Size Really DOES Matter
BullsEyes Colossal and Titan Custom Autocockers
© Ravi Chopra, 2000
I think its fair to say that over the years Ive reviewed and written about more different custom Autocockers than anyone. Im not trying to boast here, just stating a fact. I have a real passion for these bastard children of Budd Orrs vision and I go well out of my way to get my hands on as many of them as I can. I love getting the chance to explore as many peoples different ideas as to how an Autococker should best be built, timed, and tuned.
People have generally responded positively, expressing an interest in more reviews of custom Autocockers. Usually they want to read about one of the several custom guns that have been promised to me but never sent (Bob Long, KAPP, Spanky
Im still waiting), but just in the last year or so Ive started getting a fair amount of e-mail about a custom shop that Id never heard of before: BullsEye Paintball.
Instead of asking me something about BullsEyes Autocockers, they were very excited to tell me something about them. Specifically, they were raving about Bullseyes trigger-jobs. Awesome, light, fast, tight triggers that rumor had it were simply beyond compare. This really caught my attention. Its rare that people will focus so strongly on one particular aspect of a particular paintguns performance. Also, Im a total trigger nut. Ive said many times that the trigger is the players interface with the paintgun and your happiness with your marker depends most strongly on your satisfaction with the trigger.
But then, Ive shot a lot of Autocockers. Over the years I figure Ive seen just about every way to tune and time an Autococker trigger. Could BullsEyes work really be all that special? Only one way to find out. I dropped them a line and asked them to loan me a gun to review. To my delight, they sent two! In addition to their $1200, no-holds-barred "Titan" Autococker, they sent along one of their budget-priced ($650) "Colossal" Autocockers.
The first chance I got, I slapped on my Max-Flow nitrogen system and hit the field. As always, Ive broken up this review into systems: trigger, autococking system, internals, extras, and cosmetics.
BullsEye has several levels of trigger work that they can put into your Autococker depending on how much money youre looking to spend and what level of performance youre hoping to get. Their top-level trigger job is called the "Mammoth" and leaves nothing in the trigger system untouched. As luck would have it, both the budget Colossal and top-of-the-line Titan come loaded with the full Mammoth trigger-job.
The Mammoth trigger-job starts with a Benchmark .45-style trigger-frame. All .45 frames these days come with both front and rear trigger guide-screws to take all the up-down slack out of the triggers action (when properly set) and this one is no different. To take up side-to-side slack, BullsEye installs an extra-wide trigger plate. Like all current Autocockers from WGP, the trigger plate is slotless, having only a small hole for the end of the LAPCO threaded timing rod. In the Colossal, both the trigger and 4-way valve are polished for smoother action. In the Titan, only the trigger was polished and the 4-way was replaced with one of Palmers QuickSwitch valves.
BullsEye claims that they will spring your trigger to your specific tastes. Heavy springing is easy to work, so to show off what they could do, they set up both guns sent to me with extremely soft trigger springing.
They also say that they set up the trigger with an adjustable trigger pull. In pre-1998 Autocockers, this was not hard to do. A screw could be installed in the trigger frame below the ramp of the trigger which would stop the backward travel of the trigger at whatever point you liked. In 1998 WOrr Games changed their trigger plates to take up that space where people previously installed trigger stops. As a result, shops that wanted to provide back-stopped triggers had to install pre-98 frames and trigger plates.
BullsEye has taken a different tack. Rather than stopping the trigger out backwards, theyve installed a forward stop. By drilling and tapping a hole for a small screw in the top-front of the grip frame between the front frame screw and the trigger plate they limit the triggers forward travel. This is a nifty solution that does not require digging up old trigger components for a new paintgun. The only disadvantage is that you have to take the frame completely off the gun to adjust it. This makes it quite a bit more difficult to adjust perfectly and may take some experimentation should you choose to set it somewhere other than where BullsEye sets it at their shop. I dont expect that to happen much, though. BullsEye really does do an impressive job with their triggers, setting them to an extraordinarily short just less than 3mm length.
The result of all this work was a trigger that left me with a better understanding of the great enthusiasm Id been hearing about these guns. The guide screws and wide trigger plates took out all the slack in the trigger pull. The sub-3mm pull-length is the shortest Ive ever found to work reliably in an Autococker. The springing was so absurdly soft that I was rather surprised to find that the 4-way closed reliably with each release of the trigger. The sear dropped away from the lug softly and easily rather than with the hard snap that Ive always found with triggers set this short (a result of typically having to use a stiff sear return spring). Though the slotless trigger plate does give me some concerns for long-term reliability, now that all Autocockers from the stock gun on up come that way were all in the same boat now.
Simply speaking, this is the shortest and softest trigger Ive ever felt on an Autococker. This paintgun is easy to pick up and shoot fast the very first time you touch it. If theres any problem, its that some experienced Autococker shooters may find to be too short and soft. After shooting an Autococker for a while, Ive come to prefer a nice stiff return when rapid-firing. This isnt much of a complaint, though. Just drop in a stiffer spring and back out that stop screw and you can set this trigger wherever you like (or better yet, have BullsEye do it for you youre paying them for the work after all).
Im not going to say that this is the best Autococker trigger Ive ever felt. There are too many people (myself included) who have different tastes and would undoubtedly find this one to feel a bit unnatural in their hands. That said, theres absolutely nothing to complain about here. I think most people would be impressed with this BullsEyes trigger job and those who want the very shortest, softest, and smoothest trigger will be absolutely blown away. In my experience, BullsEye deserves to be considered along with Bad Boyz Toyz and P&P among the best in the business when it comes to cutting-edge Autococker trigger work.
The front-end bits are probably the most commonly changed parts on the Autococker. Ironically, especially these days with much-improved stock parts, theyre also the parts least likely to make any noticeable difference.
The Colossal, as essentially a hopped-up stock Autococker comes with a mostly stock set of driving components. The ram is stock, as is the pump-rod, back-block, and cocking rod. No problems here. Though I like the STO and Palmer rams a bit better, the basic stock ram is fast and durable. The 4-way is a stock WGP valve, but has been polished for smoother action to allow the soft trigger springing to work. I was impressed to find that it did not leak at all despite the close timing, short pull, and extremely smooth action. This is some impressive custom polishing. In place of the stock Sledgehammer, BullsEye has installed a Palmer Micro-Rock regulator with an adjusting knob. An ANS Jackhammer is also available if you prefer that particular flavor of low pressure regulation.
As a top-of-the-line gun, the Titan understandably came with a matching set of shiny silver front parts. The drive-reg was also a Micro-Rock, this time done out in a slick nickel finish. The Micro-Rock fed my current favorite 4-way, the Palmer QuickSwitch ultimate smoothness and reliability coupled to a back-breakingly steep price. The ram was a chromed Clippard. Clippard makes a fine, fast ram, but the fact that it cant be rebuilt combined with the tendency of Clippards to stiffen up significantly over time has lowered it in my estimation when compared even to the stock and STO rams. An aftermarket stainless steel pump rod coupled the Clippard to a small reverse P-block.
Theres really almost no point in reviewing the performance of front-end components anymore unless theres a real problem. The current crop of stock parts provide superb performance. Even if aftermarket parts are a bit smoother, a bit faster, or a bit more durable youre really not going to notice much of a difference when youre pulling the trigger. The adjustable Rocks are a nice touch given how easy they make it to tune the pressure in and troubleshoot. The polished stock 4-way and Palmer QuickSwitch were both impressively smooth and leak-free, though they really impact more on the trigger than anything (discussed in an earlier section). Rams are rams. The only time you notice them is when they dont work properly.
Suffice it to say, you wont be disappointed with the performance of the front-end parts selected for either the Colossal or Titan Autocockers. Both cycled more than fast enough to keep up with even the fastest trigger-fingers.
The Colossal and Titan are virtually identical internally. Both take their gas input through a standard Autococker vertical ASA. Both of these guns had pre-2000 bodies (they were sent to me before the 2000 Autococker came out), and so did not have the new extra-large valve chamber. No doubt, new BullsEye Autocockers with the latest, largest chamber.
Both also come with BullsEyes Hi-Flow valve. The Hi-Flow is BullsEyes custom modification of the stock valve in which they open up the ports and air chamber to allow for less restricted flow, lower pressure operation, and somewhat improved efficiency. Both valves were smacked open with polished stock hammers, springs, and velocity kits. As these are all now "Nelson-kit" standard in the stock gun, theres not much point in changing them.
The Colossal came with WGPs slick, polished stock bolt. The Titan came equipped with AKAs groundbreaking (and now much-copied) ultra-free-flow Lightning bolt.
The Colossal was set up to run at an input pressure of 400 psi, the Titan at 350 psi. Both could be set up to run quite a bit lower (down to 300 psi or so), but BullsEye focused mostly on the triggers when building these guns. Presumably, respringing them for lower pressure operation would compromise the trigger feel somewhat.
Performance in both of these guns was adequate. Expect to get 900-1000 shots from a 3000 psi, 68 ci nitrogen tank better than stock, but not measuring up to the efficiency of better aftermarket valves. Velocity consistency was, as always, as good as the consistency of the air source and paint. I was using a Max-Flow and Diablo Inferno so my velocity stayed within a 7 fps span all day long.
The Colossal Autococker, as a budget performance gun comes with mostly stock parts and relatively few extras. It does include your choice of a LAPCO Autospirit or BigShot barrel, Hogue grips, and a bottom-line kit to round the package out.
The Titan comes with quite a bit more. First, its built around a center-feed Autococker body a must for many tournament players these days. An Air America Violator pressure regulator replaces the stock WGP in-line found in the Colossal, providing slicker looks and external adjustability. A Macro-line kit is included to channel gas from the bottom-line to the Violator. This Titan included both stainless steel LAPCO BigShot and DYE barrels (an odd pair given their near-identical internal diameters). Comfy Hogue grips wrap the .45 frame and an aluminum trigger-shoe replaces the plastic stock part. Finally, the Lightning bolt comes with a very nice Evolution-style push-pin thats easier to use and less likely to break than the stock 4-bearing pin.
The Colossal Autococker is not meant to be any sort of beauty queen. Money invested in upgrading it all went into performance and it shows. The Colossal looks exactly like what it is a stock Autococker with a .45 frame and a Rock reg. If you like the stock Autococker, youll like this.
The Titan was another story. In addition to the extensive performance work, the Titan was the recipient of a fair-share of prettying-up. To start, this particular Titan has been milled with BullsEyes body channel wave, a series of five grooves at an angle down each side of the body. Its also been cut for a custom-fitted reverse P-block and has a bit of extra sight-rail milling. BullsEye has other milling patterns posted at their web site. The milling is clean and handsome, but doesnt stand out as anything particularly special when compared to some of the more radically cut-up Autocockers on the market. Anodizing on this gun was a clean blue fade that showed off the milling nicely without overwhelming it. All the parts were either anodized, stainless, nickel, or polished for a high quality custom look. The quality of the custom work overall was superb, though it was fairly conservative overall.
It should be mentioned that the Titan really is a fully custom gun. You can get it with as much or as little milling and anodizing as you like. The fact that this gun had a fair amount of both increased the price substantially. BullsEye offers a number of other milling options and a few of their own custom anodizing patterns that they call the "Sin Series" - Envy, Lust, Rage, and Vanity, all of which are pictured at their web site (www.bullseyepaintball.com). All look good, but none will blow you away.
BullsEye builds a nice Autococker. The Colossal is a nice sleeper gun with tournament performance for the guy who could care less about looks. The Titan is a loaded show-gun meant to be admired as much as fired. In all honesty, cosmetics and center-feed are about all that separate these two paintguns. Though some will see it as detracting from the value of the Titan, I think it is to BullsEyes credit that they shot virtually identically - smooth, fast, and quiet. The fact that the Colossal was a less expensive gun didnt lead them to put less effort into making it into a superb shooter.
The only thing that gives me any reason to pause is the price. Though not absurd, the prices for these two guns do fall towards the high end of the scale when compared to other Autocockers on the market today. At $650, the Colossal commands a fairly steep premium over the stock Autococker with which it shares so much. At $1200, the Titan sent to me for review is butting heads with and pricing out well above some of the biggest names in custom Autocockers today, many of which come with as much or more custom work than even this Titan.
What I can not say, though, is that any Autococker soundly trounces the performance of either of these BullsEye offerings at any price point. These are two paintguns that shoot really nicely and I enjoyed every minute I had them. Though they didnt dazzle me with flash, they never intruded into my game and allowed me to go out and play the way I was accustomed to with my own custom Autococker.
Perhaps most worthy of note is BullsEyes trigger-job. Separately, it runs $135, but includes the .45 frame and timing rod. In my mind, a fair value, particularly when you consider just how good it is.
All material at this site is © Ravi Chopra, 1999