First thing you need to know is what is the hopper. Basically, it’s the loading device that keeps the paintballs before the balls could be loaded into the firing chamber. So what affect the performance of a hopper and how to buy a good one?
This is basically the loading rate of paintballs from the hopper to the firing chamber, it’s measured by the number of balls per second (bps). Due to the fact that there are many types of hopper, the feed rate may vary from 4 to 40 bps. From the beginning years of 21st century, the feed rate has been the fundamental statistic of a hopper. It has been upgraded to be faster a decade after and after 2010, the feed rate has been set at 10.5 bps in tournaments because a faster feed rate doesn’t change anything.
There are three main types of loading mechanism which are gravity fed, agitated as well as force fed.
First is gravity fed. As the name defect, gravity fed hopper use gravity as the force to draw the ball from hopper to firing chamber, which is the slowest one of three. When first joining in a paintball game, most of us will rent a marker with gravity fed hopper. As a result of low feed rate, the paintballs usually get stucked inside and affect the firing efficiency. Furthermore, these hoppers are for mechanic markers, not the electronic types. Beware, when the firing rate is higher the feeding rate, paintballs could be broken. However, these gravity fed hoppers are quite cheap, simple and silent so many starters begin with them. Some of them could be named as 200 Round Gravity Loader and the Proto Primo.
The next hopper type is agitated. This hopper simply use the battery power in a motor to roll paintballs into the chamber. This type have a sensor in the feeder to spin the paddles that agitate the paintballs, helping to load them faster. This hopper type is usually found in cheap electronic paintball gun, which use a lot of battery power. The example products could be Tippmann SSL and JT Revolution.
Force fed is the final name. They are used in the modern marker with costly price. The hopper also uses sensors but in an active way to remain consistency and fast loading rate. This kind of hopper is easy to maintain as well. Some prominent name are DYE Rotors and Virtue Sprie Loaders.
After considering these two, please watch out the speedfeed, which helps in reloading the hopper. The motto of speedfeed is “fast fills and no spills” and it also helps cover the hopper from weather.
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