Author Topic: Halfcocker FAQ *Under construction*  (Read 14738 times)


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Halfcocker FAQ *Under construction*
« on: January 23, 2008, 08:44:00 AM »
 What is a halfblock cocker and how does it work?

Halfblock cockers are paintball markers based around the WGP Autococker design. The main difference is that the upper body tube is shortened and the backblock rides on top of the bottom tube. Cocking is internalized, generally via a slot in the top of the bottom tube through which a pin or tang catches the hammer and pushes it back from the front, as opposed to pulling back a cocking rod in a standard autococker. The lower tube of the marker generally houses a valvetrain with standard autococker layout, but usually a custom hammer. See the How-it-works gallery for images and diagrams.

·  What kinds of halfblocks are there and who makes them? *UPDATE IN PROGRESS*

See the gallery for images of these styles.

WGP - WGP re-introduced the Black Magic in 2005 as its first factory halfblock/midblock-style Autococker. Positioned somewhere between the Superstock and Karnivor in the product lineup, it wass not considered WGP's top of the line marker and did not include their top-of-the-line pneumatics. Came standard with the select-fire Worrframe. Utilizes a fully enclosed sled design. WGP's line now includes other similar midblock-style markers.

Turtle Cocker - At one time the most popular and common half block. Created by Bob “Turtle” Long (not to be confused with Bob Long of Intimidator fame), these are available as conversions of existing bodies, body kits or complete markers. These feature delrin bolts and backblocks.

Martin Mini Block Autococker - These custom body kits and complete markers were created by the now-defunct Martin Paintball. Currently they are out of production and are fairly rare. They feature aluminum backblocks.

Doc’s Fastback – These are fully custom body kits made by Doc Nickel of Alaska. They feature smooth styling and distinctive “teeth” at the back of the lower tube. The bolt rides exposed on a “sled” to which the cocking arm connects. Doc seems to have made one run of these and has not made more. He is notoriously hard to contact and very, very slow to complete jobs, so there is no saying when more will be available. Occasionally sells kits and complete guns through eBay.

Racegun Halfblock - This version features distinctive milling and matched metal backblock. Some say these are some of the more aesthetic halfbacks. Not available as body only – must be purchased as complete marker based around race grip. Racegun says it can provide halfblock conversions and body kits, contact them directly for more info.

FBM Half-Assed cocker - A later entry into the halfblock field. It is available as a body kit, with quite a few options. It uses a sled reminiscent of the Fastback.

PBX cocker - While it looks different from most other halfblocks, the design is similar enough to be included on this list. It is the only halfblock to have physical guides for the backblock. Not yet in production.

Warpedsportz Z-force - A recent entry into the halfblock field, this is a completely custom-designed body that features clean styling, 2-piece body w eye mounting at the bottom of the breech, custom front block. Available as body kits which include matching-anodized barrels, or complete markers.

Disruptive Paintball Disruptor Pro-cut - Authorized Turtle conversions of WGP bodies, custom designed and machined. R. Long does some of their machining. Available as Pro-Cut Disruptor complete marker or body kit. Distinctive 3D milling, lifetime warranties.

Advance Concepts - An eBay only outlet; no Web site. Not much is known. Looks like Turtle parts but do not know for sure. May have discontinued this body style. Anyone with info?

Pro-Team Products Micrococker – The original halfblock cocker, these can still be found in circulation but are somewhat antiquated today. They are based on early WGP bodies, so the valve chambers are small, and the design was not as refined as later models. Many feature the “so 90s” splash anodizing.

A+ Anodizing - Deals custom anodized Turtle bodies occasionally through eBay.

Midblock “Catapult” cocker – No official Web site, pictures available in the gallery. Although this variant takes pains to distinguish itself from other, more traditional halfblocks, the design is almost identical. It makes use of a very small “midblock” that rides between the bolt and the lower tube. The bolt and block are guided by a slot in the side of the body and a part of the upper tube that is not milled off. Only 10 or 12 of these were made (have seen differing numbers). These are fully custom bodies created by PBNation member Ken C from Canada. The creator is releasing another run for 2006.

Tx-Tuning – Tx-tuning does Sledgehammer conversions using an aggressive style and design with rams relocated to the side of the body. Uses a sled-type arrangement with a delrin o-ringless bolt. For more info in English, see this thread in our forum. Tx-tuning also does a midblock conversion called the Sledgehammer Lite.

Jarrett Custom Machining - A personal venture, these conversions are fairly inexpensive and promise quick turnaround times. JCM does not do annodizing but will arrange it for customers. As of Dec. 2005, JCM has stopped taking new jobs.

Hyénes Product - Based in France, this company does halfblock conversions as well as producing custom parts and a completely custom pump gun, the "Jackal." You can see pictures of their work here and here.

Other custom shops - In 2007 and into 2008, the number of small shops doing halfblocking rose significantly. These shops have for the most part been reliable suppliers. Inquire in the forums for more information.

·  How much do they cost/what is the cheapest halfblock?

Conversions are from various custom shops starting at $50. This is the cheapest route.

Body kits are sometimes sold by custom shops and manufacturers, these typically range from $150-200 and up.

Complete guns run upward from around $400 and include markers such as the WGP Jeff Orr LE series, WGP SR, CCM T2 and Sanchez halfblock pump.

·  What are the advantages?

Size: Halfblock cockers are significantly smaller than their full-body counterparts. They lose the backblock protruding from the back of the marker and, perhaps more significantly, do not require cocking rods and thus beavertails. Overall volume is significantly reduced.

Weight: Halfblock cockers are generally lighter (by varying degrees) than full-body cockers. Areas of weight savings include milling off half of the top tube, reduction of the backblock size, elimination of the beavertail, elimination of the cocking rod, shortening of the bolt, shortening of the cocking rod, notching of the hammer. Obviously some of these have more effect than others, and some can affect other areas of the marker’s operation. Most halfblock cockers also are based on milled cocker bodies, which are lighter than non-milled or less-milled bodies to begin with.

Reduced cocking mass: The backblock, pump rod, bolt, and hammer assembly are all potentially lighter in halfblock cockers than full-size bodies. Lower cocking mass has been credited with various improvements in marker operation including increased cyclic rate and lower cocking effort.

Cocker compatibility: Halfblocks generally use standard cocker pneumatics and grip frames. Most use standard front blocks and ASAs. Most can use standard autococker valves and springs.

Aesthetics: Many find the halfblock body style good-looking.

Custom/”coolness” factor: As of the creation of this FAQ, halfblock bodies, kits and markers are still mostly considered custom, generally high-end parts.

Reliability: Halfblocks are generally no less reliable than standard cockers and may exceed the reliability of standard cockers in certain areas, e.g. you never have to worry about cocking rods coming loose.

Hammer access: It is very easy to access the cocking lug on the hammer of slotted-body halfblock cockers.

·  What are the disadvantages?

Cost: There is generally no low-cost mass-produced factory halfblock body or marker. Halfblock designs generally demand at least some premium.

Aesthetics: Many people find the halfblock body style ugly, particularly those with delrin backblocks that can’t be color-matched to the body.

Cocker incompatibilities: Certain halfblock parts are custom pieces and cannot be replaced with off-the-shelf standard cocker parts. Generally these parts include the bolts, backblocks, pump rods, cocking pins and hammers.

Acquisition: As most halfblocks are largely custom pieces done by smaller shops, simply getting a halfblock conversion, body or marker can be an adventure. Many shops either have stopped making them or cannot deliver them reliably. Shops have also had trouble converting bodies in a reasonable timeframe. Pre-cut bodies are always an option but are more difficult to get one’s hands on than most full bodies. Some models are just plain rare. Check major paintball forums for market information and to explore your best options.

Hammer assembly mass: In addition to milling a slot into the hammer, turtle conversions do away with the cocking rod, which has the effect of lightening the hammer assembly significantly. The IVG may need to be turned in or the main spring raised in order to compensate, which can in turn require more cocking pressure. This can be compensated for in various ways.

Hammer access: The slot in the top of the bottom tube means dirt and debris has another way to get inside.

·  Can you use the mQ valve in halfblock cockers?

The MQ valve will work in most modern halfblocks. The Z-Force and Merlin-based halfblocks will require 11/16 size valves.

As long as a standard valvetrain layout is used, the mQ valve will work. The cocking pin will have to be modified/ground down so it does not protrude into the lower tube, however. Alteratively a short detent-style pin for normal backblocks may work, such as a Freeflow, Silk or Kapp.

·  What is the best halfblock?

All modern production halfblocks are capable of performing within a small range of each other. It is really a matter of personal preference and aesthetics. Ask owners for specifics. As of this writing, the largest issues facing potential halfblock owners are cost and acquisition, so the answer to this question is "the one you can get."

·  Can I make my own halfblock?

If you have to ask, no.

·  Is the halfblock design patented?

Yes and no. The simple idea of cutting down a cocker body is not, as far as is known, patented. However Bob "Turtle" Long is reported to hold a provisional patent for the design of the cocking pin in Turtle cockers, which extends through a slot into the bottom tube to pull back the hammer. This patent does not apply to all halfblocks. For example, the Racegun Halfblock uses a protrusion on the block itself rather than an extension of the pin. Bob "Turtle" Long also holds the patent to the Turtle valve.

·  What is the difference between a midblock and a halfblock?

The primary difference between a midblock and a halfblock is that bolt guidance in a midblock is done by the top tube of the marker. In a halfblock, bolt guidance is accomplished by the backblock/sled. Midblocks are otherwise functionally identical to halfblocks.

Midblocks use a small linkage between the pump rod and the bolt, and maintain some of the top tube behind the linkage, hence the term "midblock." There is a slot cut into the side of the body.

Current midblocks include the WGP Autococker SR, WGP Jeff Orr LE series, and the Sledgehammer Lite by Tx-Tuning.

Advantages to this design include the ability to aesthetially style the top tube (avoiding backblock mismatch) and more positive bolt guidance (in practice this is nearly moot). Disadvantages include greater body weight and a loss of the "moving backblock" look that makes 'cockers unique.

·  Is a halfblock faster than a full-body?

It depends. 99% of the time this question is asked, based on what the poster is thinking, the answer is no.

First, the assumption is made that "faster" means "achieves a higher rate of fire." The largest factor in ROF most people have in mind when asking this about halfblocks is reciprocating mass. Indeed, halfblocking a marker can reduce reciprocating mass -- but replacing parts in a full-body with the lightest parts available can approach or exceed the reduction achieved with halfblocking. In other words, reciprocating mass in most halfblock setups is not usually significantly less than the lightest fullbody setups, and sometimes is not less at all.

In some very specific cases with specific parts, a halfblock's reciprocating mass can be lighter than the lightest fullbody reciprocating mass (the Slik kit at the time of this writing). But it is generally accepted that with the proper modifications, even fullbodies not using the lightest parts can achieve ROFs that exceed the feed rate of the fastest loaders. Thus, as a practical matter, past a certain point, max ROF is more dependent on loading than marker reciprocating mass.

All current halfblocks, coupled with good pneumatics, are past that point. Many fullbodies are as well. Thus, the answer to the question is no.

·  Does a halfblock have less kick than a full-body?

The answer to this question is very similar to the previous question, "is it faster?"

The same considerations regarding reciprocating mass apply -- reciprocating mass in most halfblock setups is not usually significantly less than the lightest fullbody setups, and sometimes is not less at all. So mechanically sourced kick from the reciprocating assembly isn't going to be much less.

Furthermore, for most guns tuned to reduce reciprocating mass, the largest single component of kick is the actual ball firing, and obviously that won't be much different on a halfblock than on a fullbody.

There is one other important consideration -- inertia. Heavier objects are more resistant to movement. It can be said that reciprocating assembly kick is less a result of the absolute weight of the assembly as the result of the ratio of the mass of the assembly to the mass of the entire gun it's attached to. And an overall heavier gun will resist kick from firing the ball better. Therefore, insomuch as halfblock bodies are often lighter than fullbodies, halfblocks can actually be MORE prone to kick.

Whether this is negligible or not is in the eyes of the beholder. But suffice to say there is little sound basis for the blanket claim that halfblocks have less kick -- so the answer is no.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2009, 01:49:10 PM by drg »