The HK33 series of assault rifles was never accepted by the Bundeswehr, nor did it ever achieve the widespread popularity of its big brother, the G3. Nonetheless, it did enter service with a number of countries, and its semi-automatic cousin, the HK93, has quite a dedicated following in the US.
The first airsoft replica HK33 style rifle I owned was the superb KSC dual-mode HK33K (above) – but whilst it has the best build quality and hop-up unit of any airsoft HK33 on the market, its unique gearbox and piston design – and low power – made it less than ideal as a skirmishable weapon.
Classic Army’s CA33E on the other hand – whilst not as beautifully finished, or as technically interesting – offered the advantages of standard, upgradeable internals and a wider array of after-market accessories and parts. These were the key reasons why I decided to add this particular model to my armoury. However, I became very frustrated with the apparent lack of dedication to this model shown by Classic Army – as demonstrated by the extremely slow pace with which they released other models and accessories for the series. By far the biggest frustration was the fact that CA chose to initially replicate only the real-deal 25-round style magzines – in low-capacity and high-capacity versions.
Only after they launched the CA53 range (HK53 replicas) did they add a replica of the real-deal 30-round style magazine – but only as a high-capacity type! On the other hand, the CA33K still came with the old 25-round style 330-BB hi-cap magazine as standard.
Whilst the 30-round style hi-cap did at last provide a magazine that looked better in the gun, it still meant that the user had to put up with the annoyance of winding up the spring-tension feed mechanism to make it work. And it also meant having to contend with CA’s sometimes hit-or-miss quality controls on their hi-cap magazines, as well as the rattle of BBs inside the metal magazine shell.What we still needed was a non-winding, mid-capacity magazine in the 100-150 BB capacity range. Well, now at long last, and without any fanfare, Classic Army have finally released a 30-round style, mid-cap magazine for the CA33 and CA53 series. Woot!!
Not all mid-capacity magazines hold the same amount of BBs – some hold 90, some 100, some 110, some 120, some 130 and some 150. 100-rounders are good – becuase you can easily calculate how rounds you’re carrying buy adding up how many loaded mags you have. 90- rounders are kind of like “neither fish nor foul” – and run dry pretty quickly. 150-rounders offer a good quantity of ammunition for intense firefights, but can be less reliable and durable. So for me, a capacity of 120 or 130 seems just about right – you get a good amount of ammunition to throw downrange, and they also seem to be more reliable and durable.The Classic Army CA33/CA53 mid-cap’s hold 130 BBs, and they appear to be well made. The shell is metal – which adds a very nice touch of realism and durability – and the top plate with the feed hole is plastic. Unlike their CA33 lo-cap magazines, CA have included a spring-loaded BB retention nib that can be manually released – very handy if you need to unload a full magazine without doing it “Lebanese unload” style.
So far so good – but how do they perform? Well, “pretty bloody good” was my first impression. It loaded up smoothly and fed reliably – right down to the last BB. As with most airsoft magazines, there’s always that one last BB that doesn’t get fed – and the couple in the feedtube that drop out when you remove the magazine. Other than those typical issues, I didn’t have a single miss-feed or double-feed in the course of running several hundred BBs through a single magazine.
The mid-capacity magazines for the CA33 and CA53 should be available from any retailer that sells Classic Army products. I got mine from Airsoft Armoury, for £19.99. So, not the cheapest magazines on the market – but hopefully the price will come down over time, or Classic Army will offer a special-deal box set option as well.
Even at that price though, I know I’ll be getting some more – and I’m sure that all you old skool mil-simmers out there will be happy to know that at last there is a high-quality mid-cap option for your CA33 or CA53.
photo credits: HKPro.com, MilitaryPhotos.net, Wikipedia, DefenceTalk.com, Ian Mays, Classic Army, Benji Hanson.