Armson mini-review... (warning, 302kb of pics)
by Have Blue

All right, with 8 of 12 expected inches of snow on the ground, I figure it's a good night to stay at work for a few hours to wait out the storm and do paintball stuff.

I'll ideally have a more complete review at some point (like I've done for the PT Enforcer and S-4 (well, I still need to add a few things to the S-4 review, but it's mostly done)), but for now, I hope to at least answer your questions.

I honestly haven't used the gun in a game yet, as I only recently got it working right, as it would vent down the barrel like crazy after about 8-10 shots or so, and I'd have to degass the whole thing to get it working again (very very simple fix, but more on it later).

I paid $200 (I think) for mine - was originally a test gun at NPS. That's a rather high price for a used Armson (new cost is $220, I believe), but it was in pretty good shape and sometimes I'm just an awful paintball gun impulse buyer. (But it came with a matching green ACI elbow!! :-)

Note the dual bottle hookup - you can mount it to the front or rear (or both if you've got on/off valves).

No barrel threads - the end of the barrel has a small notch in the top, with the front powerfeed screw acting as a key, and a front collar that tightens it into place. And yes, it's an Armson rifled barrel.

Grip is sorta rectangular in cross-section, but it's not uncomfortable. (Come to think of it, I always liked the rectangularish cross-section grip of the Splatmaster)

Pair of screws secure the grip frame to the body assembly...

This is the top inside of the frame (yeah, it's kinda dark). The lightish rear circular area (left side of pic) is where the gas comes up through the grip. Note the nice, wide sear.

The grip assembly, showing off the internal expansion chamber. Not sure how well it really works, given its small size. And although I've not really used the gun much, I can't say that I've had the grip become cold when blowing off a lot of shots - there's a good amount of separation between the plastic grip cover and the chamber.

Bottom of the trigger frame without the grip or x-chamber attached. Here is where my original problem with the gun was. The shiny bare aluminum is a drilled hole to access a set screw that adjusts how far the sear spring is compressed. By adjusting this set screw, you can adjust the sear tension (and thus a bit of the trigger weight as well). WHen I had first gotten the gun, there was just barely enough spring tension to allow the sear to catch the bolt on return. After a few shots, the sear would fail to catch the bolt, the bolt would stay forward, and it would vent down the barrel. An extension spring is used for the trigger return (could be a little lighter, but it's certainly much better than a Pro-Lite 

Guts of the gun - the sight rail holds the two halves together.

Armson's answer to the Mag's AIR...

Yes, velocity is adjusted by the threaded plug to the right (adjusts the size of the internal dump chamber).

Valve body with brass power tube unscrewed, and bottom inlet thingy disassembled. I'm still not sure how the little spring plunger thingy is supposed to work. I guess it's just a system to keep too much air from entering the chamber too quickly to allow the bolt to return and be caught by the sear.

A closer look at the rear of the bolt. The very rear of the power tube has a silicone seal (much like a Mag's powertube o-ring).

...and the assembled valve. Note the soft plastic bumper at the front of the bolt ('foamie' in Mag-speak).
 

So, that's the pics. How do I like the gun? Nice, very nice. Fit and finish is great, the design is quite thoughtful, and the gun has a solid feel without being too heavy (2.6 pounds w/o bottle or hopper). As you might guess, that Armson barrel is loud. Dunno about efficiency, but my guess would be around that of a Mag. Trigger pull is quite nice - softer than a mag, with a pull of right about 1/8". The adjustable sear spring is a fantastic idea, though I'd love to have some way of adjusting the trigger spring as well. Overall, I prefer this trigger over most blowbacks - reasonably short and snappy, and I can fire faster on it than on, say, a Piranha...

So that's the quickie review... Any other questions?
 

(Note: If you want to dig through the large raw pics, go to http://matrixpm.com/~haveblue/tech/armson/

Posted on Dec 11, 2000, 5:37 PM