8 years, one Automag: the convoluted history of my AGD jalopy
For those of you who are ADHD, slow readers, or who simply don't want to read a fool's adventure hit the back button now as this might waste some time. The idea for this thread has been kicking around in my head for a while, but I finally sat down and typed it. I apologize in advance, I'm an auto mechanic not an English major so you will all have to bear with me.
A long time friend of mine was recently digging through old photographs of his when he found a whole collection of them that he had forgotten about. They were action and gear shots from almost the last decade and included were several of my Automag. It was a real trip seeing these pictures and the I memories that were attached to them came rushing back.
The Early Years:
This was the first time I ever played with this gun, and only a week or two after I bought it. The date was somewhere around December of 1999, and I earned the money for it by washing dishes at a pizza place for $6.00 an hour under the table.
Before the Automag I owned a Sypder TL Plus. We were out playing in the late fall at Triad Paintball (anyone remember that place? Kingston NH.) and with the cold, end of season paint, shake and bake hopper, Sypder-ness, and the fact that an idiot was pulling the trigger it was an absolute blender. I spent more time cleaning it then I did shooting it, and was very close to throwing it into the woods. I had only owned it for that one season and had just bought a Lapco Autospirit for it, but it was the last straw. I decided I needed an upgrade. Fortune had it that my friend owned both an Autococker (done up in similar style as my mag was) and an Automag. He liked the cocker better, and decided that he would part with the Automag. I want to say that I paid something like $300 bucks for it, and I not only broke the piggy bank but checked under the car seats and between the couch cushions. I was totally out of cash after this and was running it off of a 12 ounce co2 tank (yea, in the snow) and with that shake and bake hopper. I don't remember where I got the add-on powerfeed but I dug it up somewhere. Later on I would cut down the feed neck so the powerfeed sat right on the body of the gun. It still looked hokey as hell. The gun came with the Dye Aluminum as well as a drop forward and foregrip with extension that the previous owner had machined himself. I'm not sure if he copied something pre-existing or not, but they're good pieces. I still have the extension but lost the drop forward. The huge drop was because the previous owner ran it on a 114/3000. It also has one of those wiz-bang valves in it that don't do anything, you know with the extra holes for more flow or some****. There was probably a few other odds and ends as well.
I still remember the first elimination I got with this thing. We were playing an attack and defend on this shoddy, pillbox sized structure and I pushed way up the right tape until I had an angle on the side door. Seconds after I moved up behind a big tree one of the defenders leaned out the door and I shot twice. I remember being amazed at how straight it shot compared to the Spyder and loving that distinctive Automag "Chut!" sound.
Oh Happy Days:
Something like a year later Triad closed. One of the refs there, Erik Lorette, opened his own field. Erik's Rockingham Paintball Club would be my home field and Erik would be the person who taught me how to play paintball. I can't remember how many times he cut me a deal on paint or air to get me out on the field, or the number of times he's pull me aside after a game to explain what I had ****ed up. I still remember things he taught me as clearly today as I did then.
Justin was my age and Erik's head ref. He and I would go on to form a 3 man team that Erik would sponsor. I didn't have my drivers license (actually...none of us did I guess) and Erik would tote us around in his conversion van to local tournaments or practice sessions with other teams. He got us some jersey's so we didn't look like total derelicts (the "Flame" jerseys, Shootist, Fred, Chabo and some others will remember these). We would play some local tournaments before sort of splitting to go our own ways.
At this point, I made myself a "trigger guard" turned dropforward and bought the Benchmark cradle and that adjustable 68/3k through Erik. Shortly after this picture I also added a Benchmark double trigger .45 frame. When it came in it was chrome, as black was out of stock and I thought it was ugly as an angry ex wife. I traded Justin for the minimag body, and removed the foregrip extender to try to shrink the gun some more. By this point I had the green revvy, as well as possibly a black one that I still own.
Life was good and the gun shot great. I used it every weekend. Here's a picture of phase two:
So, this has been pretty mundane up until now. From here on out, it gets sort of convoluted.
The Boomerang Gun:
Around this time I bough an Impulse, one of the first run of them. Smart Parts EPOXIED the ****ing feed tube in, which was utterly stupid. You can figure how long that lasted (About 20 minutes I think.) This triggered a long string of trades and swaps. I turned into your typical addicted b/s/t user, shipping and receiving a new marker on a weekly basis. I think when you do a lot of swapping and whatnot maybe an important portion of your brain gets shut off.
I swapped my Automag for an
Indian Creek Designs Bushmaster. You know, stacked tube electro jobby. As if that wasn't a bad enough decision as it was, I had done the deal with PrairieDog from the Internet Paintball Resource who I knew was a stand up guy but when the gun came the wiring was damaged. After hours of soldering and patching I had the solenoid cycling but it still wasn't right. I was pissed.
Prairie (who's nickname for his nickname was P), my then girlfriend Katie, various IPR users, and I all hung around IPR's IRC channel. This becomes more relevant in a minute.
I talked to P, and he was very apologetic. We arranged to undo the deal, and I boxed up the bushmaster and shipped it back. Days went by, then a week, then a few weeks, then a month and still no package. I was in communication with P on IRC and the forum, and he had an endless supply of excuses. Again and again I was given reasons for why my mag wasn't waiting for me when I got home, fresh off the UPS truck to it's undeserving owner. At one point he professed to have lost it in his messy room for at least 4 or 5 days straight. P was a friend, but enough was enough. A process that had started in early October had been dragged out to the end of November, I had lost a reasonably ok Automag in what amounted to a scam job by a well respected member of a close-knit forum, and I was angry. Really angry. Some fast math, a trip to the bank for gas money, a call to my friend who actually had a truck (and coincidentally was a big guy), and I got P on the horn and laid down the law. If my gun wasn't here by the end of the week, I was going to make the 500 mile drive to his house and collect in person and I wasn't going to be happy about it. Boy did I ever mean it too.
Friday came I didn't have my gun. It was go time. I was in contact with my friend, and we were making the final arrangements. At what seemed like the 11th hour, when I could no longer be subdued and was about to both slander P's good name all over IPR and set out on a trip to retrieve my gun Katie shows up out of the blue at my house. She said she had a surprise for me.
She hands me a box. Not in the mood for games or surprises, I cut it open, empty out a pile of packing peanuts, and am shocked to find my Automag. The lousy chrome Benchmark frame I hated had been replaced by a brand new Intelliframe, and the crap grips with a set of Dye Stickes. Still in the package was a level 10 kit, which had just come out on the market.
I was set up from the beginning, and everyone on IPR was in on it.
When I had shipped my gun to P, he had shipped me back a gun that he knew was worthless in the hopes that it would occupy me for a while. Katie had conferenced with the other IPR guys and sourced the parts she knew I always wanted to add to the gun but never had the cash for and had them shipped to P, who had slapped on the frame and grips. The original plan was to ship it back to her and she and P along with the other IPR guys would keep me subdued until Christmas when it would be brought forth as a gift but my short temper had put a stop to that.
I loved it. I installed the level 10 kit, but by this point I was shooting a nicely set up shoebox Shocker and didn't too much use for the mag. Having learned my lesson I let it sit dormant in my closet for a full year. No more trades or deals. Eventually I stopped playing, Katie and I split, and busy with other things the mag would wait for me with a pile of my gear for 5 full years.
Last fall Chabo and I got to talking. I guess I talked myself into it and then managed to talk him into it too, but we both went down to the fall Canobie Turkey Shoot and played pump. In between blowing off the cobwebs and remembering which end of the gun I was supposed to point at the other team I remembered how much I liked to play paintball and realized I had missed it. After a few days of pump play I was jonesing to throw some paint, but my shocker was thrashed from all the abuse it had taken 5 years prior and it's complex plumbing and seals hadn't aged well (Not to mention that the tank was waaaay out of hydro). I made a run up to the local paintball shop for an ASA and some Gold Cup. At the shop, I showed everyone my mag and told them I hadn't shot it in 5 years. One of the employees, a younger guy who had only ever played speedball, told me good luck. The owner was a player of many years and he laughed at him. "Those things are like half stainless steel" he told his employee. "It'll work."
At home I installed the new ASA and plumbed it. Grabbing the gold cup, I dumped a generous portion into the gun and screwed on the tank. It was the moment of truth. I twisted the ASA's on off.
"Psssst! Click!" air rushed into the valve and the trigger sprang to life. A small amount was leaking down the barrel and a little out the bleed hole in the reg.
"BANG! BANG! BANG!" I dry fired it in the confines of my bedroom, each shot ringing in my ears. As the Gold Cup made it's way through the valve the leaks disappeared. As quick as I could I threw a hopper on it and dumped in several hurried fistfulls of paint before running about back.
"Chut! Chut! Chutchutchutchutchut!" That same old sound. It shot as straight as ever, a line of paint making it's way out to a small tree at the edge of the property. I remembered why 8 years ago I was so taken by the gun. Despite being abused and reassembled, modified with everything from hacksaws to parts bin specials, dropped, pole vaulted, slammed, filled with paint, rarely lubed, and stolen by friends it's as if the parts in that gun operate with some sort of natural harmony. It's like they're supposed to be together.
Special thanks to Katie and the IPR guys. 8 years with me and 12ish after it's birth, the gun still rips. You couldn't pay me enough to sell it, and I haven't forgotten the fast one you all pulled on me. I owe you all.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it. If you made it this far, thanks for reading.
Here's my junk today. I'll be using it next week in some walk on woods play. It will be cold and there will be snow...home sweet home:
Awesome story man! That girl was one keeper. LOL
I love PB stories from this time becuase this was exactly when i started playing.
I curse myself to this day for letting my first PGP go. Whew, just got a bit misty-eyed...
Great story. You certainly have a hard edge in your writing style. Makes for some entertaining reading.
Wow man, great story. You deffinatley have a way with words. My mag that I have now actually looks like your's did in the first picture for the most part, makes me want to start my own eight year journey with it.
I love the automag noise you make in the story, it's exactly how it is typed out! :D
Awesome story... it makes me wish I still had a bunch of my old markers! Alas, I am "stuck" with just my Mags now...
aww... thats a great story...
LOL your sound effects were so bang on. I could here the mag dry firing like it was in real life. God I love that sound.
Great story. It brought a tear to my eye. :p I will never stop shooting mags, and even when I stray, one always comes out before the end of the day.
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