Stoner Mk23 History
The G&P gun is a replica of the Stoner 63 commando variant. The stoner 63 is the brainchild of Eugene Stoner, one of the major contributors in the design of the AR-10 and AR-15 (M16) rifles. It was designed around a central receiver unit which utilized interchangeable stocks, grips, feed mechanisms and front assemblies so it could be configured as a rifle, carbine, automatic rifle, light machine gun, a stationary gun, and a vehicle mounted machine gun. The Army and Marine corps decided the system was too complicated for their soldiers and declined to adopt it. The Navy sent their test samples to the SEALs who requested modifications. The resulting weapon was the Mk 43 commando variant. It featured various upgrades over the original light machine gun variant and the SEALs liked it so much they used it until it was replaced in the 1980s by the M249. Eugene Stoner went on to design the Stoner Rifle 25 (SR25) and to sell his light machine gun rights to Knight Armament Company who continues to produce a modern variant of it. Although there is an airsoft replica with rails, here were never any variants of the Stoner 63 weapon systems that were fitted with rails of any kind.
The G&P replica is very solid. It is all aluminum save for the stock, pistol grip and forward hand guard which keeps in line with the prototype. The 1100-1200rnd box mag sits in a cradle which attaches to the underside of the receiver, and has an attached tube which runs up through a feed tube to the top of the receiver. Much like an M60 or M249, there is a large tray that flips up to reveal the feed port. Here, the end of the feed tube is latched in place. This may sound complicated but it actually makes the box magazine very easy and quick to replace unlike most AEG machine gun replicas. There is a small amount of play in the hinge of the tray on my gun which prevents it from locking closed properly at times. However, if I simply pay attention to close the panel evenly it latches without any problem and does so very securely. Because power is routed through the mag/reciever connection, it is wise to clean the contacts on occasion. I have not had any problems with this connection at any time, but I do keep an eye on it.
Some owners of this replica have had problems with the stock breaking just behind the receiver, but G&P has fixed this problem and my unit along with all those purchased after the writing of this review will already have the corrected stock. One more thing to note is that the real Stoner 63 system included an optional folding stock, but I have not seen one available for the airsoft version. Finally, the charging handle is in the forward grip (that’s not a vertical grip up there) and is held in place by a stiff spring. It has not moved around on me at all. My only complaint about this gun so far is that the battery compartment is accessed by two Allen screws as seen at right. This requires you to bring an Allen wrench into the field in order to swap your battery out. I will share my findings when I find a way to remedy this.
The box magazine is constructed of polymer just like the real one. Inside, it holds a 9 volt battery and roughly 1100 rounds accessed by two small doors on one end. Again just like the real magazine, the end of the mag slides off to reveal the contents. I have not had any jams or problems with the box magazine. That said, my mag does not keep up with the cyclic rate of the gun for long. I can fire roughly 100 rounds in a burst but not more. If I keep firing, the gun will act like it is empty. Your best bet is to keep you bursts down to 20-30 rounds. Unless you have an unlimited ammo supply, there are very few instances when you should burst longer than this anyways.
I roughly zeroed my replica at 200ft using the viewfinder method of sighting (SEE THIS ARTICLE). To achieve this, I adjusted it to have a slight over hop with G&G .28 bbs. At this
range, I was able to produce very consistent 1ft groups. I use a large type 3800 mah 9.6v battery with an adaptor to mate it with the deans connector on the motor lead. The box magazine also requires a 9v battery to operate the feeding mechanism. I have found that this combination does very well. It lasted for roughly 7,000 rounds two days in a row at Op Broken Home.
I have made a few small modifications to the latch on the box mag by filing some plastic down around the latch, making it easier to open. The only other modification I have done to my replica is that I have replaced the stock motor with a Matrix high torque motor.
As this replica costs $500, I expected it to be of solid build, well engineered and to perform very well. It has gone above and beyond all of my expectations. I have now used it in a skirmish, three single day ops and at Op Broken Home and it has outperformed every time. I found that I could engage head and shoulder targets out to 300 feet (sorry guys in the black Suburban, I couldn’t let you try to flank my guys like that) and that my choice to use the heavier .28g bb enabled me to out-range those who were shooting back at me even without any wind advantage. I was forced to switch back to .25g bbs after I emptied my 3 bags of .28s and noticed a distinct loss in range. I was involved in two very target rich environments and my motor did get very hot during these engagements. At that time, I had a Classic Army high torque motor and have
since replaced it to prevent this. That said, my replica took 15,000 (conservative estimate) rounds and never skipped a beat save for the mechanical trigger sticking one time at the very end of a high volume firing session. I since learned that a rock made its way into the gearbox and believe this to be the cause.
Something to keep in mind is that this replica uses a version 2 rather than a SAW type gearbox, so it cannot shoot as long of bursts as an M60 or SAW type replica. I did not realize this and I quickly burnt up my stock motor. I am still in the process of finding the best motor for this gun and I will update this post with the information I find out. I do not find this to be a hindrance to my style of play as this does not limit how often I can burst, only how long my bursts are.
Buy the G&P Mk 43 if you:
- Are a weight conscious support gunner
- If you want a low maintenance support gun (high initial build quality)
- If you are of smaller stature or have trouble with long weapons
DO NOT buy the G&P Mk 43 if you:
- Used the Stoner in Black Ops and think you can do the same in the real world.
- Plan to use it like an assault rifle with a big mag rather than a support weapon. Click for the difference.
- If this is your first gun purchase: This is a purpose built weapon. It performs that purpose very well but it isn’t the end all answer. Buy a rifle and build a rifleman kit, and branch out to specialty positions later.
One final thing I would like to say; purchase your airsoft guns from a brick and mortar shop if at all possible. The reason I say this is that support weapons need a lot of upkeep compared to a real firearm and taking yours to the same tech over and over will help keep your repair costs down. Also, some shops provide discounts on labor if the gun you bring in was bought there.
I hope this has been very informative to you and as always post questions below and I will answer them.