Paintball Guns and Their Loaders
Paintball guns come in many varieties. However, the biggest differences are not in the guns as much as they are in the hoppers or loaders. These are the components of .38 special ammo the guns, or “markers”, which store and load ammo.
Anywhere from 40 to 300 paintballs can be held by different loaders. The size of the hopper will affect the weight of the gun. The speed and reliability of the marker is also greatly affected by the hopper type, especially when it comes to mechanized options.
Even though there are many types of these loaders available on the market today, they all mostly fall into a few primary categories. These categories are gravity-feed, agitating and force-feed. Stick feeds are another form of loader, though they are not commonly referred to as “hoppers.”
Here is a brief overview of these different loader categories:
Stick feeds – Stick feeds are most often used on pump-operated guns. They consist of simple tubes that are capable of holding about two dozen paintballs. Most stick feeds are parallel to the barrel of the gun. The next paintball is always loaded by rocking the gun slightly forward. Even though some stick feeds are vertical to facilitate gravity feeding, these guns are not always reliable. The horizontal versions are a common requirement for stock paintball play. The concept of stock paintball is to enforce limitations on game play, so that it resembles the sport as it was originally born. This may be done for added challenge or simply to save money.
Gravity feeds – A person who is looking for a simple and a cheap hopper for his or her gun will usually choose a gravity feed. These hoppers consist of a large container as well as a feed tube that is placed at the bottom. Although these hoppers are able to feed more than eight balls per second, they are not able to feed more than eight paintballs per second reliably and on a consistent basis. They commonly jam up paintball guns and occasionally force paintballs to pile up above the tube.
Agitating – Agitating hoppers for guns use a propeller inside of the container. These small fan blades prevent the paintballs from jamming up the neck of the gun. This allows the gun to be fired at a more accelerated pace than that of the gravity loaders.
Force-feed – These hoppers use a device to capture paintballs and then force them into the marker. The device is often spring-loaded or powered by a belt system. These kinds of hoppers are frequently found in guns of professional, tournament-playing paintballers because they are among the only guns that are able to keep up with that form of accelerated play. Force-feed hoppers continue to be developed and have advanced in recent years. Many offer a digital readout of how many paintballs remain within the loader. The newest types even use wireless communication to efficiently continue feeding the paintballs before the pneumatic system of the gun has even started the cycle for the next shot. A system like this is desirable as it near completely eliminates misfeeds. Of course, it also greatly increases the speed of the loader. In addition to all this, it may even extend battery life by minimizing any extra work done by the gun. As companies continue to receive feedback from users of paintball guns, it is likely that there will be continual advancements made on this style of marker in particular. Force-feed hoppers and agitating hoppers are designed to fire paintballs more quickly than the other varieties. Still, there is a chance that these can fail at performing their function. The most common circumstance under which these guns fail is when they come into contact with moisture.