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The spring guide is a component found inside the gearbox of an AEG (automatic electric gun). This keeps the main spring centered in the gearbox. The spring is what provides the rebound force that pushes the piston assembly which forces the air out of the gearbox. The spring guide's function is simple: to keep the spring from being bound up or moving out of place as the piston is being pulled back and the spring is under load. Spring guides can be made of plastic or metal or a combination of both. Changing or upgrading the spring guide often requires full disassembly of the gearbox, though some designs feature something called a quick change spring guide. A quick change system implies that you can remove the spring guide and spring from the back of the gearbox without a complete disassembly of the entire gearbox. That allows you to swap the main spring and make gross changes in your FPS without an extensive teardown of your AEG.
AEGs equipped with this setup will often have proprietary spring guides and custom gearboxes to accomplish this. We offer tech services to install spring guides in most popular airsoft guns.
Q: How long do spring guides last?
A: Spring guides should last indefinitely however plastic ones occasionally could break at the tabs. As long as the spring is centered and not binding the spring guide is doing its job and you can expect it to last tens of thousands of rounds. Metal spring guides can last indefinitely. Bearings found on spring guides with bearings should also last indefinitely though a bearing could be damaged or become loose after tens of thousands of rounds. If the spring guide or some other component in the gearbox breaks and impedes the piston travel, you will encounter the piston getting "stuck" during the cycle and not being able to go all the way back and then release.
Q: What type of spring guide is better? Plastic or metal?
A: Both will last indefinitely but most people prefer metal for peace of mind. This part is not under heavy wear and tear. A spring guide with some sort of washer or bearing is often seen as an upgrade. These bearings will help keep the spring from binding up much better than a stock spring guide. The binding is known to cause fatigue on the spring. Some people are of the school of thought that a simpler one is better since there are less failure points. A multi piece spring guide introduces numerous components, all of which could wear out one day.
Q: Can I make my AEG into a quick change spring guide system?
A: A quick change system is often designed into the gearbox shell and paired with a matching quick change spring guide. Every manufacturer does this a little different from one another so a conversion would be required to use a gearbox with the quick change feature. This might create more work than its worth so if you desire this feature, go for an AEG which already comes equipped with a quick change spring guide system.