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Empire Axe Review


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#1 Algae

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 04:45 PM

I'll start this review with a preface. I've been looking a long time for a marker that I truly fell in love with. I've shot a lot of markers, almost exclusively high-end electros. The two markers that have come closest to my ideal markers have been my MacDev Droid, and my 'mag.


The Droid had a great feeling trigger, a very smooth shot, and had the best ergonomics of any marker I've felt. My Automag has a smooth shot, very simple maintenance, is the lightest marker I've felt.

The downsides of Droid was that it was a very complex marker internally. Close to two dozen orings, many different pieces of the engine, and needed to be aligned perfectly in the body. The Mag is a great gun, but suffers from extreme gas inefficiency. It also doesn't help that the only tank I have that outputs that high is my 45/45, but admittedly, that's just me nitpicking.



I traded my NT for the Axe, and immediately knew that I would like this gun.

Exterior finish:
The marker I was holding was the "Earth" color, meaning it was the olive drab/brown. Its a nice dust finish, and really doesn't look as gaudy as it does in some of the online photos.

Spacing and ergonomics:
-The next thing I noticed was how nice it felt. Empire has gotten away from the tiny spacing of the Mini. The Axe now has a comfortable amount of room between the trigger guard and foregrip. I am able to completely wrap my thumb inside the guard and not hamper myself when walking the trigger.
-The frame has a nice set of wrap-around grips. This is a nice improvement from the flat panel grips that many manufactures have stock.
-Another interesting feature is how the trigger guard itself is shaped. For semi-auto play, you can easily rest two fingers below the guard and walk the trigger. For PSP, or when you need to reload, I can comfortably fit three fingers below, and finger the trigger with just my index finger. While I don't see myself playing tournaments, any woodsballer who wants a gun with a 3-round-burst would find this very comforting.
-The trigger itself feels great. It has a microswitch activation point, and is has four points of adjustablility. Pre-travel up top, post-travel in the center, a magnet return, and inside the grip is the microswitch activation point adjustment. That magnet upgrade cost me $30 to put it in my NT, so that's a nice touch in a gun that's 1/3 of the cost. I've noticed no side-to-side play in the trigger at all.

All I can say is this marker feels amazing in the hands.

General Maintenance:
-This marker is a beauty when it comes to cleaning it. You can definitely see the inspiration from the Automag in the Axe's engine. You push one button on the side, which depresses a ball bearing, and maneuver the engine out the back. Very similar to the mag.
-The bolt itself is very mini-esque. However, there is a new addition to the bolt. On the front of the bolt is a soft rubber piece. If anyone has experience with Bob Long's Pillow bolt, it feels to be the same material. That said, it seems much more well constructed and won't fly off the tip after 20-30 cases. There is one large spring (similar to the automag) that will return the bolt back to the resting position. The spring is conical, so it will only fit back on the right way.
-The engine is one large section with the orings on top of it. About as close to idiot-proof as you can get. Unlike the Marq engine, you won't have to worry about putting it in upside down and blocking the air transfer holes. After you're done lubing it, just guide it in with the notch on the body.
-Empire also gives you a nice little tool kit to go along with the Axe. Its got all the allen keys you need to open up the Axe. It also contains lube, orings, screws, and spare detents. Finally, a manufacturer figured out that screws get stripped and need to be replaced! :bowdown
-Velocity is adjusted through the back, and is very straightforward.
-The Empire Relay ASA is a breeze. Screw in tank, flip lever. Flip the lever back to degas, and you're done. No more struggling with a stuck tank in the ASA. Mini owners can rejoice!




Okay, I like the Axe. I really like the Axe, except for two details.
The Eyes:
-The eyes are sunk into the Axe's breech. I believe they're located on an upper board inside of the body. If you break paint inside of the breech and need to clean your eyes, you may be in trouble. TechPB Mike offered the quick tip of using Air In A Can to quickly blast obstructions from your eyelet holes. I might be picking up a can, just in case. You may also be able to clear them out by running a swab through the breech through the back of the body. I haven't broken paint in there yet, so I have yet to find out.
The feedneck:
-This is more of a irksome annoyance than a serious issue. I tried putting my Rotor and my Pinokio into the Axe's feedneck. While both fit, its a very tight fit, and are an absolute pain in the :censored: to get back out. When the feedneck screw isn't in tightened, it rattles around and could easily back itself out.




Overall, I have fallen in love with this gun. Its simple, its effective, it feels great, and it has everything a gun should have. I can't wait to take this onto the field and exhaustively test her out.


I will soon be creating a Pictorial Maintenance Thread for the Empire Axe

Pictures!
Standard Toolkit:
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Empire Axe Engine:
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Notes from other users:

From Festa, on MCB:

I would like to add a caveat about the screws on the gun. I'm not sure if they come this way from the factory, or if it was because of the dust finish on the gun, but several of the screws on the gun managed to work themselves loose after shooting the gun for a bit. The foregrip screws and both the detent screws worked themselves loose and had I not noticed it as quickly as I did I would have lost my detent covers. So, a word from the wise: put a drop of blue Loctite on all your screws.


From Flau, on MCB:

I use Q tip to clean the eyes. They can be reached from the feedneck.



A Note from Simon Manike

If [the ASA] is loose please don't just tighten the screws from the side. Some of the guns came from the factory with the top screws set a little too high.

The best way to resolve it, is to take them out and blue loctite them (all new guns should have loctite on, but again, some from the first runs didn't).

1) Take off the grips.
2) Back out the side screws completely.
3) Take the rail mount, and adjust the screws down from the top (adding a little blue loctite to them) so that the tips of the screws are just very slightly past the center of the holes. The tops of the screws will be around 1/16th below flush with the top of the rail.
4) Put the rail and asa back onto the gun, and tighten the side screws to lock it all down.

If you can't get it tight that way, you may need to remove the frame from the gun, screw the female air transfer tube up (away from the ASA) and then mount the ASA. Then tighten the air transfer tube down into the ASA fully.

When in the field playing, to clean the eyes, we just use a clean swab and run it back and forth through the gun without the bolt of barrel in the gun. It does take a full tear down to really clean them out though if it's a big mess.

:)

Simon


Pictures will be up in a few hours, covering the toolkit, packaging, and engine.

Edited by Algae, 07 June 2011 - 08:38 AM.

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#2 lostpaintballer

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 10:04 PM

Nice review! I recently ordered a storm trooper axe!
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#3 Hebiki

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 03:53 PM

Algae

glad you put the link to this thread in your sig. or else i would NEVER have found it. you know me.. im an NT owner 2x over.. so reading that you liked the ergonomics is a pleasant surprise to me. i will be buying one as my back up marker/loaner. i already have a Deadlywind barrel waiting for it with a .684 freak insert. :tup:

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#4 Algae

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 09:10 PM

Sounds great Hebiki! You will definitely not be disappointed with this marker!

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#5 Striker

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 08:36 AM

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#6 Hebiki

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 11:59 AM

Sounds great Hebiki! You will definitely not be disappointed with this marker!


how about a shooting video? :lol:

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#7 MikeeVinzee

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 12:10 PM

i want to buy this marker so bad, since a lot of people are saying its a best marker for the price, but yet im still very skeptical

Edited by MikeeVinzee, 07 June 2011 - 12:11 PM.

Gun Setup: Proto M8, Infinity Legend, Ninja 68/45, Pinokio/Rotor
Pump Setup: WGP 2k3 ccm'd
, Ninja 68/45, Primo/SportShot
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#8 Pball04

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 12:32 PM

i want to buy this marker so bad, since a lot of people are saying its a best marker for the price, but yet im still very skeptical



Dont be skeptical...it is, and with the Boss bolt for the axe its even better!
Pball04 setup--Custom Black Empire Axe, Custom Empire prophecy, ninja 50 4500, Proto pro axis, everything else Empire.
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#9 MikeeVinzee

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 01:22 PM

what does the boss bolt do
Gun Setup: Proto M8, Infinity Legend, Ninja 68/45, Pinokio/Rotor
Pump Setup: WGP 2k3 ccm'd
, Ninja 68/45, Primo/SportShot
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#10 Pball04

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 11:32 PM

what does the boss bolt do



It allows you to lower your pressure from 200psi to 150-160psi, and u lower your dwell to 5ms= smoother shot (even tho its pretty smooth) and u get more shots out your tank. you also reach higher ROF
Pball04 setup--Custom Black Empire Axe, Custom Empire prophecy, ninja 50 4500, Proto pro axis, everything else Empire.
Ref @ Operation Paintball.
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#11 Hebiki

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 02:47 PM

guess what's arriving on Friday?


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#12 Algae

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 08:06 PM

A new pair of ear plugs?

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#13 TheGuy

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 09:03 PM

A new pair of ear plugs?


I lol'd
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#14 Hebiki

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 12:41 PM

it arrived. i havent picked it up yet. been to busy at work :angry:

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#15 Algae

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 09:42 PM

Go pick that up Hebiki! Your idiot-thumb will be very happy!

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#16 Hebiki

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 12:23 PM

Go pick that up Hebiki! Your idiot-thumb will be very happy!


IDIOT THUMB FTW!!!!!!!!!

Algae, funniest thing... even though I have the room now for my i-thumb (i should patent that name)..... i found myself holding the axe the way I hold my NT11. (thumb on top, in front of the feedneck) :o :lol:

Guys, take it from me (ive used a DM10, NT and NT11)... this marker is LEGIT.

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#17 Hebiki

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 04:26 PM

Boss bolt inbound! :tup:

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#18 Hebiki

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 06:41 PM

photo :)

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#19 Algae

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 11:26 PM

Let me know what you think of the Boss bolt! I'm interested in experimenting with different engines.

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#20 Algae

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 03:58 PM

Just ordered a Boss V2 myself Hebiki. You're a terrible influence...

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#21 Hebiki

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 03:59 PM

Let me know what you think of the Boss bolt! I'm interested in experimenting with different engines.


i received the "V2" yesterday in the mail. Ross is a great person to communicate with. fast shipping, etc. he's there to answer your questions, etc. :tup:

things i already like without EVEN shooting it.... the boss bolt comes with
  • 3 different spring tensions (soft, medium, hard).
  • it comes with settings suggestions..so the user isnt completely lost
  • operating pressure drops from 200psi to 160psi. :tup:
will post more findings on here in the next couple of days/weeks as i start to use it more and more.

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#22 Algae

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 11:39 PM

I just received my Boss Bolt today and first impressions were decent.

Its machined of black delrin, making it insanely light, and allowing it to lower dwell and use less air. That said, I'm a bit worried that each bolt may differ slightly from each other. The one I received still has some delrin fibers in the center of the bolt.

Efficiency tests tomorrow morning!

EDIT: No air makes efficiency tests difficult...

Edited by Algae, 28 June 2011 - 07:05 PM.

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#23 Hebiki

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 11:59 AM

I just received my Boss Bolt today and first impressions were decent.

Its machined of black delrin, making it insanely light, and allowing it to lower dwell and use less air. That said, I'm a bit worried that each bolt may differ slightly from each other. The one I received still has some delrin fibers in the center of the bolt.

Efficiency tests tomorrow morning!

EDIT: No air makes efficiency tests difficult...


you just brought up a good point.. delrin = wear..... im assuming eventually the bolt will wear down?

i cant do anything paintball related until the improvements on my house is completed. all my gear is packed away. :o :(

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#24 Algae

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 09:58 AM

I do recall TechT making two series of bolts for the Mini. One was metal(brass?) the other was delrin. They warned that the delrin bolt would eventually wear down to the point where it won't be usable.

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#25 drwoolynipplez

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 07:33 PM

hey where did you guys order your boss bolts from?
setup: empire axe, 68/45 dxs, pinokio
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#26 Algae

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 10:30 PM

I just got mine from Boss Paintball's website.

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#27 Greasy Balls

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 12:38 PM

I have ice axe!!!!

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