AirGun Designs Automag/Minimag
Frequently Asked Questions List

Version 1.5 (4/9/96)

Maintained by: Steve Mitchell (steve@cati.csufresno.edu)
HTML Conversion by: Steve Mitchell (steve@cati.csufresno.edu)


  1. What is the Automag?
  2. What is the difference between the Automag and the Minimag?
  3. Is it the best? Better than the AutoCocker?
  4. I've got a 'Mag, what accessories should I get now?
  5. What modifications should I have done to my 'Mag?
  6. Liquid and your Automag.
  7. Maintenance of your Automag.
  8. I have the following problem with my 'Mag...what can I do?
  9. Comments and net.opinion on the Automag.


  1. What is the Automag?

    The Automag is an open bolt, blow-forward, true semi-automatic paintball gun designed and manufactured by AirGun Designs. It is considered one of the best paintball guns made today. It is known for its high rate of fire, its elegant, simple design, and its dislike for liquid CO2.

  2. What is the difference between the Automag and the Minimag?

    The Minimag is an improved version of the standard Automag. It comes stock with many of the modifications that are considered necessary on the Automag. These are a vertical bottle adaptor and a PowerFeed. The only other difference between the Automag and the Minimag is a cosmetic change to the gun's main body. The Minimag also comes with a shorter barrel.

    The vertical bottle adaptor allows the owner to operate the gun with the CA bottle mounted vertically, in front of the trigger guard, rather than horizontally behind the gun. Mounting the bottle vertically aids in preventing liquid from entering the system. However some people believe mounting the bottle this way is unsafe, as you could fall and break the bottle off at its valve. [But this is probably true for any gun-mounted bottle setup, with a remote setup being in a separate class.]

    The PowerFeed is a modification to the gun's feed tube. On the stock Automag, the feed tube runs directly from the feeder to the chamber, with the balls following a straight line between those two points. The PowerFeed offsets the feed tube so that the balls must make a 90 degree turn just before they enter the chamber. This design is intended to increase feeding speeds by preventing CO2 escaping from the chamber from bobbling the balls back up towards the feeder. AirGun Designs also claims that the balls "bounce off the backside of the PowerFeed" and actually bounce into the chamber at the appropriate time. For a complete description of the PowerFeed and how it works, see the Automag Video that comes with the gun.

  3. Is it the best? Better than the AutoCocker?

    The AutoCocker vs. Automag debate will rage for some time to come. Many 'Mag owners will say their gun is best, while many 'Cocker owners will claim they've got the better gun..

    The facts are that both guns are in the same class. They are both used by top professional teams. They are both high performance guns and they both tend to cost their owners lots of money.

    The 'Mag is known for its simplicity of design and maintenance, its very high rate of fire, and its dislike for liquid CO2. The 'Cocker is known for its complexity of design, occasional severe maintenance problems, tedious normal maintenance, and its long effective range.

    Both camps claim that their guns can be modified to operate as well as the others. The 'Mag biggots (automaggots) claim that the Black Box modification from SmartParts (see below) can increase the effective range of the Automag to compete with that of the AutoCocker. The AutoCocker biggots claim that the AutoCocker can be made to shoot just as fast as an Automag with some professional trigger customization work.

    "They're both right given well worked guns in the hands of someone who can use them to their fullest. It's a lot simpler to utilize the 'mags much closer to the limit by normal people than a 'cocker. Trigger pulling especially is definitely an area where each individuals shooting style makes a big difference." --John D. Mitchell (johnm@cory.EECS.Berkeley.EDU)

    With enough money, either gun can be made into a lethal, professional quality paintball gun. Either gun will likely outperform its owner for many years -- by which time he will probably own one of each anyway.

  4. I've got a 'Mag, what accessories should I get now?

    Stock, out of the box, the Automag is an excellent gun. However, it can benefit from a few accessories. The following is a list of accessories, roughly ordered by importance, that most Automag owners end up with eventually:

  5. What modifications should I have done to my 'Mag?

    An Automag, like an AutoCocker, is almost never found in professional or amateur tournaments without first having been highly modified inside and out.

    SmartParts does all of the below mentioned modifications. You can also have your 'Mag worked on through Paintball Checkpoint [510-686-6249].

    Some of the most common modifications:

  6. Liquid and your Automag.

    Automags are famous for their liquid CO2 problems and poor performance in cold weather. What follows is a little discussion on liquid CO2 and your Automag.

  7. Maintenance of your Automag.

    First of all, if you own an Automag you should also own the video and manual. This video and manual are the best in the industry. In most cases they tell you more than you need to know, unlike some of the skimpy leaflets that come with other guns. If you do not have this material you should call AirGun Designs today, and they will probably send them to you for free. If you bought your 'Mag used and are re-registering the gun, they will send you anything you tell them you didn't get with the gun (parts kit, bumper sticker, manual, video, etc.) all free of charge. Hint: tell them you didn't get any of this stuff with the gun.

    If you do not own an Automag, but would like a copy of the Video, send a blank video tape, along with a stamped, self addressed, padded return envelope to:

         Steve Mitchell
         1099 Sylmar #176
         Clovis, CA  93612
    

    You will receive a copy of the AirGun Designs video, but with no guarantees that it will a) be returned on the same videotape that you supplied or b) be returned in a timely manner. Do not worry, AirGun Designs encourages the copying and re-distribution of their video.

    Maintenance is covered in detail in the video and manual. Automag maintenance is simple when compared to other high performance guns like the AutoCocker, but is somewhat more complicated when compared to lower-end guns like the Tippmann Pro/Lite. However, AirGun Designs designed the gun with ease of maintenance in mind, so even a newbie need not feel intimidated by the job.

    A couple of tips regarding maintenance:

  8. I have the following problem with my 'Mag...what can I do?

    The Automag video spends about 45 minutes just discussing trouble-shooting the gun. The video explains that the gun can be broken up into three sections, with each section responsible for a certain aspect of the gun's performance. It is a good idea to understand these three sections of your gun and the aspects of the gun's performance that they are responsible for.

    The most common problems that arise with the Automag are related to liquid in the system, or with dirty or worn out o-rings and seals in the gun's valve body. The issues relating to liquid are covered earlier in this file. Here are some other problems that have popped up in rec.sport.paintball.

    Q. The MM would frequently seem to lose power, that is, a shot or several shots would just bloop out of the gun and fall far short of anything I was aiming at. They sounded noticeably weak also.

    A. There are 3 areas that could be causing your problem:

    1. your air source might have a problem, perhaps you have dirt in your bottle? Perhaps there is dirt in the hose. Try another bottle, blow out the hose
    2. your regulator piston may need lubricating. Use you allen wrench that you adjust your velocity with and remove the regulator nut/ regulator spring pack. Use a dental pick (or some other tool) to remove the regulator piston. Put some silicone grease on the O ring and re-insert. Using your pick make sure that the piston freely moves-up and down. If the piston was not well lubricated then this could cause your gun to have the symptoms that you described.
    3. If doing the above two tasks does not solve the problem, then disassemble your gun and remove the powertube spring and the bolt spring. Get a set of calipers and measure the length of the powertube spring. This spring should be .296 of an inch in length. If it is .294 or shorter, then you need to replace the spring. Call Airgun Designs, talk to tech support and they should send you a new one at no charge. Also, check the length of the bolt spring, the length of this spring should be 2.89-2.91. If you don't have acess to the calipers, then buy a parts kit and replace the springs from the kit." [From: al@feenix.metronet.com (Al Alder)]

    Q. I can't seem to get anything close to consistent speed out of it, after two rapid shots the balls just start dropping out of the barrel (about half the distance of the first two shots).

    A. I had a similar problem....called the factory and told me to look at the valve seal, that little round disk into which the spring and pin inserts. It was slightly convex and replacing it seems to have fixed the problem."
    [From: bru@thumper.bellcore.com (Bruce Leary)]

    Q. I'm having a problem with my new automag. It has a whispering death expansion chamber in the vertical bottle adaptor and I'm running a remote to a 20 oz tank. The problem is that after I play for a few games, the velocity starts going up and down. If I fire about twice per second, one shot is fast, the next slow, the next fast, etc. If anyone has any ideas on whats going on and / or how best to get this fixed, please let me know - Paul Reiser -

    A. Probably the flat washer with the hole in it between the regulator and chamber. Unscrew the valve and clean the surface on either side of the washer, and the washer itself. If that fails, replace the washer.

         Less likely, but also possible: take out your velocity adjuster.
         Behind it is a piston with a hex fitting showing.  It isn't
         screwed in, just put the right size hex wrench in it and wobble it
         out.  On this piston is an o-ring, which probably needs
         replacing.
    
         [Also try cleaning everything well, then..]
    
         When all else fails, fork out the $20 for the parts kit and
         replace everything..."
               [From: ebmud@netcom.com (East Bay Municipal Utility District)]
    

    Q. "With the first 250 shots out of my 12oz, I get serious velocity drop if I shoot faster than 2-3 times a sec. after 250 shots I get a velocity drop no matter how slow I shoot."

    A. "A little while back I posted that I was having velocity problems. Today I called Airgun Designs and found out my problem was that my on/off top was upside down."
    [From: cptung@ATHENA.MIT.EDU (Charles P Tung)]

  9. Comments and net.opinion on the Automag.
      "The Automag is NOT a cold weather gun without some sort of
      modification such as AA Whispering Death, or a 4' hoseline to keep
      liquid out of the chamber."
    
            --HenryC@Panix.Com
    
      "Smart Parts "short" barrel is good improvement. Smart Parts inline
      gas filter mandatory to keep little bits of bulk tank crud out of
      valve body.  Anti-syphon tank mandatory. The rest is personal
      preference and the kind of use the marker will see.
      [...]
    "Mega-Remote or vertical Whispering Death, yes, guarenteed Automag performance. Even gets rid of Dan Abernethy's complaint about velocity variance during intense firing bursts (hosing). PowerFeed IS worth the 70 bucks it costs (when purchased with the marker), and with a motor loader (VL2000 ViewLoader), is bulletproof. The Crown-Point barrel is a dog compared to the Smart Parts barrel. It barks, too.
    [...]
    Whispering Death or DCG's surge valve chamber both connect to the vertical bottle adapter (option for automag, standard on minimag) and run a line from the expansion chamber to a a bottom line adapter, thence to your bottle. With either unit, an anti-syphon tank is still recommended to improve their efficiency. Your LCV will suffice until you get good with the 'mag and get your rate of fire up, then it will freeze inside the bottle unless you never put more than about 9 oz. in the 12 oz. bottle you mention." --John Hamilton (john@kennel.FIDONET.ORG)
      "For what it's worth the recent PCRI review gave the minimag the
      highest accuracy of any semi they've ever tested.  (There numbers did
      look impressive)."
    
            --mas@skinner (Marc A. Sullivan)
    
      "It's always wise to go with a remote/expansion chamber setup with
      the Automag. If your friend is in the mood to spend a lot more money,
      a new Smart Parts barrel will make the gun a lot quieter and more
      accurate.  Also, the new Auto-Response double trigger job is
      marvelous. I got one a couple weeks ago, and although I run out of
      paint faster, I love it to death.  However, you absolutely have to
      have an anti-siphon or preferably a remote for the Auto-Response
      because of the firing rate."
    
            --Robert G. Hearn (z_hearnrg@ccsvax.sfasu.edu)
    
      "I would highly recommend getting the motorized loader because of the
      rate of fire and stability of the automag. Because the 'mag is
      relatively stable while firing, the balls aren't aggitated in the
      hopper. Many times an ordinary loader just can't keep up during rapid
      fire, when a jam is most likely. Granted, you don't use rapid fire
      all the time (well, some of us don't  :-)  ), but for the times you
      do, the motorized loader is definitely a bonus. It also prevents
      jamming at other times, which, although less common, does occur."
    
            -- Michael Edwin Sheldrick <msb1+@andrew.cmu.edu>
    
      "'Mags...  Excellent paintguns.  Obviously designed and built by
      serious, real engineers (AirGun Designs).  AGD has excellent
      reputation, great service.
    
      The guns are on the expensive side but the quality, warranty and
      service are worth it even if the gun wasn't as good as it is. :-)
    
      The various models are easy to use and take care of.  They are
      definitely high performance guns.  The things that can bug the
      monster gun folks are:  the gun's extreme dislke for liquid C02; and
      that the stock versions of the guns are outranged by slick, tricked
      out 'cockers & Typhoons.
    
      Going to things like remote setups with expansion chambers takes care
      of the liquid problem and getting something like SmartParts' magic
      box modification pretty much takes care of the range thing (though of
      course, this point will probably be debated for years :-).
      [...]
    A must have nowadays is to get the guns internals worked on. SmartParts does some mods and they seem okay. I got my gun worked on at Paintball Checkpoint in Pacheco, CA and they did, IMO, better work for a lot less. This includes stuff like drilling the regulator body, valve work, a 'distance enhancer' (enlarging the air chamber to produce a higher gas volume but lower pressure delivery) all for less than $100. It works great. Get a (couple of) good barrels. I've got a Mini-Mag and I really like the short aluminum barrel for most play but don't quite have the range/accuracy. Switching to a chromed J&J takes care of that. I personally stay away from heavily ported barrels just because they are a pain in the butt too clean but YMMV. In the next couple of months I'll be getting a stainless steel barrel and we'll see." --johnm@cory.EECS.Berkeley.EDU (John D. Mitchell)


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