Your First Airsoft GBBR - What you need to know

Your First Airsoft GBBR - What you need to know

Handling and Storage

GBBRs need to be cocked before the first shot, just like a GBB pistol. It is important that you do not double load a GBBR as this can break the nozzle. We recommend clearing the chamber of BBs with a cleaning rod in the event that you finish firing mid-magazine and the bolt does not lock back and shows an empty chamber. 

Gas blowback rifles, in general, cannot be put into "Safe" mode without first being cocked. The best way to store a GBBR is with the magazine removed, the rifle uncocked and the fire selector set to "semi". If you force the safety catch into "Safe" without the rifle being cocked, the selector mechanism can be damaged and cause firing issues. 

Likewise, If your GBBR allows you to select safe when the rifle is not cocked, DO NOT under any circumstances pull the charging handle while "Safe" is selected as this will also damage the trigger group. 

Performance and maintenance

The HOP-up adjuster for WA system GBBRs is on the outer barrel and is accessible with the handguard removed or using a small tool through the handguard ports. On the WE Open Bolt system, the HOP-up dial is inside the ejection port and the same is true for Tokyo Marui ZET System GBBRs. 

GBBRs generally use higher pressure gas than GBB pistols due to the extra weight of the bolt. We recommend Green Gas (NUPROL 2.0, VORSK V6, ASG Ultraair) for general use and Red Gas (NUPROL 3.0, VORSK V8) for cold weather use. Upgraded GBBRs (steel trigger parts, aftermarket bolts etc) should be fine to use Black Gas, but in hot weather, they may exceed velocity limits. 

The faster you shoot a GBBR, the less accurate it will be. This is due to pressure variance as the gas reservoir cools down. Full auto is basically for fun; these rifles run far better when used in semi-auto mode. You can expect around the same range and accuracy as an AEG if you are shooting a GBBR at a reasonable cadence but not hammering the trigger, though the faster you shoot, the less accurate your GBBR will be. 

Like a GBB pistol, GBBR magazines require maintenance. We recommend leaving a small amount of gas inside the magazine when stored, and not storing the magazines in a cold or damp environment. Magazine seals and valves will need lubrication and to be kept clear of dust and debris. We recommend not storing a GBBR or its magazines in a cold environment like a garage as temperature drops can cause the rubber O-rings throughout the system to crack, causing leaks. 

Maintenance needs also apply to the rifle itself, and you will need to lubricate any metal on metal contact surfaces inside to get the best performance from your GBBR. We recommend lubricating the nozzle tracks and any parts of the bolt carrier which come into contact with the trigger group with either silicone dropper oil or silicone gun grease. The inner barrel will also need cleaning and this process is exactly the same as with an Airsoft AEG. 


The 3 most common GBBR systems are the Western Arms/G&P WOC system, the Tokyo Marui ZET system and the WE Open Bolt System. These systems all use their own magazine style and are not compatible with each other. This is the same as with other GBBR systems like the KWA/PTS system and the KJ Works system; they all need their own specific branded magazines. 

The only exceptions when it comes to mag compatibility are WE Open Bolt rifles which use STANAG mags; the SCAR-L, L85/SA80, Keltec PLR-16, M4A1 variants, XM177, M16 variants and the Type 65/91 are cross-compatible mag-wise, as are the different WE AK GBBR variants.  

Internal parts compatibility is also not something the different GBBR systems can boast. The WA/G&P system uses proprietary inner barrels and HOP-up rubbers, though the Golden Eagle clones of this system use AEG standard inner barrels and HOP-up rubbers. 

Both the WE Open Bolt system and the Tokyo Marui ZET system use unbridged VSR/GBB style inner barrels and HOP-up rubbers, giving them the edge in upgradability. 

Otherwise, each system is unique and the internal parts are not shared, meaning if you are sourcing upgrade parts you will need to look for parts specifically for your GBBR's internal system. 

Other things to note

  • Magazines capacity is generally between 30-50 rounds for GBBR magazines, meaning you will potentially need 10 magazines to have the same firepower as an AEG with a single High-cap. 
  • Magazines are also very heavy, weighing around the same as a loaded real steel magazine and over double the weight of a standard AEG magazine. Your kit will need to be built around this as it can become very uncomfortable carrying several GBBR magazines and will put extra strain on magazine pouches. 
  • Magazines are also very expensive, being priced at around 4 times the cost of the average AEG magazine, depending on where you buy. This can make getting set up with a GBBR rather price-prohibitive, and most GBBR owners have built their setup and loadout incrementally over several years, avoiding the financial burden of getting everything at once. 
  • Skirmishing with a GBBR is very, very challenging. The realistic operating system means you will have to use the GBBR in the same way you would a real rifle and you will need to practice a fair amount before you will be proficient with one. This becomes even more challenging when you consider the performance aspects, where a GBBR will struggle in cold weather and is not very forgiving of rapid fire. The kills you get will be so satisfying, but like an Airsoft sniper, you won't get as many as you would with an AEG!

So, now you know enough about GBBRs to get started, perhaps you would like to check some out! If so, click the button below to see our GBBR selection!

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