Originally Posted by ProtoNY
I find myself in a similar situation to you. I started playing in either '90 or '91, and played regularly for a while. Sometime, about ten years ago, I just reached the point where the combination of the time I needed to dedicate to furthering my career, plus the change in the sport, itself, left me at the point that I was ready to hang it up. At the time, I figured it was for good, and I rarely thought about it, nor did I have an urge to go back and play.
A few months ago, I was cleaning out the garage, and I came across a box of what gear I had left. Mostly, some Spyders, and a bunch of parts. Having some family members that were around the age that I was when I started, I figured that I would get them tuned up and just give those Spyders away. What I did not expect, though, is how their excitement was contagious. Found myself wanting to get back into the game again, and I have immersed myself rather quickly.
My first inclination was that I wanted to keep up with everyone, so I looked at electro. My anniversary is coming up, and I asked my wife for an early present. I got that present, which is a PE Eclipse Etek 5. It does what it is intended for. It is mid-priced, requires little extra, and is able to keep up with most of what is out there. Little good that does me, though, because I just cannot bring myself to just lay paint on anything that moves (or doesn't move, for that matter). After a couple of times out with it, I found myself looking for "less gun". While I have no immediate plans to get rid of it, I have actually found it to be my "loaner".
Searching around, I did find that the Empire Sniper was sounding like it was more up my alley, and I knew someone who had one. He let me take it out for the weekend, and it just "felt right", for lack of a better word. It is not anything fancy, but it fit me better, in terms of being a marker that I could simply associate with. Searched around, and found a brand new one that had no barrels and no stock feed, for just under $300. That worked for me, as I already had a Freak kit, a couple of backs, and a couple of fronts.
Now, just like back when I started, I find myself just wanting "more". Not more firepower, or more features, or more anything that is tangible. I just want more options. That has me hunting down some of the markers that were high-end when I started. Sheridans, Brass Eagle (when they actually remembered what metal and wood were used for), etc. Now, within a few short months, I have gone from having no markers, to having six. Two of them are in working order and ready to play (the Etek and the Sniper), and the other four are in various states of restoration.
I am not kidding myself. I know that I walked away from this all at the age that I could continue to be more competitive, and that I really do not have as much time that my body will let me play, as have passed from when I first played. Not that I am really old - closing in on 40, this year - but there are more creaks, groans, pops, and snaps than I remember and I simply do no recover as quickly as I once did. But, I am damned determined on enjoy this as much as I can. Plus, I have already determined that when I cannot play, if there is still a sport to be had, I'll find comfort in talking about the "olden days" with people on here, while I collect and restore all of the markers I never thought I would have when I was a teenager.
Realistically, I cannot venture at if it would be the same for you. However, you do mention AutoMags and MiniMags. They are still easily attainable (as are the parts) and are just built like a tank. You will have no problem getting one on here, or online, and it would be a good way to get back into the game, in my opinion.
Welcome back! Although, I have hardly been here long enough to be in a position to say that. :p