Throwing colors on one another, smearing with color, splashing people with color water bombs sure is fun. In India, there is a festival named Holi in which people gather as families or friends or simply in the neighborhood to smear each other with color powders, spray each other with color water and so on. Well, whether this inspired the game paint ball or not is unknown. But, paintball is quite a popular game, elevated to the level of sport now, which played with paint balls, paint ball guns or markers, masks or goggles
The game involves two teams who will each be given a marker or a gun and some paint balls. The players have to mark their opponents with color. The rules can vary and are agreed upon before the game begins. The teams are placed at a legal distance. The player hit with a paint ball and has a color mark the size of a US quarter or larger is considered to be eliminated. Once eliminated the player is expected to leave the game.
One can classify the paint ball guns or markers based on the following points
- Based on operation – Mechanical or electro-pneumatic.
- The loaders – stick feed, gravity feed, agitating and force feed
- The propellant system – The carbon dioxide, high pressure air, propane.
- Firing and trigger modes – Pump action, semi-automatic, fully automatic, and ramping.
Types of operation
The mechanically operating paint ball marker operates through mechanical means. The first type is the pump and bolt action requires that the gun be manually reset after each and every time a shot has been fired. The Sheridan valve mechanism involves the paintball being located in a tube separately than the valve and the hammer. The paint ball loads when the bolt is pulled backwards and the hammer is put on to the spring. The Nelson valve involves the paintball being placed in the same tube as the valve and the hammer.
There are double action, blow back semi auto, blow forward semi auto, pneumatically semi auto modes available too.
In electro-pneumatic operation the trigger activates a micro switch which controls the passage of gas through several chambers and fire the paint ball. The rate of fire is very high when compared to the mechanical ones.
The loaders or hoppers
The loaders or hoppers are there to hold the paint balls and have them ready to be fired. The stick feed is a tube which can hold up to 20 and must be tipped for the next paintball to be loaded to fire. The cheapest of all is the gravity feed.
A large container with a tube at the end inclined is set up. Quite some complaints arise due to jamming of the balls on top of the tube which can be remedied by giving the gun a quick shake.
The agitating type are indeed hoppers and contain propellers which prevent the jamming of the balls. An LED can act as the eye and trigger when needed without which battery can be depleted fast. Force feed as the name implies catches hold of the ball and loads it forcefully into the marker.
The best paint ball guns are those that are light weight and can be used accurately in a power safe mode. Well, on the pocket one decides how much to spend for fun or sport.