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TR8-2015 Review Answered

I received my TR from Killerk this morning. I've had a little hands on time with it so I'll write up my text review now, though I'll also be making a video review in the near future. For now, here's the unboxing and first impressions video:


So just to start, I've never made a TR before. I have limited experience with turreted weapons. So what I knew about them I only got from videos and other people's reviews. I didn't doubt the TR was a great performing weapon, but I was wondering what all the hubbub was about. After finally messing around with one for the morning, I can see where the praise comes from. I also noted some things I'd still like improved, at least to personalize on my variant.  

I'm going to use a grade scheme (because everyone's impressions on stars and scales are usually biased toward higher numbers). So, just to clarify, don't think of C as bad. It's average. I'll point out what's subjective. I'll nitpick a lot of little things, and I'll give credit where credit is due. Anywho, on to the review.

Aesthetics: C+
My impression of the TR has always been that it's been a rather simple weapon. I'm a rather hard man to please in this category. The front is a tube barrel construction. I don't care for the looks of turrets because they're rather chunky for the amount of ammo they take up. The stock is a little skeletony. And it seemingly has weird support pieces thrown in random places. But it's not bad. It still looks like a good weapon. The stock has a nice design. It has a relatively clean cut design around the outside. Ultimately, I know most was for the sake of a strong, durable weapon, and I'll be sure to personalize it more.  

Ergonomics: D+
This one I gotta be honest on. The handle just doesn't float my boat. My hands are shaped oddly so I've always made weird sorts of handles myself. While the tires are a cool concept, they help keep your grip on the weapon, and I thought they'd be comfortable, their edges tends to stick out and dig into my hands. They also bulk up handle in a way that my hand just doesn't easily fit it. Like, I know my Oodassault's handle is also rather big, but my hand still fit around it naturally with a flat back and indents around around my thumb and point finger web. But this is something I can customize in the future, so it's not the end of the world by any means. I can still use it as is without being in total pain. 
The trigger is a bit different. Not uncomfortable, but not the way like triggers. Something I'll want to change, but I don't want to compromise its strength, so I'm going to keep analyzing it.
The stock is a bit compact. This is yet another preference thing, but I'd like it at a slightly longer length.
The charging handle isn't too comfortable to use either. With the rear sight integrated into it, it's a bit difficult to get a good grip on, which is important when you have the bands loaded up on it.  And again, this is subjective so I'm sure I can improve it for my preferences and it'll be just fine. I otherwise appreciate what Killerk attempted here.
The front grip on the other had is rather comfortable. I don't think I'll need to change that ever.

Ease of Use: B
Things look up from here. The ratchet mechanism wasn't immediately obvious to me, but with previous K'nexing experience, I figured it out. Still, I wouldn't trust a newbie to be able to pick it up and know how to use that part specifically without direction. So that's part of the reason it's not a higher grade, but again, nitpicking. It's otherwise incredibly useful to be able to wind the band without turning the turret itself. It lets you load ammo and then just twist the ratchet, which isn't too difficult, to make sure it loads after each shot. 
When I change the charging handle to be more comfortable, I'll appreciate it much more. Having a charging handle on a weapon loaded up with a lot bands makes it a lot easier to use. The rail guides and the pin guide are all perfectly constructed to make sure it's a smooth, straight pullback. 
On that note, back to the stock from an ease of use perspective, because it's a bit shorter than I'd like, I don't feel like I have proper leverage on the charging handle. It's one thing I like about pistols, being able to use both arms to pull apart the gun and the pin to make it easier to draw. For this weapon, it's recommended to shoulder the stock and push back against you, which would be a little easier for me with a longer stock. It probably won't be a problem for others.
Overall, I think someone strong enough could pick it up and, with a little direction, figure it out pretty quickly. It's something I could easily teach a friend how to use and then they shouldn't have a problem with it.

Reliability: A
This is one of the areas where the TR shines. It's only not perfect because of a few possible things you can do to mess it up. Now, to be fair, I haven't fired it enough to have a misfire, but I doubt that'll ever be a problem. The nature of the turret itself means that you shouldn't have any problems. However, I'd worry about little things like bumping the turret in such a way it skips a round. The power transfer pins offer a point of failure for the gun if you're not careful. Removing a round requires you to manually push back in the pin to avoid accidentally firing off an empty chamber, which I can imagine might be bad. I'm also a wee bit skeptical about the trigger setup but it hasn't failed on me. I may want to make a safety mechanism for this weapon, though. Something that wouldn't allow the trigger to move out of the way of the pin at all.

Construction: A- 
It's pretty dang solid. I did notice (more nitpicking) that the handle connection creaks a little bit. So it's not perfectly solid, but Killerk did a pretty good job at constructing this in such a way there shouldn't be many points of failure. It held up in shipping after all. There are some odd support structures here and there, but then some areas that are either neglected, or he just didn't care about. Honestly, I have no idea what he added because he thought it was necessary, what he added because it looked cool, and what he added just because he could. So there are some things I might change for the sake of consistency and aesthetics, but it's otherwise something I'd trust be able to drop, pickup, and use just fine. I'd only worry about dropping it right on the turret. 

Performance: A+
This is the one area you can say is perfect for the TR. Basically, it's designed to maximize power, and finned ammo are designed to be stable, thus increasing range and accuracy. The tube barrel minimizes the snag on the pin from hitting any gaps and gives the gun a solid mounting point for bands. The turret treats each round as a single shot. The length of the charging distance is maximized while still being practical. It's as good as you can do for a pin gun, and it's as accurate as you can make K'nex ammo with minimal modification/using entirely different materials. 

Overall Thoughts as a War Weapon: 
I'm not going to grade this because there's so much opinion thrown in here, it wouldn't be fair. I can see where this thing would be everyone's weapon of choice. It has an 8 round capacity, which seems limiting, but you can reload whenever you happen to find ammo, so in theory it shouldn't be a problem until you're rushed with low ammo. If fin ammo is allowed, then clearly it's the best you can do for a repeater at the moment. Without it, it's got the most effective range you'll possibly find for a pin gun, though it's just not as easy for me to prime as a pistol. It's a weapon more about picking your shots instead of dishing them out as fast as possible. I'll need to do some raw comparisons with my Oodassault pistol to see which I'd prefer after I see all the differences. For example, what if the range really does make a difference compared to the ease of recharging? I'll just have to make it to a war with both weapons sometime and see which I do better with.

Overall Thoughts as a Fun Weapon:
Its main novelty is the range and accuracy you get in a repeater. It's satisfying to shoot multiple rounds down range and hit your target with ease. Other than that, it's mostly featureless. It's not something I'd dink around with in the house (mostly out of fret of damaging the walls). It might impress my friends the first time they see it and how far it fires. The ratchet mechanism might also be cool to show. But after that, there isn't much wow factor. Not that you'd need much more. It shoots hard. That's all you'll need to wow someone with plastic and rubber bands. I'm personally the kind of guy that likes having things like realistic charging handles, removable magazines, adjustable stocks, etc. just for novelty's sake, but that's just me. This is a no-nonsense weapon built for performance, and in that regard it does very well. I'll keep mine around and make small modifications to it. I won't deconstruct it for pieces to make other weapons. It'll be nice to have a raw performance weapon around all the time so I can focus on new concepts without think "I wish I had something that fired well, I'm going to rebuild my Oodassault." So it's fun enough to be worth keeping. 

Overall, I'd highly recommend making it at least once just to experience it, see what it's all about. If you enjoy performance, taking highly accurate and ranged shots at targets, you'll appreciate it. It's also pretty modular in that if you keep its base construction intact, you can personalize it reasonably well. Better weapons can be built just for the sake of having fun, so it's not something everyone might want to keep permanently, but if you have the pieces, I think a lot of people will like to keep it around, as many already have.

Discussions

whatcha been up too? Been building at all? Also see my TR8-2015 ible. It had been updated a bit. I have a new firing pin too but I am still to make a video.

Had my girlfriend over for the weekend, had fun messing with the TR. She was shocked by how trivially it could shoot through cardboard. Originally had 3 bands but I moved it up to 5 again and we took it outside to shoot for a bit. Was interesting comparing the different ammos for once (never bothered before). Plain red/orange rods surprisingly go "straight" in a general direction, but they tumble around in air while doing it. Oodammo is rather hit or miss, sometimes you get a nice shot, sometimes it tumbles almost immediately but still shoots better than plain rods. And of course fin ammo is straight for the most part. Modified the handle I added so that it acts better on the slide. With 3> bands, you can get by just pulling the handle back if you're careful not to torque it, but with 5 bands I have to claw it like you do to make sure I don't break it, so I'm a bit disappointed but it'll do. Still want to figure out a trigger more to my liking and a safety to go with it. Eventually I want to order more K'nex and make something myself, but we've been keeping busy.

I'm going to start implementing my own changes soon. I'm aiming to make a trigger that's still reliable but a little more comfortable and possibly a little more durable. I also want to add my own style of sights. For example, I really ended up liking the ones I put on my SMRI because it was very quick and easy for me to line them up. Next, I want to see if I can make the slide either more comfortable or add a compact handle. I'd really like to figure out a decent trigger guard and safety as well just to feel a little better about it. Finally, I'll probably add my own touches to the handle and stock for comfort and aesthetics.

Well heck, I bet money could be made here. A lot of people don't know about K'nex guns or just can't be bothered to make them because they seem like a lot of work. But I bet people would be willing to buy premade ones just to try them out. So you could probably calculate the cost in parts and then just markup the labor. Could eventually make K'nex gunning more popular.

Haha yeah, I've seen airsoft unboxing videos so I've gotten used to the format, but it was just kinda odd thinking "...am I going to pretend this is some sort of product you can buy at the store? So inside the box, you'll receive a kit and 3 rounds of finned ammo. Huh...no manual, guess we'll just wing it and see how many things I break in the process. No warranty either, but I guess the maintenance kit wasn't a good sign in the first place."

https://youtu.be/YpsAD6-w7cA new trigger and firing pin is a must. The firing pin lasts 3x longer than previous designs.

TR8-2015 updates 04/21/2015

I appreciated the review. I hope to see the videos soon! I do have charging handles you can mount to that slide I believe I have a YouTube video called TR8-2013 updates possibly which features that. I think preferences are understandable if you want turn the tires back to normal or add etape or grip tape over top the tires. I hope you gotta chance to lob some fin ammo down the street or something like that lol... The SRv3 I built shoots 2x as far as that TR. The compact stock is just that simple compact and to the point much like you stated the gun is all around. I hope the power impressed you and if shouldered the gun is simple enough to charge. Anyway I'm excited to see your videos. Piotmetans or Me pain has a TR mod that is very very good it focuses more on comfort and has an excellent stock and a very nice trigger. Pros and cons to it all trying to find the right balance of power function reliability etc... again I hope you like it and am excited to see what ideas you have for it

Wat. My last comment didn't go through it seems. So sorry if this is a repeat.

I appreciate it. I'm thankful for getting the gun, the kit, and the bands all for free, so doing a review is the least I can do. It's nice to see someone giving back to the community. I'll be sure to mod the gun more to my liking and who knows, maybe just maybe I'll like it more than my Oodassault.

I should have the video up soon, assuming it's of the quality I want.

I'm happy you seem to be enjoying it and excited to see what you do with it. Hope to see you at the war this summer! Always fun to meet other builders and see there creations.

Just let my friend shoot it and he was quite impressed. Kinda funny because he's had real firearm safety training and was a bit iffy by how I handled the weapon while discharged. Seeing how the energy is stored in the pin and not in cartridges, I had to keep reminding him there was no way the gun could accidentally discharge without having the pin drawn, in which we were then really careful about where we pointed it.

have you tried shooting the fin ammo down the street or on an angle to see how far it will shoot?

No, we have a rather compacted neighborhood with lots of turns. I'll need to take it somewhere much more open and clear of people.

sounds good remember to change out the bands to keep it fresh see my bands vid on my ible. also remember it'll shoot 275ft mostlikely with 5 bands so you don't need too much room

Blarg, maintenance. Though it makes sense why you used only 64s on the gun. Well, despite just making it require only one type of bands, they last longer so you shouldn't need to worry about the trigger, turret, etc. I found that rather excessive for the slide return, requiring a bit more force to charge the weapon, so I might replace that with a thinner band outside of wars.

Yeah I try an stick with size #64 bands makes life easy and they last forever and are hard to fail. I have a new pin design I'm working on test right now by firing it hundreds of times to ensure it is indeed better. In tests so far it is looking very promising. The consistency and lack of wear is impressive so far. I'll post up a video or pics tomorrow if I get a chance

Very cool keep the bands fresh and replace the one slot cons attached to the firing pin and trigger and it'll last awhile. The pin is just ok I'm working on a better one

I'm working on a longer lasting more consistent firing pin I may have got one figured out. I'm testing it by repeatedly shooting the gun with and without ammo to compare signs of wear to previous firing pin designs. Over the course of time the pin I gave you will wear out due to the band pressure. I'm working on extending the pins life by 3x or more.

Great! This seems like a very fair review. I happen to like the TR handle, but personal preference. I am glad you enjoy the gun, as it is a favorite of mine.

Yeah, I dunno. I was expecting to like it myself. And I get what he was going for, making like finger grips. I think it'd work out very well on a less angled handle so it fits more naturally in the hand. For a 45 degree handle though, I just can't get used to it so I'll probably remove them.

It's actually inspiring me to get back into K'nex again. I really want to make a repeating shotgun. I think I'll need to order more pieces.

It happens to be the best 45 degree handle I have ever used though.

Cool! It seems Ebay is one of the better places for knex, you can get 15 pounds for 40-60 dollers.

Yeah, I planned on it. I wonder how my build style will change. I've been rather minimalist on the guns I've built. When I first started, I thought big, beefy guns looked cool and always wanted to build them. Then I realized realistically I couldn't make large guns. I eventually took a liking to sleek, compact, efficient weapons and strived to make mine as clean as possible. But it limited what I built too. While I still explored some concepts, I just didn't throw enough pieces at others. Once I have a ton of parts, I won't really be limited by pieces in what I make. But I'll still want things to look nice.

Try to keep thing compact. I like your clean and piece efficient style. With more pieces, it will allow you to have more guns built at once, and build larger guns, but try not to go over the top. The TR8 is a good example of well sized weapon. Not pathetic, but not bulky. I prefer weapons that are about that size. Just my opinion, but I think most K'nexers would kinda agree.

I'm going to throw together the impressions video and upload it soon. I'll throw the link up when it's finished uploading. It'll be in buttery 1080p 60FPS. I'll get a much better quality review video later on. So excuse the poor format of these.

Alright, the video is uploaded but still going through final processing at all resolutions. I don't know if it successfully did 60FPS or not. I'm going to wait until it's finished before I give the link.

https://youtu.be/1VUfv6MgrQA that link will show you the charging handle and also pay attention to how I charge both the slide and or the handle to better get a comfort level with it.

Ah, I was wondering if you could do it via just the snowflake/yellow connectors but I was afraid that'd stress it badly. That might make it a little easier. Perhaps I'll add my own handle. It was interesting how you designed the gun to be maintainable and modular, so some things make sense now, like how you have the turret connected.

Yeah everything is about keeping the gun war ready and easy to fix in a hurry. Personally I like the slide better without the charging handle but it's a preference thing.

Fair enough. I'm all about preferences. I was focused on reviewing the vanilla gun how you set it up, but perhaps to be fair, I'll throw in some personal modifications to make it more enjoyable to use. Typically, I'd rather have a compact slide as well. But for a gun meant to have a few bands stacked up, I think I'd rather have a better grip on it.

KK has his ratchet set up with finammo in mind. For oodammo users, we usually extend the turret rod out a bit and put a wheel on the front. More intuitive and quicker to wind up (you can load a shot, then wind it without handing to move your hand).

Ah, that makes sense. I was wondering why people put wheels out in front (shows how apathetic I was toward TRs). I might have to fiddle with that too.