Star Rainbow Company is one of the more overlooked players in the industry. Explanation for their less than visible presence is their catalogue of replicas. They offer mostly M4 and AK replicas- and market is over saturated by those. Also, first series did suffer from quality control issues, but recent replicas are reportedly very good.
SR416 is harbinger of SRC’s new series of replicas. How good is it?
As you probably guessed, SR416 is replica of Heckler&Koch HK416, which is currently one of the hottest assault rifles in the market. Partially because of its quality and partially because of the hype.
If first impression is anything to go by- there is no reason to doubt Star Rainbow Company’s similar success with SR416.
Replica comes in Styrofoam box with nice visuals on the cover. Package contains 400 fps (120m/s) spring, replica and HiCap magazine. We also received two outer barrel extensions in order to present whole family of SR416 to our readers. Factory installed length of outer barrel is 10,4 inch; 14,5 inch is Carbine replica with stepped down outer barrel, while 16″ barrel is replica of M16 HBAR (heavy barrel) type rifle. Regardless of chosen barrel length, outer barrel is rock solid. This is important, as SR416 uses a free float RAS. We will return to the quality of RAS sleeve in the moment.
Finish is of metal parts is good and I dare to say even better as previous products from SRC- which was actually a competitive advantage of SRC’s replicas. Receiver is anodized; finish is very pretty to the eye and to the touch. Finish of the RAS sleeve is also above reproach; T numbers are engraved on the top. Dimension consistency of the sleeve seems very good as it works with quick detach type mounts, despite being die casted.
Finish of the buffer tube is softer and is already slightly chaffing. Quality of plastic parts is good; stock is nicely made and has almost no wobble. Pistol grip has a slight seam, but it does not detract from his overall function.
Markings mimics Hecker&Koch’s logo. Trades are laser engraved, as are pictograms. To avoid confusion: SRC also manufactures replica with full Heckler&Koch trades, but it is available for home market (Taiwan) only. Replicas with altered trades are available in EU and USA: SR/ SR416 D/ Cal. 5.56×45 and obverse side with Star Rainbow GmbH/ Made in Taiwan/ Star Rainbow/ Defence Inc./ SRC
Fire selector is somewhat stiff and does not click into position, with exception of the “safe” position. Bolt catch, magazine catch and charging handle are all made out of steel. I especially like the fact that screw in the magazine release knob is not Hex screw, but ordinary Phillips screw – it makes proces of taking apart a bit easier.
Charging handle works and opens dust cover. SR416 does not have functional bolt release in the strict sense of the word. Instead, bolt plate is held in back position by friction and you have to manually push cocking handle forward in order to cover the HopUp dial. Dial us revealed only in half so it takes some fiddling to adjust the HopUp.
Quick demonstration of the function:
Rear sight is copy of H&K diopter sight. Apertures are different sizes, without “open” aperture. It doesn’t turn full 360 degrees. Instead you must return from 4 back to 1 in order to change the aperture from the biggest to the smallest.
As we received additional set of outer barrels we have had a luxury to choose which front sight to use – either use MP5 style front sight or folding front sight, which is affixed to gas chamber. It all depends on the preference and length of the barrel. BUIS sights can be removed by undoing a hex screw.
Battery box is generally shaped as VITAL, but it is is much bigger. They call it VISUAL-2, and sticker on the unit proclaims that it is suitable for NI-MH batteries 8.4V 1000 mAh-9.6V 1800 mAH, Li-Polymer 7.4V-11.1V. Installation of the battery is slow, as it is necessary to undo the Phillips screw.
While this is an interesting idea and welcome departure from usual PAQ/PEQ style battery boxes, VISUAL 2 is too bulky, as it blocks front sight. Comparison picture of VISUAL 2 next to the HurricanE’s VITAL:
Package comes with one HiCap magazine with very glossy finish; it looks almost lacquered. In couple of skirmishes it will get nice used look. It comes with trades, which are again “SRCified:” RESTRICTED LAW ENFORCEMENT / FOR AIRSOFT USE ONLY / Star Rainbow GmbH / Made in Taiwan. Magazine works as it should and doesn’t skip a beat. Replica is fully compatible with all major magazine brands.
SRC offers SR416 in three different versions SR-416 D10 (top), SR-416 D14.5 in the middle, which is a carbine version of HK416 and finally, SR-416 D16 with M16 type HBAR (Heavy BARrel).
In the skirmish this is one handy replica. During test I replaced the battery box with more prosaic PEQ unit.
SR416 is very solid replica. I’m always suspicious of free float sleeves, as less than stellar materials, used with airsoft replicas could lead to barrel wobble. Not with SRC. When RAS is removed (you have to undo single screw and slide the sleeve off it is revealed why there is no wobble.
HopUp chamber is metal. I think that HopUp rubber is weak spot (it took couple of HiCaps to settle in), so I suggest a change with aftermarket rubber. Adjustment of HopUp is non- problematic, if little awkward due to bolt plate covering half the adjustment dial.
Before we take a closer look at the inner parts- muzzle speed of the .20g BB is slightly lower than 90 m/s (295 feet per second), which makes it a interesting option for CQC/MOUT replica.
Gearbox is standard V2 gearbox. Die casting mold seems fairly good as there is no left over material. List of the mechanical features is quite impressive:
– 8mm ball bearing gear box
– metal cylinder head
– aluminium cylinder
– aluminium piston head
– metal spring guide
– ultra high torque motor
Let us start with the motor. While I can’t verify that this is indeed an ultra high torque motor we discovered that a) rate of fire is excellent, even with 8.4V battery and b) magnets are very strong. When we carelessly put the motor on the workbench, it sucked all the assorted metal bits and pieces, which stuck to the housing.
Gears are fairly standard product, as it is piston. Piston head and cylinder offer good compression, and there is no apparent air leak. Assembly of the gearbox is good, shimming and greasing are as they should be. There is no apparent reason to doubt the quality of the gearbox.
As said, there is no wobble of outer barrel. Outer barrel is anchored to the body with a massive ring.
And, as a true HK416 replica, short stroke piston with spring is replicated and can be taken apart like the real one. Unimportant, but still nice feature to have.
There are several features which may pose a problem for serious player or collector. Lack of realistic trades is certainly being one; some may be put off by lack of functional bolt release button, which is a very popular feature at the moment.
Star Rainbow Company is regarded as low to medium end manufacturer. Guys at SRC plan to change this and to move their products in the higher class in the hierarchy of manufacturers. Will they manage this fairly big step? SR416 is step in the right direction.
Test item provided by Star Rainbow Company