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 DumboRAT's Gas Primer

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Knief
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Number of posts : 5
Age : 31
Location, where do you live? : Ann Arbor, MI
Registration date : 2007-12-22

PostSubject: DumboRAT's Gas Primer   Sat Dec 22, 2007 12:47 pm

This entire article is credited to Chieh Allen Lee a.k.a. DumboRAT. He asked that IF i made an adjustments, either wording or content that I adjust the font. If I end up doing so, anything i change will be in red.

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This was submitted to the airsoftguns.com mailinglist in response to a fellow player's question regarding a specific brand of Taiwanese "Green Gas" he saw on-sale. He wanted to purchase it as it he felt that it was a "good deal," and wanted to know if the gas that he indended to purchase was a "good all-around GBB gas."
First, let's go through the basics to be sure that we're all on the same page.
HFC134a, 1,1,1,2 tetrafluoroethane, is also known commonly as "duster gas." Readily available here in the States. Somewhat harder to get in Europe and other overseas countries. Brand-names include Tokyo Marui's "Blue Gas" and Western Arm's "WA GunPower."
Taiwanese "Green Gas," CH2FCF3CH3. Sold only as proprietary airsoft propellant gasses. Brand-names include Toy Jack/Top Gas, HFC, UHC, and Omega. Typically, they are also referred to as "Super Power Green Gas."
HFC22, chlorodifuloromethane. Getting true HFC22 is becoming harder and harder to obtain in the States as this is on the "slow-ban" list due to the fact that it is harmful to the ozone.
"Red" and "Black" gasses. Unknown chemical consitutency (I've yet to get a canister of this stuff, or see it in person). Rumored to only be suitable for use in highly upgraded GBB's.
---
The current consensus among the players as well as recommendations from certain airsoft GBB manufacturers that Japanese GBB's, ie. Western Arms, KSC, Maruzen, etc., only be fed HFC134a. As such, many Stateside players have, instead of paying higher prices for the TM and WA airsoft specific HFC134a gasses, gone to jury-rigging fill adaptors in order to use common "duster gas." This is a perfectly acceptable alternative, as the chemical constituency for the gasses are the same. Some players have complained and others warned that common "duster gas" does not contain any lubricant, as with the airsoft-specific propellant gasses. However, this is easily remedied by dropping one or two drops of silicone oil directly onto the incoming gas fill nipple and subsequently introducing fill gas into the magazine. This process causes sufficient atomization of the lubricant oil into the magazine gas resevoir, which is then spread throughout the GBB during discharge. Note that players in who have used difluoroethane, which is also a common compound used as "duster gas," have experienced slightly different performance characteristics than that of true HFC134a (1,1,1,2 tetrafluoroethane). Most Japanese-made GBB's are optimized for use with HFC134a -- providing both an outstanding amount of gas-efficiency (around 80 cycles per fill) coupled with good muzzle velocity (usually around 250 fps. with 0.20 gram BB's for the high-end models).
Generally speaking, the various Taiwanese "Green Gasses" that I've come across are all of the chemical formula CH2FCF3CH3. Additionally, all seem to provide the airsoft GBB with considerably more power (in terms of both quantitative observed muzzle velocity as well as subjective feel of "blowback kick/recoil") than HFC134a. Such an external manifestation of power is most likely reflected in the internal operating pressure that the GBB is subject to while using "Green Gasses." Likely as a result of the mechanical shock of more "recoil" energy, in combination with the likely much higher operating pressures, the stressed parts are made more prone to failure. For whatever reason, Japanese GBB's simply do not seem to tolerate such abuse as well as their Taiwanese-made counterparts.
Strangely, many Taiwanese-made GBB's require the use of the "more powerful" Taiwanese "Green Gas" in order to achieve the same muzzle velocity as Japanese GBB's do while using the considerably "less powerful" HFC134a. This is perhaps the single factor that demonstrates the superior performance engineering of the Japanese GBB's. Ironically, most Japanese GBB's are not built for the abuse that constant use of Taiwanese "Green Gas" can inflict on a GBB. The above consensus of using only HFC134a in Japanese-made GBB's spawned from some players' misfortune of having suffered various broken parts due to the use of various brands of Taiwanese "Green Gasses" (and other gasses that are "higher-powered" than HFC134a) in their expensive Japanese GBB's.
One common misconception is that "Toy Jack/Top Gas" is "more powerful" than the various Taiwanese "Green Gasses." This is not true -- some canisters of "Top Jack/Toy Jack" gasses come into the US with an importer affixed label declaring the true chemical components of its contents. From such labeling, you can easily see that "Toy Jack/Top Gas" is clearly CH2FCF3CH3.
Typically, Taiwanese-made airsoft specific "Green Gasses" incorporate, as a small percentage of their content, a silicone additive for lubrication of the gun's vital cyclic and frictional parts and surfaces -- as well as various neoprene/rubber o-rings, seals, and gas route packing. This is easily evidenced by the small amount of oil left over on the gas route packing membrane after repeated discharge of the gun.
True HFC22 is chlorodifluoromethane, a chemical compound that is distinct from that used in various Taiwanese "Green Gasses." Yet, many mis-informed individuals insist that the two are one and the same. This can be easily dis-proved by a simple chrony and a gas efficiency test. Depending on the particular GBB's valving and mechanicals, you will more than likely find a considerable difference in performance in terms of muzzle velocity and gas efficiency when you substitute HFC22 for Taiwanese "Green Gas," and vice-versa; even with identical fill-times and testing conditions. This only stands to reason if, somehow, the two gasses are indeed NOT the same.
---
While it is not recommended that you use the various Taiwanese "Green Gasses" or HFC22 in your Japanese-made GBB, many players do choose to run that risk in trade for increased muzzle velocity. Some players have had the bad luck of having their GBB's literally falling apart in their hands or "exploding" upon their first use of such "high-powered" gasses. Others, however, have not had that problem, but are undoubtedly exposing their GBB's to a relatively increased rate of wear compared with their HFC134a-usage counterparts. Thus, the decision between this trade-off of performance vs. durability is completely up to you.
A word of caution is that players take statements from the Internet such as "the Tokyo Marui (Japanese) Beretta M9 GBB pistol can take Taiwanese 'Green Gas' with no problems" and see that as a license to run the "higher-powered" gasses in their own M9. The same can be said of recommendations passed for the Western Arms High-Capacity series (ie. CQB/TAC/SpeedComp) and Strayer Voigt Infinity series GBB pistols. While it is true that they *can* "take" such "higher powered" gasses, it does not mean that they are immune to the deleterious effects of such.
The same, actually, can be said of any and all GBB's, regardless of manufacture. The use of "higher powered" gasses, such as Taiwanese "Green Gas," HFC22, "Red," or even "Black" gas may be "possible" in your GBB -- but you can bet your *** that your GBB will likely get ****ed up sooner than your friends' that's been fed an exclusive diet of "low-powered" HFC134a.
Hope this helps,
Allen aka DumboRAT
Notes:
(1a) Some stock Taiwanese GBB's may require the use of the "higher powered" gasses to function properly.
(1b) Furthermore, upgraded GBB's, particularly those with metal slides, may also need to use those gasses for optimal cycling -- just keep in mind that even though a metal slide will likely mean that you won't suffer from a cracked/broken slide due to the increased operating pressure/intensity, there are always other parts that are also subject to the abuse.
(2) KWC's "PowerBombe" gas is something of a puzzle to me. While the canister clearly declares that it is "HFC134a," I suspect it to be of the same chemical constituency as the other Taiwanese "Green Gasses." Why? [a] My KWC M92FS "Super," when new, refused to cycle properly with use of true HFC134a -- only with "higher-powered" Taiwanese "Green Gasses" and true HFC22 did it cycle correctly (this has since become a non-issue, perhaps due to the mainspring losing some of its tension over time?). [b] The KWC gas has the distinctive odor of the Taiwanese "Green Gasses" -- while not a very scientific observation, it does leads one to wonder..... [c] Quite a few friends have pointed out that their GBB's seem to pack an extra punch when using this particular gas -- which has led them to also believe, independently, that the KWC claim of this gas being true HFC134a may be false.


Knief Note: This guide was written long before propane came into the game, hence why it's never mentioned. The short answer is that propane may or may not be bottled in many taiwanese green gasses, with some lubrication added. Whether or not that's the case is somewhat debatable. Here is the origin of the information: http://www.airsoft-innovations.com/lab1.html

Regardless, pure propane bottled by a camping manufacturer like colemans does perform like green gas, and everything said about green gas above applies to propane. The only difference is that when using propane, you'll need to add a little 100% pure silicone oil to the mix every few mags. Since camping-specific propane won't include lube like airsoft-specific green gas, failure to add lube will likely cause your o-rings to dry up and crack or malfunction, resulting in leaks.
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