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Airgun trigger mods: worth it or not?


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#1 Daniel Beaver

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 04:43 PM

No-Bullshit Raw Data



One of the traditional mods performed on the SuperMAXX and Airtech series is the replacement of the trigger spring either with a piece of a bic pen, or a wad of hot glue. Here's an example from Ryan's Airtech 3000 overhaul:

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The usual justification for trigger mods is that they allow you to open the valve quickly by pulling the trigger very fast. Some people have countered that this mod accomplishes nothing. In the interest of SCIENCE, I tested this supposition using my SuperMAXX 1500 and my chronograph. I singled the blaster using a 12" length of CPVC gooped onto the tank stub, and plugged the pump. The darts I used were regular slugs, and they fit fairly loosely in CPVC (they won't fall through, but are very easily blown down into the tube). I first tested ten shots using the standard trigger setup, then swapped in a section of bic pen and did another ten shots. The pump was a little finicky, so I only recorded results where I felt a "firm" 5 pumps (otherwise the shot were underpowered). A better way to test this would be to use a compressor to regulate the PSI, but this method seemed consistent enough. You can see my internal setup below.

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Data

My conclusion:
There is no significant difference in muzzle velocity between these two trigger setups when using an SM1500.

Edited by Daniel Beaver, 06 January 2012 - 04:45 PM.

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#2 jubjub517

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 05:45 PM

I'm glad you posted this. I've always hated the trigger on my 1500, I find it's difficult to aim with such a hard trigger pull. I really wish the previous owner didn't cut the spring off.

One thing you left out is the Supermaxx cam mech (and at4k/supertech). I've always loved these mechanisms. They do make the trigger pull a bit awkward, but I find they make a incredible range difference. My SS Sm500 gets 110' easy compared to others with the pen mod. Although, I fear that this mechanism is the culprit for broken firing pins. The springs they use are very powerful and are stopped only by the firing pin. Stock 5k's are notorious for broken firing pins. However, every tank relocated 5k has never had this problem. In my 500, I added a stopper at the end to cushion the pin. I've run over 300 shots through it, and it still works perfect.
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#3 Daniel Beaver

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 05:51 PM

One thing you left out is the Supermaxx cam mech (and at4k/supertech).

They approach the "ideal" air release scenery, and so ought to be superior. But the mechanical troubles associated with them are problematic.

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Edited by Daniel Beaver, 06 January 2012 - 05:52 PM.

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#4 Doom

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 06:44 PM

Thanks for testing this Beaver.

The variance with the pen-mod seems to increase dramatically. In fact, the increase is statistically significant (f-test, f = 456.98 / 163.2 = 2.8) at the 93% confidence level. What this means is that the modification likely decreases consistency. Consistency is important for accuracy. So the modification likely decreases accuracy with no apparent benefits.

Edited by Doom, 06 January 2012 - 06:45 PM.

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#5 chavez guy

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 12:32 PM

A problem I have heard from others is that leaving the trigger spring unglued makes it difficult to know when exactly the air will release from the tank. I have never actually left a firing pin spring unglued, so I can't vouch for this myself however.
And on the other end of the spectrum, having a glued or bic replaced trigger spring makes the trigger pull much harder, often times decreasing stability.
Just thought I would throw my 2 cents in there.
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#6 Langley

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 02:23 PM

I have always assumed that the reason for removing the spring was to provide more tactile feedback and the sense of a 'hair trigger'. With the spring in place, you have to pull the trigger back far enough for the force of the trigger spring to overcome the spring in the valve, and the internal pressure keeping the valve sealed. This makes it feel like there's a lot of play in the trigger, and as chavez said, there's no feedback as to how far you must pull the trigger to reach that point. I won't get into whether this makes it more difficult for a nerfer to time their shots, or if it is entirely a matter of comfort and personal preference.

The problem with removing the spring is that you have to compensate for the absence of the spring by pulling the trigger as quickly as possible, to open up the valve all the way before all of the air is released. When I used to use 1500s for my primaries, I think I was able to improve my technique enough to at least partially compensate for the loss of the consistency that was afforded by the spring. However, I don't have any data to back that claim up. It's also notable that I snapped at least a couple of triggers with this 'technique'.

Also note that this was from a time when nerf gun modification was like voodoo, and people believed that your gun could have good velocity but crappy range, and that long barrels made your blaster more accurate but slowed the dart down.
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#7 Daniel Beaver

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 03:18 PM

Also note that this was from a time when nerf gun modification was like voodoo, and people believed that your gun could have good velocity but crappy range, and that long barrels made your blaster more accurate but slowed the dart down.

To be fair, it still is a bunch of voodoo. Optimal barrels lengths, anyone?

Your point about the tactile feel of the trigger is a good one - I prefer the feel of a pen mod


EDIT (after talking to a few people over PMs):
On the forums, at least, range increases are the only justification I have ever seen for trigger mods. My data shows that the pen mod is objectively worse (the increase in variability is statistically significant, but the difference in the means is not). As Langley mentioned, pen mods feel nice. I will probably keep using them - but not under the illusion that they help my ranges.

Edited by Daniel Beaver, 08 January 2012 - 06:48 AM.

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