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LAPCO Paintball

Product Testing performed with DraXxus Paintballs

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Paintball - LAPCO Soft Paddles

LAPCO Soft Paddle Upgrade for Cyclone Feed
by Bill Mills - April 09

Astute WARPIG readers knew it was coming. Following our review of the LAPCO Cyclone Ratchet Upgrade and Uni-Flow, it's only natural that we'd also give the LA Paintball Company's soft paddles a spin on the test stand.

LAPCO's soft paddles complete the trio of upgrade components the company offers for Tippmann's Cyclone Feed systems, which are available singly or as a complete Clyclone Feed overhaul kit.

Each time the Cyclone Feed on an A5, X7 or Upgraded Model 98 advances a star shaped impeller system rotates anti-clockwise, sweeping a paintball past a curved finger that extends out from the marker's feed port. The interaction between the curved surfaces of the impeller and the feeding finger force the paintball out the side of the Cyclone Feed and into the marker's breech.

PaintballThe stock Cyclone feed impeller system consists of a pair of stacked paddles, made from a nylon-like material. The lower impeller, which spins below the feed finger features five arms with a curved clockwise sweep. The upper impeller has the same five arm structure at its base, but also has a pair paddles extending up from two of the arms, to agitate paintballs in the hopper while the assembly is spinning.

paintballLAPCO's offering is roughly the same shape as the stock components, its primary difference lying in the material from which it is made. LAPCO's paddles are made of a more rubbery material than the stock paddles, allowing them to flex more easily.

A ring of shaped peg extensions reaches from the lower paddle into the upper paddle. This, along with their keyed shape designed to mate with a flat in the Cyclone drive shaft, ensures that the two stay properly aligned, so that a paintball can fall within their voids and be driven into the marker.

Installation of the soft paddles for review was rather simple. Unlike the prior components, it was necessary to remove the Cyclone feed from the X7 used for testing, as the finger extending from the marker body would otherwise block the lower paddle from being removed. Unscrewing the banjo bolt on the Uni-Flow, and the Cyclone feed's mount screw from below bottom of the left side of the X7's receiver allowed the feed system to be easily detached.

Because the Cyclone feed already had LAPCO's ratchet system installed, a hex wrench was used, rather than a phillips screwdriver to remove the screw from the top of the feeder's drive axle. With the screw removed, the stock paddles lifted out.

paintballBefore dropping the new paddles in, a nylon washer was slid down the axle. The rubbery material of the LAPCO paddles has a higher drag coefficient than the stock paddles, and on its own could easily bind against the bottom of the Cyclone feed. With the washer in place, the paddles could easily stick to the washer, which could then slide freely against the feed housing.

With the new paddles installed, the screw was returned to the axle, and the Cyclone feed re-mounted on the X7. Initial test firing and feeding showed the system to be operating properly, feeding paint with each shot, without breaking.

The performance with all three LAPCO upgrades was compared to the performance with the original stock components and with just the LAPCO Ratchet and Uni-Flow.

he marker was run on the WARPIG Ballistic Labs test stand, with microprocessor controlled pneumatic trigger actuator pulling the X7's trigger. Without a barrel, the marker fired paint at low velocity into a ball catcher box, which slowed the paint to a stop, allowing the number of paintballs fed intact to be accurately counted, and the paint balls inspected to be sure they were fed without damage.

The hopper was loaded with 100 DXS paintballs and the marker was put through our stanardized 10-round burst hopper test. The trigger actuator cycled the marker for 10 round bursts at selected rates of fire. For each rate of fire, 3 trials were performed and the results recorded. If the marker fed every shot un-damaged in at least 2 of those three trials, it was tested again at a faster rate. The resulting score, the highest rate to feed at least 2 out of three trials flawlessly indicates the maximum rate at which the marker/loader configuration can consistently feed every shot after starting from a dead-stop.

LAPCO Paddle Performance Chart


The original testing with the stock configuration yielded a score of 13 bps, as did the same set-up with the LAPCO Uni-Flow and Ratchet – though with the upgraded components, more shots were fed during the 14 bps test cycles. With the addition of the LAPCO Soft Paddles, the configuration passed through to a score of 14 bps on the 10-shot burst test. Full test data available seperately.

LAPCO's Soft Paddles for the Cyclone Feed offer a more flexible alternative to the feeder's stock arrangement. Although promoted as a solution to ball-breakage, which was not a problem in the stock configuration, the Soft Paddles did produce a measurable performance increase in standardized loader testing, in concert with LAPCO's matched upgrade components.

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