Tips on PGP Semi-Automatic conversion

1. How to solder Brass Part I
2. How to solder Brass Part II
3. The Pro’s experience
4. Jeff Barnett’s experience
5. Preston’s experience

Have fun.

If you have some good tips* on the PGP Semi-Automatic conversion, and like to share with other PGPOG members, please PM them to me.

* A detailed step by step write up with pictures would be super!

1. How to solder brass Part I

Ok, here is the basics of how I do it.  I didn’t have a whole heck of a lot of info on it, so much of it was trial and error, but this is what works for me.

Rule number 1…  whenever you work with copper or brass, tin etc. do so in a well ventalated place.  When you are filing it, grinding it etc or in any way coming in contact with such stuff wear a mask.  Why?  Heavy metal poisoning.  It takes a bit of exposier to do you harm – but the harm is irrevocable.  It causes sever neurological problems, it can make you twitch, and make you Mad…Mad as a hatter in fact…  Do some research on this subject.

Torch – get a torch designed to burn Mapp gas.  This will provide more than enough heat to do any solder work you want.  You can use a propane based torch WITH MAP GAS, but it takes much longer.  Use Map gas though.  It isn’t much effected by cold like propane, and is very quick to heat things with the proper torch head.

First, with brass, copper or tin use a resin based flux.  From all of the reading I have done this is the best stuff to use for copper, Brass, and bronze.

Second, pick your solder.  I use common 50/50 lead tin solid solder.  I also use Silver solder on rare occasions.  This is helpful at times.  Silver solder requires higher melting temps – and this comes in handy.  Silver is good to use when joining a barrel to a gun.  Technique is the same for the most part, just a little hotter temps.  50/50 lead tin is good for most anything else (side tubes, etc) it requres lower melting temps.  So, you can join a barrel to a gun using silver solder at high temp, then used 50/50 lead for the majority of other stuff.  This means that when you are soldering on that side tube the barrel won’t fall off the gun…very bad JUJU.

Get everything together.  Figure out what is going to go where and get everything milled to specs.  You want it so that when you decide to solder up everything you can just grab it and do the work then.  This is my preferance at least.

Technique…  This is pretty simple.  Any surface that you plan to solder much be immaculately clean.  On brass I prep with 220 wet dry sandpaper, then 400.  When all debris and gunk is removed from the surfaces with the sand paper, I then take some paper towels and some Windex and wipe them all down being careful not to even touch the surfaces that are going to be joined.  This helps to remove all impurities from the surface that is going to be joined.  I don’t touch them because of fear that oils from my hands may get on the clean surfaces.  If there are impurities, the flux will not penetrate evenly, and the solder will not stick or join.

After I have everything spotless I do my setup.  The stock PGP, and other Sheridan based guns are silver soldered (I think…) because the solder in them requires a little higher melting temp to remove the feed tube, and barrels.  This makes modding them, and later soldering them much easier because you run much less risk of the whole thing falling apart.

I always join the barrel first (if it is nessicary) I try and use silver solder for this for the above mentioned reasons.  I let it cool then start on the other stuff.

It is important to have every thing locked down when you solder them together.  I use common baleing wire for this.  I line the parts up just right then wire them together in several locations to keep things lined up.  When things are secure, I then get to the meat of soldering.

first have all your materials ready and at arms length.  You have to be able to get things quick.

1. How to solder brass Part II

Flux…  First you need to heat the material.  I will explain using common paste flux that is found in pluming sections nation wide (that is what I use)  You heat up the material and then apply the flux (I used a small flux brush for this part)  You want the metal hot enough so that the flux melts redily.  You will know you are doing a good job of it when you see the flux bubble a little in the joints.  Also, it doesn’t take a lot of heat to get the flux to melt.  Flux the entire surface that is going to be the joint, look for the bubbling of the flux to show that you have good penetration.

Next, you heat the metal until the solder just melts.  If you have done a good job fluxing and heating you should see the solder “sucked” into the joint.  You don’t really need a lot of solder either.  Remember that the more you pile up on the joint, the more you will have to clean up and remove when the piece is cold.  You can “spot solder” too.  That is add solder, use the flame of the torch to spread it down the joint and then add a little more solder where it is needed and then feather it down the joint even further.  This “spot solder” or Feathering technique lends to some nice clean joints that requre very little in the line of clean up afterwards.

That is pretty much it.  I have gotten in the habit of using lengths of 1/8″ bronze brazing rod along the joints to add strength and binding joint surface area between tubes.  It also has a decorative effect when you clean the piece up.  Most importantly, the joint is “tank solid”

One thing is really cool.  Copper has many of the characteristics of brass.  It is cheap, and the perfect material to practice technique on.  I would venture to say, that if you spent an afternoon playing around soldering up some copper pipe lengthwise, you could learn as much about soldering as reading several books on the subject.  It is good prep time for working brass tube.

Some closing words to think of when considering soldering:
Maticulous cleaning (sanding, windex)
part preperation
hold pieces together solid!
bubbling flux in joint
just enough heat to melt the solder

No pics, but there is the basics of what has worked for me.  As I said, this is mostly trial and error from my experience.  The above method works for me.  I may be doing it all wrong, but as I said, it has worked for me.  I hope that the information proves useful to all of you interested in doing some work on your own guns.

Thanks for the ear.


PS…  You heat the metal, remove the flame then flux…  heat the metal remove the flame then add solder.  Sticking the solder, or flux in the flame doesn’t work. (or hasn’t for me)

3. The Pro’s experience

In mid 1988, the legendary air smith, Glenn Palmer, owner and operator of the Palmer’s Pursuit Shop at Sacramento invented the first working gravity feed semi automatic paint gun (Camille) by working out a way to build his automation system on a existing Sheridan KP rifle. Which lead to the creation of the legendary Hurricane & Typhoon series.

Shortly after the birth of Hurricane & Typhoon, Glenn Palmer offered the “Stroker” conversion to the market in March or April of 1990.

During the conversion, Glenn puts the pneumation system into existing Sheridan/PMI brass pump guns (PGP, PMI I, Piranha, ….), turning them from pump action into a close bolt semi-automatic paint gun with the reliable, high performance.

Advance Pneumatic Automation provides quick, smooth cycling with the performance advantages of a closed-bolt firing system; thus achieving unbeatable effectiveness without compromise to accuracy or firepower. This automation system is meticulously hand crafted into each paint gun; then each is individually tested and tuned to insure optimum performance

The initial system worked out so well that there have been very few changes or refinements to that whole line of guns in the 14 years that Palmer’s Pursuit Shop have been building them and they will still compete with or exceed the performance of any paint gun in the game today.

Each conversion is hand crafted, tested and tuned by the crews in Palmer’s Pursuit Shop. Each conversions Include: UltraQuik Strip, Velocity Adjuster, Ball Feed Détente, Performance Valving, Grips, Sight Rail, Matte Nickel Plating, PMI rubber grips.

Barrel is Honed and Polished to fine finish for best accuracy. (Note: I am not going to tell you how I can hit a small target at 250 feet, or what size of grouping it can give me, like other reviews. I shot many different kinds paint gun, and the accuracy of Palmer guns always make me happy.)

Nickel plated body add a beautiful look to old school pump gun. The Finish is tough, will protect the brass body years to come.

Ultra QuikStrip system (includes: a center fire Bolt, Spring Release Pin & Connector. Takes around 2 seconds to pull out the bolt when you want to give the barrel a good cleaning.

Lack of a Velocity Adjuster is a design flaw on those Sheridan pump guns. But not worry, Velocity Adjuster is included in the conversion.

Ball Feed Détente avoided double feeds.

Performance Valving improves the air effectiveness.

Someone would call the Stroker is “Auto Cocker performance in a pistol size package”.

Let Palmer’s Pursuit Shop bring that dusty old pumper into the new millennium with the STROKER conversion to semi-automatic. Even the trusty K-series (wooden stock) rifles can have a new life. The transformation of these old favorites will render a serious performer that is real close to the legendary Hurricane and/or Typhoon, with the reliable, high end performance that is demanded by the pros.

Advance Pneumatic Automation provides quick, smooth cycling with the performance advantages of a closed-bolt firing system; thus achieving unbeatable effectiveness without compromise to accuracy or firepower. This automation system is meticulously hand crafted into each paint gun; then each is individually tested and tuned to insure optimum performance and STAYING POWER.

Three standard models are available for maximum versatility: Back-Bottle (like std. Piranha) Vertical bottle and dual bottle configurations allow for numerous variations in setups. There are many features involved in this conversion that yield the high end performance and ease of use necessary to play your best game. Maximum performance valving (improves efficiency and consistency) ultra-quick field stripping- ball feed indexing for no double feeding- comfortable grips and a super tough matte, nickel finish for enduring good looks. Plus, it is all backed up by a comprehensive, full one year warranty.

For current conversion rates please visit

4. Jeff Barnett’s experience

Lots of different people are building semi-automatic PGPs these days, but I wanted one with a little something different.  Despite several people saying (at the time) that it wasn’t possible to build one with a vertical CA setup (like an Autococker) I didn’t accept that answer.  I also wanted to keep the pneumatics regulator internal…in the lower tube.  With these design criteria, my brother Ryan and I (both mechanical engineers) set out to make it happen.

As you can see, we fit a Cooper-T vertical CA adapter in front of the trigger guard.  The pneumatics reg is inside the lower tube, and a brass Cooper-T direct feed was also installed vertically in place of the stock 10 rd. tube.  The 3 way is the ‘standard’ Palmer-style setup in the Sheridan grip frame.

As you can see from this photo, a new valve half was made which had a 1/8″ pipe fitting instead of the 12 gram seal assembly.  A PMI regulator was utilized from a Trracer ‘Chameleon’ autococking conversion (the same reg Fredrik Ollsen used).  The trick to making this work is tapping the REGULATOR body near the back where the CO2 enters for the vertical CA.  You can’t see it in this picture, but you can see the hole in the body tube where it enters if you look closely.

There were a few teething problems with the gun.  The first was that I had a bad regulator seal.   Another issue was that this gun required just a little more stroke on the ram than my stainless clippard could provide.  Some careful adjustment and reshaping the sear has helped that problem, but a new bolt may be necessary to completely eliminate it. Since it is little more than an aluminum rod on a PGP I don’t see that being a problem! The problems I’m having now are that I’ve got a little blowback, and a lot of ball breakage in the barrel.  I think this is due to the ball not being pushed QUITE far enough in front of the air passage from the valve.  This is causing more of an upward push rather than a forward push on the paintball.  Some more test firing this weekend (11-20-99, co-incidentally my 10 year paintball anniversary!) should be interesting.

03-08-01: There have been some changes to my PGP since the last update. I have replaced the problematic Chameleon regulator with a Sonic LPR for an Autococker. I’ve cut off the lower tube even with the front of the vertical air adapter, and the Sonic is now exposed. A new adapter piece (actually made from the Chameleon) is used to join the Sonic to the gun. It works better, it’s a little lighter, and looks interesting to boot. Hope to have pictures up soon.

Information originally posted at

5. Preston’s experience

I live in Fairbanks, Alaska and go to school at UAF (University of Alaska Fairbanks). I play paintball with team chillfactor. Chillfactor is just a bunch of hella cool cats who like to play paintball.
A lot of people have been writing me and asking a lot of questions about the PGP mod, so I’m gonna tell you a little about how it was put together and if you still have questions you can email me.

Here’s a picture to help.

1. The gun was soldered. That sounds kinda weak, but remember that it is silver solder- very strong stuff. If you solder it right…

2. The ram nut has been threaded to accept autococker compatible rams.

3. The 3-way nut has been bored out to fit the diameter of the 3-way valve. A retention screw must be also used to ensure that the 3-way doesn’t slip, ruining the gun’s timing.

4. The ram nut and the 3-way nut are soldered onto the body of the gun. The reason I used nuts (as in nuts and bolts) is because I wanted to be able to replace those parts on a whim. An impossibility if I soldered the ram or 3-way directly to the gun. Now,if I want to replace the ram with a trick new one, all I have to do is unscrew it and screw another in.

Parts ‘n’ Stuff! 

* gun body: – stock (cut, vert feed, cocker ram, threaded nut mod)

* upper bolt: – stock

* lower bolt: – stock

* springs: – lightened

* valve: – lightened spring, drilled and tapped to accept standard air threadz on LPR

* low pressure regulator: – stock autococker reg.

* ram: – polished shock autococker ram

* 3-way: – polished autococker 3-way. cut connector rod.

* grip: – stock autococker grip, sear grind for light action..

* back block: -not pictured here. Made of 6061 aluminum plate.

Nuff said, let’s look at the gun, I’ll tell you what I’ve done so far:

* Cut off the top tube and put a vertical feed on.

* Cut down the front to accomodate the Low Pressure Reg.

* Threaded the main valve to accept the Low Pressure Reg.

* Threaded a brass nut to accept autococker ram threads, soldered the nut to the gun body.

* Lightened bolt and valve springs for low pressure ram operation.

* Cocker grip frame (cocker grip frames fit a PGP body.) top part of the frame has been given concave to accept PGP body.

* Cup grip frame for smooth fit, cut sear to meet lower bolt sweet spot.

* Connect the ram rod to the bolt.

* Mount a stock cocker 3-way to the drilled brass nut you soldered tp the lower body.

* Bend 3-way rod to fit trigger slot.

* Lighten the bolt.

* Polish gun breech for frictionless bolt action.

* Kick out the jams!

Questions? Email me!

Information originally posted at