Paintball Gun Buying Tips

Want to avoid the mistakes your predecessors have made in buying their first (or even second) paintball gun? Many players have made hasty decisions when buying their gun and have ended up with some real buyer’s remorse. Well, below are some tips that will help you in choosing the gun that is right for you.

First, you must do your homework. Regardless of your price range you will be able to find several models to choose from. Study the paintball guns features so you can weigh their strengths and weaknesses. Plenty of websites exist with in-depth reviews of the different models-all from actual paintball players who have tested or bought the model. If more than one review is down on a certain model, be cautious and ask the sales person lots of questions.

Second, don’t buy a gun just because it looks cool. Looks are the first thing that may attract your attention, but don’t be fooled by a great looking exterior. Hold the gun. Make sure it is comfortable and not to heavy for you to handle. Also, look at gun. What is it made of? Metal? Plastic? It is obviously your preference; just make sure you know what you are getting.

Third, remember that you will need to maintain and clean this gun a lot. On the internet you can find most instruction manual for products. If you are really interested in a certain model, locate its instruction manual. Try to discern from the manual how difficult it will be to disassemble and reassemble. After every game you should clean your marker thorougly which includes taking it apart and cleaning. Also keep your own skill level in this department in mind.

Fourth, play the game a few times before you run out and buy a gun. Do you want an unused gun lying around? Of course you will love the sport, but what if you don’t? Play a few times and ask your fellow players how they like their own guns. Also, if you borrow or rent, take notice of what you are playing with. If you like it and are comfortable with it, you may want to purchase a similar model.

Fifth, be selective and smart when purchasing an aftermarket barrel. You may think from your limited knowledge and experience that a very long barrel is key for you to shoot straight. This is completely false. Well, not completely, but it is not totally true. Research has shown that a barrel that is 6 to 8 inches long is all that is required to stabilize your paintball. Pro players, however, usually stick with a paintball gun barrel that is 12 inches or 14 inches for staighter shooting. Keep in mind that a longer barrel will mean a heavier gun and more surface area to be hit by your opponent.

Sixth, if you are somewhat new to shooting a gun, stay away from a fully automatic and maybe even a semi-automatic weapon. You’ll end up waisting paintballs. But worse, you may find that you have less control of your paintball gun, which includes poor aim and shooting technique. Keep your experience level in mind when you are shopping. You can always upgrade your gun if you feel you are good enough to make the jump.

Again, most importantly really do your homework, whether it is on the net or with your buddies. Know the market and don’t be fooled by a salesperson with little knowledge. Now, have some confidence and go buy that gun.

The Best Way To Refill Portable Paintball CO2 and Compressed Air Tanks

Without a commercial paintball field, back yard woodsball players are often faced with the dilemma of where to get their air tanks refilled. While paintball guns are powered by portable CO2 or compressed air tanks, these must be refilled often for continued play. Depending on how close you live to the nearest air tank refill station, your ability to play as often as you want may be extremely limited. Caught up with the excitement of the game, most players don’t think to check tank refill availability until after they’ve already bought their equipment – only to find out they won’t be able to use it as much as they want.

Fortunately, with a little ingenuity and creative thought process, the question of how to refill your paintball gun air tanks can be less daunting. If you find there are no filling stations for your portable CO2 or compressed air tanks in your area, you can always buy your own refill equipment, however this is the most expensive route. Before doing this, check a few non-paintball related sources for potential tank refills that may be in your area, just waiting to be discovered.

Whether you bought your paintball equipment from a local establishment or an online store, the paintball gun air tanks come empty and must be filled. The first places to look for filling up your paintball air tanks are established refill stations in/near your community. Walmart used to offer a CO2 tank refill/exchange program and this was very convenient (as it seems nearly everyone lives somewhat close to a Walmart somewhere), however they stopped offering this several years ago.

Other known establishments that fill portable CO2 or compressed air tanks for paintball guns are Dick’s Sporting Goods and large hunting gear stores, such as Cabella’s and Bass Pro Shop. If you live close to a commercial paintball field that rents out guns and supplies, often these establishments have equipment that can refill paintball air tanks as well. Companies such as these charge nominal fees for this service (usually less than $5/tank) and this is the easiest and cheapest way to refill CO2 or compressed air tanks.

If you don’t have a commercial paintball field in your town or live close enough to one of the large hunting or sports gear stores, there are a few other places to check. First look for a paintball supplies store to see if they offer a tank refill service or at least know where to go. Unfortunately, these shops are even harder to find than commercial fields as most paintball equipment is bought online, however it’s worth checking. Sometimes local gun shops will offer portable air tank refills as they may also sell paintball or airsoft equipment. They may also know of where to go if they don’t offer the service.

If these sources are barren, there are other places to look however may require a small investment of your own refill station equipment. Whether you use CO2 or compressed air, you will need a bulk tank and a cylinder refill station kit. Refill station kits include the air line, fittings and valves needed to transfer air from a larger tank to a smaller portable tank. Keep in mind however, CO2 tanks and refill kits are different than compressed air tanks and refill kits and generally cannot be mixed and matched.

Remember, if you’re going to set up your own paintball air tank refill station, you will still have to find refills for your bulk size tanks as well, however this is generally easier than finding refills for the small, portable cylinders used directly on your marker. If you choose bulk size tanks and equipment to refill portable CO2 cylinders, the smallest size bulk CO2 tanks range from 20 lbs. and up to 35 lbs.; these tanks look like scuba tanks and can be bought online at paintball shops that sell equipment for commercial fields.

Another great source of bulk CO2 tanks are companies that sell welding supplies. These groups are also usually the first place to look for refilling bulk size CO2 tanks. Sometimes welding supply companies will also offer bulk CO2 tank rentals and many times this is even cheaper and better than actual ownership. As an owner of a bulk size air tank, you are responsible for its expiration date and subsequent costs for getting it safety hydro-tested and re-stamped. If the tank you own becomes damaged, you can be stuck with a tank that no one will fill; however rental tanks can be exchanged for new ones with updated hydro-testing safety ratings.

Refilling a portable CO2 cylinder from a bulk size tank is fairly easy and requires a refill station kit and a tank scale. Tank scales are small, electronic scales that will weigh your portable CO2 cylinder so you can see when it gets full. These can be bought at most paintball stores however are not specific to paintball and any digital scale can be used; CO2 tank scales are best because you can hang the portable tank from the scale for easier use. A pair of safety goggles should also be worn when transferring air from the bulk tank into the smaller cylinder.

With all nozzles and ASA adaptors in the ‘off’ position, attach the refill station kit lines to both the bulk tank and portable cylinder to be filled. Open the ASA adaptor on the portable CO2 tank and hang it from the tank scale. First record the weight of the empty CO2 tank, then tare the scale to zero. Open the valve on the bulk CO2 tank so you can hear the gas rushing into the portable cylinder; fill until the tank weighs the correct number of ounces (corresponding to the ounce size of the tank; either 9, 12, 16 or 20oz.’s). For best measures, only fill portable CO2 tanks up to 1oz. less than max capacity; this leaves room for gas expansion due to temperature changes in storage or travel, etc.

Setting up your own refill station for compressed air is a similar set up as CO2, however refilling the portable tanks for your paintball gun is even easier. Just like the CO2 refill station equipment, you will need a bulk size high pressure air tank and refill station kit. Scuba tanks make excellent bulk size compressed air tanks and are commonly available from 30 cubic feet up to 100 and 3000psi. You can buy scuba tanks of this size online or at any dive shop for under $300 depending on the size you want. You can also purchase huge, industrial size bulk compressed air tanks however these can cost upwards of $1000 and (just like commercial size CO2 bulk tanks) are probably most cost effective to rent.

Filling bulk size compressed air tanks is often offered at welding supply and commercial air tank companies, however can be done with any commercial size air compressor. Keep in mind however the size air compressor needed to refill bulk size high pressure air tanks are not the $250 model used to pressure wash your house. The size air compressor required to refill air tanks generally cost between $4000 and $13,000; generally cost prohibitive for the recreational user. Commercial size air compressors can sometimes be found with middle to large size construction companies who may also be willing to help refill your air tanks for a nominal fee.

Transferring air from bulk size compressed air tanks to smaller, portable high pressure air tanks that fit on your paintball gun is even easier than the CO2 refill process. Because compressed air tanks have a pressure gauge, you do not need a scale to weigh them to tell when they become full. Simply attaching the refill kit hoses or scuba fill station to both tanks, opening the valves and watching the pressure gauges will suffice. As high pressure air tanks are not subject to pressure changes with temperature, you do not have to make any adjustments to account for this (like you do when refilling portable CO2 tanks).

Before purchasing an expensive allotment of paintball gear, check your location to see how easy (or difficult) it will be to refill your paintball gun air tanks. Depending on availability, make the choice of CO2 or high pressure air based on what you find. Despite the fact that compressed air is generally better for paintball guns, it’s best to choose which air source you use based on your ability to get your tanks refilled for the most consistent play. With the right equipment and information however, it can be very affordable to become your own paintball gun air tank refill station!

Gun Dog – Episode 1

It was over a year ago. I was happy with one dog. I wasn’t looking for another. I was perfectly content with one aging semi cross-eyed, pure breed, male golden retriever who wasn’t exactly the greatest retriever but I hadn’t exactly trained him to be. He would go retrieve a bird if he could see it, but he hasn’t caught on to looking up in the sky when we are shooting. Hey, I have an idea, Dakota. Why don’t you stop licking your balls for a minute and take a look up into the FREAKING SKY! I’M HUNTING HERE FOR CHRIST SAKE!

But that was all before I came to be dog sitting, somewhat permanently, my daughter’s female Catahoula puppy that, eight months later, came into heat for the first time.

I was consistent with keeping the two dogs apart, separated by a temporary cage while in the house, and let outside in shifts. I was perfect in letting one out in the backyard while the other stayed inside. I had maintained this procedure for three weeks religiously. How long does a dog stay in heat anyway, I wondered? What I didn’t count on was the random action by my son, X-man who got sick of Dakota, the retriever, howling to get out. So he let him out. It was only for a couple of minutes he said.

“You what?” I asked, incredulously, grabbing a chunk of hair out of my head. “Did something happen?”

“I don’t know but they got stuck together.” He replied.

“Oh, shit!” I wailed.

“It’s probably nothing, dad. I don’t think she’s pregnant.” My son remarked, the teenage canine obstetrician.

“I hope you’re right” I said, knowing I was wrong. And I was right.

And sixty-three days later I was trying to play birthing assistant to a very pregnant, panting dog. I had all the equipment. I had the latex gloves, I had the rolls of paper towels, I had the KY jelly in case one got stuck, I had a can of the first milk in case she wouldn’t nurse. I had towelettes and scissors and nose suckers and hot water bottles. But I was useless because the mother’s millions of years old instinct took over and she did everything she was supposed to do. Five pups later she was finished.

What I had was a group of blackish, shiny pups except for one grey and spotted black one. They looked like miniature Labradors, way cuter than human babies with all of their whining and crying and little scrunchy faces. What are you crying about you big baby? Oh I’m sorry, I’m sorry, drop and give me twenty, and not those girl pushups you tried to get away with last time.

Oh the plans swirling around in my head. I hadn’t trained a hunting dog since I was a teenager. He was a German Shorthair pointer named Brownie who could point, and find a bird in a hundred yard blind retrieve on hand signals and whistle alone. I once shot a wild band tailed pigeon that sailed far down into the heavily wooded canyon below, and Brownie raced after it. A half hour later just as I was getting sick with worry, Brownie returned, bird in mouth. Another time when we were jump shooting ducks at Grey Lodge State Wildlife Area in California, he kept bringing back ducks we didn’t even shoot.

But I had spent a lot of time training that dog. Could I do it again with less effort? German Shorthairs are not natural retrievers like Golden Retrievers are but half of a Golden Retriever’s natural retrieving ability should at least be equal to a German Shorthair’s. I mainly wanted a retriever for duck hunting and occasional dove shoots. Hunting upland game in Florida, namely quail, isn’t worth the effort unless you can get on a private plantation. The once legendary Florida Bobwhite Quail numbers have dwindled severely over the years for various suspected reasons like habitat change, limited natural fires, the type of grasses being grown, pesticides, and even such a seemingly innocuous reason as red imported fire ants eating the eggs. That’s a pity because quail hunting is really enjoyable when there are actually quail to be had.

The first few weeks I kept the puppies in a plastic kiddy pool that I had put in the enclosed porch next to my bedroom. I kept a portable heater on to keep the temperature toasty at around 90 degrees. All I had to do was feed the mamma dog as much food and water as she could ingest. The pups ate, slept and grew. At four weeks the grey and black spotted female my son named Grizzly climbed out of the kiddie pool. And then it was game on taping up cardboard extenders around the perimeter of the pool while Grizzly soon learned how to scratch at the joints until the tape came loose and she could slip between the cardboard to escape to the wood floor to take a leak. Ah, nothing like the feel of wood on your bare paws.

When they were seven weeks old, I took a trip to the feed store and picked up their first of three series of shots, the seven in one shot, and a wormer. I studied YouTube carefully on how to give a dog a shot. Always loathing shots myself, I would now have to give them one or face a big fat vet bill for my squeamishness.

I picked the mellowest puppy first, and the biggest who I named Whalen. I figured he’d be a cinch. All he ever did was lie around looking for a free meal. I carefully inserted the needle into the saline ampoule, sucked out the liquid, and then injected it into the ampoule of freeze dried serum. After lightly shaking the mixture, I re-inserted the needle and sucked out the serum.

I was nervous, my palms were sweating but it was crucial to remain calm. Animals will sense your fear and run like hell if they read “I’m about to give you a shot and I don’t know what the frick I’m doing” anywhere in your body language. What I used was misdirection. A big, fat tablespoon of peanut butter with honey dribbled over it.

I picked Whalen up set him on the counter and pushed his nose into the peanut butter. Then I pinched some skin together on the back of his upper neck and inserted the needle. Only it didn’t insert. Shit. I thought I had done it right. I tried it again but Whalen started to squirm. I pushed his head back into the peanut butter but the spoon squirted away. I grabbed the spoon and had a wad of peanut butter stuck to my fingers. Then I readjusted my hold on the puppy, smearing peanut butter all over his head. I was sweating profusely now. I picked the hypodermic up and ran it under the skin and slowly injected the shot. After that I messaged the area lightly and then put the puppy down. My nerves were shot. No wonder most people take their dogs to the Vet.

I only had four dogs to go. But they went much easier. In fact the most hyper dog, Grizzly, was the easiest. Maybe she had the thinnest skin.

They were still a little young for formal training but not too young for house breaking. I had started them at a few weeks old with paper in the bottom of the kiddie pool. Then I built a little wooden enclosure in the kitchen with the paper on one side and their bedding on the other. They seemed mixed up at first, but over time more and more of their messes ended on the paper.

I put some of the used paper on the backyard and started taking the pups out when they were about four weeks old. I had watched the video, “House break your puppy in twenty-four hours” anyone can do it.

Yeah? Apparently these pups hadn’t watched the video. It was puppy peeing mayhem once they got out of their little pen. They peed outside, and then they peed inside. They pooped outside and they pooped inside. House break? More like house wreck. And no, I couldn’t take them outside every twenty minutes during the day, I work for a living.

At eight weeks I was pretty attached to all of the pups but knew my sanity required giving some of them new homes. We had no problem finding potential owners for three of the puppies, and gave them their walking papers. Only two were left, Whalen and Grizzly, the two opposites. Whalen looked like a lab and Grizzly looked more like the classic Catahoula. I really only wanted to keep one but my son wanted Grizzly and I wanted to keep Whalen.

The first test I gave them was the bird wing on a fishing pole test. I pulled one of the frozen duck wings out of a bag in the freezer and tied it on ten feet of line on my fishing pole I never use. Oh, you think it odd that a person would keep a bag of frozen duck wings in the freezer? In case of emergency, break open bag and grab one wing.

Sitting in my lawn chair in the backyard, I flipped the wing towards Whalen. He looked interested but he was just too large and fat to push his underdeveloped muscles into action. I flipped it on top of his head and he grabbed it with his teeth. I gave him praise and pulled it out of his mouth. Then I flipped it a couple feet away. He laboriously gathered himself up and slowly walked over to it. Wow, that retriever blood runs thick in this dog.

I passed it off as his oversized features impeding his nimbleness. At this point in his growth, his ears and feet were way too large for the rest of him. In fact, if I were to just poke one of his legs and feet from around a corner you would expect it to be attached to something like a Great Dane. And his ears? More like Dumbo ears. This could be one of those freaky genetic mutations that happen from time to time. Cross breeding can be tricky.

Grizzly, on the other hand, weighing about half as much as Whalen, bolted right after the bird wing and chased it with enthusiasm. I let her catch it a couple of times and had to pry it out of her mouth as she savagely attempted to devour it.

I hate to jump to conclusions based on just one test. Brownie used to chase that damn bird wing until he was exhausted, and he hated retrieving in the beginning. I would have to find something a little more definitive to base my findings on. A trip to a Bass Pro Shop led me to find the perfect specimen. A dummy retrieving mallard duck that looked more like a raggedy doll but made more durable.

I tossed it across the tile floor at the house and the pups skidded into the door chasing it and then both of them latched on to it as they wrestled for control. They loved it. They ran after it over and over. Now who’s questioning the pedigree of my dogs, eh? They had the desire, now I would just have to shape and mold it into something resembling a retriever.