Thursday, March 11, 2010

If Bob Says So I Believe It

No, not really--if I worked for the TSA I'd profile Jesus for extra security attention--but it sounded sufficiently jingoistic to be right for a post on small ball, don't you think? The kids at ProPaintball have posted a video of Bob huffing and puffing and blowing a plastic tray down using a 68 cal Victory and a modified 50 cal Victory for comparison purposes.
Best I could tell Bob was advancing 3 basic ideas; small ball shoots and breaks fine at short to medium-ish range (75 feet), small ball can shoot through brush, tree branches and other woodsy obstacles more effectively than 68 cal and small ball delivers less impact at similar velocities. Given those factors 50 cal deserves at least consideration as an alternative to 68 cal in some situations, like games with younger players or new players where the difference between a good time and never again is the potential pain involved.
The first idea is fine as far as it goes but it doesn't go far enough--and elsewhere in the video Bob admits the range is reduced compared to 68 cal and the paint is more susceptible to factors like wind--so kudos for being straight on the observed effects. I just didn't find it particularly persuasive, nor does it motivate me to reconsider the virtues of small ball.
I'm not buying the second notion at all. The video example was not shooting through brush. It was shooting through gaps. Back in the day the VM 68 (and later the first gen clamshell Timmy) punched holes through dense Florida palmettos. You didn't need to see your target. Just start railing and if you hit something, or somebody, you were rewarded with a satisfying yelp unless, of course, you were simply stripping the bark off trees.
But I am buying into the whole reduced impact argument though there is a caveat; breakability. The paint has to break as consistently as a 68 cal paintball, grade of paint for grade of paint. While I find Bob's concern for the children who are our future both uplifting and personally gratifying I also find it more than a little ironic given--how to say this, Bob's past association with guns of dubious legality.

On a completely separate subject one of the first things I did when I heard about 50 cal was to explore the possibility of producing a generic retrofit kit (or two) to convert 68 cal guns to 50 cal. It became apparent in short order that while not hard to do every kit would have to be gun or manufacturer specific and that if 50 cal looked good the manufacturers would jump on it. One other thing concerned me: the possibility of Dye modifying their eyepipe patent. They do have one, don't they?


anonachris said...

I'll start it off by saying once again I wouldn't mind the industry switching to 50cal...

But if we really want to make the switch to 50cal cause it hurts less, maybe we should consider the following too:
Nerf balls
Squirt guns
Laser tag
Barbie dolls
Those don't hurt. Now that I've gotten the red herring out of the way...

Personally, I'm in favor of increased hopper/pod capacities (or reduced equipment size), more shots per fill (or smaller bottles), and the potential for increasing dealer margins.

I'll give up some range for those benefits, if everyone else is on the same playing field -- afterall, it's not like the goal of paintball equipment is to maximize range (emphasis) at all costs. If it was, we'd be shooting thicker shelled balls through rifled barrels at 500fps... (red herring returns)

Anonymous said...

"Save the kiddies"

Couldn't you do the same thing by just cutting the velocity a bit?

Of course, then you wouldn't be able to sell a bunch of new stuff that does the same thing as the old stuff, but just not quite as well.

Baca Loco said...

Umm, on that red herring thing--a Norwegian delicacy, btw--I'm afraid we can't exempt your "potential for increasing dealer margins" as all the currently available info doesn't support that claim.
As to your other reasons I'm beginning to think you're either a 98 lb weakling or don't actually play at all anymore--possibly both.

anonachris said...

From what I've heard they are going to "pass the savings on" to the players... which is the wrong way to go I think. But that's why I said potential... if they kept the boxes at 2000 rounds, sold them for $5 less per box compared to 68 cal, I assume the margins could be much better all around. But in the end I suppose economic forces would drive the price down and erode margins.

As to your other comments, it's got nothing to do with me, but thinking about younger players. You've never seen a 13 year old kid struggle to hold his Tippmann and 20oz tank? The thing is like a bazooka. The potential for reduced size guns, hoppers, and tanks for the 98 pound weaklings, combined with the potential for huge capacity hoppers/tanks that are at the current size is pretty cool I think.

But the jury is still out on how it performs I think right? We need to see some team play with it to actually get an idea. My point is just that sacrificing a bit of performance in one area for a multitude of benefits in another is not such a terrible idea. And it's not without precedent either. After all we were all shooting Angels a decade ago... (has it been that long?)

sdawg said...


sdawg said...

Seriously, I think that 50 cal for the 10 y/o kids and church groups, if it really hurts less, is fine. However, as mentioned, shooting at 280FPS or less is a solution that we could implement immediately (and already do, at the recball field where I play).

I'm not a tournament player, but I'm no stranger to bloody welts on my neck, either.

Bob Long is someone who has made a people career out of shooting the fuck out of people, followed by making paintball machine guns used to shoot the fuck out of people. I don't get how he suddenly making a tearful revelation that his or other peoples grandkids are going to get bloody welts from his beloved sport (paintball, not bowhunting).

stark said...

I dont think you should start bringin in 10 y/o no matter what caliber. Even if someone would start making kid size masks I say they are too young. Over here we have gone with 12+.

Reiner Schafer said...

Stark, that depends on the kid (which then utimately becomes a parental decision) and upon the type of paintball that the child is involved in.

Most 10 years olds probably shouldn't get involved in unlimited firepower tournament ball or even rec ball.

Limited ammo, pump play, and maybe .50 cal are probably much better suited for 10 y.o.'s and I have no problem having kids that young play in a controlled environment.

Billy Ball (.5 bps) was something we were planning to implement for kids' parties (10 to 14 y.o.) . Unfortunately wih SPs situation, we are waiting to make sure the billy ball capable markers stay available.

steve davidson said...

All respect to Bob but:

the "pain" factor is not going to be successfully addressed by a change in caliber. Those outside the sport (eg - no playing experience) don't know or care about caliber. All they know is "paintball hurts". Caliber size will not address the issue - only heavy marketing and educational work on the part of the industry can do that.

Next: 50 cal will potentially be MORE intimidating than 68: lessened range means players getting closer to each other for encounters. Simple question - what's more scary a gun barrel 6 inches away from your face or one 60 feet away from your face?

Next: I don't buy into the lessening of pain issue period. 50 caliber imparts its energy to a SMALLER area - therefore upping the potential foot pounds at impact. Couple that with (so far, apparently) less breakability and you end up with 50 cal causing more perceived pain than 68 caliber.

Finally - less breakability will lead to MORE shooting (what does anyone do when the hit doesn't break?) - once again increasing the potential for pain, intimidation & no fun.

Simply slow the game down for new players; get back into the woods where the emphasis is on psychology and manuever and not on shooting. let players ramp up their involvement gradually, rather than FORCING them onto a tournament field for their first ever game. Don't let them carry more than a few rounds per game.

anonachris said...

All due respect to steve davidson, but if you're talking about the difference in range, assuming the range is 15% less, your question should be, what is scarier a gun 10 inches away from your face or a gun 8 inches away from your face. At that point, they're both scary.

Of if you compare 60 feet away from your face to 50 feet away from your face. Neither is more scary than the other.

I also agree that acupuncture needles hurt a hell of a lot more than getting shot with a nail gun. Since you know the pressure covers a smaller area.

But it's good to see I'm not the only one who likes fish.

Reiner Schafer said...

Well, they better develope .50 cal to break very easily or it's use WILL make the game a much closer combat game. The flight path at 150 or 200 feet won't matter if the ball don't break relatively consistantly when they arrive at their intended target. Players will feel they HAVE to get closer (either that or pony up and buy .68 cal.)

papa chad said...

can't we just sell 50cal to woodsball players to support the 68cal tourny ball? apparently woodsballers don't give a shiz about performance drawbacks-if they played to win, they'd be playing tournament ball.

it seems like that was the point in the first place- "GImilsim" was supposed to have introduced this ball.

Reiner Schafer said...

Papa, I don't agree with everything you wrote, and maybe you had your tongue in your cheek...and maybe you didn't.

However, I do agree that the people bringing us .50 cal lost their way a little when it came to marketing .50 cal. Maybe it was greed. Maybe someone spoke up and said, "Hey, why are marketing this to only the Milsim crowd? Why can't we get a piece of the whole pie?"

I think if they would have sold .50 cal to Milsim crowd and expanded from there, they would have done themselves a favour.