Emek PAL upgrade experience
I got the chance to play with my newly upgraded emek yesterday and figured I'd post here to tell how the overall process went. I purchased the low-cap PAL upgrade on the PE website. It was $37; looking at prices that the hopper by itself is selling for, that works out to about $17 for the hopper (they include it with the gun when they ship it back to you) and around $20 for the return shipping. No charge for the labor to actually do the conversion.
The other cost is in shipping it out to PE. This is where I feel I got absolutely r@ped. It cost me $33 to ship it with UPS. To me that seems like a lot but then again I don't frequently ship things so maybe I don't have an accurate perception of the costs. One thing that I think burned me was the fact that I took the factory Emek box, and packaged it into a larger box. I can't remember the exact dimensions but I think the size was enough to bump me up to a flat rate. If I were to do it again, I would just tape an extra layer of cardboard around the factory box to minimize the dimensions.
Even with spending $33, it still took a week to get there. This is shipping from NM to the US Eclipse facility, which is in NJ if I remember right. The turn around of the actual conversion was fairly rapid - only one or two days passed from it arriving, to getting the notification that it had been shipped back to me. Its good to know they aren't dilly-dallying around with people's guns.
It was around 4 business days for it to come back to me. Signature was required so I missed it the first day, was there for it the second day. Everything was great with the packaging, no issues there. I'm impressed with the work done - you really can't tell that it was once a non-pal emek. All the work is completely seemless and really it looks like it had always been a pal gun from the factory, if that makes sense. I can post pictures if people really wanna see, but there's not really much to see lol. It just looks like a PAL gun. I did not get the push-safety upgrade; I've never had issue with the rotating safety, plus I thought it would be cool to have the somewhat unique configuration of the PAL system + gen 1 safety. Who knows maybe in the future it will be a thing of paintball lore lolol.
The size and shape of the low-cap hopper is very compact, and I love the light weight. I'm not sure how much more the high-cap hopper would weigh, but I imagine there's not much difference. The pal hopper is definitely a lot lighter than the dye rotor I had been using, and it feels great on the gun. Yesterday I was running a bigshot .682, the low-cap PAL hopper, and a ninja SL2 45/45. It was a very light weight and kick-a$$ setup. I also have the pops asa that I need to throw on there, and then I think it will be the perfect setup for rec-ball.
In game, the pal loader worked great! I was able to shoot as fast as I ever did with my rotor, and really had no issues even with long strings of shots. I think my actual in-game shooting was only interrupted by a blank shot once, maybe twice. So for me, switching to PAL was mostly a seamless transition. I was taking a 100 rnd pod in a pb mafia "The Hit" harness onto the field. This is where I rand into the one negative I had with the hopper. Every time I went to reload, the 100rnd pod wouldn't empty completely into the hopper, and I'd lose a good handful or two of paint. It makes me wonder if the low-cap hopper actually can take the advertised 100rnds. It is also possible that I didn't realize how much paint was left inside. With the way it's designed and the position of the red shelf inside, its hard to see the paint that's sitting in the front of the hopper.
So when it's all said and done, for $70, I was able to get my Emek switched to PAL, and at this point I'd say it was worth it. It's pretty sweet having the same firepower without any batteries involved, not to mention the lighter weight. I've always felt that electro hoppers were overkill for this gun's ROF, but normal gravity fed hoppers can't keep up. Now with the PAL I have the best of both worlds. The only time an electro hopper would be an advantage is if you're in a mech tourney and you absolutely don't want to have a blank shot, ever.
So if you have a gen 1 Emek, I say go for it, but try to save more money on the shipping than I did. On the other hand, if you don't have an Emek yet but are thinking about getting one, I definitely recommend making sure you get a PAL version. That's all, see-ya!
I asked PE about the size of the PAL 100 actually, because I had the same issue. It wasn't actually designed as a 100rd hopper. They talked with field and store owners and they decided to build a 200rd 68 cal hopper, and a 200rd 50 cal hopper. This is because field owners typically sell paint separated out in 200rd baggies, regardless of caliber. The values of 225 and 100 marketed for these hoppers with regards to 68 cal, is just jam-packing the loader to describe the volume.
I ended up getting the lo-cap as well for the same reason as you, a lightweight setup for lo-cap rec play. I have 100rd pods as well, I just stuck some foam in the bottom of the pods to take up some space so it filled the hopper more appropriately.
FYI UPS and Fedex are almost always more expensive than USPS and slower when shipping ground. Under a certain weight they will use the dimensional weight instead of the actual weight of the package as well.
I have a hi-cap PALs coming and working on a 45/45 for a scenario. A longer barrel with smaller porting does make the EMEK even more quiet.
I had to shake the loader about once every 100 rounds, not always when it was stuffed. I noticed my low-cap PAL sat about 2 mm above the top of the feedneck. Considering actuator doesn't move much, I ran the bottom of the loader neck around a little in a flat circle on some sandpaper. That knocked some of the edge off and let it set down to the little points on the feedneck index notch. IDK if it matters yet.
Interesting chrono thing; with paint that was just touching (if it stopped at all) across a 684 lurker one piece barrel, the velocity went up a good 20 fps over the stock barrel. The barrel is long, but the sound and velocity are good. I still need some good paint to try it with; nothing seemed to fly straight with the last batch.
I put about a case and a half through the Hi-cap PAL this weekend. Generally, it almost seemed "programmed" to need one shake per 150 rounds. The only notable feed difficulty was pointing uphill at about 30 degrees or more. Pointing mostly level, I could sometimes empty the full hopper without a single shake.
Between the gamma core and the barrel porting, it is very quiet when shooting. When it skips a ball, it is much louder, which is usually a nice notification. The whole thing is so quiet that it is hard to tell where a single shot came from.
Ran multiple loads of 800 rounds carried with a good fill on a 45/4500 bottle; no paint left with 500 psi left.
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