Hopup Buckings – a few years of dabbling later.

I don’t claim to be an expert in the feild of hopup buckings, all I claim is to have been playing airsoft for many years and to have tried a lot of different buckings in a lot of different AEG’s.

My very first all metal airsoft gun was a G&G M4. This had one of their green buckings, and you know what, it worked pretty well, even on the coldest UK winter days. After various G&G guns I played briefly with some APS and Bolt AEG’s eventually buying an upgraded used Tokyo Marui M4. And this has been my primary gun for several years. A gun that’s been taken apart and rebuilt many times. It now runs mostly Prometheus internals with a SHS high torque motor and a Spectre Mosfet. It was shooting out 0.2 bbs at 340fps and I’ve always maintained it such that it fires at around 1.1 – 1.2 joules.

Originally it had a Prometheus purple bucking and nub in the standard Marui hopup chamber and what I suspect was the original barrel. It worked pretty well lifting 0.25 and 0.28 bb’s well and with good consistency.
But like everyone I wasn’t happy with that, I wanted it to fire like a laser.

So I tried and failed to get an R-Hop setup to work. Frankly I found it difficult to get it just right. Often bb’s would swing left or right because the patch was slightly more proud on one side or the other. Then when I did get it right, on a cold morning I would need to add a lot of extra pressure on the bb’s to get good lift, but that would reduce the fps. Then patch would come free and end up jamming the gun or send bb’s all over the place. I went through this process a few times and in the end gave up. Perhaps other have better success. But everytime I took the gun out, especially for a weekender I was worried that my patch would fail in some way and in the end I concluded that R-hop just wasn’t worth the agro.

Next I tried a soft firefly bucking because I had heard good things about them. This is a 3 fingered bucking that’s supposed to center the bb better and provide more even spin. I really wasn’t impressed by this. It seemed to need a lot of pressure to get decent lift on the 0.28’s I was using and I got a lot of fliers.

Determined to gain more accuracy I decided at this point to change the barrel to a 6.2mm Prometheus Returner as there is a school of thought that a wider barrel allows the bb to “float” on a cushion of air along the length of the barrel rather than bouncing of the sides in a tight bore. For a bucking a went to a 50 degree Maple Leaf with a Maple Leaf Omega nub.

Again I was dissapointed. I was getting reasonable lift, but perhaps the worst groupings I’ve ever had from this gun. I did also try a Lonex hopup unit, but that ended up in the bin, it was a poor fit, the standard Marui one is much better in my opinion.

So I got rid of the Prommy Returner barrel and tired the Maple Leaf bucking in the previous barrel. My groupings improved, but it just didn’t seem to be any better than that very first G&G AEG that I had.

So currently I’m using a G&G green bucking with a Prometheus 6.03 barrel and it’s working well for me. I have nice tight consistent groupings, flyaways are rare and I find it easy to dial in just the right amount of hop.

I can’t help but think that a lot of these buckings with larger patches or mutiple fingers are not always providing completely equal pressure across the whole of the top of the bb and that if there is a bit more pressure on one side or the other, then the bb will spin slightly off axis. An old school bucking only really contacts the top of the bb, so the spin is more likely to be on axis. Then it comes down to chosing the right material. A nice soft (low shore 50-60 degrees) material will grip the bb without needing a lot of pressure so you get decent spin without adding pressure – which will decrease the fps and if the bucking mound is protruding too far into the barrel you’ll get more fliers due to uneven contact across the top of the bb. However too soft a bucking can give air seal issues as the soft bucking allows air to leak past. So you don’t want to go too soft. I think the G&G green and Prometheus Purple buckings are just right for UK weather and bb’s in the 0.2 – 0.28 range.

Getting whatever bucking you chose installed absolutely perfectly must be your No1. goal. Getting a nub that exactly fits the hopup chamber becomes the next consideration. Also ensuring the hopup lever arm is an exact fit and can’t move from side to side so the pressure on the nub and then the bucking is in exactly the right place. I believe these are the key things and may be a part of why a well done R-Hop can work well. But the cheap and readily available G&G bucking is working very well for me (prommy purple is another that I have found to work well). All of the fancy buckings that I have tried have failed to be better than these old school buckings.

Of course others experiences may be different, but after years of fiddling around with this and that, I’m back to where I started and it works well for me. It’s easy to maintain and replacement buckings are cheap, readily available and installation isn’t challenging.

Cinematographer and film maker Alister Chapman's Personal Website