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Classic Army CA33E Review

Review date: 3-30-2004
Model: Classic Army CA33E (Replica of HK33E)
Type: Automatic Electric Gun
Manufacturer: Classic Army
Retailer: Total Airsoft


Being a Heckler & Koch fan when I saw that Classic Army was going to release their version of the HK33E I decided that I had to get one as soon as they were released. This goes against my better judgment to purchase a product in its first run, but it is not the first time that I did something against my better judgment.


The HK33E (Export) is a downsized G3 made for the smaller cartridge. In semiautomatic only form for American consumption, (at least until 1989,) it is known as the HK93, with a precursor model produced for a short time called the HK43. Most common with steel 25 round magazines, 40 round aluminum magazines are plentiful, but more recently, steel 30 round magazines have been introduced by HK for the Law Enforcement and Military market. (in part taken from HK Pro)

In The Beginning...

Tuesday 18:00: After hours of sweating it out thinking that Totalairsoft will get his greasy mitts on my AEG before I do, I find that the package has been received untainted by Total’s hands. It came nicely packaged in a polystyrene tray with an outer cardboard sheath. The graphics on the sheath are designed nicely with a picture of the CA33E in the foreground and the Bundesflagge in the back ground (nice touch CA). Also on the packaging, it does not have illegal trademarks anywhere. The Packaging is very sturdy: of all 3 of the AEGs' ordered, none of them suffered damage from shipping. Coincidence...I think not.

Tuesday 18:00:01: The package is opened, I have that ”Howard Carter feeling”... Included in the box are the AEG, magazine, cleaning rod, aluminum flash suppressor, Volume 2 Classic Army catalog, owners manual and a sight adjustment tool for setting the Hop-Up.


The AEG ships with a bright orange plastic flash suppressor installed (as they all should). This greatly reduces the look of the AEG which can be an initial letdown, but that is OK - a small bump on a delightful trip. Besides, who wouldn’t remove the safety tip and install the aluminum one. This was a difficult task, though I will never be sure if it was because I was treating it as a standard thread when it is truly a reverse thread, or mayber it was the locktite-type substance that someone in all of their wisdom put on before installing the safety tip. Now, the safety tip is off, much to my pleasure the aluminium flash suppressor is a great design; it is threaded with a washer in it to make a nice, tight seal, AND also an Allen screw to tighten it...genius I tell you, genius.

Holding this Gun, it feels very solid and has no strange noises when you try to flex it. But this is right out of the box - we will review the structure of the gun after it has been in the field, stripped down, and put back together a couple of times.

To access the Hop-Up, you have to slide the cocking lever back to reveal a gear behind the dust cover. Here is a design flaw that someone at HK should be shot with 4 thousand 6MM plastic BBs for implementing - and shame on Classic Army for replicating this Flaw - what were they thinking to put the sling point on the fore grip where your knuckle on your left hand strikes it when activating the cocking lever? Perhaps this is unavoidable if you want to have a sling point on the fore grip, but it is annoying none the less. Once you have the dust cover open adjusting the hop up is easy by turning it with the "Sight adjustment tool".

Comparing This Gun to a real HK33E, it looks almost identical to the real HK33; the only exception that I can find are trademarks. If you want trademarks this gun is NOT for you. Classic Army avoided all apparent legal issues and did not include any trademarks on the AEG. Even with out the trademarks, though, there is no mistaking what this gun is a replica of.


Time to install the included 330-round Hi-Cap magazine: this mag is a nice solid fit, it has NO play at all when it is locked in, and it has little friction when inserting it. The magazine release mechanism can be accessed from the bottom and right side so it takes no effort to change the clip in a hurry. To date it has had about 2000 BBs through it with no failures. So I feel confident that this magazine will not earn the bad reputation that Classic Army Hi-Caps have had in the past.



The stock is a second version solid stock or an A2; it holds the larger battery in the stock and is very rigid. I compared the CA33E receiver with the Classic Army MP5 and they are the same shape and seem to have the same mounting points for the stock, but the groove for the sliding rail is thinner than the MP5’s and the rear may be different as well. With some modification, you may be able to fit them together.

Outer Barrel

The Flash suppressor is 14mm CCW, so there are barrages of suppressors you can use. The outer barrel on the 33E can be replaced with an HK51 outer barrel, which in my opinion looks like it is ready to talk business.


The HK33E is made to accept the G3 style bipods. I am not sure if this design transfers to Airsoft, but by the looks of it I am sure it will.


It isn’t too bad to get to the mechbox on this gun, but is irritating to do it a few times. You have to remove the stock with one pin, then the grip and body separate with another pin. Next, to separate the mechbox from the grip, you have to remove the motor and two screws hidden underneath it. Now that’s done, you find out that Classic Army did not go cheap on the internals. The mechbox includes metal gears, reinforced piston, reinforced piston head, and finally a metal spring guide. Aside from the Mechbox, CA includes a high torque motor which as I understand is equivalent to an EG1000.

Field Testing

To test I used Excel .20gram BB’s and a radar chronograph. As soon as I could get the AEG to a Chrono I wanted to compare the true FPS to the advertised 320FPS. It shot 351(+/- 2) consistently. Next up is shooting at some cards. I set the cards at 25 meters and was able to shoot a 3” cluster on a home made card. Full auto works like a charm, with no dry fires due to malfunction that I noticed. I did dry fire, but that is because I didn’t wind the spring all the way when I filled the mag.

Next was to shoot at Total, dive in the dirt and run through the mud. The gun was very comfortable to use in a game it isn’t too heavy, but also it doesn’t feel fragile. It held up to most of my abuse great until it stopped working. (Do you see the humor? I didn’t.)

The Breaking point

Well luckily the only thing wrong with my AEG was the motor, even better the brush on the negative side was a little long, so that in the normal use and seating of this brush, the brush spring got hung up and no longer applied pressure to the brush. To fix this all I had to do is move the spring into its guide. Now it works like a charm again. I don’t think I can blame this on the CA33E, but I will say that maybe CA should have better methods of control for brush lengths.

The Bad

  • The HK sling point design on the fore grip
  • The LocTite (or red glue) on the safety orange flash suppressor
  • No Trademarks
  • No retractable stock that I know of
  • The brush spring on the motor got hung on the guide

The Good

  • The LocTite (or red glue) on the safety orange flash suppressor
  • No Trademarks
  • 350 FPS out of the box doesn’t suck
  • It is a Classic Army, so it is mostly metal
  • The accuracy is more then I was expecting
  • The manual has a list of EVERY part on this AEG and its number
  • The mechbox seems very sturdy
  • The high torque motor is nice
  • Not to big, not to Small, just right

Final Thoughts

After playing with it in the sand and mud then a tear down then build up, it is still very rigid. All in all, I really like this gun. I am going to keep it in my collection and eventually dress it up with some goodies. Any one who is looking for something along the lines of a smaller G3, I would suggest checking out the CA33E. I think I can now safely say that my better judgment was not so good regarding buying a new model.


Weight: 2.8kg
Barrel Length: 429mm
Barrel caliber: 6.08mm
BB capacity: 330
BB Speed: 351(+/- 2)FPS
Battery Type: Large 8.4v

Review by: Tlaan


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© Copyright 2004 by Lance Eppley & Joey Araniego