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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Accuracy in Airsoft Guns (Part I)

Accurate Airsoft guns. 


They all have at least one thing in common:  a properly set hop-up.

I seem to see a lot of newer players focus on the power of their gun quite a bit, yet they give no real thought to how accurate it really is.  This is furthered by just about all of the manufactures & retailers out there who will provide data on how powerful the gun they're selling shoots, but they give no data on shot groupings or details on accuracy whatsoever.  One lesson I learned along my way (that I've had to learn the hard way), is that it really doesn't matter if your gun's velocity or power is registering really high numbers on the chrono because if your BBs are flying in all different directions and can't land on target, what good is all that power?  I mean, it makes really cool "whiz" sound as it flies by the target, but that's about it.

While there are a number of different elements in every type of Airsoft gun that affect accuracy, it can be easily argued that the rubber hop-up bucking probably has the most direct effect, as it places backspin on the BB in order to keep it in flight longer before dropping to the ground.  The trick is to get the axis on which the BB spins on to be as perpendicular to level ground as possible.  Any deviation from a perpendicular axis, and the BB will spin off line from its intended target.  See my extra-stellar MS Paint illustration below for a visual idea of what I'm talking about.

So if you haven't figured it out by now, the surface of the bucking that needs to contact the BB needs to be at the very top of the sphere, as it is in the first example above, on the far left.  Notice the surface of the bucking is parallel to the ground and makes a perpendicular orientation with the Y-axis.  This is ideal.  Often times, your inner barrel, which is enveloped on one end by the bucking, can twist or move around a bit during the course of operation.  This can cause the hop-up bucking to become improperly situated in a manner that will throw the BB's backspin off axis and consequently result in the BB curving to the left or right of your target.

Situating the hop-up is an important element to remember when you are re-assembling your gun.  Especially if you take any type of measures to seal the rubber bucking and/or the hop-up chamber to the inner barrel.  You need take great care in aligning the bucking properly on the barrel BEFORE you seal things up.  Once things are sealed, depending on the sealant used, it becomes much more difficult to get the bucking into a good position like I've illustrated above.

Some of you might be wondering, "well who makes a good hop-up bucking?"  If that is the case and you ARE, in fact, wondering about that, then I'll shall provide you with a list of quality buckings now.
- Systema Bucking (they only make one for AEGs)
- Guarder Enhanced Bucking (the black one)
- Firefly (hard or soft, depending on your gun's velocity)
- Madbull
- King Arms
(I use the Systema and Guarder) 

- Nineball Air Seal Bucking (A division of Laylax)
- Firefly Bucking
- King Arms Red Air Seal Bucking
(I use the Nineball in both my pistols and sniper rifles)

That'll do for now.  This will be part of a series (note the "Part I" in the post title).  There is a ton of details when it comes to accuracy, as some of you are well aware.

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