From Warpig, circa 1996...
Today, at 3:00 p.m. Air Gun Designs, manufacturers of the .68 Automag, unveiled the Automag RT, the next generation of the mag. In a press conference complete with slide presentation and laser pointer, Air Gun Designs' Tom Kaye explained what went in to the 2.5 man year development of the RT. AGD developed a test automag, which was loaded with sensors connected to computers. The data taken from subjecting this mag to various conditions was used to determine what areas of design could be most improved. In refill timing tests it was learned that there is a limit to houw fast the Automag's air chamber can recharge through the regulator, so the RT sends full pressure gas straight into the air chamber, then cuts it off with a regulating piston when operating pressure is acheived. This allows the RT air chamber to recharge in only 23 milliseconds (43 times a second). The next area improved for speed is the trigger. Up until now, Kaye explained, there have only been two types of triggers, straight mechanical (most paintguns) and electronic (the Shocker, and other electropneumatics). Through computer data testing, AGD discovered that while a person can pull a trigger quickly, and release a trigger quickly, there is always a lag time between the pull and release. To combat this, they developed the reactive trigger (hence the name RT). The reactive trigger usees gas pressure to double the return pressure on the trigger once the marker has started its firing cycle. This acts to push the trigger finger back, along with the trigger. Running only on compressed air or nitrogen, the RT can not use CO2, due to different expansion characteristics, and temperature problems. While the fastest technician at AGD, Jeff Streiber, has been able to fire the RT at 9 shots a second, with an electronic trigger pulling test device and forced feed system (which Kaye declined to describe), AGD has fired paint through the RT at a rate of 26 balls per second. One of the surprising features of the new 'mag is a series of gas output ports near the rear of the grip frame. Kaye announced that these are to allow for "future gas powered accessories". With no description of the feed system used for testing, and the accesssory ports in the design, many people have speculated that an air powered positive feed system may be in the works.
Unlike many products that are announced, and not released for many months, the RT is ready today, in fact, Automag RT's serial numbered 41 through 100 were made available for sale here at the World Cup. Number 41 was purchased by Bob Pitts (pictured here with Tom Kaye) of Team Annihilators less than 10 minutes after the press conference. Of course that trigger and air flow are not the only improvements in the RT, the trigger sear now has carbide inserts that will not wear, the gas system is fed through a foregrip and the grip frame rail eliminating the need for external hoses (through an external gas line is included, supplying gas to the accessory ports). As happy news to current Automag owners, the same barrels will work on the RT, though the stock RT barrel includes a muzzle brake, and dual nubbins. Kaye explained that the second nubbin was because many people had trouble adjusting a single nubbin. For now the suggested retail price of the RT is $850, and the dealer pricing is "slightly above that of the Minimag", so it is reasonable to expect to see the RT for less on dealer's shelves. There are still some problems in the RT design, Kaye admits, as during field use, the velocity may fluctuate as much as 15 fps, however htis is something being worked on at AGD, and as with past Automag models, they will support upgrading the early RT owners as these bugs get ironed out. Be sure to check back soon for our expanded post tournament coverage for pictures ofthe new Automag RT.