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Action Markers AM-P Illusion Pro 2003- pump Review
Jan 31, 2003

Life Is Merely An Illusion-Pro

 AM-P Illusion Pro- Click to enlarge



My last new marker purchase was a 1995 PGP, so I saw it was time to upgrade to something more competetive. A few phone calls, PM's, and a bank deduction later, my new Action Markers Illusion Pro was at the door. Everything was well packaged, with no damage to the outside of the box or contents. I called Crash stp to let him know it arrived - it was late due to the holiday. He went through everything with me to make sure it was all there. Action Markers has scored huge customer service points throughout my whole purchasing/receiving process. I read through the owner's manual, and off we went. The fit and finish is very good on the gun and parts, with the black to dark red "Sunburst" finish being a real head-turner. After playing with the different configurations, it was time to hit the field.

Friday night was debut time for the Illusion at Compete Paintball, and everyone had to get a look at it during the assembly process. Most couldn't believe that a "pump" could look that nice! Testing conditions were a little on the extreme side, as the indoor field temperature was only 40 degrees. The first few runs were done using the bottomline and 9oz tank w/vertical feed and 100rd hopper. The Illusion had a very balanced feel with this setup, and the 3 o-rings inside of the vertical feed gave the hopper rock-solid stability. Zap paintballs were used for the evening,and had an excellent paint/barrel match. First shot at the chrono - 387 fps *BEEEEEEEP!* Adjusting the velocity is a mixed bag at best.

Velocity adjustment requires no dissassembly - just insert the supplied hex wrench into the opening at the front of the pump grip and turn clockwise to reduce the speed. The adjustment opening is wider than the wrench, and the screw is inset towards the back of the grip, so inserting the wrench correctly into the screw turned into a very hit-and-miss lesson in frustration. After taking a while to line up the wrench, the speed was brought down around the 240 fps mark (indoor limit).

With the 9oz tank, temps barely above freezing, and a good paint match, the numbers were 244-243-243-247-244. Using CO2 without a reg, these numbers were awe-inspiring! Using a new pump, and a vertical feed tube in my line of sight, I remarked that I wasn't expecting anything special for the first few games. By the time the first game ended, my stomach was full from eating so much crow!

Between the stock Hogue grips, and the excellent balance, the Illusion Pro almost felt like a natural extension of myself. The whistle blows, a run and slide to a '40 bunker, and here we go! A quick right-side 30' snapshoot, and the ball went just above the other player's head! Two more quick shots, and the other player walks by my bunker with his gun up in one hand, and a thumb-up for me in the other.

 AM-P Illusion Pro- Click to enlarge

I re-chambered another round, moved, and started taking some heat. Without thinking, I pumped a second ball into the chamber before firing, and had a break in the barrel, (my own stupidity). I pulled the quick-strip pin off, removed the bolt, ran a pull-through squeegee, and put the bolt back in with the pin, ready to fire. The entire process was approx. 8 seconds, start to finish.

The only fly in the ointment with the cleaning stage, is that the bolt can be put in upside-down, rendering the gun useless until corrected. The large hole on the side of the bolt MUST be facing DOWN when replaced.

The next game found me 7ft up in a tower to check the ROF. Enemy sighted at 50ft! 2 shots, and a crouch as he rips 14 balls at my position. Pop up - and pump a string of 9 his way. I sent him walking, with 3 hits before I stopped. My bad. At the staging area between games, one of the players remarked that "I completely owned that kid with my auto-trigger!" I looked up and remarked "no auto-trigger on this one". 4 seconds of silence later, and someone else remarked "you really shot that fast with a pump?!" A few more rounds of 1-2 elims per game, and it was time to change the setup.

The 15rd horizontal feed and 12g CCI quick-changer went on in almost no time. The horizontal feed performed flawlessly, and is now my personal preference. 12 gram efficiency was less than stellar in the cold. With the field temp at 39 degrees, I was getting only 15-17 shots per 12gram. Ouch. Back to the bottom-line with horizontal feed, the gun was fantastic. End of the night, and after the breakdown, here's the deal.

GOOD:

  • - Well balanced, and easy to aim without a sight
  • - consistant velocity with a decent paint match
  • - no cutting/shimming/disassembly needed for velocity adjustment
  • - liquid-smooth pump stroke and good return spring make for an impressive, possibly game-saving ROF
  • - pump handle allows for solid grip, even when covered in paint
  • - field stripping/cleaning is quick and easy
  • - gun feels solid without being heavy
  • - stable shooting platform with/without a stock
  • - easy to change paint/air configuration
  • - stock barrel is smooth, and works well with most types of paint. No upgrade necessary.
  • - well built; everything stayed tight during play
  • - it looks great, on and off the field


BAD:

  • - some sharp edging on the back of the pump grip and beavertail. When using gloves, these become negligable.
  • - velocity adjustment wrench hard to line up with adjustment screw
  • - bolt can be inserted upside-down, causing the gun to not fire
  • - base for 12gram changer is hard to remove once screwed in place
  • - poor 12gram efficiency in above-freezing temps
  • - back block makes a metal "clink" sound during chambering


Honestly, I was trying to be as critical as possible with the Illusion Pro, so as to save face with my Sheridan arsenal. It now looks like after 11 years, my PMI1-DF will be taking a well-deserved rest. The Illusion Pro not only looks very trick, but far surpassed my performance expectations for a new product from a young company. Action Markers also has excellent customer service, and will immediately address any problems or concerns you may have. In the end, I feel I've gotten far more from the Action Markers Illusion Pro than I paid, and see it as more of a well-made investment in my game, than just simply "a new gun". Purchase one of these, and you will not be dissappointed.





- - Andy "amhildreth" SCP #83

Ed Note: The reported poor 12 gram effieciency seems to be an anomoly, as other AM-P Illusion owners have reported between 30 and 40 shots per 12g. Action Markers is looking into this issue at our request.



Buy an Illusion Pro at the Stock Class Players Network Online Store, Crash Landing!!

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