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Thread: Really Old Classic Mag - Discovering History

  1. #1

    Really Old Classic Mag - Discovering History

    I acquired a few markers for some extra parts I needed and am looking to send off the rest. As I was cleaning everything and oiling them down, I came across this:





    A couple of things make me think this is really old.

    First, it's on a WGP frame.



    Next, the valve is marked 00186 and appears to be from back in the day when they soldered on the powertube



    Also, the sear is huge, the sear pin in pressed into the rail, and the twist lock assembly is threaded instead of pressed.



    Finally, the rail is stamped 186 to match the valve



    It had a lvl 7 bolt, so I know it's not all original, but seems pretty close.

    So I'm wondering if I have something special or just another old mag.

    Thanks, everyone.
    Last edited by bowcycle; 07-12-2014 at 04:12 PM.

  2. #2
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    The aluminum pot metal WGP trigger frames stopped sometime around 94. My 94-95 automag had a carbon fiber frame on it.

    Didn't the soldered on tips come after the clip on? I could have sworn they still soldered them on? Could be wrong there.

    As for the stamp on the rail. I've never seen that before. But pretty much everything you show pre dates 94. And a level 7 hardnose was on my 94-95 classic 68automag.

    Not sure any of that helped. But I tried.

  3. #3
    Thanks, bd1k.

    I know I'm 3rd owner on this. First owner was manufacture to '99, 2nd was '99 until this year, and I'm 3rd as of this year.
    That's really all the history I have for it.

    So again, do I have something special or just another old mag?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by bowcycle View Post
    Thanks, bd1k.

    I know I'm 3rd owner on this. First owner was manufacture to '99, 2nd was '99 until this year, and I'm 3rd as of this year.
    That's really all the history I have for it.

    So again, do I have something special or just another old mag?
    I'm no collector. But I'm guessing its just another old mag. Other than the number stamp. Everything else just looks like early level 7 automag to me.

    Nothing wrong with that. Set of orings and she will most likely fire like new.

  5. #5
    according to these archives:
    the sear should not be pressed in after mid-91 (lvl5), but the power tube started getting soldered on in '92 with the intro of the lvl7. Knowing the WGP frames ended in '94, that gets us in a 3 year window.

    I'd still like to know if anyone else has a mag with the rail stamped to match the valve.

  6. #6
    So, with some more digging:
    Apparently Rod Demaris has the oldest "CF" engraved valves that anyone's ever seen (with the exception of TK himself). He has some in the 20's. Pyrate Jim had #44 upgraded to a lvl7, which requires milling the rail a bit for the twist-lock. So I think these originally had older valves than we were thinking. And SGTKennedy had #147 and there's at least one ~130 around here somewhere.

    Serials up through the 200's were still on lvl5 bolts. At lvl 5, they started laser welding the powertube tips into the body (still using the thick bumpers). But when lvl 7 came out and they switched to twist-loc barrels, you could get the lvl7 powertube tip welded onto the front of the valve body (which is what was done to my valve the same as Pyrate Jim's valve).

    So, it is obviously upgraded, but not outside of what the factory was doing for its customers. And one, final thing: this is supposed to be one of the markers used by Team Swarm, the team who won the international classic back in the early 90's using our beloved mags.

    Links to helpful info are here, here, here, and here.
    Last edited by bowcycle; 06-08-2014 at 08:38 AM.

  7. #7
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    man tha numbering of tha valves has always confused me? i have a lvl5 valve that is #1135…maybe this valve just didnt get set in for tha lvl7 upgrade?

    that was some good research tho as well as gray info ya posted!!

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by need4reebs View Post
    man tha numbering of tha valves has always confused me? i have a lvl5 valve that is #1135…maybe this valve just didnt get set in for tha lvl7 upgrade?
    In all this, there were 2 exceptions that I really wondered about (yours makes 3). There were 2 cf valves in the low 11xx's that had lvl5's and one cf valve in the 6xx's that had a lvl3.

    And with all the iterations that the bolts went through early on, I doubt they made it to lvl5 in 1 year and only 200 valves made.
    That would lead us to believe that valves up to the 600's were lvl3's with most being upgraded to lvl7's. The time from the introduction of lvl3 to the introduction of lvl7 is only 17 months.

    That would mean about another 500 valves were produced in 15 of those months (the time between lvl3 and lvl5 is only 2 months) bringing us up to the CF011XX's that were made with lvl5's. However, it seems that almost all of these have also been upgraded to lvl7's.

    Per AGDusa.com, this upgrade service was offered free of charge (way to go TK), but is also why it is so difficult for us to accurately place the serials in the upgrade path.

  9. #9
    just a little more info:

    per mykroft here:
    no Level 6 mags mad it into the wild, they were an interim development between the Level 5 and Level 7. It's also been mentioned by Tom that only 30-40 Level 5's weren't upgraded to Level 7.


    Apparently, someone citing the 68mag manual says here:
    I read in the instruction manual download from AGD that all 68 automags since serial number CF3456 have been built as level 7

  10. #10
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    Wow! Neat read. You have been digging.

  11. #11
    straight from TK himself here:
    we started the serial numbers at 100.

    he also says:
    We didn't release the gun [to the public] until level 5 so previous to that you will not find any

    So here's what I'm thinking:
    Any valves marked lower than CF00100 were early prototypes developed before '90 when the 68Automag went public. Many of those valves were updated to lvl5, then lvl7, and have since made their way out into the public.

    Any valves etched with a valve # >100 should have started life as a lvl5 which would make the claim above to a CF006xx with a lvl3 misinformed.

    That means this marker should be the 86th mag released to the public and dates to 1990 and (if the Team Swarm claim is true, seeing as there's no way to verify) was being used by the SWARM during their victory in '91. (I'm not claiming it was on the field and again, there's no way to verify the SWARM claim apart from that being the story that has come with the marker)

    And just for those keeping count, if all of the linked information is true, it means 3356 valves were produces with a lvl5 before April '92. Of those, only 30-40 still have their lvl5.
    Last edited by bowcycle; 06-08-2014 at 08:25 PM.

  12. #12
    and it basically means that I have an old mag with a little bit of a story, but at the end of the day, just an old mag.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bowcycle View Post
    and it basically means that I have an old mag with a little bit of a story, but at the end of the day, just an old mag.
    Lol. That is neat though. And deffinetly neater than "just an old mag"

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by need4reebs View Post
    man tha numbering of tha valves has always confused me? i have a lvl5 valve that is #1135…maybe this valve just didnt get set in for tha lvl7 upgrade?
    Based on the research, I would say your marker is probably worth a little something extra seeing as it is 1 of ~30 that did not get upgraded.

    I'd also still like to see what sort of value someone would put on this marker.
    Like I mentioned in my pumpmag sale thread, I have an agreement with the wife on how many markers get to stay and I'm over that limit at the moment. So I need to make some decisions.

    Thanks, everyone.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bowcycle View Post
    Based on the research, I would say your marker is probably worth a little something extra seeing as it is 1 of ~30 that did not get upgraded.

    I'd also still like to see what sort of value someone would put on this marker.
    Like I mentioned in my pumpmag sale thread, I have an agreement with the wife on how many markers get to stay and I'm over that limit at the moment. So I need to make some decisions.

    Thanks, everyone.

    i just have tha Valve and body that has the extra holes on the bottom for the barrel adapter i guess?

    as far as a price its hard to tell.

    if you have a limit to wat mags/mag parts you can keep, lean towards keeping tha rare stuff and sell tha rest

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by need4reebs View Post
    if you have a limit to wat mags/mag parts you can keep, lean towards keeping tha rare stuff and sell tha rest
    not just mags, but markers period. That limit is 3 (I also have 3 bows and a couple of bikes, hence the name). I'm def keeping the CCM'd rf half block cocker pump. I don't think I'm going to put my pumpmag kit on my z-mag. But I like having a pumpmag and they are easy to switch over to semi for use as a loaner. I'm definitely not going to do any milling on this one, so it's competing for a very valuable spot in the stable: the loaner semi/pump.

  17. #17
    Talking to Pyrate Jim about the stamped rail. He has a buddy who has heard of it with the really old mags, but we don't have any verification.
    Asking about why they would be stamped: what I've heard is that each valve used to be produced individually and thus they didn't all line up the same. I have no idea of the accuracy of this, but it's the only feasible explanation I've seen.

    Anyone know anything more?

  18. #18
    So I've sat on this for a while trying to decide what direction to go.

    I've decided to keep this one for the time being. It is wrong sided for me (I go hopper right), but will be my loaner. So if anyone around feels like playing with a piece of history, come run with me for a bit.

    I appreciate everyone's input as I tried tracking down some history. I also appreciate all the compliments from those who've enjoyed reading this thread.

  19. #19
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    Only things i can add is:
    Mag's did come out in level 6's & 6.5's. Not sure who told you they didnt. My first mag started out level 6.
    Also, SWARM won the master's with mags in 1990 not 1991.
    Based on the serial number I would say for sure part of the 1st run of automags ever produced for the public.

  20. #20
    Thanks Skipp.

    Mike Wallis did a report in '96 called "Behind the Automag" and it is cited in several places as saying SWARM won in '91. One of those places citing him is Wikipedia, but I never trust that place. 91 was a couple of years before I started playing, so I don't have any better way to verify.

    Again, per mykroft here: the lvl 6 didn't make it into the wild.

    Maybe I shouldn't trust the old timers as much as I do, but I figure they have better first-hand knowledge than I do.

    We know the lvl 6 was a development process. Is it possible yours was originally meant to stay in house, but was then sold out to you?
    Last edited by bowcycle; 06-18-2014 at 12:23 AM.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by bowcycle View Post
    Thanks Skipp.

    Mike Wallis did a report in '96 called "Behind the Automag" and it is cited in several places as saying SWARM won in '91. One of those places citing him is Wikipedia, but I never trust that place. 91 was a couple of years before I started playing, so I don't have any better way to verify.

    Again, per mykroft here: the lvl 6 didn't make it into the wild.

    Maybe I shouldn't trust the old timers as much as I do, but I figure they have better first-hand knowledge than I do.

    We know the lvl 6 was a development process. Is it possible yours was originally meant to stay in house, but was then sold out to you?
    Replied to your PM. Wiki and mykroft are wrong. Their is a SWARM AO member that was on that team. he can verify if you'd like. The boxes AGD sent out with new mags in 1991 has a stamp on the box that even touted their win with mags in 1990. The masters was in October 1990.



    http://www.automags.org/forums/showt...ighlight=SWARM

    ^ Here he is. ask away any mag questions from inception. If he can remember he'll tell you whatever you want to know!

  22. #22
    I tracked down Wallis' article before posting (like I said, I never trust Wiki) and he does say it was '91. So it's actually Wallis that is wrong.
    This is just another great thing about this community; we have the people who actually know this stuff first-hand.

    I've already PM'd Sandman (who also confirms that the SWARM win was 1990) and will post up any new info if he doesn't do so himself.

  23. #23
    need4reebs, is this how your body looks with the extra holes?



    Can anyone else confirm exactly what these holes are and why they're there?

  24. #24
    I had a great conversation today with Sandman about the history of our beloved markers. Have I mentioned that I love this forum?

    Here's some of what I gathered:
    TK and Bud Orr actually like each other. The metal frames were made for AGD, but produced by WGP who also produced the stock, black barrels that come from this time period.

    Automags started with direct feeds, but the powerfeeds came out within the first year. Sandman says that for the Masters win in '90 they were using direct feeds, but he had a powerfeed by '91.

    Also, Sandman doesn't think that more than 500 lvl5's were produced. To do the hypermag mod, people will cut the weld on the powertube and people have tried a lot of different mods to accomplish various effects. (anyone remember the 8-hole mod?) So there are a number of valves out there with the welding cut that are not actually lvl5's. The company started threading on the powertube very early on. Before that, there was just a seat in the valve body for the powertube, but they had problems with the powertube moving slightly during the welding process which would cause the marker to leak uncontrollably. So there are a number of factors in verifying a lvl5 and the easiest one is that the powertube is held on with a c-clip.


    Now specifically to my marker:

    The rail stamp was probably added later and was not a production feature. As we've mentioned before, in the early days, the valve threading was not indexed and not all of the parts played nicely together. So when someone got a set that all worked well, it was not unheard of to stamp the corresponding pieces so that all the working parts stayed together.

    Many of the first 100 mags went to the three primary AGD teams: SWARM, the SOB's, and Farside. So while I have still not found a way to absolutely verify that this is a SWARM marker, it is highly plausible.

    I'm going to put the grooved, plastic AGD panels on it because those are the earliest AGD produced grips.

    If I can get some more info on the holes in the polished body, that will help me decide whether I should stick with that body or put a direct feed on it since that is technically an older style.
    Last edited by bowcycle; 07-03-2014 at 08:46 PM.

  25. #25
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    My 94-95 68automag with standard feed had them exact holes. No clue what they really were there for.

  26. #26
    Just to further the history lesson:

    Here's a thread that seems to prove that some lvl6's were sold straight to the public.

    Quote Originally Posted by pwpaintball View Post
    I have 3 PDF’s of the letters I got from AGD. #1 is “What’s New in Level 6” #2 is “News from the backroom” and the repair ticket from the level 7 upgrade and #3 is a letter they sent me in September of 92 and “Important Information About Your Warranty” dated 98.
    I wish I could find these pdf's. It would be neat to see how things were being presented at the time.

    Then I happened across TK's induction into paintball with this quote:
    Quote Originally Posted by AGD View Post
    What happened when I was forced into paintball.

    In 1985 I started doing some machining work for a startup company that made electronic air cleaners. I was working in my basement and eventually ended up making 1000 housings a month for them.

    After about a year I moved out into a real shop on the second floor over a welding shop. I had been working out of my basement for almost 10 years (another long story) and was excited to get out of there. I only had about 6 customers but this one air cleaner guy was 80% of my work.

    I had played paintball about 5-6 times and had gotten shot in the forehead and my girlfiend had been shot in the neck and passed out. Back then there was really no face protection.

    One day my big customer came and told me he had jobbed the whole product out to a single company instead of using multiple subcontractors. Right there I knew that if I didn't get more work fast I would be back to the basement in weeks.

    I had been making vacuum formed housings for the air cleaners so I knew all about it. I went to PMI, who at the time was in a little tiny shop near by, and told the owner that I could make them a full face plastic mask. He said “well let me see a prototype” so I went back and worked all weekend making a mold, then forming the parts and finally drilling the holes. On Monday I went back and he ordered 500 masks.

    We ended up making about 40,000 of those masks and the rest as they say is history. The air cleaner guy took his product to the other company. Before that happened I tested his product in controlled conditions and told him it didn’t do anything. He didn’t believe me because he was selling 1000 units a month and had a stack of testimonials. About a year later we had dinner and he told me he had to fire his main salesman for “severely overstating the product in his sales pitch”. After that his sales dropped into the hundreds and a year after that the company was bankrupt. That taught me a lesson because this guy was a millionaire businessman that just went down the tubes, DON”T SELL STUFF THAT DOESN’T WORK.

    AGD
    The quote comes from this rather interesting thread, but I found it quoted here in a thread about the original TK mask.

    Finally, I like this thread on the explanation of the different valve/bolt levels better than the one posted up top. This one has TK interacting and explaining.

  27. #27
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    yo bowcycle here is a lvl5 mag that Bacci breaks down on video:
    http://www.baccipaintball.com/oldnew...-5-agd-automag

    looks like tha lvl5 body had 4 extra holes drilled into…2 were threaded, they also didnt have any PIM's on them tha lil rectangle part on lvl7 classic bodies and they had a larger diameter hole for tha T/L assembly. and tha direct feed tube was drilled on both sides to vent tha feed stack as well as slotted to be able to see tha paintballs in tha feed stack…pretty good info from Bacci!!!

    looks like you might need to go on a mission to track down a original lvl5 body, lvl5 breech, and a lvl5 barrel. i have a lvl5 T/L assembly if ya want/need it…il just need your shipping info?

  28. #28
    Reebs, thank you for posting that.

    Here's another video Bacci does showing an actual lvl5 valve.



    But it also helps me make a decision.
    If you look closely at the polished body with the extra holes, the PIM is not quite squared and is soldered on over where the 2 other holes have been filled in. The rail is wallowed out in that area to accommodate the not-quite-square PIM. That is a good indication that this body was a definite part of the upgrade path on this marker. So I will keep this body with the marker.

    I know Sandman would like to have a full lvl5 mag and it would be cool to own one, but I think I'll leave this marker alone and just keep trying to find more info about how and when it was upgraded.

    Thanks for the offer and tips on getting more markers out of the Mrs.

    I also found this original Team Farside mag. His valve was one of the off spec valves that was rescued and upgraded. So it is stamped #84 and then lasered #167.

    Last edited by bowcycle; 07-15-2014 at 11:37 PM.

  29. #29
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    [QUOTE=bowcycle;2866599]Reebs, thank you for posting that.

    Here's another video Bacci does showing an actual lvl5 valve.



    But it also helps me make a decision.
    If you look closely at the polished body with the extra holes, the PIM is not quite squared and is sitting over where 2 other holes have been filled in. The rail is wallowed out in that area to accommodate the not-quite-square PIM. That is a good indication that this body was a definite part of the upgrade path on this marker. So I will keep this body with the marker.

    tru tru…I'm pretty sure if thats the case with tha PIM on tha bodies with tha extra holes drilled in front of tha T/L assembly then i have a lvl5 body as well…but thats all…just a lvl5 body that was most likely upgraded for a lvl7 and a lvl5 valve. its pretty kool learning about all goodies from tha past!

  30. #30
    So here's where this marker has come. If anyone has any ideas to make it more "classic", please speak up.




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