It seems we’ve got a bit of a theme going here with FX Crown projects. People seem to like them though, so we’ll keep going.
The problem de jour is the magazines. We’ve already touched on this with our FX Crown Single Shot Tray post. The long and short of it though is, at least with the Crown, if you use a single shot tray you’ll notice a lot fewer fliers and your groups will tighten up. Why? Obviously something about the magazine is damaging the pellets.
My hypothesis is that the damage is being done to the skirts. There are three reasons for this. First is obvious, the skirt is the most delicate part of the pellet. The second is that the skirts on JSB pellets is actually significantly larger diameter than the pellet head. This is done, presumably, to maximize gas seal. But, and here comes number three, FX magazines are designed and machined essentially in 2.5D, that is to say straight and square vertical walls. This means they are easy and fast for FX to manufacture on a 3 axis CNC milling machine, but it also means that as the magazine snickity-snacks from one index to the next, the pellets are being shoved around and stopped, not on their more robust heads, but on their delicate skirts. Obviously that isn’t a win.
First off, credit where it is due to rj2239 for being the inspiration for this project. I initially sank my teeth into this hearing the MISTAKEN assertion on the forums that a Crown magazine is just a mirrored Impact magazine. Let me dispel this myth now, they’re not. They are very very similar, but are not the same in just a few critical tolerances. This stands in contrast to the FX Dreamline which FX claims will use an identical magazine to the FX Crown. Hopefully then this project can benefit FX Dreamline buyers as well. Regardless, even though I only used rj2239’s follower (and may still redesign that), the half dozen clever little fixes and small parts links were all invaluable to getting this done. So kudos and thank you.
So what did I change? Well the concept is quite simple: if the skirts are wider than the heads, provide clearance in the magazine for the skirts. This way the pellets are pushed around by their heads not their skirts. Aside from building the mag to Crown dimensions rather than Impact dimensions, the other minor change I made was to the support structure for the alignment slot. I’m not sure what printing technology, or clean-up methodology, rj2239 was using, however when printing his designs I essentially gave up cleaning that out by hand and started cutting the slots with a mill. Most people don’t have access to those sorts of tools, so a simple rethink of the supports in that area so it could be easily cleaned up with a fine knife such as a Scalpeldashi. (shameless plug, but it is what I used. I carry one for a reason.)
So by this point you’re asking how to get your hands on one of these magazines. We’re giving away the design files for free, so they can easily be 3D printed. Figure they’re worth what you paid for them, all humor intended. For those so inclined who want a transparent face cover, and don’t have access to a laser cutter, we’ll also sell you the raw cut acrylic face plates.
How to go about converting all this into a magazine, and what do you need?
Tools you’ll need at bare minimum:
Metric Hex Keys
Scalpel (or equivalent small sharp blade)
Needle Nose Pliers
You would additionally benefit from/ideally own:
Quality ABS filament (as opposed to PLA)
Acrylic Face Plate (transparent)
Parts (all links go to Amazon for convenience, however they can be sourced anywhere):
M1.5x3 O-ring (3mmID, 1.5mmWD)
M3x5 Brass Insert
M3x3 Grub Screw
M3x10 Countersink Screw
2mm Brass Rod
Spring (from retractable badge)
Step one: print the parts. If you’re going to use one of our clear acrylic covers, you only need to print the magazine body and magazine follower. If you aren’t, you’ll want to do the face plate as well, perhaps in something transparently/translucent. It is a free country and all, but I would recommend you double check your printer’s calibration first and use a fairly fine layer height.
Step two: clean up everything. Clean up the alignment slot on the bottom of the magazine body (I use a Scalpeldashi for this with a #11 blade), and clean up all the edges. Also, if you have a round file of the right diameter, it can be invaluable in cleaning up the magazine follower.
Step three: dry-fit. Dry fit the magazine body and face plate in the gun to make sure in step two you cleaned up that alignment slot correctly so that the bolt-probe clears and your overall thickness is good.
Step four: acetone. SEPARATELY dip the magazine body, follower, and if printed the face plate in acetone. (don’t dip an acrylic face plate, seriously) Allow them 24 hours to cure before moving to the next step.
Step five: drill critical tolerances. If you don’t have a drill index, you’ll want to fudge this step using whatever tools you have available, a scalpel blade being the most likely candidate. The following parts should be bored to the following dimensions:
Follower - 29/64” (will vary, in some cases significantly, based on material and print settings)
Magazine center through hole - #31 drill bit
Magazine center to shoulder (blind, for brass insert) - #4 drill bit
Magazine corner (grub screw) - #39 drill bit
Step six: assembly and final dry-fit. Dry fit everything together excluding the spring. Install the brass bushing by pressing it through from the back. Insert the grub screw in the corner, and thread it in. (this can be done backwards to make it faster/easier) Cut off a little brass rod piece and and glue it in the hole in the face plate. Glue an o-ring in the blind hole in the face plate. Place an o-ring in the center pillar of the magazine so it generates friction between the magazine body and face plate when the two rotate relative to each other. Test that the follower rotates freely, add a drop of pure silicone oil or wax if desired. Check manually for pellet and probe clearance, feed, and function under no spring load.
Step seven: install the mainspring. Break open one of the ID badges and remove the spring. If the ends aren’t correctly bent to install in the magazine, bend/cut them now. I personally find it easier to install the magazine body end of the spring first, then coil it around the central pillar and use a squeeze clamp as a “third hand” to hold the spring while installing the follower end. Needle nose pliers are invaluable here. Remember this spring will act much like a constant force spring, so getting the absolute maximum possible number of coils around there won’t significantly increase spring pressure. Apply a drop of pure silicone oil to the spring, and test for function.
Step eight: Assemble the magazine fully and test one last time.
Step nine: Add a hind of threadlocker to the center screw, tension the face-plate as desired, and allow to cure for 24 hours.
And you’re done. Enjoy! I shoot this magazine personally, so the design may be updated from time to time as I make improvements.