A mag is easy in the beginning, once you get to the RT valve and the level 10, it starts becoming more finicky. I've never bought a straight from factory mag...so my opinions might vary.
A autococker is harder in the beginning because of the multitude of parts you need to tune, however; once you get it down, the learning curve dips down to near nothing.
Main topic: The empire sniper is cheaper in design compared to a CCM gun, but honestly, this is as close as it comes if you were unable to touch any CCM products, definitely feels better than all the other one's I've gone near such as the Azodin KP's and Sanchez Machine pumps.
I would also probably say most (average semi paintballer coming into pump) would prefer pumping a sniper platform vs a phantom or nelson style gun. There's a lot more play in everything do to slacker tolerances, but it's not as bad as some people are nitpicking. The gun costs $280 dollars less than a NIB $700 ccm gun, that is almost a 39% difference in price.
Also switching the stock hogue grips (genuine hogue grips!) for hogue grip panels with palm swells made the gun feel so much better. I love my sniper at the moment.