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Ricochet Development
 
 


Product testing performed with DraXxus Paintballs

























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Ricochet Speeds Up Apache
By Bill Mills - Dec 2004

In the fall of 2003, Ricochet Development gave WARPIG readers a sneak peek at a prototype of their latest flagship product, the Ricochet Apache.  In spring of 2004, the Apache became available to paintball players. Through 2004, in both an LED version with simple on/off control, and an LCD version with game timer and ball counter, the Apache has been at the top of Ricochetís product line.

In the tail end of 2004, Ricochet brought the Apache one step further for the 2005 model year.  With an upgraded motor impeller and drive train, the 2005 Apache targets improved on-gun performance.  Not only does the new motor appear in new Apaches, but Ricochet is also offering it as a free user-installed upgrade for existing Apache owners.
When first released, the Apache went through a number of changes in the design of its agitating impeller.  The first looked like a two bladed propeller, followed by a two arm design, and finally the bulk of Apaches produced in 2004 had four arms made of heat shrink covered weed trimmer line, with the same basic structure as the agitating arms found in Ricochetsí 2K and AK loaders.  

The Apache 2005 design upgrade includes an all new impeller/agitator that is structurally shaped very similar to the trimmer line design, however it is molded out of a single piece of flexible plastic.  In field testing, with low amounts of paint in the hopper, the arms could be seen to flex over paintballs at times.  This give in the system is a key to allowing the arms to rotate at a higher speed without breaking paint. 

When operated side by side with a 2004 Apache, the newer model spins noticeably faster.  To find out how fast, one agitating arm was marked with highly visible acrylic paint, and recorded on video for ten seconds of operation.  The bend sensor in the loaderís neck was manually triggered to keep the motor spinning.  The video recordings were then analyzed in a professional video compositing and analysis package capable of separating video fields, to give 1/60th of a second time resolution.

The original Apache was found to operate at 155 rpm, compared to 176 rpm with the upgraded drive assembly.  The upgrade had provided a fourteen percent increase in the speed of the impeller/agitator.

How much faster internal parts spin is not nearly as important as how much that change in speed affects the loaderís ability to feed a paintgun.  To find this out, the loader was mounted on the WARPIG Ballistic Labs hopper test stand (a computer controlled Matrix LCD) and filled with 100 DraXxus Hellfire paintballs.  The Matrix LCD was cycled for 10 shot bursts beginning at a rate of 10 balls per second, and increasing by one ball per second until the hopper could not successfully feed all 10 balls in at least two out of three attempts.

The 2005 Apache fed flawlessly up through thirteen balls per second.  At fourteen balls per second, it fed first nine, then nine, and then eight balls on its three trials.  This testing showed a measurable increase in the Apacheís feed rate, compared to the 12 balls per second achieved by an original Apache under the same test conditions during WARPIG Loader Lineup 2 test.  

Comparing the results of testing the Apache upgrade to other hoppers tested on the same Matrix based hopper test rig under the same conditions during the loder lineup, the new Apache tied in performance with the VL eVLution and HALO B, beating out the 2KX and original Apache.

2005 Apaches can be most readily identified by their all white four prong impeller/agitator assemblies.  As with many of their other loaders, Ricochet is offering and upgrade path for 2004 Apache owners to get the performance of the 2005 model.  An upgrade kit expected to retail for approximately $10, can be purchased manufacturer direct via telephone.  
 


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