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Yomillio 07-18-2013 05:35 PM

Project ANS X5: What comes of the awkward ANS?
 
Hey all,

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!

http://i681.photobucket.com/albums/v...o/IMG_2850.jpg

http://i681.photobucket.com/albums/v...o/IMG_2849.jpg


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:

http://i681.photobucket.com/albums/v...o/IMG_2853.jpg

http://i681.photobucket.com/albums/v...o/IMG_2854.jpg

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.
5. MORE!


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.

minimag03 07-18-2013 11:05 PM

I'd stick with the ANS backblock. It looks great on the gun and is pretty small. A different bolt probably won't do much of anything for performance and most bolts won't fit the backblock since the pin goes through the top. The AKA Lightening bolt is the only bolt I know factory drilled for that type of backblock.

I think metalover or another machinist on CC made a 90* vertical ASA for the GenX5 too. He might be able to make you another.

James_Blond 07-19-2013 01:05 AM

i just recently picked up a solid blue X-5. played with all day Saturday. Really like it. Clamping feedneck, check it on/off, everything else stock. Using freak junior barrel. Stock hpr seems to be pretty consistent. I think fps fluctuations I had were mainly due to really small paint.

anyways its a blast in mech or pump setup.

Yomillio 07-19-2013 07:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by minimag03 (Post 2760355)
I'd stick with the ANS backblock. It looks great on the gun and is pretty small. A different bolt probably won't do much of anything for performance and most bolts won't fit the backblock since the pin goes through the top. The AKA Lightening bolt is the only bolt I know factory drilled for that type of backblock.

I think metalover or another machinist on CC made a 90* vertical ASA for the GenX5 too. He might be able to make you another.

The only reason I'd swap the back block is because of the whole "normal" pin layout, and also, the bolt hole is milled pretty tightly (i.e., its difficult to pull out the stock bolt, which while is decent, something like an AKA Lightning will probably be even tighter). Though I do want to get my hands on another Lightning bolt to just do a heads-up FPS test - shame I just sold one. I'm curious to see if the venturi of the stock bolt is at all restrictive; it looks like it may be. Otherwise I quite like the bolt design.

Also, I'm half-considering a mid-block, eventually... probably not though, I'm a huge fan of full bodies.

Thanks for the heads up on the ASA. I think I'm sticking with this one - as mentioned, it is pretty comfortable. The only thing is that I might get the "long" reg top for the Sidewinder - I have big hands and this will buy me more space before having to accommodate for the macro fitting in my hand.

Speaking of which, I may get matching CCM macro fittings eventually too.


Quote:

Originally Posted by James_Blond (Post 2760436)
i just recently picked up a solid blue X-5. played with all day Saturday. Really like it. Clamping feedneck, check it on/off, everything else stock. Using freak junior barrel. Stock hpr seems to be pretty consistent. I think fps fluctuations I had were mainly due to really small paint.

anyways its a blast in mech or pump setup.

I do have potential plans for the stock HPR - I'm curious to see how it does for me. Everywhere I've read, people say "it sucks!", but I suspect that much of it is simply "sheep mentality" at work.

And I'm sure it'd be a good pump too. I plan on leaving mine as a mech setup - partially because its shoots just so damn fast for a mech, and partially because I have a pump project in the works besides.

Murf425 07-19-2013 08:17 AM

One of my all-time favorite 'Cockers, aesthetically speaking. I've never gotten my hands on one, but always thought they looked totally badass.

Frizzle Fry 07-19-2013 08:32 AM

"Jackal. Sure, we can do that for $400!"
-ANS

James_Blond 07-19-2013 09:54 AM

Yeah, I'll leave mine mech for the most part, but it came with cheap ccm kit and gat guide(or ccm version?). Pumps nicer than expected. My sterling is still my go to open class pump, but the sniper is nice.

I agree about halfblocking vs fullblock. Fullblock just looks so awesome, I would just like the halfblock so I could play a little tighter to it. However, if I really want to do that an enemy works just fine. Also the halfblock would really need to flow well with the round top tube.

minimag03 07-19-2013 11:27 AM

I like when the backblock fits tight on the bolt. It keeps the backblock from pivoting slightly downward when it hits the cocking rod, which keeps the backblocks threads intact. CCM backblocks might give you better performance than stock. Their S6 backblock is tiny and they also still have delrin backblocks I think.

James_Blond 07-19-2013 10:16 PM

oh and my stock ram is super smooth, maybe your gun has had more use than mine or something was bent? The internals on mine look like new so I'm good for now. Just some tool marks on the 3-way, but works fine with no leaks.

Yomillio 07-19-2013 11:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by minimag03 (Post 2760636)
I like when the backblock fits tight on the bolt. It keeps the backblock from pivoting slightly downward when it hits the cocking rod, which keeps the backblocks threads intact. CCM backblocks might give you better performance than stock. Their S6 backblock is tiny and they also still have delrin backblocks I think.

I know what you're saying with the fit - but its so tight that I have suspicious an AKA Lightning may be damn near IMPOSSIBLE to push through it, its that tight at a point. If I do swap out back blocks / bolts, I'll likely go for the CCM delrin or Tech-T Zero Kick.

Here is the stock bolt design, while we're discussing it:

http://i681.photobucket.com/albums/v...o/IMG_2862.jpg

http://i681.photobucket.com/albums/v...o/IMG_2861.jpg

I can't help but wonder if that venturi is restrictive. I've heard mixed stories - everything from; venturi's are extremely beneficial, open faces are the most efficient by far, open faces are inefficient because the volume is so much greater than the "input" hole, etc. I wish I could figure this out without hacking it up first - I probably won't touch it for now.


Quote:

Originally Posted by James_Blond (Post 2761032)
oh and my stock ram is super smooth, maybe your gun has had more use than mine or something was bent? The internals on mine look like new so I'm good for now. Just some tool marks on the 3-way, but works fine with no leaks.

I hear you - it seems the ANS mini-rams were HIGHLY recommended by many sources, especially in the mid-00's. Supposedly they cycled the fastest of any available ram due to their small volume. Mine started feeling better after I cleaned it out a good bit and I was planning on re-mounting it until I over-tightened the first QEV :/. It was still a bit rough at the beginning of the stroke though; strange phenomenon.



Speaking of smoothness, I finally got around to polishing some bits!

Lower tube before:

http://i681.photobucket.com/albums/v...o/IMG_2859.jpg

http://i681.photobucket.com/albums/v...o/IMG_2860.jpg


Lower tube after:

http://i681.photobucket.com/albums/v...o/IMG_2863.jpg

http://i681.photobucket.com/albums/v...o/IMG_2865.jpg

http://i681.photobucket.com/albums/v...o/IMG_2866.jpg

http://i681.photobucket.com/albums/v...o/IMG_2868.jpg

My first polish job utilizing a buffer wheel-equipped bench grinder. Pretty happy with the results, though the valve shaft could've used a touch more wetsanding - I didn't want to compromise the fit and seal of it, though.


Also did the trigger internals, here's the before:

http://i681.photobucket.com/albums/v...o/IMG_2871.jpg

And I forgot to take an after :(

But, not too much to see anyways because I didn't do any wetsanding on them, just hit them all with the cleaning sompound and then did high-gloss on the sear only. They look much better than they did, anyway. I didn't go too overboard here simply because it is a hinge frame and painstakingly polishing everything here won't have as much benefit as, say, doing it to a slider. I still got about 80% of the benefit just using the compounds for about 20% of the time as a full wetsand and compound job.

Both the trigger and cocking action seem to be discernibly smoother now, and that's not just me saying that, as I'm a pretty fair skeptic with things like this. The hammer especially seems to move much smoother. I'm excited to see the results in actually shooting it though, and even more excited to see its impact on a pump project I have in the works! I will likely have a build thread going up for that too shortly, when the bulk of parts that I need come in.


Next immediate task is to get her better timed and sweet-spotted, hopefully early next week when I can stop by and get some tanks filled.


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