Getting Rowdy with Plan9

Getting Rowdy with Plan9

By: Tom "Plan9" Kelley
   I've been watching you. Lurking in the shadows. Watching you. I have been laying dormant. Hovering above you in my orbital space station.Watching from above. Watching the sport I love rise to greatness then plateau and descend into utter chaos. I have seen the giants of paintball destroy everything in sight with patent litigation and killing off any source of innovation and fresh ideas. Putting a stranglehold on smaller struggling companies, yet all they managed to accomplish was destroy themselves in the end.

   From the ashes new giants arose, but brought with them the renaissance I have been waiting for. A resurgence in the interest and demand for pump play. Old names like sniper, tracer, hammer, and of course the mighty phantom were once again hot topics of discussion.

   Kids that were born after the time that these guns were considered "tournament level" are now saving money to buy and upgrade these old-fashioned weapons of yester-year. I have been in the background pushing this mindset that you don't have to spend 1000 dollars to be good. I have been building very high quality snipers <autococker bodied> pumps for the locals who want quality without a car payment sized price tag.

   At my base of operations Action Park in Mishawaka, Indiana we have on any given Sunday 10 plus people shooting a pump of some sort as their daily driver main gun. I see them all on the field, the high dollar, but oh so nice CCM snipers, all the way down to the lowly 20 year old Tippmann SL-68.

   The most popular guns are the snipers. Usually the ones i build <wink>, but they are all cliche' low pressure paintslingers. I myself am a major fan of the nelson style valve train. They are inherently usually lighter, far more efficient, and a lot quicker to tear down for maintenance.

 Now i am not knocking the Sheridan style valve and stacked tube design they are a force when set up correctly, but i found myself wanting to build myself a sniper to play with. One that is light weight, able to run straight high-pressure or un-regulated co2, a stick/stock class type feed, and that is just cool looking all the way around. Nothing like what was out on the field and still sticking to my creed of low buck high performance.

   I give you " The Rowdy"

   The "Rowdy" sniper is built upon a 98'ish Shocktech Cole body. I wanted a pre-2000 autococker body due to the smaller valve chamber volume. Smaller volume means less area for the air source to fill and high pressures is low volume. Doing so creates the effect of trying to draw as much firing pressure/volume directly from the air source as is possible. I have done no de-volumizing to this as of yet due to time restraints so I am leaving the body stock to get my baseline numbers.

   The most important part when planning a build is envisioning exactly how you want your gun set up. Researching all parts options by using forums and whatever you can find on the internet. Also talking to the older players on the field will more than likely give you insight on what worked and what didn't. Chances they are they have had 1000 dollar gun in their hands about 10 to 15 years ago. For our younger readers <wink> the WGP autococker was an absolute monster on the tourney scene.

   My 1st decision to make was what valve to use. I had an old high pressure stock valve, but wanted to look at other options. The choice was very clear. I called up Palmer's Pursuit Shop and ordered their Low Turbulence or LT as it's listed valve set. I cannot say enough about how great this piece is. It comes with 2 valve springs soft for low pressure and stiff for high pressure use. I first installed it in a low pressure configuration and was very pleased with the consistency and sound signature, but i wanted rowdy! So out came the soft, squishy springs and heavy hammer and in went the stiff valve spring and an old lightweight hammer i acquired on the dusty bottom shelf a local shop for 5 bucks. The reason for the light hammer choice is a heavier hammer will hit the valve with much more mass behind it causing a large amount of valve dwell and letting it consume more air than is needed. The main spring i'm using is actually the main spring from an Empire sniper i had laying around. Once assembled i immediately grabbed my CCI 12 gram bucket changer and headed outside. The fisrt shot went off like a crack of thunder even shooting through a heavily ported antique OTP G3 Dream Series barrel, but hit with such force I was concerned about the fence. It put 20 solid shots into the fence and started to dump. Not to shabby using the portzilla barrel.

 The 2nd choice to create a good pump was the easiest. The pump kit. I immediately grabbed a Team Hooptie pre-2000 kit i had sitting in my stock. I always keep a couple of these laying around because they are honestly a great economy pump kit. The stroke is always smooth. They are not visually offending in my eyes and you cannot beat the price for the performance you get. The Hooptie kit is based on the original WGP kit and has quality machining throughout. It is an econo-kit so don't expect no wobbling of the handle, but for this application it is absolutely perfect. The Rowdy is not a paintslinging auto-triggering war machine. It is as close to a one shot one kill stock classer as i can get so there is no need for uber expensive exotic pump kits here.

   To make this gun shoot exactly how i want it to I needed to pick a barrel, and not just any barrel. Now yes i know their are a multitude of choices for autococker threading, but i wanted it to be what i consider “perfect” for the application.

   The 3rd choice left no option, but the stock CCI phantom barrel. To make this happen i had to call the master himself Mr. Mike Casady, owner of Component Concepts Incorporated, maker of the almighty Phantom who said "You want to do what to what?"


   I explained what i had working and he referred me to Remember The Ronin and their little gem of a barrel adapter. This piece is another marvel. It is a simple Phantom to Autococker adapter, but it has a nice twist to it. Inside the .697 bore are 3 dimples which act as a detent stopping the balls from rolling out of the barrel. I was shooting .684 Evil and getting no rollout whatsoever. It also handled the CCI prototype "freak bore" Phantom barrel i had sitting next to me like a champ. Honestly i was expecting a mess in the breach, but what i got was an amazingly accurate gun. Ball on ball would be an understatement.

   Now if you have never shot a Phantom, you should. They are legendary for accuracy and minimal sound signature. The stock CCI barrel is heralded as being one of the best stock barrels to come shipped on a marker. Somehow CCI manages to create a fairly quiet barrel that is highly efficient with minimal porting.

   With my barrel of choice installed I loaded up another 12 gram cartridge and i headed to the chronograph. The rowdy produced 26 solid shots ranging from 286 fps to 265 fps followed by a quick nose dive to dumping. I am very impressed with this considering I am still using what would have been a large valve chambered gun by that era's standards. A lot of the gun's performance had to do with choice of quality components and maybe a slight percentage of luck.

   I know I have only mentioned a few of the parts used. The reason for that being is that these are parts that are being produced today. Everything else used was either parts i had laying around or just plain rare

   Here is a parts list of the "Rowdy" as you see it:

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