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Old 07-09-2014, 09:39 PM #1
The Inflicted
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22-round magazine-fed Ion

Teaching my Ion an interesting new trick:













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Old 07-09-2014, 09:46 PM #2
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I'd thought about picking up magfed play once in a while but my only experience with a magazine-fed gun (A T8.1) soured me to idea of having to juggle magazines, especially high-capacity ones. Plus, a bottomline HPA tank is a must-have for me, so I was attracted to the idea of making my own.
RAP-4 has been selling an interesting-looking and low-priced 20-round magazine for their T68 pistol for years, and I'd seen a few people manage to custom mount these to various guns, so I figured it might be worth a try for the build. After all, it's nearly impossible to find suitable spring and aluminum tube for springfeed builds these days. I bit the bullet and ordered the feed without any idea of how I was going to fit it to any of my guns.

The lethal T68 Firestorm Pistol 20 Round Magazine



The RAP-4 springfeed is kind of a weird gadget- in order to facilitate quick changes, probably for the 10-round version their pistol comes with, the magazine is retained by two springloaded pins that run perpendicular to the direction of feed. On their pistol, a pair of hooked channels grasp these pins. I wasn't wild about trying to rig up my own system of locking on that way, but I did find that with the pins and springs removed, the round housing for the locking mechanism makes the feed sit rather nicely on a bare Ion body and the two lines of contact minimize side-to-side play. All I had to do to get it to meet with the body (in this case an old shaved-down GxG body with an offset sight rail I added) is shave off some plastic on the sides of the feedneck channel and to square off the rear of the channel. I was careful to only shave off enough plastic so that the magazine, when pushed all the way back, would be perfectly aligned over the feedport.



The next problem I encountered is that for whatever reason, the plastic feedplug my magazine came with doesn't seem to want to feed paint. No matter which way it's turned, the powerfeed ramp on the plug is too mild to coax paint out the port at the bottom, which causes the paint stack to jam and bind. So, I ditched it and made a new feedplug from a rubber bottle stopper, with its interior carved with a knife to facilitate proper feeding. Once I had this working right and aligned properly, I epoxyed the stopper in place to keep it from getting pushed further in or rotated out of alighment.



I had seen other people successfully modify these PT-style springfeed magazines to be front-loading, and I'm used to the ease of reloading my Phantom VSC, so I tried my hand at modifying this magazine in a similar way. I drilled and dremeled a new feedport just aft of the forward locking point of the follower. No such luck. Neither kinking the spring nor drilling out the front cap of the magazine and putting a spring guide inside the follower would keep the over 2-foot-long drive spring from jumping out of the port at multiple points.



I thought I had ruined the whole magazine, but fortunately I was able to cure the damage by making a patch out of a small segment of ABS wire conduit pipe. This progressed into a pair of stabilizing slip-on brackets for the magazine, which proved to be a much better solution because I was able to make the forward bracket so that it wants to stop right as the feedport is closed, so it should be a lot easier to operate in the heat of a game.







The correct spacing was critical with these, and I made them by zip-tying the feed to the body with the barrel on, snapping/sliding on the segments of ABS pipe onto the feed and barrel, then laying a small segment of plastic rod between the two segments and epoxying the heck out of it. Then, the same was done for the other side. In this way, I had a pair of plastic brackets that were flexible enough to fit over the barrel/magazine and were the perfect spacing to make everything work properly.



So there you have it. I've put about 100 rounds through it so far and it seems to work fine and be surprisingly easy to load.I just have to remember to retract the follower before opening the feedgate to reload or else the spring is going to jump out, rendering the gun unable to fire. Capacity when fully loaded is 22 balls.

I had thought about picking up a GoG eNMEy to take the magazine instead, but I really like the way the Ion's eyes prevent it from simply dryfiring when the magazine has been emptied. The gun already had Tech-T fly-on spring-loaded detents, so double-feeds haven't been a problem, and it magazine seems to keep up with the gun's top speed. Switching back to hopper-feed takes only about 15 seconds; all you have to do is cut the zip-tie and slide the magazine a few inches forward so that it unlocks from the barrel. Screw the Q-lock back on and it's ready to be a "normal" electro again.
While the Magazine comes with rear sight blades milled into it, there's no front sight bead at all, so I've tried taping a small bit of Lego fiber pipe to it, though I'm more used to my BSA dot sight.
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:48 PM #3
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I had a lot of trouble with the paint in the feedtube jamming up and refusing to exit the magazine and into the gun. The problem was partly in the opening in the bottom of the magazine, which was too squared-off and had to be rounded, and my rear feedplug design. Eventually I evolved a shape that could be properly cut into a 13/16" plug that seems to be jam-free.



As you can see, the "correct" shape is nothing like the RAP4 factory part.




I have to be careful to make sure to retract the follower before opening the gate, nor release the follower when the gate is open or else, KER-SPROING!



My current bracket/gate design is over 3 times as long as the two original brackets I made and seems much more durable and stable because of it. This one was made with the handle of a disposable plastic fork acting as the frame between the two lengths of pipe. As before, I roughed up the contact surfaces, carved channels into the fork handle to allow epoxy to flow through/around it, and drilled out several small dimples in the pipe to better grip the epoxy. So far it seems to be holding.

I opted not to go with the factory-made metal flashlight brackets because they position the magazine higher off the gun than my custom-made PVC brackets. Also, without direct contact between the bottom of the magazine and the top of the Ion breech it's a lot harder to get proper alignment with the barrel. Finally, I never did find a good solution to channel balls from the raised magazine down into the feedport. Was thinking about cutting up a segment of 10-round tube to do this. I DO like how stable the pair of them are, though, and the way they quickly release without moving around when their center clamp screw is loosened. These might have some real potential for installing a Firestorm magazine on other guns, though, like a Hammer-7 or SP-1 or something else with a picatinny rail along the top of the gun.



One thing I noticed when I was working with the rear feedplug was that the exit hole on the magazine seemed to be sitting a little too far rearward over the feedport on the Ion, especially considering that the balls would be angling slightly forward as they exited. I probably took off too much material out of the back of the feedneck slot in the body. Rather than try and build material back up, I found a solution in using an extra zip tie to create a backstop for the feed; now, if it slides back as far as it goes (and the tension from the other zip-tie makes it not want to slide anyway) it should be positioned right where I want it.

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Old 07-14-2014, 12:56 PM #4
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Great, I was in the process of thinning the herd. Now I want this.
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Old 07-16-2014, 09:01 PM #5
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Impressive.
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Old 07-16-2014, 11:40 PM #6
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This gun is screaming for a mechanical makeover.

Love the final result (saw it first over on MCB) and love seeing the progress as you worked out the kinks.

I have that typical 2/3rds of an ION in stock parts laying around from upgrading my main two. I might try my hand at pairing this with Yoda/Deathwish mech kit. Would make for a reliable, fun, battery-less marker. I think my wallet just got a lump in its throat...

With no intentions on switching it out, would there be an easy more (semi)-permanent way of attaching the whole thing besides zip ties? Possibly set screws into the body of the gun? I don't have a way of tapping into the breach itself though. Hmmm, maybe a bracket could be fashioned that fit in between the body and breach...

If not, keeping the ability to switch as you have it wouldn't be the worst, just seems like a lot of zip ties
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Old 07-17-2014, 01:40 AM #7
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Borrowed a friend's 16" Smart Parts Tactical barrel. Seems to suit the gun well.



So I got to use the gun quite a bit this past weekend at the local urban/fortress field. It worked well, mostly, though I did run into some problems with the gun not loading consistently when the feedtube slid forward. I only had one zip-tie locking the feed to the gun for a lot of the time, but so it was able to slide a bit. When I added a second one and really tightened it down things got a lot better. When it was feeding correctly I was able to take out quite a few people, mostly at close range.
Couple observations:

1. This thing goes through paint fast. Maybe it's just because I'm used to my Phantom, but it seemed like I spent half of every game reloading the thing. I really need to work on better trigger discipline.

2. The 13ci tank is too small. Even with a QEV and an L7 bolt in there, the Ion is really too thirsty a gun to be fed with a mini-tank like this, at least with the wide paint/barrel match I was using. I never got an accurate shot count for it but it seemed well under 100 shots per fill.

3. I'm not used to something this long. Usually on this field I use a stock eNVy barrel on this gun, so to have it suddenly be 6" longer was hard to adjust to.

4. Leaving paint in the magazine with the spring/follower engaged for 2 hours in fairly hot weather resulted in some pretty squished-down paintballs.
I need to remember to disengage the follower when I won't be shooting for long periods of time so as to relieve pressure on the balls.

5. If you let random players handle the gun, they will screw up the reload/gate procedure and manage to eject the spring out of the feedport.



Also, I was able to borrow my buddy's SP-1 for a bit to check fitment possibilities.
It seems like those flashlight mounts I bought from Amazon would make the magazine hover just above the rail on the front of the gun.
Of course, on an SP-1 the feedneck can't be easily completely removed without doing so permanently. A GoG G-1 would be a different story, though...





Quote:
Originally Posted by OTTO13 View Post
This gun is screaming for a mechanical makeover.
You know, before I started the project I thought about picking up an eNMEy to install it in. Having worked with my Ion, I'm keeping it electronic for 2 reasons:

1. It has eyes, so: no paint = no bang.
It's always kind of annoyed me the way most magfed guns will continue to cycle even when the paint is gone, and keeping the eyes prevents that.

2. This is actually the only electro I have left and usually the only non-pump I bring to the field. I can still convert back to hopper-fed in a couple seconds by cutting the zipties and sliding the feed all the way off the barrel, and I'd like to keep that versatility.

Quote:
Love the final result (saw it first over on MCB) and love seeing the progress as you worked out the kinks.
Thanks!

Quote:
I have that typical 2/3rds of an ION in stock parts laying around from upgrading my main two. I might try my hand at pairing this with Yoda/Deathwish mech kit. Would make for a reliable, fun, battery-less marker. I think my wallet just got a lump in its throat...

With no intentions on switching it out, would there be an easy more (semi)-permanent way of attaching the whole thing besides zip ties? Possibly set screws into the body of the gun? I don't have a way of tapping into the breach itself though.
Well you would definitely need a tap/dye set to rig something like that.
Drilling and tapping into the body was the first way I thought about doing this but there isn't a great deal of meat to work with. The best part of the Ion breech to tap into would be the short segment aft of the threads but before the forward bolt O-ring. There's no space for a nut to be sit in there since the shank of the barrel rests beneath it. I think there's a little under 3mm of material there. There's even less material to work with in the bottom of the Firestorm feedtube, about a single milimeter. Next time I take the gun apart I'll take my digital caliper to it and give you some real numbers.

Quote:
Hmmm, maybe a bracket could be fashioned that fit in between the body and breach...
That's the way Jiggles did it for his "Warlord" Hammer-7 build.
His method retains one of the stock Firestorm locking pins, too.




Nahib Stilgar was able to mount a Firestorm magazine to a Tac-One Automag by filing down the magazine's mounting tubes until they properly conformed to Picatinny standards.
I think it was held in position purely by friction.



Quote:
If not, keeping the ability to switch as you have it wouldn't be the worst, just seems like a lot of zip ties
3's not bad.
And they're even black!
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Old 07-17-2014, 12:08 PM #8
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I'd love a tap/dye set but then I'd want a drill press and then I need a...it's kinda like if you give a mouse a cookie 'cept it all ending with an angry wife :-)

Did you mention what kind of detents you have in the gun? I see in the picture with the feed tube removed that they look like upgraded delrin ones, are they spring? Magnetic? Are they white rubber "nubbin" ones I haven't seen before? EDIT: never mind saw it, they're the Techt-T ones

I wonder what the force of the spring is compared to various hoppers. I know that my Vlocity on higher settings (especially with paint seeming to approach sub .68 more than the .69 of 10 years ago) could (and would) push paint past the stock detents.

As regards to mounting, I wonder how hard making an adapter out of PVC or something similar so that instead of removing the feed neck all I had to do would be to remove the locking ring of my q-lock and slip the adapter over the interior piece (the piece that actually threads into the gun and channels the paintballs). It would keep the feed tube from sliding back and forth perfectly positioned by default; the only downside is I would have to mount the feed a few inches higher. I wouldn't have to worry about stripping the threads on the feedneck every time I want to convert back to the feed from a hopper because I'm never actually removing it. I think with some Dremeling, epoxy, possibly some JBWeld and definitely some patience it could work.

This gun was destined to be a loaner, now I fear I'll be having too much fun with it myself to part with it. Maybe I'll have to shorten the tube and barrel and run a remote so I can use it as a sidearm. A remote to a 13ci tank in one of my packs pods slots would work perfectly...oh dear Inflicted what have you done :-p
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Old 07-17-2014, 01:35 PM #9
The Inflicted
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OTTO13 View Post
I'd love a tap/dye set but then I'd want a drill press and then I need a...it's kinda like if you give a mouse a cookie 'cept it all ending with an angry wife :-)
Heh. Wouldn't know about that.
I paid less than $30 for my no-name tap/die set several years ago and it's come in handy in a couple projects over the years.

Quote:
Did you mention what kind of detents you have in the gun? I see in the picture with the feed tube removed that they look like upgraded delrin ones, are they spring? Magnetic? Are they white rubber "nubbin" ones I haven't seen before? EDIT: never mind saw it, they're the Techt-T ones
Yup.

Quote:
I wonder what the force of the spring is compared to various hoppers. I know that my Vlocity on higher settings (especially with paint seeming to approach sub .68 more than the .69 of 10 years ago) could (and would) push paint past the stock detents.
Good question. Without removing the spring, my fishing scale tells me it takes 5oz of pressure to retract the follower.
Next time I have it apart I'll see if I can't get a good number on the spring weight.
Quote:
As regards to mounting, I wonder how hard making an adapter out of PVC or something similar so that instead of removing the feed neck all I had to do would be to remove the locking ring of my q-lock and slip the adapter over the interior piece (the piece that actually threads into the gun and channels the paintballs). It would keep the feed tube from sliding back and forth perfectly positioned by default; the only downside is I would have to mount the feed a few inches higher. I wouldn't have to worry about stripping the threads on the feedneck every time I want to convert back to the feed from a hopper because I'm never actually removing it. I think with some Dremeling, epoxy, possibly some JBWeld and definitely some patience it could work.
Probably. I would think a 3/4" copper elbow would be ideal.
Like you said, though, this would make the finished project have a much taller profile above the gun.

Quote:
This gun was destined to be a loaner, now I fear I'll be having too much fun with it myself to part with it. Maybe I'll have to shorten the tube and barrel and run a remote so I can use it as a sidearm. A remote to a 13ci tank in one of my packs pods slots would work perfectly...oh dear Inflicted what have you done :-p
Kicked off something interesting, I hope.
If you need more inspiration, check out this wicked 10-round eNMEy build by PistolRogue at MCB: http://www.mcarterbrown.com/forums/s...ey-pistol.html

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Old 01-28-2020, 01:45 PM #10
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You've inspired me to do something very similar
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Old 01-13-2021, 06:13 PM #11
The Inflicted
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You've inspired me to do something very similar
Cool! Did it work?

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