It’s all in the cleaning… Or upgrades? Or both..!?

In my relatively short time playing Airsoft I have found a range of people in regards to spending habits on “upgrades”. Some people seem to spend money on anything that is seen as an upgrade straight away. Others will wait untill their gun shows a problem (or lack of something) then either pay someone else to fix it, or buy an upgrade and fit it themselves.

I fall into the second lot of people. If something is working fine, I tend to leave it alone. I’ll clean it and do routine maintenance, but nothing more. However since I like to know how thinks work, and I am quiet comfortable with a lot of technical things. If I can do something myself, I’ll give it a go!
So when my second aeg did not perform as I expected out of the box, I was loathed to just throw more money at it.
It’s range and accuracy were average at best, and applying any amount of hop only made things worse.

I cleaned the barrel as best I could without dismantling it and waited for some warmer days. As I was told that the cold weather could be making the hop next to useless.
Eventually those days arrived, and there was no real difference…
And so I decided it was time I got to know how AEG’s work a bit better. After some reading up and talking with friends I bought a new hop rubber and nub (Guarder soft) as this was most likely the problem and the cheapest to solve.
I found pulling apart the receiver for the first time to be an oddly satisfing feeling!
I had a look at the stock rubber and nub. The rubber looked in good condition and to my suprise the nub was solid plastic – at this point I though all nubs were soft rubber… #Noob
The whole hop unit however was covered in grease. The nub itself was actually suspended in it rather than in its little cradle. So I spent some time disassembling it and cleaning the excess grease off.
Since I had it in bits, I took the opportunity to give the barrel a proper clean too. This is when I noticed there seemed to be a “rough” patch inside the barrel… Which was being incredibly stubborn to my cleaning attempts. To the point I was on the verge of buying a new barrel, but upon measuring it, it’s actually longer than in its spec from various online retailers. According to the specs, it should be 370mm. In actual fact, it’s 430mm. Which it seems is commonly found on VSR’s, which is why I was having issues finding a replacement barrel… This lead me to cleaning again! So I soaked some kitchen roll in rubbing alcohol, and left it soaking inside the barrel for a few minutes before twirling it around and out. I repeated this countless times, but after a good 40min the rough patch on the barrel was noticeably smaller. Result!!
After an hour, the whole barrel was lovely and smooth and shiny. I was tempted to replace the rubber and nub at this point. But curiousity got the better of me. I wanted to see what difference the different rubbers and nubs made. So I simply put the stock rubber and nub back in.
On the next game day the difference a clean barrel/hop unit made was definitely noticeable. Range was much improved and applying the hop actually made the bb’s go further, result! Accuracy was improved a bit, however every second or third shot was vearing off in different directions.
So after that game I changed the hop rubber and nub for the Guarder set.
Range is still very good, and accuracy has improved a lot! I still occasionally get a shot that vears off to the right violently, but no where near as drastic as before! I’ve found that these unpredictable shots happen more when I am quick with the trigger, so not sure if it is something I can “fix” easily/cheaply. For now I’m just being a bit slower!

So the moral of this overly long post? Yes I could have spent upwards of £80 on a new barrel, hop rubber and nub (plus fitting if I wanted) to get my new gun working properly.
Instead I spent £5 on the rubber and nub, and a few hours of my time cleaning and getting to know my gun better.

I know what I’ll be doing first in future!

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