Douchenator Project

Guides and discussions about building water blasters and other water warfare devices such as water balloon launchers.
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Douchenator Project

Post by SEAL » Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:18 pm

Latley, I've been thinking building a WBL, since well, I don't have one yet (Everyone should have at least one WBL! :goofy: ), and I would like to have one for Downpour 2012, should we play an epic assault game across the street from Dug Hill. I've decided that I'll make a Douchenator, since it's the cheapest and simplest type of launcher you can make.

The only problem is, I can't find a guide on SSC on how to make one. After seeing DX's at the community war, I'm pretty sure I can figure out how to make one, but there are a few details that I'm unsure of. Is there a guide anywhere?
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Re: Douchenator Project

Post by martianshark » Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:10 pm

The website that had the Douchenator on it is apparently gone.

A WBL with a ball valve would be cheaper and simpler than the Douchenator.
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Re: Douchenator Project

Post by wetmonkey442 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:51 pm

^The Douchenator is a WBL with a ball valve, not sure where the confusion came from.

A Douchenator is an in-line WBL, and is incredibly simple to make. It consists of a chamber with some kind of fill valve (a Schrader valve is most common), a ball valve, and a barrel. The Douchenator I made used 3" PVC, but it is hard to find pressure rated pipe that large in Home Depot or Lowes. I would suggest using 2" PVC for the chamber, and 3" for the barrel (which doesn't have to be pressure rated).
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Re: Douchenator Project

Post by DX » Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:25 pm

The original guide still exists, but I don't know where the pictures are. I'll write a new one when I fix my Douchenator (the one that had a bad air leak at the Community War). I can put it together in PVC Designer if you'd like, but it should be pretty straightforward even without a pic or diagram:

Barrel --> Reducer(s) --> Ball Valve <-- Reducer(s) <--- Pressure Chamber ^ Schrader Valve

The middle can be potentially confusing depending on what kind of ball valve you choose and what kind of reducers are available.

You need to go at least 1" with the ball valve. A ball valve makes up for its slow opening speed by exposing its full bore, so you want a big one. I usually go 1" or 1 1/4".

Brass ball valves:
Pros: Stronger, more compact, doesn't need a torque arm, female threaded so launcher can be disassembled for transport
Cons: More expensive, harder to make a torque arm if you want one, not always available in large sizes

vs

PVC ball valves:
Pros: Cheaper, easy to make a torque arm, readily available in large sizes
Cons: Needs a torque arm, usually not threaded, usually takes up more space than a brass valve of the same size.

Assuming you use a threaded valve (for an inline launcher, it's really the only way to go if you plan on bringing it anywhere in a car trunk), you'd need:

Example uses a 1" valve, 3" barrel, and 3" PC:

One - 1" ball valve
One - schrader valve (universal, the same valve you'd find on car tires)
One - piece of 1" PVC pipe
One - piece of 3" PVC pipe
One - 3" cap
Two - 1" threaded male adapters
Two - 1 1/2" to 1" reducing bushings
Two - 3" to 1 1/2" reducers

If the PVC pipe or fitting says "DWV" then it's not pressure-rated. You want to see "NSF". The barrel need not be rated, but everything on the PC side of the ball valve must be. If you don't see those specific reducers and bushings, use whatever combination is available to go from 3" to 1". Always look for the legendary 3" to 1" reducer or reducing bushing before resorting to a combo of fittings. If you find one that is a bushing, you can only use it on the PC side of the ball valve. If it's a reducer, it's good for both sides. I still recommend using a reducer and a bushing because the grip is much better.

Basically, the adapters screw into the ball valve. Normally when using threaded connections, you'd want to wrap them in teflon tape, but not for a WBL that is disassembled and reassembled frequently. The adapters should be in pretty tightly, but not so much that you can't unscrew them by hand.

Now, open the valve and keep the handle in parallel position when attaching the reducers. If your hand would scrape the side of the bushing, reducer, or both, then cut a longer section of 1" pipe. The 1" pipe attaches the adaptors to the bushings, so making it longer will give your hand more clearance. Next, the reducers go over the bushings.

Now, you should have a symmetrical center that goes from 3" to the ball valve at 1" and back up to 3". The barrel is usually longer than the PC by about a 2:1, 3:1, or 4:1 margin. The PC is usually at least 8" long.

Glue everything except the threads and the PC. Always assemble the PC separately just in case you mess up the schrader valve part.

Assuming you just want to tap the schrader valve, which is the method that takes the least effort, time, and money, glue the 3" cap to the end of the PC. Let that dry for 12-24 hours. When that's totally cured, drill a hole that is ever so slightly smaller than the valve into the side of the cap where it's definitely overlapping with the 3" pipe. Twist the schrader in until the lip hits the surface of the PVC (you may need pliers for leverage). Now, you can glue the PC to the rest of the launcher and give it another 12-24 hours.

No matter how much you want to test it, let the launcher dry completely before putting pressure in.

Other notes:

I recommend using the same diameter pipe for the barrel and PC for a simple Douchenator. If you use different sizes, the launcher won't lie on its side very gracefully and you risk cracking it when setting it down roughly. If you use different sizes, remember to store it upright.

Flat 3" caps are better than rounded ones. The flat ones allow you stand the launcher up straight and it will stay. This is great if you use a 4" PC and a 3" barrel.

If you use a 4" PC, you can make it shorter and use less pressure than a 3", since the greater volume will provide the same power.

You will need sabots for the launcher. You can make special sabots like WaterWolf, or you can be lazy like me and eat a lot of Pringles. If you use Pringles, those shorty 6 packs are more cost effective than single cans. The top rim should also be cut off of each can and the cans should be wrapped in duct tape to create a better seal with the barrel.

Also, the Douchenator has a secondary water cannon functionality, but only when you're shooting down at someone and only when you put the water in the PC. Never put the water in the barrel.
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Re: Douchenator Project

Post by HBWW » Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:53 pm

The 100% n00b's list to Douchenator parts (If you've never shopped for this sort of stuff before, just write down/print out and get someone to help.) Most parts can be found at Lowe's or Home Depot, and if not, then ACE or ACO Hardware will do.

- 1" PVC Sch 40 pipe, 2" lengths or more: MUST BE PRESSURE RATED. (Not that you'll find any that isn't lol.)
- 3" PVC Sch 40 pipe, 5-10" pipe length recommended. Ask them to cut it for you. I recommend getting a 2" cut of pressure rated and 5" of non-pressure rated. (You DONT want pressure rated pipe for the barrel so it stays lighter.)
- 3" Endcap. Find a pressure rated one if you can, but it shouldn't matter. (See note 1)
- (2) 3" to 1" Fittings. It will take at least two fittings to accomplish a 3" to 1" connection, and you need two sets of these. Don't worry too much if it's not pressure rated, but get pressure rated if you can. (Not easy at the 3" level; you know when fittings are pressure rated if you have to use a coupler to join a pipe and a bushing.)
- Pump valve: Schrader valves, as WM442 mentioned, are most popular. It just needs to have a standard 1/4" thread.
- Firing valve: Modified Sprinkler Valve recommended. (1" Sprinker valve, two 1" male adapters, blowgun, 1/4" to 1/2" nipple, 1/2" ID air tube to connect blowgun. Ask for help on this if you need.)
- Alternative firing valve: PVC valve, 1/4" nuts and bolts, 1" (anything from 1/2" to 1" will work) PVC; create handle for faster opening. PVC valve can be welded instead of threaded for better connection.
- Alternative firing valve: Metal ball valve.
- Optional fittings: (2) 1" Elbows for over-under style
- Optional: Cable ties and wood board for support on over-under style.

Tools:
- 1/2" Drill
- PVC primer and cement

I really should be updating the wiki instead lol.

Edit: Got ninja'd by DX. At least I didn't post instructions lol.
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Re: Douchenator Project

Post by atvan » Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:55 pm

Great write up DX. Copy and paste it to the wiki is what I say. Pictures can be added later.

If used as a water cannon, you could remove the barrel altogether. Yo could make nozzle barrels as well.
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Re: Douchenator Project

Post by HBWW » Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:03 pm

atvan wrote:If used as a water cannon, you could remove the barrel altogether. You could make nozzle barrels as well.
Or more accurately, a PC and nozzle attachment. Still need a piston to separate the air/water.

Now I just gotta come up with more modular designs consisting of easy to build parts... But that does involve agreeing on, say, diameters to use.
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Re: Douchenator Project

Post by SEAL » Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:35 pm

Thanks guys! I will try to get my hands on the parts as soon as possible.

I also have a question for DX, who'd probably know about this; would a Douchenator be legal in a Nerf war? I was thinking you could either make either one huge dart for it, or stuff a whole bunch of regular darts in there and use it as a shotgun. :D
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Re: Douchenator Project

Post by martianshark » Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:14 pm

Homemade pressurized guns are often disqualified from nerf wars. They might let you slide if you use it like a shotgun (absolver). One big dart is less likely to be allowed, and shooting a single small dart is definitely banned.
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Re: Douchenator Project

Post by SEAL » Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:34 pm

I looked at parts today, and it looks like the total cost of this project will be about $50. I'm still going to make one though, but I have a few questions.

DX said to not use a bushing on the barrel side. How come? I was going to use a 1" to 2" bushing attached to a 2" to 3" reducer for both sides. Also, I never really got how the sabots worked (I don't even remember DX using them at the war.); do you just get a Pringles can and poke a hole in the back? Because if you didn't, the sabot would fly out of the barrel with the balloon. Or is it supposed to do that (I can't imagine why, but I just thought I'd ask.)?
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Re: Douchenator Project

Post by martianshark » Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:22 pm

It's supposed to do that. Attach a string to the sabot for easy retrieving.
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Re: Douchenator Project

Post by DX » Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:33 pm

The first launcher is the most expensive. Subsequent launchers are cheaper because you already have the pipe.

You can use a small bushing on the barrel side as long as there is room for the ball valve handle and your hand to come in alongside. You want the center of the launcher to be as compact as possible (it's the weakest link and the part that will crack if you drop the WBL). Yet, you need room for your hand and the handle to clear it.

With just about every other type of air-powered, projectile-shooting device, a sabot helps catch the air behind a projectile that is smaller than the diameter of the barrel. If you drop a tennis ball straight into a 3" launcher and fire, it will not go very far. If you use a sabot, it will fly for hundreds of feet. What makes WBLs different is that we also need the projectile to survive the impact of the pressurized air slamming into it when the valve opens. If you drop a water balloon of any reasonable size straight into a launcher and fire at high pressure, it will pop about 4 times out of 5 (if not 5 out of 5), and it probably won't go very far if it survives. Thus, we use a sabot that can contain the water balloon and catch the air. Cans are ideal for this. There are several options, but if you use a Pringles can, you cut the top rim off and that's it. The bottom stays intact. If you watch old videos of them firing, you'll see the can leave the barrel. It's one reason why we had the 45 degree rule (and often a minimum range rule). Until someone invents a sabot catcher that won't interfere with fragile balloons making it out of the barrel, we're stuck with sabots that come flying out.

The exception to the needs a sabot rule is low pressure shooting. "Mike vs Water Balloon Launcher" shows straight up balloons surviving at up to 50 psi. However, low pressure shooting produces, as you can imagine, low ranges.
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Re: Douchenator Project

Post by HBWW » Mon Mar 19, 2012 9:55 pm

DX wrote:You want the center of the launcher to be as compact as possible (it's the weakest link and the part that will crack if you drop the WBL). Yet, you need room for your hand and the handle to clear it.
And one of the many benefits of the over-under design is that you don't have to deal with this. You may have to cut the transitional piping to 3/4" or 1" to get it to fit appropriately though, and cable ties at a minimum are needed to keep the assembly together properly. That said, it's still better, IMO, than having something insanely long that's very difficult to carry through doors and has a weak joint. With a direct inline design though, the weak joint problem can be mitigated by using 1.25" or 1.5" pipe/valve to make the connection. (PVC ball valve gives strongest connection, but is permanent and ball valves are poor to use.)
DX wrote:With just about every other type of air-powered, projectile-shooting device, a sabot helps catch the air behind a projectile that is smaller than the diameter of the barrel. If you drop a tennis ball straight into a 3" launcher and fire, it will not go very far. If you use a sabot, it will fly for hundreds of feet. What makes WBLs different is that we also need the projectile to survive the impact of the pressurized air slamming into it when the valve opens. If you drop a water balloon of any reasonable size straight into a launcher and fire at high pressure, it will pop about 4 times out of 5 (if not 5 out of 5), and it probably won't go very far if it survives. Thus, we use a sabot that can contain the water balloon and catch the air. Cans are ideal for this. There are several options, but if you use a Pringles can, you cut the top rim off and that's it. The bottom stays intact. If you watch old videos of them firing, you'll see the can leave the barrel. It's one reason why we had the 45 degree rule (and often a minimum range rule). Until someone invents a sabot catcher that won't interfere with fragile balloons making it out of the barrel, we're stuck with sabots that come flying out.

The exception to the needs a sabot rule is low pressure shooting. "Mike vs Water Balloon Launcher" shows straight up balloons surviving at up to 50 psi. However, low pressure shooting produces, as you can imagine, low ranges.
I think we've argued over the pros and cons of Pringles' cans versus trimmed cup/container based sabots before lol. I still stand with the method that produces a better seal and doesn't scrape/damage the barrel or require lube. I will agree however, that my cup method needs more work and experimentation, and it does take more work than a Pringles can does to use. Cups work best when their lower-diameter end is closer to the muzzle than their higher diameter end, because the air pushing the cup out can also push the cup to help assist the seal instead of fighting it. The only matter however, is having another cup at the other end that doesn't quite seal, but keeps the sabot lined up with the barrel and more importantly, the balloon cradled.

Unfortunately, ram-rodding seems to be the only effective way to load 3" barrels. Further experimentation with breech methods will be needed, but these do complicate launcher design.
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Re: Douchenator Project

Post by DX » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:12 am

And one of the many benefits of the over-under design is that you don't have to deal with this
Except that it's a Douchenator, which is always an inline design (the way a SNAP always uses a clothespin trigger). There's also an easy way to avoid this problem when the launcher is not in use. Threaded ball valves allow you to screw off the barrel and transport or store the WBL in two sections. I would never recommend a permanent connection, even if it is physically stronger. The modular ability of the Douchenator to break itself down and accept different sized barrels / pressure chambers is one of its strengths. Whether it needs to have a ball valve depends on availability and price of alternatives. The design is meant to be the most simple, easiest, and cheap of all launchers, with all components easily found in hardware stores. The 2nd one that Nibordude made only had 9 parts.

I don't know how to modify a sprinkler valve or make those fancy valves the spudgunners have that open instantly. Not a physics person, I don't understand how they work and I don't know where to find the components. Ideally, I'd want something that can be push buttoned or squeezed with a pilot device, but until it approaches the ease of just going out and buying a ball valve, that won't be happening.
That said, it's still better, IMO, than having something insanely long that's very difficult to carry through doors
The leaking Douchenator that I am currently repairing will be about 36-37 inches long when the new cap is glued. A CPS 2000 is a little over 34 inches long. Last time I checked, it's pretty easy to get a CPS 2000 through a door. If I had drain pipe, I'd make the barrel longer, but the existing barrel I have is pressure rated pipe and that stuff gets front-heavy fast. I can't even find 3" drain pipe around here (Conn is not Jersey where they sell everything).

Now, there's three versions of the Douchenator (they have been called different things over the years, I'll use "DX" here). It matters because the design does not have to be insanely long.

D1 is the short version designed specifically for battle practicality. Only intended for use up to 400ft, it can sport a pressure chamber shorter than a foot and rarely needs to exceed 4 feet in total length. The D1 takes the Sherman tank approach to WBLs - you could probably make 3 of them out of a single 3" pipe for a cheaper cost per launcher than all others. The entire D1 can be transported in some types of backpacks if unscrewed into 2 sections. Possessing the mobility of a large CPS (and actually weighing less than a full CPS if using a drain pipe barrel), it is designed to go where no other launcher can go. There haven't been very many built, as the more well known D2 was the launcher pictured in the original guide. However, the inline design is superior at this length and it's the best type of Douchenator, imo. A D1 user can sprint at full speed and dual wield the WBL with a primary. It's still very underutilized in this role due to the slow ROF of muzzle loaded WBLs.

D2 is the long version designed for power and range. This version is intended to target things at max safe range, around 600-800ft. It can be taller than the user and the barrel alone is often the length of an entire D1. This is the one where the weak connection is a concern, but these usually unscrew when not in use. D2 is meant to compete with over-under launchers and just about everything. It can sport a 4" pressure chamber and can fire multiple balloons out of full size Pringles cans at range. All the Douchenator videos back in the day featured D2s.

D3 is the multi-shot version and is ridiculously long since it had to accommodate a middle PC and 2 ball valves. Only one was made as a proof of concept. It really should be an over-under design and have an air regulator (and thus not be considered a type of Douchenator). While capable of firing three times without pumping, it suffered from steadily-reduced pressure without a regulator.
I still stand with the method that produces a better seal and doesn't scrape/damage the barrel or require lube.
Unfortunately, ram-rodding seems to be the only effective way to load 3" barrels
If you have to lube the barrel or ram rod it for any reason, you're doing something wrong. Seriously, the fit is never supposed to be that tight if the launcher is for use in a war. I wrap duct tape around a Pringles can until there's as much as possible while still being able to drop the can down the barrel with gravity. It doesn't fall immediately, but goes at a pretty good pace. Since ROF is so low, the loading process has to be fast and simple. Take out can, put balloon in can, drop can down barrel, fire, repeat. This may not get max range possible for a WBL, but it's good enough for more than 600ft in the D2 and max in the D1. It also helps the D1 achieve up to 3 shots a minute operating solo.

Now, this does scrape the barrel a bit, but if the duct tape is wider than the bottom rim, you get less scraping. The top rim is always cut off. I still have the original barrel from like 2004 and it's been put through hundreds of shots where duct tape wasn't used at all. There is no actual "damage" and the scrapes occur in "speed lines" that look pretty sweet, actually.

But, overall, we've had this debate before and have very different approaches to WBLs, along with what we expect to get out of them, so it's all really up to personal preference and what the mission is. I've put D2 Douchenators through wars, so I know they work, albeit not the greatest thing to be using. Don't know if I could use an over-under effectively in a war, it's a different style with the grip and the weight distributed differently. D1 is hands down the type of WBL I want to have in a war, which is why I'm bothering to fix mine. I can one hand that while rushing and it's easier to hold than many soakers.
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Re: Douchenator Project

Post by HBWW » Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:46 am

Good point on the modularity; I never bothered with that approach for my launchers, but perhaps it was a mistake not to at least consider it. As for the length of inline launchers, the disassembly should ideally solve the problem, but without considering that, a 2ft PC - 3ft barrel can total up to 6-7ft in length, whereas a CPS 2000 is 3 ft. (This was the pain to carry through the door launcher I was talking about.)

Valves. I suppose if you want a launcher good for direct firing, a ball valve is a rather poor option. Otherwise it is okay. Modding a sprinkler valve wasn't that difficult, just involved more steps and gives better performance. It does cost money, but lets you get more power out of fewer pumps.

I never got Pringles cans to fit down 3" Sch 40 barrels without a bit of fuss, noise, and ram-rodding. In essence, it looks like your approach focuses on spending a bit more time pumping and less time loading and designing. I never figured dropping rounds down the barrel in mortar style would give a well-enough seal, but I'll have to test that out. I'll have to say though, that I understand your approach to WBL's much better this time around, so thanks for taking the time to re-iterate it. I suppose this is one of those things where complicated is not always better, and if I was more economic and practical, as opposed to experimental, with my designs, I'd probably have ended up with more launchers and perhaps even more widespread use of them.

That said, I love the launchers I ended up building and have no regrets; just need to continue to make adjustments to them; add some simple way of aiming the "sniper" launcher I have, and re-think the sabots used for my over-under launcher that I converted from a Douchenator. (Namely, experiment with mortar-drop sort of rounds, even if I can't do it with a Pringles' can.) I think in the future I will run down to the home improvement store again, grab $10-$20 worth of PVC fittings, and build another mortar style launcher. I've wanted to experiment with rear loading (i.e. unscrew endcap) in the past, but will have to look at the other options. Unfortunately, I don't have that much time at the moment.
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Re: Douchenator Project

Post by wetmonkey442 » Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:57 am

^CA99: Have you ever shot water balloons out of your cannon? If so, what size balloon? What range did you achieve? How often did the balloons break before exiting the chamber?

I have used both ball valves and sprinkler valves on both in-line and over-under cannons. Sprinkler valves are definitely better for shooting potatoes or other rigid ammo, but I find that the instant release of air is enough to break most balloons. Ball valves have the advantage (ironic, I agree) of being slower to open, making the release of air more gradual. This allows for a lower acceleration, even if peak velocity by the end of the barrel ends up being the same.

In other words, I'd rather consistently shoot 100 ft with a ball valve over inconsistently shooting 200 ft with a sprinkler valve. But maybe there is a magic ingredient that I'm missing.

@DX: Modifying a sprinkler valve is actually very easy. All you need is a tap to create threads in the top of the valve, some epoxy to plug the existing holes, and a blowgun and pipe nipple that are the same size as the tap you used earlier. Could be a fun weekend project that can be done for less than $20!
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Re: Douchenator Project

Post by HBWW » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:54 pm

I never quite measured ranges; I typically shoot 300ft range shots from 40-60 PSI, but I've fired up to about 400-500ft shots before too. Ball vs/ sprinkler valve seem to not affect balloon bursting, at least to the extent of which PSI and sabot design do. I agree on sprinkler valve mods being not that difficult to do, but it does cost quite a bit more than simply using a ball valve.

The biggest problem I have with ball valves are ergo-related with direct firing. It's much easier to press a button/switch/trigger than to have to swing a lever controlling a valve, which affects how well the shot performs. I'm pretty sure ball valves take so long to release the air that most of it is wasted and released after the projectile leaves the barrel. (So that even a long barrel is of limited benefit in ball valve based WBL's.) But as always, I will have to do more experimentation/testing to see what works better.
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Re: Douchenator Project

Post by SEAL » Tue Mar 20, 2012 4:10 pm

Here are some plans I drew up. What do you guys think?
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Re: Douchenator Project

Post by atvan » Tue Mar 20, 2012 4:35 pm

That PC is huge. Remember that if if you pressurize to 60 psi, compressed air would be equivalent to over four times that size uncompressed. Due to drag and stuff, an ideal barrel would probably be 2.5-3.5 times the length of the launcher. Any shorter and you are just wasting air. This could be solved with a longer barrel, or a smaller PC.
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Re: Douchenator Project

Post by SEAL » Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:52 pm

Ahem. *Points to small text in lower right-hand corner*. Although DX's did look like it's barrel was about the same length as the PC. But then again, I didn't get a very close look at it.
~Hotel Oscar Golf~

We'll be back...

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