Budd Orr Strikes Back!
Year 2000 model Autococker
© Ravi Chopra, 2000
The last year has been an eventful one for WOrr Game Products. For years now, WGP has held the custom-Autococker industry hostage. WGP has been the sole supplier of the coveted raw center-feed bodies which every Autococker custom shop needs to build their guns. Until just recently, unless you were one of the shops on WGPs A-list, it was virtually impossible for you to get center-feed bodies in an significant numbers and at anything less than back-breakingly steep prices. In response, a pair of companies came out with their own "Autococker compatible" paintgun bodies (these companies become very angry if you call them "clones"). Though neither company made them in particularly large numbers and charged an arm and a leg for them, Budd quite understadably still considered them to be a threat to his business and leveled a law-suit at both companies. To make a long story short, the suit didnt go well for WGP, the Autococker compatible bodies are still being made, and WGP is feeling a little pressure.
So what does WOrr Games do to shore up their position? If you look at the last year, the answer is "all the right things." Availability of genuine raw Autococker bodies (both center and side-feed) is up, the STO is dramatically improved over previous years, a host of new WGP products are brought to market, and most recently, the stock Autococker is updated.
Its this last thing, the year 2000 stock Autococker that is the focus of this article. Ive been waiting to get my hands on this gun for some time. I love seeing the latest offerings from WGP these days. This is one company that has really changed its tune in recent years. In the past, WGPs party line was that the stock Autococker was perfect as it was and that the "upgrades" that custom shops were offering were complete wastes of money. Year-to-year changes were few and far-between. Major improvements in Autococker technology came from custom shops and aftermarket manufacturers. The past four years have seen a dramatic acceleration in the changes to the stock gun coming out of the WGP skunkworks. The new millennium has brought the most dramatic changes yet, including not only some significant changes to the Autocockers inner workings, but also the most dramatic changes to the guns cosmetics since it was first introduced.
I start most paintgun articles with a brief description of how it works. In this case I wont. Ive written about so many Autocockers that most of you must be fed up with reading about it by this point. If youre new to the Autococker and need some basic info, you can find a lot of articles about it both at my web site (http://www.paintballravi.com/index.html) and at the PGI site (www.p8ntballer.com).
As always, Ill start with the trigger. If you dont like how your trigger feels, you wont like your paintgun no matter how pretty it is, how expensive it is, or how fast it can shoot. The trigger also happens to be the most changed part of the stock Autococker.
To start, the trigger in the stock Autococker has been changed to the same nickel-plated, slotless plate used in the STO. As the timing rod inserts into a hole in the trigger plate rather than a slot the 3-way is activated earlier in the trigger pull. This makes for an extremely short trigger pull but makes it much harder to time the gun if you ever have to do any work yourself. The way this changes the trigger pull really is not subtle. Not only does it measure shorter, it feels shorter and faster than the last model stock Autococker. There are two things I dont like about it. First, it forces you to push the cocking stage of the trigger pull earlier in its stroke, resulting in a greater possibility of blowback. The other problem is that the gun will slip out of time with much less wear than with properly timed Autocockers with slotted trigger plates. The long and the short of it is that theyve traded a bit of long-term reliability for a shorter, faster trigger that is more comparable with more expensive aftermarket Autocockers.
A definite improvement has come in the stock carbon-fiber trigger frame. Unfortunately, they have not switched it to a .45-style frame yet, but theyve apparently reworked the old frame to fit the new trigger plates much better than they ever did before. Whats most impressive is that there is no vertical slack in the trigger any more. I mean absolutely none. It now has the feel of a trigger that has been installed in a frame with a pair of properly adjusted vertical guide screws. This is a gigantic improvement over past stock Autocockers. Lateral slack is moderately decreased as well, but not as impressively. Otherwise, the stock grip frame feels the same as ever.
The timing of the new Autococker is very close such that the gun starts to cock almost exactly at the point where it fires. As I mentioned earlier, this comes as a necessary result of the switch from a slotted to a slotless trigger plate. The nickel plating with the new grip frame make for a very smooth action, though still lacking the riding-on-glass feel of the best aftermarket work. Sprining is moderate, providing a decent return and falling about dead-middle between "stiff" and "soft" triggers. Timing is adjusted in part via the threaded timing rod that has been stock equipment for some time now.
On the whole, its fair to say that the stock Autococker trigger feels an awful lot like that found on the STO today. In fact, it may even be a bit better since the new stock frame has less vertical slack than the WGP .45 frame included on the STO. Its the shortest and fastest trigger to appear on the stock Autococker yet. Not the best Ive ever felt, but impressive for a stocker.
Like the trigger parts, the front-end pneumatics that drive the back block have been updated to near-STO standards. The ram is essentially the same brass unit found on the STO minus the chrome plating and swivel end. I like this ram a lot; it isnt the prettiest in the world, but its fast, rugged, and reliable.
The Sledgehammer has been updated to the same new regulator found on the STO as well, also minus the STOs chrome plating. It still works well under virtually all conditions. Its still rugged and reliable. Its also still not externally adjustable. Most people dont really need to ever adjust this reg and there are a lot of people I can think of who would really be better off if an adjustable reg was never available to them. Never the less, airsmiths and tinkerers will be irritated at the absence of an easily adjustable regulator.
The 4-way valve is entirely new. A cursory glance might fool you into thinking it was the same ultra-short throw "Angry" valve found on the STO, but youd be wrong. It is a one-piece design like the Angry valve, but the inlet and outlet hose barbs are spaced further out making for a switch length somewhere between the old stock valve and the short-throw valve on the STO. Its a good, proven valve design that should be more reliable and works better with the slotless trigger plate than the old stock valve.
The internals are not too much changed from the last version of the stock Autococker. The hammer is still the same Nelson-spring-compatible, stainless steel part. No big deal. The velocity adjuster is the same allen screw that threads into the gun body just below the bolt and in front of the back-block. As always, you will need to remove the cocking rod (the rod in the back of the gun below the bolt) to get the appropriate wrench in to adjust velocity.
The valve is the same brass valve that has been in use for years. Its reliable, it works, but it isnt the most efficient valve available. Expect 800-900 shots from a 68 ci 3000 psi nitrogen system with the gun completely stock.
The valve is fed from an even bigger valve chamber than last years gun. The chamber in front of the valve is now so much larger that WGP has had to change the front-block screw to accommodate the larger diameter chamber it seals in front. This should allow the gun operate at slightly lower pressures and allow you to get much better efficiency and low pressure performance if you ever upgrade to a high-performance aftermarket valve.
Custom-faced bolts look cool, but ultimately dont do too much for performance. WGP obviously agrees. The stock bolt has big, wide-open holes to allow free flow of gas and a slick chrome plating to allow it to slide through the body like butter. The often-chopped front O-ring has been eliminated with no loss of performance or significant increase in blowback. It is important to note that the Autococker has a new back block that is thinner than the old stock block, but thicker than the one found on the STO. As a result, none of the old aftermarket bolts fit the 2000 Autococker. If you want to use an aftermarket bolt with a new Autococker youll either need to wait for the new length bolts to come out or buy an aftermarket back block with the old-length to fit old-length bolts.
ACCESSORIES AND EXTRAS
Nothing much is changed among the accessories that come with the stock Autococker this year. The grip frame is still wrapped in OK but not spectacular hard plastic finger-groove grips. A beavertail is included to help prevent the cocking rod from smacking you in the goggles, to keep you from shooting hot, and to make adjusting velocity as difficult and inconvenient as possible. A brass ball-bearing detent threads into the left side of the gun body to prevent double feeds and cut down on ball chops in the breech. WGP is still using the venerable 4-bearing push-pin to hold the bolt in place. It works, but they have a tendency to break. The front pneumatics are protected by a shark-gill cut shroud that also acts as a padded forgrip if you dont like using the in-line regulator.
The WGP in-line pressure regulator comes installed in the vertical ASA. It provides good flow and decent performance and really should be all that most people need. The only real disadvantage of this reg is the same as found with the Sledgehammer up front. You have to open it up to adjust it. This is very inconvenient if you ever need to adjust your input pressure. On the other hand, if youre shooting the stock gun you really shouldnt ever need to.
The 12" barrel is somewhat cosmetically changed from last year, now with a bit of flare at the end to spice it up. Its still black-anodized aluminum, smooth-bore, and unported and its still going to be the most commonly replaced part of the paintgun. The stock barrel shoots just fine but most people will end up replacing it eventually.
This year WOrr Games really put some effort into prettying up the Autococker. The body has been sculpted for a smoother, more stylish look. The pump-rod groove has been smoothed out and curved into the side of the gun and a matching groove has been cut in the right side of the body The bottom of the body is also rounded out to keep smooth curves all over. As with last year, the front of the sight-rail is ramped and the back is rounded.
The most radical change comes in the back block which has been slimmed down (making all older bolts incompatible) and sculpted into a funky assymetrical shape with a groove in the right that matches the groove that runs down the right side of the gun body. Youll either love it or hate it the moment you see it. Either way, it definitely spices up the guns appearance.
Just forward of the back block on the left side of the gun body is a new WGP logo-lozenge like those cropping up on most paintguns these days.
As has been the case for a few years now, the shroud is shark-gill cut for a meaner look. The anodizing is an understated matte-black hard coat that looks just fine but which makes the carbon-fiber grip frame look a bit shabby by comparison.
WOrr Games has released their best stock Autococker for the new millennium. With a host of performance and cosmetic improvements over past guns this the best paintgun to come out of WGP short of the STO, and even betters the STO in a couple areas (most notably being trigger plate fit).
Despite all these changes, the stock Autococker remains $425 retail (and quite a bit less when purchased by mail-order). As an avid Autococker shooter, I really think this is one of the great price/performance deals in paintball. This new stock Autococker shoots every bit as well, if not much better than some of the best aftermarket Autocockers of just a few years back. If youve shot Autocockers before, like them, and are considering upgrading your blowback, this is really a very good value that doesnt force you to buy all sorts of aftermarket parts that dont really outperform the stock bits at all.
All material at this site is © Ravi Chopra, 2001