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Black Knight

Black Knight's HPA odyssey

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Ok, during the past year or so I've been fiddling with the much hyped HPA stuff. I thought I'd share my experiences, as someone else thinking about making the same leap might find it useful. So here's a "one year later"-look into this little odyssey. (This is a long write-up with no pictures, so one might also find it to be extremely boring. If you ladies and gents ask nicely, I might be persuated to add pics later on..)

 

One thing I put a lot of thinking into, before buying anything, was the line. And more specifically, is it going to be in my way when playing? Well, if you put even a little thought into running the line into your gear, it's not. I'm a pretty active player(meaning that I change positions and move around a lot) and after the first five minutes you won't notice it anymore. The Ninja line I have is very robust and there's pretty much no chance that it's going to break. It might separate from the quick connects, thought, so that's definitely something to be aware of.

 

The first HPA-system I bought was the Wolverine Inferno Gen 1. With the engine I also got a Ninja LPR regulator and a Volcano 48ci tank. The reg came with a line, so I did not have to get one separately. The first gun I put the engine into was a Specna Arms M4 AEG. (I can't remember the exact product type, but it was a little older version of their current Enter and Convert-system, where you still had to take the mechbox out of the receiver to change springs.) As the Specna box has a different kind of spring guide(which I did not want to destroy by cutting it in half..) I decided to replace the entire gearbox with a VFC one I had lying around from my HK416. You can probably see where this is going.. I ended up creating a nightmare installation, where I first had to take material off from the insides of the gearbox, to make the Inferno fit, and also take material off from to outside of the gearbox, to make the it fit into the Specna lower. (Make note, Specna lower is slightly narrower from the back part than for example G&P or Lonex.) This build had no end to problems with curving bb's and inconsistent hop-up. I fired about 3000 test shots and never got it working correctly, despite my 15 year airsoft teching experience. And yes, I tried everything. Different buckings, alignment screws, everything Wolverine shows on their videos. Which I found to be very informative and well made, by the way. If you are considering getting one of these things, you might want to look through all of them, even if you are not considering getting a Wolverine product. Anyway, the next step for this build was buing a new Lonex M4 for the Inferno engine. Gen.4 Lonex is a good base for the Inferno and I had zero fitting issues. This time the gun worked better, but it still was not as accurate as my AEG's(My standard for AEG accuracy is 20-30cm grouping from about a 30 meter distance) and I still had the similar "curving bb"- and inconsistent hop-up-problems as before. Next step was the Inferno Gen 2 upgrade kit. I still had some curving problems, but these turned out to be caused by a very narrow hop window(about 0.5mm narrower than the a standard stock barrel from an A&K M249, actually) in the stock Lonex barrel. I replaced the barrel and now the gun is performing acceptably with the standard Lonex hop-up chamber and a purple Prommy bucking. Has to be noted though, that I have yet to do any serious field-testing for this build.

 

The next HPA-thing was converting a couple of my GBB's into using HPA. I did this with CQB Russian's fill valve replacements. I already had the line, reg and a tank, so why not? The Ninja line is combatible with these and installing is a breeze. Just take out the old fill valve and put in the CQB Russian's replacement. Just be sure to seal the thread between the valve and the magazine with teflon tape. I did this for my KWA Kriss Vector, KSC G34 and TM P226 and all work flawlessly. And if this does not work for you, you can always change it back to green gas by simply just putting the old fill valves back. The Vector still cycles with just 85 psi pressure and the power is around 1 joule. And with the power-up silencer with a barrel extension inside, I'm getting 1.6 joules. Mind you, these are the usual limits here in Finland for indoor and outdoor play. Just perfect. The KSC Glock cycles fine with about 110 psi pressure and spits out about 1 joule-power. Quite nice for a winter back-up. Only problem with pistols thus far, is that in games "triggerhappy me" is going through magazines much faster that other players.

 

And onto the next buy. Which was the Wolverine Bolt. I chose the Bolt over Mancraft because of the low sound signature. And it really is very quiet. With a stock chinese cheapo silencer I'm getting a sound signature similar to the TM Mk23 NBB and after maybe 10-15 meters, people can't hear my shots. With is pretty quiet for a 3 joule sniper rifle. The unit itself is quite easy to install and there are no adjustments to be made. My unit was quite leaky OTB. Even the solenoid was leaking from a damaged o-ring. I got great support from the Finnish Wolverine retailer called Atom Airsoft, so I did not feel the need to bother Wolverine about this. Nothing a new o-ring and some teflon tape couldn't fix.. When playing with the rifle, I noticed that you need to fire from a supported position. Much more accurate that way. I quess this makes sence, as the solenoid is the only moving part in the system, so the user's movements have a more significant impact on accuracy. Bolt needed about 145 psi pressure for 3 joule-power, which is the usual limit for snipers around here. The Ninja regulator also performed nicely, but I replaced it with a Wolverine Storm High Pressure, as the relief valve of the LPR vents air at about 135 psi and I obviously needed the mentioned 145. Running the Bolt with AA chamber, AA 6.01-barrel and a 75-degree Maple Decepticon.

 

One would think that with all these problems I'd be pretty fed up with HPA systems. Well, apparently I'm not, as I recently purchased the Bingo Airsoft Design's Polarstar Jack-kit for the TM MP7. Why on earth was I willing to dish out about 550 euros for the kit? Well, I really like my AEP MP7. It's small, very lightweight and very quiet. The HPA-kit kept it quiet, but instead of about 300 fps I can now get about 350 fps out of it. And that's a big difference in a gun so small. I'm still in the process of testing this neat little thing, but so far everything is looking good. A couple of my friends also took a liking to this thing and got kits of their own. One of them is planning to put the kit into a TM Scorpion, as that thing has the same gearbox as the MP7, but it remains to be seen how it works out.

 

As a previous PTW owner, I really like the easy velocity adjustment possibility of the HPA engines. I also like the fast rate of fire and the possibility to adjust it easily. The impression I have been getting from this little odyssey is that if you are going to get a HPA system, get a closed bolt one. This means either a Wolverine Inferno Gen. 2 or a Polarstar Fusion Engine. Inferno Gen.2 seems to work well for me, but at the same time I have to admit that I have to use it more to reach the final conclusion. And my understanding is that with the P* FE you can choose whether it fires from open or closed bolt. I'd like to know, if there any P* FE users who use theirs in open bolt mode and do not have any problems with curving bb's or inconsistent hop-up? My understanding is that the FE also has a setting that allows you to adjust the time between nozzle movement and letting air to the bb. My common sence tells me this might be useful when troubleshooting inconsistent hop-up problems..?

 

Also, despite all the hype, a HPA system does not make the war-gods of airsoft strike your enemies down with bb-lightning bolts. Although fast ROF is certainly intimidating, it does not make you a better player. These systems have their pro's and con's, just like any other. HPA might work better for you than an AEG or it might not. For me it has done pretty much both work well and not work at all, but then again I made the leap just for fun and for the hobby's sake.

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Very nice write up. Thanks.

 

And yes, in the P* you can choose to fire from open or closed bolt. First shot will be made on an empty chamber in the last case.

There's also a setting that regulates the time between the nozzle seating and the air being released. Both together make my VFC SCAR-H work very well.

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No problemo, mate.. :D

 

And thanks for the P* info. The manual of the Jack engine does mention this kind of timing setting(Jack has the same FCU as the FE), but nothing beats feedback from actual users. Although my MP7 seems to be working well, I still do wish those settings were possible with the Jack also. (Polarstar, I you are reading this, please take my money and make a Fusion Engine for the Marui MP7 AEP.. :D )

 

Also, to update the original post, I took the Inferno Gen 2 into a skirmish just yesterday. I fired about 1000-1500 rounds on semi-auto and went through about 1000 psi of air at 105 psi pressure. And my accuracy was on par with any AEG on the field. I was able to hit head size targets at 20-30 meter ranges with just 2-4 shots. I also noticed that as the day progressed, my shots became a little more consistent. Not much, but enough to be noticable. I would put this down to a brand new hop-up bucking and the regulator getting "bedded in". So maybe the Gen 2 Inferno lives up to the hype. I will reserve my judgement, however, until I have put at least 10k rounds through it. Always safer to shoot a lot first and make conclusions later.. :wacko:  :D

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Update on the BAD MP7 and tapped P226. I skirmished with these guns last sunday and, while the P226 ran like a champ, I encountered a rather strange issue with the MP7. Upon firing the gun would just make a small puff-noise and no bb would come out for the first 2-4 shots. After those first shots, it would cycle normally. We had -2 C weather and when I tried the gun again back home, it would function normally. So it seems like the solenoid does not like cold weather. I fired about 500-700 rounds with a pressure of 120 psi. Have any of you encountered anything similar with the Polarstar Jack engine?

 

One would think my day was ruined, but I was in fact able to get quite a few kills with the MP7, despite it not functioning properly. The gun has a very old(over 10 years) First Factory SOCOM-silencer on it and this thing makes it very quiet. Sound signature is about the same as in a TM Mk23. So opponents at ranges over 15 meters were not hearing my shots. Farthest kill I got was at about 30-35 meters and the target did not react to me shooting at him on full auto at all.

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Best thing about HPA set ups like the P* and Wolverine etc etc is that they can be made VERY quiet.

 

Not my personal cup of tea because I tend to be very aggressive in movement and shoot a lot and move a lot, so the added weight and snag factor of the tank and hose, plus the limit on shots I can fire as opposed to batteries puts me off.

 

I can definitely see the utility for semi auto long range DMR work though, or if you were using an airstock, running a very quiet lower powered SMG/carbine for sneaky beaky stuff.

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Update on the BAD MP7 and tapped P226. I skirmished with these guns last sunday and, while the P226 ran like a champ, I encountered a rather strange issue with the MP7. Upon firing the gun would just make a small puff-noise and no bb would come out for the first 2-4 shots. After those first shots, it would cycle normally. We had -2 C weather and when I tried the gun again back home, it would function normally. So it seems like the solenoid does not like cold weather. I fired about 500-700 rounds with a pressure of 120 psi. Have any of you encountered anything similar with the Polarstar Jack engine?

Seen something like that before. I think it's the cold making the lubrication thicker so it needs higher pressure for cycling. I think the grease that most HPA products use is too thick for their pressure levels in general.

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I took the Wolverine Inferno equipped M4 and the Bingo MP7 out again to a local indoor field.

 

The field limit was 1J(about 330 fps with a .2g bb). And to reach that with my M4, I had to drop the regulator pressure down to 30 psi. This was a really big surprise to me, as my gun just has the standard Lonex hopup chamber, an A&K M249 stock barrel and the Prometheus purple hopup bucking, so I was not expecting to reach 1J at such a low pressure setting. I was also kind of surprised and impressed, that the Inferno Gen 2 engine did function normally with such a low pressure setting. The Gen1 Inferno did not cycle properly below 60 psi, but apparently the Gen 2 does.

 

I observed some velocity fluctuation when chronoing the rifle, but I would put this down to the regulator(I'm running the Wolverine Storm High Pressure..) having difficulties with the low pressure setting. Despite the chrono, It's kinda hard to judge accuracy, as the site is very dark, so both adjusting hopup and observing bb flight paths is very difficult, even with good flash lights. I did hit opponents, though, so my shots at least seemed to be on target.. :D

 

MP7 experienced the same problems as described before. The site is not kept at room temperatures and we had about -4°C outside yesterday. So the site is maybe 10-15°C above that. But still, I was kinda expecting the Jack to run properly at about 5-10°C temperatures. I'm going to have to take the engine apart and apply new lubricant for the solenoid. I'm thinking that the TechT GunSav would be the correct choise?

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Just a small update on my previous post. I took the Bingo MP7 apart, all the way down to the solenoid and allied TechT GunSav on all o-rings. Now the gun cycles well with no "first shot hicups", but will it keep doing so in the long run, remains to be seen.

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I think the Techt Gunsav is too thick. Most greases are too thick for the operating pressure of airsoft hpa systems in my opinion. I would use superlube (silicone grease) on non-moving orings and silicone oil on moving parts/o-rings.

I run silicone oil on the bolt in my paintball marker as well during winter, and normal grease during summer. It seems to perform better.

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Polar star recommend Tech GunSav pretty sure most people use it with the wolverine system too. I've been using it with both my fusion engines for the last 4 years with no issues.. with the wolverine and only one moving part I would say it was even less of an issue.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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I took the MP7 out again last sunday. We had about 0°C weather and in the first game of the day the gun ran fine, but in the second game I encountered the "first shot hicup" problem again. This time the gun would not fire a bb on the very first shot, but would shoot normally on followup shots. So applying grease for the engine definitely helped, but I'm going to have to take another look at it. Would simple silicone oil be suitable for this use? At least it should not destroy any o-rings, at least. I would imagine with it's high viscosily it gets shot out of the engine pretty fast, though.

 

Also, when my tank began to close on empty, I was not able to fire full auto at all. I had maybe about 800-1000 psi of air in the tank to begin with and I went through that in about 600-800 rounds @ 120 psi. The gun has a 182mm PDI tightbore and IIRC the dwell value on the Jack engine is set to about 30. How would you consider this air efficiency-vise? It seems like a bit on the non-efficient side and as I did take apart the solenoid, maybe I did something wrong when putting it back together again?

 

During the first two games I also had some duels with our field's experienced regulars and all of them said that, while the gun only shoots about 350 fps on 0.2's(Finnish fps limit is usually around 410 fps), the low sound signature makes dodging incoming fire much more difficult. As opposed to facing a regular AEG, where you can hear the gun firing and quickly take cover before the bb's reach you. I was also able to get a few nice "where did that came from?"-kills while flanking in a zombie gamemode.

 

When flanking, this little thing really shines. Somehow this always manages to overcome my frustration on the gun not functioning properly.. :D I'm going to have to take this properly out on warmer wheather, though, to reach a fair and final conclusion.

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Hpa systems are generally pretty inefficient in terms of shots per tank, IIRC it's somewhere in the region of 1 shot per cc of air. What size is your tank?

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Thanks for the input, gents. I already applied TechT for the P* Jack-engine in the MP7, so I'll just have to see how it fares under brutal combat conditions.. :D

 

Problem is that Tech GunSav, it gets too thic under +4c, change to something that has more tolerance for cold. Guys at pirkanmaasoft are using these products even in -24 :)

https://www.ecllube.com/data-sheets-and-sds/christo-lube-family/

 

Superlube works bit better but gets frozen in -15c

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That's pretty much what I figured out when testing this little thing yesterday. I left it pressurized for about two hours and it shot perfectly on full auto afterwards in room temperature, so most likely it's the lubricant that's causing the issue. Wolverine probably recommends TechT, as they don't think that anyone in their right mind would play airsoft in sub-zero °C temperatures... :D

 

I also noticed that my tank had lost about 500 psi worth of pressure after the two hours. I though my gun had a leak somewhere, so I took it apart and re-sealed the connection between the solenoid and the engine body and the connection between the engine body and the airline. Has anybody of you gents observed similar behaviour with any other HPA engines? Of course it's all about all of seals in the system being airtight. And I think pretty much all HPA-engines can be made airtight with the proper use of PTFE-tape. But has anybody noticed some engines being more prone to leakages than others straight out of the box?

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I absolutely love the P* MP7, and I've had no trouble with it. I have found that the TechT is a bit thick in my single solenoid guns, and I prefer to use straight silicone oil. Only the lightest amount. I find that, like GBBs, they're almost always over lubed, they only need just a touch. The MAG MP7 100rd magazines are brilliant in it too, FWIW. Definitely my favourite gun.

 

Haven't had any trouble with leaks, although in a Jack 416 I did have some stiction problems, which manifested itself as first shot drop off (i.e. low fps on the first shot after sitting). The FCU has the anti stiction (iS and iP I think) settings, which coupled with a high dP solved it, and then after a while it just sorted itself out and I've not had trouble since. You should never need any sealing tape anywhere on a P* though; all the joins are sealed with o-rings which do not require any additional sealant. The only exception is a PIGL, which for some stupid reason Amped make without a flat surface to seal on, incredulously instead choosing to seal a straight thread with tape. Given that's basically the opposite of how it was designed to work (see the OEM macro line adaptors white washer, for the correct method), I can't fathom why they would do it. The sealant tape they provide on a PIGL is adequate, but if you ever need to take it out and put it back, probably something like Loctite Master Pipe Sealant is a better (more reliable) choice.

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Thanks for the input, kind sir!

 

Might as well take a look at the anti stiction setting, if the problem persists also during warmer weather conditions. Currently the gun has TechT in it and I'll give it another go when we start reaching something like +10°C here in southern Finland, just to verify to myself that it's the grease that's causing the problem.

 

The leak I mentioned in my previous post was actually from the regulator. After testing the MP7 I had not touched the reg in a couple of weeks. And when testing my Bolt last week, I noticed that the reg was leaking heavily from the joint between the regulator body and the quick connector piece. I remedied this with PTFE-tape and TechT, as I did not have any real sealant meant for this kind of thing available. A bit of TechT on the thread first, then PTFE-tape and a little TechT on the tape also. I have sealed a Madbull CO2-adapter with a similar method and that has held up for many years already, so I remain confident this will also, but we'll see.

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I have taken out the M4 with Wolverine Gen 2 Inferno a couple of times now. This thing seems to have developed a slight left curve on the bb trajectory and some general inaccuracy. Not sure what is causing this; gonna have take a look at it.

 

But at the same time, I'm planing to move the Inferno into a Cyma MP5 SD6. Should not be too much of a hassle, as the Cyma donor gun is internally very similar to your standard M4. Gonna see how that goes.

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Well, that turned out faster than I originally anticipated...

 

Just yesterday I took both the Cyma MP5 and my AR(with the Inferno inside), put them both to bits and installed the Inferno into the MP5. I was planning on running the Inferno wiring into the handguard but I realized pretty quickly that it's going to require some major fitting, filing and dremeling. So I just ended up running the wiring out the back. Gonna have to get a solid stock for this at some point.

 

Cyma gearbox takes the Inferno with zero problems. The only issue I ran into, is that the gun fires semi on safe and full auto on both semi and FA. But that's probably an easy fix and just requires some minor filing of the selector plate.

 

Checking alignment with the MP5 is difficult at best. Side-to-side alignment is easy enough to check from the magwell, but you can't really see the top-down alignment anywhere. (For those that don't know, I used the "insert an inner barrel into the outer barrel without the hopup bits"-method, as advised by Wolverine.) The ejection port is too far back and there are no other openings in the gun's body. Oh well, just have to see how she shoots...

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Sounds like a long travel into the HPA, man, quite interesting read ; )

 

I don't know if you tested the possibility of a 450FPS DMR using HPA, do you think these systems can provide a noticeable better performance over AEGs like the SR25? This is my main DMR platform at the moment and it is the best performing one I had compared to AKs and Ar15s

 

Thanks for your thoughts and keep up the great work =D

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You can get a 5.5mm endoscope for $10, and that will let you see the nozzle from down the barrel.

 

Some (most?) MP5s have a shorter nozzle than an M4, so that's worth checking. I have a Fusion Engine in an ICS MP5SD6 and I think that one required a 0.7mm cut. Trivial enough, and you can check by measuring how far each nozzle extends past the gearbox shell, make them match and you're done. At the front of the receiver underneath the barrel there should be small notch, and that's where the wiring comes out. V2s have that hole at the front for the front wiring, so I just poked the harness wire out of there and that was that.

 

G3s on the other hand are an adventure... The gearbox comes out backward, and they can't be front wiring the same way. As a result the easiest way I found was to chop the loom in half, put a 6 pin connector just behind the rear of the gearbox and then extend the loom with some very flat double insulated 6 (maybe 5, I forget) core alarm wiring. So now it's just like if it were an AEG - unplug the rear connector, slide the gearbox out.

 

Isamu, neither a properly built AEG or HPA gun has any advantage over each other in respect to precision/accuracy. I think by this stage (i.e. we have lots of hours on both systems, and many different types of each) there would be a fair proportion of users who would say that an AEG is easier to accurize  :D  I think the real story is closer to, "if you get a recalcitrant single solenoid setup, you're pretty much stuffed". When I can, I fit Fusion Engines FWIW.

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Thanks for the input, gents!

 

Isamu, based on my current HPA experiences, I'd say that the only real advantage a HPA system has over an AEG is the low sound signature. Every time I've had a banana on my gun, people just don't react to me firing at all. Also, if I'd want to make a HPA DMR, I'd definitely choose a closed bolt system, meaning a Fusion Engine or the upcoming Reaper.

 

Malcolmg, thanks for the endoscope tip! I'll see how she runs first and make adjustments, if necessary. Gearbox-vise, the Cyma MP5 is an M4 in an MP5 shell. Nozzle lenght is the same. The only difference is the selector plate.

 

There is the hole at the front of the gun body for the normal wiring to run into the handguard, but the FCU connector is too big to fit through it. And I sure as hell won't be cutting the wires and putting any extra connectors on to them, which means that I would have to be able to pull the connector through the hole in order to pull the gearbox out of the gun. (The Cyma gearbox comes out from the back, similar to the old ICS MP5 design.) Also the wiring harness is a bit thicker than the original wiring, which runs in a groove between the gearbox and the gun body and that would also be a snug fit.

 

Oh well, gonna have to live with a solid stock, at least for now. Got one from Airsoftpro for 8 euros plus shipping, so the price was not bad.

 

Not HPA related at all, but it sure does feel good to have an MP5 again.. :D It's been almost 10 years since I used have one.. :fear2:

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And I sure as hell won't be cutting the wires and putting any extra connectors on to them

 

I promise you it isn't difficult, a bit boring maybe and a little delicate, but no more hassle than say soldering new wires on to trigger contacts... fiddly is a good word for it. 

 

I'm happy to take some pictures for you if you would find that encouraging? 

 

Here is the flat wire I used to go between the gearbox and body shell int he G3 (you know the body groove for the stock, beneath that is the perfect recess and MP5s have it too :D

https://www.jaycar.co.nz/3-pair-6-wire-telephone-cable/p/WB1622

 

 

I loved MP5s too, they were my first BB gun all those years ago, and I have collected them from half a dozen manufactuers now (some good, some *suitcase*!)

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