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Tournament paintball

Illinois State paintball team during the 2008 NCPA Finals.
A 3-man tournament team at their starting station (also known as 'the break').

Organized paintball competition is nearly as old as the sport itself, starting with regional tournaments held at National Survival Game locations in 1983 and culminating in the National Survival Game National Championship (won by "The Unknown Rebels" from London, Ontario).[5]

Though tournament paintball was originally played in the woods, the rise in popularity of teams such as Team Dynasty (then known as the IronKids) in the late 1990s saw speedball become the standard competitive format. The small size of speedball fields brings several advantages to competitive play. The artificial nature of bunkers allows each side of the field to be set up as a mirror image of the other, ensuring that neither team possesses a terrain advantage (as can be the case on woodsball fields). The flat, vegetation-free playing surface makes it easier for officials to see players and make the correct call and, coupled with the small field size, allows spectators to view the entire game at once or be televised.

Various leagues use different sets of game rules, commonly divided between newer repeat-point formats like XBall and RaceTo where a team plays multiple games against the same team, and traditional single-point formats where a team plays one game against several opponents. In both groups, the number of players on the field can vary from league to league or even division to division, although the most common number of players fielded at once is five, commonly referred to as '5-man'. '3-man' and '7-man' formats are also common, and while rare, 2-man, 4-man, 6-man and 10-man tournaments are not entirely unheard of. PSP and the Millennium Series use the RaceTo format, the USPL uses a 7-man format, and the National Collegiate Paintball Association uses XBall, 5-man, and 3-man formats.

Other variations on game rules include equipment restrictions, like limiting the number of paintballs that may be fired in a second, or prohibiting semi-automatic markers, or conducting competition in wooded areas with natural obstacles as opposed to level grass fields with artificial obstacles.

Due to the largely artificial nature of speedball, camouflage is of little strategic use. Clothing with camouflage patterns, common in wooded play, has been largely replaced in tournament play by distinctively colored team uniforms similar to those found in other competitive team sports.

The largest tournament event is the World Cup, including over 3,000 athletes and held each October at Disney's Wide World of Sports in Kissimmee, Florida.

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Common rules of PaintBall

Rules of play vary widely among fields and tournaments, but some rules are commonly in force at many events:


Paintball players, mid-game

To overshoot (also called bonus balling or lighting up) is to repeatedly shoot a player after they are eliminated. Generally, a few extra shots after a successful break is considered overshooting. The practice is frowned upon by nearly all players. It is also considered overshooting if player knew the opponent was eliminated but continued to shoot, disregarding the safety of the opposing player. The penalty for overshooting in tournaments is usually a 3-for-1, the elimination of the guilty player as well as two other players from his or her own team, but each tournament has its own set of rules.

Blind firing

To blind fire is to discharge a gun around a corner or over an object without direct line of sight to the target, making the shooter unable to see where they are shooting. Blind firing is discouraged on many fields, for potential safety implications. As the shooter cannot see where their shots are landing, they could accidentally fire at somebody point blank, hit a referee, hit a person that had removed their mask (a major safety violation itself), or otherwise cause damage or injury through indiscriminately firing paint at an unseen target.


Ramping refers to an electronically controlled marker increasing either its rate of fire (balls per second or BPS) or its paintball exit velocity (the speed at which the paintball leaves the barrel of the marker) when a player pulls the marker's trigger and then continues to keep the trigger pulled. Ramping of paintball exit velocity is extremely uncommon and prohibited in all tournament formats and on most paintball fields.

Ramping of rate of fire is widely prohibited at most paintball fields, however it is allowed in some tournament formats. Most of the major professional leagues modified their rules for 2008 to limit the maximum rate of fire to 13.3 balls per second versus the previous 15.[4] For 2009, the PSP tournament series further limited the maximum rate of fire to 10 balls per second to reduce the costs of playing in a weak economy. Although it is possible for players to fire more than 13.3 BPS, doing this with ramping is disliked by some players, and is also regulated by PSP.


"Wiping" means to remove a paintball hit from ones clothing after being eliminated. This is one of the most common rules that paintball players break. There are a number of penalties that could be given for wiping, but it depends on the situation. For example, if a paintball player wipes a paintball hit at the start of a game and is caught right away, the penalty might not be as severe.

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PaintBall Playing Locations

A typical speedball field, consisting of inflatable paintball bunkers, often used for tournaments.

Most players prefer to go to commercial paintball parks, which charge for admission.[citation needed] These paintball parks usually feature different themed fields (e.g. woods, jungle, city, or historical battlefield), as well as a complex of speedball fields made up of inflatable paintball bunkers for speedball and tournament teams. Some commercial fields are indoors, allowing players to play when it is too hot, too wet, or too dark outside. Commercial fields also (but not always) provide such amenities as bathrooms, picnic areas, lockers, equipment rentals, air refills, and even food service. These fields adhere to specific safety and insurance standards and have a paid staff, including referees, whose job is to make sure players are instructed in proper play in a manner that ensures all participants' safety. In order to avoid liability, commercial fields strictly monitor paintball velocity with chronographs.

Players that find commercial fields to be too expensive or too crowded sometimes play on private land, often referred to as "renegade" play or "outlaw ball". Though less expensive and less structured than play at a commercial facility, the lack of safety protocols, instruction, and oversight means that the vast majority of injuries incurred by paintball players occur in these "renegade" games. Private landowners may also be liable for injuries sustained on their property, especially if they opt to charge fees for play.

Major scenario and tournament events may sometimes occur at other locations like fairgrounds, military bases, or stadiums, essentially turning them into temporary paintball parks. The same trained staff and insurance found at permanent commercial paintball parks can be found at these events.

A recently occurring trend in paintball is that of a mobile field, where a business primarily provides paintballs and paintball related services on land that they are using only temporarily. This is often done for the means of scenario gaming, to provide different tracts of land for players to play on.

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Paintball tank

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Paintball tanks are mechanized vehicles used in various types of the sport of paintball, usually with the intent of military simulation. Paintball tanks are commonly used for woodsball and scenario paintball games. These props are often referred to as "Paintball Armored Vehicles" (PAV), or simply "mechs".

The Special Ops Razorback is an example of a heavy paintball tank built on the chasis of an Israeli Fast Attack Vehicle; note the Turret on the rear, the central air system on the hood, and the gun ports on the side windows.[1]

While there are many different appearances of PAV's, most of them will fall into one of three major categories. The first category is "heavy tanks", which are automobile-based machines (or on rare occasions, a decommissioned military armored vehicle) and are typically the largest and heaviest tanks. "Medium tanks", the second category, are typically built on smaller vehicles, such as a golf cart, a Cushman or an ATV. The final category is "light tanks", which can be one-man tanks built on a chassis, or a layer of personal armor (The latter being the most common light tank).

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Firing and trigger modes

Since the advent of semi-automatic markers in the early 1990s, both insurance and competitive rules have specified that markers must be semi-automatic only; only one paintball may be fired per trigger pull. While this was a perfectly clear definition when markers were all based on mechanical and pneumatic designs, the introduction of electronically controlled markers in the late 1990s meant that technology had exceeded this rule. Electronic markers are often controlled by a programmable microcontroller, on which any software might be installed. For example, software may allow the marker to fire more than once per trigger pull, called shot ramping.

Velocity ramping is an electronic firing mode where a consistent, fully automatic firing rate will be triggered as long as the player maintains a low rate of trigger pulls per second.

Pump action

Pump action markers must be manually re-cocked after every shot, much like a pump action shotgun. This manual action is much slower than other configurations, but is preferred by some players as a challenge to themselves to learn to play using a lower rate of fire. The slower pace of play also forces pump players to ensure that each shot is effective. When properly modified, expensive pump markers have been known to achieve extremely consistent velocities.


Semi-automatic markers use a variety of designs to automatically cycle a bolt and load a new paintball into the chamber with each trigger pull. This frees the player from manually pumping the marker, allowing him or her to increase the rate-of-fire. Semi-automatic modes can be used with a mechanical trigger or with electric trigger frames. An electric trigger frame has a lighter trigger pull and less space between the trigger and the pressure point, allowing the player to shoot at higher rates of fire.


Fully-automatic markers fire continually when the trigger is pressed. The Tippmann SMG 60 was the first fully-automatic paintball marker. Most electropneumatic paintball guns feature this mode. The fully-automatic mode can be added to any electropneumatic marker by installing a customized logic board, or buying a completely new electronic trigger frame.

Similarly, some markers are equipped with burst modes. Ranging from between three and nine shot bursts, these modes allow the player to take accurate shots with a quick pull of the trigger, using more than one ball to increase their chances of hitting the target. In burst mode, the rate of fire can equal that of the fully automatic mode, which is useful in close range situations.


Ramping is a feature in some electronic markers that automatically changes the mode of fire from semi-automatic to fully automatic when the trigger is pulled at a specified rate. Ramping can be difficult to detect because it may be inconsistently used. Ramping modes can be hidden in the software, ensuring that a marker will fire in a legal, semi-auto mode when being tested, but an illegal ramping mode may be engaged by the player.

Some leagues allow a specific ramping mode to prevent problems with enforcement. The rule specifies a minimum time between shots of 66 milliseconds - approx. 15 shots per second - and that only one shot may be fired for the first three trigger pulls.

The rate of fire is enforced using a device called a PACT timer, a standard firearms timing device that measures the time between shots. The following are common league-specific ramping modes, preset in the marker's firmware:

  • PSP Ramping - Ramping begins after three shots; the player must maintain 5 balls per second to remain ramping. The rate of fire cannot exceed 13.33 balls per second.
  • NXL Ramping - Ramping begins after three shots; the player needs only to hold down the trigger to maintain fully automatic fire. Rate of fire cannot exceed 13.33 balls per second.
  • Millennium Ramping - Ramping begins after 6 balls per second; the player must maintain 6 balls per second to maintain fully automatic fire. The rate of fire cannot exceed 12 balls per second.
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The marker's barrel directs the paintball and controls the release of the gas pocket behind it. Several different bore sizes are made, to fit different sizes of paintball, and there are many lengths and styles. Most modern paintball markers have barrels that screw into the front receiver. Some older types slide the barrel on and screw it in place. Barrel threading must be matched to that of the marker. Common threads are: Angel, Autococker, Impulse/Ion, Shocker, Spyder, A-5, and 98 Custom.

Barrels are manufactured in three basic configurations: one piece, two piece and three piece. A barrel with interchangeable bores, with either two or three piece, is called a barrel system, rather than a two-piece or three-piece barrel. This prevents confusion, as many two-piece barrel systems do not use an interchangeable bore system.

One piece barrels are machined from a single piece of material, usually aluminuim. Paintballs can range from .669 to .695 caliber, and barrels are made to match these diameters. Many one piece barrels have a stepped bore that increases from their rated bore size to around .70 caliber after eight inches.

Two piece barrels consist of a front and back. The back attaches to the marker and is machined with a specified bore between .682 and .695 caliber. The front makes up the rest of the length and contains the porting. Fronts usually have a larger bore than the back.

Three-piece barrels have a single back. A series of inserts, or sleeves, with differing bores are inserted into the back. The front is attached to keep the sleeve in place. Sleeves are generally offered in either aluminium or stainless steel. Aluminium sleeves can be dented or scratched easily; stainless steel versions are more resiliant. The user needs only one set of sleeves and a back for each marker. Front sections, which adjust the length of the barrel, can be interchanged. This type offers the widest selection of barrel diameters, usually .680, .681, .682, .683, and up to .696 caliber.


Typical barrels are between three and 21 inches long, although some custom barrels may be up to 48 inches long. Longer barrels are usually quieter than shorter barrels, allowing excess gas to escape slowly. Players usually choose a barrel length between 14 and 16 inches, as a compromise between accuracy and portability. Many players favor longer barrels as they permit them to push aside the large inflatable bunkers commonly used in paintball tournaments while still staying behind cover.

Most barrels are ported or vented, which means that holes are drilled into the front of the barrel allowing the propellant to dissipate slowly, making the marker quieter. Porting in the first eight inches of the barrel length decreases a marker's gas efficiency. For example, if a 16 inch barrel has large porting that starts six inches past the threads, it has an effective barrel length of six inches. At that point, the ball must travel the other 10 inches on its own momentum. The friction within the barrel must be overcome with a larger burst of gas, decreasing efficiency. Porting in a barrel before the paintball has completely stabilized can dramatically increase noise, as the gas is still under a significant amount of pressure.


The bore is the interior diameter of the barrel. The bore must properly match the type of paint being fired, the most critical aspect of a barrel. A mismatched selection will result in velocity variations, which cause inaccuracy. Two and three-piece barrels allow the barrel bore to be matched to the paint diameter without requiring new barrels. Correct matching is especially important in closed-bolt markers.

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Propellant system

A CO2 tank

The tank holds compressed gas, which is used to propel the paintballs through the marker barrel. The tank is usually filled with carbon dioxide or compressed air. High Pressure Air (HPA) is sometimes called "nitrogen", as air is 78% nitrogen, or because these systems can be filled with industrial nitrogen. Due to the instabilities of carbon dioxide, HPA tanks are required for consistent velocity. Other propulsion methods include the combustion of small quantities of propane or electromechanically operated spring-plunger combinations similar to that used in an airsoft gun.

Carbon dioxide

Carbon dioxide is a common propellant used in paintball, especially in inexpensive markers. It is usually available in a 12 gram powerlet, mainly used in stock paintball and in paintball pistols, or a tank. The capacity of a carbon dioxide tank is measured in ounces of liquid, and is usually pressurized at approximately 1800 PSI. At this pressure, carbon dioxide can condense into a liquid, which must vaporize into a gas before it can be used. This causes problems such as inconsistent velocity. Cold weather can cause problems with this system, slowing vaporization and increasing the chance for liquefied gas to be drawn into the marker. The low-temperature liquid can damage the internal mechanisms. Anti-siphon tanks have a tube inside the cylinder, which is bent to prevent liquid carbon dioxide from being drawn in.

High Pressure Air

High Pressure Air, compressed air or nitrogen is stored in the tank at a very high pressure, typically 3000-5000 psi. Output is controlled with an attached regulator, regulating the pressure from between 250 psi and 850 psi, depending on the type of tank. This system gives a more consistent velocity than with carbon dioxide. HPA tanks are measured in PSI and in3.

HPA tanks are more expensive because they must accommodate very high pressure and are manufactured from more expensive materials, such as steel, aluminium or wrapped carbon fiber, the latter being the most expensive material.

Gas regulation

Marker systems have a variety of regulator configurations, ranging from completely unregulated to some high end systems using four regulators, some with multiple stages.

The regulator system affects both the accuracy and the velocity the firing velocity. Carbon dioxide regulators must also prevent liquid gas from entering the marker and expanding, causing a dangerous surges in velocity. Regulators used with carbon dioxide often sacrifice throughput and accuracy to ensure the marker operates safely. HPA-only regulators tend to have an extremely high throughput and are designed to ensure uniform pressure between shots to ensure marker accuracy at high rates of fire.

Tournament markers usually are equipped with four regulators, each with a specific function. The tank regulator decreases the pressure of air from between 3000psi to 4500 psi to between 600-800 psi. A second regulator is used to further reduce this pressure to near the firing pressure. This reduction allows for greater consistency. The air is then supplied to a regulator on the marker body, where the final output pressure is selected. This can be between 800 psi for entirely unregulated carbon dioxide markers, to approximately 200psi for extremely low pressure markers. After the firing pressure is decided, tournament-oriented markers use another regulator to supply gas to a separate pneumatic system, to power any other functions, such as bolt movement. This is an extremely low volume, extremely low pressure regulator, usually under 100 psi.

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Loaders, commonly known as hoppers, hold paintballs for the marker to fire. The main types are gravity feed, agitating and force-feed. Stick feeds are also used to hold paintballs, although they are not considered to be "hoppers".

While agitating and force-feed hoppers facilitate a higher rate of fire, they are subject to batteries failure, as well as contact with moisture. Thses are upopular with woodsball and scenario players. Ball breaks pose a problem for all hoppers, regardless of design. When a paintball leaks paint into the hopper from a break in the hopper, the gelatin shells of the paintballs can deteriorate, causing them to stick together.

Stick feed

Stick feeds are mainly used on pump and stock-class markers. They consist of simple tubes that hold between ten and twenty paintballs. Stick feeds are usually parallel to the barrel; player must tip the marker to load the next paintball. Some stick feeds are vertical, or at an incline to facilitate gravity feeding, though this contravenes accepted stock-class guidelines.

Gravity feed

Gravity feed is the simplest and cheapest form of hopper available. Gravity feed hoppers consist of a large container and a feed tube molded into the bottom. Paintballs roll down the sloped sides, through the tube and into the marker. These hoppers have a maximum rate of eight balls per second. Gravity feed hoppers are very cheap, since they are made of only a shell and a lid, but can become jammed easily as paintballs accumulate above the tube. Occasionally, rocking the marker and hopper can prevent the paintballs from jamming at the feed neck.

This problem is exacerbated when using a modern, fully-electronic marker. Most economic and mechanical markers use a blowback system for recocking, or other methods where a large reciprocating mass is involved. This will shake the balls in the hopper slightly, facilitating gravity feed. A marker with both electronically controlled recocking and firing will often exhibit no shake whatsoever while operating. Because of this, small packs in the hopper are not broken up, and feeding problems are exacerbated.


Agitating hoppers use a propeller, spinning inside the container, to agitate the paintballs. This prevents them from jamming at the feed neck, allowing them to feed more rapidly than gravity feeds. Older tournament-level hoppers are of the agitating type, since the higher rate of fire requires a reliable hopper.

There are two types of agitating hoppers: those with sensors - called "eyes" - and those without. The eyes consist of a LED (light emitting diode) and a photodetector, typically a phototransistor or photodiode, inside the neck or tube of the hopper, to detect the presence of a ball. The eyes prevent the marker from shooting until a ball is fully loaded into the chamber. In a hopper, the eyes detect when a ball is absent, causing it to turn. Agitating hoppers without eyes will quickly deplete batteries and may bend or dent paintballs, causing a short, less air efficient, skew shot. Agitating hoppers with eyes will only spin in the absence of a ball, preventing damage and prolonging battery life.


Force-feed hoppers use an impeller to capture paintballs and force them into the marker. The impeller is either spring-loaded or powered by a belt system, allowing it to maintain constant pressure on the stack of paintballs in the feed tube. This allows force-feed hoppers to feed paintballs at a rate exceeding 22 ball per second, since the mechanism does not rely on gravity. Force-feed hoppers are the dominant type used in tournaments, being the only type of loader capable of maintaining the high rate of fire of electropneumatic markers.

Some markers use force-fed loaders shaped as firearms magazines. These are preferred when a low profile is required, as in woodsball 'sniper' positions. Even more unusual are fully-contained magazines, incorporating both a source of propellant gas and force-fed paintballs.

The newest type of force feed hoppers communicate wirelessly with the marker's electronics using radio frequency. This allows the hopper to begin feeding paintballs before the pneumatic system of the marker has begun cycling the next shot. This system almost totally eliminates mis-feeds and can increase the speed of the loader and the battery life because the loader is only in operation when the marker is preparing to fire.

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Marker body

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A player using a Spyder paintball marker.

Most of the marker's functions and aesthetic features are contained in its body, which contains the main components of the firing mechanism: the trigger frame, bolt and valve. Most marker bodies are constructed from aluminium to reduce the marker's weight, and feature custom milling and color anodizing.

External design

The largest external and ergonomic difference in marker bodies is in the trigger and barrel position. Designers of expensive models attempt to position the trigger frame forward towards the center, or slightly forward of center of the body on speedball-oriented markers. This allows the HPA tank to be mounted in a position allowing compactness and balance without requiring any additional modifications that allow the tank tank to fall down and forwards. Such aftermarket "drop forwards," may create a larger gun profile, which can result in eliminations due to hopper hits. Users often modify less expensive markers to allow a similar mode of operation, albeit by sacrificing a low profile. Alhough this not important in games where equipment hits are not counted, in most games, including woodsball games, hopper hits are counted as an elimination. Some markers mount the barrel farther back in the gun body to preserve a compact design, sacrificing the positioning of the trigger forward on the marker body.

Trigger frame

Triggers are very important functional features, being the player's primary means of interaction with the marker. The amount of force required to fire the marker, as well as the distance the trigger travels before actuating, called the throw, has a marked effect upon the player's ability to achieve high rates of fire. Expensive markers use electronic trigger frames with a variety of sensing methods, including microswitches, hall effect sensors or break-beam infra-red switches. These triggers have very short throws, allowing a higher rate of fire. Non-electronic markers sometimes use carefully set pneumatics to achieve a light and short trigger pull.

The trigger frame on non-electronic mechanical markers simply use a series of springs and levers to drop a sear, which propels the hammer in the body forward. On electronic markers, the trigger frame houses the electronics that control the solenoid, as well as features such as ball detection systems. Upgraded circuit boards that add improved features are available.

Bolt and valve assembly

The bolt and valve assembly is the mechanism which fires the marker. The valve is a mechanical switch that controls whether or not the marker is firing. The bolt directs the flow of air and controls the entry of paintballs into the chamber. The bolt and valve may be separate components, as in many blowback and poppet-based electropneumatic markers. Alternatively, the valve may be built into the bolt, as in spool-valve electropneumatic markers.

Most modern markers have an open bolt design. When the marker is at rest, the bolt is in the "back" position, and the firing chamber is exposed to the stack of paintballs being fed by the loader. Some markers have closed bolt designs; in the rest position, the bolt, and paintball to be fired, are forward and the feed stack is closed off from the chamber. Closed bolt markers were thought to be more accurate because there is no reciprocating mass when the marker is fired. However, tests have shown that the position of the bolt has little effect on a marker’s accuracy. [2]

Bolt and valve in mechanical markers

The majority of mechanical markers employ a simple blowback design utilizing a poppet valve (also known as a “pin valve”), which is opened when struck by a compression force, provided in the form of a hammer propelled by a spring. These sorts of markers generally use a “stacked tube” design, in which the valve and hammer is contained in the lower tube, while the bolt, which is connected to the hammer, is in the upper tube (Some manufacturers, however, such as Tippmann, have managed to incorporate the valve, hammer, and bolt into a single tube, as exemplified in the Tippmann 98 Custom). The hammer is held in the back position, with the spring compressed, by a sear. When the trigger is pulled, the hammer is propelled forward by the spring, into the valve. The air released by the valve is then simultaneously channeled up to the bolt to fire the paintball, and back to push the hammer back into the cocked position (hence the name “blowback”).

Poppet valves are usually easy to replace and require little, if any, maintenance. The downside to this design, however, is its high operating pressure, which leads to a larger recoil and arguably less accuracy. Some markers, such as the Autococker, have a separate firing and recocking sequence, which decreases the recoil caused by the cycling of the hammer. Any marker with a hammer, however, has a significant firing delay when compared to a full electropneumatic.

Some markers are a hybrid of mechanical and electronic features. In these markers, the hammer and spring continues to activate the valve, but the hammer is released by a solenoid in an electronic trigger frame.

Bolt and valve in electropneumatic markers

Instead of the spring and hammer used to actuate the valve and cycle the bolt assembly in mechanical markers, electropneumatic markers use the rerouting of air to different locations in the marker. This rerouting is controlled by a solenoid that is activated by the trigger. The two types of bolt and valve mechanisms in electropneumatic markers are the poppet-valve and spool-valve.

Poppet-valve-based electropneumatic markers are very similar to mechanical blowback markers. These have a stacked-tube construction, built around a poppet valve, that is opened when struck by a force. Whereas mechanical markers provide that force with a hammer propelled by a spring, the valve in poppet-valve markers are activated by a pneumatic ram. The bolt is connected to the ram. Poppet-valve markers have the same disadvantages as their mechanical counterparts: external moving parts, a reciprocating mass and a louder firing signature. However, they are also more gas efficient than spool-valve models because the poppet valve only releases the precise amount of air needed to fire the marker. Examples of markers that utilize this mechanism are the WDP Angel, Planet Eclipse Ego, Bob Long Intimidator, and Bushmaster.[3]

In Spool-valve-based electropneumatic markers, the bolt also acts as the valve. This eliminates the need for a stacked tube construction; spool valve markers have a more compact profile. Instead of a cycling hammer or ram that strikes a pin valve, the movement of the bolt is controlled by the routing of air into small chambers in front of or behind the bolt. An air reservoir behind the bolt contains the air that is to fire the paintball. When the marker is at rest, air is routed to the front of the bolt to prevent the air in the reservoir from escaping. When the trigger is pulled, that air is vented, allowing the air in the reservoir to push the bolt forwards. In a “balanced spool valve” design, the air is rerouted to a small chamber behind the bolt, separate from the reservoir, which then pushes the bolt forward. In either case, the movement of the bolt forward exposes pathways in the bolt or the marker that allow the air in the reservoir behind the bolt to surge forward and fire the paintball.

A typical spool valve has at least one O-ring that undergoes a shear and compression duty cycle for every shot, leading to faster wear and less reliability. Additionally, the necessity of an air reservoir makes them less gas efficient than their poppet-valve counterparts. Since spool-valve markers have no reciprocating mass, other than the bolt, and require little pressure to operate, they have less recoil and are quiet. Examples of markers that utilize this mechanism are the Dye Matrix, Smart Parts Shocker, and Smart Parts Ion.[4]

Tuning the bolt and valve system

In mechanical and poppet-based electropneumatic markers, the valve is usually designed to accommodate a specific operating pressure. Low pressure valves provide quieter operation and increased gas efficiency when tuned properly. However, excessively low pressure can decrease gas efficiency as dramatically as excessively high pressure.

Additionally, the valve must be set to release enough air to fire the paintball. If the valve is not tuned properly, insufficient air to fire the paintball may reach the bolt. This phenomenon, known as “shoot-down,” causes fired paintballs to gradually lose range, and can also occur at high rates of fire. Some markers have integral or external chambers, called low-pressure chambers, which hold a large volume of gas behind the valve to prevent shoot-down.

Tuning can also prevent air blowing up the feed tube upon firing, which disrupts the feeding of paintballs into the marker.

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Paintball marker

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Planet Eclipse Ego, an electropneumatic paintball marker.
Spyder VS2 Paintball Marker.

A paintball marker, also known as a paintball gun, is the main piece of equipment in the sport of paintball. Markers use an expanding gas, such as carbon dioxide or compressed air, to propel paintballs through the barrel. Frequent paintball players prefer the term "marker" rather than "gun", which may mitigate the public perception that paintball markers are weapons, and that paintball is a dangerous sport. The term derives from its original use as a means for forestry personnel and ranchers to mark trees and wandering cattle.[citation needed]

The muzzle velocity of paintball markers is approximately 300 feet per second, or 90 meters per second, 200 miles per hour or 320 kilometers per hour. Muzzle velocity above 300 feet per second has been ruled unsafe in most commercial paintball fields[1]. Below this speed, most paintballs break upon impact, only a small bruise upon its target. Because of the high velocity of flying paintballs, players must wear masks to protect the eyes, mouth, and ears when barrel blocking devices are not in place.

Most paintball markers have four main components: the body, hopper (usually not included with a gun unless bought in a package), gas system (air tank) (also not included unless in a package), and barrel (almost always included).

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