f you’ve never used a sniper rifle in an airsoft battle, then, my friend, you are missing out. There’s just nothing quite like a well-timed, perfectly-aimed shot from a good sniper in midst of a heated battle.
Of course, no matter your skill level, you’re going to need a good gun. Due to the nature of airsoft pellets (they’re light), it can be tough to make a sniper rifle that has both distance and accuracy.
BBTac, the prolific airgun manufacturer, has just such a gun–or so they claim. They don’t claim the world here; the BT-BM51 is an entry-level sniper made for beginners, and it operates as such. So is it worth the money? Let’s find out.
This rifle is a 1:1 scale replica of a full-size sniper, so it’s fairly hefty. This is good because you wouldn’t want to be seen with a tiny sniper rifle–you’ll look much cooler with a full-sized gun.
The gun comes disassembled, with the stock and barrel needing to be attached. This is done easily enough with the provided screws. Once that’s done, you have the option to attach the included scope and/or bipod, as well as an included strap. The sling is okay, but be sure to check the attachment points before you use them. They can be loose, and the sling can just slip right off.
I’ll be blunt: the scope is just for looks. Sure, you can see through it, but that’s about it. If you want something that’ll actually be useful for sniping, you’ll need to get a different scope. The bipod works great but does feel just a tad bit flimsy. Given the importance of a bipod, this is disappointing.
The gun also comes the speed-loader, which works well, and makes the process of loading, well, speedy. It’s a great thing to have and including it was a nice touch.
Overall, the gun has a good weight to it, but the plastic itself just doesn’t give off a quality vibe. It doesn’t seem like it would break all that easily, but the possibility is there. But in order to keep costs low, BBTac had to cut corners somewhere.
BBTac claims a velocity of over 400 FPS for the BT-96, but that’s with the slightly less accurate .12g BBs. With the heavier .20g, you’ll get about 320 FPS.
As was said before, the scope is basically a placeholder. The accuracy of the gun itself isn’t the issue–it’s actually accurate to about 400 feet–so I’d recommend attaching a variable-zoom scope to get the most out of it. If you do that, you’ll find the accuracy of this sniper to be very impressive.
This is a spring-loaded gun with a bolt-action cocking mechanism, so you will be pulling the bolt frequently. Unfortunately, the bolt feels a little loose, and it seems like it could break fairly easily if you pull on it wrong. This isn’t a good sign for something that gets so much use.
The included magazine holds about 20 BBs, but the speed-loader should get you going quickly once you need to reload. And if you want them, BBTac will sell you additional magazines from their website for a fairly low cost.
For the veteran airsoft player, the BBTac BT96’s flaws may be hard to ignore. It just doesn’t feel that durable, the scope will need an upgrade, the sling is flimsy and the bolt-action is loose. But even with all of that, the accuracy is impressive, the distance is good, and the FPS is all you’d need for an entry-level sniper rifle.
That latter point is what’s important: this is a gun for beginners. Not everyone knows if they’re good at sniping until they try it. If they end up preferring a gun better suited for close-quarters combat, they’ll be glad they didn’t spend a lot on a sniper.
That’s precisely what makes this gun worthwhile. If you’ve never sniped before, this gun will let you know if you should keep sniping. For everyone else, it may be best to go with another option.