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Paintball and Airsoft Help and Advice
Fat Bobs is the oldest paintball and Airsoft shop in the UK. Founded in 1996, we have been supplying and supporting paintball players for longer than any other UK based paintball and airsoft shop. We stock equipment from all of the major suppliers including Planet Eclipse, Dye, Valken, Tippmann, G&G and GI Sportz as well as many more. If you have any questions, or just fancy a chat, just give us a call on 01757 707701, or call into the shop. We are based in the centre of Yorkshire, in Selby and also own the Yorkshire Paintball Centre which holds a monthly walkon events on the last Sunday of every month. We also host the Halo Mill Proving Grounds Airsoft walkon on the first Sunday of every month.
Paintball and Airsoft Guns
Paintball guns fall generally into three different categories, these are Mechanical, Electro Mechanical and Electro Pneumatic.
Mechanical Paintball Guns
Mechanical paintball guns tend to be the cheapest of all guns. They are generally called "Blowback" guns as they use a spring and sear mechanism to mechanically accellerate a heavy hammer to open the air valve. Some of the air is then used to fire the pellet and some is used to re cock the mechanism. (Spring forward, blow back). This mechanism is very very simple and as luck (and development) would have it, very reliable. Because of the simplicity of the design, there arn't that many working parts so the guns can be sold relatively cheaply. Blow back guns can run on either compressed air or Co2. Maintenance is generally a few drops of oil and cleaning. They are the ideal gun for the beginner as they are cheap, easy to maintain and won't break the bank.
Electro Mechanical Paintball Guns
Electro Mechanical paintball guns are a step up from just mechanical. They are basically the same design as the mechanical marker but instead of your finger on the trigger physically tripping the sear, an electronic circuit board detects a trigger pull through a micro switch, this then sends a signal to a solenoid which trips the trigger sear for you. The benefit of this is that trigger pulls can be much faster (Think about clicking a computer mouse) and also modes can be programmed into the circuit board. Electro Mechanical markers can usually run on air or Co2.
Electro Pneumatic Paintball Guns
We are now talking about mid to high end paintball guns. These guns work on a much lower operating pressure but still give the velocity of a mechanical or electro mechanical gun. Lower working perssure (Typically 80-120psi) means that much more brittle paintballs can be used without the worries or breaking balls in the barrel. The worlds top players will use Electro Pneumatic guns. When the electronic trigger is activated, an air solenoid is opened filling and firing the valve with a measured amount of air. This gives the benefit of allowing more brittle paint to be shot, but also gives accuracy through consistent velocity.
Automatic Electric Guns or AEG;s for short are the most common of all airsoft guns. They us a battery to power them by turning an electric gear box when the trigger is pressed. As long as you have a charged battery, then your gun will shoot. AEG's are usually the first airsoft gun that people choose as they are usually cheap and very reliable and require no technical knowledge to use. Just charge the battery, connect it and off you go.
Gas Powered Airsoft Guns
The second type of airsoft gun is the gas powered. These differ from AEG's as they do not need a battery but use compressed air or Co2 to power them. They usually have more of a realistic kick than their electric equivelants but are generally more expensive.
Paintball Goggles / Airsoft Eye Protection
When it comes to paintball goggles, it's really not about the price. Some very cheap paintball goggles may fit your head much better than some goggles costing over £100. Lens quality is however very important, the good news is though that these days all goggle lenses are superb quality. Lenses do come in two different types though, single and dual pane (or thermal), that is single lens or double lens, a bit like double glazing.
So it's really down to comfort and style. You are always best coming into the shop to try on goggles, but the next best thing is to try a friends pair for size before ordering. It's a bit like buying shoes.
Which ever goggles you choose, you need to make sure that you wear them at all times whilst outside the safe area. During a game, the only part of your body that can be seriously injured is your eyes. You will find that any site that you visit will have very strict goggle rules in place. Try to keep your goggle lenses safe and free from scratches. The foam on the more expensive goggles is usually replacable too, so if you damage the foam or wear it out, don't worry, a replacement is only a phone call away.
A bit of a tip, next time you play, have a look at the goggles that the marshals are wearing. Marshals are usually the most experienced paintballers and they will have no doubt tried them all before settling for a particular style.
Remember also that if you are a particularly sweaty person you may still fog up the best thermal lens. If this is you then you may want to consider an electric fan which clips onto goggles and solves the problem completely.
Many people use glasses only for airsoft, but remember these should be airsoft glasses and not just sun glasses. Many airsoft goggles use mesh instead of lenses so they never steam up. Mesh goggles are surprisingly easy to see through as well.
There are three types of paintball hopper. These are gravity fed, agitated and force fed.
Gravity Fed Paintball Hoppers
Gravity fed is the type that you will have used in the past at any site. They literally are a plastic holder of paint with a feed neck. They do jam from time to time and the way to free a jam is simply to shake the hopper. There is a really good gravity hopper that perform like an agitated hopper, that if the Proto Primo hopper which has a very well designed shelf built into it to stop the weight of paintballs causing jams. Gravity fed hoppers tend to be very very cheap.
Agitator Paintball Hoppers
These paintball hoppers have a paddle installed inside which is battery powered and usually connected to a sensing system, like eyes. When a jam is detected, the electronics start the paddle to turn which agitates the paintballs in the hopper and lets the hopper feed properly.
Force fed Paintball Hoppers
Agitator hoppers use an electric motor to turn a paddle, but the paintballs are still gravity fed. ie. the paintballs can only fall down the feed port at a certain speed, based on gravity. Force Fed hoppers work in a different way, Some are very sophisticated and cost well over £100. Paintballs are scooped up and placed under pressure onto a stack in the feed port, this way they can be fed into your gun faster than gravity. In fact, some hoppers like the Dye Rotor can feed at rates of up to 50 balls per second. If you are using any electronically fired gun, you would do yourself a favour by fitting a force fed hopper.
Airsoft guns need magazines to feed the bb's into them. These are usually very cheap and some have a universal fitting. Always check to make sure that the magazine that you chssoe is compatible with your equipment.
Paintball and Airsoft Clothing
Paintball clothing is actually pretty good. It's not like army surplus, it is actually designed for the sport of paintball. It's usually tougher than surplus clothing and it usually has padding in all of the right areas. Some of the best clothing is made by Planet Eclipse and Dye. Paintball clothing also includes things that you may not think about like arm and knee pads and gloves.
Paintballs and BB's
Paintballs are not all the same. The quality varies wildly between manufacturer but it doesn't just stop there. The way that you store them can also have a huge effect on the quality. After all, remember that paintballs are a food stuff and so should be treated as such. They should be kept at room temperature, during very cold days, keep your paint warm or they will become brittle. During very warm days, keep them cool or they can become bouncy and swell. Either way, it's not good.
Airsoft BB's on the other hand, unlike paintballs only suffer from quality issues. We only sell the best Airsoft BB's so don't worry too much about which ones to buy. Of course airsoft BB's are not effected by temperature or moisture so there is no need to keep them warm or cool.
Paintball Pot Packs
Paintball pot packs are useful when you get a bit more into the sport and you tend to shoot more paint. Your hopper will typically hold around 200 paintballs so to take more out with you onto the field of play, you would use 100 or 140 shot pots. These are hard pots which protect the paint from damage as you dive about. The place to keep these pots is in a pot pack, that way you can get at them easily for fast refills. Pot packs are worn around the waist and the pots are inserted to the holders behind you. This way you can dive into cover without landing on them and they don't form a hard target in front of you where paintballs can easily burst taking you out of the game.
For Airsoft, it is usual to get yourself a tac vest so that multiple pouches can be fitted to carry magazines atc.
Paintball Air and Co2 - Which is best?
There are two types of propellant for guns, Compressed Air and Co2. It's worth spending a bit of time just relaxing and finding out as much as possible about compressed air or co2 so that you can avoid making any mistakes. As a general rule, if it needs a battery, then you need compressed air. If it doesn't then Co2 may be ok, But as with all rules, this isn't 100%. If you are in doubt, just give us a call in the paintball shop on 01757 707701 and we will be able to talk you through.
Compressed air is usually better for paintball guns, but it can highlight certain problems in worn paintball guns. Before we can go into why, we need to look into the difference between compressed air and co2. Want to know more, then read on...
Have a quick watch of this video that we made a few years ago, then read on.
Ok, still here, then lets go. Which is better Co2 or compressed air for Paintball.
Co2 and air are both gases but behave very differently under pressure. Co2, when compressed turns to liquid, where air just compresses. This means that air and co2 work very differently in a paintball bottle.
You fill a Co2 bottle by decanting liquid Co2 from a large donor bottle into your paintball bottle via a fill rig. This is done by chilling the paintball bottle down to a point where the pressure in the paintball bottle is lower than the donor bottle and as long as there is a dip tube fitted into the donor bottle, then liquid co2 will flow. Chilling the paintball bottle down is easy, you pressurise the paintball bottle with the donor bottle, shut off the donor bottle, then allow the paintball bottle to vent. As the co2 vents, the bottle chills down due to the venturi effect. As the bottle gets colder, the pressure inside the bottle drops allowing liquid from the larger donor bottle to flow into the smaller paintball bottle simply from the warmer co2 pressure above the liquid forcing the liquid co2 up the dip tube in the larger donor bottle.
Once you reach the required weight, you disconnect the larger bottle. This is why co2 bottles are sold in 7oz, 9oz, 12oz and 20oz sizes. The oz refers to the amount of co2 that should be decanted into your paintball bottle.
The pressure of the co2 vapour inside your paintball bottle at ambient temperature and at sea level will be around 800psi. As you fire your gun, vapour is used to propel the paintball. As the vapour is used, liquid co2 is allowed to change into vapour and the process continues. A very practical and efficient way of doing things you would think. And it is if you were shooting 1 shot per minute but co2 has a huge down side.
As you remove the vapour that shoots the paintball, liquid co2 does indeed change to a vapour and replaces that which was used. But the liquid co2 needs energy to do this, and it takes this energy from the metal in the bottle (ie heat). As you shoot your paintball gun, the bottle starts to chill down, quite often icing up if you are really rinsing the opposition. As the bottle gets colder, the pressure of the co2 vapour decreases giving you steadily whole and lower powered shots. The pressure difference is aprox 11psi per 1 degree. So if you start at 15 degrees and shoot until the vapour in the bottle reaches -10 degrees (and it will go colder), you will loose 11 x 15 psi (165psi), about 20 %. Taking your shots down from 300 fps to around 240 fps. Clearly there is a problem.
Another downside of co2 is the fact that it does expand (Which is how it changes from a liquid to a vapour), this expansion is around 18X. So imagine you have a delicate solenoid in your electronic paintball gun and you get a drop of co2 into it, that then expands by 18 times. Boom goes the delicate solenoid and probably over £100 of your hard earned cash.
This isn't a problem with mechanical guns and it's why you will still see beginners gun packages coming with co2 bottles.
So how is compressed air different. Well, air can be compressed to an very high pressure, the pressure just gets higher and higher for our practical purposes. So where in a co2 bottle the pressure is around 800psi, you can compress air in a paintball bottle up to 4500psi. Clearly dumping 4500psi straight into your paintball gun would be a disaster, so a regulator is fitted that takes whatever the pressure is in your air bottle down to your chosen output pressure. This is usually 800psi (Paintball guns were designed to run on co2 originally so it made sense to have the output pressure of an air bottle set to 800psi). This output pressure is very constant and is not effected by temperature like co2 is. So no matter how fast you pull the trigger, you get the same velocity.
Easy, that's why most paintball guns now run on compressed air rather than co2. It should be noted that even though mechanical paintball guns can run on co2 without problem, you should not use co2 in an electronic paintball gun.
As a rule, everything can run on compressed air, but only mechanical paintball guns can run on air or co2.
If you have any questions whatsoever about air or co2, just give us a call in the shop on 01757 707701