Once again, i'm imparting my limited depth of knowledge, in the hopes it will be useful
I'll present the most common types of marker and their operation here, please note that there are other, exotic markers such as the Sterling and Vector that follow their own unique rules for operation. Mechanical Markers Blow Backs
The Blowback marker is by far the most common type of marker out there, it is either a 'stacked' or 'single' tube design. the difference bieng that in a stacked tube, the bolt and hammer reside in different tubes, whereas in the single tube design, bolt, hammer and valve all reside in the same tube
Spyders and Spyder Clones. the bolt is in the top tube, the hammer is in the bottom. The valve is also in the bottom tube, although at the end of the bottom tube. The hammer and bolt are joined by a linkage pin, usually permanently fixed in the bolt. there is usually a pin on the side or top of the marker that is pulled, or the rear end of the bolt is pulled to '****' the marker and place it in firing position.
Tippmann 98 Custom, Sheridan XTS, Mokal Titan, ect. ect. The hammer and bolt are joined by a linkage arm in the side of the marker. the valve is in between the bolt and hammer, there is a pin in the side or top of the marker to **** it.
for either, the breech must be open for it to be in the firing position.
Beauty through simplicity. Autocockers
The Autococker, produced by Bud Orr (WGP), is a marker in which the cycling (re-cocking and loading) is controled by a set of mechanical pneumatics. The body is stacked tube, but there is no connection between the hammer and the bolt. It is unique as it is closed bolt (the marker is in a firing position when the breech is closed.
The autococker is noted for both it's moving backblock and it's front pneumatics, setting it appart from other markers.
when the trigger is pulled, the marker first fires, then the pneumatics are engaged near the end of the trigger pull to re-**** and re-load the marker's firing chamber.
Beauty through complexity Automags
The Automag, invented by Tom Kaye (AGD), is a blow-foreward design. the air source is automatically regulated as soon as it enters the valve assembly. When the sear is released, a pin prevents more air from flowing into the 'dump' chamber, this allows for a precicely regulated ammount of air behind each shot. the sear releases the bolt, and it pushes the ball foreward, then the powertube allows air from the dump chamber to flow behind the ball once it clears a piston.
this release of pressure from the dump chamber allows the piston to be pushed back into place by a spring in front of the bolt.
there is no hammer in this design, it is noted as one of the toughest designs in paintball, and for years enjoyed a position as the favorite rental markers of field owners.
the beauty in this design comes from elegant engineering. Palmer's Pursuit Markers
Blazer, Stroker, Typhoon, Huricane, Squall and others. These markers, while following the same design concept as an Autococker, have radically different setup to handle gas flow and switching for the 'automatic' part of the cocking sequence.
besides that, with the exception of the Blazer, all PPS Semi-automatics are made from brass, another unique trait.
these markers truely belong in a class of their own, as they marry science and engineering with a very sleek package. Oddballs
Markers like the Crossman 3357 follow their own interesting design, you may just be lucky enough to come across one of these oddballs Electronic Markers E-Gripped Blowbacks
These are blowback markers with an electronically controlled sear in the grip.
they are the only electronic marker i can recommend use of CO2 with.
'nuff said. Electo-Pneumatics
Impulse, B2K, Angel, Intimidator, Ego, Pimp. These markers use a ram connected to an Air-Through solenoid to fire, the must have an in-line regulator to operate properly, and must run on HPA.
the solenoid uses lower pressure air, and has a seperate Low Pressure Regulator (LPR). The bolt is linked to a hammer on the ram. pulling the trigger activates the solenoid forcing the ram to depress the valve.
the best way to think of these markers is as a Blowback, minus the blowback gasses, and with a ram in place of the hammer spring. E-Cockers
These are Autocockers with an air-through solenoid in place of the 3-way (4-way) air valve that operates the pneumatics.
the sear is also dropped electronically.
these also must run on HPA and have an inline regulator. Spool Valves
Matrix, Ion, Shocker.
the best way to look at these markers is as an Automag that has been stripped down and re-built to run when an Air-though solenoid forces the 'bolt' forewards and backwards.
unlike an automag, it lacks a powertube, piston and spring assembly that control re-cocking and a built in regulator. the bolt also acts as the valve.
they tend to have alot of o-rings and are more prone to leaks when not lubricated often, the are also capable of rates of fire that are limited only by the speed of the solenoid/ regulator re-charge rate.
like any marker with an air solenoid based design, it requires an LPR, Inline regulator and HPA. Pumps Crossman/Sheridan
These incorporate a stacked tube design, similar to an Autococker, but there is a pin that moves the Hammer forewards and back.
The Sniper 2, PGP, PMI-1, Pirannah LB and KP-2/KP-3 all follow this design, all Palmers-pursuit pumps, and most of the Palmers semi-automatics are based off of these designs.
the marker is cocked by pulling a pump handle towards yourself, then pushing it foreward to seal the firing chamber. Nelson
This is a system which incorporates all the elements into a single tube, when pumped backwards, a spring is compressed between the bolt and hammer, and the two are then connected by a leaver and brought foreward on the fore stroke of the pump. when the trigger is depressed, the hammer moves backwards toward the user, depressing the valve pin and firing a single shot.
this design is noted because it can easily use an Auto-trigger (marker fires every time the pump is brought back and foreward, so long as the trigger is held down.)
the Phantom, Trracer, Kingman Hammer, SL-68 (1 and 2) all use this design Oddballs
There are many more, oddball designs for pumps, such as the Splatmaster Pistol. These varients are more common than with semi-automatics, as there are many more ways to operate a pump action marker. some users even have modified their pumps to be bolt-action types.
of note is the Sterling, which uses a cross of the Nelson and Crossman/Sheridan type designs.
I hope this has been helpful to everyone!