The History Of the Paintball Gun Part 1
Paintball guns started life in the most unusual way.
The first paintball gun made was the Crossman Nelspot 707, which was actually designed for marking forestry trees and cattle in America back in the 1960’s.
So originally you have a load of cowboys with paintball guns for marking cattle; how long is it until one cowboy shoots another and paintball was born?
There are really seven paintball guns that chart the history of paintball. There are many others that were manufactured but these seven were pivotal to the game as we know it today.
In the beginning -
The first mass-produced paintball gun was the aptly-named Splat Master .68 which was released way back in 1985.
This was a plastic gun, powered by a CO2 powerlet that was inserted in the handle of the gun, a tube of paintballs was inserted into a chamber above the gun.
To cock the gun you pointed the barrel upwards and pushed a plunger on the back of the gun, this re-cocked the gun and at the same time allowed a paintball to drop into the chamber.
You had a maximum of 10 shots in the gun before you had to reload both the CO2 cylinder and a new 10-shot tube of paintballs. Imagine that!
At about the same time a British Company brought out the Daystate MK1, as the Splat Master didn’t meet UK firearms regulations of the time.
The Daystate felt much more like a gun and less of a toy, as Daystate were a competition airgun manufacturer.
The Daystate fired a .62 calibre paintball and was powered by compressed-air that was contained in a cylinder under the barrel.
The paintballs went in a chamber that was slotted in from the back of the gun. And on the left of the gun was a cocking lever.
To cock the gun you tilted the barrel to the floor, angled the gun to the right-hand side and a new paintball entered the chamber. Not exactly the most practical way to fire when you’re out in the field.
Pro’s and Con’s for each Paintball Gun -
As mentioned, the Daystate felt like a real gun, could fire 40 shots on one charge of air, and the .62 calibre paintball was more accurate, but less likely to burst on impact.
After 40 shots you were out of the game as you had to go back to base to refill the gun with air. Also it was expensive by comparison to others, as these were hand-made in Britain.
The Splat Master felt like a toy gun, was mass produced and cheap. Its .68 calibre paintball was less accurate but due to its mass was more likely to break on impact.
The cocking operation was easier to master than the later Daystate paintball gun but unfortunately fell fowl of UK regulations. The Splat Master guns were imported and used in the UK until Home Office regulations were changed.
So, in the late 1980s paintball hits the UK big time, and you would have been using one of the two guns mentioned above. Several other guns began appearing around this time but all had issues.