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Diy: Hopper Clips

Idiot's guide on hoppers

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#1 Ryan201821

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 03:26 PM

Update:

Wyes are also now available on McMaster #4880K636



Hopper clips have recently emerged as the new leet loading mechanism. I've been getting a lot of emails from people who can't get them to work (I don't know why). This guide will show you the basics of how hopper clips work and how to make them feed properly (It's not hard). These are a few tricks I've learned to make your hopper clip awesome and reliable.

First of all, I give credit to Beaver for discovering hoppers. You can order them off of FlexPVC.com on this page. Everything else can be obtained at your local hardware store. Also credit to Kane for a few of these tricks I've learned from him.

I use a variety of barrel materials to make hopper clips. You can use anything you fancy, or anything that you can nest inside of 1/2" Sch. 40 PVC. Generally you want a pretty tight fit for springer, and a looser fit for "airguns". Let's start with some CPVC, a great barrel material for springers.

Now the key to making a reliable hopper clip is you dart entry into the barrel. This is point where your hopper clip will jam if you've made it poorly. Start off with a section of 1/2" Sch. 40 PVC. Use a hand drill with a 5/8" spade bit to open up the ID of the PVC. Home Depot carries PVC in precut lengths that is very close to 5/8" ID, so props if you find that magic stuff.

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Cut your desired length of CPVC and jam/hammer it into the piece of PVC you just reamed out. A good rule of thumb is to use a barrel 3-5" inches less than what the optimal barrel length would be if the blaster was singled. You may have to make several hopper clips, each that work with a different blaster. The higher the air output, the better it's going to work with a hopper clip. Some blasters might not work with a hopper clip.

Anyway, I'm going with 12" here which is a nice, round number.

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Now the important part. The best tool to use here is a sharp pair of scissors. Ream out of inside of CPVC and the PVC until you get a nice, deep, smooth dart entry. It should look something like this.

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Here pictured, with a dart.

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Throw your barrel in the wye to check how well it feeds. An easy way to check this is the cover the part where the clip comes out, and blow through the back of the wye. The dart should feed into the barrel fairly easy.

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This is how the dart sits before you fire it. How it bends through the wye and magically goes through your barrel, I don't know, but it's awesome.

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Generally you want to use darts between 1" and 1.5" with your hopper clips. I use darts that are about 1.25", which seems to work the best with hopper clips. Streamlines won't work, even if you've cut them down. The stem that runs through the dart prevents it from bending enough to feed into the barrel. It's a shame. I've yet to try to make a hopper clip for taggers, but I encourage you to try.


Add a small section of PVC to the back of the wye so you can plug this into any blaster with a PVC coupler.

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Plug in the barrel and a clip (random length of PVC). For the end of the clip, you don't have many options. Dart doors take black magic to work (haven't seen one that doesn't fail), endcaps are generally terrble, which makes ball valves probably the best current option. You'll want to use one that's 3/4" so it's easy to feed the darts through. Make sure you ream the top of the clip where it connects to the ball valve so the darts don't get caught on the edge. You'll also need a 1/2" x 3/4" reducer, or it's possible to hammer in a 1/2" coupler in the ball valve.

Plug into your favorite springer, and enjoy.

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Hoppers work just as well with air guns. Here's the method for preparing a PETG barrel for your hopper.

Take something blunt, a pair of pliers, end of screwdriver, or anything slightly larger than the ID of the PETG. Smash your instrument into the end of the barrel and twist until you flare out the barrel.

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You'll also have to ream out the PVC a bit to keep the PETG flush with the end of the PVC sheath. Next add a layer or two of duct tape to the PETG to nest inside of the PVC. No need for glue if you did this correct. The PETG should be held in by the end of wye.

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sub-optimal dart feed

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And that's it really. Not too hard, eh? Sch. 80 is even easier...Just ream the shit out of it.

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=======================

So now all of you have no excuse to go make some hopper clips.

They are fun, they give any blaster a much higher rate of fire, and they are better than any loading mechanism I've seen yet.

Another cool thing, is that you can use this as an automatic blowgun if you have an "airgun" barrel on your hopper clip.

Enjoy.

========================

12/15/10 Update

Here's a minor update on a few improvements to make your hopper clips faster.

This is a special 5/8" spade bit Kane happened to stumble upon at Meyer's a couple weeks ago. On a traditional spade bit, there are cutters or spurs on the edges of the bit to give you a smoother bore when drilling stuff. For reaming PVC, we don't want this. This special bit has some strange dimples on the end, making it easier to initially get the bit going into the PVC. It'll also give you a much smoother ream.

Link
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Another big hassle for making hopper clips, is chamfering the PVC/CPVC combo for your dart feed. A countersink will help you out a lot. Typically the more flutes, the smoother the chamfer, but also more expensive. You'll need a 3/4" one, unless you can find one 7/8". After using the countersink, you'll still need to do some minor scissor work to make it perfect. It does save loads of time though.

Link
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Edited by Ryan201821, 06 July 2014 - 03:22 AM.

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#2 ultimatenerf 320

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 03:56 PM

So this is just a smaller and redesigned version of the RSCB? And does it hold the same amount of darts?
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#3 Ryan201821

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 04:01 PM

So this is just a smaller and redesigned version of the RSCB? And does it hold the same amount of darts?

It's not similar to an RSCB at all really. Darts feed automatically from gravity, instead of having to shake your blaster downward to get the next dart to feed.

This also has significantly less dead space than an RSCB. You can use whatever size clip you want with either loading mechanism, so your second point is moot.
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#4 magnesium22

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 04:10 PM

QUOTE(ultimatenerf 320 @ May 24 2010, 03:56 PM)

So this is just a smaller and redesigned version of the RSCB? And does it hold the same amount of darts?


It's not similar to an RSCB at all really. Darts feed automatically from gravity, instead of having to shake your blaster downward to get the next dart to feed.

This also has significantly less dead space than an RSCB. You can use whatever size clip you want with either loading mechanism, so your second point is moot.



Dang!, I guess we both posted at the same time but my sucky internet connection let your post show up first. :D

Edited by magnesium22, 24 May 2010 - 04:16 PM.

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#5 JATDO

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 04:14 PM

Thanks Ryan, you just help me solve my hopper clip problems! And thanks for posting that dart door link, I would of never found out about it.

And congrats on getting 300 points bowling in 2004.
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#6 imaseoulman

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 05:35 PM

I've gotten cut down streamlines to work no problem when I used it as a blowgun. I haven't really tried to shoot them with a blaster attached because I've never really wanted to, but maybe I'll try. Nice write up though.
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#7 Kabigon

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 07:39 PM

I use a variety of barrel materials to make hopper clips. You can use anything you fancy, or anything that you can nest inside of 1/2" Sch. 40 PVC. Generally you want a pretty tight fit for springer, and a looser fit for "airguns". (Some people don't know this, *cough* Brit *cough*) Let's start with some CPVC, a great barrel material for springers.


I don't quite understand this. Hopper clips rely on gravity to do all the work, right? So if you have CPVC or something that is tight, how is the dart supposed to fall into the barrel? Sorry if I misunderstood something here, but I don't get it.

Edited by Kabigon, 24 May 2010 - 07:39 PM.

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#8 rork

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 08:20 PM

The dart "sticks" in the carved-out back of the barrel, sealing it up.

Incidentally, the "air gulp" is totally legit. My SNAPbows actually shoot further with the hopper than they do singled.
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#9 SonReeceSonJensen

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 08:39 PM

So how does the addition of a hopper influence optimal barrel length compared to singling? Kabigon, you seem to see no loss of range.

I’ll bet there is a complex formula, several jackass answers, and I’m sure a telescoping barrel would work GREAT… but really a general “no to little change” or “way hella much: cut the length in half” is what I am hoping for.
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#10 Hipponater

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 10:42 PM


I use a variety of barrel materials to make hopper clips. You can use anything you fancy, or anything that you can nest inside of 1/2" Sch. 40 PVC. Generally you want a pretty tight fit for springer, and a looser fit for "airguns". (Some people don't know this, *cough* Brit *cough*) Let's start with some CPVC, a great barrel material for springers.


I don't quite understand this. Hopper clips rely on gravity to do all the work, right? So if you have CPVC or something that is tight, how is the dart supposed to fall into the barrel? Sorry if I misunderstood something here, but I don't get it.

The barrel material is tight, however, the 'clip' part where the darts are stored is looser, generally 1/2" PVC, so that the darts can fall down and feed into the main barrel. You need two different sizes, a tighter barrel and a looser dart containing tube.

So how does the addition of a hopper influence optimal barrel length compared to singling? Kabigon, you seem to see no loss of range.

I’ll bet there is a complex formula, several jackass answers, and I’m sure a telescoping barrel would work GREAT… but really a general “no to little change” or “way hella much: cut the length in half” is what I am hoping for.


I haven't done too much testing, but slightly shorter. It really depends on your dart/barrel fit too much for there to be any guidelines, you just have to test it out for your blasters with your stuff. About 2 inches off of a 10-12" blaster would prob be fine, but it will depend on how your darts fit.

Edit: Nice write up, getting a hopper to work can be tricky, but once you do, it's awesome. My brother has been putting a nail or small piece of coat hanger through the back side to block darts from going toward the air output of the blaster (we use 1" darts, so they can sometimes fall backward). It's hard to describe with words, I'll see if he can get a pic of one.

Edited by Hipponater, 24 May 2010 - 10:46 PM.

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#11 Lt Stefan

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 10:48 PM

So how does the addition of a hopper influence optimal barrel length compared to singling? Kabigon, you seem to see no loss of range.


I think it is because of the added deadspace from the clip. More deadspace=less air= shorter barrel.
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#12 Fome

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 01:31 AM

I really like this thread.
In fact, I'd really like to see more of these basic tutorials on all of the "standard" technologies that have proliferated themselves in the hobby, (ie. breeches, speedloaders, turrets, dart doors, pipe clips, etc.) The pipe clips (inlines, RSCBs, hoppers) can be a tricky bitch to get to work and still seem to continue to mystify new nerfers on how they actually work.
Also, even though the RSCB is much outdated compared to the superior hopper clip, inline clips still maintain a niche role, even surpassing hoppers in efficiency in certain situations.

Some blasters might not work with a hopper clip.


You might want to try an inline clip in these instances. Inline clips have the least deadspace of the three and therefore are useful where air output is limited (pistols, small air tanks, etc.). Oddly, I've found that you want to do the opposite of what Ryan described in this thread to maintain a reliable rate of fire in an inline clip. Instead of creating a nice funneled feed area, you want defined rigid walls between your barrel and clip material. This greatly decreases double shots. If you're finding that your blaster is ejecting more than one dart at a time, if not the entire clip, then it's time to upgrade to a hopper clip.

Sorry about the tangent.
Summary: Hoppers are awesome. So is the advice in this thread. Don't forget about inline clips though, which are also awesome.

#13 Daniel Beaver

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 06:54 AM

I've been using these on a regular basis since last summer, and while they are superior to other clip systems in most ways, they do have their quirks.

Hoppers require a bit of "oomph" out of your blaster to work properly, more so than may be required from an RSCB. I generally have trouble getting them to work on medium powered blasters, such as Big Bad Bows and Maxshots. But when they do work, they invariably perform better than RSCB clips.

Hoppers are highly reliable when used with well made darts, but tend to jam when using lower quality stuff. This gets annoying when you need to pick ammo up off the ground. You can greatly reduce the rate of jamming if you flare the shit out of your barrel, as Ryan described.

I think RSCB clips still have their place, especially among some lower-powered airguns. AT2k tanks work awesome with RSCBs, but I've never had luck getting them to work with hoppers. Your mileage may vary.

And as Fome said, inline clips still fill a niche among blasters which are very sensitive to dead space. The dead space in a hopper is not that much smaller on a hopper than an RSCB.

Edited by Daniel Beaver, 25 May 2010 - 06:55 AM.

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#14 Split

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 08:22 AM

The "dead space" you guys are referring to is effectively reduced by the path of the air flow. Because the air doesn't want to go forward and then back+up as much as it just wants to go forward, when we talk about the hopper clip's dead space, we're not usually including the clip section, or at least not entirely. To relate that back to rscbs, the air goes up into the tee then can just as easily (slight simplification, I know) go left or right, so it does both. You can see this airflow effect in the difference between rscb's and brisc's (rscb's made with a wye).
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#15 imaseoulman

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 08:29 AM

Split makes a really good point. He really did simplify what's happening in the RSCB, but you can actually see this happening. A couple years back when I was experimenting with RSCB's I made a clip out of PETG to be able to see how many darts I had in my clip. When using squishier foam, you could actually see it compress for a short period of time. It shows how much air really is going back into the clip. I haven't tried this with a hopper clip yet, but from what I've learned of fluid dynamics, the effects should be much less. You might actually get better range with a hopper clip than an RSCB on a high output low pressure (larger plunger springer), possibly.

Also, what is this "air gulp" you guys are talking about?
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#16 VACC

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 09:06 AM

As a testament to the efficiency of this mechanism I have to note that neither Famine, Ash, nor I flared the entry point on our barrels, and through 2 full wars I haven't seen any issues with jamming. I had one misfire that I can recall in all that time, and it could have just as easily been the result of a lopsided dart.
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#17 Ryan201821

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 03:20 PM

As a testament to the efficiency of this mechanism I have to note that neither Famine, Ash, nor I flared the entry point on our barrels, and through 2 full wars I haven't seen any issues with jamming. I had one misfire that I can recall in all that time, and it could have just as easily been the result of a lopsided dart.

This could be because you guys are using +bows with these which put out a lot more air than any other "Nerf" blaster. When we first started using hoppers, I didn't flare out the barrel either.

The dart "sticks" in the carved-out back of the barrel, sealing it up.

Incidentally, the "air gulp" is totally legit. My SNAPbows actually shoot further with the hopper than they do singled.

That shouldn't happen. There is something wrong in your setup. I notice about a 10-20% range loss when using a hopper clip as opposed to a single barrel.

Edit: Nice write up, getting a hopper to work can be tricky, but once you do, it's awesome. My brother has been putting a nail or small piece of coat hanger through the back side to block darts from going toward the air output of the blaster (we use 1" darts, so they can sometimes fall backward). It's hard to describe with words, I'll see if he can get a pic of one.

Not a bad idea. I have noticed problems like this with smaller darts, and with blasters that vacuum load when you prime it. A check valve in your system help but a small screw or pin also works really well. I've had to do this with several of my HAMPs.

The "dead space" you guys are referring to is effectively reduced by the path of the air flow. Because the air doesn't want to go forward and then back+up as much as it just wants to go forward, when we talk about the hopper clip's dead space, we're not usually including the clip section, or at least not entirely. To relate that back to rscbs, the air goes up into the tee then can just as easily (slight simplification, I know) go left or right, so it does both. You can see this airflow effect in the difference between rscb's and brisc's (rscb's made with a wye).

Very, very true. This also proves why very large clips on HAMPs still work just as well as using a smaller clip.

==================

Thanks for the responses, I think guides like these are great for the community.
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#18 jakejagan

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 05:41 PM

Would Slug darts work with this setup?
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#19 KaneTheMediocre

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 06:23 PM

Would Slug darts work with this setup?

Yes, that is all we in the midwest use nowadays. Admittedly they don't feed quite as easily as a glue dome, but if you have a nice dart entry, it should work fine


Also, it should be noted that hoppers are MUCH more sensitive to poor dart entry when used with HAMPs, and doubly so with megaHAMPs. There is a minimum pressure needed to feed a dart through the hopper, and HAMPs operate with extremely low pressure by nerf standards.

Also, I'd like to hear from anyone who's gotten streamlines to go through a wye hopper clip. I never had any luck with this, even when they are cut short, which seems to be due to the long stem of the dart tip. I heard a rumor that older streamlines had a shorter stem, which might explain why I occasionally hear of someone making it work.
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#20 cheyner

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 07:14 PM

If you make your own wye, you could play with the angle to get streamlines to work, say a 35 degree angle. Also, on my MegaHAMP, I found that I NEEDED a dart stop, no way around it, otherwise on the pull I was sucking darts backwards.
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#21 rork

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Posted 26 May 2010 - 03:56 PM

That shouldn't happen. There is something wrong in your setup. I notice about a 10-20% range loss when using a hopper clip as opposed to a single barrel.


SNAPs can be weird; they're probably somewhat slow to pressurize compared to a Plusbow. I suspect I simply never found the optimum barrel length for singled usage; I tested up to 16" and quit when it started hitting 105'+ every shot.
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#22 diamondbacknf1626

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 05:05 PM

That shouldn't happen. There is something wrong in your setup. I notice about a 10-20% range loss when using a hopper clip as opposed to a single barrel.


SNAPs can be weird; they're probably somewhat slow to pressurize compared to a Plusbow. I suspect I simply never found the optimum barrel length for singled usage; I tested up to 16" and quit when it started hitting 105'+ every shot.


Same deal with my SNAP. They're just cool like that.
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#23 Wes7143

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 04:30 PM

*blahblahblah*
This is how the dart sits before you fire it. How it bends through the wye and magically goes through your barrel, I don't know, but it's awesome.
*blahblahblah*


Just a theory here, but I'm thinking the dart contracts rapidly due to the pressure. I noticed that the foam shrinks about 1/2 it's size in the pressure of a small, clear syringe tube. Here's a section of foam (it's top half of a CS dart) before pressure, and with pressure.
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#24 Guest_Just Some Bob_*

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 05:26 PM

Just a theory here, but I'm thinking the dart contracts rapidly due to the pressure. I noticed that the foam shrinks about 1/2 it's size in the pressure of a small, clear syringe tube. Here's a section of foam (it's top half of a CS dart) before pressure, and with pressure.


It's hard to tell because you snipped the plunger out of the first picture, but I'm sure you're generating something higher than 2 atmospheres in there, maybe 3 or more. HAMPs, which seem to utilize hoppers just fine, don't even come close to generating half that kind of overpressure.
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#25 imaseoulman

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 05:37 PM

A bit of a necro, but a useful one, hopefully.

I've been having troubles with darts sticking in the wye. When I get a dry fire and check what caused it, the dart is stuck done right where it normally drops. Is anybody else having this problem? I've tried different lengths of darts and that doesn't seem to be a factor. It's not getting stuck in the barrel entry, it's not even coming close to entering the barrel, just sticking at a 45 degree angle.

Hopefully I'm not the only one who has had this issue.
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