Airsoft Innovation Propane Adapter

 



Airsoft Innovations
Propane Adapter

By Arnie

 

Stock Specifications
Specs
– Attaches securely to disposable tanks for camp stoves and propane torches
– Easy to assemble.
– Completely re-useable

CNC-machined from durable brass
– Removable tip allows easy addition of silicone lubricant, as well as safe transport and storage
– Real instructional manual, no Engrish!
RRP UK: £17 including shipping
CDN: $40 including shipping
USA: $30 including shipping
INTL: $30 including shipping

 


“The engineer, dangerous when cornered in its natural habitat, the sofa-cushion fortress. “

Introduction: The Canadian company Airsoft Innovations has been in business for 9 months now and is the brainchild of Carlton Chong. Now despite what you may think by the inset photo here of Carl he is honestly a very sane and intelligent individual. No really.. he is. ^_^

I should point out now that any budding Photoshop monkeys have had the gauntlet laid down for them as Carl requests that PS’d work based on the inset shot right are sent over to this email address for perusal and possible publication on his website.

Why a propane adapter? One day Carl’s engineering brain became bored there were no more pencils left to launch into the ceiling tiles, and he was all out of matches. First he pondered the idea of strapping buttered toast to the back of the cat to create a versatile levitation mechanism, but decided that was too silly (plus it’d been done in HHGTTG), then hit his head on the bathroom sink and discovered the recipe to the perfect chilli and what “42” really was the answer to.. but because of the ensuing concussion promptly forgot. In the end Carl settled with being curious as to what the actual composition of Airsoft gas was.

Samples of gases were sent to “…Analest Laboratory at the University of Toronto where 3 brands of green gas (Jet, Green Power, Shooting Air) were analyzed with a gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer, an industry standard for organic gas assaying. All 3 gases were shown to be propane. Additionally 3 more brands have shown to be similarly flammable and exert the same pressure…” the results answered many questions that Airsofters had pondered about their propellant for many years:

Green Gas GC
Coleman Propane GC
Green Gas GC
Coleman Propane MS
Green Gas MS Score
Coleman Propane MS Score

In short (without boring you with chemical mass spectroscopy mumbo jumbo) “green gas” is propane (see more details here).

History of the adapter: I thought I’d add a bit to show how the adapter has been adjusted and modified through its existence. In the bottom left shot here are the three generations of the adapter. From the initial design, to the current model then to the promotional adapter that Carl sent me (now with a handy knurled outer rim). As you can see the first model used a washer system, but the new design no longer needs that, as a recess has been cut into the main adapter collar that only allows the probe to move a specified distance downwards.

The spring system is now incorporated into the main collar too, meaning that you’re less likely to lose the spring. The spring was accidentally left out of the one sent over hence the two spare springs in the background as these arrived later. If you happen to need to refit your own spring, may I suggest using the back of the loading probe to push the spring into its home in the underside of the collar.

Grab some propane: First things first you’ll need to grab yourself some propane to use this adapter, but don’t worry it’s easy to find if you know where to look. Here in the UK your best bet it to grab a can from B&Q. The huge advantage is that B&Q stores are open from 8AM till 8PM Monday-Friday and from 10AM till 4PM on Sunday so if you’re caught short and out of gas before a skirmish you’re in luck as long as you have an adapter handy.

I picked up a can of Benzomatic Propane which you’ll find in the gas and pipe welding section. You want the blue cans that are marked Propane, not the MAPP cans (in yellow). Apologies for the fuzzy nature of the above shots, but they were taken from a phone camera. Price wise, you’re looking at around £5.98 for a can for propane and you’ll probably find it much cheaper at a bulk or trade supplier, after all B&Q is the Dixons of the DIY world.

Precautions: There are a few simple precautions that should be observed with the use of any Airsoft propellant:

WARNING: This product has been designed to be used EXCLUSIVELY with Airsoft. Do not use this adaptor with anything but airsoft. Do not use this adaptor with any other gas (e.g. MAPP, propylene) but propane. Do not use propane/green gas in an airsoft gun that cannot handle the higher pressure. Do not use propane/green gas near an open flame, or other source of ignition. Do not inhale. Please.

Airsoft Innovations Inc. is not liable for any injuries or damage to property or person(s) incurred through the the use or misuse of its products. It’s not hard to play safe, please do so.

  • Do not use the adapter near open flame or other sources of ignition.
  • Remove the probe before storing to prevent accidental release of propane.
  • Do not use an incomplete adapter.
  • Only use this adapter with disposable cylinders. Do not use MAPP or Ethylene.
  • Make sure that the adapter is correctly installed before use.
  • Product contains small parts, keep out of reach of children.

Assembly of the AI Propane adapter: Movies are great, they tell you so much more than words and plain images can. In this movie, okay I know – I’ll just shut and let you download it, it’ll be easier :)

Assembly Movie – WMV Format (Windows Media Format) 2,136Kb








Of course if you don’t want to download the movie, then the thumbnail images above explain all. Simply remove any protective cap that covers the threads on your gas bottle. Thread on the main collar, add a few drops of silicon oil (once every 8-10 mag fills), then drop the nozzle in. Press the nozzle down until it is flush with the main collar, then you’re ready to go and fill your mags.

The gas bottles at my local hardware store were somewhat rusty in places around the threads, so I’d recommend checking the tops to get one that’s either not rusty at all, or the least mucky of the lot. Rust is after all the last thing you want in the threads.

Charge/fill instructions: To fill your magazine with your newly assembled Propane adapter gas rig, just treat it like pretty much any other gas bottle. Hold your magazine upside down, if it’s a WA mag or R-Type copy ensure that the valve latch is not holding the outlet valve open (unless you want to gas yourself):

  • Keep the magazine inlet valve vertical
  • Insert the propane gas probe into the valve and push down securely keeping the gas bottle in line with the gas valve. Remember that the gas valve may not be in line with the body of your magazine.
  • Keep filling your gas magazine until you get liquid spill over from the inlet valve. This means your magazine is now full. If you want to be a true perfectionist wait for the magazine to warm up and settle then give it a quick top up to ensure that it’s 100% full.

Gas comparisons : Now that we’ve got the adapter fitted to a bottle of propane it’s a good idea to see how things perform in the real world. After all there’s no point just showing how the adapter fits unless I do some tests to see how things perform on the bottled gas.

For these tests the following gases were tested with a wide selection of pistols:

  1. Abbey Predator 134a
  2. Abbey Predator Ultra Gas
  3. CyberGun APS3
  4. HFC Power Green Gas
  5. Toy Jack TOP Gas
  6. Propane (Bernzomatic)

The tests were run across a selection of pistols to give a fair spread across available models and something hopefully something vaguely similar in barrel length and quality to just about anything out there in the pistol market.

The pistols used were:

Manufacturer Name Barrel Length (mm) Recommended gas
KSC H&K USP Compact 80 134a
WA Wilson Striker 108 134a
Tanaka SIG P226RF HW 88.5 134a
KWC Taurus PT92 AF GBB [unknown] APS3
CL STi 6 [unknown] Green Gas
Tanaka S&W M629 custom 168 134a
KWA (KSC) Glock 19 (metal) 90 Green Gas
Maruzen Walther P99 88 134a

It should be pointed out that using any gas that differs from the manufacturers instructions is not generally recommended. The tests have been carried out here across all gases for the sake of this article but the choice of what gas to use ultimately lies with the user. A more powerful gas places extra stress on any system or mechanism and will reduce its lifetime. This reduction in lifetime can be anything from instant failure, to a simple percentage reduction in life span.

Test methology: For the test at least 10 shots were fired per pistol/gas combination. The loaded pistol and charged magazine was allowed to warm to room temperature (21degC) and then shots were fired at 1 second intervals.

Shooting at 1 second intervals will produce a cooldown effect, so running averages will not be constant for any one pistol. This is quite deliberate as it gives you an idea of how cooldown affects certain types pistols with certain gases. As the shot timing is the same for all pistols you have a fairly good comparison of how these pistols run on each type of gas.

All tests were carried out with my favourite Airsoft Elite 0.20g BBs and two different chronograph units to ensure accuracy of results.

Results: The “heap-big overall graph” says it all really:

Here’s the individual shot graph results for each type of gas:

Propane
Predator 134a
Predator Ultra
CyberGun
HFC Super Green Gas
Toyjack

A few notes about the pistols used: I thought a few comments about the pistols used would be appropriate at his point (basically before I forget tomorrow):

KSC USP Compact – for such a small pistol this certainly packs a wallop! Shots were very consistent, the results were actually quite surprising.

WA Wilson – you really shouldn’t use Green gas or any derivative in a WA pistol unless you want to replace the slide. There really is no doubt that using Green Gas will destroy a WA slide, it’s really not a case of “if” but “when” these days. Recoil and blowback on Green Gas is amazing, but standard plastic slides are really not designed to handle such stress.

Tanaka P226RF – I’d really not recommend using anything other than 134a in this. More powerful gases cause the slide to recoil excessively and stick badly, with the slide rising off the frame to the rear left because of the extra recoil.

KWC Taurus – Whilst this is a dead reliable pistol, the valve/hammer system is terribly crude (despite the fact that a small non descript plastic part flew off some somewhere – I have no idea where from!). The hammer isn’t a spring action system, insteads as you pull the trigger a plunger is pushed forwards towards the valve mechanism which is directly actuated. The barrel is also fixed in place. The end result is that if you pull the trigger slowly the valve is opened slowly initially. For the purposes of these tests the trigger was pulled swiftly and regularly for each shot to produce consistent results (well as consistent as possible).

CL STi 6in – this is a lovely piece, it’s full metal and the recoil is swift and makes a very tasty cha-chunk noise when fired. The full specs for what parts are built into this custom race pistol can be found on the relevant review page.

Tanaka M629 – This is a modified target M629, although it features standard valves the performance has been increased with hammer and valve adjustments and a new tighter inner barrel. There is still heavy gas vapor behind the BB as it leaves the barrel (when using 0.2g BBs) so it’s performance is not optimum under these test conditions. A heavier BB would see more energy imparted to it by the same gas quite simply as it would stay in the barrel for a longer period of time. The barrel in the M629 is not the original and much tighter than a standard liner, so unless it’s used with super high quality heavy BBs it will tend to produce fps results that wander all over the place simply because the BB will stick in the barrel.

KWA G19 – Despite being labeled KWA, this pistol will be more familiar to the masses under the KSC brand. Shipped direct from Taiwan it features a metal barrel and slide and all parts are compatible with its KSC counterpart. Blowback is swift and reliable.

Maruzen P99 – This is the first Maruzen pistol I’ve ever really tried out for a long period of time and it is very impressive. The slide movement is a tad sluggish, and it could benefit from some improved recoil springs and a metal slide. Despite the slightly slow slide setup, blowback and cycling when in action is again pretty much on par with the USP and G19.

There should be something in the above list that is close to your own pistol in specification, and will give you an idea as to how your own pistol should perform under the same tests.

Thoughts: Some averages for some pistols tested tended to wander around a bit, but that was more down to the dynamics of the pistol under test rather than anything else.

After conducting around 500 readings to conduct this review I’m quite familiar with the smell of all the gases seen here, but I should point out that you want to fill and operate your pistols in a well ventilated area. Please don’t play with propane in a confined space such as a room at Uni or a small flat without simple precautions such as having the windows open.

I should point out that it’s a very bad idea to leave propellant of any form in your car as I’ve been sent in photos from two incidents in the US where cans have gone off like frag grenades inside their vehicles when they’ve been left in the roaring summer heat (when I dig up the photos again I’ll add them here).

Conclusion: I was a little wary of Carl’s product when he contacted me initially, but after reading the documentation and tests that he’d conducted I was eager to give the little adapter a go.

The adapter is not only well made but it’s dead easy to get used to. The adapter won’t mean that I never buy Airsoft gases again, after all I need a supply of 134a; but it does open up a simple avenue for people like myself to get hold of cans of propellant from the local hardware store. The work Carl has put into researching the chemical buildup of green gas leaves me quite confident in the knowledge that propane is as safe as the bottled ’22 styled Airsoft gas.

Not all ’22 styled Airsoft propellant is 100% propane as some is mixed with different lubricants and other gases to give known pressures at specific temperatures, however the Airsoft Innovations adapter allows you to use a very common and readily available gas. Handy if you can’t lay your hands on your usual gas or like most of us want to use something cheaper to power our desk toys.

After testing multiple pistols with the adapter I found no real problems with the design. Propane performed in a fashion identical to that of the Taiwanese green gas derivatives and the handy adapter worked well with all pistols tested. One major bonus to me is that the propane cans at the local hardware store are made to a UK approved safety spec. The tank walls for commercial disposable propane cans are thicker and I’m less worried about puncturing the can accidentally.

The only real pain from now on though is that I have to remember not to call Green Gas “’22/HFC22” anymore.

What more can I say? Tried, tested, approved and thoroughly recommended.

Manual:

External links: Links to external sites of interest.

Airsoft Innovations – Homepage of the manufacturers of this dinky little product
Airsoft Innovations,
They make it from Propane!

an article investigating the primary components of Green gas
Unconventional Airsoft – The Unconventional Airsoft AI Propane Adapter review
Airsoft Retreat – A review of the AI Propane adapter by the lads at ASR
Airsoft Players – Pikachoad’s take on the AI adapter

By Arnie

Comment
on this review in the forums


 

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