I'm making this thread in hopes that I can shed some light on one of the more interesting Autococker-based designs that, strangely, has very little written or recorded about it online. Hopefully this can serve as a point-of-reference for anyone interested in the last ANS 'Cocker to come out, and maybe interest some more people in something they haven't considered before.
So, I went into this purchase decision looking for a 'Cocker that would leave me with a primary marker that I loved so much, I would have no desire to sell (a more difficult task than it may seem). To do so, it would have to work great, be uncommon (no '03 Prostocks here! - just a preference of mine, I like owning strange things), and do so at a reasonable price.
After some thought, I decided for sure it was going to be a hinge-framed mech. Just preference, really... I've never been a huge fan of sliders, as much of a travesty as that may be. Shortly thereafter, I decided it was going to be either a 2005 Prostock (owned one before and loved it), an ANS GX-4 (always wanted one and comes with sweet Eclipse-design hinge) or the ANS X5 (always interested me with its Jackal-knock-off design).
Sure enough, I found an X5 for sale on PBN that I'd been stalking for some time and decided to make a deal. I secured a good price, and agreed to terms then and there.
A week later, here she was!
I test-fired it out of the box and shot well, despite my tank being low. Initial impressions were thus: Pros:
1. I couldn't believe how fast that trigger could be coaxed; faster than any other mech 'Cocker I've had go through my hands
2. The construction is good, its a solid-feeling marker with good designing. There is very minimal trigger slop (less than a Dye hinge I have), the bolt fits well in the breech, and in general, tolerances and craftsmanship are good. ANS has a reputation with some as being "cheap" because they rip-off a lot of designs and produce cheaper parts. At no point did I feel that this was the case, with the exception of the apparently non-working safety design.
3. Man, the 90* frame is comfy. 90's have always been a point of love/hate in the paintball world - but I'd take a 90 frame 10 times out of 10. The angled vertical ASA and huge drop are also fairly comfortable, something I was worried about (the non-changeable vertical ASA, anyway).
4. I can't believe it worked with the ram being almost out of its mount and the LPR being mounted so poorly. Cons:
1. While the machining is generally decent, the finishing leaves a lot to be desired. There is one small spot of mis-colored anno, and there are PILES of machining marks on the body. It doesn't bother me one bit, but it is something that reminds you that she isn't a super-high-end 'Cocker.
2. Man, this thing is heavier than it looks. For a milling design that is supposed to be lightweight and minimalistic, I was surprised how hefty it was in my hands. Again, not something that bothers me terribly, but it threw me off. Not what I was expecting, but more on this later.
3. Not model specific, but the timing and trigger adjustments need a bit of work.
Not being one to let something be, I started immediately with going through it and making upgrades on day 1.
How she sat a few hours after arrival:
First things first, I re-worked the pneumatics so that they were mounted properly. I went through and cleaned up the threads on the ram and LPR, and re-mounted the LPR so that is wasn't 10' further out from the body than it needed to be. I also removed the front block PSI gauge at this point - not a fan of the looks or functionality, and it saves a bit of weight.
In doing this job, I realized that the stock ram was as smooth as sandpaper. Its non-rebuildable, but I tried to clean her out anyway. In doing so, I borked one of the QEV's along with the ram. D'oh. No big deal though, I threw on my much smoother, rebuilt STO ram with the remaining QEV. I'll replace it with something better-matching later on, but for now, its smooth and plenty fast to keep up.
After that, I got her all back together and threw on some preference parts.
First, I replaced the stock feedneck with a CCM I happened to have lying around. I much prefer CCMs to just about anything, both for their design and craftsmanship. I may have to get a new clamping band, though - I got it from the last owner having shipped it under full tension so I think it may be stretched? It sure seems that way, anyway - the non-narrow hopper neck I was using required almost full tension on the clamp to get it to hold steady.
Second came the HPR. Supposedly the stock one stinks, but I didn't have the resources to properly test it. Normally I wouldn't swap out without testing, but I had the Sidewinder available and everyone knows how awesome they are, so on it went. It was also significantly lighter than the stock one.
Third went the drop forward. I typically use a 48ci tank, so the uni-mount works better for me and the craftsmanship of it is better than the stock on/off. Again, saved weight here too.
Last, the barrel. This is self-explanatory... I had the Freak back kicking around with a properly-coordinated front to boot! This saves me from roll-outs and saves weight too.
All said and done, these changes saved a measured 5.9oz of weight. Pretty amazing, really, and it took away the "heavy" feeling of the marker.
So, that's where it is now. Coming up soon:
1. The lower tube internals are getting polished up nice,
2. She's getting sweet-spotted,
3. And the timing and trigger-adjustments will be sorted for best performance.
Later on down the road:
1. I might make up a new set up grips for it,
2. The pneumatics may be switched out for the best-of-the-best, or at least to get rid of the marked up 3-way and LPR and color match the ram. Haven't decided where I'm going with this yet.
3. The uni-mount may get switched out for something different.
4. Potential testing with different back-blocks and bolts.
So, thanks for playing along, and I hope to have more updates shortly. I'll stay tuned here to answer any questions and PLEASE feel free to leave suggestions - I'm always listening.