****Update about the Redux and cupseals....***
*The thoughts expressed in this comparison are strictly my views alone. You may have different opinions feelings on these wonderful guns, and I'd love to hear them!*
A little bit of history... Duckslide -
This is a kit that you can add to any phantom, it replaces the pump handle off your normal phantom, and also requires mounting the feedtube onto the top of the body. I believe the first ones were made in 2005-2006, by Steve "mOngo" Brett. You can use a regular phantom feedtube or one of mOngo's custom 1 piece feedtubes (which really complete the duckslide look in my opinion). Redux -
This gun is a reproduction of the Dave Loo Desert Ducks and Carter Ducks, but also packs in quite a few updates that make it a more playable gun. These include Freak'd barrels, removable feed tube for easy cleaning, and Operates in the same method as a duck, they are handmade by mOngo at VKC in Van Nuys, CA.
More info about these two guns can be found at http://www.desertduckdd68.com/4436.html Duck -
Hopefully I will be able to write a short accurate history on this gun later. In the meantime, I think
there are 3 versions, the Dave Loo Kamikaze Shooter DD-68s, Carterized Ducks, and Carter Ducks. The one in this review is a Carter Duck.
Sorry for the lack of pictures at the moment, I plan to take a lot more detailed ones later tonight/tomorrow. My Redux currently does not have the extended compensator, but it is on it's way from mOngo! Initial thoughts:
All 3 of these guns are based off nelson hammer/bolt systems, but while their methods of operation are the same, they feel quite different and unique to me. If you were to pump and shoot each one of these guns with your eyes closed, one after another, I bet that you would be able to tell that each one was a different gun. The difficultly in comparing these three lies in the fact that the Duckslide is really just a phantom with an extremely nice body kit, versus two guns with handmade and finely fitted parts. The setups: Duckslide –
Phantom Hammer and Bolt, Blue main and valve spring
6 inch unported barrel bored for freak inserts
.45 Grip w/ Hogue Wraparound grips
Duckslide 1 piece feed
CCI Ghost ring
No return spring Redux –
Phantom Hammer and Bolt, Red Main and Blue valve spring
5-6 (not sure) inch unported barrel bore for freak inserts
In Handle changer
Pachmayr 1911 Wraparound grips (not pictured)
Return Spring Duck –
Carter Hammer and Bolt, Yellow Main spring, unknown valve spring
6 inch fixed unported barrel
Pachmayr 1911 Panel Grips
Return Spring Fit/Finish: Duckslide –
One could argue that the Duckslide kit is simply an expensive pump handle, and while I agree with this assessment, I also hold the opinion that it is a huge improvement over the stock phantom pump handle, for multiple reasons. One, it adds quite a bit of heft, which for me is a positive. Two, it makes the pump stroke feel more solid and smooth, and doesn’t add any drag or friction to the stroke (In fact I took out the return spring, and it feels perfect that way). Three, it looks badass! The handle fits well over the body, there is a slight bit of wobble, but not enough that it becomes an issue.
Redux – Wow, this gun is a work of art, I have one of the first twenty, and the color is slate. While most people think that Slate and Grey are the same, there is a subtle difference between the two. From what I can tell from pictures, slate is a bit lighter, and more ‘spotty’, there are subtle variations in the hue depending on the lighting. The parts fit together PERFECTLY, you can tell this gun was handmade and mOngo took lots of care putting everything together. Like the analogy of a well oiled machine, this is that, and then some. I absolutely love the anno on this gun! Duck –
This gun, still leaves me speechless. While some are quick to say that Carters are not worth the price (though they are usually talking about buzzards) and that money is better spent on a phantom, I have to disagree. While it’s true that a Carter is just a high end phantom, there is something magical about how well all the parts work together, and this is especially true if it has a slide trigger. In my opinion, nothing rivals the feel of a Carter (with the possible exception of the Redux) with a slide trigger for smoothness of both pump stroke and trigger pull. Pump Stroke:
When I am talking about pump stroke, I mainly look at two things, Smoothness and Heaviness. Smoothness meaning how consistent the pull is throughout the entire stroke, i.e. any binding, or sudden increase in pressure due to spring catching or something. Heaviness meaning how hard is it to pump the handle (or body in these cases). I don’t always like super light pulls, and compared to an S6, these 3 guns do NOT have light pulls. But the Duck’s and Redux’s pump strokes aren’t heavy enough that you’d actually notice it in a game. Duckslide-
While I have found the regular phantom pump stroke to be not very pleasant and a little bit wobbly on occasion, the Duckslide kit is a great remedy to this. It allows for the removal of the return spring (which lightens the pull considerably), and makes for a more solid feeling pump stroke. Also, you cannot “dry fire” the gun in the sense that you can’t cock it because the valve spring isn’t heavy enough. Loading balls is easy, the gun only requires you to slightly drop the front down before pumping, and if a ball is already located above the feed, then you don’t even need to do that. Also, staying true to the original Duck design, the feed moves with the body, but is located directly above rather than offset to one side. If you do get a Duckslide kit, I highly recommend mOngo’s one piece feed, as it really completes the look! Try not using a return spring, you’d be amazed at the difference in how it feels. Redux –
The Redux pump stroke is the around the same weight as the Duck’s, but slightly less smooth (for now, I assume once I play with it enough, it will smooth out even more). Duck –
Of the three guns, the Duck has the smoothest and best (not necessarily lightest) pump stroke thus far (mine is broken in though compared to the redux). As there is more contact points with these guns than other pump guns, I like to very lightly oil the inside of the body where they might happen to the grip frame, this dramatically improved the pump stroke on my Duck.
Grip Frame: Duckslide –
In my opinion, the stock Phantom grip frames are terrible. The placement of the trigger is too far forward, and the grips are just awkward to use. The M-16 grip on a Phantom makes me want to choke up on the grip, so that my middle finger is resting on the bump. The .45 frame even with big grips are just too dang small for my hands (and I have small hands, I can almost palm a basketball), and there is also too much space between the middle finger placement and ring finger placement on the grip when using wraparound grips. I would highly recommend investing in another gripframe, maybe a CCM 86* , a Sergison Humpback frame, or the RTR Gargoyle Slider (yay) frame (which will be compatible with Phantoms). I have not tried these on a phantom, those are recommendations from other members of this forum. Redux –
Extremely comfortable, the screw holes are located in the perfect spot for the Pachmayr Wraparound grips, the hump is the perfect size, trigger is in the perfect spot. I like my index finger right before the knuckle to rest on the trigger. Duck –
Same as above, but the bottom two screw holes are a little too far back for wraparound grips (this is probably more of a hit or miss thing with Ducks, as they are all really custom pieces).
Trigger: Duckslide -
Standard Phantom hinge trigger, I like my phantom triggers with Trigger shoes, pull is light and short. Redux –
Now HERE is my one big gripe with the Redux. Apparently, the first few triggers/bolts/hammers that were being made for the Redux were custom made, however to save on cost, mOngo switched to using Phantom hammers and bolts, and put in a Trigger with small steel cylinder as the sear tripper. The custom triggers had a sloped sear tripper, versus the perpendicular setup of the Cylinder sear tripper. This makes for a very heavy trigger pull, while some may prefer that, I wish it was a little lighter. Also the location of this cylinder is really far forward on the trigger plate, meaning the trigger has to be pulled back pretty far in order to trip the sear. The pull itself is smooth, up until the cylinder starts tripping the sear, where the pressure required to complete the sear trip increases a lot! Here is a picture of what I am talking about
First few sears trippers/sear (i.e. DSA’s Redux):
As you can see in the 2nd pic, the sear tripper is a ramp that is built into the trigger.
I don’t know if the newer reduxes have triggers like this, but I remedied mine by cutting a small bit of macroline (1/3 to ¼ of the diameter) and taped it in front of the cylinder. Since it’s curve/sloped, it makes for a smoother sear trip, and since it’s in front, the sear is released earlier in the pull, which is to my liking.
The trigger is designed very nicely apart from that small issue, fully adjustable front and back stops, and the trigger return spring has a screw which keeps the spring from getting bent or popping out of place. Duck:
The Duck trigger is very nice, the pull is really smooth and light, and it just glides as if it is floating on air. I attribute this mainly because it’s been worn in already by the previous owner (few thousand shots) versus the Redux trigger which has less pulls through it’s lifespan. The Duck trigger has the ramped design that the first few reduxes had for releasing the sear. Some negatives about the Duck trigger is that it doesn’t have a backstop, and the spring is free floating, and it can come out of place or get bent. This seems to be on only mine for some reason, as I’ve seen other duck triggers with a screw inside the spring for guidance. Ergonomics: Duckslide –
After using the duck on the field, and redux around the house, I do not like the .45 grips at all. However, when I used to own a phantom with a .45 grip back in the day, I didn’t have a problem with it, I suppose I have been spoiled! With a stock though, it feels nice. Redux -
Both this and the Duck make me want to hold them like pistols. Also without a stock/tank, it is harder for me to maintain a steady shooting stance. To compensate, when my Right hand is on the grip, I pull back with it while simultaneously pulling forward with my Left hand on the front of the gun. I find this gives me a pretty steady platform. How do you guys with pump pistols hold yours? Duck -
Same as above. The extra milling on the extended compensator helps a little more with gripping.
Air options: Duckslide –
Dropout Changer is cool, once you get the hang of it, you can change 12 grams pretty fast with one hand, it doesn’t get in the way of your mask even though it sticks out. BBA is another option, I really like the CCI bucket changers (you could add a check valve in there, although that is a topic for another day). Redux –
In handle is my preferred gas option, I like how it is low profile, yet easier to change than a slam changer. Duck –
Slam Changer is cool, lots of fun, but dangerous and requires tuning. The pin in the slam changer has to be adjusted to a ‘sweet spot’ where it is far in enough that it will seal the 12 gram, but not be too far in that the Door can’t slam shut! If that’s the case, then you are in trouble… Sighting: Duckslide –
I do not like the CCI Ghostring, it is too short and on the duckslide, is too high up to accurately sight (due to it being mounted on top of the feed). If it was longer/ a little bigger, I think it would be a lot better. I would recommend just making your own out of a 10 round tube cut down a little. I just cannot sight accurately with a ghost ring on my duckslide, I prefer to not use it. Redux -
Great sights, would be even better if the front one had orange paint or were illuminated, but this is an extremely minor thing.
[B]Duck -[B] Best sights of the 3, the rear sight (Millet) has a white outline painted on it, and the front sight is painted orange.
TBD Random thoughts: Duckslide –
You can use a stock with the .45 grips, helps stabilize the gun and allows you to use a ghost ring ‘better ‘if you do happen to use one. Redux –
You can use the Duckslide’s extended Compensator (or grip counterweight, or extended pump handle are other names I’ve heard it called), on a Redux, but you can’t use a Redux one on a Duckslide, as there is no hole for the undercocking arm. Also has a nifty little chamber window, to see whether you’ve actually loaded a ball or not. This is a feature that the original Kamikaze Shooters and Carterized DD68s had. I remember the Long Ranger saying in his Redux review that the feedtube block doesn't quite fit in with the flow of the gun as a whole, and I agree. However, it is a great trade off for maintenance and cleaning. Duck –
Beastly. A plain awesome and amazing gun. What I would improve upon if I had the genius to be making these guns: Duckslide –
A better sighting method, and grip frame. That has more to do with phantoms in general than the kit itself. Also, by sighting method, I mean that the sights (for me) are too far above the barrel, as they are mounted on the feed tube. While it doesn't seem like that much different, (under an inch of height), it makes a big difference to me, especially using the ghost ring. Perhaps some sort of iron sights would be better as a front/rear system on the feedtube. Redux –
A sloped sear tripper for the trigger. The Cup seal for the valve. The older ones are brass, and can strip easily, as there is like only one 'loop' of threading that catches the powertube. And after repeated firing, it will come loose, and eventually strip while causing inconsistent velocities. There is a new cupseal from mOngo that fixes this, but I have not received mine yet. Here is a comparison to the Carter Valve assembly vs the Redux one. Carter one is on the left, Redux on the right.
As you can see, the Carter powertube is shorter (ID is about the same from what I can tell), and has a nylon cup seal with threading the entire way through. It is very snug, won't come loose. Also, Carter used a sort of Brass seat at the bottom, to increase the tension on the powertube, which is why you can 'dry-fire' Carter guns, but not Phantoms. (The Redux valve assembly is pictured without the big metal ring that screws into the valve body fyi) Duck –
Trigger backstop, and Trigger return spring guide. Removable barrel, or some kind of insert system. Final thoughts (for now…) Duckslide –
This is a great add-on to any phantom, and after playing with it, I probably would not choose to use a phantom without it. Adds good heft and weight, and for those of you who like heavier guns, this is a great kit, for a really good price! Redux –
This is my gun of choice for multiple reasons over the Duck, mainly that I can underbore like crazy with freak inserts
. I hate rollouts! Also, I love the subtle menacing tone of the slate anno, and it is more playable in the woods. In-handle grip is more practical, and easy removal of the feed tube is a plus, especially since my feed tube has slots cut in both sides. This seems to be something that was changed on later Reduxes, slots only on the left side of gun, so if you were to get hit on the Right side of the feed tube, you wouldn’t have to clean it due to paint getting in there. Also another positive is that with the feedtube being a little bit away from the body (3/16” I think?), you don’t have to remove it to slide the body off, whereas when you want to take the Duck’s body off, you have to unscrew the feed gate everytime since the feedtube is mounted on the body.
Keep in mind that the Redux and Duck are completely handmade guns (to the point where you could say that they’re 1 of 1), and if you do happen to purchase one of these, the overall fit and feel may vary slightly (or considerably for ducks depending on the age and options) from what I’ve described here. I think that the Redux is a great buy even at the current price point of 1195$ for matte Grey. This gun is the same as a duck for all purposes with some subtle improvements, and is more playable at half the cost! Those of you who got a Redux at the pre-order/initial price point of $599/$699, you are very lucky! Duck –
Is the price worth it? After holding one in my hands, I would say yes, but not in front of my girlfriend =). Minor things make it hard to make it my go-to gun all the time, the main issue being the ROLLOUTS! Even though the bore size is smaller (.689 or .690) than that of older ducks, it is slightly too large for the paint I usually use. And I don’t like the idea of having to use nail polish, or electrical tape, or putting the paintballs in the bathroom while I take a shower to absorb moisture just to prevent rollouts.
The last thing I'd recommend is GIVE THESE GUNS TIME! There is a learning curve to these guns, and I am still learning how to play with the Duck, and I am relishing the challenge of learning the redux. Patience, and you will be rewarded!
Anyways thanks for reading, I would like to thank everyone who sold/traded me these guns, and Steve "mOngo" Brett and Earon Carter for gracing us with their talents. I will try to answer any questions to the best of my knowledge. Please keep “I hate you.” comments to yourself
Bunch of photos:
Interally, the Redux and Duck are almost the exact same, the parts are pretty much interchangeable except for the triggers, which are different widths.
Redux with Duckslide Grip/Compensator