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ANS CHAOS SERIES
Review and photos
submitted by Jason Blatt
To begin this review, we must first start with a bit of a history lesson. Since the mid-to-late 1990s, ANS Xtreme Performance has been quietly producing aftermarket “hop-up” parts for the WGP Autococker and the AGD Automag. Based in California, the company originally had quite a few problems with quality control, and as a result ANS ‘cocker parts developed a reputation for leaking and breaking very soon after they were purchased. Thanks to a good customer service department, they usually repaired or replaced broken parts, but not before many people had soured to ANS and their kit.
In late 1998, however, all of that changed. ANS tightened the tolerances of their milling machines to eliminate out-of-the-box leaks, and simultaneously released the original “Generation X Autococker.” The Gen-X, as it came to be called, was absolutely stuffed with gadgetry: the only stock part was the body of the gun. Every other part was replaced with the newly-improved ANS gear, and the result was a sweet gun. It was fast, it was quiet, and best of all, it worked without leaking or breaking. The trouble was, ANS’s previous failures had so damaged their reputation that many people still refused to use their equipment, fearing more leaks and broken parts. A more thorough review can be found at Ravi Chopra's homepage.
Gen-X cocker sold reasonably well, but it was never the smash hit that
ANS intended. They were produced until mid-2000, and then ANS ceased
production, saying something better was in the works. Enter the Chaos
Series, a better-looking, better-equipped marker that retails without a
barrel for over $100 less than the old Gen-X!!
The all-new “Generation X Chaos Series” (Hereafter “the gun” or “the Gen-X”) is a milled and anodized version of the old Gen-X cockers. It also serves as a “pre-production” version of ANS’ new GX-3 paintgun, which will have slightly different milling but identical internals. Whereas the old guns were available only with black, plain-looking bodies, the new guns have stunning milling and beautiful anodizing. The milling is reminiscent of the Bad Boyz Toyz “Westwood” autococker and the Pro Paintball “Freeflow” cocker, having the same undulating, widened pump arm slot running down both side of the marker. The vertical lines of the Westy and FF are abandoned for three gills on either side, and a total of five horizontal divots are milled into the lower-front section of the marker (three on the left and two on the right). There is one less divot on the right side to make room for the serial number stamped above the vertical ASA.
The Gen-X is built on a 1999 centerfeed STO body from Worr Games, which is odd because the gun was actually made in mid-2001. This may explain why the gun is so inexpensive (I’ll get to prices later). Every part contained within or attached to the body is made by ANS, with the exception of the front ASA (another WGP piece). All of the front pneumatics are ANS Phase II material, with which most people are familiar. These parts are fast, beautiful, and leak-free. They cycle smoothly without a hint of grinding, binding, or hissing. The Jackhammer II Low Pressure regulator is sculpted into a curvy design, which looks very good and matches the body milling well. The 3-way is the new style with the base narrowing where it meets the front block. The mini-ram is fast and smooth. The downside to the mini-ram is that it needs slightly higher pressure to function, but I feel this is balanced out by the good looks and the trouble-free operation. The last piece is the “EBS” or “Extended Block Screw.” I was disappointed by this piece, because I thought it was a hollow low-pressure chamber like those produced by Shockteck or KAPP, but instead it is just a long, pretty version of the standard block screw.
The gun includes a Gen-X2 inline regulator, which functions well and looks good. It is basically a copy of the Black Ice reg from Air America, but the insides have been milled almost to nothing to increase flow through the system. It also looks much better: the top half is match-ano’d, and the bottom half is shiny stainless. It includes a thumb adjuster and two locking screws, as well as 2 port plugs and an ANS mini-gauge.
The valve is the ANS XFV (Xtreme Flow Valve), which is struck open by an ANS hammer, spring set, and IVG. More on efficiency and performance later. From the valve, the gas travels to the upper chamber and passes through the ANS Quick-Pull Venturi Bolt. This is a very unique and very cool bolt which no longer uses the much-hated pull pins of all other autococker bolts. Instead, it has two ball bearings on the sides of the bolt which go into the holes where the pushpin would normally be. The bolt is removed by pushing a stainless steel button on the back of the bolt, which allows the ball bearings to retract into the bolt and pass out of the block. The bolt has a ring-shaped air inlet (copied on such bolts as the stock WDP Angel bolt) and two rings of holes leading to the front. This bolt is very free-flowing and one would have a difficult time finding a bolt with significantly better performance. Unfortunately, the back block has no holes in it and thus the only bolt that can be used with the stock back block is the included ANS piece. On the plus side, ANS put a stainless steel insert in the block to keep the bolt from scarring up the block.
Finally, all the rods are non-stock, stainless steel ANS parts with beautiful finishes. One nice addition is that the collar of the timing rod is hex-shaped, making it easier to adjust than the stock, round piece. The parts work. ‘Nuff said.
There are no completely new parts
on this gun, just refinements of parts ANS has made in the past.
The Jackhammer and 3-way have the new-style rounded milling, which looks
much better than the old, cylindrical parts. Flow through the ANS
valve has been slightly increased, allowing good velocities at low pressure
(250 psi) with decent efficiency (a stock-like 1200 shots on a 68/4500
system, but at lower pressure). The most obvious difference between
the old guns and the Chaos Series is the milling, which I have already
discussed in the “Overview” section. Suffice to say, it looks fantastic
and drew the admiration of everyone who sees it (including field owners
and experienced tourney players).
The test gun was equipped with an aluminum Dye Ultralite barrel, a Warped Sportz drop forward system, Dye Sticky grips, and a Nitro Duck 68 ci 4500 psi Microreg air tank. That said, the Chaos Cocker performs admirably. It shoots exceedingly smoothly, very quietly, and very accurately. Accuracy is certainly helped by the excellent consistency of the Gen-X regulator, which with a good paint-barrel match stayed within +/- 2 fps all day long. After locking the regulator, the gun’s velocity shouldn’t change from weekend to weekend either, as long as decent paint is used.
The stock ANS molded-rubber grips that came with the gun were not particularly comfortable, so they were replaced with a set of Dye Sticky grips, which this author finds far superior.
The rate of fire with the gun was comparable to any other similarly-equipped Autococker. The trigger pull was right at 3 millimeters, and the gun was timed to have a fair amount of ball suck. In practice, experienced ‘Cocker shooters could get eight or nine balls per second, and 11-12 when fanning the trigger. The “Quick Fire” trigger system is impressively slack-free; it uses two set screws, wide plates, and a non-adjustable forward stop to shorten the pull.
In games, the gun performed extremely well. Accuracy was dead-on, and in one game the author eliminated three opposing players in less than 30 seconds (the author would like to think that there was some personal skill involved here, but the gun certainly helped the effort). The combination of accuracy, speed, and reliability present in this particular marker should be enough to satisfy any player, from experienced tourney players to enthusiastic recballers.
With the positive aspects of the gun out of the way, let’s pick some nits and split some hairs. While the gun was very good right out of the box, there are a few negatives that need to be discussed.
The first bad piece of the gun is the molded rubber grips. These are custom made for ANS by an outside manufacturer, and frankly, they stink. They are very flat, providing virtually no ergonomic comfort. They are ugly, with the finger grooves going almost all the way to the back of the grips and an ugly-looking and strange-feeling texture to them. A good pair of Hogue or Dye grips make this paintslinger much more comfortable to hold.
Another downside of this particular marker was its atrocious out-of-the-box efficiency. When first fired, the marker was getting just 650 shots per 68/4500 tank with a full fill. This is absolutely abysmal. However, the problem was corrected by lowering the spring tension and raising the pressure a bit (don’t worry, low pressure nuts – it’s still at an impressively low 250 psi as of this writing); now the gun gets around 1200 shots off the same bottle. The author has consulted with many other owners of new ANS markers and has concluded that this poor efficiency was a fluke; none of the other players had experienced such a problem. What struck many people as impressive was that the gun was still shooting at 280 fps when the tank gauge read zero, meaning tourney players can wring the highest number of shots from their bottle before entering that long refilling line.
The last trouble spot with this marker was the beavertail. While an attractive and functional piece, the beavertail was making noise with every shot fired: the vibrations from the marker set the beavertail vibrating like a tuning fork and making a loud ringing noise audible from several feet away. This problem was corrected with a small, thin piece of vinyl bike tire patch under the ‘tail, but it’s something to watch out for.
This is an impressive paintgun. Many markers in this price range have more problems out of the box, but this gun’s problems were fairly minor and easily correctable. The total cost of the entire test setup was a shade over $1000, but that includes an excellent nitrogen tank, drop forward, and aftermarket grips. The gun itself was purchased for $550 and came without a barrel, which is why an aftermarket Dye barrel was used for testing. Many people have asked why the markers are so cheap (only $200 or so more than the stock gun gets you vertical feed, milling and anodizing, and a host of upgrade parts), and this author believes that the reason lies in the body. Using ’99 bodies was probably a less-expensive proposition for ANS and could explain the low price.
In the end, all who shot this paintgun were very impressed by it. It’s a WHOLE lot of stuff for just $550, and at this price they should vanish from stores very quickly. Look for the upcoming GX-3 series, and be ready to be impressed. This is an excellent gun, and those who own them have something truly special: a great marker and money in their wallets.
Author's notes: ANS made the original
"Chaos Series" in late '99/early 2000. They had all sorts of spiffy
anodizing and came with a barrel, and MSRP was right around $1000. The
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