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Riotnrrd Thursday, March 24th, 2005
Period of
Product Use:
1 year188 of 199 people found this review helpful.

Paintball
Experience:
More than 5 years
Similar
Products Used:
nothing in the same class
Marker Setup: Smart Parts Ion (Black)
Halo B (Black)
Crossfire 68 / 4500 HPA 800PSI Output
Shocktech Drop Forward #5
Custom Products 2005 On/Off
Freak Barrel Kit w/ Stainless Inserts
Recommended
Upgrades:
Feedneck
Trigger
Drop Forward
Barrel
Strengths: Price
Accuracy
Consistency
Speed
Weaknesses: Feedneck
Vision Eye Ribbon
Review: Had the Ion for about a week. Here's a short review.

Setup:
Smart Parts Ion, Black
Halo B Hopper, Black
Crossfire 68 / 4500 HPA

Got the Ion, took it apart. Wow. Not too bad. Comes with all the tools needed, disassembly and assembly took me about an hour the first time, going slow and careful. Manual is quite good, both instructions and engineering drawings clearly marked. WARNING: This gun is NOT at all field strippable.

One thing I didn't like. The small ribbon cable which goes from the solenoid to the vision eye assembly is extremely fragile. One must gently pull on the cable itself to release it, and it's easy to pinch in between the grip frame and the body assembly when putting back together (bad). Make sure you do not pinch the cable! A rubber band keeps it close to the air hose, so it's not too hard to keep track of. Still, design a bit weak there IMO.

One thing I did immediately, was to adjust the trigger. Yes, the stock Ion trigger is probably the worst part of the gun. Its made of plastic, it's got a big magnet which makes it snappy, and coming from the factory it has a large amount of both pre and post travel movement, which means it feels 'sloppy' . I adjusted it with the included allen wrenches so that it travels 2-3mm total, and the firing circuit is complete at about 2 mm. It's now fairly tight, and feels like a hair trigger.

Ergonomics are good. The stock grip feels very nice to me. Adding a 68 / 4500 tank, made the gun fairly long, which is not bad if you like how a rifle feels. It's also a touch back heavy. Probably a good thing here would be to remove the duckbill ASA, and add some sort of rail or drop forward. This should bring the center of gravity forward to an ideal location, and make the gun tighter as well, better for speed ball / cramped locations, but IMO it feels pretty good.

Gassed it up, no leaks. Immediate pressure from the factory was set fairly high, around 180 PSI (this is the upper limit of the recommended range, 200 max). Dry firing, checking the firing modes on the gun. pure semi, rebound, 3 round burst, and full auto. Hum. Pure semi is real hard to walk. Im a noob, but hey... I kept missing the firing cycle.

Switched to rebound. Short amount of ramping, meaning I fired 4-5 shots before the rebound mode kicked in. WOW. Now it's firing 17 rounds per second. Burst and full auto work as expected. They cycle about 10 rounds per second, which is slower than rebound mode in semi.

Fired about 350 rounds Draxxus Blaze. Accuracy was fairly poor at 180 PSI. Gas consumption was very high, on the 68 / 4500 tank. This made me think... hum, check output pressure.

Took it to get it chrono'd. Found out I was shooting very hot from the factory, about 310-320 FPS at 180 PSI. Dropped the regulator output pressure to about 150-155 PIS via the velocity adjuster on the bottom of the regulator, with the included wrench. at 150 PSI, was shooting 285 FPS, with +/- about 5-6 FPS. Occasional spikes to +/- 8 or so... think this will probably get better when reg is broken in somewhat. About 500 rounds so far.

I strongly recommend you drop the pressure to about 140 PSI, then turn slowly up from there until you reach the desired FPS.

Accuracy MUCH better at 285 FPS. Much, much better than Tippmann stock barrels. In fact, the best stock barrel I've ever seen. Not great, but definitely not bad at all, now that the velocity is set to normal levels. Gas consumption is now also much better, I'd estimate 1000-1200 rounds on a 68 / 4500 tank.

I've fired about 800 rounds through it so far, and I love it. It's definitely worth the 300$. I'll add more comments to this in the coming weeks.

____________________________________________________________


EDIT: 5/10/2005
____________________________________________________________


I've had my marker for a few weeks now. I've since made a few modifications, and wish to detail here what I've done.

(1) I pinched a vision eye cable in between the bolt assembly and the grip frame. If you're not careful during reassembly, you will too: so make sure the ribbon eye cable is securely rubber-banded to the air hose, and that it is not poking out when you put the marker back together. This keeps it from getting pinched when the marker is reassembled. Pinching the eye cable seemed to have no immediate effect: the marker still would not fire, unless a paintball was in the breech and ready to fly down the barrel. However, I did have two breaks in the breech / barrel. I was using crappy, brittle, old paint, so I don't KNOW that the vision eye was actually malfunctioning. The cable was not visibly broken but it WAS visibly mangled. I have since replaced the cable, and I have had no breaks since; however, I'm also using better quality paint.

(2) I busted an air fitting. The internal air hoses connect the solenoid to the 'banjo' fitting, which is a screw-type connector that screws down into the marker. The instruction manual says tighten till 'snug'. Apparently I misunderstood exactly what 'snug' means: this DOES NOT MEAN TIGHT! Just tighten it until it will not move under GENTLE pressure. If you over-tighten you will bust your banjo fitting, and your marker will be an expensive paper weight. To FIX this problem, I called Smart Parts, and ordered an assortment of parts; there are two sizes of banjo fitting, so I ordered two of each, as well as a new macroline hose, a complete screw kit, and a couple of screws to replace the ones attaching my ASA to the grip frame, as they had been stripped by an old allen wrench. Lo and behold: When my parts arrived, the air fittings were listed on the invoice but not included in the box! I was not pleased. I called Smart Parts, and they consented to airmail me the air fittings free of charge. Thus, I was able to play that weekend, despite the shipping snafu, and Smart Parts gets a B+ for Customer Service!

(3) I installed a Shocktech #5 drop forward, and a Custom Products 2005 On/Off valve. This makes my Crossfire 68 / 4500 tank sit MUCH NICER. The weight balance is perfect now, with the center of gravity for the marker just over the grip frame. The marker is no longer back heavy, and my accuracy and snap shooting are much more accurate. There is also considerably less fatigue over the course of a day of play, as my arms are not extended as far as they previously were. Its also tighter, which is great for front players or people who like to play tight behind cover. Finally, the On/Off value makes blown o-rings a thing of the past, and you can release the air pressure quickly for added safety or maintenance.

(4) I installed a Freak Barrel Kit with stainless steel inserts and an All American front. WOW. Accuracy is now WAAAAAAY improved. One reason I bought the Smart Parts Ion was because the stock barrel was said to be fairly accurate. Yes, the stock barrel is fairly accurate. But it simply cannot compare with the Freak kit with stainless inserts. I can get about a 6 inch grouping at 100 feet, in both semi and fully automatic firing modes. This gun is SICK accurate.

(5) The regulator is now much more consistent. I was experiencing spikes of +/- 8 FPS. This has now fallen to +/- 3 FPS. I've shot approximately 2 cases (4000 rounds) through the marker thus far.

____________________________________________________________


EDIT: 1/21/2006
____________________________________________________________


I've now had my Ion for about 1 year. I've played with people all over the region within about a 2 hour drive, on average once a week. I've shot many (maybe 20?) cases of paint through the Ion, I've played woods ball, speed ball, and scenario games, and I think I have a pretty good idea of how this marker will stand up over time.

(1) I installed a New Designz roller trigger a few months ago. I dialed the trigger way down so there was only about a millimeter of play before the marker would shoot. I started having problems with the gun 'bouncing', meaning I would pull the trigger a couple of times, remove my finger from the trigger, but the slight kick from the paintball leaving the marker would cause the marker to fire again and again and again... generating a fully automatic condition in semi firing mode. It was kind of dangerous, and I felt like I wasn't in control, so I backed it out a bit more, to perhaps 1.5 - 2mm, and now it works great... the trigger is still REALLY sensitive, which I like, but it only fires when I want it to. I constantly have to warn people who shoot the gun 'Don't touch the trigger until you are ready to fire... it is REALLY sensitive'. They never believe me ... till they touch the trigger! I don't play alot of tournament, I try hard not to 'rip strings', but if you want it, particularly with ramping... it is definitely there. I shoot too much paint if I let myself go, so I generally leave mine set to a reliable, controlled, fairly fast pure semi mode (maybe 5-10 BPS), right where I want it. This helps me shoot less paint without reducing my number of eliminations. Perfect!

(2) I've run into a problem with the stock regulator creeping up slightly in pressure if the marker sits without firing for 5 or more minutes. Example: the normal operating pressure for my marker at 285FPS is about 165PSI. If I let the marker sit, gassed up, without firing for 5 or more minutes (like when I'm creeping through the woods, or looking for the enemy), that pressure will creep up to about 175PSI, or about 295FPS... this is getting dangerously close to maximum safe speed. I think a replacement regulator might fix this... I've been considering a replacement CP regulator, but until I can find someone who's seen this problem before, and can suggest exactly why it's happening, I'm gonna hold off spending another 30+$ on a reg... the stock one is still great. I'll post more when I know exactly what's going on.

(3) Excepting the creeping condition noted above, the marker is AMAZINGLY consistent... when I chrono, my shots are ALWAYS within 3FPS. Every shot. My last chrono was 284, 286, 285, 285... the chrono operator is almost always surprised at how close in speed each shot is.

(4) If you hate breaking paint, buy this marker. In the past year, I have played maybe 40 days, with a total of about 200 games and 20 cases of paint. In summary, I chopped 2 balls in the firing chamber early on, I suspect because I mangled the vision cable when assembling the marker(see above). Since it was replaced, I have broken 0 in the chamber. I have broken maybe 5-10 in the barrel, and maybe 2 in the hopper. This means, over a year of play with over 200 games, I have broken a TOTAL of 10 balls out of 20 cases of paint, with only 2 of those breaks occuring IN the marker. How many people could say the same of their marker?

(4) This marker is so very, very reliable. I play mostly woods ball, but I also play rec speed ball and scenario games. I've played summer days at 100% humidity and 90 degrees, the night, in medium and occasionally heavy rain, and the snow. Over the past year I have sat and waited for almost all of my friends to fix their markers: springs, seals, pins, bolts, hoses, clips, you name it... it's broken in my friend's markers on the field. When I press the trigger, I know the marker will fire, unless I have made a mistake (not turning on the air, not turning on the marker, not checking the batteries before playing). Initially, I was somewhat nervous buying an electro gun for woods play. After the past year, this worry has completely disappeared. Due to the design of the marker, there are less moving parts; this makes it simpler and less prone to failure. Yes, the design works, and works very very well, regardless of your local field or conditions.

I recently went to an out of town game with 4 other people with a Spyder, a Tippmann A5, an ATS AT4, and a Shocker. When it was time to hit the field, I was the only one ready out of five people: the others were fixing their markers and complaining, stressed out, while I was smiling, eating, drinking, walking the field, and giving them crap. I truly believe this gun is more reliable than an A5, which is one of it's biggest competitors for woods ball and recreational play. In my opinion it is easier to assemble, disassemble, and maintain than any Tippmann marker.

(5) It's QUIET! The low pressure air, in addition to being gentler on paintballs, is also much quieter than a high pressure gun. I have an All American front on my Freak back, which is known to be quiet, but probably not the quietest barrel out there. People are always commenting around me 'wow, that thing is QUIET!' I like to sneak around occasionally, what some would call sniper, I call concealed position shooter. This gun will not shoot farther, or straighter, than any specialized 'sniper' gun, but it is extremely quiet, reliable, and accurate, so I'd definitely recommend it for this role. Sooner or later, you will be seen or heard. When you are detected, this marker also has the firepower to get you out of a world of crap.

Final verdict: This marker is truly amazing. I sincerely believe it will change the standards for paintball technology at the recreational level. It is not perfect, but I sincerely believe the price to performance benefit of this marker cannot be beaten in today's market. I've shot dozens of different markers in dozens of configurations in the past year... I have never once regretted my Ion purchase or wanted anything else because I felt it was better than what I had.
Conclusion: The price to performance benefit of the Smart Parts Ion cannot be beaten in today's market. If you are looking for a new marker, especially for woods ball and recreational speed ball, this is the one for you.
Rating:
10 out of 10Last edited on Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006 at 3:10 pm PST
 

Review Comments
Omegaboy13 Thursday, March 24th, 2005 | 1:15 pm PST
Wow, finally a good ion review.
   

kyle5671320 Thursday, April 14th, 2005 | 7:10 pm PST
quote:
Originally posted by Omegaboy13
Wow, finally a good ion review.
   

cheffy Tuesday, December 27th, 2005 | 10:14 am PST
NIZE REVIEW ???真ummm so the ramping helps out that much???真
   

Riotnrrd Saturday, January 21st, 2006 | 7:44 am PST
Yeah, it helps that much.... in fact, SO much, I never turn it on, because I'm not rich and can't afford to throw away a quarter every second! Example: I went to my first scenario game at www.24hourgames.com . I set my marker to ramping mode, in case I 'needed' to fire quickly. In the first firefight, I'd estimate 5 minutes of time, I went through a hopper and 4 140 rnd pods... a total of about 700 rounds. In 5 minutes. I don't play a lot of tournament, mostly speed ball, but MAN, this thing shoots almost TOO fast, especially when ramping.
It is nice to have, when you need it... but it will be expensive!
   

badasp Thursday, January 26th, 2006 | 3:03 pm PST
hello i just ordered a new ion and i was wandering if they came with a eye
   

badasp Thursday, January 26th, 2006 | 3:05 pm PST
im re posting this so that i caqn have a email notifacation so if any one knowsthe answer to my proior question please reply on this comment
   

badasp Thursday, January 26th, 2006 | 3:06 pm PST
quote:
Originally posted by cheffy
NIZE REVIEW ???真ummm so the ramping helps out that much???真
hw did you do hte ? up side down thats crazy
   

badasp Thursday, January 26th, 2006 | 3:08 pm PST
what exatly does a QEV do and is it worth buying
   

el gato Sunday, April 2nd, 2006 | 3:11 pm PST
quote:
Originally posted by badasp
what exatly does a QEV do and is it worth buying
a qev reduces dwell, increases cycle rate, and increases gas efficiency and YES its worth buying its only 15$ and it does alot for your gun
   

graham802 Monday, April 17th, 2006 | 12:32 pm PST
LLLLOOOOOONNNNNNGGGGG!!!!!
   

Tippy674 Wednesday, May 17th, 2006 | 8:01 pm PST
whoa,now THAT was the best gun review i have ever seen. EVER! now im definately getting an ion for a starter
   

licsonmyanus69 Thursday, May 18th, 2006 | 11:46 am PST
dam... really nice review.... ive been trying to get 1 for the past 2 weeks.. and every store in my area are sold out... and now i no that its really worth the wait
   

FDS Monday, June 19th, 2006 | 10:23 pm PST
quote:
Originally posted by badasp
hello i just ordered a new ion and i was wandering if they came with a eye

yeah it does they are breakbeam which are the best becasue if they see a ball it tells the gun to fire if it dosn't see a ball in the breach it dosn't shoot.
   

Shofosho Sunday, June 25th, 2006 | 1:17 am PST
How much would you say you've spent on this gun? and which upgrades do you think are important/crucial and how much would those alone cost?
   

Ion Crazy Monday, June 26th, 2006 | 11:06 am PST
What is the stock dwell set on I just got a qev and getting a Firebolt help me with these settings? Thank you ION
   

AuxiliaryPie Tuesday, July 18th, 2006 | 8:24 pm PST
WHAT THE HE** IS UP WITH THIS REVIEW
   

McSqueeb Monday, October 9th, 2006 | 9:53 am PST
Wow. I just wanted to comment on your fabulous review. That was the most in depth, and complete review for a marker I have yet seen.

I'm currently in the process of getting back into the sport after a few years off, and the ION is definitely up there on my list of markers to choose. After this review, its hard for me to choose otherwise. Thanks a lot man, and hope you continue to kick ass!

-Art
   

super_spyder58 Friday, March 9th, 2007 | 6:33 pm PST
woah man his is actually such a good review, you give alot of detail.
i think that this review will help me convince my parents to buy this for me instead of me buying it (they think that my gun right now is good...im not even gonna say what it is cuz its such crap)

   

mkrdech Tuesday, April 10th, 2007 | 6:53 pm PST
i'm actually surprised. ions are compared to spyder pilot acs 05 (a low-end marker) and there are a lot of better features to the pilot acs. I never know a low and high end marker could be so close
   

McEd Tuesday, December 18th, 2007 | 10:22 pm PST
great review very detailed now i have almost no doubts on buying this gun thanks so much
   

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