I was eventually going to start a similar thread; been a bit lazy.
I am also new to the sport, and this forum; and have been doing a bit of research on this myself. Check out the Bruisemaster website for some interesting info on gel behaviour.
So far, I have hydrated and sorted around 10 - 12 bags of gels; not very much, but sorting gels is a soul-crushingly monotonous, frustrating, and very possibly pointless exercise…
I’ve used the Aka’s; LDT Milkies and glow; Gold pack Milkie’s, and some generic eBay clears. Have yet to do Ausgels, or CMH brand reds, the only other brands I hear mentioned with any frequency, apart from various ‘shop’ brands, which all appear to me to be ‘‘generics’’ or Gold packs.
I tried timing the grows, but I’m useless, and busy sometimes, so opted for the long soak method. I just leave the gels in water.
They will only get so big, so I sort at max size, then store in water in black 5lt containers (light and air are the enemy).
Evap is slow atm; but they start shrinking immediately after draining, so I keep in water until they go into the mag, or into speed loaders for a game.
I set up rails ala Low Guido (check out YouTube) to roll the balls down… The rails were set 6mm at the top end and 8 at the bottom, with buckets position to catch balls at UNDER 7.3mm and OVER 7.3mm. Initially tried for more sizings; but it is difficult.
The balls appear to adhere to their own laws of physics. They bounce like super balls (remember those, Over-40’s?), push each other thru smaller holes; leap-frog each other, and alavanche at EVERY given opportunity.
It’s HOURS AND HOURS AND DAYS of rolling tiny bouncy bastards and praying that your hands don’t shake, or you don’t bump the rail; sore back from up/down…
Did I mention the term Soul-Crushing?
So you roll the balls down, and they fall through when they fit, and land (usually) in their respective buckets.
The vast majority of gels seem to be in the 7.2mm+ range, with most of those around 7.4.
LDT milkies and genetic clears from ebay seem to be the most consistent, with AKAs in 2nd place.
Gold packs were excellent consistency, but in the 7.2mm range…
My money on the best, all-round gel for 7.3-7.5mm ID barrels is the
LDT red pack milkies… The smaller gels I’ll save for pistols/tight bore, the rest are standards…
You can’t help but notice, as the balls roll down, while you desperately search for ways to stay sane, that the balls are mostly not spheres as such. This could be me over soaking; probably contributes… But I’m guessing these things all come out of the same few factories, and that they’re not particularly precision-engineered in the first place.
Over all, I feel like the LDTs are the go to’s for ‘‘out of the bag’’ consistency. AKAs were def heavier per-ball, but only just.
Then again, the AKAs were ALMOST as consistent, also. But not quite close enough considering the usual premium on them, and the slightly higher potential for feed issues/blocks…
As stated on here already, everyone has their own experiences/preferences/setups… Heat, humidity, wind etc will affect these things differently on any given day also.
At average .25 of a gram, they ain’t heavy, so range and accuracy is a roll of the dice - mine on rapid-burst looks more like a shotgun!
I believe the smallest gel should not be smaller than the ID of your chosen barrel - forget firearms, and think blow-darts or spitballs - but too big, and they won’t feed properly, or get stuck.
Too small, half your pressure is lost bypassing the ball…
Over all, despite the alcoholism-inducing process of sorting, it’s kinda fun to go thru all this stuff…
I’ve worked out my personality is a conflicting mix of OCD and psychotic impatience.
You’ll have to ask the missus if that’s good or bad…
Full disclosure: I currently own 1 blaster, an ‘only receiver is original’ gen8, currently in pieces, waiting for postie to bring my SS 7.3mm barrel, and some other parts, so I can test my gel sorting…Planning on a metal Well MRT long, and at least one pistol (1911 or the Sig) over the next few weeks…