full auto groupings at 200+ feet, and the BBs kept going further. I set the FCU so the gun shot at 600 RPM, matching the fire rate of the real gun, which allow the gun to have a distinctive (and frightening) presence on the field. I did remove the bi-pod as the gun is seriously front heavy with the nearly 2.5 lb accessory.
The Echo1 M1918 matched with the PolarStar Fusion Engine makes for a very fun gun to fire. It may not be the most practical gun as a primary assault weapon, but it’s a blast to shoot, and a perfect match for anyone wanting to add a new dimension to their WWII load out.