© Ravi Chopra, 1998
Before I really get into this article, I have a confession to make. I am totally biased in favor of Bad Boyz Toyz ´guns. The first Autococker I ever owned was a Bad Boyz Toyz Stage III tournament ´gun. Almost everything I know about Autocockers, I learned directly or indirectly from Danny Love by tinkering with Bad Boyz Toyz ´cockers. I´ve been so happy with my own experiences that I´ve been recommending Bad Boyz Toyz custom work to people for years. To claim that I walked into this review with no preconceived notions would be the most flagrant type of lie. I expected this ´gun to be sweet.
For quite a while now, I´ve been trying to coax Rennick Miller (owner of Bad Boyz Toyz) into loaning me one of their latest offerings for review. After much begging (me, not him), he finally favored me with the loan of Bad Boyz Toyz´s latest “signature” ´gun, the Westwood-milled Autococker. Like the Twister from Boston Paintball Supply and the Evolution from Belsales, this Autococker has a unique appearance that differentiates it from ´guns built by other shops. And like those ´guns, it sports the full range of performance upgrades and a hefty price tag to boot. With a Uni-Reg and matching DYE barrel (both of which can be omitted if you like), this ´gun weighs in at the heavyweight price of $1750. Not for the faint-of-heart or soft-of-pocketbook.
In my tests of the Westwood-series Bad Boyz Toyz Autococker, I did not use the Uni-Reg. Rather, I ran it directly off my latest-generation 3000 psi, 68 ci Max-Flow nitrogen system. All of my results came from the use of that power source.
As always, in my review of the Bad Boyz Toyz Westwood-milled Autococker, I have broken it down into systems: trigger, autococking system (components that cycle the ´gun), internals (components that deliver gas to fire the paintball), accessories & extras, and cosmetics.
My personal opinion is that, for a player to be really happy with his Autococker, trigger and timing are the most important things to get just right. They´re the two factors that account for 90% of the ´gun´s feel, fire-rate, and reliability. Everything else works essentially invisibly. The trigger is the part that the player directly interacts with.
I don´t think it will be a surprise to anyone that the trigger of the Westwood-series Autococker is fully tricked out and tweaked to be as short, smooth, and fast as possible.
The trigger is built around an aluminum .45-style frame which fits the trigger components much more closely and provides for a smoother pull. Naturally, the trigger and sear are polished for smooth action and a trigger guide screw is installed below the trigger-plate to take up vertical slack. This is where most shops stop. Not Danny Love.
It´s no secret that stock Autococker triggers have a certain degree of looseness and extra play in their action. A .45-frame and trigger-guide screw are the two standard mods that people employ to reduce this slack. These two alone do not eliminate all of the extra play. There is always a certain degree of rotational freedom due to the way the trigger plate and frame are cut. Specifically, the front of the trigger-plate can be made to fit well, but the back always fits loosely and can rock up and down. This is not particularly onerous with a standard trigger, but it can become a problem when 2-finger trigger-shoes are installed. This had bothered me for quite a while until I got my hands on a friend´s new Bad Boyz Toyz Autococker which had a 2-finger trigger, but absolutely no slack whatsoever! Never satisfied to leave well enough alone, I pulled it apart to find out how it was done. The fix is incredibly simple. The back of the trigger plate was bent up a tiny bit to take up that extra slack. Sadly, the construction of the stock frame does not permit this fix, but it does work magnificently well in .45-frames. Though the Westwood I tested had a standard single finger trigger, this modification had been applied to remove all looseness in the trigger and gave it an exceptionally smooth and rock-solid feel.
One other thing I´d noticed about the Westwood Autococker is that the sear release was unusually smooth. Many Autocockers release the sear with a sudden, hard snap. Not this one. When I took off the frame to take a quick peek, I found that he´d beveled the sear down on one side. This is a simple modification that has been used for years to smooth the bolt release in Automag trigger-jobs. Until now, I´d never seen or heard of anyone trying it with the Autococker. This is not a make-or-break modification and the change only results in a small improvement in trigger-feel. What it does do is emphasize the tremendous amount of hands-on custom work and attention to detail that goes into a Bad Boyz Toyz Autococker.
The other components that went into the trigger assembly were a trigger-stop (to limit backward trigger-travel), a stainless steel LAPCO threaded timing rod (bar-none, the best timing rod currently available for the Autococker, hammered flat for a shorter pull), and an exceptionally smooth chromed 4-way valve.
While polishing and modifying components leads to a smooth trigger pull, it is timing that determines how well it works. The stock Autococker trigger measures in at 5 mm and has a pretty significant gap between the firing and cocking parts of it´s cycle (this is the gap wherein short-stroking occurs when you don´t cycle the trigger completely). Many top shops spend their time smoothing out the trigger pull, but leave the timing and pull length very close to the stock settings. The Evolution Autococker is one notable and exceptional example of this. Bad Boyz Toyz employs more of a hot-rod approach to Autococker timing, trying to get the trigger as short and fast as possible with almost negligible space for short-stroking.
Over the years I´ve done a lot of experimenting with timing my own Autococker and have found that, though it is possible to get a properly timed Autococker to function with a trigger-pull less than 3 mm long, it invariably falls out of time after firing a few thousand rounds. At and above 3 mm, an Autococker can be set to function reliably over the long term. The Westwood Autococker was snuggled right up against that 3 mm barrier - a very short ´cocker trigger-pull by anyone´s estimation. The trigger return spring was of moderate weight; softer than a stock trigger, but not as exceedingly soft as that found in, for example, the Twister Autococker from Boston Paintball Supply. For my finger the springing was perfect, stiff enough to prevent short-stroking and provide a good return rate, but not so heavy as to cause fatigue during rapid fire.
An important thing to remember is that different people like their triggers set up differently. One of my teammates prefers a longer trigger pull to facilitate rhythm firing. For some inexplicable reason he tends to short-stroke triggers set this short. As with any paintgun purchase, you should make sure to know what works best for you. People who like ultra-light or longer trigger pulls will probably not be as happy with this ´gun as I was.
Obviously, I am very enthusiastic about the trigger on this Autococker. For the way I shoot and play, this is exactly how I like a trigger to be tuned and timed: short, smooth, and with a positive, but not heavy return. The only things I can think of that could possibly improve on this trigger at all would be a fatter trigger-plate to take up a bit more lateral slack or a chrome-plated trigger-plate for marginally improved smoothness. This is major nit-picking, though. To date, this is the best Autococker trigger assembly and timing I have yet found.
AUTOCOCKING SYSTEM (pneumatics)
As with virtually all Autocockers in this price range, the autococking system of the Bad Boyz Toyz Westwood-milled Autococker has all of the upgraded, high-performance, tournament-level components you would expect. While it doesn´t break any new ground, it is certainly up to current state-of-the-art standards.
The 4-way valve is a chromed version of the stock valve that has been polished to provide smooth, drag-free action.
Though several other options have entered the market recently, Bad Boyz Toyz still equips their Autocockers with the proven Rock regulator from Palmer´s Pursuit Shop. It still has the longest and best track record among Autococker regs, as well as Palmer´s lifetime warranty.
The ram is the same standard, proven Clippard pneumatic cylinder that people have been upgrading to for years. Though newer polished stock rams have closed the performance gap somewhat, I still feel that Clippard rams offer slightly faster cycling times.
Finally, the Westwood from Bad Boyz Toyz is equipped with an ultra-lightweight titanium pump rod and cut-down back block to minimize the mass the cycling system has to drive.
As you can probably guess, I experienced no problems with the autococking system of this paintgun. It cycled reliably, smoothly, and easily as quickly as I could pull the trigger.
The internals of the Westwood Autococker offer few surprises as well. It has the full range of upgraded parts that you would expect in any high-price, tournament-level Autococker.
First on the menu is the ubiquitous OTP Nelson-style spring/hammer/velocity adjuster kit. Nelson kits offer two major advantages. First, they allow the use of softer, large-diameter Nelson-style springs. Second, the hammer is usually drilled and tapped to take the popular fatter-than-stock sear lugs which allow a somewhat smoother trigger pull. The kits that Bad Boyz Toyz installs in their Autocockers are pretty standard ones that don´t come with some of the newer frills like integral velocity locks or external adjustment (without having to remove the cocking rod in back). Though my personal preference is for externally adjustable kits like the Rex/Sidewinder from Belsales, the OTP kit is of very high quality and all stainless steel manufacture. It is reliable, trouble-free, and works just as advertised.
The bolt they installed in the ´gun sent to me was a Taso venturi bolt. A close inspection revealed some striking similarities between this bolt and the superb Evolution bolt from Belsales. First and most noticeable is the bolt-retention system. Exactly like in the Evolution bolt, there is a spring-loaded piece in the back of the bolt that snaps into a groove in the side of the retention pin. This is a significant improvement over the stock system wherein small spring-loaded ball bearings are built into the pin and can break much more easily. Looking further along, one finds that the inlet hole in the bottom of the bolt is a very large oblong shape, precisely as found in the Evolution bolt. Even the venturi pattern in the face is nearly identical, only differing in that there is a single central hole in addition to the six circumferential channels. I´ve found that the Evolution bolt provides exceptional performance in the Evolution Autococker. This bolt appeared to work similarly well in the Westwood from Bad Boyz Toyz. I suffered no in-gun breaks during my time with this Autococker. When I spoke to Rennick about it, he told me that this ´gun was typically shipped with the OTP Slingshot bolt.
Finally, and perhaps most excitingly, this paintgun came with Bad Boyz Toyz´s own latest offering in the great Autococker valve race. The RAT valve was the first high-efficiency replacement valve for the Autococker. It offered less restricted flow and reduced gas loss out the bottom and around the valve stem. Since then, several other valves have entered the market, upping the ante in construction quality, materials, and performance. In response, Danny Love went back to the drawing board to redesign the valve. The result was the valve installed in this Autococker, the RAT II. In addition to the original valve´s innovations, the RAT II adds even more open gas channels, all stainless steel construction, and a seriously cool new reversible valve seal that costs only about $2 to replace (all other valves cost $15-$20 to repair if they blow their cup seal). The performance of this valve was quite impressive. With my Max-Flow nitrogen system feeding the ´gun a steady 400 psi and a DYE barrel installed up front, I was seeing velocities that only varied within about a 5 fps range - very impressive. Furthermore, I was getting 1000-1200 shots from a 68 ci, 3000 psi nitrogen bottle.
ACCESSORIES & EXTRAS
The first thing you probably noticed about the Westwood-milled Autococker is that it is built on a center-feed body. Apart from being quite stylish, these have become quite popular for the fact that they eliminate the need for a plastic elbow (which can break) and center the hopper over the center of the ´gun for better balance. This also keeps your hopper from hanging out as far when you come out around your cover to shoot.
The .45-frame, apart from improving trigger-feel, improves your shooting angle. Many people feel that .45-frames “point” better than the stock frame, allowing for more accurate shooting and snap firing. This one comes equipped with Hogue´s popular rubber wrap-around grips.
I was somewhat disappointed to find that the ball-detent installed in this ´gun was a ball bearing-style detent. This is the same type of detent that comes in the stock Autococker and is effective in preventing double feeds. The only unfortunate thing is that they look rather ugly and have a tendency to jam up with paint residue over time. Until now, all the Westwood-milled Autocockers I´d seen at Bad Boyz Toyz had come equipped with the (in my opinion) much better wire-nubbin style detent. When I asked about it, I was told that it has become much more difficult to get Autococker bodies that have not already been drilled and tapped for the ball-bearing detent. Wire nubbin detents are still available from Bad Boyz Toyz, but you´ll have to special order the ´gun and wait several weeks to have it built.
As I mentioned earlier, the Westwood-milled Bad Boyz Toyz Autococker also comes with a Uni-Reg and matching DYE barrel.
As with most top-dollar paintguns (particularly Autocockers) out there, the looks of this ´gun are one of it´s major selling points. Much like the Twister is for Boston Paintball Supply, the Westwood-milled Autococker is a "signature" look for Bad Boyz Toyz that differentiates it from tournament ´guns built by other shops.
The millwork is bold, eye catching, and completely unmistakable for anything else. It has an organic look that one player described as looking more like something out of the movie Alien than a paintgun. Despite the complexity of the milling involved, the quality of the work is exceptional. No ridges, grooves, or swirls remain in any of the cuts to remind us that the body wasn´t cast in this shape when it was originally made. This impression is further reinforced by how naturally the curves and waves flow over the surface of the body. I was very impressed with the look of this paintgun. Either that or I just need a date. Either way, I liked what I saw.
The anodizing was a 3-color fade. Clear to blue on the aluminum DYE barrel, and blue to black on the front-block, body, and grip frame. A black-anodized bolt was even installed to match the color fade. The quality of the anodizing was on par with the rest of the ´gun. It was thick and lustrous over the entire surface of the ´gun without exhibiting any pooling, thinning, blotches, or blemishes.
Rounding out the cosmetic package were a full set of chrome-plated pneumatics (ram, Rock, and 4-way), chromed trigger-shoe, chromed front-block screw, titanium pump rod, stainless steel cocking rod, and clear Parker low-pressure hoses.
Taken as a whole, the quality of the cosmetic work on this paintgun was exceptional. All of the parts were well matched and nothing was left untouched. Though each person will have his or her own opinions, to my eyes this Bad Boyz Toyz Autococker was quite striking.
If my opening statement in this article wasn´t a dead giveaway for the conclusion, I don´t know what was. I was extremely impressed with Bad Boyz Toyz´s Westwood-milled Autococker. But then, let´s face it; if you´re going to charge $1750 for a paintgun, it is going to have to be something pretty special if you´re hoping to actually sell them.
In the past, I have been criticized for writing articles about paintguns and not "saying anything was wrong with them." Let me go on the record right here and now. Any paintgun that costs over $1000 had bloody well better not have anything wrong with it. It should come as no surprise that this Bad Boyz Toyz Autococker didn´t have any problems. With virtually every upgrade under the sun and Danny Love´s experienced hands assembling them, the Westwood ´cocker functioned flawlessly.
When comparing super-expensive Autocockers like these, it´s absurd to try to find the "best" one. They´re all exceptional paintguns. The key is to find the one that suits you best. Your goal should be to find the one that offers the feel, combination of features, and look that will allow you to play your best game and be happy with your purchase.
The feature set of the Westwood was par for the course for top-level Autocockers: it had essentially everything you could ask for. The ´gun´s efficiency, reliability, and consistency were all among the best I´ve seen. If there is a specific part that you would prefer in stead of what they normally install (a different bolt or Nelson-kit, for example), they´re more than happy to substitute it for you. The quality of the cosmetic work on this Autococker is beyond reproach. Though each person has to decide for himself whether or not he likes this look, the responses I got from the people I showed it to were universally positive. Good as all that is, in my opinion the most impressive part of this paintgun was its trigger. With an exceedingly short, fast, and smooth pull, the Westwood from Bad Boyz Toyz will appeal to the hot-rod, short-trigger set who need a short pull to achieve their fastest fire rates.
Obviously this paintgun is not for everyone. Probably the single biggest impediment is its price and the fact that you still need an air source after forking out your $1750. Paintguns in this price range are never good values. You can every bit of this paintgun´s performance for much less money by ordering a Bad Boyz Toyz Autococker with all of the upgrades and none of the cosmetic work. Signature-series Autocockers are as much showpieces and status symbols as they are sporting equipment. The Westwood-milled Autococker from Bad Boyz Toyz is perhaps the most impressive I´ve had the opportunity to use.
All material at this site is © Ravi Chopra, 1999