Found this nice Big Dragon “NOV Fire Pig” Keymod rail online – cheap slick rail that looked good enough for the price. Considering how I am not yet sold on Keymod myself yet, I was willing to take a chance on whether or not the Keymod specs were done correctly or not on this rail. Besides, only accessory I would be mounting that would not go on the 12 O’clock rail would be a IWC/Haley Drop Wing (and those can fit pretty much everything).
I was unknowingly going to score on purchasing this rail – it will most definitely make for a good replacement for the Troy VTAC Alpha rail (FDE) I previously had installed on my WE M4 GBBR. Mounting system and weight of the rail were definitely things I wanted to change up for this specific build.
Bit of a risk going with a recently released China-made rail, as most replicas of the fancier things out there tend to be utter failures when it comes to clones. I definitely got lucky with this purchase; the value in this rail partly from the details of the real steel product were cloned so well… especially so at half the price of a Madbull repro, and a fifth the price of the real Noveske NSR.
First impression – thus aluminum rail is indeed very light. Much lighter than my Troy VTAC Alpha rail, in fact. This rail will likely serve as a replacement for that rail anyway – but more on that later.
Styled after the Noveske NSR, this BD rail definitely looks the part. Even many of the finer details are reproduced.
Biggest point – Keymod was actually produced to spec! Though Keymod was made open source by the designer who at the time was working for VLTOR, for some reason most airsoft Keymod rail clones don’t have the proper bevel inside the rail to accept Keymod spec accessories.
Pictured here is a Parralax Tactical Keymod rail section, easily attached to this rail. Fits and functions exactly as it should. Many gold stars to this factory for this!
Included minor detail of anti-rotation pin hole in the rail… and the pin is actually included (unlike the real NSR). So far as I can tell, I won’t need to use this on my WE M4 GBBR, nor do most real AR owners who have real NSR installed. Non-purpose-built real steel uppers for this rail that lack the predrilled hole would need modification, so I see no reason to do this to my pot metal cast WE receiver as it will eventually break anyway.
Rear corner of rail is beveled, just like the real thing.
That being said, I spent some time comparing this rail to my buddy’s real NSR and could only find a few details that were different (no photos to post of his AR build). This coupled with research on the real NSR did notify me of a few of the small things they missed on this clone.
To start with a very minor detail, the “fins” inside the rail are not tapered at toward the muzzle end.
Fasteners are different. Noveske’s bolts look way better, compared to the cheap look of the clone ones. That being said, both are Torx so they might be fine.
Another minor point – these small holes are not countersunk. Unlikely that these make a functional difference though. From an aesthetic standpoint, I only noticed after staring at both side by side intensely, this China-made factory did a very good job of cloning the positions and sizes of all the slots and holes.
And not surprisingly, the finish is different – though there is no big surprise here. The real NSR definitely has a nice matte finish that will probably last a lifetime, but this clone is still nothing to laugh at – very nice for China-made product.
Heck, they actually have the same shape as the NSR downpat… I find it hard to complain when the clone’s shape is identical to the real Noveske product, but at a fraction of the cost.
Speaking of which, the slimmer profile is really nice to hold.
Installation was nearly identical to the real NSR. No proprietary wrench required.
Of particular interest to me was the fact that the barrel nut has two threaded ends – one metric (fits King Arms & WE) and one that I suspect is standard/imperial (fits Prime). Not realistic, but barely noticeable when installed. This is a very well thought out feature for airsofters – this means it is useable for Tokyo Marui spec AEG as well as more realistic receivers that are threaded for “real steel” barrel nuts (e.g. Prime, Systema, Inokatsu to name a few).
As mentioned above, I was looking for a replacement for my Troy VTAC Alpha rail, as the odd design of tensioning up the fasteners to wedge into the barrel nut was giving me a bit of grief while installed on my WE GBBR. 6 bolts (2 each at the 3, 6 and 9 O’clock positions through the rail and into the barrel nut) is a much easier system to work with for easily repeatable reassembly.
Thanks to JK Army for not screwing up my order this time. This one product on my whole order made it totally worth stressing out over whether or not I would get everything I paid for.