Monday, January 19, 2009

Advice to the New Paintballer

Just a quick update on the paintball thing. I played this evening with my new(used) Tippmann 98 Custom. As I mentioned before, either I was going to make the Spyder work with the new hopper, or I was going to make the Tippmann work. As it turns out, I had yet more trouble with my Sonix. Tonight it wouldn't fire more than 20 or 30 yards and had no power behind the shot, so I put the new force feeding hopper on the Tippy and off I went. We played three games before it got dark. Straight up capture the flag. The gun performed admirably considering the sub-freezing temperatures. The paint was cold, the gun was cold, and the CO2 just made things more cold, but it still fired well enough and only broke one ball, at which time the gun continued to perform without a hiccup. I didn't even notice the one broken ball until after the game was over. And the bonus is that tonight, on our third game, I actually won the game by getting the opposing team's flag and returning to base with only a hit to my hopper and one in the right leg, which as we play was not a kill! So GO ME! :) So what can we learn from this little outing? A few things. Tips, if you will, from the slightly experienced fledgling paintballer to the very new, perhaps unschooled paintballer to be. There is little I can offer in the way of tactical advice, but I can give you a good boost on beginning gear. This is that boost: 1. What to Wear: Largely dependent on where you'll be playing. Woodsball means trees, brush and probably brambles, mud and a host of other difficulties. It's a total blast! Cover your arms and legs, not just for the sake of staying away from prickly or itchy things, but because paintballs sting! :) I wear normal clothes under a $15 army surplus mechanic's cover-all. It's quick to put on, covers everything, and is a little loose. This is a good thing too. Loose clothing is less likely to burst a paintball on impact. This is good, because "No Dye, No Die" :) My cover-all is jungle camo as well. I recommend a good camo, but really any forest colors will do. Blacks, browns and greens. Wear gloves that you can still fire your gun in. Two reasons. It can be cold out there, and again, paintballs sting, but more so if they hit your hand! My footwear is a $30 dollar pair of Brahma hunting boots. forest camo. Nice and warm and so far quite water resistant. Something reasonably comfortable and sturdy should work fine. Clothing aside there is one thing you MUST have to play. Get a mask and goggles made for paintball. You can get cheap ones at Wal-Mart, but resist the temptation. For about $20 you can pick up a V-Force Mask that is all the mask you will need. Why the V-Force? It will not fog up when you start to breath into it. I've tried several cheap masks and inside of 10 minutes you can't see through them for the fogging. Trust me when I tell you, that'll ruin your game. Should you decide you want to step up and increase your peripheral vision and reduce paintball breaks on your face, you can go up in the V-Force line. But I absolutely recommend this mask. Like the Tippy 98, it just works. 2. What to Shoot: There is a huge field of acceptable paintball markers out there. Some manufacturers make entry level, some make high end professional guns, and some make a whole bottom to top line. Consider Kingman, Smart Parts and Tippmann to name three of a large crowd of companies. Honestly the selection of your first gun can be a fairly daunting experience. Without the advice of some experienced players it can be a crap shoot. Here is my recommendation. If you can manage, play before you buy anything. Borrow a friend's gun, or go to a field and rent one to try. If you can't, or don't want to do that and you want to jump right in, then my next suggestion is to buy a used gun. You'll save money which is always good when picking up a new hobby. Trust me. I know about picking up new hobbies. Look for someone on Craigslist or eBay who is selling their gear. Usually you'll pick up an air tank, a mask and other essentials in the deal. If you want to buy a brand-spankin'-new gun, I suggest the Tippmann 98 Custom. Just about everyone I play with has this gun, myself now included. It works very well without causing problems and in my opinion that's what a new paintballer needs to truly enjoy the sport. Trouble free paintball. 3. What Else Do I Need: All you really need is a mask, a gun, an air tank and some paintballs to get started. As for paintballs, I'd really recommend that you get something from a local paintball shop if you have one. They are more likely to have cared for them properly. It amazed me the first time I used paint from my paintball store, versus Wal-Mart's paint. It didn't cost me more, but due to proper care and shipping, the paintballs were less prone to chopping and also much more accurate. I'll never buy Wal-Mart paint again if I can help it. As for the air tank, if you buy the right gun, you'll probably get a tank as well. I'd suggest that method of acquiring the tank because it's usually a better deal, but various sizes are available to buy on their own, the 20 ounce tanks costing about $25 to $30. Other than a spirit of adventure, and the willingness to be shot with a projectile that feels like being snapped with a wet towel, that's all you need to get on the field! If you haven't tried paintball, I recommend it. It's a lot of fun and good exercise, not to mention a great way to build friendships with your "war buddies". It never fails that after a game there are stories of heroic moves, of stupid moves, and of hilarity. Also, if you're in my area, the Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky Tri-State area, Then you have a great paintball supply store on Fourth Avenue in Huntington, WV. Go here: Voodoo Paintball & Supply. The owner, Steve and his wife run the place and he is a very knowledgeable person to talk to about what you need. His prices are excellent and he deals in some used guns as well. I know this was a long one, but I wanted all of you budding paintballers to have a good foundation to start with! Have fun and DUCK! -J

Friday, January 16, 2009

General Update

Hi everyone! Time for another post. This one promises to be general in nature, and on varied and sundry subjects. Just thought I'd catch you up with what's happenin' now. The holidays are behind us, but they're in front of us too you know! Christmas 2008 was a good one I'd have to say. Busy as always, but this year I didn't mind so much. There's a radio station here that begins playing 24 hour Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving. I discovered this, and listened to it for most of December. Normally I listen to a couple of Christmas CDs and that's it. Those namely, When My Heart Finds Christmas by Harry Connick Jr. and Behold the Lamb of God by Andrew Peterson. Both are great albums! Buy them both. Not next Christmas, but now! Follow the links to Amazon and get them. Or iTunes...whatever your personal venue for musical acquisition may be. Anyway, I digress, as I often do. The radio station really had me in a Christmas mood this year. By that I mean, willing to nudge my way through a crowd, able to smile when I was stuck in traffic, and the like. It was nice for a change. New years was over in a blink. Doesn't really feel like 2009 to me. Not yet. Maybe I just haven't had to write it much or something. Fast as it was I've had my cabbage and black eyed peas, along with dad's fried hogs jowls, so I'm pretty much set in the good fortune department. (If you have to ask, just think of it as bacon. Very similar.)
In other news, I bought myself a bass guitar. I had been using the church's bass to play on Sunday mornings, but I wanted one of my own for a few reasons.
  1. I wanted one I could keep at home, practice regularly and call my own.
  2. If someone else wants to learn from church, now there is a bass available for them.
  3. The church's bass is nice, but I wanted something that felt more like me. (The bond between a boy and his musical instrument is a whole other blog, which I intend to do before long. I have given a lot of thought to the subject, and it's an interesting thing to think about. If you have never played an instrument, perhaps you have owned that one car. You know the one I'm talking about. You miss it don't you? Or perhaps it's not a car...but it's something. More to come on this one.)

Here is a picture of my bass. It's not actually mine, but this is the style and Ibanez Roadstar II. Ain't she a beaut'?

Ok, so holidays, bass...Paintball!

So check this out. I finally got to go out and play a little paintball after a long hiatus. Last year, as some of you may know, I bought a paintball gun and played a couple of times with some friends from church. Well, after that things got a little quiet and we didn't play anymore. I was understandably sad. Bought the gun after all. So we're starting up again and playing. Thing is, I've been having a lot of trouble with my gun, which by the way is a Spyder Sonix, chopping a lot of paintballs. That's where the ball sort of half loads and the gun's bolt literally chops the paintball in half inside the gun. Gets very messy. So I did two things. I bought a fancy force feeding hopper (that's what holds the balls and feeds them into the gun) and also a cheap used gun. A Tippmann 98 Custom. One of two things is going to happen. The hopper is going to fix my chopping problem, or my new(used) gun is. The Tippmann is widely regarded one of the most durable, unrelenting, workhorse guns in the entry level paintball arsenal. It just works. It doesn't break, and it's as upgradable as anything out there. Tonight I did something very manly. I disassembled my new(used) Tippmann and cleaned it inside and out. It was quite a mess. But the process of breaking down a gun (Even a paint gun), cleaning it, and reassembling is about as awesome as it gets. :) Ranks up there with cooking a meal over a campfire, changing spark plugs and opening pickle jars for the missus! I'll let you all know if anything interesting happens in the paintball world. It's fun if you have the opportunity to try it. It doesn't hurt...long.

I'll close for now. I'm going to think about this musical instrument blog. I need to start writing topics down. I've forgotten as many blog topics as I've actually posted. Talk to you all soon! Thanks again so much for reading!