This article appeared in the Australian Paintballer Magazine in 1994
I’ve been using my Badger at almost every opportunity since I bought it several months ago. It has functioned flawlessly in that time. Just keeping it clean and lightly oiled is all that has been required to maintain it in top condition. Frosty sub-zero mornings though, have been a problem. The severe cold we experience in the southern parts of Australia during winter can cause the velocity to drop outside the range of the adjustment screw in the bolt. The screw works by restricting the flow of gas through the bolt.
For tournament use, a gun needs to hold its velocity close to the maximum 300 fps. If a gun can hold its velocity throughout a game, the player using it will have more consistent accuracy and range. Of course, the closer you hold a gun’s velocity to 300 fps., the more chance there is that it might sneak over the limit and give your team a penalty at the chronograph. Therefore, anything that can help minimise this and operate over a wide temperature range is very desirable.
The Badger could be compared with a bottle of champagne. The cork being the bolt, the fizz being the power source and your finger being the trigger. By shaking the bottle, you can up the pressure and cause the cork to travel further (what a waste). Anyway, by varying the pressure in the power chamber you can vary the velocity of the gun.
This is where a gas regulator comes in. If say, you ran your gun at a pressure of 400 psi., you would have a buffer of some 200 out of a total of around 600 psi. in the gas bottle on a cool day. Of course you would have to modify the gun to run at this lower pressure. On the Badger, this is achieved by increasing the size of the power chamber and enlarging the bolt pin. The gun uses pretty much the same amount of gas. It’s just that it’s now at a lower pressure, so it requires a larger chamber to hold it and a bigger cup seal to allow it to escape down the barrel faster.
A regulator is a balancing act using gas pressure and springs. A bit like a see-saw with an adjustable pivot. Looking at the diagram, you will see that gas enters the regulator and pushes against the bottom of the valve. By screwing down the adjusting screw, the main spring tension is increased and overcomes the gas and valve spring pressure, causing the valve to open. As the pressure in the secondary gas chamber rises, it pushes against the bottom of the piston and counters the force of the main spring. This causes the valve to close again. As the gun uses gas, the pressure in the secondary chamber drops allowing the valve to open again. By varying the tension on the main spring, you can vary the point at which the valve opens and closes and therefore, alter the pressure at the outlet of the regulator. Simple once you see it laid out before you.
When I dropped in to see Bruce and Darren, they had two prototypes for me to look at. One was fitted with the Perentie regulator, the other with an American Thruster regulator. How do they shoot? Well for one, the trigger pull is lighter because of the reduced pressure in the gun. Velocity adjustment was positive and had a good range. The set velocity held well and there was little fluctuation. Bruce had fitted the prototypes with pressure gauges so that he could monitor the performance of the regulators. The Thruster regulator works very well and Perentie have already supplied a couple of guns fitted out with these. The Perentie regulator is already up to the Mark 2 version and shows great promise. It’s undergoing field trials at the moment and will be available shortly.
Quick detachable barrels, vertical front bottle mounts and L-stocks are now also available and have been fitted by Bruce to several guns. I’ll be upgrading my Badger in the near future and I’m looking forward to field testing the regulator and new bolt/power chamber combination. The Badger is coming of age and looks set to become a hit on the tournament scene, as well as the rental market.
Finally, thanks to Bruce Roberts and Darren Hayes for putting up with my persistent pestering over the last couple of weeks.