Upgrades – Part 2

A month ago, I wrote about how an “upgraded” gun may not mean the same thing from one person to the next. I’ve been doing some more thinking about all the different things under this topic, and figured I would tackle my take on this part next:

I get this question quite often at work, “how do I make my gun shoot fast?” This is actually an excellent question… Depending on who is asking and what answer they are looking for, however, results may vary. There are two different rates that are discussed at which an Airsoft gun can shoot – muzzle velocity and rate of fire. Let me preface this by clearing up my take on these matters, right off the bat: neither muzzle velocity, nor rate of fire are your be all/end all answer(s) to all your upgrading needs.

And so let’s begin…

Muzzle velocity doesn’t necessarily dictate range – to put it simply, in my experience (as well as the highly-experienced techs I’ve talked to), hop up is what gives your gun range. Simply bumping up your muzzle velocity to increase your range means more stress on your components. More speed as that BB travels through the air usually equals less accuracy. Increased velocity requires less hop up effect, and thus you may have to switch to heavier, slower BB’s that you may not want to shoot. Though increasing BB velocity may give you some minor increases in range up to a certain point, I’ve found that experimenting with other factors to be of much greater benefit in this regard (BB weight, hop up, etc).

That being said, higher velocity equals harder impact, which equals more pain and audible noise upon impact, which can in turn equal less cheating (whether intentional or not)… so there is that noticeable benefit, albeit an increase in BB weight will do much the same. But at the same time, all of the legitimate fields that I am aware of have muzzle velocity limits – often capping velocity is designed as a safety rule to avoid excessive injury to players. At the fields I regularly play at, there are minimum engagement distance (MED) rules in effect that prohibit close range full auto fire, and sometimes any fire from higher velocity guns at all within that distance – some rules allow for higher muzzle velocity guns to go a bit higher, yet limit players to semi-auto only. Depending on your play style, having a gun that you can’t utilize to its full potential due to these rules just doesn’t make sense to me. I myself often play with guns that chrono at below 400 FPS, despite being able to run higher muzzle velocity if I wanted to, because I can (a) shoot at players that are close, and (b) shoot full auto if need be.

On the flip side, high speed is all fine and dandy in terms of tech specs… but there are a couple of considerations that are often neglected. I was recently doing some experimentation with going to a higher ROF (over 30 RPS) recently, but have decided to drop that project for the time being. Why, you may ask? Well, if you’re asking why did I do it, it was more just to prove to myself that I can build something that can do that, while performing well and running reliably – and in case you were wondering, yes, I managed to do that. It killed much of the realism in Airsoft for me, but it was actually rather fun to just shoot strings of BB’s down range.

If you’re asking why I stopped pursuing the high speed AEG dream, there were just too many reasons to stop. I was having feeding issues – skipping – with the vast majority of my mags, and there’s no point to have a gun that shoots that kind of fast but won’t feed on any of my mags reliably. There is always concern of something breaking prematurely inside the gearbox, hence constant monitoring of the condition of the components inside the gearbox is required; especially lots of careful attention needs to be paid during the early stages of testing (don’t get me wrong – once its built right, it can last for quite some time… and excellent example of that which comes to mind is the Dual Sector Gear M4 AEG that former teammate “Pinoy” built and has been running for years). But the thing that really got me was how fast I killed buffer tube LiPo batteries and ran out of high caps of ammo on my first few trigger happy days – I had to replace those so many times in just one game that I actually had to significantly ease up on the trigger in order to keep myself on the field and stay to have fun. The whole point of building a high ROF gun is to run it at that high rate of fire on full auto, yet it didn’t actually work all that great for gaming purposes on the field.

While to some, it may be all about the performance on paper, that doesn’t matter to me if I can’t shoot somebody with this fancy gun I’ve got because (a) I’m not allowed to, or (b) it doesn’t shoot right.

/rant

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