Chinese manufacturers were active during 2007. Very active. Their hard work positioned them firmly on the map of replica manufacturers. One of the more interesting Chinese companies is Cyma. Their products are not very original (in the sense of true research and development), but they drastically improved reliability and overall quality of their products. Their model with lovely name CM.032A is in a clone of Marui M14 SOCOM. As this is third review of replica M14 on our pages, it will be a bit shorter than usual. For more information and comparison check out previously published reviews of KART M668 M14 EBR and Classic Army M14 Scout.
M14 SOCOM is basically (again) a product of Springfield Armory, originally called M1A SOCOM. While SCOUT model uses full length gas system, M1A SOCOM uses shorter gas tube, with (at least advertised) no loss in reliability. Combination of shorter barrel (16 inch/40.6 cm) and design of the gas brake results in very loud rifle, which generates impressive flash and noise.
Enough about that. Time to focus on the review of CM.032A (again, this less than descriptive designation is throughout this review replaced with designation M14 SOCOM). Cyma M14 SOCOM comes in tastefully designed box. Which is at least somewhat important, as box is actually first contact with the replica. And for once, box arrived undamaged.
Visual appearance is very friendly to the eye. Plastic stock with barely visible seam has a matte, textured (sandblasted) finish. Critical parts on the stock are chequered to ensure positive grip even when wet or muddy. Overall sturdiness is impressive and usual shaking test produced no noise from loose parts.
What should be metal is metal. Finish is on par with newer replicas from Cyma- it is better than Kart’s but still chips. Only minor complaint is soft spring of the flip up buttplate. Speaking of stock: trap doors and entire buttplate assembly are metal. Battery installation is non problematic, as doors are big enough to comfortably insert the large battery.
Engineers at Cyma decided to make their own standard- they used small battery connector, despite including a large type battery (again, with small Tamiya type connector). It is a bit annoying, but you will need to change connectors. Battery is usual Chinese product (8,4V/1100 mAh), not the best, but good enough to be used as a backup.
Level of details is good, but there are with several simplified features- to cut down costs, of course:
– screws on the forward mounted optical sight base are simple Phillips screws, not Hex screws, like on CA M14 Scout;
– gas valve spindle is replaced with simple screw and gas cylinder plug is die casted and non removable;
– bolt catch is non functional. With test model, bolt stays in the rear position (due to friction) and jumps forward with a little help of a hand.
On the other hand, heat shield is thick and does not creak at all.
To be brutally honest, these short cuts do not have any influence on the function, and are purely aesthetics related problems. M14 SOCOM has several distinguishing features, which differ them from regular M14/M14 Scout variants. First such feature are sights.
They are product of XS Sight Systems’ and are fairly well replicated. Original XS Sight’s front sight features a white post with a tritium insert. Such sights are very effective in low light conditions and even at night. So, original is very effective and useful. Naturally, there is no tritium on the replica sights, which are still well replicated. There is small indentation, so you can insert your own light absorbing material if you choose so.
Another replicated feature is chequering on the rear aperture sight. Original XS’ rear sight apertures is bigger, which is not replicated. You can always drill bigger hole, if you feel the need.
Muzzle brake is integral part of the barrel. Original uses gas lock muzzle brake, which is nicely replicated. Short, stubby muzzle brake gives M14 SOCOM a distinctive look. Muzzle brake is secured with grub screw.
Fire selector is a bit soft and wobbly; another complaint is that there is no marking of semi/full auto. You should add your own to simplify things.
Trigger is responsive. Safety is located in the trigger guard and is a bit soft.
Field test: as we have strict 1J limit, it quickly become obvious that this replica packs a punch. Chrono test revealed consistent readings of 360 fps. Also, 6,04 mm barrel helps to tight groupings. Barrel is definite improvement over standard 6,08 mm barrels, but don’t expect wonders.
Its shortness is very appealing feature; it is most handy, even in close quarters situations (despite shooting entirely too hot to be used in such a setting). It is a practical replica with excellent characteristics and as close as M14 can get to the true jack of all trades replica from M14 family.
Magazine is fairly usual product. It is functional, but trap door is very hard to pry open. If you sport short nails, you may even need a tool to open the trapdoor on the top of the magazine. Magazine appears to be identical to Tokyo Marui’s magazines, but we haven’t had the opportunity to cross check the compatibility. Magazine has some wobble in the magazine well.
Gearbox is pretty standard. However, when compared with Kart EBR gearbox and parts they look less cheap. Gearbox has factory installed metal bushings. Gearbox is lightly greased – with black grease from hell, which sticks to fingers like mad. Gears are marked NZ; overall impression over quality of work was very good.
Casting of gearbox is good and definitely better than Kart’s. It is no surprise that in comparison between Kart and Cyma latter one comes out as a victor. Cyma really should introduce its own version of EBR…
During test we shot approximately 5000 BBs, piston was intact. Quality of inner parts seems very good and they took test well. Even now, after approximately 10.000 BBs replica works as new. In conclusion, this is mechanically sound replica, without any visible and pressing mechanical problems.
HopUp is indistinguishable form other Chinese M14 HopUp. As copy of Marui’s HopUp, it is adjusted with dial, located in the magazine well. We changed stock HopUp rubber, with beneficial results to the consistency of shots.
My past stance on Chinese replicas was less than enthusiastic; they were unreliable and cheap. This changed and Chinese manufacturers are force to be reckoned with. And Cyma CM.032A is just another proof that nothing in this world is permanent.
This is excellent copy of Marui’s product. For complete peace of mind one can change several parts in the gearbox (piston, spring guide, tappet plate) and HopUp (rubber). But even without this this is a well rounded package. Cyma’s line of M14 is currently the best M14 China has to offer; they should seriously think about introduction of M14 EBR.
Test item provided by RSOV.