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Empire Sniper W/ Inception Parts USED GUN REVIEW

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    Empire Sniper W/ Inception Parts USED GUN REVIEW

    DISCLAIMER: I started writing this review and then realized I really didn't have enough time to do the necessary copy editing. I think it has been long winded and well..whatever. I am going to post it up anyways because there may be some benefit to 1 person which is enough to justify the time I spent writing this up.

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    A lot of times I buy guns just so I can check them out. Whether I end up keeping them or not I don't really care as long as I don't lose too much money. Its fun just to see what's out there. Today I decided to share my experience with a gun I just bought from our member Ego10Baller. Thanks bud! I had been keeping my eye on it for a while and thought it might actually finally be sold and had that pang of non-buyers remorse. I send the seller a message anyway just to confirm. It was still available so I decided to go ahead and buy it.

    So here it is, my brand new to me Empire Sniper.



    Right off the bat you can see that it has some substantial upgrades which were all big selling points when picking it up used.

    Upgrades:
    1. Inception Drift Pump Kit (150 dollar retail)
    2. Inception HPR V2 (90 dollar retail)
    3. Eclipse POPS asa (50 dollar retail)
    4. Internally, an inception hammer (30 dollar retail)

    For me, the stock empire sniper is 90% of exactly what I want in a pump gun so here is an overview

    Empire Sniper Overview:

    FEATURES:


    These are features that distinguish the empire sniper from a converted 2k autococker in my mind

    1. Great feedneck. Stock unit is great and the mounting design is excellent. These guns introduced a new standard that is a really great interface. I'm just going to assume this is a Simon Stevens design and say thanks Simon.
    2. Mid Block. I love autocockers, I love snipers, but I like to get in tight places and the back blocks really do hold me back. I modify my back block guns to make everything as short as possible but its still a ton of length out the back that really doesn't need to be there. The resurrection autococker and sniper were really the first mass produced mid block guns that were affordable (don't tell me about turtles, raceguns, pro team micros, 05 black magics) There have been mid blocks but now theres a whole mass produced product line that finally created a mid block STANDARD and this was super great news to me.
    3. Auto trigger Hinge Frame. Cocker frames are expensive and a CCM trigger frame and auto trigger assembly is going to put you back about 200 bucks. The empire sniper comes with a good trigger frame and is super affordable. I like auto triggers because when I'm getting tired and sloppy they don't let me shoot the gun till the pump is all the way forward.

    FAULTS:

    But they aren't all good. Right out of the gate there were problems with the empire sniper that were never addressed by empire. Honestly I felt like there was a cabal to make this great series of gun but them hamstring it so that you just HAVE to go to inception and buy some parts to make the thing work right. It was really a shame.

    1. Pump kit. What on paper should have been a totally acceptable pump kit was a total piece of garbage. Besides the exterior shape being shamefully uncomfortable, the plastic pump handle swells or has molding issues or SOMETHING and it's just impossible to make it smooth. You can drill it out and loosen it up but it's said they end up bad anyways. Maybe its possible but I've never seen a good one (though I haven't seen many) most people seem to agree that the stock kit sucks.
    2. Hammer. This one really feels like a cabal deal. All the stock hammers are machined in a way that the guns have a poor cocking point. You need to modify them or buy another hammer to fix this issue. Inception had one ready for you right away. Super convenient! But it shouldn't have been this way.

    OTHER NICE FEATURES:

    These are some features that added to the value of these guns when stock that don't exactly apply here but I just want to talk about the empire sniper because I think they're cool guns

    1. Decent ASA. These came with nice center output lever on/off ASA's with a T rail that a lot of people like. You can't even find them used. It defies reason that empire doesn't sell these on the aftermarket because right now we only have access to 2 options and both are premium. Inception and Eclipse. The empire sniper comes with a decent one but I hear it has issues with ninja ball valves.
    2. Great barrel kit. These came with a nice barrel kit in appropriate small bore sizes. No up sell, its just there, ready to enjoy.

    My New gun Details:

    Pump arm was a little loose, but no worries. The inception pump kit has a good feel to it and I love the finger groove in the front of the pump handle. The pump arm on this was a little loose (the area in the photo below) but with all the Simon Stevens designed easy tool access on this thing it will be no sweat to set it more firmly in place with either loc tite or classic friction as appropriate. I'm writing at work and can't do any tinkering yet.



    Overall the pump kit feels great.

    The rubber detents are a drag: they grip the relief slots and make the pump stroke feel sluggish. I don't know what devil made these little rubber nubbins become so popular again, but here they are waiting to wear out and eagerly gripping your bolt in the mean time. You can see in the photo below that one of the tips broke off while I was running dry fire tactical maneuvers in my office. They work well enough, but they make it feel gummy and are a bummer overall.



    The bolt is a drag: It features 3 O rings, each one an insult to the pump stroke. The front one majorly snags on the ball detents, and the rear two just make everything slow. I think it will feel a lot better with some oil, which I will do at home. I know some people don't like to oil their plastic bolts, but I do, and I bet it will solve this problem. I will probably forgo the front O ring though, even if it costs me 10FPS. I will do a chrono comparison later to add to this review. Other than the O rings it is a well designed bolt and I wouldn't imagine replacing it. It fits the top tube well and the stainless bolt pin is retained. Great design and there is a great sled below with a built in "slot blocker" which is a feature people really like.



    The trigger frame is excellent: The front and back straps are rounded and very comfortable. Most noticeably, the area that the web of your shooting hand indexes into is well relieved and very round. There is no hard notch to jam the bone of your thumb on. It just feels smooth and easy to grip and point. Even better, under the trigger guard is super well relieved and doesn't rub on your middle finger in any position. They really did a good job. And to add to it, the trigger frame screws are recessed / flush mounted so there is really nothing to cause hand discomfort or restrict your movement. I can't really say enough good things about this trigger frame.

    To compare this gun to the best in the business, only the very latest snap grip CCM trigger frames featured the level of relief and comfort that this thing has. The previous ones have a very hard angle right at the web of your hand. I'm not saying this thing is better than all earlier CCM frames, but that it has a feature that the top premium competitor does not. Its a good frame.

    The auto trigger lever is well retained. The trigger pin is well retained, and the machining matches up with the body in a great integrated way. Its just nice.





    The T mount is good: I have had negative experience with integrated dovetail rails and integrated T mount guns, so I avoid them, but the one on this gun is well executed, the trigger frame is long enough that the whole setup is quite comfortable, and as you can see the eclipse POPS aftermarket ASA fits really well on here. I'm not sure why the empire one had to go away, but this thing looks great. Maybe an inception unit would have matched the theme but the lines here are pleasing despite the fact that a gloss black would have matched the guns theme a bit better.



    Its no surprise that the inception HPR lines up incredibly with this whole gun. I love the straight wall design of the inception V1 and V2 HPR. I think internally these things are 100% empire guts, but the finish on the outside and the aesthetic is a lot more thoughtful so I am happy to see it here.

    Overall:

    Overall this gun was a super value in my book. The combined total cost of the upgrades alone are 320 dollars, and this complete gun as you see it here cost me 325 shipped. After mathing it out, a totally corner cutting WGP 2k cocker based sniper build would cost about 370 dollars with stock reg and guts and bolt and back block, but with CCM trigger frame and pump kit and AT assembly. That would leave me with a right feed gun or a garbage WGP centerfeed unless I spent more money to upgrade it to the empire style found stock on this empire gun.

    Still there are some drawbacks. The bolt and detent setup on this gun really does have a negative impact on the feel, and in this case even the replacement inception bolt is still loaded with O rings and won't do you any favors.

    The finish on the gun is totally adequate and matches the finish found stock on most modern guns but its the kind of uninspiring bead blasted matte anodizing that makes you know that you're shooting something made with very little love. Its just a budget finish job. The stock 2k body while basic has a nicer feel from a (sort of) better era. The CCM parts you would be adding on that gun would definitely have a great finish and you might just like that whole experience a bit better. If you start doing things like adding a nicer bolt, upgrading the feedneck, maybe upgrading the vertical ASA and certainly upgrading the regulator you are well over 500 dollars of parts value and you still have a back block trying to hit you in the face.

    I know that a lot of people like back blocks! So if you do, these aren't for you. If you want to play it tight and not cost an arm and a leg then maybe the empire sniper is the right pick.

    At the time of this writing inception does not have their own pump kits in stock. Hopefully they do another batch or something because theres a lot of empire snipers out there and they should all get this kit.

    I really like this gun and besides a quite pricey Custom or CCM mid or half block gun I think it collects the features I like most in an open class pump, and for way way cheaper.

    I'm super happy with this thing and until I give up on getting my friends and family out to play with me, I will be holding on to this and even keeping my eyes out for another nice value buy like this one. It isn't the best pump gun in the entire world but its really damn good and with a few modifications I think it could be right up there at the top.

    Last edited by Cunha; 03-08-2021, 03:01 PM.

    #2
    That's a quality post right there; great write up. Agreed on the Empire frames quality as well..I'm no expert but I'd stack it up against any CCM frame any day of the week in terms of nice trigger break and general comfort. I can't speak to the auto-trigger as I never use it when I play since I can't hit anything when I do but I figure it's at least half-decent as well

    Comment


      #3
      Great review! In the last year I picked up an Inception Ressi (bolt, hammer, valve, and 3-way) and a Sniper I put some ID upgrades (Hammer and bolt, as it had no bolt when I bought it.). Eventually when I get some air I was meaning to do a bit of a review, specifically with the bolts. My sniper has a new style trident bolt, my Ressi has the previous style ID bolt and I have a mid block Black Magic with a different bolt. So good way to test the variables.

      I definitely agree that bang for the buck there are pretty great. Locally this will pop up once and while for $250 CAD . Toss another hundred or so and you can have a real solid shooter.

      I’m quite interested in the Inception pump kits. Never used one but looking at buying a pump kit for a build and it’s between Inception, Slice and CCM. Own a few CCM, played with a Slice but never touched an Inception kit.
      Last edited by Cdn_Cuda; 03-05-2021, 11:52 PM.
      https://www.mcarterbrown.com/forum/b...a’s-feedback

      Comment


        #4
        Only inception makes a kit specifically for these and they’re out of stock. The pump handle from inception is my second favorite behind the CCM EZ. For the money on any gun that can take a CCM kit it’s hard for me to justify a different brand because the CCM is so good and so easy to resell.

        but the shape on this handle is great and it’s really the only option for these guns that I know of

        Comment


          #5
          Is it necessary to buy a whole new pump kit or is replacing the pump handle all that’s needed? With 3D printing there’s a bunch of pump handle options now, and guys like OdM who makes real nice looking pump handles.

          I do agree with the CCM EZ but CCM stuff is coming at a pretty hefty premium these days. I can even order ID kits from a Canadian retailer, which is nice. So many choices, so little money.
          https://www.mcarterbrown.com/forum/b...a’s-feedback

          Comment


            #6
            I haven’t seen a good working stock empire sniper kit but it seems like it should be possible to make them work well. They have the dual pump rods and a single big guide rod and with a good handle it seems like it should work.

            everything else on the empire sniper is pretty much good to go besides the hammer slot.

            Comment


            • Cdn_Cuda

              Cdn_Cuda

              commented
              Editing a comment
              I just checked and I bought the Inception sniper upgrade kit which has a the slotted hammer and a fluted pump rod to replace the stock pump rod. So maybe the handle performance is fixed with an improved pump rod? I’ll have to try and see if it makes a noticeable difference.

            • Cunha
              Cunha commented
              Editing a comment
              Let us know how it goes.

            #7
            Spot on review of the Sniper and what it needs to perform. I came to the same conclusions when I owned one. That trigger frame is severely underrated. Nice write up!

            Comment


              #8
              Good read, sick piece, bravo.

              Comment

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