Many Airsoft players do not appreciate comparisons to paintball, but we cannot ignore the similarities between the two activities. Both are popular sports that provide fun, fitness, and combat training without the risk.
In a tight competition where every inch counts, any advantage an Airsoft player can receive is worth the effort.
R-Hop, one type of Hop-Up, provides just such an advantage. Airsoft players do deep dives to find the best method, commercial and homemade, to gain a significant accuracy advantage.
What Is an R-Hop?
Most newcomers to the sport wonder, what is R-HOP or HOP in Airsoft?
An R-Hop is used to create backspin on the BB. Backspin improves accuracy because the BB slices through the air better.
A player can boost accuracy by adding a piece of silicone buckling to the muzzle of the gun. When the BB hits the silicone, friction gives the BB backspin. The piece of silicone that creates the spin effect is an R-Hop.
An R-Hop creates the Magnus Effect, which causes lift as its backspin deflects air over the ball. With more air going over the top of the BB, drag keeps the sphere in the air longer. The result is a straighter, longer, and more accurate shot.
What Is Hop-Up?
R-Hop is one kind of Hop but not the only one. A piece of equipment named a Hop-up provides whichever kind of Hop a player wants to set up.
A few different types of Hop include:
- Flat Hop
Typically, a Hop-Up works by placing a small bit of rubber or silicone in the path of the BB in such a way that the top portion slows down and creates a backspin while leaving the barrel. Backspin helps the pellet travel farther.
Usually, a Hop-Up is adjustable to create more or less spin. Controlled spin allows a player to balance shot speed and performance.
Is It Necessary to Use a Hop-UP
A RIF (Realistic Imitation FᎥrearm) may look the part, but they fire lightweight plastic pellets or BBs, usually around 300-400 FPS. The slight weight of the pellet means the atmosphere and weather can affect the path of travel of the projectile with ease.
Backspin achieved through a Hop-Up method, such as R-Hop, provides an extra advantage to take accurate shots, especially as range increases.
Is the modification necessary? No, but when one player does not enjoy the same advantages others do, changing to copy other people’s success is likely.
Accuracy and R-Hop/Hop-Up
When considering which kind of build to go with, players often ask, does HOP/RHOP make your gun more accurate?
The answer is yes, but Hop is not a cure-all. Many maintenance, repairs, upgrades, and modifications go into improving accuracy. Remember, the problem can also stem from our need to learn to shoot. Maybe the equipment works fine, but the player keeps missing targets.
From the gun perspective, many people feel R-Hop provides the best results because the BB has more contact with the rubber over more of its surface, and the backspin is clean. Most players report that an R-Hop ensures up to 200 feet in range.
One modification might help, but accurate shooting requires seeking out more advantages. Use heavier BBs from a quality source. A heavier BB might not work out for a gun with low FPS, but the upgrade helps most players attain accuracy.
Make sure to use a clean barrel to improve accuracy and consistency. The same rule applies to real guns, paintball guns, etc. The projectile will always have problems if something hinders its progress through the barrel.
A Hop-Up might need an upgrade. Not all technologies for a single application are equal, and Hop-Ups are no different.
Ensure the RIF has no gas leaks starting at the cylinder and leading to the barrel. The need to fix a leak is obvious, but some leaks are tiny and unnoticeable but still negatively affect shot quality.
Airsoft guns have an inner barrel and an outer barrel. Make sure the inner barrel has no wobble or play that interferes with the shot.
Barrel lapping means polishing the inner barrel. Just like we have to clear any obstructions, we also have to use the smoothest barrel we can achieve to give the BB its best chance at good flight.
How to Improve Hop-Up
There are a lot of players who have Hop or a capable RIF, who wonder how to improve or get HOP.
For players looking for Hop-Up options, I recommend organizing the choices into three range and accuracy upgrade categories—125-150 feet, 150-175 feet, and 200-250 feet.
The first level for beginners is to upgrade a bucking with a flat Hop and attach a bit of silicone to get the desired performance.
For the second level, check whether the inner barrel is stainless steel or not. If not, upgrade to a 6.02 or 6.03 barrel for the best performance.
To achieve the best range and accuracy, upgrade to the third level by installing an R-Hop patch into the barrel.
Where to Get an R-Hop Barrel
Some people look at the mini-construction projects some Airsoft builds turn into and feel put-off by the work or prefer professional work to DIY projects. The question arises, can you buy an RHOP barrel?
Yes, Hop-Up started as an Airsoft hack to get better in-game results. Seeing the results, manufacturers responded to demand and started making various R-Hop barrels and installation kits. The market quickly filled the void, and now there are a dizzying array of options available.
What Is an R-Hop Barrel
Most manufacturers build R-Hop barrels to specifications of 6.01 to 6.05 stainless steel. The barrel comes with a window near the muzzle. The window makes the barrel ready for Hop-Up installation.
The next step in a professional-style build is to purchase an R-Hop drop-in kit. The drop-in kit fits with the window in the barrel. The kit holds the buckling, which secures the piece of rubber or silicone that touches the BB and provides the backspin.