7 Things To Know About Buying a Paintball Marker
1. You will have a lot more fun.
Owning your own paintball gun is tons of fun. Being able to customize and tune it for your needs is an adventure. Your own paintball gun will shoot better than a rental gun. It will be more reliable because you will learn how to tune and repair it (trust me it’s easy). It will also be set-up perfectly for your body type and needs. You can go ultra-light, or heavier with more capacity in air and paintballs.
2. You will save money and shoot more paintballs!
Having your own gun and gear lets you play for less at Action Paintball and other paintball fields. You will pay less for paintballs, entry fees, and of course the main consumable – paintballs. A box of 2000 paintballs goes from $150.00 to around $80.00! Almost half price!
3. You will need an Air system and a Hopper.
Every paintball gun needs a compressed air tank (I will not even go into CO2 because its so old and outdated). It also needs a hopper to feed the paintballs into it. The air systems are divided into 2 categories: 3000psi tanks and 4500psi tanks. The more psi, the more shots per fill. Also, the 4500psi air tanks have a wider range of volume (48ci, 68ci, 88ci,98cu and 122ci). 3000psi tanks hold less pressure and come in 3 sizes (13ci, 48ci, and 62ci). The 3000psi tanks are the cheapest and the heaviest, while the 4500 are lightweight and more expensive (approx. $240-$320AUD). The Hoppers range in price from $15-$300! The main difference is whether they are electronically operated, or gravity operated. The gravity ones are cheap, and electronic are expensive. But you do get what you pay for. Having a gravity fed hopper limits you to around 8 balls per second, not guaranteeing a shot every time. You do have to shake them to feed as well, which is annoying. If you go electronic you will have a paintball in the gun for every trigger pull which is a massive advantage. You can also unleash the potential of your gun. Electronic guns with electronic hoppers can shoot 22 paintballs per second! You need to add the cost of these items to the price of the gun. The easiest way to do it, is to add $400AUD to the price of your gun of choice and you will be close to the final price of the full setup. It is also good to know that whatever hopper or air tank you buy, will be compatible with all other paintball guns into the future!
4. Mechanical or Electric Paintball Markers, what is the difference?
There are 2 main differences between the 2 types. Mechanicals require no batteries to operate, and electric markers need a battery to run the circuit board, eye system and solenoid. Both are tons of fun to own, and if you are planning on playing casually, and you don’t need a fast rate of fire, then go mechanical. They are cheaper and some would argue more reliable due to not having an electronic element to them. Mechanical guns were the first style of gun to be made and have recently seen a massive resurgence with the most popular being the Planet Eclipse EMEK and GTEK M170R. Electronic guns shoot a faster rate of fire (from 15-22 balls per second) and most importantly have an infrared eye system. This system detects whether a paintball is in the correct position for firing and tells the gun it is ok to fire. This gives you a distinct advantage over mechanical guns as you will not break as many paintballs in the guns breach. When you break a paintball in the gun (referred to as chopping) you should clean the gun immediately to restore accuracy and to stop chopping more paintballs. Mechanical guns fire as soon as you pull the trigger, so If a paintball is halfway into the guns chamber, you guessed it – chop. Eyes fix this problem completely. Electro guns are also more efficient on-air consumption per shot. They use a solenoid valve that is adjustable to fine tune each shot. Electronic guns are more common and for a first gun I would recommend none other than the Planet Eclipse Etha 2. This gun has all the technology of the high end CS2, in a cheaper package.
5. Should I go Magfed or Hopper Fed?
Mag-fed guns have recently been popular with bush ball and scenario players. They allow you to run a lightweight setup and essentially mimic war games more realistically. Magazines currently hold up to 20 shots and cost around $50AUD per mag. I would only recommend mag-fed if everyone you are playing with has mag-fed. As soon a 1 person you are playing with has a 200-round hopper, that person has an extremely unfair advantage. No reloading for hopper fed players. The fun in paintball is shooting the gun and shooting it fast. 95% of all players have hopper-fed guns. I would recommend a hopper fed gun over mag fed every time. You can use your hopper-fed gun in all types of paintball games where as mag-fed can only be used effectively in mag-fed games.
6. Are they Difficult to Maintain?
The simple answer is no. Most modern paintball guns just need lubrication on the bolt, a good quality battery, and ball detents to be checked. Leaks are easy to find and normally just a simple cheap O-ring to replace. The only parts that can be expensive to replace are the electronics and the solenoids. Always keep water away from the electronics. With electronic paintball markers if you keep them clean, they will last forever, if you don’t keep the electronics clean, they will need replacing soon.
7. Do I Need a License?
In Australia you will need a license in all States and territories. In WA, VIC, QLD, SA you need a firearms license. In 2020 NSW introduced an awesome new system which allows you to apply online and get an instant paintball license! The only thing you need to do at the current time is have a long arms safety course in NSW. You can read more about it in this article linked here.
By Adam Connolly