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Ebonclaw 05-26-2006 12:01 PM

Wondering what to upgrade first on your Ion?
There's a huge list of upgrades in the ultimate sticky. Literally a billion to choose from. But some people tend to get lost in the huge upgrade list and never know which of the 17,000 upgrades to buy first. So I'm making this thread. For reference, if you feel like browsing some of the more popular choices, check here for a list of the most popular products:

Assuming we're working with a bone stock Ion, there are three things people hate about stock Ions over and over and over again, with rare exceptions.
1) The duckbill ASA. I personally hated this more than anything else. It makes for a very awkward setup and feels like shooting an assault rifle if you're using a steel tank (as many noobies are) or a heavy 20oz anti-siphon Co2 tank.
2) The stock feedneck. It's tall and doesn't clamp. Personally, if you sand your loader's feedneck down just right, it should fit nice and snug. Granted, it can be a pain to take the loader in and out of, and if you've already sanded your feedneck for another gun you may find it's too narrow. Not to mention the stock one is tall, needlessly increasing your verticle profile.
3) The trigger. At first I thought the trigger wasn't too bad. Couldn't justify spending $30 on a slim piece of metal with some screws. Turns out it was sour grapes. Went and bought a NDZ roller trigger and the difference is amazing. There are some that actually do like the stock trigger. Kudos to you. For the rest of us, we deal with side to side slop, and a cheap feeling trigger in general.

But here's the order of things I tend to feel best benefit the Ion. (I'm assuming you already have a good loader and HPA, if not, these should be at the top of the list)

1) New ASA. CP micro rail with on/off makes for a very clean and snug profile with the tank. However, this setup doesn't let you remove the tnak. Since the tank's fill nipple doesn't clear the rail, you must screw the tank into the on/off and the attach the on/off to the rail. But you don't really need to take a HPA tank off anyway, so no biggie IMO. Other popular choices include the Unimount Unimount. Drops are generally a no no, since they add too much height and profile to the gun. Reason #37 why you don't see ANY tourny players using drops anymore. I can't stress enough how the Ion feels like a whole new gun with a new ASA.
2) Small barrel kit. Unless you play a TON of tournies with a TON of different paint grades, having a 19 piece barrel kit will probably be worthless. Look into the Freak Jr or J&J edge kits. These are both excellent barrel kits, and I see no reason to buy a one piece barrel when you can have a good kit for marginally more money. Being able to match the paint you're shooting to the barrel gives a tremendous edge in accuracy.
3) Now if it were up to me, I'd have to go with the trigger. I know many people would say feedneck here, and if your loader is just too small to fit in your feedneck nicely, then I tend to agree, but we'll say that the stock feedeneck holds your loader nice and snug. Look into the CP and NDZ line for awesome quality triggers.
4) If you've gotten this far, I tend to look at either the bolt as far as giving the most performance gain, or the feedneck for decreasing loader headaches. A new bolt with signifcantly reduce kick in the gun, and make it a bit quieter too, since it allows you to drop your pressure. There's a lot of bolt arguments out there, but so far the new Firebolt by Smart Parts looks like it has a lot of fans. And we're all waiting very patiently for the new mystery bolt YDNA is working on. A nice clamping feedneck will lower your profile and provide a very snug, yet easy to remove hopper. Look into the clamping feedneck you feel fits your style best.
5) Either the bolt or the feedneck, whatever you didn't buy in #4.
6) Regulator. The stock reg isn't BAD, but there are indeed better regs. But the stock reg is good enough you should be fine on waiting on this on for a while.

Now at SOME point during all of this, I don't care when, but at SOME POINT you should have ordered or purchased the infamous QEV with some other upgrade. Come on, it's only $15-$20 most places and provides arguably the best performance gain on the Ion by increasing efficiency and cycle time to no end, as well as helping keep gunk out of your solenoid. Try to buy one that doesn't require body modification. Like the Smart Parts 360 QEV. Make sure to tweak your dwell after installation. Use this chart here:
From here on out, you can look at other neat goodies, like the Lucky firing chambers, which help out efficiency and kick, or a new board (really only necessary if you play tourny ball routinely...look to Smart Part's Blackheart board or ScenarioDreams T-board.) The remainder of the upgrades tend to be cosmetic or preference, though a new body may allow you to have bolt -out-back (or BoB) options for easier maintenece. There are new trigger frames like the Element 90* frame, new grips that look pretty or perhaps feel better, colored eye daughter boards (these don't do anything but make gun's eyes glow red or blue or whatever when you look down the feedneck, no performance gain whatsoever)....the list goes on.

Hope this helps. Feel free to post what you hate most about the stock Ion as well!

palidon11 05-26-2006 12:25 PM

sticky :) good work my man.

the stock barrel. not bad, i dont mind it actually, but the rumors of the powdercoat in the barrelare true. right at the tip for about 2 inches theres all the junk and im sure it really throws off the accuracy. i be getting a new back for my UL soon. in order of purchase, proly, QEV+trigger, feedneck, new asa, bolt, t-board. thats my opinion.

i already put some parts from my tippmann on it already like the stabilizer (with low pressure internals) and the sticky grips.

Penguin00 05-26-2006 12:28 PM

Very good job. This was very informative to me and has a lot of good information in it. Also very good reasoning.

Sticky this :elephant:

ShredderSteve 05-26-2006 12:45 PM

i just bought the SP 360 QEV and i was wondering why i need to adjust my dwell. also what settings are the best, ive seen some sort of chart around here on dwell and ROF but i cant find it anymore. thanks!

Ebonclaw 05-26-2006 12:46 PM

I don't want this incorporated into the Ultimate Sticky becuase it's less visible. Seeing as how the number one question we get in here is "What should I upgrade first" I'm going to leave it stuck as a normal sticky until these questions start to dwindle off.

Heheh. I was lucky enough to get one of the powdercoated progressive barrels when SP was understocked on Ion stock barrels. I got my brand new Ion with a powdercoated progressive and no goofups on the inside of the barrel!

palidon11 05-26-2006 12:50 PM

lucky..but still, the ion's stock is one of the better stock barrels ive seen on a gun in that price range.

Steve-anator 05-26-2006 12:53 PM

Verrrrrrrrrrrry good thread man, excellent! Helps like crazy, and yes your right i should look into getting an SP 360 QEV...are they really that cheap? Oh one more thing, the stock barrel, i never really liked it from the start. As soon as i screwed it in started getting really scratched and it went really ugly. It's accuracy wasnt great either, so therefor i bought an SP All-American...great barrel for its price. I never found the need to get a barrel set, the accuracy on my AA is great! All in all, AMAZING thread, thx a lot! :D

Ebonclaw 05-26-2006 12:55 PM


Originally Posted by ShredderSteve
i just bought the SP 360 QEV and i was wondering why i need to adjust my dwell. also what settings are the best, ive seen some sort of chart around here on dwell and ROF but i cant find it anymore. thanks!

I put the link in for you.

spydadude 05-27-2006 05:41 AM


Originally Posted by RazorTip360
Thank for calling us noobs were just not rich and can't afford a fiber rapped tank.

You cold have done one of two things:
1. Saved up for one.
2. Looked on BST's.

Ebon, I have some other options for some of the things you suggested for ups. For example in ASA'a, you have the Check-It Unimount, SP Smart Valve, Hybrid On/Off, Function On/Off, Shocktech On/Offs, etc. For Triggers, I'd suggest the Violent Products Scythe along with the ones you put up. I cannot stop freaking out about this thing. I frigging love it. You were spot on about the barrels. The Freak Jr. is great for a budget kit and so is the J&J Edge.

Anyway, Sticky.

The things I hated about the stock Ion when I picked it up were the feedneck and the duckbill. I kept looking at the feedneck while I was at the shop with my parents and they asked me what was wrong with it. I had to say, "My hopper'll never fit in there." Then the duckbill had a few things wrong with it. The fact that it's ugly and dosen't have an on/off make it for the most likely first upgrade.

I'd also suggest that you get a fast hopper to start with. My Reloader2 can keep up with me at 15 for some reason, but once you want to buy a T-Board or other board, the Halo should be right along side of it.

Ebonclaw 05-27-2006 10:40 AM


Originally Posted by RazorTip360
Thank for calling us noobs were just not rich and can't afford a fiber rapped tank.

1). The Ion is price pointed towards beginner/intermediate players. Naturally, many noobies buy this gun and a cheap steel tank.
2). Most of the experianced 'ballers don't need to read this thread. They know what needs to be upgraded from playing with the gun.

Combining 1) and 2) we can conclude that most readers of this thread are primarily noobies. And most noobies do not have the $$$ to plunk down on a fiber wrap.

So now that we discover that you took my post entirely out of context, I'll just delete yours for providing absolutely nothing relevant to this thread.

But the keep this on topic, spyda, I'm just letting people post what their favorite upgrades are and what they neeed to feel, not altering my post any. Sorry for the confusion. But if I get any more attacks (i.e. Razortip) I'll just lock the thread.

Spaz419 05-27-2006 10:45 AM

i got detents first then asa etc etc i now am waiting for hybrid grips and trinty body!

mugenXP 05-27-2006 11:25 AM

the "first upgrade" should vary from person to person.

one example would be:
like if one has powdercoating on the inside of barrel, they might want to get a barrel first.

Ebonclaw 05-27-2006 11:38 AM


Originally Posted by mugenXP
the "first upgrade" should vary from person to person.

one example would be:
like if one has powdercoating on the inside of barrel, they might want to get a barrel first.

True, but lots of people seem to not be able to think for themselves. Hence the thread to put an end to "what upgrade should I get first" taking up 4 or 5 thread slots in this forum.
Agreed with your barrel statement though.

ShredderSteve 05-27-2006 01:02 PM


Originally Posted by Ebonclaw
I put the link in for you.


Ebonclaw 05-28-2006 05:01 PM

It seems this thread is serving its purpose. 48 hours and not a single "what upgrade should I buy first" thread!

And they say people don't read the stickies....

mugenXP 05-28-2006 06:09 PM

i shall start one then

ShredderSteve 06-01-2006 12:28 PM

I got an eclipse purge on/off rail combo, it looks really sweet, has a good profile, and is eazy to turn. all around good asa and rail for only $50. if you dont buy a combo (asa and rail), then you could easily spend $70. by saving the 20 i was able to get the QEV too.

Ring31 06-01-2006 06:55 PM

List of ION upgrades in order and why.
1. Barrel, stock is oversized at .693 and not a great internal finish.
2. QEV, besides making the gun work better, the best reason for it is to protect your noid from getting grease and debris in it.
3. Clamping feed neck, the stock “o-ring” neck blows.
4. Firebolt, not only 1 of the best and lightest, but least expensive! It will make the gun run more efficient, at a lower psi and lower the recoil.
Other then these things, nothing else is real high on my list of “must haves”, sure, you can add faster boards, which are fun to play with, but not generally needed.
Body kits, for looks only.
Regulators, the stock reg aint that bad after it is lubed up and broke in.
ASA’s, looks and feel/balance.
Triggers, feel.
Grips, feel.
Detents, it will be a LONG time before you will ever need to change the stock ones out, don’t worry about “better” detents till then.
New eyes?, never, unless you break yours some how. They add nothing better to the gun other then looks, but it’s a internal part you cant see anyway, so what’s the point?

Mighty Whitey 06-02-2006 07:47 PM

Excellent thread.

Also a thanks to Ring31, very helpful.

Nice sig EbonClaw, very funny :D

Me11o Ye11o 06-06-2006 05:18 AM

awesome.. big help
this was very helpful! thanks man

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