AKA Viking vs. Excalibur
I've been in the game of paintball for quite a while now, and I've always been impressed by quality in the industry. One company that provides quality products is AKA (www.akalmp.com). I've shot a Viking before, and in fact, a friend of mine has a nice Red 03 Viking that I'm looking at buying from him.
I have some questions concerning the differences in the Viking and Excalibur markers from AKA.
The Viking is open bolt, and seems to perform identically to most electro-pneumatics. I've worked on my buddy's marker from time to time, and it is about as easy as my Intimidator to understand and setup.
The Excalibur is a closed-bolt marker, and although I've never fired one, let alone take one apart, I'm assuming that it performs similar to a Viking, with the ram operation reversed so that it is closed before the firing sequence begins.
There have been MANY arguments over time as to whether closed-bolt or open-bolt provides more accuracy in paintball, but I always argue that the PAINT makes the biggest difference, and that if you buy quality paint, have a properly tuned regulator (read: consistent), and use a decent barrel, your accuracy will be much the same as any other gun out there. If someone has conclusive scientific evidence to the contrary, I'd be happy to read it. Which leads me to my questions:
1) Why is the Excalibur more expensive? Even in stock configuration, they look unmilled (just like the Viking), and the only noted difference that I see is the method of operation, although it uses the same electronics.
2) Do Excaliburs come with two solenoids? I thought the original markers were only single solenoid, and that the newer ones MAY have a 2nd, but I'm unsure if that is true or not...
3) Is either marker faster than the other? I'd tend to think the Viking provides a higher rate of fire (instantaneous and sustained), but again I've never shot an Excalibur.
4) Are there any differences in accuracy or reliability? If the Excal in fact has 2 solenoids, I'd tend to think it would be less reliable, simply because it has more parts that could stop working.
Hopefully, someone who knows a bit about AKA markers will be able to answer these questions. I don't have access to PBN at work, and I know that the AKA forum is pretty extensive over there, but I'd be interested to know what PBC members think. If I do buy this Viking, I'll need to sell a few things (keep a lookout for a nice brass KP2 and a 99STO autococker...) Thanks in advance!
excal has 2 selinoids, and in therory the viking is faster and more efficent.
I'll try and answer what I can.
The Excal is more expensive partly due to the additional components and milling required for the 2 solenoid system.
Excals are dual solenoid, originally MACS now Humphreys and the Viking is single, same time line on the noids.
The Viking is faster than the Excal but the Excals tend to be a bit more efficient, 2000 shots off a 68/4500 give or take. Maintenance is nothing more that a couple drops of oil in the ASA and general cleaning. I've have both and Excal and a Viking and both are exceptional performers in every way. I'd say the biggest difference between the two is feel, which is entirely subjective, but coming from cockers the Excal just feels better when shot. Also try AKA owners in addition to PBN for information.
Thanks for the link, AKA owners looks like a good site! Any more thoughts and opinions?
2) Excals use two solenoids like stated above, one forward and one back. they always have used two solenoids
3) vikings technically are faster markers, however excals have a more instantaneous fire...since they are closed bolt, like a cocker, the ball is already in place in the barrel when the gun is fired...so when you pull the trigger all that happens is a blast of air shoots the paintball, very quick, very instantaneous, just like a hammer dropping in a cocker...where as with an open bolt marker, when you pull the trigger, the bolt has to close and strike the valve and then the ball is shot...
this is why the excal can have a 'sniper' mode where you pull the trigger, the ball fires, and when you let go of the trigger the bolt cycles and loads the next shot...one of my personal favorite modes i've used on an excal.
Excals using a tadao board are quite fast though, we had the chance to test the first tadao prototype at pump day 26...himurax brought it up from so-cal and we got some good vids of it if you would like to check them out they're on my website here:
4) some say that the excals are more accurate, just because of the closed bolt system...i personally think they're more accurate just because of the operation and how the marker cycles...at least in my experiences the excals i've shot are more accurate than the vikings i have used...and the vikings are DAMN nice.
true they do have more moving parts, just the spare solenoid, but its a rare occasion that an AKA noid actually does break. i've never seen any problems with them at least, i've also never had any problems with mine...true if one does break you'll need to replace it, but chances are both wont break at the same time so it wouldnt cost any more to fix than a single solenoid gun.
anyway, its really up to you...i personally love my vikings, and am looking at an excal right now...we'll see if i end up with a new gun :D
you wont really know until you've actually tried them...so if you have the means, pick one up...the worst that could happen is you hate it and just re-sell it for pretty much the same price you paid for it...they hold their value very well.
Thanks for the valuable insight! Nice movies too.
I think I will attempt to sell a few items and pick up this Viking. My buddy hasn't played in ages, and I don't think he's interested in continuing the sport, so he shouldn't have too much heartburn selling it. It's a dust red '03 Viking with WAS Equalizer board, eyes, Halo B, 68ci/4500psi Armageddon tank, 12" freak barrel kit, 14" Dye boomstick, and stock Javelin barrel. How much should one expect to pay for something like that? Recently, I saw two different Viking packages, with very similar items and similar Vikes (although those two had nice colorful anodizing jobs) sell on PBNation and AKA Owners recently for $650 - $750, is that too low of a price? My buddy has a habit of 'giving stuff away' for far less than it's worth, but I don't want to just let him give it away, I think he deserves some cash for his investment. Any thoughts on that?
right now the market for AKA guns is pretty good for the buyer, the prices have been slowly going down for the past year and a half or so and they've kinda reached a shelf where they've been holding steady...
so if i have it right...he has:
'03 Unmilled Viking w/ Red Dust Anno (no SCM/MiteyMax?)
WAS Equalizer Board (most likely 1.6 software)
12" Freak Barrel Kit w/ Inserts
12" AKA Javelin
14" Dye Boomstick (most likely glued)
Halo B (good working condition? no cracks? new board?)
68/4500 AA Armageddon (in or out of hydro?)
I'm assuming there's no other upgrades to mention? no trigger, no feedneck, no drop/ASA, etc...?
Gun Alone: $425 - $475 (SCM? MiteyMax?)
Gun w/ Barrels: $510 - $525 (is freak kit complete? old dye or new dye?)
Gun w/ Barrels & HaloB: $560 - $575 (depending on halo cond.)
Gun w/ whole package: $625 - $650 (depending on tank cond.)
thats around where the averages are sitting right now for a gun like that, the software is probably older and should be upgraded on that WAS for peak performance, the solenoid is probably the older MAC, which works perfectly fine, but the new Humphreys are faster and lend to better efficiency, and the body is the older '03 style, which doesnt really make that much of a performance difference, they are slightly longer and a bit bulkier and have the rear mounted on/off vs the side mounted on/off that the '04s have.
so yea, thats about it, i try to watch the market for guns to keep up on what costs what so i can find the best deals myself. you still find AKA guns that are rediculously milled (tarantula, streamline, FSP) that get prices upwards of $900 - $1000 and excals sometimes higher than that, but on the other end of the scope, you can sometimes find the super deals on a nicely upgraded vike for around $350 - $400. I actually just got an '04 w/ pandora board/eyes, matrix trigger frame, javelin, bolt mod, CP trigger, etc for $425.
so anyway, good luck with your deal, i know you want to give him at least some of his investment, but personally i'd try and offer like $575 for the whole thing and see what he says...
Thanks for the advice, I think I have a good idea of what to offer. The gun does in fact have an SCM and a razor trigger, but I prefer the stock stick trigger when I've shot it. I can achieve better rates of fire than on my Timmy. I think the software is WAS 2.7, if I'm not mistaken, at least that's what it is on my GZ. Do the AKA Equalizers ship with the V2.0 software?
i'm guessing its 2.0...but dont quote me on that just yet...i'll ask a friend of mine who re-flashes WAS boards what his newest software is...
speaking of which...i should have him update my old WAS 1.6 board...lol
Your price range was actually music to my ears, since I should be able to liquidate a little over $500 in PB gear and come up with the rest on my own.
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