How to adjust a Hop-Up in an airsoft gun?
Hop-Up in airsoft gun
Why do we use hop-up systems in airsoft guns at all? It's simple - to increase their range. Just a few years ago, the fact that an airsoft gun had any BB spin-up system was one of the strong selling arguments. Just like it is now, for example, with the quick spring change system. Gradually, this niche and innovative system found its way to more and more designs, and today it is hard to imagine a professional airsoft replica without this solution. A certain relict from the times when not every replica could boast of having a hop-up system are special hangers, usually placed on airsoft gun trigger guards. Goods marked in this way already on the store shelf informed the customer that they were dealing with a professional replica equipped with an advanced system that improved its performance.
The operation of the system we describe in this article is based on the Magnus effect. To put it simply, it can be said that the rotational movement of the projectile during the flight is important. It creates zones of different pressure around our BBs. These differences cause the projectile is somehow pulled towards the lower pressure, which is above, and thanks to this its flight is longer. Probably someone smarter would be able to explain it better, but I think this is enough for us to understand the phenomenon enough to know how to use it. It is important not only that our airsoft ammunition spins at all, but also that it does it with the right power. As a side note, you can also add that if we want the BB to fly far forward, the system works on its axis. This means that the angle at which we apply the force when turning our projectile is important. People who once tried to shoot with a replica turned sideways or those of us who put our hop up bucking crookedly will know what I mean. In these cases, it may happen that our airsoft carbine shoots to the side. It's completely normal. So, we have to remember to keep the airsoft gun straight during the shot and additionally make sure that the elements tightening the BB are mounted evenly.
The correct setting of the spin of the BB
Airsoft guns sometimes differ in how their hop-up system works. While the barrels and buckings themselves are often standard parts, the entire chambers differ depending on which replica platform we have. The main parts of the system, however, are usually quite similar in their assumptions. On the one hand, the BBs enter, on the other, the nozzle from the gearbox, and on the third, the BBs come out after they are turned up. Simple, right? For this, we have some way of adjustment and a pressing element. We can complicate these considerations further by distinguishing between TDC, rotary systems, and so on. Plus, flat-hops or r-hops. Silicone rubbers, AEG or VSR standard. But that doesn't make much difference here. We have already discussed some of these topics on the Gunfire blog. For the purposes of today's article, it is only important that we need to know how our hop-up chamber is regulated. Information about this can usually be found in the replica's manual or on the Internet, when we look for videos presenting the model, we are interested in. The most common adjustment systems are knobs, levers or sliders. Examples in the pictures below.
Now that we know how to set up our system, we need to think about how to set up the adjustment station. In fact, most places where we can safely shoot our airsoft gun are suitable. However, it is worth remembering a few rules. We need to see where our projectiles are going. For this, it is worth using tracer BBs and special tracer units. We can illuminate our BBs with a flashlight or just shoot in a bright environment but against a dark background, aiming at the line of trees or bushes. For this, it is worth having the appropriate range available. The minimum is about 30 meters, but preferably even more than 50 meters. Especially when we have a sniper replica to set up.
When setting the hop-up of our airsoft gun, it is best not to use sights such as a scope or a red-dot. They narrow our field of vision and, additionally, can prevent us from noticing the entire flight of the BB. I usually set the hop-up so that I set my face to the side of the airsoft gun so as to keep my eyes close to the axis of the shot. I focus on the space in front of the barrel. This helps me to pay attention to how the BBs fly and what path they take after leaving the barrel. In my opinion, it's best to start with the minimum force of our hop-up and gradually increase the downforce until the desired trajectory of the BBs flight is achieved. We want our projective to fly flat and as far as possible. The easiest way to achieve this effect is to change the pressure until you notice that the BBs is lifted up in flight. Then we have too much downforce and you have to go back a bit with the setting to where the ball was flying flat and only at the end of the flight it started to fall. What we are looking for is presented in the graphic below.
Airsoft Hop-Up adjustment - advanced tips
Now that we know the basics of setting up the hop-up system of our airsoft gun, we can move on to more advanced advice. They are basically optional and will only be useful to players focused on maximum effects and those of us who have heavily tuned replicas. First of all, it is worth noting that we can also look for a slightly better trajectory of our ball. A flat flight that gives the greatest possible range before our BBs start flying up is a good way, but when we are looking for at least a few meters of additional range, we can set it differently. We need to find a setup that gives us a slight end-of-flight pick-up, but subtle enough not to shoot people overhead when aiming at the centre of mass. Most often, the end of the hop-up flight looks like this, so that the projectile rises very gently to start descending in a moment. This effect is most often achieved in replicas equipped with the flat-hop system or its derivatives such as r-hop or s-hop.
Speaking of the aforementioned modifications to the hop-up system of our airsoft gun, it is worth noting that they are very sensitive. Sometimes the difference between a well-adjusted and badly adjusted knob or pressure control lever is extremely small. That is why I prefer chambers based on smooth regulation instead of those based on any clicking, jumping setting points. It's hard to find a more frustrating phenomenon than when one setting gives us too little spin and the next "click" gives it too much. Better save it.
If, on the other hand, we use different types of ammunition or when we often have to set the hop-up to zero, for example, to check the power of the airsoft gun before the game, we may be interested in the system of a quick return to the desired settings. I've seen that some people use a marker to mark appropriate places on the hop-up chambers, to which they want to turn the knob or move the lever. However, I prefer chambers where the manufacturer gives us a scale with numbers corresponding to the amount of overclocking. In this way, it is easy to return more or less to the settings we are interested in and possibly adjust the system with minor adjustments.
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