Just got this sucker in the mail, thank you Josh (Shunut) and Kingman, for the awesome prize drawings you guys do.
In the box impressions:
The first thing I noticed when I opened the box was that it looked REALLY solid, and I mean solid enough to take some abuse. It also looked pretty intimidating, and reminded me quite a bit of a Glock Subcompact. [Note: even though this is a paintball marker, they should always be treated with the same care and respect as a real firearm.
] The marker seemed much more proportionate to the frame than the stock photo pictures make it seem. The pictures also make it seem plastic, when in fact the body is made out of the same material as the newer Spyders, and the milling (including the meat left on the body) remind me a lot of the MR series. While the frame is composite plastics, at first glance it looks like powdercoated aluminum. Also in the box was a plastic jar with 100 rounds of .43 cal (11mm) paint marked “Premium” grade and 2 12gram CO2 cartridges. Upon closer inspection, the paint seemed to have been opened (I'm assuming to check for breaks before shipment) and the cartridges reminded me of the newer Crossman cartridges, but with KT logos on them.
In my hands:
Even with the composite frame, the marker felt a bit heavier than I expected. It was just a bit front-heavy, but I'm sure that once you install the 12g it will even it out. I'm about 5'10 and my hand from palm to tip is the length of the frame. The magazine release is positioned so that even when you grip the frame as hard as you can, your middle finger will only slightly brush against it, with nowhere near enough pressure to press it. But, loosen your grip and slip your middle finger up an inch, and it sticks out enough that you can release it without even looking at it. At first the frame felt a bit big in my hand, but it is slimmed down as much as possible while still being able to accommodate the magazine and 12g chambers, while the trigger guard is large enough to wear gloves with and still have a lot of moving room. The grips themselves are very thin and made of a hard rubber, but they have palm swells, which I thought was a very nice touch.
Part 1 – The Cocking Mechanism
Being the tinkerer and long-time Spyder enthusiast that I am, the next obvious step for me was to tear it apart and see how it ticks. I took off the plastic slide, which connects to the bolt and cocks the gun like any normal blowback, by simply removing a screw and nut combo VERY similar to the Tippmann marker design, just much smaller. Upon further inspection, this screw rests against the cocking pin of the bolt, and allows the slide to pull the bolt back into the cocked position. Underneath the slide was the slide return spring, which sat in a groove and was held in place by a notch on the body. This spring keeps the slide in position when not being used, much like the T-handle on the spyder MR2 and MR3. I then took off the frame, which was held on just like any other marker. In order to figure out what to take apart next, I consulted the manual.
Part 2 – The Linkage Arm
On the right side of the marker (with the barrel facing away from you) is a long metal strip held in place by two screws, each of which seemed to be held in place with a light grade thread sealant. The sealant is very important to remember, since it holds the #1 thing to keep the gun from falling apart in place. Under this metal strip is the linkage arm. The arm functions much like the arm on the At, by connecting the front and back of the firing mechanism together into one movement. Those of you familiar with the A5 design know how the cocking handle on the linkage arm both cock the hammer/sear and bolt. The pistol does the same thing, but in stacked-tube fashion.
Part 3 – The Dual Striker Design
Where in the A5 the bolt connects to the hammer, in the Chaser the front has the sear catch (referred to in the manual as the “front striker” [Note: the term hammer and striker are interchangeabl
e]) while the rear has the plunger portion of the hammer, referred to as the “rear striker”. The plunger is the part that actually connects with the valve, which, unlike other Spyders, is located BEHIND the trigger assembly. Yep, thats right, in order to make a compact pistol, the paint and air is loaded via the center of the body, instead of from the front like a normal stacked-tube blowback (STBB). The plunger functions just like the striker on a normal spyder, including connecting to the bolt, except that the sear lip (which connects to the trigger assembly) is absent, due to it being located on the front striker, and it lacks a rear velocity adjuster, which baffled me for a minute. I had a hunch as to where it was located, but I had to finish taking both strikers out first. My hunch was correct, and the velocity adjuster is actually located at the front of the marker, deep inside the orange “cap” of the pistol. [Note, other than the 12g plug, the cap is the only thing that distinguishes the marker from an actual handgun.
] At first I suspected that the cap held the set screw, but the cap is in fact hollow and the set screw is built into the front striker itself. Even though the velocity adjuster and main spring are reverse from a full-bodied STBB—with the adjuster in front of the spring instead of behind it—they function exactly the same. Screwing in the velocity adjuster compresses the spring, causing velocity to increase, by making the rear striker keep the valve open longer (aka, increased dwell) .An interesting thing I noticed is that the striker buffer sits in a metal plate inside of the body, which doubles as the backstop for the main spring.
Part 4 – The Air Line and the Valve
In order to get to the valve, you must first remove the brass pierce pin assembly and unscrew the screw inside the brass assembly. At first the pierce pin seemed to be made of a cheap metal, but upon closer inspection its really made of steel, so it should hold up for a very long time. Kingman was also kind enough to include a spare pierce pin seal in the spare parts bag. After the brass assembly has been removed, the valve set screw can be seen and the valve can be pushed out fairly easily. The valve itself is set up like your standard Kingman valve, except that it is all contained within one unit. The front cap of the valve screws off to release the valve pin and valve spring. The valve itself seems to have taken some cues from aftermarket Spyder valves in that it has two holes drilled at 90* angles on the top and side of the valve body. This has been done by various manufacturers to increase the volume of air being held in the valve, which helps to decrease shot drop-off during high rates of fire by decreasing recharge time between shots.
I'm really impressed with the design of the marker, and even moreso the build quality. I expected a cheap plastic feel, but even the plastic feels durable and solid. The dual detents is a very unexpected touch While I wish the parts kit came with a spare pierce pin and a small tube of oil, it did come with a variety of spares, including two detents, 1 each of valve and striker o-rings, a full set of screws, pierce pin and valve cup seals, extra detent cover, and even a spare linkage arm and microfiber cloth! And I was very impressed to notice a generous amounts of oil (thicker consistency than Gold Cup, possibly Tri-Flow) on the valve and rear striker. Although I would assume that the bolt would have o-rings on it, which it does not.
I'm not going to rate this yet as I haven't shot it, but so far, this could easily become my sidearm of choice.