"What gun should I get?" I know that question seeped into your head one day when you first contemplated about your jump into the pump world.
"I already know that" is what you are currently thinking. "Why must this guy explain the obvious?" "Why does he keep putting my thoughts into quotes" "This is scaring me"
SO, what's the answer?
YOU CHOOSE! What marker you end up getting is based solely on one thing: YOU. If you don't like how a marker looks or performs, then it really doesn't matter what others think.
But, I'm going to help you with this decision anyhow.
THE REST OF THIS POST IS MY OPINION
First and foremost, you need to ask yourself "What type of pump will I be playing?"
Do you want to play stock class, open class, or modified stock?
is loosely defined as a marker using a 12g CO2 powerlette, and having anywhere between 10-20 paintballs in a horizontal feedtube, much like in this picture.
is defined as a marker that uses a hopper, either pocket or normal sized, and a constant air tank, ranging anywhere from 3.5 oz to a scuba tank
is just that: Modified stock class. It's generally where you use a constant air tank and a horizontal feed tube, though many people consider 12g with a hopper modified stock as well.
Why each style of play?
Stock class is for those seeking the ultimate challange. What is more challenging then being restricted to 10 balls in your feed and 30 shots in your 12g before you have to change? (While still using a marker of course, and not that of the Sharpie nature)
Open class is for those seeking to restrict their firepower and therefore increase their challenge level, but still be on a "competitive" field. I put that in quotations because SC players are still plenty competitive. OC is also chosen by people who want to keep their pump set up as close to their semi set up as possible, thereby making the transition from one to the other easy.
Modified stock is the middle ground of the 2. Dont feel like changing 12g, but still want a stick (horizontal) feed? Go modified.
Now, on to the markers. I am including prices along with the markers... expect to spend somewhere in between those amounts, but also expect to spend less or more depending.
There are 3 main valve configurations in pumps, and they are Nelson, Sheridan, and Sterling.
Click each link to see a diagram (Provided by jhyan)
Nelson based pumps
The most known pump marker is the Phantom, and for good reason. It has been around for decades (Read: 2) and its manufacturer stands by his product 100%.
Now, there are many different configurations you can do with the Phantom, ranging from SC to MS to OC.
The different configurations are as follows:
OC-BBA: Open class- Back bottle adapter. It is an open class set-up that places the tank at the rear of the marker.
OC-VA: Open class- Vertical air. An open class marker that places the asa to the front of the trigger.
SC- Stock class. Uses a horizontal feed with the 12g bucket changer at the rear of the marker.
VSC- Vertical stock class. This the the most popular configuration. It places the 12g changer/ASA to the front of the trigger, and uses a horizontal feed.
Keep in mind that in both the SC and VSC models, you can take off the 12g changer and put a constant air tank on. And on the OC models you can choose to put a 12g changer in the ASA.
$500+ Nelson based
Carter Machine is another air-smith who hand makes his own markers, the most famous being the Buzzard and Comp. They operate in the same manner as the Phantom, and the only differences between the Buzzard and Phantom, besides $300, are the looks and how they are made.
Trracer/Maverick/Hammer (and other clones)
$20-$80 Nelson based
These are, by nature, open class back bottle markers. They work in the same principle of the Phantom and the Buzzard. They are pretty decent starter markers, and at a great price.
Tippmann SL-68II (2), is the younger brother of the SL-68. It has a gas-through grip, much like what is seen on todays Mini's. It's a great marker, and very durable. What else would you expect from Tippmann?
COCKER BASED PUMP
(AKA "Sniper") $50-$400+
This is the most popular open class marker. Reason is because it is fairly easy to come across old (and new) auto-cockers for fairly cheap and convert them to pumps. They also resemble a semi-automatic marker the most, for those wishing to keep close to the same set up.
I wont go into detail about the different models, because, well, they are limitless.
Just keep in mind that most Cocker-based pumps aren't too efficient on 12g and if you choose to use a stick feed, you generally have to jerry rig one up yourself.
CCM Markers (AKA God's gifts to cocker lovers) $300+
These are basically cocker-based pumps with a lot of loving put into them. They are made by CCM (Chipley Custom Machine)
The 2 most popular designs are those of the "S5" and "S6", but they also have the J2 and the SS25
All 4 markers look a lot alike, and perform likewise, so I wont go in to too much detail about them. If you want to learn more, contact CCM at chipleymachine.com
SHERIDAN BASED MARKERS
$50-$500+ Sheridan based
These are the markers that are either from Benjamin Sheridan, or based off of their designs, such as those from PMI or Palmers Pursuit Shop.
The most recognizable one of this family is the PGP, from Benjamin Sheridan.
The original PGP with a P68SC
The PGP 2k1 (notice the longer barrel and different rear-end feed)
Many (Most) of the other markers in the Sheridan family are pretty close in looks to the original PGP.
Other models include the PGP2k1(PGP revamped for 2001), P68SC (Big brother to the PGP) PMI-1 (PMI's answer to the P68) and the KP2 ("shotgun")
Palmers Pursuit Shop is an air-smith who specializes in Sheridan based markers, and even makes a few himself. The most notable one is the Super Stocker (or SS)
I honestly don't know too much about these markers. I'll leave for someone else to add on about these.
So again, it is ultimately YOUR CHOICE
on what marker it is you get, and that also depends on what style of paintball you want to choose or how much you want to spend.
There are many other pumps in existence, but I only covered the most popular ones.
If you have any questions, comments, additions, or subtractions, feel free to PM me