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Comments on Calder's Review

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Calder Friday, June 16th, 2006
The accuracy of this review is disputed. Please see discussion below.
Period of
Product Use:
3 months32 of 32 people found this review helpful.

Paintball
Experience:
1 year
Similar
Products Used:
Tippman A-5: Very good woodsballing gun, too heavy for speedball.

Ion: It's better stock than the Icon, but you have to pay almost $220 more to have an Icon without the 'c'. With the upgrades I've described later, the Icon can easily be put on par with the Ion for a lot less money.

Spyder Imagine: Identical to the Icon in performance, (when it works), but that's the hitch. Too many technical problems. I hate unreliable guns.

Auto-mag[RENTAL]: It's a piece of terribly folded aluminum-crap alloy. And I don't think that was just because it was a rental.

Piranha[RENTAL]: I'm trying to be fair to the Piranha here... Ok gun, the barrel they had on the rentals was innacurate, (as stock barrels always are), and the guns crapped up quite a bit. I had to get two replacement rentals while I was there. Again, that could be due to the fact that it was a rental.
Marker Setup: Icon-E
J&J Ceramic Barrel
48ci 3000psi Pure Energy Nitrogen Tank
9v Overdrive hopper, (I know I know, sucky)
Recommended
Upgrades:
1. Nitrogen: can't shoot without it, and with CO2 you're risking crapping up your gun.

2. A good barrel: the Icon-E IS compatible with any spyder threaded barrel. Get a good one and you won't regret the choice.

3. An Electronic hopper: you'll need it. The Icon-E shoots too fast for a gravity feed hopper. You don't have to get a really good hopper unless you're going to make modifications on the trigger specifically for the purpose of shooting fast.

Those are the must-haves that you should probably buy WITH the gun. If you don't have enough money, wait. Without the first 3 you'll end up getting frustrated very quickly. You can wait till later with the others.

4. Scenario Dreams T-Board: you'll probably want to this sooner or later if you're going to get seriously into speedballing with the Icon.

5. Regulator: you'll want this if you're ever playing a woodsballing game, (or scenario), that requires you to shoot more than 600 rounds in one game. A good Regulator can almost double your air efficiency.
Strengths: -Spyder threaded
-Doesn't chop balls
-Multiple fire modes
-Great trigger pull with modifications
Weaknesses: -Board only checks trigger pull 15 times/second
That's it...
Review: I've been using this gun for 3 months, and I am completely in love with it. I'm going to try to address everyone's negative issues here with the most likely reason they're having them. Weaknesses are one way to judge a gun, and that's what I'll explain in the first part. I'll review the strengths of the Icon-E in the conclusion.

"Shoots snow": It's quick, simple and painless. Do NOT buy Co2.

"Chops balls": Using an electronic hopper and a J&J ceramic barrel, I have a ball chopped only when I use a lower quality paintball, have the velocity set above 320 FPS, or fire too quickly for my $20 elctronic hopper. :D

"Innacurate": I researched the Icon and other guns for 9 months before I actually found a good sale and bought my first gun, and needless to say, I was smart enough to buy a new barrel with it. You can't SERIOUSLY complain about accuracy with a stock barrel. Heck, A-5s, Ions, you name it all come with crappy stock barrels.

"Long trigger pull": Ok, so they probably could have tweaked this a little more in the factory to make it closer. But guess what, YOU can tweak it even more easily at home.
1) Simply use a hex-wrench to remove the two top screws holding the black trigger-frame in.
2) Pull the trigger frame away from the body, and on top of it it you will see the trigger mechanism.
3) There's a screw there that rests against the body of the gun, and depending on how far you screw it out, the trigger will rest a different distance from the firing point.

"Bad manual": Face it, ALL paintball manufacturers hire people straight out of the insane asylum to write their manuals. I'm working on a troubleshooting guide at the moment, I'll edit this post with a link to it when I'm done.

"Bolt sucks for one reason or another": So far, I've had no troubles with my bolt. I think most of what people blame on the bolt, (ball chopping, innacuracy, etc.) is likely the fault of your crappy hopper or barrel.

"Not the best gun ever": There isn't a single gun under $300 dollars I'd trade my Icon in for, and that's saying something, considering I got it new for $85. If your team is sponsored, or if you're willing to go out there and blow a couple thousand on a DM6, Angle or Intimidator, you wouldn't even be reading this review. So yes, I consider my trusty little Icon the best of its class.

"Grip bulges and is not waterproof": Yes, one of my big pet-peeves with my gun too. :D I've sealed it up pretty well with electrical tape. I doubt I'll ever have to go swimming through a river with it; the main reason was so I could get a better grip. I probably would have electrical-taped the hold on any gun I got.

"Battery dies": Just remember to charge it for 12 hours the night before you go paintballing. I've run it for 6 hours of almost straight paintballing and the battery hasn't shown ANY signs of slowing down. If you're going to buy non-rechargable batteries, be sure to get batteries 150ma ones. That said, I doubt you'll need to.

"Dip switchs suck": If you wanted an LED to switch firing modes with, you should have shut your trap and spent $5 more on a very conveniently named Icon-LED. :D That said, I didn't buy the LED because i didn't want an external LED set that could add an extra element of something-to-break to the gun. Personally, I love the dip switches. They're perfectly nerdy, cool and technical all at once. I just carry a toothpick around on the side of the gun, (I've made a little pocket for it out of tape and paper). :D

"Too heavy": The Icon is pretty damn light for anything but a professional speedball gun, maybe you're either weak, or complaining about your hopper and Co2/Air. My Nitrogen tank ways more than my gun. The only reason I don't get a remote coil is that I like having the Nitrogen tank in back to brace in my arm for steadier aiming. This leads into the NEXT complaint:

"Drop forward malfunctions": Few, (but at least a couple people) listed the drop forward as a weakness of the gun. So far, i have experienced no technical problems with the drop-forward, and it is positioned in a perfect place to let you use a 48ci Nitrogen tank as a way to brace the gun on the run. I'd really like to know what problems other people have with the drop.

"Customer service = crap": People's experiences seem pretty bad with that... It's lucky you don't have to use the manufacturers customer service; the manager or technician at most paintball fields is usually certified to work on almost any kind of gun you bring to them.

"Barrel plug sucks": I'm lol that anyone would put this in their review, and laughing even harder that I am now talking about it, but here goes. Barrel plugs suck because of their nature. It's like using plado to try and stop up a hole in the New Orlean's levi. Get a barrel sock, it's $3. 'nuff said.

"Spring isn't strong enough": My first time out with my Icon, I ran into velocity problems. I was shooting consistantly between 215 and 230. Blech. And I even had the tournament velocity adjuster screwed all the way out. That means the ball will go faster, right? RIGHT?
Wrong. I'm not sure if this is everyone's problem, but since I screwed the velocity adjuster in about half-way, I've been shooting consistantly around 280-290 with no problems to speak of.

"Various Mechanical failures": I'm not excusing them, but in anything less than a paintballing utopia, they're bound to happen. As for my own experience, I was the only one of my friends NOT to have major mechanical failures with my gun the first time around. Here's what happened to my other friends who resently bought paintball guns:
Friend #1: Bought an A-5, put a E-Grip on it, went out to paintball and it didn't work. Came home, tried to fix it. Spent 2 weeks reading through manual for a clue as to what was wrong. He finally figured out something, got the gun shooting 1/3 of the times he pulled it, and had to mail it back to the manufacturers. They told him it was a simple problem, fixed it, and sent it back. 3 months after he bought his gun, he finally got to use it.
Friend #2: Bought a spyder imagine, electronic trigger was malfunctioning. He took it to two paintballing places and they couldn't fix it. Drove 1.5 hours back to manufacturer, and it turns out something in the electronic trigger wasn't sawdered right. It took him a little over a month to get his gun working.
Friend #3: Bought an Ion, and it only fire about a 3rd of the time he pulled the trigger, (this was with vision off). He finally figured something out, (I still don't understand what was wrong, :D) and he got his gun working in under a month. W00t for him! ;)
Friend #4: Bought an A-5 and OMG IT WORKED... for about 10 minutes, then crap started breaking down, namely the trigger. He's got that in working condition now, (about time).
Me: Took it out of the box, used a hasmat suit to get the stock barrel outa there, screwed everything onto the gun, cocked the trigger and... bangbangbangbangbangbangbangbangbangbang... oops, should probably stop shooting now. :D

"Bad grip": Back or front grip? Both can be easily solved by electrical tape. Sticky, semi-waterproof, and affordable.

"Hard to find replacement parts, upgrades, etc": You're probably searching for 'Icon parts', which you're NOT likely to find anytime in the near future. The brightside of the Icon E being an improved clone of the Spyder E99 is that you'll find many replacement parts anywhere you look, (just as long as you remember to search for 'Spyder parts').
Conclusion: The Icon-E is one of the best markers of its class, and definately the best marker I've found for it's price. With the 3 upgrades I listed, you'll have an amazingly sturdy, reliable, and competitive gun. The only disadvantage I've found to an upgraded Icon, is that you'll run into a lot of taunting, but it's easy to deal with people who underestimate your gun. ;)

With a good barrel, nitrogen, electronic hopper, and adjusted trigger pull, the Icon is a very competitive gun up to professional levels. Until you're a sponsored pro and can afford a $2000 gun, I'd stick with my Icon.
Rating:
10 out of 10Last edited on Saturday, September 2nd, 2006 at 5:05 am PST
 

Review Comments
jonz20 Friday, June 16th, 2006 | 7:25 am PST
Just a note. A liked the review i have an icon-e myself. You do need an electronic hopper to use this guns full potential. I recomend an empire reloader II. It's what I have and it works really well with this gun. You don't need a nitro tank though. C02 works just fine so save yourself the money of a nitro tank. It doesn't screw up the gun.
   

Calder Friday, June 16th, 2006 | 7:30 am PST
jonz, I spent the last week prior to writing this review reading all the bad reviews and what people could possibly find wrong wit the Icon-E. 50-75% of problems were CO2 induced, or at least aided by CO2 in their path to mischief. Ball crackin, snow, freezing expansion chambers and more were all commonly atributed to the gun when CO2 was almost always at fault.
   

Elder HS pbclub Thursday, July 20th, 2006 | 2:25 pm PST
well i dont really like 2 disagree with you Calder, u do make a valid point but with the right expansion chamber and valve HPA is not nessicary at all.
   

Calder Sunday, July 30th, 2006 | 2:56 pm PST
It's fine that you disagree Elder, that's kinda what comments are for. :D

Now, back on topic:
There's a couple properties of CO2 that can't be remidied by a good valve and expansion chamber. First, at the same pressure as HPA, CO2 is most often stored as liquid. Since it is very hard for most valves to distinguish between a liquid and a gas, keeping the wrong one out and allowing the correct one in is a near impossibility. When liquid CO2 gets into any gun, we all know it's not pretty; its expansion ratio is ENORMOUS and almost uncontrollable. Second, it's negative I-don't-even-know-how-many-degrees when it expands. Between the liquid vs. gas problem, the temperature problem, and the issue of unpredictable and uncontrollable expansion, CO2 is by far the more flawed, less safe, and second rate choice to HPA.
   

Impyrocker Thursday, May 24th, 2007 | 7:11 pm PST
lighter
-------•
   

3022 Friday, December 28th, 2007 | 4:20 am PST
Dispute:
"... Nitrogen: can't shoot without it, and with CO2 you're risking crapping up your gun ..."

- problem is not in CO2, but in his usage. You need big CO2 (12-16oz) bottle and anti-siphon tube if you wish fire fast with this marker. And if you wish shoot very fast, aftermarket X-chamber or reg will be necessary. Unknowing users risking crapping his gun, not users with CO2.


"... Regulator: you'll want this if you're ever playing a woodsballing game, (or scenario), that requires you to shoot more than 600 rounds in one game. A good Regulator can almost double your air efficiency. ..."

- from 12oz CO2 bottle you can have more than 1000 shoots with this marker. And reg will not help you with your efficiency if you have good tunned valve. This is Spyder clone, and they can be great (efficient and consitent) on unregulated CO2.


"...Shoots snow": It's quick, simple and painless. Do NOT buy Co2 ...."

- Shoot snow because you have bad liquid/gas CO2 separation - bad setup. You need antisiphon tube... and best aftermarket X-chamber. It will be cheaper, troublefree and more realible than HPA/N2.


"...Innacurate": I researched the Icon and other guns for 9 months before I actually found a good sale and bought my first gun, and needless to say, I was smart enough to buy a new barrel with it. You can't SERIOUSLY complain about accuracy with a stock barrel. Heck, A-5s, Ions, you name it all come with crappy stock barrels....."

- many markers (especially Tippmanns) come withcrappy stock barrels, but many from them come with very good stock barrels. I have seen some players with this marker in his stock condition to hit thier opponents, repeatedly, with single shots on 50 yards. So, I do not think that this marker has bad barrel or he is inaccurate. Find good paint for your stock barrel, that is the key.


Generally, it is not bad review, bud he is inaccurate in many ways.
   

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