Drozd full-auto air pistol review.

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Drozd full-auto air pistol review.

Post by Grant » Fri Aug 17, 2007 2:29 pm

This is actually a partial review, as I haven't finished the modifications I'm making yet. I'll post part two when my other pieces arrive. And I'm sorry to disappoint everyone, but I don't see the point of just wrapping it in phone cord to try to hunt zombies. Instead, I plan to wrap it in phone cord AND duck-tape, then glue it to a stainless wall-hanger katana, so I can hunt TANKS!

By the way, I'm not affiliated but I *highly* recommend airgundepot.com for their customer service. Due to import delays, they sent everything to me right as it comse in, in stages, rather then have me wait for all of it to be ready and shipping it together. As such, I was able to take my time testing various things. Also, I had to use a money order as my card was occupied with grad school stuff. I called to see if it had arrived, since I hadn't heard anything for a bit, and they didn't have any record of it, asking me to call back the next day. After an hour, though, they called ME, saying they double checked and it had been mis-filed. Excellent people, to look for a small piece of paper after just a phone call. The guy I spoke with was the same one who's shooting the drozd in their demo video!

Anyhow, I recently did very well on E-bay selling some Transformers and Yugioh cards, so I recycled the money back into my 'toy' budget, splurging a bit to replace my 'deceased' BB gun, a Daisy 990 that could be pumped, or used with a CO2 cylinder for more rapid shooting. Its mechanism reminded me of the Girandoni air rifle Austrian sharpshooters used in the Napoleonic Wars, though it was MUCH smaller. I used that poor gun till the springs and seals totally wore out and one day it's entire system just ruptured. I couldn't get parts due to an incident where an idiot killed someone with that model, so the company discontinued it. Very annoying.

Some people may think this is pointless, as I'm reasonably competent in 'real' firearms, but my normal weaponry is well-rounded as-is and I do enjoy airguns. They're cheap to shoot and fun for situations that don't warrant a 230 grain jacketed hollow point. I should also point out that I'm a tinkerer. That's part of the reason my 'bare bones stock' 1911 .45 now has target sights, a pachmyer backstrap and grips, ambi-safety, full-length guiderod, and skeleton hammer. This toy's great for me, with bits of mechanics, pneumatics, electronics, and gunsmithing in a nice full-auto package.

So, with that background, keeping in mind that the only thing I'd ever TRY to kill with this is problem rodents and grackle-birds, here's an overview of my new plaything! It's the Russian-made Baikal MP661K CO2 submachine gun, AKA the Drozd, with the same magazine capacity and hypothetical cycle rate as an Uzi (which is pure fantasy for either as there's no way humanly possible to change clips that fast.) and a strong resemblance to the B&T TP-9.

First impressions right out of the box was that someone had taken the normal poly-framed semi-auto CO2 pistols that are very common, and given it some sort of performance-enhancing drug. For a 'pistol' it's unusually big and heavy, unless you're familiar with Remington's old bolt-action single shot 'fireball', which felt very similar, and it becomes quite muzzle-heavy when the batteries for the firing mechanism are installed. The build is reminiscent to my Glock, a poly frame and steel upper and internal frame. The steel parts are milled, not stamped. The magazine, internal receiver, and mag release are steel too, and probably the single most massive component set. No rattles with or without the mag inserted. The cylinder loaded easily, and after I polished the feed hole of the little plastic box that speed-loads the BB's it was very easy to set up. Zero leakage, though cylinder fit is adjustable and the gun came with a separate pack of spare seals.

The short factory barrel is rifled for lead round pellets. Not the most reliable through the mag, but rat-killing accurate at 20 yards on semi-auto. Steel BB's from this barrel do just fine, though not recommended. I tried enough to know they work.

The sights...I wasn't honestly impressed at first. Polymer and steel, fully adjustable and easy to see, but they're a bit too wide and thick for super-tiny groups. I've seen this arrangement before on a Ingram. That's when it dawned on me that I was being stupid. This isn't a target pistol, it's a submachine gun. So I changed to three and six round bursts. On these settings the sights work great, giving enough side-to-side view to adjust your pummeling as you shoot. Very well designed, once I realized what they were actually for.

The trigger's worth mentioning separately. It's actually an electronic firing control. I've seen them a few times before, once on an ultra-match target pistol, and more recently on a specially designed muzzle-loader, a proposed special-purpose assault rifle, and a paintball gun. Apparently they're becoming more common. I personally don't think an electronic trigger has any place on a survival firearm, as once the battery dies, you're out of luck. On a fun-gun such as this, however, it gives it the nicest, cleanest pull of any gun I have, and reduces the number of moving parts required, as the firing pin is controlled by a solenoid adjusted by the control sliders, as opposed to a complicated variable sear/connector mechanism which would eat more CO2 to work. With the electronic trigger and pre-vaporizing chamber in the mag, I get better gas economy from the machine gun then I do my semi-auto BB PPK/S. Kudos to the Russians for the implementation! The drozd uses ALL the gas in the cylinder, when you dump an empty, it doesn't even hiss.

The detachable shoulder-stock is nicely proportioned, though I'd prefer a folder (which is going into production shortly, I'll grab it for review later). While I'm not thrilled by it the stock does its job well.

I have two more magazines and my first planned modification, an extended suppressor barrel, on the way. I'll update this when I get then in, installed, and tested.
"Headshots...headshots...Do you know how to do anything else?!"

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Post by BloodLust » Sun Aug 19, 2007 10:48 am

pics and links?
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Post by Grant » Sun Aug 19, 2007 1:00 pm

I don't have any pics myself yet, but here's the site that sells them that I referenced above:

http://www.airgundepot.com/eaa-drozd-kit.html

They also have that neat mini-movie. I don't yet have the barrel in. The folding stock I mentioned is being produced by a third party, I don't know when it will become commercially available.

Like I said, it's expensive, but a good toy if your 'real' weaponry and gear are already well rounded and solid.
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Post by CTCStrela » Mon Aug 27, 2007 1:47 pm

I freaking LOVED my Drozhd while I had it. It's made by Baikal, which is the civvy "front/importer/whatever" for one of the Russian armories. (Not sure whether it is Tula or Izmash)

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Post by Grant » Wed Aug 29, 2007 1:06 pm

Glad you liked yours, too. What happened to it? Anything I should be careful to avoid?

Updating my review, the second part of my order arrived, my first planned improvement, an extended suppressor-barrel made specifically for American steel BB's and some spare mags.

Now things REALLY got interesting as this gun was designed with a quick magazine-change in mind. The longer barrel gives much better accuracy with steel BB's, though still not a tack-driver, and looks appropriate, given the noise level, as the shroud stabilizing the front resembles a silencer. Besides, the Drozd breaks every NFA rule ever made anyway, the only reason it can even have the detachable shoulder stock and the select-fire capability is that it's still an airgun. Velocity from the extended barrel is more then adequate to kill something in squirrel-range within your average back-yard or garden range, ~550 fps, though at this power level it's a stupid idea to try it for anything bigger. I have definitely found my new rat-gun for barn-clearing, though! It WILL still maim, and penetration tests through wood and light metal make me strongly discourage any attempt at using this to scare off anything or as a substitute airsoft gun. All you'll do is cause a cruel wound, or a hospital visit, and if you're really unlucky, possibly support your local undertaker if you got someone in the eye socket or temple. And if you use this for rats in a silo or the like, wear shooting glasses because BB's can bounce!

On the subject of power, I've taken the back of the gun apart, and the internet rumors of adjusting the firing pin solenoid a bit to increase velocity do work, but at the expense of using more gas to get fewer shots. I've left that part as it was set by the factory. Getting it slightly past 600 fps isn't worth the loss of nearly a full magazine while bringing no real extra benefit.

Barrel swapping, by the way, was easy if rather counter-intuitive. The first thing you do on any firearm before dismantling is, usually, to remove the magazine. Well, with the Drozd, you start by putting it IN, as this supports the breech block. I'm glad I looked it up first. The long custom barrel is heavy steel, and the suppressor-looking thing that supports the front and replaces the barrel nut is VERY heavy, thick aluminum. Thicker then a Mag-light. Considerably more muzzle-heavy, but now a lot easier to hold steady.

Other then that one bit of 'magazine-in to strip' weirdness, this BB gun has a nice totally modular design, being intended to be taken apart and easily serviced. The factory sells parts! That's rare for airguns, it'll help this last longer.

I found another annoyance, though. The accessory rail is TOO SHORT. I popped on a cheap red-dot sight. It works well, but half the clamp that holds it on is just out in space. This seems to be intended to keep the user from having to remove any sight if they decide to take the gun apart, as it splits in half front-to-back, but an inch or two longer would have been appreciated. There's plenty of space under the front where a weaver rail could be added. I may attach a cheap one along with a flashlight for rat-hunting. The control wires to the firing solenoid are quite short, too, so you have to be careful not to over-stretch them if you don't want to re-solder.

There's many complaints that the 30-round magazines hold too few shots, but I think the designers knew what they were doing. CO2 gets colder as you shoot, and cold CO2 gives fewer shots. As a clip is emptied, it can be removed (leaving the still-full cylinder in place) and set aside while another is used. After the second or third clip, you go back, reload the first with BB's, and slap it back in. Cycling through a few this way the cylinder warms back up and you get far more shots per powerlet, using the same one for three full loads, more on semi-auto. Higher-cap mags and paintball tank adapters are available or in the works but being the kind of nut who actually enjoys changing magazines to keep in practice, I'm not bothering with them. 30 round mags are very normal for this kind of gun, I think it adds to the experience. However, there's no magazine-stop, if you run out of BB's you'll just waste CO2 shooting blanks. The 'tactical reload' is highly recommended. The magazine's design does give another advantage in that the main CO2 valve is separate from the gun itself, making a catastrophic valve failure a non-issue. Leaking valves can just be taken out, and spare seals for their repair come with the gun. A seal change is also be extension easier on removable valves then built-in ones. I've seen this more and more on CO2 guns, though I'm pretty sure it's for the companies involved to be able to sell much more expensive magazines, and the extended longevity of the guns that use this system just happens to be a bonus.

Overall, a wonderful plaything that, while not remotely as powerful as a 'real' submachine gun, fills the role perfectly for a casual shooter looking to mutilate the mushrooms sprouting in the yard without the paperwork. While in the middle-range of airgun prices in general and the higher end of BB guns specifically, as full-auto weapons in civilian roles rarely shoot at anything more dangerous then a broken bottle, for punching 30 holes in a can in three seconds, it's still $4,200 less then the cheapest legal alternatives.
You'll also save quite a bit of money in ammo (even if you're like me and go through three CO2 cylinders and ~300 shots per session) compared to the same practice with a firearm. Add on the extended barrel and shoulder stock and you can grackle-hunt in the back yard, too.


Plus it has a slight resemblance to the G1 Megatron that I sold to pay for it and there's lots of upgrade potential.

The downsides are the initial costs of the gun and magazines, which are pricy due to their individual valve assemblies, though the real TP-9 magazines of identical capacity are the same price and they're plastic, while the drozd mags are steel. I do recognize that it's hard to grasp the appeal of a $200 Russian-made BB gun when you can get an airsoft for less, and the custom barrel and future folding stock are just adding to it, but being able to shoot real holes in things, even small ones, is a plus for me. I'm very happy, and if the Night of the Living Dead Chipmunks comes to pass, I'm prepared!
"Headshots...headshots...Do you know how to do anything else?!"

"Hey, you'd be surprised how many things that works on!"
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“Yes, that IS a thousand rounds in my pocket, AND I’m happy to see you!”: The advantage of the .22lr

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Re: Drozd full-auto air pistol review.

Post by Grant » Tue Oct 21, 2008 3:08 pm

Sorry for the several-month delay, but I've finally added in the final piece! First I need to clarify that the extended barrel and suppressor assembly airgundepot carries is the creation of 'JimC', the guru of airgun modders. I love his designs as he works in CNC machined steel and aluminum, so his parts are very durable (I've dropped my gun several times and the only damage is a slight dink in the suppressor tube where it hit a brick, and yet the fihish DIDN'T CRACK!) plus it provides some extra heft. I just got in his Drozd folding stock, the last piece I'd planned for my customized BB gun war machine.

The factory stock is ok, but it is hollow plastic relying on a spacer piece for adjustment. As I mentioned above gun is rather muzzle-heavy with the extended barrel in this configuration. The new JimC stock is unique, replacing the light plastic detachable stock with a solidly mounted steel assembly. There's no play at all, you'd think the stock and frame are one piece. The same buttons that fold the stock over the gun also allow it to collapse push-pull style for easy length adjustment. The full length is a few inches longer then the original plastic one, and the resulting sight picture's been a boost for my accuracy. Balance is considerably improved, in both pistol and rifle positions. I hadn't realized just HOW muzzle-heavy the thing was till I got the new stock on. Wow, what a difference!

So, now I've got my quiet-shooting select fire pistol with a folding stock, and as it's still 'just' a BB gun it remains transfer tax free! It feels and shoots much better now that all the parts are integrated. I don't plan to alter it any further.

I've gone through a great deal of CO2, but in my testing I'm still getting over a hundred shots per cylinder. I think it's because having two or three loaded gives the gas more time to warm up then usually occurs in a standard CO2 pistol. I have also not yet touched the packet of spare seals that came with the gun. I have used Crosman pelgun oil occasionally through each magazine, as it holds the valve. I think this may be why I'm getting such good efficiency

As I write this, a new version of the Drozd has gone on the market called a 'blackbird', that features a multi-hundred round magazine. I'm skipping that one, I have four steel clips for this thing, and I like the fact that the CO2 cylinder and valve is part of a detachable magazine rather then in the gun itself. It makes repairs much easier (assuming I ever have to make any).
"Headshots...headshots...Do you know how to do anything else?!"

"Hey, you'd be surprised how many things that works on!"
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Re: Drozd full-auto air pistol review.

Post by mpi » Tue Oct 21, 2008 3:17 pm

i have one of these i bought when the started importing and it is a blast. I don't shoot it much anymore though.
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Re: Drozd full-auto air pistol review.

Post by Grant » Tue Oct 21, 2008 3:31 pm

Oh, you have one of the yellow 'bumble bee' ones? Those are hard to find! Great 'city' guns, too, I know people who use those right in their suburban yards and attract zero looks because they can pass it off as a 'toy'. Mine's the second-gen 'black' version, unfortunately.

If you want to get back into the Drozd game, freeze a pie plate full of water and stand it up, then hit it with a six-round burst. All the fun of glass without the cleanup! Wear glasses, though, BB's bounce like mad off ice.
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Re: Drozd full-auto air pistol review.

Post by mpi » Tue Oct 21, 2008 3:46 pm

they sure do! and yes it's one of the yellow ones. i painted it black but use a removable paint because i didn't want to permanently alter it.
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Re: Drozd full-auto air pistol review.

Post by Murf » Tue Oct 21, 2008 3:55 pm

Thanks for posting this. I hadn't seen the Drozd. I had a LARC M19-A when I was in highschool, except that instead of CO2 cartridges, it was powered by a 1 lb. can of freon. It didn't hit all that hard, but it was fast and powerful enough to shatter windows with great dramatic effect. I learned a great deal about cutting glass and working with glazer points and putty that summer.
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Re: Drozd full-auto air pistol review.

Post by Grant » Tue Oct 21, 2008 6:19 pm

I'm familiar with that one! You can shoot holes in the target and the ozone layer all at once!

I don't know where you'd actually GET freon canisters anymore, really. I imagine they must be around somewhere but I really don't know.
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Re: Drozd full-auto air pistol review.

Post by mpi » Tue Oct 21, 2008 6:28 pm

i had a friend in school who bought one of those from the back of a G&A mag i brought in for him. he about went crazy trying to load the bb's into that feed line.
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Re: Drozd full-auto air pistol review.

Post by Grant » Wed Oct 22, 2008 7:01 pm

The Drozd's not hard to load, actually. The steel magazine's hole is tiny, sure, but can still be pretty easily hand-filled. If you have the little plastic shaker box, it's actually a piece of cake, though I had to open the hole of mine slightly to make it function smoothly. No idea how the blackbird loads...
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Re: Drozd full-auto air pistol review.

Post by mpi » Wed Oct 22, 2008 7:11 pm

it had a long tube that you had to pout bb's into and then reconnect without spilling them. it didn't have a loader or any sort of aid for loading either.
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Re: Drozd full-auto air pistol review.

Post by zoiders » Sat Oct 25, 2008 12:49 pm

I notice the handguard is a bit on the short side so there is nothing to stop you getting your fingers in the way of the muzzle if one should get a bit too enthusiastic spraying BBs around, although its something would probably only do by accident once...

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Re: Drozd full-auto air pistol review.

Post by Grant » Sat Oct 25, 2008 7:14 pm

Not too sure what you mean, the handguard is only 1/4 in. shorter then my entire hand if I place the heel against the trigger guard. Held normally, unless your hands are eight inches wide, you won't get anything in front of the barrel. Maybe it looks smaller in pictures, but the pistol is, unmodified, about 15 inches long without the shoulder stock.
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Re: Drozd full-auto air pistol review.

Post by mpi » Sat Oct 25, 2008 7:31 pm

i never had a problem with mine, you can have it for your own if you want to try it out :P
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Re: Drozd full-auto air pistol review.

Post by Grant » Thu Jan 02, 2020 5:50 pm

Thread necromancy, LEVEL 13! Because that's how many years ago I made it, I think, and I have a neat update: The Drozd STILL WORKS. And I haven't had to use any of the extra seals it came with once. Nor have I had to fix anything. I do use a drop of Crosman pelgun oil on top of the CO2 cylinders, but that's about it. It's weird how something so atypical where you'd expect problems hasn't had any at all. And it hasn't sat unused, either. I used it through the .22 ammo shortage, when I wanted to practice quietly because my nephew was a baby and was asleep next door, etc. It still does it. I still have the JimC folding stock and extended barrel on it, neither has ever come loose or required adjustment since I got them. Overall, I'm very happy as I never expected it to last nearly as long as it has.

Now the bad part: It's hard to find nowadays. The Russian sanctions messed up the imports pretty bad. You can still get mags and parts on ebay and the like but they will take forever to arrive. As things are, though, it looks like I have an air pistol that'll last me many years to come.
"Headshots...headshots...Do you know how to do anything else?!"

"Hey, you'd be surprised how many things that works on!"
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