The M40 is the Marines’ sniper rifle, they started from the Remington 700 and while the US Army developed the M24 the USMC created the M40. Then, and over the years, we saw different versions of the A1, the A3, the A5 (with their replicas manufactured by different brands). Until now, since ARES surprises us with the M40 A6, a model that the USMC commissioned in 2013, and that was used by the troops between 2016 and 2017 (already under the final name of M40A7).
If the original M40 was used for the first time in 1966 and is still used today since it has been constantly improved to keep it up to the shooters’ standards. The same philosophy with which ARES works to offer us top tier replicas of this level.
One of the updates that the USMC sought with the A6 was a continuous top RIS (this one has 490 mm of Picatinny rail) to place all kinds of scopes and accessories, which helps the octagonal handguard where we can add an AN/PEQ, flashlights or lasers to help us be more precise.
The grip is made of a rubber type that prevents your hand from slipping, making the grip more comfortable. Its design is also more straight than usual, so the index finger position is more perpendicular to the trigger. This is better since the position of the hand is natural when shooting and is less forceful, something to be grateful for during long waits. A detail that the real model has is that the grip is interchangeable with the usual ones of the M4, in the case of the replica it is with GBB grips, so the options increase when adjusting it to our game style.
Another of the updates provided by the A6 is the Remington Defense RACS stock, which is foldable, measuring 810 mm from the original 1060. It is designed to make it more compact for transport purposes. It has a skeletal design that makes it lighter and incorporates two rails, one on the bottom to be able to mount a monopod and make the shooting position more comfortable when lying down, and another on the side for which we have not found any function (and we have even asked a Warrant Officer of the Marines!). But the most interesting thing is that we will be able to adjust the stock very precisely. It allows us to adjust the height of the recoil pad and the length of the stock, and we can also adjust the cheek rest, which, all together, allows us to set up the stock to our measure (regardless of how big or small we are) so that when we shoulder the replica, our eye is automatically aligned with the sight. This is not a whim of the shooter, but it allows us to prevent the sight from "blacking" and we gain response speed.
The bolt, of TM compatible design, is made of aluminium and although it works well, we would have liked it to be made of steel to improve its durability when using powerful springs. It is easily disassembled with an ARES tool from the bottom of the rifle, and if had AEG springs in the Striker, in this case it does not.
It has a spring guide and an aluminium piston that offer a very good compression. One thing we liked is that an ARES operator tests each model and notes the power given and the date, so we can see that this gun on August 13 recorded 105 m/s (345 FPS) and 1.1 J with 0.20 g BBs. Although if we want to upgrade it we can opt for the parts of its TX System that are already available in the market for models such as the MS338 or the MS700. And so we can mount 134A gas or CO2 bolts such as TX-CO2-001.
The hop-up can be regulated from the top of the replica with an Allen key, like the large majority of sniper models, but because of its position the telescopic sight will often be left on top, preventing us from accessing with the key.
The hop chamber has its own design although the rubber and the barrel have a VSR cut so we can easily find spare parts. Something that may be necessary in the case of the inner barrel, since although it measures 340 mm and reaches the end of the outer barrel, its inner diameter is 6.08 mm and we are likely to want something more precise.
One solution, more practical than aesthetically beautiful, is to put a screw that fits with a flat wheel on top to regulate the hop up without disassembling the sight.
It comes with a 45-BB loader, imitating the real 5-projectile model, which has the hole not on the top but on the front side. In the real model the fact that the magazine falls under the bolt is necessary for its feeding, but in the case of the replica it needs a conduit that takes the BBs from the magazine to the hop chamber avoiding the bolt. We liked that they did not use the TM fin system that has caused so many problems in the past, while it is true that using the magazine's own spring pressure causes the last 18 BBs (of 45 total) to remain in the duct when the magazine is empty, as they cannot be fired.
The trigger also follows its own design, although its manufacture is so resistant that it is not necessary to touch adjust until we increase the power of the spring. A detail that we liked is that it does not let the rifle fire if it does not have the magazine in.
The standard replica comes without accessories, although some of the ones you see in the review have been taken from the ARES catalogue, such as the BIP-003 bipod, with folding and extendible legs, with a classic grip; or the SIL-010 silencer, created specifically for this model and that fits perfectly the SureFire MB762SSAL/RE type mouth without having to disassemble it or wasting a lot of time (un)screwing it.
The Marines sniper school is a benchmark among marksmen professionals, and today, USMC's master gunsmiths continue to set trends in the world of firearms. Therefore, we like the fact that ARES is in charge of offering the replica of this model. For its realism, its attention to detail and its performance, would you dare to shoulder it?