What Paintball Loader?
What Paintball Loader is Best for Me?
The world of paintball is packed with amazing, high-tech gear that can do things no-one in paintball could imagine just a few short years ago! From paintball guns that talk and goggles with lenses that can be changed in seconds to loaders that can feed ultra-brittle tournament paintballs at over ten shots per second, paintball technology is an amazing thing! However, all this amazing paintball technology, all with price tags attached to it that can boggle the mind, can make it tough for a player to decipher what piece of paintball gear is best for them! A prime example is the world of paintball loaders and paintball hoppers – which paintball loader is right for me? There’s no simple answer, of course, because there never is, but Valken is here to talk every paintball player through the selection of paintball hoppers and paintball loaders and help every player decide what paintball loader is best for their setup and playing style!
Gravity Fed Loaders
Gravity fed paintball loaders, most commonly called hoppers, are where paintball guns first started getting their paintballs fed into them from things that weren’t ten-round paintball tubes or extended stick feeds. Oil cans and other homemade devices soon gave way to Ammo Box loaders that held a few dozen rounds, but this didn’t last and soon players were shooting it out with Whaler loaders, Sight Feeders from Indian Springs and Viewloaders on top of their paintball guns that held 100 paintballs or more! The happy medium paintball found between the size of a paintball loader and its weight once loaded with paintballs settled at around 200 .68 caliber paintballs and that’s where it remains to this day. Modern gravity fed paintball hoppers and loaders are hollow plastic shells with a flip-lid to allow reloading, that rely on gravity to drop paintballs through the loader’s feed neck and into a paintball gun where they’re fired at the bad guys. These loaders generally only cost a few dollars thanks to their simplicity, but the catch is, they can only feed so fast and they do sometimes jam as paintballs stack up around their feed neck. This is why many players can be seen shaking their paintball gun while playing the game. Some new gravity fed loaders employ a special feed tray within to help alleviate this issue, but a gravity fed basic paintball hopper is still best left to entry-level paintball guns, pump pantball guns and basic mechanical paintball guns like the Tippmann Cronus, Tippmann Stryker, the Valken Blackhawk or the Spyder.
Electronic Paintball Loader
The semiautomatic paintball gun, once it was refined and made relatively reliable by companies like FASTech, Tippmann and Sheridan, quickly exposed the basic gravity fed loader’s biggest shortcoming – players could only rely on it to feed paintballs so fast before chops and jams caused issues. This got even worse as tournament-level paintball guns like the Automag and Autococker evolved to shoot even faster, and the solution was found in the electronic paintball loader! Modern electronic paintball loaders like the Viewloader Revolution, the ProToyz Speedster or the Valken VMax+ loader utilize paddles within the loader, spun by a small motor and powered by 9volt batteries, to agitate paintballs inside, preventing feed jams and ensuring feed rates easily over ten paintballs per second! These motorized paintball loaders allow paintball guns to shoot faster without jams, broken paintballs or other malfunctions and can do it all while remaining relatively affordable! Ideal for modern mechanical paintball guns like the EMek, Autocockers, the Axe and Empire Mini and other mid-level paintball guns, the electronic paintball loader is a great upgrade that will help any serious player enjoy a better day at the paintball field at scenario games, mechanical tournaments or pick-up games between experienced at the local field!
Tournament Paintball Loaders
High-tech tournament paintball loaders evolved alongside electronic paintball guns as their rates of fire increased to blistering speeds. Serious tournament paintball players or owners of tournament level paintball guns need the most consistent feed rates possible, and need a loader that can provide those feed rates even when the most brittle tournament paintballs are dumped inside! That means advanced technology and specialized designs to ensure the loader can keep consistent pressure on a stack of paintballs ready to be fed into the paintball gun, without crushing paintballs together, and a motor and sensor system that can respond instantaneously as the player shoots and reloads! High-tech tournament paintball loaders like the Virtue Spire, Bunkerkings CTRL, the Dye LT-R and Dye Rotor R2 and the HK Army Speed are easily taken apart for cleaning even during a game, pull electronic power from AA batteries and feature lightweight, often convertiable shells to allow players to taylor their setup between high-capacity and compact size depending on where they might play on the field! As these loaders are generally the most expensive paintball loaders available, they aren’t for everyone, but serious players with paintball guns like the Luxe, an Eclipse Geo IV, LV 1.6, a Shocker AMP or a Dye M3+ will find a pro-level tournament paintball loader an absolutely critical piece of equipment. Pro paintball teams like the Ironmen and X-Factor use the Rotor, while Houston Heat and Edmonton Impact use the Virtue Spire and Dynasty can often be found with the HK Army Speed on top of their paintball guns!
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