Friday, 24 July 2015

Review: Buzz Bee Air Max 6

The AM6 is another one of Buzz Bee's air powered Air Max blasters. Like its other Air Max brethren it's not widely available in Australia, so I'm reviewing the US-release version.
Like the other Air Max blasters, the AM6 was kindly sent to me by Buzz Bee for review, and as usual their contribution has no effect on the review (besides permitting it to exist).
Pretty standard Buzz Bee packaging, note the 60ft range claim.
Out of the box, the AM6 with 6 Extreme darts.
All loaded up.

Like its AM brethren, the AM6 has a few more details than previous Buzz Bee blasters, such as the extra bits of orange shell and a few more molded details, however is certainly still nowhere near Nerf's level of detail.
Like so many Buzz Bee blasters and unlike most Nerf blasters, the AM6's top is very plain and has nothing even remotely resembling or trying to be iron sights.
The AM6 is an odd sized blaster. It's larger than all sidearms (like the Strongarm), yet unlike larger blasters like the Stryfe and Retal, have no stock or any ability to attach a stock. It's similar in size to the Roughcut, yet doesn't have the same shotgun type feel.
The length of the pump draw is quite long, at least 8cm. Courtesy of the long pump and the small tank, the AM6 fills up in 2 pumps; from my experience the entire 3rd pump vents through the OPRV.
I find the AM6 pump the most comfortable of all the Air Max blasters, I just feel that it has the best length and shape.
I also find the AM6 handle quite comfortable, though it's not the largest, and the gap near the bottom may cause some issues if you have larger hands.
The AM6, like the AM10, has a two stage trigger. The first half (as pictured above) rotates the turret...
...and the second half fires. Note that the trigger doesn't depress fully into the handle, in contrast to the AM10's trigger. I personally find the AM6's trigger superior to the AM10's.
Overall I find the AM6 to be ergonomically superior to the AM10, it has a superior pump, handle, trigger and also a better weight balance being shorter.
The AM6's turret rotates counter clockwise from the user's perspective, which is in contrast to Nerf's Hammershot/Sweet Revenge, Strongarm and all of their derivative blasters and basically all of their more recent revolvers. This means that a right hander loading darts into the left side of the turret will have to rotate the turret all the way around to fire the newly loaded dart.
A full cycle of the AM6's turret. The turret rotation is very crisp on trigger pull, something Buzz Bee has done very well with their turreted blasters.
Here's the AM6 next to the Sweet Revenge. You can clearly see the huge size difference between the two. The AM6 is not only longer, but it's also higher and significantly wider, making it in my opinion too large to be used as a sidearm, being that it's too large to fit in a reasonably sized holster.

Performance wise the AM6 is very similar, basically identical to the AM10.
Range is about 13-15m quite consistently thanks to the highly consistent Extreme darts.
Accuracy is excellent, mid to longer range shots are still quite close together and hitting a human sized target at near max range is not that difficult.
Being an air blaster with a manual pump, the AM6's ROF isn't great. 2 pumps are required for maximum power, which gives a ROF of nearly 1 dart per second if you're really fast. Single pumps lose a lot of power, but get you into the 2+dps range.

Is the AM6 a practical blaster? Well...not really.
It's too large to fit the traditional sidearm role, which means it has to go up against primary and secondary blasters like the Stryfe.
Compared to pretty much anything springer or flywheeler (e.g. Stryfe, Retal), the AM6 is significantly slower firing, and typically also has a much lower capacity. Sure the solid range and great accuracy is nice, but the accuracy is highly dependent on using Extreme darts, and range is easily matched by angling other blasters. Sure it's nice to be able to hit superior flat ranges with great accuracy, but clip/mag system blasters can just fire about 3 darts at an angle and achieve a similar effect.
If you're doing just target shooting then the AM6 is a pretty solid choice. Like the other AM blasters, the AM6 with Extreme darts is so incredibly superior to Elite blasters, to the point where you can hit a target from relatively far away in one or two shots where the Elite blaster may not even hit once with a full load of darts.

The AM6 is not readily available in Australia. In the US, I believe it retails for something like 10USD, about the same as a Strongarm. For that price, the AM6 is a pretty solid buy, it's relatively cheap and fires really well, however as I stated earlier the AM6 is not a blaster I'd consider war practical. The AM6 is only suitable for goofing around and target practice.

Power: 6.5/7
Accuracy: 5/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Usability: 4/5
Rate of Fire: 1.5/5
Overall: 3.83/5

Personal Rating: 3/5 - while the range and accuracy are pretty good, it just doesn't have the capacity and ROF to compete with most modern blasters in a stock/superstock setting.

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