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Illusion Brain Vomit

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    Illusion Brain Vomit

    Okay so I've been screwing around with my illusion to set it up low pressure and had a bunch of observations on how different adjustments affected the gun so here goes. First the setup:

    Action Markers Illusion (Pro? Red/black fade with the round front pump)
    Valves tested: stock, flyweightnate LP valve
    Poppets tested: Stock, Lapco spyder, AM Diadem (I think) high flow/LP
    Regulator: WGP Black Magic
    Barrels: CCM 12" w/ .681 sizer, Dye UL .680 back/14" front

    Final setup/tune:
    Stock valve
    Diadem poppet
    14" Dye UL .680
    WGP Black Magic HPR: 1 turn out from all the way in
    Front adjustment: 3ish turns out from all the way in. Just in far enough to hear the poppet bottom on the valve spring guide

    *I do not have a chronograph so all velocity observations are from relative distance of each shot on a standard distance target (a bucket in the back yard)*


    So right up front I'll say I didn't use the flyweightnate valve at all successfully. It's a wonderfully made valve and it's very possible I'm the only one having a problem but I can't get any of the valve stems to seal. Tried all 3 and even gently lapped the Diadem cup seal to the valve but again very gently with toothpaste as a lapping compound. Didn't get it to seal but it did slow the leak down the barrel. Also during all this I had the reg adjustment screw backed way off and it wasn't until swapping the stock valve back in that I realized that I needed the adjuster all the way in for the lower pressure adjustment so it was straight tank pressure or whatever the WGP top pressure is to the valve. Definitely part my fault and I'm going to circle back to that valve and try to possibly be a little more aggressive in my lapping to match the seal corner to the angle of the valve face. Flyweightnate has been super cool and helped me out several times to try and get this to seal including sending me the different cup seals to try out.

    On the poppets, the stock one is straight sided with a nylon cup seal and so is the Lapco spyder seal. The spyder seal has a cut in the side of the stem for blowback as does the Diadem cup seal. The diadem cup seal had an hourglass valve stem to have much better flow. In fact it's so skinny in the middle it reminds me of an AKA Tornado cup seal. The Diadem cup seal has a very noticeably higher flow/velocity than the stock or Lapco seals because of the stem shape. The one thing that concerned me was the blowback cuts on the Lapco and Diadem stems causing hammer bounce or blowback from the rear of the gun. The gun had a distinctive sputtering sort of "fart" shot with the pump handle held forward after being tuned in with the Diadem stem (with blowback cut). After re-installing the stock valve stem it had an equally noticeable fart if not maybe worse. A little fiddling with the adjustments can really reduce the farting and best results were with the Diadem poppet after some tuning.

    Tuning adjustments consist of the regulator adjustment and the clever little valve spring preload/valve chamber volume adjuster that the Illusion has when you adjust it with a wrench down the pump handle. Basically what this front adjuster does is adjust the valve spring tension instead of the hammer spring tension like in most snipers. The second and for this project very neat thing it does is move a piston that is also the spring seat either farther in or out of the valve chamber which affects the volume of the chamber. I started at 2 turns out from all the way in on the front adjusting screw which is a Redneck Sniper thing I remember from way back on his recommendations when installing a reg with the stock valve. This 2 turns out wasn't quite enough and when screwing the front adjuster out the valve sputter was reduced. I lost track of turns but my final adjustment was about 3 to 3.5 turns out from seated. On the HPR I have it set in the middle of it's range, probably about 300-350psi but impossible to tell without an inline pressure tester. This yielded a nice soft shot as opposed to the sharp high pressure one it had stock and very very minimal valve fart. If you don't hold the pump handle it sounds very slightly louder than my CCM S5 but very hard to tell.

    One major thing I noticed is that at least on my gun the valve spring guide actually is a travel limiter for the poppet. This seems to be kind of a 3rd way the front adjuster changes velocity aside from the volume and valve spring preload. I noticed this when the grip frame was off and I could see the hammer face push the valve in. It was clear to see that with the adjuster all the way in the valve could only open about half way. With everything back together and the gun with it's somewhat final tune I ended up running the front adjuster back in about 1 full turn to the point that when I pushed the cocking rod forward the hammer no longer made a metallic clank on the valve face but a soft plastic-on-plastic sound of the poppet bottoming on the valve spring guide. I think this is the reason why so many of the Illusions suffered from the valve face peening and dragging on the valve was owners would run this adjustment too far out and allow the hammer to bottom on the valve face rather than have it cushioned by the poppet and spring guide. After this adjustment of 1 full turn in from where it was about 285fps I expected to see a much lower velocity but without any HPR adjustment it was very close to where it was before but with even less to almost no valve fart. Just a nice crisp shot even with the pump held forward. The velocity couldn't have dropped more than 10fps and a little nudge of the HPR adjustment had it right back where it needed to be. I think I will leave the front adjustment at that where the valve can open fully but is stopped at its forward most travel by the spring guide and just adjust velocity through the HPR at this point.

    One massive improvement that was kind of a lark was the barrel swap. I noticed early on that I was struggling with velocity and the shot was very loud when using the 12" CCM barrel with the short back sizer and dug out a 14" Dye UL that I had mistakenly gotten with a .680 back when I wanted a .688 for one of my Matrices. The .680 was an excellent fit for the test paint I have and after putting that barrel on the velocity was a LOT higher than the CCM barrel and the shot signature was far better. This barrel allowed me to drop the HPR quite a bit lower and run the front adjustment further in. As a bonus the barrel matches the dust black and I have a matching .693 back and freedummy wedgits to try out later on. Plus I just really like the porting and shape of dye barrels and the 14" points much nicer.

    Overall I'm really happy with this setup. It had a great soft shot, shoots straight, and is much smaller/lighter than my nearest comparable gun (CCM Series 5).

    Next projects: Try aggressively lapping a poppet to the Flyweightnate valve body, try the .693 back/ Freedummy wedgits. Will try to post pictures of some of these things later but it's late and I don't feel like tearing the gun apart again for pictures.

    #2
    Little update for this:

    Pulled the LP valve back out and checked the o-rings after talking to flyweightnate who indicated it might be a valve sealing issue instead of the valve stem. Sure enough, the front o-ring on the valve was too small as it was one I just pulled out of the o-ring stash. Swapped o-rings from a known good stock valve and put it in. What a difference! Running the LP valve with the stock Illy valve stem it's at about 450-500psi with a super consistent shot and very quiet. No valve farting with the non-blowback valve stem.

    Front adjuster is actually pretty critical from what I was seeing. If you back the screw off until you can hear the hammer bottom out on the valve face, the consistency goes down pretty badly. You can certainly run lower pressure this way but it's inconsistent. If you just turn the screw in until you can hear the valve stem bottom on the valve spring guide (like I think was intended from AM) it's much more consistent.

    People complain about the valves in AM guns getting peened by the hammer but I think that is because they run the front adjusting screw too far out and allow the hammer to hit the face of the aluminum valve. Of course this causes peeing of the valve! The spring guide in addition to changing the spring pressure and volume of the LPC in the front of the gun is also a way to limit valve stem travel and thus decrease valve dwell. Pretty ingenious of Action Markers if you think about it. This works the same for the Sentinel as it does for the Illusion. If you push the cocking rod forward you can hear the sound change of the hammer hitting the valve from a metallic sound to a dull thud as you turn the adjuster in. On both my guns the optimal setting has been just barely in far enough so the hammer isn't hitting the valve.

    Speaking of the Sentinel I just got, I tuned the LP valve in it to where it's shooting beautifully. Setup is the LP valve, stock valve spring, spring guide/front adjuster as above, high flow Diadem valve stem, and one of the blowback holes drilled in the LP valve with a 1/16" drill bit. Hammer spring is the 2nd to lowest tension spring from a Palmers spyder valve spring kit. Shoots absolute lasers with a .685 barrel and is no slouch with the stock barrel. Running at about 450psi it recocks reliably with both barrels but will only recock when shooting paint which indicates perfect blowback gas pressure.

    All in all I can't recommend flyweightnate's valves enough. If you have an AM gun you should definitely give it a shot. Lowered operating pressure on both guns, makes for a much smoother shot, and makes them more reliable.

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks for the write-up, Gabe. I was hoping to buy an Illusion to test it myself, but this is a close second!

      Comment


        #4
        Weekend update: tried the Diadem valve stem in the Illusion in place of the stock non-blowback valve stem. Didn't seem to affect velocity at all but it does have much less valve fart. Now it's same settings shooting a nice crisp low pressure shot. Firing with no paint, just air the shot is crisp and such a low pressure it feels like an autococker that's not shooting to field velocity. Very cool stuff.

        Now if I can just find that pump return spring that fell on the floor.....

        Comment


          #5
          Good stuff. I have an Illy project I'll be starting soon and I'll post here once I start poking around.
          💀Keeper of the Ointments, Ragnastock💀

          Comment


            #6
            So I got the valve installed with a standard valve pin and did the most basic of tweaking and my Illusion is shooting nicely. It's kicking like a goddamn mule, but it's shooting straight! Nate was kind enough to include an extra stem for me to fiddle with so I'm going to try and turn it down a bit and increase the flow, but in the current iteration it works well. I'm sure once I get some paint and run the numbers over the chrony I'll be able to sweetspot and get it dialed in a bit more. I already notice a difference compared to my other Illusion, good stuff.
            💀Keeper of the Ointments, Ragnastock💀

            Comment


              #7
              Interesting that it had more kick. Is that just from a higher velocity or is it the pressures? I've actually backed off a bit from running the front screw in until the valve bottoms as I found it got a bit quieter run further out at a lower pressure. It's definitely a balancing act between the front adjuster and reg setting.

              Comment


              • Jonnydread

                Jonnydread

                commented
                Editing a comment
                I think it's just from the pressures, but I wasn't shooting it over a chronograph. I'll post up again once I get some more paint.

              #8
              My testing on a Sentinel showed it really has a sharp bite at 850psi, but cools off at lower pressures. And, velocity goes up.

              Comment


                #9
                Used my Illy this past weekend and it shot great! Sounded like absolutely goose garbage, wicked farty, but it was ball-on-ball. I still need to sit down and do some balancing or valve pin modification, but in it's current state it's perfectly fun to use.
                💀Keeper of the Ointments, Ragnastock💀

                Comment


                • flyweightnate
                  flyweightnate commented
                  Editing a comment
                  These are notoriously bouncy guns. I'm really curious about what you find out as you tune!

                • gabe
                  gabe commented
                  Editing a comment
                  They don't have to be though. With a small amount of tuning it should be gtg. Start with the front adjuster basically flush or where you can hear the valve stem hitting the valve spring guide instead of the hammer hitting the valve face. At that point set your velocity to close to field velocity and start backing out the front adjuster and dropping pressure until it feels good. Mine has next to zero valve fart.

                #10
                gabe When you say flush do you mean completely IN (low) or completely OUT (high)? My assumption is that I'd want to set the adjuster in the middle FPS end, then sweetspot the reg, then fine adjust the velocity from there. Your method seems more based on feel, which actually may be the route I want to take... I wonder if I'm so used to normal cockers that it's hard to wrap my mind around doing it differently
                💀Keeper of the Ointments, Ragnastock💀

                Comment


                • apamburn

                  apamburn

                  commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I think he's saying:

                  1. start all the way IN so that you know that your hammer isn't smacking the valve face
                  2. increase pressure to achieve playable velocity
                  3. Screw velocity adjuster OUT (increasing velocity / volume / decreasing valve spring tension)
                  4. adjust pressure to maintain playable velocity (presumably decreasing pressure)
                  5. repeat (3) and (4) until it "feels good" - which I assume means until the hammer opens the valve as much as possible without smacking the valve.

                • gabe
                  gabe commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Yeah, that's pretty much it. The front adjuster would be about flush with the "volumizer" or pump guide or whatever you want to call it. Easy way to tell is to push the cocking rod forward until you hear the hammer hit the valve face. If it's a sharp metallic clank then that is the hammer hitting the valve face. If it's a soft thud then you're feeling the hammer hitting the valve stem and the valve stem bottoming on the valve spring guide. If you start from this point where the valve stem still touches the spring guide then that is the basically "center" position. Max valve opening but still short dwell.

                  Mine worked pretty well from that point but had some valve fart and the shot was still somewhat sharp. From that point I actually turned the adjuster out another half to full turn and dropped pressure and now it's very soft and has very little to no fart. Velocity adjustment is through the reg. Not the most efficient setup but I tuned for shot quality, not efficiency.

                  The stock valve was meant to bottom on the valve spring guide to prevent the hammer from hitting the valve face. With nate's stainless valve there's no risk of damaging the valve face so I'm good with letting the hammer hit the valve since it increases dwell, lowers pressures, and closes the valve a little softer which lowers valve fart or hammer bounce.

                • gabe
                  gabe commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Just as another point, Redneck Sniper always said two turns out from all the way in on the adjuster. That's a pretty close to medium setting so if you want an easy starting point that would be the one. "All the way in" like noted below drastically limits the valve total opening so it will be an extremely high pressure sharp shot like the stock setup.

                #11
                Thanks for the input guys, I'll come back once I doodle around with it.
                💀Keeper of the Ointments, Ragnastock💀

                Comment

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