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A Magpul Masada project

Tacitus

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I've been tinkering with my Masada again recently. Seeing as my review is hidden somehere within the gargantuan almost-100 page Magpul PTS Masada ACR review thread, I thought I'd make an article here for people to bookmark and easily keep track of any updates I add. I'll put updates at the bottom, so if you've read it before you won't have to skim through to find new information:

 

Review

 

Received my UK-spec Masada last week, with 1 free Pmag kindly thrown in from Dingodogs.

 

I'm extremely impressed with the material and build quality. The polymer is gorgeous stuff, seemingly better quality than the Pmags with a slightly more shiny or 'waxy' appearance, and a more complex, deeper texture. The polymer seems very tough and has a nice, dense feel to it. Yes there are mold lines visible, but they're not excessive or ugly and don't detract from the quality at all. They certainly can't be felt when shouldering the gun with bare hands.

 

The CNC upper is one very solid piece of metal. It's clearly been made to tight tolarances. I think the fact that it's been painted slightly reduces the precise appearance of the upper, but only when you look very closely. It's a very nice part of the gun and gives the whole thing a beautifully solid structure. The outer barrel is a beautiful part too. Very solid, very high quality work. Not sure what process has been used to colour the outer barrel and gas tube, but it has a gorgeous satin finish.

 

Some people have said the gun is light, but personally I think the weight is perfect. It's light enough that I'm be able to skirmish it all day, but heavy enough to make it feel solid and sturdy. Certainly lighter than some other guns, but this is also due to the way the weight is petfectly balanced. It's very ergonomic and feels completely natural to shoulder. Lucky for me the fixed stock is the perfect length, and feels very solid. Mine came with a sling point already attached, although the design is different to the separately sold Mapgul PTS sling point (which is a bizarre and hugely overpriced accessory).

 

As a showpiece it's stunning, but I bought this gun as an upgrade platform so the crucial test for me is whether it can be elevated to high performance. There's room for an internal tracer unit, as well as the extra electronics I've installed. I found that the barrel lever is removable, so there's actually plenty of room in the handguard for electronics etc.

 

Upon disassembly, it becomes clear that a lot of work is needed to gain serious performance from this gun.

 

I have no interest in running a stock gun, and wanted to take out the motor brushes to put into my own motor, so I never fired it in it's stock form. Even though I can't comment on the performance out of the box, visually inspecting the internals is very revealing.

 

Wiring

 

The soldering was ok, but not great. Tamiya connector is disappointing but not surprising. The gearbox has been designed so that the wires run through the gearbox shell itself. This makes the installation of a mosfet quite tricky, as there isn't much room for extra wires. The major obstacle that the wires must avoid is the magazine release. I ended up making some plastic blocks to glue onto each side of the gearbox to keep the wires out of the way, allowing the mag release to function normally.

 

Another obstacle to overcome when installing extra wires is the fact that the gearbox can be pushed out of alignment by the wires themselves. So unless you're careful when re-assembling the gun, the gearbox might sit in the wrong position, causing the bolt release to bind on top of the gearbox.

 

Microswitch/Trigger

The microswitch says it's rated for only 15A which is quite low, so it wouldn't last long if used with a high performance battery and motor combination without a mosfet. So while the microswitch is a nice idea, it's a half-baked one and something of a liability when upgrading the gun. It doesn't provide much physical resistance, so you can't feel a nice, crisp click (although you can hear it). In fact, the design of the trigger is such that a trigger pull actually releases the switch, so installing a stronger microswitch wouldn't improve it. The trigger itself is let down hugely by the fire selector design becasue when reassembling the gun, it's very difficult to correctly align the selector gears with the lower receiver. This is a part which actually requires some 'tuning' to get right, which could have been so easily avoided with a better design. The trigger does seem to be very sensitive to slight fire-selector movement, bizzarely requiring a stronger trigger pull in certain positions. Definitely needs some learning to get right.

 

Motor

The motor doesn't use the strong neodymium magnets found in high performance motors, so this would be one of the first things to replace. The best motors can be bought cheap, so it's a disappointment that the gun doesn't include one.

 

Anti-Reversal Latch

 

I had problems with the stock ARL. I'm not sure exactly what was wrong with it, as it didn't appear to be binding on anything, but there was audible backspin until I replaced it.

 

Gears

 

I reaplaced the stock gears immediately, so I can't comment on their performance or durability. It was disappointing to see that the bevel gear only has 4 ARL teeth.

 

Tappet Plate

 

The gun did not feed at first. Not at all. When manually inserting a BB into the barrel, the power was awful. It turned out to be a malformed tappet plate not allowing the nozzle to make contact with the bucking. I had to shave off a little material from the tappet plate. Feeding improved slightly, but I had to install a sector clip to allow the gun to feed reliably.

 

Air Nozzle

 

The air nozzle has no o-ring, meaning it does not form a proper air seal with the cylinder head nozzle. This affects power and consistency, which is disappointing for such an expensive gun. It wouldn't be a problem if the nozzle itself was a standard part, but as far as I know it's a unique length. At 25.4cm long it's enormous.

 

Piston/Piston head

 

I haven't tested it, but there's an air bubble visible inside the pickup tooth so I wouldn't want to put any strain on the piston. The piston came with a huge metal weight inside it (which is of course the opposite of what we want), and of course the angle of engagement hadn't been corrected. The O-ring was too big, causing excess friction on the back stroke so it had to be replaced.

 

Cylinder/Cylinder head

 

The cylinder isn't ported, but power is good enough so I haven't spent time/money on perfecting the barrel/cylinder volume. The cylinder itself seems great, and forms a perfect air seal. The cylinder head is proprietary due to the longer nozzle, but can be made good with teflon tape and sorbo.

 

Spring guide

 

This part is another major disappointment along with the air nozzle. It has no bearing, just a simple metal washer. Again this would be fine if it weren't a unique design. And again, if anyone knows of an aftermarket bearing spring guide which will fit please let me know. The quick spring change feature itself is very nice. Quickly changing springs isn't something I plan on doing, but it makes assembly and disassembly much easier, as you never have to fight against the main spring tension. For this reason, installing a high power spring would be trivial.

 

 

Everything in the gearbox was severley overlubed with some sort of very thick gunge, as with most stock AEGs. I forgot to check the shimming so I can't comment on it. I immediately replaced the bushings/bearings so I can't comment on them either. I haven't done extensive range testing so I can't yet tell if the hopup design or stock barrel are good enough, but the integrated nub does concern me.

 

 

Self-retaining body pins

 

A small detail, but the little clips holding in the body pins makes working on this gun an absolute pleasure. They snap into position with a really satisfying click, and having 4 less things to keep track of is awesome. Although the clips can come loose so be careful!

Iron sights

 

The integrated front sight is strange, as it eats into the paintwork if allowed to spring into position. Otherwise it's a nice, solid sight which is adjustable. The rear sight is really beautiful.

 

Sling mounts

 

The multitude of sling mount points is a very nice feature. The gun comes with 3 quick detach mount points, which can all be mounted on one side of the gun if you choose.

 

Proprietary parts: Gearbox shell, motor cage, cut-off lever, spring guide, cylinder head, nozzle, hopup arm/nub/mechanism, trigger assembly, selector plate, selector gears.

 

As an upgrade platform this guns is fine, but the proprietary spring guide and air nozzle are the 2 major problems. The ability to use most other standard parts makes it good enough, and if a decent air nozzle and spring guide are made available then nothing inside the gearbox could hold it back.

 

There's a lot to be desired from the gearbox in it's stock form, and there are a couple of irritating design choices, but I'm really happy with it. I haven't been able to put it down since I got it, it just handles so well.

 

If anyone wants more info, feel free to get in touch.

 

Update 4/25/11

 

I bought some Modify 8mm Ceramic Bearings, having been impressed with them on another build (Airsoft World is a good place to buy them). It seems that the Masada gearbox is slightly thinner than the standard V2/3, because a disturbingly small number of shims are needed. None at all on the sector gear! I'm using Siegetek gears which are slightly elevated around the axles, so there won't be any excess friction because of the lack of shims. But it's way better to have more space for shims. So for the Magpul Masada I'd avoid these particular bearings. I haven't tested any others, but I'll report back when I do!

 

I was able to commission a custom air seal nozzle from AirsoftPro.cz for my Masada. They used the original air nozzle I sent them, and made me an aluminium one with an O-ring inside to minimise air leakage. It's very nicely made, and they now sell them. So, as is normal in airsoft, a major design flaw has been overcome by the end user and a small scale manufacturer! I've just noticed that the air nozzle on that website is marked as an A&K Masada nozzle. I don't know if it would fit the A&K version, but I can assure you that 25.4mm is the correct length for the Magpul PTS Masada. I've just emailed them about it so hopefully they'll change it...

 

I've developed an internal tracer system which requires an extra microswitch to be fitted to the trigger. The idea is that a partial trigger pull illuminates the LEDs, so that the tracer BBs are exposed to light before the gun is actually fired. This is crucial if you want consistently bright BBs from an internal tracer. The thing is that the Masada really has no room for extra switches to be simply put in place, unlike the G36. But I have a MOSFET installed, so I was able to use a much, much smaller microswitch to actually fire the gun. This freed up enough room to put in a second microswitch to illuminate the tracer It took an awful lot of fine tuning, and it really doesn't look pretty, but now I have a trigger which activates two microswitches, one after the other. :D

 

I haven't finished this current upgrade project yet, so there'll be more to come before too long. Thanks for reading!



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It seems that the Masada gearbox is slightly thinner than the standard V2/3, because a disturbingly small number of shims are needed. None at all on the sector gear! I'm using Siegetek gears which are slightly elevated around the axles, so there won't be any excess friction because of the lack of shims. But it's way better to have more space for shims. So for the Magpul Masada I'd avoid these particular bearings. I haven't tested any others, but I'll report back when I do!

 

I tried Kanzen bearings and they were too high. I wasn't able to shim at all and Siegeteks were too tight.to fit

With original bushings/bearings I used only a few shims (some of my shims are 0.08 mm). That way I was able to fit those Siegeteks.

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I tried Kanzen bearings and they were too high. I wasn't able to shim at all and Siegeteks were too tight.to fit

With original bushings/bearings I used only a few shims (some of my shims are 0.08 mm). That way I was able to fit those Siegeteks.

 

Ah, that's very interesting! What's your setup? I'd be interested to know how well the original bushings survive in an upgraded gun, especially with Siegetek gears. I assume you're using the MAG stainless steel shims? They're my favourite ones, I'm waiting for a large quantity to arrive at the moment.:D

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Nice write-up.

Do you have a full parts list of what you swapped out?

Thanks

eric

 

Thanks Eric!

 

I've replaced almost all the internal parts.

 

  • Extreme-Fire SW-AB-Long MOSFET custom made without AB (yeah, weird I know :P). I've replaced the fuse with one I made, and I've added a tracer unit control circuit of my own design, which enables any battery to be used with the internal tracer unit.
  • New wiring, using this 16 AWG stuff. It's nice and thin, but the insulation is tough and heat resistant.
  • XT-60 connectors - Loving them at the moment.
  • SHS High Speed motor - Excellent performance.
  • Modify 8mm ceramic bearings
  • Siegetek GS-R Revolution high speed gears. Siegetek gears are the best you can buy, and in my experience the only ones which can be considered reliable.
  • Guarder anti-reversal latch, but I'm currently trying to get the orginal one working properly.
  • SHS full metal tooth piston, lightened.
  • Trigger replaced with this micro switch, and installed this micro switch to activate the tracer. This took about two days of tuning to get right, but at some point I'd like to improve it with a more robust design.
  • Guarder SP120 spring - I haven't chrono'd it yet and I'll update when I do.
  • Air seal nozzle from AirsoftPro.cz
  • Sorbothane and urathane fitted to the stock cylinder head.
  • I'm going to experiment with a shorter inner barrel made by Madbull and appropriate cylinder that I have lying around, just to see how it affects the accuracy.
  • Guarder clear bucking, cut down to fit.
  • I have a few FlightTech LiPos that fit into the handguard, the largest is a FlightTech XS 2150 7.4V 50C (107.5A) measuring roughly 10.5cm x 1.7cm x 3.4cm
  • I always use a Wolfdragon PCB to protect my LiPos. I like the V4.x with trigger mod, which stops you firing the gun when the battery voltage drops below a safe level.

Think that's it, let me know if there's anything I missed!

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My parts list can be found here .

 

Yes, I used MAG shims.

I was going to use ceramic bearings also...but Kanzen did not fit. I guess later I will buy Modify bearings also.

I think I'm going to try 8mm SMOOTH gear set from Modify someday also. I've been very happy with Modify gear sets. In Berget 8 event last year I shot with my RPK almost 7000 rounds in 20min. My RPK has 7mm Modify SMOOTH torque gear set and I'm running it with 11.1V 2100 mAh 30C lipo.

 

I haven't done any tests yet, cause I just got all things together a couple a days ago. But I must say with torque gears the fire rate is pretty slow....but speed is not my thing. I will be using Modify M120 or M130 spring. I must say I'm also pretty interested to see how the original bushing will survive...

 

Btw, those XT-60 connectors look very nice. I'm using DC3 connectors (DualSky lipos use them)

I noticed when I assembled the gearbox that it's pretty easy to install wrong the part between micro switch and trigger, because the little spring is pulling the part apart from the micro switch. I used a drop of Loctite super glue to hold things together.

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I didn't manage to get that link working :/

 

Which specific Kanzen bearings didn't fit? Any were they too large for the bushing hole, or were they too thick for the gears?

 

I haven't had a chance to try out those Modify gears, but I've heard some bad stories about them. I always use Siegetek gears since they're known to be extremely reliable.

 

Please let me know what happens with your stock bushings. I might actually install mine, since I'm not happy with the noise coming from my gearbox!

 

Those DC3 connectors look very similar to the XT60. I might actually be the exact same bullet connector in a different casing.

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How the link didn't work? Did you get the login window where you should type the words which are told in the window?

 

Kanzen 8mm ceramic ones were too high. Gears didn't fit and they were also too high on the other side and touching the selector plate.

 

Can you tell what kind of stories you have heard? I must admit that I have managed to break one set of gears. But I think it was due poor lubing....

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Thanks for the list.

Right now, my Masada is pretty much bone stock with a Systema 120 spring in it.

I think I am going to keep it that way until it starts to go and then refer back to your list. the Air Nozzle is interesting, wondering if anyone in the US has them?

And, I wish I had the skill to make your mods.

 

nice work

 

Thanks Eric!

 

I've replaced almost all the internal parts.

 

  • Extreme-Fire SW-AB-Long MOSFET custom made without AB (yeah, weird I know :P). I've replaced the fuse with one I made, and I've added a tracer unit control circuit of my own design, which enables any battery to be used with the internal tracer unit.
  • New wiring, using this 16 AWG stuff. It's nice and thin, but the insulation is tough and heat resistant.
  • XT-60 connectors - Loving them at the moment.
  • SHS High Speed motor - Excellent performance.
  • Modify 8mm ceramic bearings
  • Siegetek GS-R Revolution high speed gears. Siegetek gears are the best you can buy, and in my experience the only ones which can be considered reliable.
  • Guarder anti-reversal latch, but I'm currently trying to get the orginal one working properly.
  • SHS full metal tooth piston, lightened.
  • Trigger replaced with this micro switch, and installed this micro switch to activate the tracer. This took about two days of tuning to get right, but at some point I'd like to improve it with a more robust design.
  • Guarder SP120 spring - I haven't chrono'd it yet and I'll update when I do.
  • Air seal nozzle from AirsoftPro.cz
  • Sorbothane and urathane fitted to the stock cylinder head.
  • I'm going to experiment with a shorter inner barrel made by Madbull and appropriate cylinder that I have lying around, just to see how it affects the accuracy.
  • Guarder clear bucking, cut down to fit.
  • I have a few FlightTech LiPos that fit into the handguard, the largest is a FlightTech XS 2150 7.4V 50C (107.5A) measuring roughly 10.5cm x 1.7cm x 3.4cm
  • I always use a Wolfdragon PCB to protect my LiPos. I like the V4.x with trigger mod, which stops you firing the gun when the battery voltage drops below a safe level.

Think that's it, let me know if there's anything I missed!

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How the link didn't work? Did you get the login window where you should type the words which are told in the window?

 

Kanzen 8mm ceramic ones were too high. Gears didn't fit and they were also too high on the other side and touching the selector plate.

 

Can you tell what kind of stories you have heard? I must admit that I have managed to break one set of gears. But I think it was due poor lubing....

 

Oh wow, somehow I didn't get notified when you posted your reply. Sorry about that!

 

I just had another go at logging into the registry and it worked fine. I must have had caps lock on or something last time. :rolleyes:

 

Thanks for letting me know about the Kanzens. They were going to be the next bearings I tried. I can't remember anything specific about those Modify gears, but I know they're prone to failure. When it comes to gears, SHS are just as reliable as other gearsets bar Siegetek. So either buy SHS or Siegetek, because anything in between is uneconomical.

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the Air Nozzle is interesting, wondering if anyone in the US has them?

 

As in retailers? I don't think so, but AirsoftPro.cz should be willing to ship to you.

 

And, I wish I had the skill to make your mods.

 

It just takes patience, anyone can do it. :)

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Thanks everyone for this blog has been very helpfull as ive had lots of problems with my stock masada.Can anybody tell me where i can get body pins ive lost two already,thanks again.

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