Quoted from Mad_Dog_Coin_Op:
<snip>but the larger problem is the shorter rod. A 1/4" in length makes all the difference. Hopefully it was corrected later on. I was an early recipient of the knife shooter. Mine is also hollow. Not sure it the later ones were.
What's this? A 1/4" shorter you say? I was one of the first to get both my Halloween and ultraman custom shooters and both have a super weak shot now, that has gotten worse over time. I wonder if those springs 'broke in', the rubber tip flattened out, combined with a shorter rod to make it worse. I have shots that dribble back down the right orbit. I have slid the playfields back and forth to every position imagineable and while I noticed a slight difference depending on what I chose, none of them solved the issues I am having.
I noticed on my LOTR the rod tip sticks out past the auto launch a good 1/4". Hwn/um looks to be flush at this point and when pushing it in and compressing the external spring, it still barely protrudes past the bracket. I should throw the originals back on and see.