Tippmann A-5 (ditched the fore grip, Krylon-camo'd the hopper)
14" 32* Night Stick barrel
Tapco car stock (sometimes)
IYF offset rail & high rise sight (when using car stock)
some impacted dirt
barrel, any good quality barrel
Rugged, reliable, doesnít chop.
Many aftermarket options.
Easy field strip.
Stock barrel is loud & inaccurate.
Weird rear sight.
There have been a zillion glowing reviews of this marker so I wonít repeat all the praises, Iíll simply back them up with my experiences so far. In about 5000 balls shot to date, I havenít had a single chop. The cyclone feeder really is that good. About the only thing bad to say here is that when it gets down to the last half-dozen rounds, the manual plunger needs to be worked between shots or you may get a few ďblanksĒ when an empty cyclone arm swings past. It is fun to shoot, easy to maintain, reasonably priced, and works well as an all-rounder. Thatís my take on it. Now on to some points not usually covered in reviews.
The all-black H&K MP5 inspired design will give some soccer moms pause, but then shiny markers aren't some peopleís style. Just use discretion and go have fun. (And donít make any sudden moves when the police show up at a neighborhood woodsball game.) The push-out pins and slide-out bolt and trigger groups are clearly adapted from the H&K family of firearms, which have a long history of reliability and were designed for ease of maintenance in adverse conditions. The A-5ís resemblance to the MP5 is more than skin deep. For some people this is creepy, but I look at it and think ďCool!Ē
But donít field strip it in the woods. Wait until youíre back at the tables, because there are small parts to loose. As a side note, I do have to tap the rear of the receiver a few times on a table to get the bolt group to slide backward enough to grab it to pull out. It doesnít just slip out the way the instructions imply, but the thingís tough enough to take a little banging around.
Some reviewers have complained about it being a gas hog, but I donít have any gripes there. Cost? When $3 of CO2 will shoot $20 worth of balls? Pfft, thatís nothing. Or is it having to swap out tanks in the heat of play a tad more often? I donít see either of these as a real problem. And these concerns absolutely pale in comparison to the pleas I hear of ďHey, you got a spare 9 volt you can loan me?Ē Iíll take a gas actuated feed system over an electro hopper any day.
Accuracy with the stock barrel is enough to get you started but not much more. At 25 yards mine will group just over 10 inches. After I added an aftermarket barrel (32* Night Stick, 14Ē) the group size dropped to half this, small enough to make cross-field shots feasible. Honestly, the stock barrel is so nicely machined and finished that I canít figure why it doesnít perform better. Must have to do with the length and porting. I wish Tippmann would either go the extra step of making this barrel actually usable, or just put on a real piece of junk (knowing that everyoneís going to replace it anyway) and drop the price $10.
Back to the sights, the rear drum sight is useable and accurate enough, but the variable width notches are weird. Tippman couldíve put in variable depth notches calibrated for, say, 0, 100, 150, and maybe 200 feet and made the thing a good deal more useful. At least itíll be an easy swap out if anyone ever comes out with an aftermarket sight.
Speaking of aftermarket, every option under the sun is available for this marker. You can trick it out to be anything from a stubby full auto machine pistol to a long range sniper tool for the ďOne shot 1-- one eliminationĒ crowd. Pretty versatile, and the parts wonít cost you an arm and a leg either. (Mine? All-rounder.)
The price for this marker is reasonable. There are less expensive markers out there that work well, but none of them come close to the A-5. Thereís a certain price in any outdoor equipment (tents, mountain bikes, etc.) below which youíre just buying junk, but at or above that youíre OK. Somewhere around twice the ďjunk lineĒ price is the Real Deal, and thatís exactly where the A-5 lies. Itís definitely in the sweet part of the price/performance curve, so only a little extra cash to jump up to this marker buys a lot more performance and reliability.
Iíll finish with the best feature of the A-5: itís always ready to play. Show up at a field, screw on a 20 oz. tank, chrono the beast, and Iím on the field in 5 minutes. Then it works, without complaint, for as long as I want to play. There are lots of markers that can shoot more balls per second than an A-5, but not many markers are this easy to use, maintain, and buy.
Not a flyweight speedball competition marker, itís the ultimate woodsball brawler. It is fun to shoot, easy to maintain, reasonably priced, and just WORKS.