Are there any paintball gun mods actually work?

Are there any paintball gun mods actually work?

Eric
Eric

February 4th, 2012, 5:45 am #1

After reading through the forums it seems to mee that most of the "improvement parts" for paintball guns either

A. Dont Work

B. Make it worse

C. Looks cool but doesnt affect performance

Are there any aftermarket paintball mods that actually help performance??

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Salda007
Salda007

February 4th, 2012, 8:37 am #2

(Bear in mind that this is coming from a guy whose only marker is an Automag Classic; I'm just pulling together what I've seen recommended before.)

The biggest thing I think I've seen that's universal across markers is paint-to-barrel match. Whether via a barrel kit or just finding the right sized barrel, a good match can improve accuracy and consistency, as opposed to having a bore that's too big or too small for your paint.

If you're running CO2 on your marker (hey, some people coughmecough still do), a good regulator should also help your shot consistency. Or just switch to HPA; its a lot more consistent straight out of the bottle, since it doesn't have to muck about with liquid->gas physics.

Also, depending on what you're shooting, a good hopper is also necessary. My Ricochet does just fine when it comes to keeping my Mag happy, but if I stuck that on some modern turbo-super electro, I'd be spray-painting more than I would be shooting successfully.

Most other mod parts that I've seen recommended were to correct or improve specific issues with particular markers. If you can put up some more info on what you're shooting, some of the others might have some specific suggestions.
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Doc Nickel
Doc Nickel

February 4th, 2012, 10:33 am #3

After reading through the forums it seems to mee that most of the "improvement parts" for paintball guns either

A. Dont Work

B. Make it worse

C. Looks cool but doesnt affect performance

Are there any aftermarket paintball mods that actually help performance??
But, like most anything else out there, it's a matter of some do, most don't.

There's actually fewer "snake oil" type mods these days, but that's simply an extension of the market. Fewer small shops and small-scale manufacturers (which were a main driver to a lot of the old gadgetry) and a reduced interest in general of modifying ones' markers.

As for mods that actually worked, oh yes. There's plenty. I recall one of the aftermarket replacement internals kits for the then-new-style (single tube) Shocker made a dramatic difference in gas efficiency, since the original guts didn't properly shut off the inlet air as it cycled. A similar "HE" or "high efficiency" mod could be had years later for the Freestyle, and I think for the early Matrixes.

Similarly, the Tornado valve- when properly installed and set up- did, in fact, do much of what it was advertised for. It's still probably the best 'Cocker valve out there, it's main drawback being that you had to set it up right, with the right springs, hammer and especially as large a valve chamber as possible. Lots of players preferred the shorter "mini" body, not realizing it cut the valve chamber volume down by something like a third.

One unquestionable mod is AGD's "Level 10" kit for the 'Mag. It can be a bit touchy to set up, but it did indeed make for a virtually unchoppable 'Mag. Ditto the ULT trigger kits.

As noted above, barrels are the big one. However, it's almost- but not quite- irrelevant what the barrel is made of or what it's coated with. The only thing that matters, really, is the bore diameter. So it's not really a "mod", per se, as it is a change that can and does affect how the gun shoots.

If the barrel is too long, it takes too much gas to keep it up to speed due to drag. If the barrel's too short, again, it takes a heavy burst to get it up to speed in time. 8" to 12" is ideal, and porting does nothing but waste gas and make the shot a little quieter.

Naturally, electronic grip frames, like the Eclipse E-Blade for 'Cockers and and the E-trigger frame for A5's, are definite improvements. As are the force-fed loaders like the Halo and Rotor- without them, every marker out there would be limited to about 13 bps.

My Automag barrel adapters- not to toot my own horn - do exactly as they're advertised. They let you use a 'Cocker threaded barrel in place of the increasingly-hard-to-find twist-locks. My Angel Dynabolt, if I may also say so for myself, did exactly as it was supposed to; it placed the ball in a better location in the breech, to considerably reduce chopping. And don't just take my word for it- WDP themselves implemented the exact same idea (moving the bolt nose forward) starting with the Angel One.

And since I'm bragging already, my RIP kits gave old dome-switch Shocker boards an Angel-quality microswitch trigger and greatly improved adjustability. My Blazer cocking blocks were considerably stronger than the originals (and, I must say, looked better too. )

There's plenty of way-old mods that worked too, like (properly installed) anti-siphon tubes (or, for that matter, actual siphon tubes, for guns that could use liquid) and to a lesser extent, expansion chambers. In plenty of early nelson-based guns, upgrades like "anti kink" bolts made definite improvements, as did lesser things like field-strip bolts and improved power tubes.

Now, that said, there's loads and loads of mods that are at best irrelevant (as in, they make no real change one way or the other) or at worst actually harmful (either in marker performance or even actually damaging the gun.)

Bolts were- and in some cases, still are- the big one. It started, or at least really got rolling, for the 'Cockers, and eventually got to the point where, if the gun had a bolt, somebody made a replacement for it, and everyone automatically assumed that the replacement was somehow better than the original.

You used to be able to get aluminum bolts for a Pro-Lite, which of course did nothing at all for performance (gas efficiency, consistency, accuracy, etc.) and would scar up the breech of the gun.

A lot of 'Cocker bolts made gas efficiency worse- they were either too small, and so had a lot of blow-by, or had too large a central port, which lets the gas expand before it hits the ball.

Like these two:



Which one would you say gave the highest velocity? Most kids today would say the one on the right, but it was in fact the one on the left. To the tune of, as I recall, a solid 30-35 fps. Bigger isn't always better.

Then there's things like hammers- or "rammers"- for Intimidators and eTeks. I've tried several, and even made myself a few, and most don't do anything at all. One titanium one was supposed to reduce felt recoil, and it might have, had you not had to up the LPR pressure and a little dwell time to compensate for the lighter striker.

Ditto aftermarket hammers for Model 98s and A5s. Unless they're radically lighter, they make no real difference whatsoever- and if they are radically lighter, cycling becomes unreliable or requires a considerably heavier mainspring.

One of my favorites is adding tiny ball-bearings to triggers. The kids claim they make the trigger smoother and faster and all that, but I've been there. I was probably trying bearings and carefully-reamed bushings as early as anyone, and I figured I'd need extremely sensitive instruments to detect the difference between a bearinged trigger and a plain shaft-through-a-hole trigger.

Now, properly fitted and installed- which very few are- a good bearing and axle can reduce some of the side-to-side slop between the trigger and the frame, so they're not totally worthless. But with kids paying $60 for a carbon-fiber, bearinged trigger, that's mostly wasted money.

I could go on, but in any case, the answer is yes. There's plenty of mods that do, in fact, improve your marker. But as always, there's also plenty that don't do a thing except make your wallet lighter, and still, unfortunately, more than a few that do actual harm to your gun.

The trick, as always, is be an informed buyer.

Doc.
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dave
dave

February 4th, 2012, 2:43 pm #4

A guy on Punkworks did an experiment with something like a twenty foot barrel. Velocity didn't drop much. If your velocity peaks at 9" I would say you're not going to loose a noticeable amount by going to 12".
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FireFrenzy
FireFrenzy

February 4th, 2012, 3:20 pm #5

(Bear in mind that this is coming from a guy whose only marker is an Automag Classic; I'm just pulling together what I've seen recommended before.)

The biggest thing I think I've seen that's universal across markers is paint-to-barrel match. Whether via a barrel kit or just finding the right sized barrel, a good match can improve accuracy and consistency, as opposed to having a bore that's too big or too small for your paint.

If you're running CO2 on your marker (hey, some people coughmecough still do), a good regulator should also help your shot consistency. Or just switch to HPA; its a lot more consistent straight out of the bottle, since it doesn't have to muck about with liquid->gas physics.

Also, depending on what you're shooting, a good hopper is also necessary. My Ricochet does just fine when it comes to keeping my Mag happy, but if I stuck that on some modern turbo-super electro, I'd be spray-painting more than I would be shooting successfully.

Most other mod parts that I've seen recommended were to correct or improve specific issues with particular markers. If you can put up some more info on what you're shooting, some of the others might have some specific suggestions.
have found that for maximum consistency (ie smallest shot grouping) a barrel that is much to big (probably due to something like free floating a firearm barrel) or to small is best...

Either all balls will be totally ignored by the barrel, or they will all be compressed the same way, with underboring being best on air efficiency where matched bore-barrel was noticeably worse probably due to diameter variations...
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ta2maki
ta2maki

February 4th, 2012, 3:24 pm #6

A guy on Punkworks did an experiment with something like a twenty foot barrel. Velocity didn't drop much. If your velocity peaks at 9" I would say you're not going to loose a noticeable amount by going to 12".
I bought a bunch of 3pc ebay barrels and found you could screw the backs into each other.


I could not get any usable shots out of it. I had to remove inserts down to about 3 feet so I could get at least 240fps. But I did play with it.


You have to consider bore size, before you can claim 3" won't make much difference.
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Stumpy
Stumpy

February 4th, 2012, 6:57 pm #7

Barrel tag someone from the next bunker over.
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63VDub
63VDub

February 4th, 2012, 11:47 pm #8

But, like most anything else out there, it's a matter of some do, most don't.

There's actually fewer "snake oil" type mods these days, but that's simply an extension of the market. Fewer small shops and small-scale manufacturers (which were a main driver to a lot of the old gadgetry) and a reduced interest in general of modifying ones' markers.

As for mods that actually worked, oh yes. There's plenty. I recall one of the aftermarket replacement internals kits for the then-new-style (single tube) Shocker made a dramatic difference in gas efficiency, since the original guts didn't properly shut off the inlet air as it cycled. A similar "HE" or "high efficiency" mod could be had years later for the Freestyle, and I think for the early Matrixes.

Similarly, the Tornado valve- when properly installed and set up- did, in fact, do much of what it was advertised for. It's still probably the best 'Cocker valve out there, it's main drawback being that you had to set it up right, with the right springs, hammer and especially as large a valve chamber as possible. Lots of players preferred the shorter "mini" body, not realizing it cut the valve chamber volume down by something like a third.

One unquestionable mod is AGD's "Level 10" kit for the 'Mag. It can be a bit touchy to set up, but it did indeed make for a virtually unchoppable 'Mag. Ditto the ULT trigger kits.

As noted above, barrels are the big one. However, it's almost- but not quite- irrelevant what the barrel is made of or what it's coated with. The only thing that matters, really, is the bore diameter. So it's not really a "mod", per se, as it is a change that can and does affect how the gun shoots.

If the barrel is too long, it takes too much gas to keep it up to speed due to drag. If the barrel's too short, again, it takes a heavy burst to get it up to speed in time. 8" to 12" is ideal, and porting does nothing but waste gas and make the shot a little quieter.

Naturally, electronic grip frames, like the Eclipse E-Blade for 'Cockers and and the E-trigger frame for A5's, are definite improvements. As are the force-fed loaders like the Halo and Rotor- without them, every marker out there would be limited to about 13 bps.

My Automag barrel adapters- not to toot my own horn - do exactly as they're advertised. They let you use a 'Cocker threaded barrel in place of the increasingly-hard-to-find twist-locks. My Angel Dynabolt, if I may also say so for myself, did exactly as it was supposed to; it placed the ball in a better location in the breech, to considerably reduce chopping. And don't just take my word for it- WDP themselves implemented the exact same idea (moving the bolt nose forward) starting with the Angel One.

And since I'm bragging already, my RIP kits gave old dome-switch Shocker boards an Angel-quality microswitch trigger and greatly improved adjustability. My Blazer cocking blocks were considerably stronger than the originals (and, I must say, looked better too. )

There's plenty of way-old mods that worked too, like (properly installed) anti-siphon tubes (or, for that matter, actual siphon tubes, for guns that could use liquid) and to a lesser extent, expansion chambers. In plenty of early nelson-based guns, upgrades like "anti kink" bolts made definite improvements, as did lesser things like field-strip bolts and improved power tubes.

Now, that said, there's loads and loads of mods that are at best irrelevant (as in, they make no real change one way or the other) or at worst actually harmful (either in marker performance or even actually damaging the gun.)

Bolts were- and in some cases, still are- the big one. It started, or at least really got rolling, for the 'Cockers, and eventually got to the point where, if the gun had a bolt, somebody made a replacement for it, and everyone automatically assumed that the replacement was somehow better than the original.

You used to be able to get aluminum bolts for a Pro-Lite, which of course did nothing at all for performance (gas efficiency, consistency, accuracy, etc.) and would scar up the breech of the gun.

A lot of 'Cocker bolts made gas efficiency worse- they were either too small, and so had a lot of blow-by, or had too large a central port, which lets the gas expand before it hits the ball.

Like these two:



Which one would you say gave the highest velocity? Most kids today would say the one on the right, but it was in fact the one on the left. To the tune of, as I recall, a solid 30-35 fps. Bigger isn't always better.

Then there's things like hammers- or "rammers"- for Intimidators and eTeks. I've tried several, and even made myself a few, and most don't do anything at all. One titanium one was supposed to reduce felt recoil, and it might have, had you not had to up the LPR pressure and a little dwell time to compensate for the lighter striker.

Ditto aftermarket hammers for Model 98s and A5s. Unless they're radically lighter, they make no real difference whatsoever- and if they are radically lighter, cycling becomes unreliable or requires a considerably heavier mainspring.

One of my favorites is adding tiny ball-bearings to triggers. The kids claim they make the trigger smoother and faster and all that, but I've been there. I was probably trying bearings and carefully-reamed bushings as early as anyone, and I figured I'd need extremely sensitive instruments to detect the difference between a bearinged trigger and a plain shaft-through-a-hole trigger.

Now, properly fitted and installed- which very few are- a good bearing and axle can reduce some of the side-to-side slop between the trigger and the frame, so they're not totally worthless. But with kids paying $60 for a carbon-fiber, bearinged trigger, that's mostly wasted money.

I could go on, but in any case, the answer is yes. There's plenty of mods that do, in fact, improve your marker. But as always, there's also plenty that don't do a thing except make your wallet lighter, and still, unfortunately, more than a few that do actual harm to your gun.

The trick, as always, is be an informed buyer.

Doc.
Since that's about the only marker I dink with, I appreciate Doc mentioning the HE kit. Also available for a while was the HR kit that improved efficiency a little more. There has been some more work done by forumreader1 that has really bumped the efficiency of the Style by removing stock parts.

For the b2k, gregicd and Spitlebug designed a 2 stage ram that works wonderfully for anti-chop on a blind Bushy. I have sleeved the stock ram down to stock WGP ram diameter with some interesting increases in CPS.

Gutted regs in the Desert Foxes are popular to increase consistency and recharge.

I've got a Promaster that has a manifold mounted solenoid. I think it's faster than the hosed setup.

Lots of mods work. Lots are finicky, though. I daresay that most stock ICDs are more reliable than their modded counterparts.
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Hans
Hans

February 5th, 2012, 1:31 am #9

After reading through the forums it seems to mee that most of the "improvement parts" for paintball guns either

A. Dont Work

B. Make it worse

C. Looks cool but doesnt affect performance

Are there any aftermarket paintball mods that actually help performance??
Eric, please don't take this as any dig on your post, it's not meant to be.

It's just that man, we really have gotten THAT far away from paintball around here, haven't we? All we used to do around here was discuss the merits and failures of pretty much every mod, marker, goggle and other piece of paintball equipment. Some threads would run hundreds of posts regarding valve efficiency, patent registrations, aluminum alloys, annodizing processes, circuit design, and god knows what else.

It used to be all we talked about around here, and we were damned good at it.

-Hans
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Doc Nickel
Doc Nickel

February 5th, 2012, 4:15 am #10

Are you just now noticing?

There's lots of reasons for it- one of the big ones is simply the changing demographics. The average player today isn't as interested in modding his or her gun these days. Lots of players no longer want a unique marker, they want a team marker- they want the same thing that Dynasty shoots, or whatever the Ironmen have this week, or even just whatever they see the winning local tourney team have.

We've discussed this before. In the early days, in order to be "cool" on the field, you either had to have a unique gun (even if it was just a unique color) or unique camos. The coolest guys were the ones that managed to dig up a set of Russian Paratrooper cammies or whatever, and had a Carter Comp or Top Gun rather than a Phantom or Razorback.

Today, the needle's swung to the other side of the meter- the kids want to copy their favorite team or player as closely as they can. Wear the same jersey and goggles, shoot the same gun, buy the same paint. They still lust after the rare stuff, but it's things like "limited edition" team jerseys, or "limited edition" team markers- which are the same as every other jersey or marker, just with different colors.

Of course, another part of it- the reduced desire to mod- is also the fact the guns come out of the box pretty much tourney-ready. Years ago, just about any marker you bought needed some level of work before you'd take it out for a tournament. If you had a 'Cocker, you replaced half the parts and ground, sanded, polished, drilled and tapped most of the others. If you had a 'Mag you drilled more holes in the regulator, looped more hose around the feed neck, sawed the trigger guard off for a two-finger trigger, etc.

Today, you can buy an Ego or an Intimidator or a Mini off the shelf, give it some air and paint, fire a few shots over the chrony, and very likely make it through a heavy tourney weekend without a problem.

What mods are even available for the Mini?

As for the Guild in particular, there's plenty of reasons there, too. I'm sure more than a few regulars over the years have stopped coming by because of me, specifically. Either I kept their gun too long, or perhaps I was an asshole to them- which, in some cases, I was- or maybe they'd just heard I was a bad guy and decided not to bother anymore.

A good many other regulars simply drifted away, or got out of the sport. Punisher closed down- for a variety of reasons- and turned to another niche entirely. Manike is still in the sport, but thanks to his job, literally can't talk about anything (in an uncontrolled setting, anyway) lest he let slip some tidbit that would reveal an unreleased product or as-yet-unfiled patent.

I haven't seen anything from Thorpydo in a while- he, too, was working on patenting something, and likely had to stop posting anything about it. Not sure what happened to Have Blue, he used to be a regular, but I think he had a kid and ran out of free time.

A third issue is pure dilution. The Guild used to be one of the few good places to go and talk paintball, but now there's dozens- PBNation, of course (which has diluted itself by having a thousand different boards) plus each of the magazines had a board, lots of the bigger dealers had their own forums, etc.

And a side-note to that is everyone's chatting on Facebook and Twitter now, not bulletin boards- and especially not ones as old-styled and no-featured as the Guild. (No avatars, no sigs, no private messaging, no "like" buttons... how the hell are supposed to communicate without a "like" button?!? )

An argument could even be made for Google. Years ago, if you wanted to know why your marker was "leaking down the barrel", you had to ask someone- here on the Guild, or on Warpig's Tech Talk, or on one of the Owner's Group boards, or whatever. Then you'd have to wait for an answer.

Today, a few quick Google searches comes up with the answer in milliseconds- well, several minutes as you wade through all the irrelevant entries and deliberate-spam posts, but still. Add to that the idiots on the various boards that tell the new kid, asking an old question again, something like "use the search feature, you dumbass!" and you get a kid that doesn't want to ask any question, and will go back to trying to Google it instead.

And finally, speaking personally, I hate to say it but I haven't built an interesting paintball gun in a couple of years. Most of the work is repairs and rebuilds, or mods I've done and shown a thousand times before- this is my fourteenth year as a professional airsmith, and I have well over 10,000 photos posted online, probably two-thirds of which show a paintball gun, a paintball part, a paintball field or a paintball player.

The halfblocked 'Cocker body I did a few months ago looks pretty much the same as the one I milled eight years ago. The Nova that showed up missing two important parts- which I had to "reinvent" as I had no pictures of what they even looked like, let alone their critical dimensions- when finished looked like any other box-stock Nova. I haven't felt like showing much of it off simply because I've been there and I've done that.

I have been making parts for several other inventor/designers (and not just paintball gear) but typically it's only an individual part or parts, made to a drawing, so even if I could show them, they're not really interesting all by themselves.

That's why, for a year or two there, it was all machine rebuilds. Those I found immensely interesting, and wanted to share. Then more recently, I've swung full circle back to cars- I was a car nut long before I was into paintball, and since the last time I really dove into a car build, I've expanded my shop, tooling and skillsets considerably, so it's all new and interesting again.

And finally, keep in mind the Guild is over a decade old, encompassing well over 700 pages, with 45 threads per page, and each thread averaging probably somewhere around five replies. That's well over 150,000 posts, or something like forty posts a day.

We've crushed most of the old myths, like rifled barrels, or low pressure equalling more accuracy, or the paintball "wobbling" in flight like a water balloon. We've crushed them so well that new kids don't even hear them anymore, and when somebody posts on PBN about their gun- an Ego, as I recall- somehow being capable of shooting the ball further due to some kind of radical new bolt design, he's mobbed by posters patiently explaining and reexplaining why that's not possible, using arguments we hashed out here in the Guild ten years ago.

Chances are, we've already talked about it. Many, many times.

Doc.
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