It seems Mr. C.'s curiosity struck a nerve or two yesterday. As a consequence VFTD feels obliged to pass along some info and continue the 50 cal conversation--at least for another day. Among the info received was a retail price comparison that suggests 50 cal prices could undercut current 68 cal pricing anywhere from around 15% up to around 40% for tourney grade paint. These prices apply to a particular market and might not be matched across the board but provide a place to begin. I am not dismissing that 40% difference out of hand in part because my paint guy suggested some months ago the manufacturing cost reduction could easily go as high as 40%--not that the two circumstances are equivalent. Be that as it may the other consideration is the pricing given for comparison was msrp and at least in my neck of the woods msrp doesn't mean a whole lot. What would be really interesting to discover is the mark-up given the 50 cal prices quoted relative to the 68 cal mark-ups. That would give us a clearer idea of a couple of things. For example, is the 50 cal paint a money maker or is it a means to an end? (Remember, at this point GI Milsim is not a paint manufacturer. Their paint is being produced for them so my question is: Are they taking a mark-up in distribution and if so how much does it affect the retail profit margins?)
In addition it would seem that at least all the GI Milsim 50 cal is PEG based. (I don't know if everyone producing 50 cal is PEG also or not.) Simply put this means the present results are based on the most expensive variant of paint production. That doesn't leave a lot of room for improvement but, then again, it may not matter.
Btw, should GI Milsim or anyone else involved wish to dispute anything posted with respect to 50 cal etc. VFTD would be happy to post, unaltered and in its entirety, any authorised communication in an effort to give readers a full & fair view of the subject. That, of course, goes for any other topic as well and applies to teams, players, industry and paintball-related organizations who wish to make a public statement regarding VFTD content.
While the promotional tactics and claims offered by the 50 cal crowd have a certain odor about them I'm not particularly bothered. As a cynic I suppose that's what I expect. And if the 50 cal peeps can convince enough field operators and retailers to make the move it probably won't matter whether or not it's cheaper for the customer, it'll happen eventually anyway. I can even see it being welcomed amongst the milsim members of the scenario crowd and siphoning off those rec players motivated by playing war games--all well and good. But a couple of things do concern me. One is safety and the other is a short-sighted view that allows another "new idea" to sweep in and alter the competitive game--again--without taking the time to think through the consequences. On the safety front it seems as if almost nothing has been done to test the 50 cal ball within the environment it will be used and with the current equipment. We don't even know what velocities are either practical and/or safe (300 fps gives significantly reduced performance compared to a 68 cal ball) yet it's full speed ahead. Apparently the paint passes thru the loose weave upper half of field netting and I'm hearing that it does the same with the venting on some goggles. Is any of this stuff a concern or just an excuse to re-make the entire market?