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Auto-pusher jam issues

Something I've noticed with auto pushers (xsw kits, rs pushers, etc) and artifact red cages (with worker wheels)  shooting x-tips (and in the RS, any darts) is that after darts have been sitting in mags for a few minutes the first few darts jam on feed attempt.



When shooting these darts in these circumstances but using the mechanical pusher, I get no feed issues though a few rounds here and there will helicopter. I think it's that somehow I've got a feed alignment issue. When I sight down the barrel to check alignment, I notice the dart on top is several millimeters above straightline alignment with the pusher & fwc. This means upon feeding, the dart must bend down a bit to slide onto the cage and be caught by the flywheels. With darts that have been in the mag a few minutes, the top dart or two has bent upward at the ends a slight bit.

So, when a motorized pusher pushes the dart, the rubber head catches on the fwc and being bent up, the resistance is enough to stall the pusher. That's my theory. But with a mechanical pusher, one's finger can keep pushing, overcoming the resistance and feeding the dart.

That's my hypothesis anyway.

How to fix this is what I want to know. How exactly do I set up my fwc, wheels, etc properly? I have heard how important this is to reliable function, but how to do it is what I'd like to know considering my situation.

A feed guide (as demonstrated here, here and here in toruk's "WASP" Stryfe) should help with darts being forced up to/out of the top of the feed lips of the mag.

Is this always required & how come others don't find the need to use it?

That's a good question. IIRC I first saw something similar done to a Rayven back when they first came out but, other than toruk, Bobo and a few others, the use of feed guides is still fairly uncommon. Why? No idea. Darts working their way out of the top of mags is definitely a known issue but it's mostly an issue with old/worn darts/mags and less so with new ones. Maybe the idea hasn't had enough exposure, and so not enough people know/think about adding a feed guide, or maybe the compromise of reduced frequency of stoppages vs. reduced access to top-load (where that's even possible) and/or clear stoppages when they do happen is too much for most people (although, to be honest, the feed guide should mean that most stoppages should clear just by removing the mag)?

It's possibly more of an issue with Artifact cages (the chamfer appears to be at a fairly steep angle and may not do as good a job as the feed ramps in standard cages) and perhaps more prominent with X-tips (which have only recently become a thing) - many of us have run standard cages and Elites/Koosh without feed guides for ages with little to no issues. That said, feed guides are something I have/will start(ed) to include in my builds.

Well the guide isn't needed with the mechanical pusher. Maybe that's why. But how come it isn't common with the rapidstrike where I had CONSTANT pusher jams due to that reason. It was so bad that I was regularly tagged out because when I had to open fire, I heard the ratcheting of the stalled pusher. It was a signal to everyone else "he can't shoot back! Tag him now!"

It was less problematic with kooshes but still regular there.

With a mechanical pusher, almost a no issues except the occasional (and basically not an issue) whirlybird. With FA pushers is where the problem exists. Something with gobs more torque & gearing that won't slip will probably be able to push through the minor stall, but neither the xsw or rs methods meet the criteria for the gearbox design.

If anything feed guides appear to be more common with semi-autos but that's likely because if you're using a semi-auto as a sidearm you want to make damn sure a dart isn't shaken out of the top of the mag as you're running around. I have definitely heard of people having issues with darts making their way past feed lips in semi-autos but, again, it's usually attributed to old/damaged darts/mags so YMMV.

Another issue that has been known to happen is for the pusher arm to come into contact with the back of the feed lips of the mag and stop dead. This is something I've heard about with some RS builds and something that could potentially happen with the XSW kit if the replacement pusher is more prone to contacting the feed lips than the standard pusher. If this is the case then you'd either need to modify the pusher arm and/or ensure that the mag has as little lateral play as possible.

If the gears are skipping they won't last too long. When I build a live-centre circuit I tend to fit a PTC fuse in the live centre line which, as long as you release the trigger, will trip under a pusher stall and temporarily turn the circuit into a dead-centre setup (and, more importantly, still allow you to fire) until the PTC cools.

I'll have to examine what's going on with a mag loaded in the stryfe. Unfortunately looking down into the jam door, you can't see the pusher even at full extension unlike in the RS.

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