Thursday, November 19, 2009

Show Me the Money

The Millennium Series, impeccable masters of timing that they are, announce a confirmed Germany event date (but not a location) in the aftermath of a massive riot police raid of an indoor German tournament this past weekend and with no fanfare and even less surprise announce the introduction of 50 cal as a legal paintball for series event use. The letter sent to teams can be seen here on the P8ntballer website. As discussed here (at VFTD) one of the MS owners, Laurent Hamet, was (and is) a proponent of the 50 cal paintball. One interesting question is why?

The Millennium kids tell us why. "As a result we will open up our events to new companies ..." New sponsors prepared to pay. Of course they also say, "There is a growing demand to allow other calibers to participate in The Millennium Series ..." So I guess we are left having to pick and choose what's true and what isn't. Unless you've heard or been part of the growing demand to allow other calibers--in which case please fill me in 'cus I missed it. All kidding aside this sort of, let's call it hyperbole, is the stock and trade of paintball promoters and industry and anyone who has been around the competitive game for any time at all knows how this particular game is played. Now nobody with a modicum of sense begrudges either industry or promoters a profit -- unless of course they are delivering a shoddy product. (I'll leave deciding that part up to you.)

What concerns me about this move is a couple of things. One, it opens the door for the other big leagues to make the jump and "blame" their acquiescence on the other guy. "Hey, would Millennium allow this if it wasn't okay?" And, Two, as far as I know there still hasn't been any definitive effort made to test the 50 cal balls against the current ASTM standards. On that basis alone the safety issue is an unknown.

Beyond that just how are the two calibers going to be integrated? If 50 cal performance is inferior at "normal" velocities is the MS gonna allow higher velocities for the small ball? Can a 50 cal team carry twice as much paint as a 68 cal team? The questions are almost endless. But my biggest question is -- Does anybody responsible for this decision actually give a damn about competitive balance and fairness? On its face it sure doesn't look like it.


Crusificton said...

Punkworks testing:

Shows that there isn't a huge difference between .50 cal and .68 at the same velocity. The ball does drop sooner but compensating by changing the angle of your gun more than you would with .68 corrects for this.

The actual footage and vector models are here:

So based on that information it doesn't seem that the MS will need to change FPS for the new brand.

Based on what Richmond Italia's claims, there is no cause for concern in safety equipment such as masks since they've tested that, but no data concrete data is available other than his word.

Baca Loco said...

I've seen it and barrel elevation isn't inconsequential in play and frankly I don't believe all the balls broke--except one 50 cal bouncer. Do you really expect anyone to believe Richmond without documentation? Why. Who would launch a "revolution" without KNOWING exactly what his revolution could and couldn't do? Or,without doing rudimentary due diligence prior to lauching the revolution? Either they are incompetent or lying or so filled with hubris they think they do whatever they like and make it stick.

Tugais said...

"Laurent Hamet, was (and is) a proponent of the 50 cal paintball. One interesting question is why?"

A new french .50cal team is being created to participate to the next Millennium season. We don't know the team's name, the owner, the sponsors or even the level where they will play. I'm so curious, but time will tell.

Anonymous said...


Are you on the .50 cal payroll, or one of the easily manipulated customers the .50 bandwagon is hoping will jump on?

Distance is not the problem on the tournament field. Yes, you can get the .50 cal to the other end of the tournament field if you angle the gun higher.

But then the paintball has to travel further, meaning it gets to the target later. That's a big problem on the break and even snap shooting.

And by the time the paintball gets there, having taken a longer flight path, on top of being slower just because it's 38% of the mass of a .68 cal paintball but only 54% of the cross-sectional area, it's also even more slower because it's been flying through the air longer and thus had longer time for air resistance to slow it down. Which means bounces. Lots of them.

And even when it does break, the hits more often look like spatter or rub.

Jii said...

Also considering the lower mass and force of impact, will we see a dramatic increase in penalties as the hits are more difficult to feel even on the "obvious" areas such as Elbows, knees etc?

Crusificton said...

As far as paintball science goes I trust the results of Punkworks more than any other self-proclaimed scientist. Their methods are reproducible, and although their samples I believe should be higher they still provide something to work with.

Their results I feel should be separated from what Richmond said since their testing is independent. Do I trust Richmond? Of course I can't trust him. Like I said I won't until I see data and independent testing.

No, I am not on a .50 cal payroll. If I was I would sell out since I would enjoy a lot more paintball each week. I have not drank the koolaid either. I still remain hopeful for .50 cal as an alternative caliber especially for practices. If the price is anywhere near what they claim then I can practice twice a week opposed to only Sundays.

Whoever Anonymous is, it seems like either you know and have shot the balls or you're just speculating. If a team choses to shoot that caliber then how is that a problem for OTB shooting or snapshots if they chose to shoot it? Who's problem is it if they made a conscious choice?

From the data the ball does slow down much more rapidly than .68cal, which is why they explained that they needed to elevate the marker in order to hit the target. I'm sure they'll measure the FPS at several different areas (Initial, middle, end) of the balls flight path in the future and juxtapose it to .68 cal.

As for the hits looking like splatter or rub I can't vouch or deny any of that. I don't have that kind of data. If you have it then by all means shoot a target 20 times and measure the circumference of each shot from .50 cal and .68 cal and post your results.

To Jii: Only time will tell with that. Yes, the force is lower, but based on some opinions you still feel it, but it doesn't sting as much as .68

Anonymous said...

Because .50 cal paintballs slow down quicker and have to travel further due to the higher arc, a .68 cal paintball shot at the same velocity gets to the target 25% sooner.

And it is more likely to bounce.

You can't practice with a .50 cal paintball and play with a .68 cal paintball. Well, you can, but you will be practicing sucking, since you have to aim the .50 cal higher and it takes longer to get to the opponent, so then when you do what you did in practice during the match you're going to be missing.

Crusificton said...

Reballs. Reballs have to be shot at a lower FPS than a paintball and run smaller than .68 caliber. Teams such as Joy Division practice with these and I don't see them sucking due to it.

Teams and players are capable of adapting, and taking lessons from one projectile to the next. It is possible you haven't or can't, but I don't see any reason why other people won't be able to. Sure the angle of your gun will change but that's not going to change the position of a lane or the speed of your snapshot, or even you ability to pinch, edge, bunker, or reload. If you are able to practice with one caliber that is nearly equivalent to another then why shouldn't you be able to adjust.

Where is your data on 25% slower? Show me proof or don't bother using figures. I'll agree it drops sooner, but where are you pulling that number from?

Baca Loco said...

The margin of differences you think you can overcome between 50 and 68 cal, practice to competition, are precisely some of those things that seperate the best from the good from the ordinary and if you are having to adjust in competition you're behind the curve.

Crusificton said...

So teams can vary their practices. .50cal most of the season. .68cal a month or so before an event.

There's no real data for or against the idea that players will be able to switch between the two successfully.

Divisional teams will still suck, but now they won't have to spend as much trying not to suck.

Anonymous said...

Crusification or arguments fail.

You say there isnt data on the fact that people will be able to practice with .50 cal, but everyone knows what the downsides of it are now.

How do you expect to get better if you don't play the game as it is? Your lanes will be to high or to low if you overcompensate. Balls flyeig slower makes it easy to dodge and harder to snap shot. You'll get bounces at distance, probably at the breakout...

In competition it will be alot harder for refs and easier to cheat. Also if it is harder to feel the hit I can see more penalties...

I don't say that .50 cal is not worth it if the price is really lower. But trying to make both calibers work at the same time like you defend doesn't make sense and will not work.

Crusificton said...

Well Sir you have no imagination.

You can't possibly tell me you know the downsides unless you yourself can actually prove you have used the product.

Based upon the sound signature calculations on Punkworks a .50cal ball when compared to a .68 at 125 ft. lost about 10fps when compared to .68 cal. I do understand that an FPS loss is significant when trying to get kills OTB but teams and players can adapt. Whether it means you have to cut a few more miliseconds off getting your gun up and ramping or having mixed calibers on your team with Back players using .68 and fronts using .50 cal. There really are plenty of options.

A loss of 10fps in a snapfight is not going to ruin a players games. Current gun, regulator, paint, barrel combinations yield similar fluctuations. Bounces occur on the 150' PSP field OTB so that is not really an argument. We see the pros with Ultra Evil bounce. It will happen. If they're able to reduce the shell's thickness then that may increase it's breakability at those distances.

I'll repeat. Reballs. Not the same as a box of Ultra Evil, but you can still get quality practices. If you haven't tried reball practices then you really don't understand that it is possible.

Players and refs are capable of adapting, as they should be able to. No one said that the ball didn't sting or you couldn't feel it, only that the force would be less. I personally haven't been shot with it yet, but I do look forward to the opportunity to play with it and actually put it to the test before I judge it.

The game is dynamic so "playing as is" does not mean much to me. I do believe if the product is capable of what they advertise or at least close to it then people will adapt to it. There's no reason two calibers can't exist side by side if they're both safe, non-toxic, and there is a demand for it.

Anonymous said...

That's like saying I can't possibly tell you that the sun is f'ing hot unless I've been there.

I don't need to go to the sun to know that it's hot. And I don't need to shoot .50 cal (although I have shot .50 cal) to know that it is slower, breaks less, doesn't go as far, leaves smaller hits, and is in every way inferior to .68 with the potential exception of price.

Lots of things can be proven with some math and deductive reasoning. That's why they don't even test planes outside of the computer anymore. But I guess Boeing doesn't really know that the plane will fly until after they build it, right?

Crusificton said...

I will disagree that speed, breakibility, distance, and markability are less than .68, but cost is the motivation behind the caliber. Even if the product performed 25% worse than .68 cal, but is 50% less in cost then that's still a worthy trade in my opinion. If only to get more people into the game and switch to .68 for tournaments if they so choose.

Boeing would not have the ability to even design aircrafts had it not been for generations of men and women who wanted to fly and tested new ideas and succeeded and failed. That is why I say you have no imagination.

Anonymous said...

It's not lack of imagination to say that planes with no wings won't fly. That's just the truth.

You can disagree about .50 cal being worse, but that just makes you wrong. It is worse.

25% worse performance is not worth 50% cost reduction. That's why people pay $1500 for a gun that is 10% better than the $300 gun.

Not to mention .50 cal is not going to be 50% cheaper anyway.

anonachris said...

Missiles don't have wings. Blimps and balloons don't either. Many helicopters don't either.

Now, they may not be "planes" but that's because the definition of a plane is an aircraft with a fixed wing.

I'm not sure how he can declare something as definitively worse. Please try to reconsider.

Perhaps you have evaluated it as worse for you. What does that have to do with everyone else? Do you dictate what is good and what is bad for everyone else to use?

Please post the rest of your preferred gear list so we can all pick what is best.


But really, everything has tradeoffs. Going back to Mags (blenders) and Cockers (tons of money & effort to make it work)... Angels (fast but inaccurate) and original Shockers (huge, slow bricks but accurate).

I've got no problem with someone choosing 50cal. Just understand there are some tradeoffs and it's likely the performance tradeoffs are not that great (like what I listed above with the guns was entirely exaggerated and the differences were somewhat marginal. Well, pneu/4x4 Shockers were bricks).

Anonymous said...

.50 cal compared to .68 cal is a pretty easy evaluation


Carry more shots for same mass/volume
Slightly to moderately less expensive per shot


Reduced range
Less energy
Smaller break
Smaller hit zone
Possibly less accurate, depending who you ask (and ignoring unsubstantiated marketing hype)
Requires expensive new purchases or upgrades to existing equipment

As this is a blog mainly about competitive paintball, the important thing is that a team shooting .50 cal against a team shooting .68 cal will be at an extreme competitive disadvantage, unless the velocity is raised significantly, or there is a magic .50 cal paintball coming that has higher density than the .68 cal ball and can be shot at 300 fps without breaking things.

Anonymous said...

OK Anon, lets look at your list:

Slower, yes, but if everyone is shooting 50 cal it maters not (and lets face it thats what the 50 cal people want!)

Range, who would like to bet that the fields will get smaller to compensate? Less estate/bunkers/netting needed, promoter happy

Less energy, great for the punters. How many times have you been asked "Does it hurt". nuff said.

Smaller hit zone, Your closser, probably at a higher BPS (Cos cost isn't an issue anymore which is why they droped it right!) so hit them more!

Acuracy. Well most of the coaching I've done revolves around the fact most people cant shoot as straight as the kit can anyway !!

New Kit. Hands up anyone using 5 year old kit, 3 year..... See my point?

As adonacris implied, just cos you see it as worse does not preclude others form seeing it differently. And for the record I've not played regulaly for 5 years so I'm happy with .68 cos I'm not buying new kit to play once or twice a year, but asside from that have no issue either way. As ever market forces will ultimately dictate and there own to who has the most £$£$£$£$ :-)

Stu H said...

That should have been 'and THATS DOWN to who has the most £$£$£....... Dam keyboard batteries. Logged in now also!

Missy Q said...

So Stu,
when you say "Less energy, great for the punters. How many times have you been asked "Does it hurt". nuff said.:, are you claiming that 50cal hurts less?
because the last time I was shot with 50cal it hurt like XXXX, and left a major welt.

anonachris said...

Missy, I've never been shot by the new stuff, but some guy named Mike / TechPB shot himself 6 times or so point blank and it didn't leave much of a mark. No idea on the chrono speed though... presumably it was decent since they were testing cross field shots.

Missy Q said...

I havn't been shot by the new stuff either, but close shots with 50cal will hurt far more than with 68cal.

Stu H said...

Missy, I last got shot by .50 cal in apx 1993! But I get the point,.50 cal back then stung like hell. I would hope that like the .68 ball of today compared to 15 years ago the quality would be much better but the punters on site will be getting shot with whatever white label crap the site will sell. As I said the the market will decide and if the ball is crap, it wont sell as at least this time round it's in competition, unlike on a skirmish site in 1993!