“John Sosta” Dark Tequila X-mag MOTM Winner

The Beginning:

In July 2012 I saw a post from Bolter on AO, selling a lot of three Xmags from the UK. I quickly recognized the “parts” xmag and made a full price offer plus shipping to the US.

This xmag reminded me of a picture from 2002 at the campaign cup with the same grip frame milling and it looked like it was from the same batch of Euro Xmags that John Sosta milled back in 2002.

I spoke with Vicki (the seller who played on John’s team) and she stated that this gun may have been used at the Campaign Cup the same year all of the early Warpig pictures of the Xmags came out.

While patiently waiting for my xmag to go through customs I decided to create a parts list and track down the hard to find items on automags.org
Battery / Battery Pack with milling
PMI Perfect Bore Barrel
Vert Breach
Warp Breach
Ultralight Barrel
Bob Long ASA
Orange LED Screen

Custom work:

I contacted a handful of machinist, but most of them had crazy timelines for completion. I reached out to Renie from AO and asked if he could “recreate” the John Sosta pack from the old warpig picture I had. He said he was able to get it pretty close so I decided to ship out an extra battery housing I had in my stockpile of parts to europe. While he was working on the battery housing I continued my search for parts.

Luckily, SSP Reaper found my WTB thread and hooked me up with a PMI Perfect Bore barrel, the same barrel that all the Euro Xmags had when they first came out. It always seems like this part is one of the hardest parts to find anymore. Most are stainless steel or ceramic so I was excited to see that he had one for me.

I also reached out to Tunaman to get the Vert and Warp breaches for the set-up. Breaches are also really hard to find so I knew this would be one of the more expensive costs for the build. Unfortunately, when they arrived I realized that the Vert breach did not have the CnC milling on it.

I contacted Luke@lukecustoms and he was able to work out the milling on the vert breach. He needed to see the Xmag body for the body lines. I decided to package of both the Xmag body, CnC Warp breach, and the gripframe. Once Luke was finished with the milling he was going to forward the package to Tunaman so he could remove the steel body insert and gripframe stud for anodizing.

While that was going on I found the rest of the parts on Mcarterbrown, AO, and pbnation. Digikey had yellow screens in stock so I ordered one to complete the build. I really had my heart set for an orange, but with a minimum order of 1000 screens I had no choice. Luckily the yellow screens look orange anyway.

Luke finished up the milling and sent over the parts to Tunaman. A few weeks later I recieved my package. Everything looked great from Luke and Tunaman, except I was missing the black warp breach I sent over with the body so luke could match the lines correctly. Unfortuantely, Luke and Tunaman were not able to find the part in their shops so I was **** outta luck. I take their words for it, but I was pretty bummed my $100 breach vanished into thin air.

I reached out to AGD direct to buy another “CnC” warp left breach and when I finally got it, I opened it up and realized that it STILL DID NOT HAVE THE CNC MILLING. Lol. :-/

Renie sent me a message saying the milling was complete. I was super excited to get it back. When the package arrived I quickly opened it up and attempted to put the battery pack back together. Sure enough I forgot to tell Renie that the battery pack actually sits a certain way, it was not interchangable because of the screws that hold the pack together. I was a bit bummed since he did such a great job “recreating” the battery housing.

Once I assembled the Xmag it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was and actually started to like the look of the inverted waves. It looked like they were swooping down towards the unique grip frame milling that John did on it. It may look a bit rough in the pictures, but after a bit of polishing I knew it would look great.

After I collected the rest of the parts I went online to find an anodizer. No one seems to be very reliable anymore. I went on pbnation and stumbled on a user named “xsvdynastypballa” that was custom anodizing his own guns in the Custom Guns section. I really liked his finishes and decided to take a leap of faith to get my marker done by him.

I sent him an e-mail and we started talking about the process of finishing up the John Sosta Xmag. I really wanted to keep the original tequila fade, but wanted some depth to it. Xsvdynastypballa a.k.a Stephen showed me some work he did in the past and I gave him the creative green light to finish my marker. I still needed a little bit of custom work to finish up the warp breach to have the same milling lines as the xmag. Luckily he had the ability to do straight cuts and could handle it for me.

I went ahead and packaged and labeled the parts and shipped them off to texas.

The Finish:

Within a day of receiving my parts he quickly stripped off the anodizing and started polishing. While polishing the marker the buffer slipped out of his hands and nicked the custom milled battery pack that Renie worked on. He sent pictures of what had happened and let me know the results. Even though it sucks to get that e-mail I was glad he let me know about it.

A couple days later I receive a few pictures of the marker. I was blown away by the results. The dark tequila sunrise fade was amazing, it looked like the black was dripping off the marker. You could tell he hand polished each piece to perfection.

A few more days go by and Stephen shows me the finished product. It was exactly what I wanted. We closed out the deal and it was ready to be sent back home.

The marker spent a couple days in the mail, but I was finally reunited with the marker. The finish was top notch. Stephen couldn’t of done a better job. The Xmag was really beat up yet he still made it look like it was a custom finish from AGD. Each part looked like he truly took the time and put all of his hard work into it. I can’t even describe how smooth the polishing is. The nick on the battery pack didn’t really matter, it was blended with the anodizing and when I screw together all of the battery pieces it was a snug fit.

I’ve used many anodizers in the past to finish my mags, Precisionpb, gruntbull, lasermygun, Tonsixer, PK Selective, but Caustic Customs (Stephan’s new company) had the best communication out of all of them. He really treated the project like his own. He took pride in his work and was vocal if he had any questions about the xmag.

I decided to attempt to take a picture of this marker in a light tent I made and snap a few pictures with my iphone 5. It was so hard to take a good picture of this marker though. The colors were so deep and every angle seem to reflect and shine the light.

Through all of the problems with the marker I never felt pissed, I realized I contacted all the right guys for the job. And they all worked hard to get this marker to look as good as it does. It was a fun experience tracking down all of the parts and talking with Stephen about the finishing. The marker is still not 100% with the electronics, but i’m waiting for a few more projects to come back from anodizing before I send it to an expert.

I just wanted to say thanks to Vicki, John, Bolter, Renie, Tunaman, Luke, Stephen @ Caustic Customs, SSP Reaper, and everyone else who hooked me up with parts for this build.

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