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Old 12-01-2013, 03:33 PM #1
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Advanced mini/axe tuning guide (and how it works)

So, many people have been asking questions about how the various tuning adjustments on the work together in this system, so I'll start simple and work my way up.

HOW IT WORKS

Operationally the mini and axe are decreasing force poppet guns. To understand this fully I'm going to call the space to the rear of the poppet behind the oring the spring chamber The are between the poppet face and the oring will be called the main chamber. The area of the rear most face of the bolt will be called the bolt force area. The holes toward the front of the bolt guide will simply be called the bolt vent. (See picture below.)



Animation here: http://www.zdspb.com/media/tech/anim...invert_man.gif

One other thing to keep in mind is Force = Pressure x Area. That matters because this system does not use a LPR and all significant areas are exposed to the same pressure, meaning their relative areas determine the force biases. These ratios were designed into the stock system.

So, as it works simply is that the solenoid pulls air from the spring chamber and routes it to the bolt force area. As that pressure decreases, an opening force bias is created (higher pressure in the main chamber applying more force to the poppet in that direction). That is the main premise of the PATENT. The other unique aspect of the poppet opening dynamic is that it is further aided with a burst of backpressure from the bolt vent (I'll discuss this more in depth later). I don't want to go into it too much, but the tiny purge hole in the poppet is critical and does a lot to maintain timing reliability, but it is not something that can be changed in the stock design so it's not worth spending a ton of time on it. (For inquiring minds a primer is that it slows the rate of decay of the spring chamber. Changing the diameter can advance or delay the timing event.) Another thing to know is that the poppet's natural bias is actually in the closed position, so the spring itself isn't actually imperative. Kee added it, more than likely, for reliability issues. Without it, when you initially air up the gun it may vent down the barrel for a minute before it pushes shut and if there is too much friction in the system it may get kind of... sloppy.

Manike also did a good job explaining much of this here: http://www.pbnation.com/showthread.p...7#post29415767


BASIC TUNING TERMINOLOGY

Dwell - not to beat this death, but dwell is just the time that the solenoid is allowing venting from the spring chamber to the bolt force area. From a mechanical function standpoint it isn't too different from any other gun, but the electrical pulses that control it are a little unique. On most guns this is the amount of time the coil is charged. In the mini/axe noid this is the time between the charge pulse events. http://www.pbnation.com/showthread.php?t=2520431

The main thing to remember with dwell is that it determines how long the spring chamber is purged... that also means the poppet OPEN bias DURATION is being maintained longer.

Lift - this is what the back cap controls. It is how WIDE the poppet is physically able to open. One small side effect that wide settings MAY have is that you're also increasing the spring chamber volume. That means the rate of decay will be altered slightly. As long as you're within reason, I haven't really seen a large impact due to the volume changes (the noid flows pretty well and can drain the chamber pretty efficiently).

Pressure - again, pressure plays many rolls in the operation. It provides pressure to the bolt force area which compresses the spring and drives the bolt forward to the bolt vent area. It also provides the air from the main chamber to propel the ball.

Sweet Spot - The MAXIMUM poppet lift your axe will run as determined by the other tuning guide in the sticky. It is the point where velocity no longer climbs as the lift is increased (back cap turned further out). Also, the point in which dropping or raising the dwell has little to no affect on the velocity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 98Pro View Post
1. Turn your pressure to 180 and turn your back cap ALL the way in. Start at 150-160 with an aftermarket bolt raise/lower slightly if needed. On well know bolt systems such as the Boss or Lurker bolt kits, use the recommended pressure as a starting point and continue with tuning.

2. Go to a chrono.

3. Slowly ease your backcap out in small increments of 1/4 turns while chroning 5-10 shots in between each adjustment

4. Repeat step 3 until your FPS stops going up, every marker is different so never use a set amount of turns because getting YOUR marker set correctly is the most important part of tuning.

5. Adjust pressure to proper chrono speeds.

6. (Optional) Slowly turn your dwell down while firing over a chrono until you see your FPS start to fluctuate in either consistency or just velocity. Once you notice this begin to happen bump your well back up 1MS


Step 6 is purely for efficiency and is probably the most time consuming part of the process but is optional because you've already gained all your shot quality gains and some of your efficiency.
Taken from here: http://www.pbnation.com/showthread.php?t=3761332

Fringe Tuning - Running right at the sweet spots. This will yield the theoretical MAXIMUM performance of your gun. Doing so will require a much more regimented maintenance schedule and as things change (battery drains, temperature goes up/ down, paint fitment changes, etc.) it will make performance fluctuate much more readily. There is no forgiveness in this method.
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Old 12-01-2013, 03:33 PM #2
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The terms defined in the previous post are the most relevant to remember when tuning your axe or mini. To reiterate the 3 main things are lift, pressure and dwell. To shoot a paintball at a given velocity it has ~roughly (don't want to get into this here) the same energy requirement regardless of HOW it is released. That said, I can release more air through a wide open poppet or keeping the poppet open longer. I can also increase the energy available by increasing pressure (also a simplification). Now, where all this comes into play is that how you balance these plays a significant part in how happy you are with your specific tuning.

I am not telling you how to find the sweet spot of your gun, so I am just going to explain where to go FROM the SWEET SPOT to get your desired outcome. Also worth mentioning that pressure will almost always be used for final velocity adjustment.

**Settings are for general reference purposes only.**

TUNE FOR EFFICIENCY
Running right at the sweet spots isn't necessarily ideal for normal play. For maximum efficiency, you really want to try and keep your poppet lift fairly narrow. That means a back cap setting less than 1 turn out is generally ideal. On top of that, you want your dwell as LOW as possible while still giving a reliable cycle. So, from a general standpoint I'd expect it to look something like this:

Back Cap - In from sweet spot (~1 turn out max)
Dwell - At sweet spot (~6ms)
Pressure - fairly high (~180psi)

TUNE FOR SMOOTHNESS
The method in the sticky will get you pretty dang close. Some people seem to always think a higher dwell will make for a smoother shot, but it's simply not true. It theoretically can allow lower pressures, but the problem is that if it is used with a wider poppet setting then it's probably just wasting air. All said, I'd personally just suggest the tuning method in the sticky. I'd expect the settings to look something like this:

Back Cap - At sweet spot (~1.5 turns out)
Dwell - At sweet spot (~5ms)
Pressure - fairly low (~160psi)

Like I said, you may be able to run a SLIGHTLY lower pressure by upping the dwell, however, this will almost always kill efficiency. I have never seen a benefit to running a higher dwell vs a well tuned gun.

TUNE FOR CONSISTENCY/ BALANCE
This is my personal method... I find it to be almost as smooth as any other method, but much better over the chrono (no random shots at <200fps and pretty efficient). Basically you find the sweetspots and back off of them. That is both the dwell and the lift. The increased reduced lift negates any affects of the increased dwell usually. I'd say as a baseline, if you look at where you are at over a chrono with the sweetspotting method and make these small adjustments, you should be at almost the same velocity as before. For dwell, I back off the sweet spot and entire ms and for lift I go in a full 1/4 turn... So, my general settings typically look like this:

Back Cap: 1/4 turn in from sweet spot (~1.25 turns out)
Dwell - .5 - 1ms UP from sweet spot (~5.5 to 6ms)
Pressure - fairly low (~160psi)

Doing this will build some "pad" into your tune and will allow you to simply adjust your reg pressure to compensate for varying conditions throughout the day. You shouldn't have to retune multiple times in a day. The 4 axes I maintain on a regular basis are all still pretty close to where I initially set them with some small adjustments made as they break in.
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Old 12-01-2013, 03:34 PM #3
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FRICTION - THE ENEMY
With ANY axe/ mini I recommend taking steps to reduce friction particularly on the poppet.

Polish the poppet - It's not hard and it doesn't cost much... so just do it. http://www.pbnation.com/showthread.php?t=3565845

Hand fit the poppet oring - my preferred seal for this location is actually a -013 buna xring.

You can do more reading here: http://www.pbnation.com/showthread.php?t=3972599
Best deal I've found is here: http://www.zorotools.com/g/Quattro%2...ings/00056879/

Other orings - Running a different oring material vs the stock buna throughout the axe may have some additional benefits, however, I have never seen them offer a significant benefit in friction alone. Running urethane on the bolt and bolt guide is more important due to the wear characteristics of the material. Yes, urethane does have a slightly lower coefficient of friction than buna, but you'll probably never notice this in a way that will allow you to modify your tuning. As a general rule I'd say that in dynamic (moving) locations I'd suggest; urethane > viton > buna. In static (non-moving) locations there is no real need in changing orings.

I actually forgot to mention this, so thanks to Boss for filling in the gap.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBoss33 View Post
Now for tuning with the fragile paint on the Pro versions of the bolt. The fragile paint o-ring is not increasing friction, it is cutting air supplied in the half of the bolt cycle. Decreasing initial speed and force. For this I like to start at 8ms dwell and incease .5ms for each spring size I go up. Again this is a conservative setting and now that you have a better understanding of how your system works you will be able to figure what will work best for you.
RUN A SLICK LUBE - I think this is perhaps the most important. I personally prefer MacDev militia v2.0 because it wears great and is amazingly slick; it smells horrendous and is fairly expensive. That said, Lurker is probably the best value for the money. Monkey Poo, etc will work too. I recommend STRONGLY AGAINST hater sauce and hater marmalade.


AFTERMARKET CONCERNS

Spring Kits - I'll lump all aftermarket bolts with a spring kit into this. As I mentioned in the original post... there is a pretty set amount of area that pressure acts on to drive the bolt forward. I called it the bolt force area. As you adjust pressure, you're changing the acting force available to compress the spring. That said, the spring fights back with force of it's own. Think of the bolt seal(s) as a pivot point on a scale. If the force from the pressure is changed, then the balanced is shifted. I'll try to summarize it like this:

Too soft a spring relative to the operating pressure - can result in harsh paint handling because the bolt will move forward with increased force
Too stiff a spring relative to the operating pressure - can potentially cause cycling issues and poor poppet opening action, due to the delayed delivery of the bolt vent air

(BTW, I had a whole section typed up trying to explain Hooke's law and the bolt force relative to the pressure transition rate, but it was a little overkill for this thread and was more confusing than helpful. Suffice to say, that I am not a huge fan of using a soft spring.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBoss33 View Post
The 3 spring setup that I offer do have their place. But like Irony has stated you have to know what it is you want to achieve. Most people that seem to buy my bolt always want to run the lowest pressures and dwell possible (fringe tuners). Now when you run low pressures and low dwell overcoming the force of a stiff spring will be difficult and cause the bolt to not allow the system to fully cycle. Now for every spring size you go up with my bolt you will increase the dwell about .5ms and increase the pressure slightly. I do not recommend using the stock spring with my bolts, if you do please remove the shock spacer and o-ring.
Lightened Bolts - In general, the main benefit you get with a lightened bolt is less reciprocating mass. Without using words that most people only pretend to understand like inertia, I'll just say that a lighter bolt has the potential to feel smoother especially in higher ROF modes. If you lighten the bolt then you can almost always run with reduced pressure. I have to reiterate this again, but the poppet ratio is still fixed... It requires a certain pressure to function correctly. If you throw in a spring too light then you start changing the bolt vent timing much like the Lurker bolt. I would typically run the stiffest spring that gives desired results. With a boss bolt, I had great luck with the medium spring (I even used the stock spring with great luck as well).

Lurker Unique - The Lurker bolt is my personal favorite bolt. Once you understand what's going on it's really not that hard to tech. The 2 main points that you have to understand about the Lurker bolt is that it is the only bolt that adjusts the bolt force area. As a result of the undercut, it also advances the bolt vent timing slightly. So, as I mentioned... the Lurker bolt adjusts the bolt force area by sealing the rear of the bolt against the front oring on the spacer. That is why it is able to pinch paint. The issue is that it becomes more sensitive to friction, particularly in the first stage (until the seal with the spacer is broken... ~.3"). That said, that is the ONLY place where you have the friction from 5 orings on the bolt instead of 4. That means that if you're having a problem it's almost always related to the spacer oring. It doesn't have to maintain a 100% seal, but it should seal. Using a slick lube is very helpful in this system. Now, the second thing I mentioned is that it also has the undercut that advances the bolt vent timing. As a general statement, advancing the timing has the potential to make it more efficient, however, the poppet maintenance is even more critical here. You need the poppet to open freely or you'll potentially experience issues. Running the stock spring minimizes the noticeable side effects, but in certain cases you'll need to work your way through the system to get it running optimally. (Another tidbit about the undercut is that since it vents before the spring is fully compressed, it creates a spring "cushion" in the forward stroke. That's why I see absolutely no use for the "Blurker mod.")


THE CASE FOR UNDERBORING
As I mentioned, an important role in the poppet actuation is a burst of "back pressure" released from the bolt vent holes. That burst does several things of note... First, it helps overcome poppet stiction. As the poppet sits and the oring does strange things in the seat (oring gland design is a whole other discussion) it may take more force to knock it loose. Oring durometer (hardness) plays a big part in the "breakaway" friction. The burst of air helps overcome over all of these things to ensure a more consistent poppet actuation. Underboring helps maximize the availability of the bolt vent air to the poppet, meaning more forgiveness from stiction but also it can allow a wider poppet opening. If your goal is the absolute smoothest shot possible then you really have no choice, but to underbore. If you want maximum efficiency then you're also in the same boat because the added backpressure will allow the poppet to open more rapidly AND it'll allow the air you do use to act more directly on the ball through the control bore.
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Old 12-01-2013, 03:48 PM #4
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Well put together and informative.
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Old 12-01-2013, 04:50 PM #5
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Very nice! Thank you.
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Old 12-01-2013, 06:32 PM #6
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So I should try to avoid Dow 33 lubes such as sl33k and gr33se? I literally have 2 large tubs of them...
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Old 12-01-2013, 08:57 PM #7
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Originally Posted by hth_1 View Post
So I should try to avoid Dow 33 lubes such as sl33k and gr33se? I literally have 2 large tubs of them...
With a stock bolt it is just fine. With an aftermarket bolt I'd consider cutting it with a drop or so of synthetic gun oil (mix it up into a thinner lube). Militia is just a great lube to have in the gear bag anyway.
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Old 12-01-2013, 08:58 PM #8
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Thanks irony, Looks like I am giving Lurker more of my money. Tomorrow we were getting poppets?
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:22 AM #9
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Can we get this thread stickied? This is some good stuff. Now if we can get the BOSS to add to this we can have the ultimate axe tuning guide. It might eliminate a lot of duplicate posts pertaining to tu ing the axe.
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Old 12-02-2013, 06:08 AM #10
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What do you this boss needs to add? More than likely I can add it.
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Old 12-02-2013, 06:55 AM #11
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Excellent job!
Hmmm only thing I can think can be added is maybe add what other orings you recomend for other spots under the "friction" spot.
Selecting better/correct o/x rings would fall under this thread. Or maybe a link to a previous post.
Great job! Youve def added a thread in my locker with this post.

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Old 12-02-2013, 09:00 AM #12
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Let me know when you consider this "complete" and I will stick it.
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Old 12-02-2013, 11:46 AM #13
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Ironyusa,

I was just hoping that the BOSS could chime in and add to it if he needs to. I just thought that since the Lurker bolt and Boss bolt are the most popular for the axe that this thread can be like a knowledge base for Axe users. It would help minimize repetitious questions that is being asked from you, the Boss and Ryan. The knowledge you guys share with us are valuable and greatly appreciated. As for what else to add, I really don't know. I am still trying to digest all that have been presented on this thread as well as your other threads.

Thank you.
Raymond
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:08 PM #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radray View Post
Ironyusa,

I was just hoping that the BOSS could chime in and add to it if he needs to. I just thought that since the Lurker bolt and Boss bolt are the most popular for the axe that this thread can be like a knowledge base for Axe users. It would help minimize repetitious questions that is being asked from you, the Boss and Ryan. The knowledge you guys share with us are valuable and greatly appreciated. As for what else to add, I really don't know. I am still trying to digest all that have been presented on this thread as well as your other threads.

Thank you.
Raymond
I agree the information that you guys give is sometimes overwhelming, at times its hard to digest. I notice other players ask the same type of questions in other threads and it gets a bit confusing.

When people start new threads with the same topic that has been covered in other threads its frustrating. Myself I understand the tuning method and it works great for me and I use it to help my friends. I think that I have read every thread on tuning the mini and Axe, since I own both.

I'm not an engineer, just a carpenter and like to tinker. I find the mini and Axe simple markers to disassemble, clean and work on. Tuning the marker is a different matter all together and you guys make a little more understandable where we, the knuckleheads, can understand how the marker works.

So, keep up the great job you guys are doing and I will always read your threads to better my marker.

By the way is the time machine finished/poppet, will it be tomorrow soon?
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:12 PM #15
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Originally Posted by MadMaxAxe View Post
I agree the information that you guys give is sometimes overwhelming, at times its hard to digest. I notice other players ask the same type of questions in other threads and it gets a bit confusing.

When people start new threads with the same topic that has been covered in other threads its frustrating. Myself I understand the tuning method and it works great for me and I use it to help my friends. I think that I have read every thread on tuning the mini and Axe, since I own both.

I'm not an engineer, just a carpenter and like to tinker. I find the mini and Axe simple markers to disassemble, clean and work on. Tuning the marker is a different matter all together and you guys make a little more understandable where we, the knuckleheads, can understand how the marker works.

So, keep up the great job you guys are doing and I will always read your threads to better my marker.

By the way is the time machine finished/poppet, will it be tomorrow soon?
The you guys would mean ( Lurker, Boss, Irony, 98 Pro,....) If I forgot you hear one for you. THANK YOU!!!
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:21 PM #16
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The boss bolt isn't really unique from a timing perspective. It is a lightened bolt with varying length springs. Personally, I ran the medium (or stock) spring with the small rear bolt oring.
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Old 12-03-2013, 07:59 PM #17
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Wow. Fantastic job.

Here is what I will add from my side of things. The 3 spring setup that I offfer do have their place. But like Irony has stated you have to know what it is you want to achieve. Most people that seem to buy my bolt always want to run the lowest pressures and dwell possible (fringe tuners). Now when you run low pressures and low dwell overcoming the force of a stiff spring will be difficult and cause the bolt to not allow the system to fully cycle. Now for every spring size you go up with my bolt you will increase the dwell about .5ms and increase the pressure slightly. I do not recommend using the stock spring with my bolts, if you do please remove the shock spacer and o-ring.

Now for tuning with the fragile paint on the Pro versions of the bolt. The fragile paint o-ring is not increasing friction, it is cutting air suplied in the half of the bolt cycle. Decreasing initial speed and force. For this I like to start at 8ms dwell and incease .5ms for each spring size I go up. Again this is a conservative setting and now that you have a better understanding of how your system works you will be able to figure what will work best for you.

Again many thanks to Irony for doing a job I would not have the patients to tackle or the ability to do anywhere near the quality work he has put forth.
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Old 12-03-2013, 10:01 PM #18
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Thanks Boss. I also edited the appropriate sections to include your comments.
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Old 12-04-2013, 10:43 AM #19
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Any reason you recommend against Marmalade? I've been using it since world cup and it seems to be working great! [genuinely interested in learning more about the various lubes on the market]
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Old 12-04-2013, 10:59 AM #20
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Quote:
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Wow. Fantastic job.

Here is what I will add from my side of things. The 3 spring setup that I offfer do have their place. But like Irony has stated you have to know what it is you want to achieve. Most people that seem to buy my bolt always want to run the lowest pressures and dwell possible (fringe tuners). Now when you run low pressures and low dwell overcoming the force of a stiff spring will be difficult and cause the bolt to not allow the system to fully cycle. Now for every spring size you go up with my bolt you will increase the dwell about .5ms and increase the pressure slightly. I do not recommend using the stock spring with my bolts, if you do please remove the shock spacer and o-ring.

Now for tuning with the fragile paint on the Pro versions of the bolt. The fragile paint o-ring is not increasing friction, it is cutting air suplied in the half of the bolt cycle. Decreasing initial speed and force. For this I like to start at 8ms dwell and incease .5ms for each spring size I go up. Again this is a conservative setting and now that you have a better understanding of how your system works you will be able to figure what will work best for you.

Again many thanks to Irony for doing a job I would not have the patients to tackle or the ability to do anywhere near the quality work he has put forth.
I would strongly advise always having users put 2 rings on the rear of the bolt - any aftermarket bolt without the rear oring would be a serious and measureable performance downgrade from stock (see: NDZ). You're right in that the stock 2 o-ring system works very well. Dear users: don't mess with it!
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Old 12-04-2013, 11:14 AM #21
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Any reason you recommend against Marmalade? I've been using it since world cup and it seems to be working great! [genuinely interested in learning more about the various lubes on the market]
I have tech'd a lot of guns in the past... I'm not sure if marmalade swells orings or what, but orings seem to fail faster for some reason. To me, it also doesn't seem to wear well (it seems to wear off quickly). I've also seen the green hater (2.0) get into places of the gun, no other lube really did. It could have been that it's bright fricken green and you just see it, but it also seems to wear off quickly. I'm not a chem-e like Lurker so I can't say, but I bet the soap that they thicken it with is garbage.

In a nutshell, I have no quantitative proof but have some pretty consistent experiences.
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