New marker advice
(Sorry in advance for the long narrative...I eventually get a to question or two somewhere down there!)
OK, so I played pretty casually years ago and just recently pulled my stuff out of storage and went to the local field (Xdrenalin Zone in Grapevine, TX) to play some woodsball with a mixed crowd of walk-ons. I played part of the day with my lightly-Palmerized Sheridan Piranha LB, and the last few games with my Phantom VSC.
I knew when I went out there that I was going to suck: I'm old (39, with apologies to my elders who are still rocking!...:old:), fat, and slow...I'm using a pump against rentals and a few teens with electros...it's been a long time...etc. I was just surprised by the magnitude of my suckiness. Counting welts when I got home, I estimated that I played about 8 games in the few hours I spent there, and I know I did not shoot anyone out in that time. I had the drop on one guy with the Phantom, but when I squeezed I found that I had missed the "rock" part of "rock'n'cock" and there was no ball chambered. And I hit a guy at some distance with the Piranha LB, surprised him: he jumped, looked down at his tummy, and scampered off, so obviously a bounce. Sigh. Otherwise, no success. I'd figured I'd hold my own against the rental crowd at least. That was humbling.
Anyway, I thought afterwards about what had kept me down. Here's what I came up with:
1) Rate of fire. This was only a minor to moderate problem. I held one corner of the "ghost town" field by myself against two or three electros and rentals for some time with only the Piranha. I didn't find it impossible to "seize the initiative" from my opponents. If I stuck my head out and sent a shot his way, he respected even the single shot and ducked...if I stayed out a bit, I could have *him* daring to show his face. But when he snap-shot and sent three or four balls my way, it was a lot more effective than my one-shotters. If other things had been working in my favor, I think this self-imposed firepower disadvantage would have been a thrill instead of a bummer. But again, not a huge issue.
2) Reliability/consistency. I struggled a little bit here. These are my markers, and I seem to remember being able to run them at one point in history, but I felt like a knucklehead the other day. I spent ten minutes or so in front of the chrono trying to get these guns, which had been in storage, tuned up. The Piranha, I suppose, got close, with shots across the chrono of 250-270. But I could not get the Phantom's velocity up above 250 or so, and it just wasn't that consistent. I'm guessing that temps of 45-48F and 12ies might have been responsible? But I felt like a tool. And I'm sure low velocities didn't help with things like having my one good shot of the day bounce.
3) Accuracy. This was the big one. I felt like I might have actually gotten three or four more eliminations if I'd been shooting straight. Now, full disclosure, I did not have a barrel swab or squeegee, so it's totally possible that if I had a barrel break or something, I suffered with it for a while. Also, my Phantom's ball detent rings hadn't arrived yet, so I may have had some partial roll-outs going on that would cause wild inconsistency. Also, I'm shooting field paint (no option, it's field paint only), which is Diablo Rage. It was in good enough condition, but it was $30 for the case, so I'm sure it's not that great. In any case, my shots weren't flying straight, so every pull of the trigger felt completely random. It didn't matter how well I moved (very poorly) or aimed (who knows?), it's a crap shoot if the gun doesn't aim worth a damn. That sapped a little of my enjoyment out of the day.
So, that brings me to my question. I'm pondering whether a pump-only diet is necessarily the way for me when I'm not coming into the game with above-average skills and physical gifts. I would like another marker that I can rely on to provide me some weekend fun without absolutely breaking the bank. Here are my priorities, roughly in order of importance to me:
1) Accuracy. I'd prefer a gun that points and aims easily and drives tacks. When I see some of these internet videos with full-auto guns with streams of balls that look like a rope, every shot landing right on top of the other, I drool. That kind of accuracy would make up for a lot. I want to be able to hit what I shoot at. I guess pretty good shot-to-shot consistency falls under this category, since without that you won't be getting the same range, shot after shot, so you'll necessarily be inaccurate.
2) Reliability. I'd prefer a gun that will work all day long at the field without making me miss more than one round of games wrenching on it in the staging area. I don't mind working on it between trips to the field, as long as this is generally limited to a) relatively simple disassembly/reassembly, b) cleaning and lubing, c) inspection and relatively simple adjustments. In other words, precise measuring tools, hours of work, lots of "tinkering" to keep a temperamental gun working, or guns that quit working under normal use...those are not selling points for me.
3) Price. I don't want to spend more than I have to. I'm not terribly concerned about impressing people with the fact that I have a Limited Edition Super Tungsten Model E-Peen 3003 SE (not the cheap-*** LE model...what do I look like, a noob?) with the super-rare, Turd Blossom anno job. I want it to work and I dont' want my wife to divorce me. Price will help with that latter point.
4) Light weight. I hesitate to even put this on the list. Mostly I just don't see myself with a crazily loaded-down milsim gun with seven pounds of junk hanging off of it. This isn't a big consideration.
5) Propellant. Preferably, this will run on CO2, since I own CO2 bottle and don't own HPA. I realize this may work against priority #1. But there it is.
6) ROF. I put this on the list because I want to point out that I don't care if this gun will shoot 15bps. For one thing, I don't want to spend a hundred bucks on a fancy loader to feed the gun. For another, I don't want to spent endless hundreds of bucks on paintballs to feed to the fancy loader. And for another, I don't really think I need high ROF to play woodsball and scenarios to a level that makes me happy. I have fond memories of playing walk-on with rental Model 98s and Pro-Lites and don't remember wishing too much for triple their rate of fire. So, don't factor ROF in too much.
What's on the market right now that meets my needs? This may include Marker A with upgrade X, but cost is a factor, so don't go overboard. Also, feel free to give me links if I can find more info somewhere else. Thanks in advance!
You should upgrade to HPA anyways, for better consistency. BUT, if you want to stay with Co2 go for a Classic mag :) Not new, but nothing wrong with used.
switch to HPA and pick up a used Etek ego. Should satisfy pretty much all your needs and you can dial back the ROF if you need to. Pick up a cheap used halo and your good to go
First, I'd get the barrel bored to accept freak inserts (pm Super Stanchy or 2slow4me).
Second, get an open class body or adaptor and practice auto-triggering. You may want to buy an under-cocking kit and a 13ci hpa tank.
Or, sell the phantom and your almost halfway to a CCM. Get out and play more and you shouldn't have any problem snap shooting against egos and winning.
1) Accuracy isn't really going to be determined by the marker. Your #1 determiner in accuracy is the paint you use. Marker has actually VERY little to do with this. It can affect CONSISTENCY, but single shot accuracy no.
2) Just about any quality marker if properly cared for will do this. I never have to work on my markers at the field if I haven't been adjusting them before playing.
3) If you're willing to buy older markers (I'm guessing you are since this is mcarterbrown...), then price shouldn't be too bad. You can pick up nice older mechs for <$200, and nice older electros sometimes too. Worst, older nice electros will run you still <$400 unless you want something really rare.
4) Get anything past ~03 and it'll be light (ish). There are exceptions, but that's a decent generalization.
5) Just about any mech and some electros fit this bill great.
6) I personally love recommending Quests. A bit older, but fairly light, very nice looking, quick, and can be had for ~$200. But doesn't fit your desire for co2. So I'd recommend either a used slide frame cocker (just feels better) or a mag. Both quite quick enough, can be used on co2, and insane reliability once they're set up correctly.
Firstly, as long as you're having fun, you're not too old for this sport. To answer your questions:
1) your guns can be accurate if you make sure the barrel an breech are immaculate and you are using high quality paint. Since you are playing pump, splurge and get the tournament grade paint that breaks on target. the lb probably has too big a barrel bore to be used with today's sub-680 paint, which is probably partly the source of your velocity issues.
2) no matter which gun you own, the trick is to have two working guns with you at the field. Get everything working at home so you're not tinkering at the field. Owning a chrono helps with this goal.
3) price. You've already got good guns. Make them better with maintenance and target practice. I would not recommend an automag unless you have a high speed loader already. Mags are beloved but in reality can be unreliable paint blenders.
4) your gun are already light weight.
5) get a 13ci/3k or 45ci/45k HPA bottle, and ditch the co2. The cold weather is the other reason for your velocity problems.
6) practice, and you'll have no problem facing down the opposition with their cheater machineguns.
Really, you just need to play more to improve.
Thanks to everyone for their comments. I got a predictably wide range of viewpoints, which is cool. An additional comment and then a follow-up on one point:
First, I wasn't clear about it, but part of my motivation is that, until this "coming out of retirement" thing, I've never been a hardcore "pump player." I'm excited about playing pump, largely for the significant paint savings and the old-school attitude of it all. But I haven't always been into it, and I don't necessarily see it as a way to show how bad-*** I am (since, umm, I'm not...though I do think that people who are great with pumps probably *are* bad-***...not sure what my point is here!). So, part of my reason for asking about other markers is that I like the idea of having a couple of options when I head out for a day of paintball. It's very likely that I'll want to play a fair amount with my Phantom, but if I'm feeling super frustrated or just want a change of pace, I like the idea of having a semi around to give me a ROF crutch for a few games or provide me that palate-cleansing sorbet between pump courses. :-)
Second, I guess I should have added another criterion:
7) Quirkiness. I'm a bit of a weirdo. And though I know it probably works against the "reliability" rule, I kinda dig on weird guns. Part of the appeal of the nickel-plated Sheridan pump is that people grin and shake their heads when they see someone using it. And this last time, some kid was very excited to borrow it for a game, despite my warnings! I have a Brass Eagle Rainmaker that I've been trying to coax back to life with no luck, and I've been warned it might take more to revive it than it's worth. And I know it wasn't that popular, but there's some appeal to that. Guns that have caught my attention recently or over the years? Air Power Vector, Micromag, the Rainmaker obviously, and most recently, the ICE Epic.
So, with those things in mind, I'm still interested in recommendations on a semi.
Anyway, on to a response to this:
But I worry about your later point. I specifically asked the store owner for "big paint" when I bought this Rage, since I knew that both the Piranha LB and the Phantom were rolling the garbage paint from Bass Pro Shop out like crazy; I *knew* that the bore size on these old guns was massive and I was starting to gather from the Interwebs that paint is getting smaller. I figured bigger paint would help. Maybe it did.
But if tournament grade paint is so much smaller, then what? Obviously, the Piranha LB will be hopeless, not even having a ball detent to keep big paint from rolling out. Smaller paint won't stay in at all, and efficiency and consistency will be rubbish. Maybe you were telling me that anyway...that the Piranha might be a bit hard to get working to my satisfaction? But let's limit ourselves to the Phantom. I did receive a set of the ball detent rings for it, so I'm pretty sure I can keep even small paint from rolling out, all the way down to the gold ring at .670. But that doesn't address the accuracy, consistency, and efficiency problems of the huge bore barrel. How do I fix that? Does this Freak back or something like that exist for the Phantom? And if it did (and the pump handle fits over it, etc., etc.) are you saying that good paint and a good match (at the back, not necessarily over the length of the barrel) should make things should very straight?
Thanks for your help.
Get a cocker-threaded gun and you'll have no problem finding a barrel kit to match today's paint.
As for your last criterion, it's up to you, but you've already learned the challenges that come with shooting an older, quirkier gun.
I would stick with your phantom and get your barrel bored out to accept freak inserts. I have been using my pumps on guys with electros for the last 2 years (and i am creeping through my 30's). You don't play their game and let them get impatient and make mistakes
If you are stuck on getting a new marker with more "fire power", you might want to upgrade to HPA because alot of the gun on the market now require HPA so that they can cycle fast.
The gun I would suggest if you want to still run CO2 is a Tippmann Phenom (i would go with the mech only version). Even just using the mechanical mode the marker is fast and it gets along on CO2 but isn't super consistent.
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