I've been reluctant to write about this topic as well. While I do have favorite shops whom I prefer to do business with, they're not by any means the only places where you can get good work done. But because people frequently ask where to go for good Autococker work, and it's hard to know the places you can trust (there are just as many that you can't) I decided to present the places I'd trust with my own Autococker.
But first, there are a few things I've found about the many tricked out Autocockers out there.
Most basic upgrade work, such as ball detentes, externally adjustable sear-lug, and all the bolt on parts are done in pretty much the same way by all shops. If this is all you're having done, it's worthwhile to find a shop that can do these things for you at a good price. It does pay to go to the best for trigger, valve, barrel, and cosmetic work though.
Remember that you don't have to shell out for everything at once. Unless you really know what you want and why you want it, it really pays to spend some time with a reasonably stock Autococker and learn the markers advantages and limitations before you lay out major $ to add every upgrade under the sun. Adding upgrades as your need for them appears saves you money and avoids the potential reliability problems that can crop up when you start changing parts and settings.
Given all that, here are my recommendations:
- Do it yourself!
This is much easier to do than most people think. Frankly, there are very few Autococker upgrades that aren't simple bolt-on parts. The regulator, ram, 4-way, chopped-block, spring/hammer kit, threaded timing rod, aftermarket bolts, and barrels can all be replaced using just an adjustable wrench and set of allen wrenches. The only really critical things that have to be done by an expert with drilling, milling, and tapping tools are the ball detente and some components of the trigger job. Do most of the bolt-on work yourself and you'll save a fortune in installation fees. Spend a little time with the 'gun to learn how to time and tune it and you can set up a top-level tournament Autococker almost entirely on your own.
- Rage Sports
Rage Sports is Michigan's newest and finest paintball shop. They carry stock and P&P Autocockers, but will be tweaking the triggers out a bit further. They will also soon be offering their own line of custom Autocockers. I hang out at this shop quite a bit, so if you send your ´gun in here there's a good chance that I can take a look at it or work on it as well if that's what you want.
- Palmer's Pursuit Shop
I am a huge fan of Glenn Palmer's shop and custom work. As the inventor of the automated cocking system which was ultimately copied to make the Autococker, his shop is obviously very familiar with it's inner workings. They have exceptional customer service and superb quality of their work. Their prices, though, have seen better days. There was a time when their custom 'gun and barrel prices were absolutely unbeatable. Now their prices have gone up quite a bit. Still trustworthy and worth a look, though. They don't do the best trigger work in the world (IMHO), but everything else is top-notch. Palmers now does full custom 'cockers as well.
- P&P Paintball Connection
My past problems with P&P have been resolved and their work has improved significantly in the last few years. I've finished a review of the basic P&P Supercocker and their awsome Limited Edition Supercocker. The basic Supercocker is a superb value. The Limited is a buttery-smooth mowing machine. P&P's best strengths these days are in trigger-jobs (extraordinarily smooth) and anodizing (the best anodizer in the business).
- Bad Boyz Toyz
I'll get this out of the way first. Bad Boyz Toyz is expensive and can take a long time to get your work done. For those who like it, though, it's worth the wait.
BBT employs Danny Love, member of Aftershock and reputed to be the best Autococker technician this world currently has to offer. He is no conservative tech. He times his 'guns to the very edge of the performance envelope. Fully tricked out BBT Autocockers come with every performance mod under the sun to sqeeze every ounce of performance from the marker. Fortunately for the less financially gifted, they offer lower packages with the more critical performance modifications. Of course you are free to mix and match the upgrades you want as well.
Additionally, if you want custom mill-work done to your Autococker, BBT is the only place I feel really comfortable sending people. While many shops do credible but unimpressive mill-work, Danny-milled Autocockers are, by a wide margin, the most beautiful I've ever seen. I didn't care at all for Autococker cosmetic upgrades until I saw Danny's own tournament 'gun. But after I saw it I couldn't think of anything else. His mill-work is the most meticulous and detailed I've ever seen. The picture of my 'cocker I have back on my page really doesn't do the work he did justice. Even the sight-rail is a work of art. If you ever get a chance to see an Autococker that Danny milled up close, I strongly suggest you take a look. They are gorgeous.