WDP 2K3 Angel LCD LE (louder, less accurate, less reliable, faster)
Vapor B2K (louder, less reliable, less accurate, allegedly faster)
Kingman Spyder Shutter (no comparison in any category)
AKA Viking - lighter, slightly better efficiency, good shooting platform
WGP Karnivor with E2 - lighter, better efficiency, faster, more accurate
Various Mechanical Markers - only high-end mechanicals come close; mostly 'cockers
Evil Omen - louder, less reliable, equally consistent, less accurate
AGD Emag - louder, less reliable, faster
2003 AKA Excalibur w/ Humphrey 'noids, WAS, WAS eyes, stock trigger, stock Sidewinder reg, stock Tornado valve and stock Tornado bolt.
Clamping feed neck
Trigger (to your taste)
Accurate shooting platform
Not exceptionally fast
Not exceptionally sexy
I traded an aftermarket 2K3 Crusader Viking for my Excal, and have no regrets. The Excal is quieter and a better shooting platform due to less recoil. The Excal is very similar to its sister marker, the Viking, with a few significant differences. Because of this similarity, I will copy much of this review from my Viking review, noting differences where necessary.
I will address each strength/weakness in turn:
1. Accurate shooting platform
This marker is very consistent with very little blowback, and with a good barrel/paint match, it is very easy to put your shots where you want them, and to do it repeatedly. It has less blowback than a Viking, and indeed has less than most any other marker except the old Shoebox Shockers. It is almost as easy to be accurate with this marker as my 'cocker and my Shoebox Shocker. Although not as fast as a Viking, I found that with a three-finger walk, it was easier to keep on target at high ROF than my Viking. This is more a factor of my skill with the markers than the markers themselves. This may vary by individual user.
2. Exceptionally efficient
AKA actually underreports the efficiency of the Excal; I believe they claim 1700 balls per 68/4500 fill; I get nearly 2k with the Javelin barrel on. That 's a case per fill, people! 'Nuff said.
+/- 2 over the Chron; VERY consistent; more so than the Viking. See Accuracy, above. It comes with the Sidwinder reg, one of the most consistent regs on the market. The regs when new need breaking in, but there are few, if any, Excals left that have not had their regs broken in. There are a few markers that are about as consistent as an Excal, but none that are MORE consistent. This is another factor contributing to the Excal's status as one of the best shooting platforms in paintball.
4. Fast Enough
I don't have a good trigger finger, but with a three-finger walk, I can get the Excal ripping as fast as I can get my Viking to go, about 14bps. I don't believe you can get that kind of speed out of older Excals with Nelson boards or Mac 'noids. While the Viking is supposed to be able to go faster, I don't have the fingers to get it there - just like most recballers. Most recballers won't notice the speed difference between the two, even though the Viking can go faster in the hands of a pro.
With the eyes in, the marker never chops, even at the unlimited speed the WAS board offers. I had a Wicked switch installed, but that led to ungovernable bounce; it was impossible to stop without lowering the ROF to 4 or 5 bps. I put the stock switch back in and had no problems getting high speeds with no bounce. This problem was similar to one I had with my Viking. Others may find lighter switches to their taste, but I expect that bounce will be a problem for them.
I have, however, been able to get 17+ out of my E2'd Karni without bounce; I don't believe I can reach those speeds on the Excal. I also don't see that a couple extra BPS would do much for my game, tournament OR recball.
The stock Javelin barrel is good, but has very little porting, making it louder than heavily ported barrels (i.e. Freak, Boomy). The Excal is very quiet with the Javelin on; but with a Freak on, it has a low, bass sound signature that is hard to zero in on in a woods setting. It is not as quiet as my Shoebox Shocker, but close. I like a quiet marker, so this is good in my book.
6. Very little maintenance needed
After a day of play, all you have to do is wipe it down, oil it up and put it away. They say this about Angels and some other markers, but I've found that not to be true. This marker? It's true. I have verified my experience with it by reviewing a LOT of posts from owners in various forums.
I will say that there is some initial maintenance; you have to go through about 10 cases before the LPR settles in, and then send it back to AKA to be reset. Normally, I like a marker I can tweak myself, but I kind of like AKA's approach - if I can't tweak it, I can't break it. It does show that AKA is committed to providing excellent customer service. Because nearly ALL of the Excals out there are used (AKA is no longer making them), this should already have been accomplished on any Excal you buy. There are a number of shops with an online presence that have AKA-qualified techs to work on AKA markers, as well.
7. Customer Service
AKA seems committed to customer service; I've never needed any work on this marker, so I am reporting the experiences of others,here. AKA has had a recent breakup of its owners, but there have been no reported problems with service that I've seen. Furthermore, the owner that left appears to have added to the service arena by creating his own shop. There are many AKA-certified techs out there, so service is likely to be increasingly easy to get now than ever. Furthermore, there is a mature, educated and hospitable AKA community out there, with its own forum on PBNation, that can provide significant help to those with problems or questions. Don't let the PBNation location fool you - these are good people with a great depth of experience. No 'leet' or 'agg' kiddiez on the AKA boards.
The Excal comes with a great, detailed manual with thorough timing instructions, several exploded parts diagrams, troubleshooting analyses, and detailed maintenance schedules. Not the best on the market, but one of the best, and more than adequate for the owner's needs.
The stock Excal is somewhat bland; doesn't compete with Angels or tricked-out 'cockers. However, the after-market Excals have some beautiful millwork on them; check out the Immortal, Highlander and Featherlight. Mean-lookin' critters, if I do say so myself. If you can get your hands on a Stormtrooper Destructive Customs Excal, you can die happy - and leave it to me in your will, mmkay?
This is a weakness only for the pros; otherwise, it has more than enough speed for the rest of us. Comparing the Excal to cars, if pros use Formula 1 markers, the Excal is an Aston Martin DB7 - excellent workmaship and pedigree, and although it's not as fast as a Formula 1, it can go faster than any non-pro will go.
3. Few Upgrades
There isn't much you can do to an Excal; feed neck, switch, new board, trigger, SCM, Mitey Max, snatch grip. Therefore, they are hard to customize. Not a huge issue, but one that some players may consider. Factory and some aftermarket Excals come with Type II annodizing, which can be stripped for re-anodizing in the scheme of your choice. This allows you to get a stock Excal, strip it, mill it for a one-of-a-kind marker, and re-anno it.
Conclusion: There is no real down side to this marker. It's accurate, fast, efficient, quiet, consistent and low-maintenance, and backed by a great company. The ONLY possible down sides are that you have to send it back once to get the LPR reset, and that people who base their self-worth on how cool their marker looks won't get the stock Excals. This is a great marker if you play both woods and tourney; it's a quiet sniping marker with speed abilities in the woods, and it has low weight, great speed and consistency for tourney play. If you only want to have one or two markers, and play many types of paintball, the Excal is the best marker for you. One note; although the manual states that you can use CO2, I would avoid CO2 as it creates a higher risk of 'noid damage during use. As the Excal is highly efficient, there is no need for CO2.
9 out of 10
Last edited on Sunday, April 17th, 2005 at 7:28 am PST
Streaks: The only way I'd use CO2 on an AKA marker would be through dual Palmer Stabilizers. Two Stabs'll cost you about $150-$200; that's enough for an HPA tank. You CAN do it, but there's no good reason to UNLESS you don't have HPA fills available to you at any field in your area.