AutoCocker Timing

Contents:

Good day. This is an information based article for those that are wanting to time their AutoCocker, or are having trouble with it. It is based on a 2k series AutoCocker. But all the same concepts can be used for pre-2k Cockers. This is an extension from my article on how to build your own Cocker. If you are interested, I do encourage you to take a look at how I made my own. It is not as hard as you may think.

* Most important! – Please make sure that the marker is completely degassed and empty. Some devices like check valves and regulators can keep the marker gassed even when the tank is removed. Before working on your marker, make sure there is no tank or hopper on the marker. Cock and pull the trigger, pointing in a safe direction. This will make sure that the marker is degassed. When timing the AutoCocker, you will need to eventually gas up the marker. After you are done and before you put the marker into storage, remove the tank and fire the marker to properly degas the marker.

 


The Basics

Timing an AutoCocker is hard for the new person and may prove to be a challenge. For the experienced, there is some trial and error, but not as hard. It all requires a basic understanding of what is going on. With that knowledge, one can properly adjust the correct items. Remember, the AutoCocker used to be a pump marker. It is now automated by pneumatics. Instead of you pumping the marker each time it is fired, it is now automated.

Here are the basics to a stock AutoCocker with a slide trigger. The slide trigger may be out dated material since many of the new Cockers come with a hinge frame. It would be the same concept except for the configuration of the pneumatic hoses. I will try and go slow and explain everything that is happening.

We will start with the trigger. The trigger slides back and forth in the trigger frame. It is returned by a spring to the neutral position. There is an “L” shaped rod attached to the trigger that is accessed by a hole on the side of the trigger frame. This rod is part of the 3-way rod. As the trigger is pulled and released, this also moves the rod. Inside of the 3-way are o-rings. It depends on manufacturer if it has 2 or 3 o-rings. For a stock 3-way, it has two o-rings. On the 3-way are 3 ports, which have hoses attached to each of them.

The hoses on the front and back of the 3-way are attached to the RAM. The RAM moves a rod that leads all the way down the side of the marker. On the other end of the rod is a block of metal called a back block. The bolt is attached to the back block by a pin in the top half. On the bottom half is the area of the cocking rod. The cocking rod is not attached to the back block in anyway.

Stock WGP 3 way

Shocktech “Bomb” 3-way

On the cocking rod, it is basically a small shaft with a larger knob of some sort on one end. The other end of the shaft is attached to the hammer. The cocking rod can be inserted through the back block, but is stopped from going completely through by the knob.

When the RAM is activated, this will push the rod back (not the cocking rod). Since this rod is attached to the back block, this too moves back, opening the bolt and allowing a paintball to drop into the breach. This also pushes the cocking rod back by pushing on the knob. This allows the sear of the trigger to catch the hammer lug that is on the hammer. The marker is now cocked.

When the RAM is deactivated, it will pull the rod (again, not the cocking rod) back to it’s original position. This in turn will move forward the back block, and the bolt. Since the bolt is attached to the back block, this closes the bolt and loads the paintball for firing. Remember the cocking rod? It is not attached to the back block in any way. It is only attached to the hammer. The sear has captured the hammer and is keeping it in place. The marker is still cocked.

When the trigger is pulled, this releases the hammer and it smashes forward into the valve by way of the main spring. The valve opens and rushes into the bolt to propel the paintball down range. Unlike a blowback marker like a Spyder, no air is entered into the hammer area to recock it. The valve is then closed by the valve spring to cut off the air supply through the valve.

So, how does the Cockers RAM move? Along with the 3-way and RAM on the front block is another piece of equipment some call the low pressure regulator (LPR) or pneumatics regulator. This regulator is what feeds the pneumatics. Not to be confused with the inline regulator that feeds the air into the marker coming from the air tank. There is one hose that comes out of the regulator and attaches to the center port of the 3-way. Air travels through the 3-way and into the RAM.

The 3-way directs air into either the front or back of the RAM. Lets go back to the 3-way o-rings. The spacing of the orings will allow the air from the LPR to travel into the center and back out the front or back air line. In our example setup, the air is leaving the 3-way at the front air line at the unpulled trigger position. This air line is attached to the back of the RAM, pushing the RAM, by air pressure, towards the front of the marker (deactivating).

When the trigger is pulled, the position of the o-rings are changed and changes the air passage. Air is then directed to exit the rear air line instead of the front. This air line is attached to the front of the RAM and “activates” it. Refer to what happens when the RAM is activated five paragraphs above.

And a diagram from WGP of how everything working together as described above.

 

The Swing Trigger: Now, what if you have, or wish to install, a pivot or swing trigger. These are the new rage for Cockers. It comes down to personal preference if you want the slide or swing triggers. Some like the slide trigger. Others prefer the feel of a swing as it resembles more of a real trigger. The operation with a swing trigger is the same as described above. With the following exception.

A swing trigger has a pivot point. The connection for the 3-way and where you pull the trigger is on opposite sides from eachother. So, instead of pulling the trigger and the 3-way assembly slides back, the trigger pivots, pushing the 3-way rod forward as the trigger is swinging back. Because of this, the routing of the 3-way air hoses need to be set up differently.

At rest with a swing trigger, the center and back air line is in use. The air line needs to be attached to the back of the RAM to deactivate it. When the trigger is pulled, it pivots around the trigger pin. This pushes the 3-way forward, thus changing the air passage. When pulled, the front and center air passage are in use. The air that is leaving the 3-way in the front travels to the front of the RAM, activating it. Releasing the trigger, the trigger spring pushes the trigger back to neutral position, changing the air passage and “deactivating” the RAM.

As you can see, a swing trigger is the same as the slide trigger. Just a different hose configuration to get the back block moving on correlation to the trigger action. Using a 3 o-ring 3-way is another issue that I will not go into. I will let the diagram speak for itself and let you figure it out. Or, cheat and read the section on hose configuration.

That is the basics to firing the AutoCocker. When one refers to timing the Cocker, this means that adjustments are made to the rods to allow the marker to release the hammer and fire the paintball before the RAM is activated. A Cocker that is not timed will either not have the chance for the hammer to hit the hammer before recocking or will have a long trigger pull before RAM activation, if at all.

I do hope that you have a concept on what happens to the AutoCocker when fired. This next section will go into the actual adjustments needed for getting your marker timed.

 


Timing

To time your AutoCocker, you obviously need an AutoCocker. You will also need a tank with air and some paintballs for the 4th point in timing. No need to get expensive paintballs. Cheap ones are fine. We are not playing yet.

Timing the AutoCocker requires adjustments of 5 different parts. I will go through each one and explain the proper way of setting it up. I will assume that all of the parts are secured in some way. If the 3-way or RAM are loose, I suggest adding just a small drop of loc tite to secure them in place on the front block.


The Hammer Lug Adjustment: There should be a hole in the top of the Cockers body, behind the feed tube. This is for an allen wrench to access the hammer lug. The hammer lug is located under the hammer. This is an adjustable that can dictate the release point of the sear. If the lug is extended too far, this will offer a long trigger pull. It is possible that the hammer will not have a chance to hit the valve pin before the RAM is activated. If too short, it is possible that the hammer is not caught by the sear.

To adjust the lug, remove the bolt. Keep the cocking rod attached to the hammer. This will assist you on moving the hammer so that the allen key finds it mark. Gripping the cocking rod, push, pull, and rotate as you insert the 1/8″ allen wrench down the top. When the allen wrench and hammer catch, turn the wrench to adjust the lug. Clockwise will extend the lug; counter-clockwise will retract the lug.

Once again, the shorter the lug, the earlier the hammer is released and fires the marker. A longer lug extension, the later the firing of the marker in the trigger pull. Measure by sight the full range of the trigger pull. With the trigger frame attached to the body and hammer in place, pull back on the cocking rod. If the hammer fails to be caught by the sear, adjust the hammer lug by turning the allen wrench clockwise.

A good rule of thumb, remove the allen wrench and cock the marker. Pull the trigger and notice where the hammer is released. Do this a few times. Now, re-cock the marker and pull the trigger AND continue pulling the trigger back after the hammer is released. Where is the hammer released in the pull? Prime location that the trigger releases the hammer should be 1/4 to 1/3 through the pull.


The Back Block Adjustment: Remove the cocking rod and bolt. You should now be able to rotate the back block freely. But, before we adjust the back block, we will adjust another area first. Push the RAM all the way forward (deactivated position). Look at the connection of the RAM and the actuating rod that is going down the length of the marker. This should not be hitting the RAM’s body in any way. If it is, unscrew the rod as needed. Not any rule of thumb as to how far out. Between 1/4″ to 1/2″ away from the body is fine. Your decision if you want to secure this with loc tite or not. A wrap of teflon tape will secure it. The small bend that is on the rod should position it so that it rests inside the slot along the body. It should not protrude out from the body.

Now, back to the back block. Screw it on all the way on the rod so that the bolt can enter the top tube. Push the block forward a few times. Does the block contact the body and make a metalic sound? If so, remove the bolt and unscrew it one revolution at a time until the clank is gone. Repeat as needed until the clank is gone. The rule of thumb is that the back block should be about one revolution past the point of contact with the body. You should be able to slide a piece of paper between the body and block without any trouble.

This positions the bolt hole directly over the valve hole during firing. It also reduces the wear and tear on the RAM and body. Plus, it will be a quieter operation. When you have the back block positioned correctly, secure the bolt with the bolt pin and screw in the cocking rod all the way.


Cocking Rod Adjustments: The cocking rod itself is adjustable. That thicker portion on the end that the back block pushes on to recock the marker is the next adjustment. I will call this thicker portion a knob.

The small knob can be screwed on and off the rod. The position of this knob will dictate how far back the bolt moves and how much extra play there is after the hammer lug has cleared the trigger sear. First off, make sure that the cocking rod is secured to the hammer. Adding some teflon tape on the threads is a non-permanent solution. I would not use loc tite. You may need to remove the cocking rod to make minor velocity adjustments.

Looking down the feed port, the optimal location of the bolt should be no more than 1/8″ past the opening. This will allow a paintball to drop into the breech and not chop. You also want to make sure that the hammer is caught by the sear. If the knob is on too far on the end of the cocking rod, the bolt will not clear the feed and allow a smooth loading of paintballs. Also, the hammer may not be caught by the sear. If the knob is screwed on the rod too much, the marker will recock early.

Some cocking rods come with a set screw to keep the knob from being turned to far in. I suggest using teflon tape to secure the knob. I would not use loc tite for this end as adjustments may be needed.


Timing Rod Adjustments: We have the hammer releasing about 1/3 through the trigger pull and the back block is not making an annoying sound. And the cocking rod is allowing the hammer to catch and allow clearance for paintballs. Let’s get the timing of the 3-way settled and the timing process finalized.

This is probably the hardest part of timing the AutoCocker. The result that you want is to allow the trigger to release the hammer, then activate the RAM to recock the marker. Legnthening the rod will make the recocking procedure later in the trigger pull. Shortening the rod will quicken the recocking procedure earlier in the trigger pull.

Another concern is blowback. The delay before the bolt is moved back should be just long enough after the paintball is fired so that no air is pushed up into the feed tube.

The prime location that the marker should activate the RAM would be in the back 1/4 of the trigger pull. I like to make it known that this is an approximation for a location. You may prefer the recocking here, but blowback may be an issue with slowing the feeding of paintballs.

A very simple test for blowback is to roll a small piece of tissue paper and stick that in the feed. Insert a barrel plug and air up the marker. Fire once. If the paper blows out of the tube, adjust the 3-way. If the paper stays, there is no blowback. After you have fixed the problem with blowback, shoot a paintball with 3 paintballs in the feed. There may be some difference in how the tissue test with a barrel plug reacts. When you test with the paintballs, watch the balls in the tube. If they jump a little, there is blowback. If the paint drops down, you are fine.

To adjust the 3-way, look on the right side of the marker. You should see two rods going into a bullet shaped piece of metal with two set screws. I will call this a buckle. If you remove the front set screw, this will loosen the 3-way shaft. If you unscrew the shaft all the way, you should notice a small indentation. This is where the set screw is screwed into and rests, locking the buckle on this shaft. I would add some loc tite to this if you are not planning on changing 3-ways.

The back set screw should not be loc tite in place. This is what you should loosen to adjust the 3-way. By loosening the set screw (or removing it completely), rotate the from top to bottom to extend the shaft. Rotate from bottom to top to pull the 3-way shaft towards the trigger.

If the marker moves the back block before it fires, you need to lengthen the rod. Also, upon gasing the marker up, the RAM is immediately activated without pulling the trigger. Also, a timing rod that is too short will produce blowback.

If the rod is too long, the RAM will not activate throughout the course of the trigger pull. You may also experience double firing (constant or spuradic) because the sear is not given enough time to catch the hammer before the RAM is deactivated, moving the back block forward.


Advanced Adjustments: The above timing procedure is the basics and should get you up and running. For those that want a shorter trigger pull, and have the type of frame that can limit the movement of the trigger movement like the KAPP Reflex frame, you can move the firing and recocking points closer. These will need to be moved forward.

Another plus to moving these two points together is getting what many call suction timing. What this means is that everytime you fire the marker and it recocks, the action sucks the next paintball down into the breach. This happens when the points are so close together that the air that is traveling down the barrel sucks the paintball down the feed. Like a vacuum. But this advanced adjustment takes time and patience. If the firing and recocking points are too close together, you will get blowback.

Divide the entire trigger pull into 5ths. 2/5 of the pull, the sear should release the hammer. At 4/5. the marker should recock. That seems to be the average for those Cockers that are timed for suction. As mentioned, there is 2/5 pull before the hammer is released. If the release was closer, blowback would result.


Final Tuning Adjustments

Now comes the fun part. Either invest in a chronograph or visit your local field. I have a small handheld one that is about the same size as my hand. They are just as accurate as the larger red field chrono’s. And only cost me $80. A worth while investment.

Another point is to preset the inline regulator. Stock AutoCockers operate at 400psi out of the box. If you have a customized Cocker, or followed my directions for building one your own, it is possible that the operating pressure is lower. Set the regulator to around 300psi. Another preset is to have the velocity adjustor about 1-1/2 turns in from being flush with the body.

The basic rule of thumb that I follow to getting any markers velocity set is to let the inline regulator to do the hard stuff as far as large velocity adjustments. The velocity adjustor on the marker really should not be touched unless there are minor adjustments to be made. I consider minor as +/- 5 to 10fps. If the velocity is too high, reduce the output pressure.

Another item one should get is a spring kit. This will also assist in getting your velocity and tuning for air efficiency. Some setups may have better efficiency with a higher inline regulator output and weaker spring than trying to have everything as low and as weak as possible. An efficient marker far out weighs a marker that is super quiet.

Fire the marker a few times over the chrono to get the average velocity. If the velocity is too low, increase the output pressure of the regulator. Decrease the pressure if the velocity is too high. Turn the regulator about 1/4 to 1/2 turn. Fire a few times to make sure the regulator seats properly with the adjustment. Then measure the velocity. Repeat the adjustment of the regulator until you are within 10 units of the desired velocity.

To fine tune your velocity under 10 units, you will need to remove the cocking rod. When removed, insert your ?/? allen wrench. To increase the velocity, rotate the wrench clockwise. This will put more pressure on the spring and push the hammer harder into the valve. Turn counter-clockwise to reduce this pressure. If the velocity adjustor is flush with the body, switch to a weaker spring from the spring kit. Likewise if you have the adjustor in a good ways. Best to install and try a stronger spring.

If that doesn’t work, then consider changing the valve spring. This would require you to remove the entire bottom internals to get to the valve. Hopefully to reduce the need to do that, adjusting the regulator should help.


Final Thoughts on Adjustments

The above is the basics to timing an AutoCocker. This is what I have found to work for me. Be mindful that there may be some differences in the position of the release of the hammer and recocking that works good for you. Not all Cocker parts are the same. The directions above should assist you to getting your AutoCocker up and running.

Those cockers made before ’99 may not have the hammer lug access hole on the top. Rather, removal of the trigger frame is needed for the adjustment. That is why I have stuck with the 2k series of body styles.

I was planning on adding a troubleshooting guide after the above. However, I do believe this is long enough. So, for troubleshooting, continue on to this page.

Remember, before you place the marker into storage, make sure that it is completely empty and degased. Remove the hopper and tank, then pull the trigger a few times.


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