Tippman Pro Carbine
Various Spyder clones
- Starr Fire bolt
- Apex barrel
- Red dot scope
- Expansion chamber
- In Yo Face combo stock/drop forward
Definitely a JTX Starr Fire bolt if you can find one. Haven't had a ball break in the chamber since installing it. A new barrel always helps.
Small, light weight, and easy to disassemble. Threaded for Spyder barrels.
Stock bolt prone to breaking balls. Limited to non existent parts availability.
I first ran into the Sheridan XTS when I was looking for a small cheap marker I could modify for a radio controlled paintball tank model I was building. Having successfully modified the XTS for remote control operation I have become very familiar with this marker. I have been using it for over two years now in my R/C tank without a single issue or ball break.
Within the past year I have started to get back into the game of paintball not having played since the early 90's. Since I had a stock of XTS parts that I keep for spares for my tank hobby I decided to assemble an XTS for woods play. The Sheridan XTS is a compact single tube blowback design similar in design and operation to the Tippman line of markers. The differences from a Tippman is mainly in the body design. Whereas the Tippman has a molded two piece clamshell design, the XTS is a single extruded machined aluminum piece that is easer to disassemble (IMO, a much more refined design in a smaller and lighter package). When introduced the XTS never really took off because it developed a reputation of excessive ball breakage almost from the start. This was due to a very poor bolt. The stock bolt is a simple non-cupped, non-ported design that could easily distort the ball shape during the firing cycle thus leading to breakage in the chamber. This was compounded by higher velocity adjustments (the XTS works best in the 240FPS range). Another issue with the stock bolt was that it was prone to being blown out the barrel. This was due to breakage of the plastic bolt where the connecting rod attaches to it. The connecting rod inserts into a hole that is very close to the back edge of the bolt. The designers didn't leave enough "meat" in this area to ensure reliable and long lasting operation. The obvious fix for this is a redesigned bolt built from a stronger material. Were Sheridan never offered such a bolt luckily you could find one in the aftermarket in the form of the JTX Starr Fire bolt (JTX was the original name of the marker). Both my operational XTS's have the Starr Fire bolt installed and I have never had a ball break in the chamber.
Availability and upgrades. The XTS is no longer in production, to find one your best bet is eBay. Upgrade support for the XTS was limited from the start in that it shared
little design compatibility with other markers (an exception is the Spyder barrel threading). Items that were available were the already mentioned Starr Fire bolt and there were two different expansion chambers offered. The Starr Fire bolt is impossible to find anymore but the expansion chamber can still be found at some vendors. The frame design is unique to the XTS and an electronic version was never offered. I have read of Autococker e-frames being successfully modified to work with the XTS. The frame has the standard in-line two hole pattern so any aftermarket drop forward can be bolted on.
Keeping an XTS operational. Obviously parts are no longer manufactured for the XTS. eBay has become my source for spare parts. The area where the XTS is most prone to wear appears to be the seer and hammer assembly. These can be re-filed to shape a limited number of times but eventually replacement items will be required. The o-rings are a standard hardware store item and not an issue. The XTS uses the same ball detent as the Tippman Pro Carbine so these are still available.
Modifications. If you like to tinker and have tooling that can cut and drill aluminum the XTS is easily modifiable. If your limited to bolt on mods then I advise you look else ware. One interesting feature of the XTS is the ball feed. Sheridan called it a "power feed" but of course it really isn't a power ball feed. The feed is an aluminum tube welded to the top of the marker at a 45 degree angle. With a little ingenuity you can easily modify the marker to except ball feed from below using a Warpfeed or QPod for example without having any feed tubing sticking up from the top of the marker.
Performance. The XTS is an old school mechanical marker with a 45 type trigger. It's fire rate is as fast as you can pull that little trigger. With the addition of aftermarket barrels and quality paint the XTS is as accurate as any marker out there assuming comparable gas sources. As mentioned, little to no ball breakage with the upgraded bolt, with the stock bolt breakage can be lessoned at lower velocity settings.
As you can probably tell I like this little marker. With the addition of the Starr Fire bolt it has given me no trouble whatsoever. The one I use for woodsball has been pretty tricked out with the Apex barrel, scope, shoulder stock, and drop forward. If you like to be a little different and have something other than the standard Tippman or Spyder then a vintage XTS could be a good choice. I'm giving it a nine because of the bolt issue.