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Old 12-06-2017, 11:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Why did CCI win the Nelson wars?

I own a few phantoms, and I have been curious about vintage Nelson markers. Line SI, Lapco, Northwest, Carter, Apex, Tippmann, WGP, and even Nelson have good reputations, but only CCI has continually made a great nelson valve marker.

Why did CCI win (or survive) as the lone nelson marker? Everone is welcome to answer, but if you are old enough to remember nelsons as competition guns, please contribute to this thread!

Was it that:
CCI had other revenue streams that kept it going when nelsons lost popularity.
The Phantom had better modularity than other nelson markers.
Mike is a great guy, and great guys win.
The Phantom's aluminum construction was better than the various alloys and steel used in nelson markers.
Something else?
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Old 12-07-2017, 12:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Mike's design was ahead of the curve. Markers like Line SI, the TASO/AGS line, the WINTEC and their hundreds of offspring LAPCO and even Carter couldn't match CCI's superior design. CCI uses stainless steel inserts and two screw take down since its inception. Line SI, TASO, AGS, LAPCO and Carters all screwed directly into the aluminum. With the exception of the Carter, all of these guns use the inferior 4 screw take-down design. Phantom has always used a tapered-three hole valve tube, vastly superior to the 2-hole tubes of it's competitors. Carters were all hand fitted, and parts didn't exchange between guns. There's more, but the modularity and Mike's outstanding customer service seals the deal. CCI is a vastly superior product.
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Old 12-07-2017, 01:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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He made good parts that were consistent and stayed in business.

Not the smoothest or the sweetest but just right and yeah the take down rocks. I don't think that the easier field stripping made it win. I think the business design did. He made em in house with overhead covered and at a price that competitors couldn't beat for the same level of performance. It's just a killer value proposition. I can get a brand new made in USA body in a variety of colors for under 39 dollars. No one else even comes close.

The phantom is so dialed that most people making Nelson's just make bodies for phantoms. Go make a set of Nelson guts that work well for cheaper than you can buy from CCI. It ain't happening. Even if you could get a better feel like the marginal improvement is just not worth it.

I've had a lot of Nelson's I think feel better than a phantom but the whole package doesn't stand up to the phantom.
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Old 12-07-2017, 01:07 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Great design and great service are a big part of CCI success.

Availability was also a big part of the equation. Mike has always had markers and parts on hand. Want to buy a Carter of Lapco? Get used to waiting. Even worse, get used to waiting for your questions about progress to go unanswered. That creates a situation most people will only go through once.

I am pretty sure I have always owned a phantom for the last 15 years. They seldom fail, most failures can be remedied at the field. If that is not the case you can get Mike himself on the phone to help.

There may be elements of other Nelsons I like better, but CCI ends up with a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts.
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Old 12-07-2017, 07:33 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Really no 1 reason.

Having other revenue sources for the company/man during hard times is part of it, GREAT customer service is part of it. I think the biggest part of it is knowing his Niche.

Mid level price with consistent performance and quality. He didn't race to the bottom and let quality suffer and he didn't try to be the latest and greatest high end gun that dies off as soon as money is tight.

Mike knows that there are things that could change about the Phantom to make parts of it better. Those things don't see the light of day if they mean making performance less consistent, raising the price or settling for low quality.

Thats why we can argue about springs until we are blue in the face. He puts springs that work no matter the conditions in there and if you want to fine tune to improve something you have options.

Thats why you don't get fancy milling that raises the price beyond it's mid level range.

Mike offers 1 feed tube. Is it the most efficient it possibly can be? The math I have seen says no... But I've never broke one... and by focusing on that 1 quality control is high. I've heard of someone showing a CCI TP and one from another (High end) company to a engineer that makes parts for jets. Word is he said the other company's piece never would have made it out of the shop because of poor quality.
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Stock class = 12grams and a stick feed. End discussion.
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Old 12-07-2017, 09:56 AM   #6 (permalink)
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The phantom is minimal, cost effective, refined, and simple. Also, there aren't various versions of the different parts to stumble over. The consistency of design and supply by CCI over the years adds a lot of value.

The unibodies went a little too far (on simplicity) and were too difficult to clean out with heavy use (auto-trigger). I was glad to see threaded barrels. I may get to a 12g phantom setup some day; they are a little small to me. Most of my phantom time was with a 7oz back bottle and a lot of auto-trigger.
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Old 12-07-2017, 11:26 AM   #7 (permalink)
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If only he made a bore drop... That would be pretty close to perfect.
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Old 12-07-2017, 11:47 AM   #8 (permalink)
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If only he made a bore drop... That would be pretty close to perfect.
The advent of the bore-drop was in response to the problems of the stick-feed. The stick-feed placed all the weight of the paintball stack in a near vertical line. When you got on the trigger with this feed on a regular breech-drop, you had to push the entire stack and it's weight back up the feed stick to feed the ball into the bore. This led to many chops and breaks. When box feeds came out, you only needed to move a stack of three or four balls, making the need for a bore-drop redundant.
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Old 12-07-2017, 12:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Mike hit the sweet spot of an effective, simple design that can be delivered at high quality for an affordable price.

I bet alternate revenue really helped CCI survive the transition to semi-auto, compared to say, Line SI, which was dependent on high end pumps for the tournament scene, and wasn't able to launch an equally successful semi, and/or transition to a recball supplier

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I've heard of someone showing a CCI TP and one from another (High end) company to a engineer that makes parts for jets. Word is he said the other company's piece never would have made it out of the shop because of poor quality.
Eh, but the aviation industry has piles of specs and requirements that aren't necessary in other applications due to the severity if something breaks mid-flight. You don't actually want an airplane-quality gun because the cost would be astronomical and totally unnecessary. I have a hard time imaging what kind of defect could be visible that would make any difference, except maybe burrs
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Old 12-07-2017, 01:29 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Eh, but the aviation industry has piles of specs and requirements that aren't necessary in other applications due to the severity if something breaks mid-flight. You don't actually want an airplane-quality gun because the cost would be astronomical and totally unnecessary. I have a hard time imaging what kind of defect could be visible that would make any difference, except maybe burrs
Back in the old days, "quality control" was often simply tossing out the finished products that didn't meet the specs. Once they started using CNC, that didn't work anymore because all of the parts would be the same out-of-spec.

True on the unnecessary part. I have a few handfuls of high grade navy nuts and bolts. Too fancy for most things and too tough to reshape. I just realized that some may be titanium instead of stainless.
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