So, let's start at the very beginning (a very good place to start).
The venerable Ratchetblast. Let's crack 'er open.
Here it is, with each of the important systems labeled in turn.
A. The trigger
This is just a hinged piece which pushes against the L-shape at the end of the plunger. We'll get into how that action fires the gun later.
B. The plunger
Contrary to popular opnion, it's possible to take it apart and replace the spring.
C. The air rotation system.
The RatchetBlast is unique because it rotates its air delivery, as opposed to rotating the barrels to the air outlet.
D. The turret.
This doesn't move. The turret has multiple openings, which the air moves to.
The orange piece at the top is the crosshair for the useless scope. I have no idea why they bothered to put a spring on it.
Let's take a closer look.
We're going to start with B, because that's where the action is.
Looking closer at the plunger, you can see that it's made of two parts, that slide inside each other slightly.
The end of the piece which has the plunger head has a snap-ring. Using the catch, you can press down the spring and hold it, and detatch the inner piece. Slide it up and it's out.
But the question remains: why is the plunger two parts? That's the beauty: this is the catch release system. Look closer:
This picture shows the plunger as it would sit after charging the plunger. You can see the dent wheere the catch will sit, locking the plunger in place. The small ramp is attached to the L shape at the end of the plunger. Now, when the hunged trigger swings forward, it presses on the L, sliding the inner segment forward...
...lifting the catch from the slot.
The action of charging the plunger is simple. There is a pin (which the L-shape sits behind) on the handle. When the handle rotates down, it is also pulling backwards on the plunger. When it rotates back up, the trigger is right next to teh extended plunger, ready to push the inner sleeve back, dislodging the catch. Elegant, really.
So we know about how the plunger works....but what about the air delivery? Like other parts, it's deceptively simple. You'll notice the sawtooth ring on the base of the plunger tube. It's identical to the system used on the Maverick to rotate the barrels. Except in this case, it's rotating the plunger tube.
The white bar under the sawtooth ring has its backend attached to the pivoting handle. When the handle rotates down, it pulls the bar back. This causes the plunger to rotate.
And this is what the end looks like...
Which then nests into the turret.
The turret is held firmly in place, and the foam pad at the end of the plunger mantains a seal. A very good one at that, surprisingly so.
So, I did some tests with a new spring:
This was actually a little long. I had to cut it down a turn and a half or so. After doing so, I charged it up...and it promptly broke. Opening it up showed this:
Duh. New spring, plastic part, lever action. SNAP. However, not all is lost: this just tells me that I need to do some reinforcement there. And since the inner plunger sleeve is hollow, it's a prime candidate for a bolt to repair and reinforce. More to come...
Edited by Carbon, 11 November 2007 - 12:09 AM.