I was wondering what people's thoughts on the ICS L85 are.I have decided to buy a new rifle,but I want something a little different and just wanted to get some opinions. I'm not quite sure what I want yet,I have plenty of M4 platforms,so any suggestions would be helpful.Thanks
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Solid gun. It's easily the best of the L85/SA80s out there at least as far as construction. Compared to the G&G and STAR/Ares versions, the ICS is a dream to tear down. It has plenty of space in the handguard for a larger battery and has an adjustable spring guide so that you can increase or decrease power without swapping the spring, although you can quick swap the spring too.
Here are some of my previous comments on the ICS L85 series
The ICS L85A2 and L86A2 are essentially the same rifle internally, but fitted with slightly different externals.
I owned and regularly used my ICS L85A2 during the 2010 season.
First off, I would recommend that you hold an L85 (doesn't have to be an ICS) to see if you like or dislike the ergonomics. Compared to a standard M4 or AK, L85s can feel a little, well, "off." You either like them or you don't. Now, that said, they do not, in my experience, take a lot of adapting to. Once you get the hang of swapping magazines and the general feel for the controls everything can be quick and smooth. It just, like most things, takes a bit of practice.
I found that the ICS L85A2 was quite well balance and an excellent skirmish rifle. The weight of the rifle being in the rear makes it very "pointable" and allows the user to easily control it with one hand. For example, it is a very easy rifle to run one handed with. It is also very easy to shoot single-handed or using your off-hand.
The ICS has a unique gearbox that has an adjustable spring guide that allows quick changes in FPS. The adjustable spring guide can be set to allow the rifle to fire, roughly, at 330, 360, 380-400. This feature, combined with the bullpup design, makes it quite versatile for indoor and outdoor play. To be honest, the L86A2 variant is going to be a bit long and heavy for CQB uses, but each to his own.
The trigger system used in the ICS L85A2 is also a bit unique. I am not quite sure how to describe it, and there are videos out there that show it off, but it basically gives the gun a very crisp trigger pull.
There are a few of other L85s out there: STAR/ARES, Army, G&G. I would suggest that the ICS is the most "user friendly." It is not as realistic as the STAR/ARES variant, but it does have a much friendlier take-down. The ICS also has an easy to access battery compartment.
As far as available upgrades go, the site mount rail adapters made by STAR fit fine and allow the use of standard pictinny mounted optics. Currently, at least one company make a clone version of the Daniel Defense L85 rail system. From what I understand, Madbull (iirc) is producing a DD rail for both the STAR/ARES and ICS, but currently the only DD rails on the market for the L85 are the ones that fit the STAR/ARES version.
I know that there is at least one person who attends MiA events that has an '86A2 and hopefully they will chime in sooner or later.
Best of luck!
Take a look at these threads for more information.
I currently own both an ICS L85A2 and a CA M4A1 (Ok, it's not a G&G, but the M4 style is fairly ubiquitous) and I'd advise that you actually hold an L85 before buying. While the M4 has pretty standard ergonomics, the L85 is a bit... different. You either love or hate it depending on your own previous experience with rifles.
Honestly, from what I've read about both the G&G and the Army, I wouldn't recommend either. Take that with a grain of salt given that I regularly use an ICS L85A2 and am admittedly biased.
If you take a read through the Army L85 thread on Arnie's you'll set a lot of the issues with the Army model discussed in detail. The thread is pretty huge and only details the stock version, not the "custom version" you're looking into.
While L85s have longer barrels than M4s, I'd hesitate to say that they have more range. Honestly, range is really a function of your hop-unit and its components and not as influenced by overall barrel length as one might assume. The true beauty of the L85 , as Zorak points out, is that the rifle is very well balanced. The weight distribution really gives the L85 a nice edge when shooting with your non-dominant hand, or when shooting one handed.
As far as slings go, the L85 really is only set up for a three-point or two-point. It does not have a sling point that is really conducive for using a single-point although there might be some aftermarket real-steel components or add-ons that might be able to alter this (I honestly don't know). I typically use a VTAC sling (adjustable two-point) on mine and it works pretty well. I would imagine that something like the Emdom two-point, VCAS, MS2, or Irene Adaptive Sling (IAS) would work well with the L85. You've also got to keep in mind that there is a specific L85 sling used by the UK military.
There are a few more threads discussing L85 brand choices on Arnie's that might be a good places to start looking around. See below: