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philodox Saturday, February 17th, 2007
Period of
Product Use:
Less than a month12 of 32 people found this review helpful.

More than 5 years
Products Used:
Original Automag
Many original Autococker variations
Tippman Pro-Lite, A5
Original Shocker
First generation Spyder
Original Angel
Proto PM6
Marker Setup: Completely stock
Viewloader 18v loader with XBoard
DXS 68ci/4500psi
Clamping feedneck
Shorter screw (read below)
Strengths: Cheap
Rocking trigger
Mini-Reg/ASA combo
Weaknesses: Reliability
Fit of parts
Stock feedneck
Review: I bought this gun as my re-entry into paintball about a month ago. I sold all my gear, which was close to "top of the line" about 8 or 9 years ago when I went to college. That was right when the first electronic markers were coming out and speedball was gaining popularity.

I really did not want to buy an electronic marker because I felt like there is no need to add an extra point of failure in something that can be operated relatively simply with pneumatics. I had previously owned a rock-solid Tippman Prolite, then bought the very first Spyder that Kingman made, then sold that junker and got an Automag.

I also had trepidations of getting a Spyder after my first experience with them, namely having the gun literally fall apart on me in games with screws falling out, things popping off, etc.

Anyways, guys at the shop say that Kingman's reputation is a lot better, that the VS series is really great, and at the price point of $250, it's a really good way of getting some fancy electronics without slamming my wallet.

I get it to play recball with friends. I took it out for one day on the field with compressed air. The first thing I noticed is that the front grip is loose. The valve on the front that the grip is attached to wobbles in the upper receiver. The problem is somewhat mitigated by gassing up the gun, but it still wobbles a bit and it doesn't provide a very good shooting platform. I fixed it by stripping it down and using a shorter screw on it. Others said they have fixed by removing or exchanging the washer.

My second complaint is that it was impossible to get the stock feedneck to grasp onto my loader well (Viewloader Tripod, standard VL size). The screw fastening system really sucked. I got a clamping feedneck installed, it works much better (haven't played with it yet though since my gun is now broken.)

The accuracy is okay for a stock barrel. Good for a $250 gun. I did notice that the balls would hook to the right after it travelled about 75 feet, on the downward arc. It definitely was not the paint, as I experienced this with two different brands. And it was not wind. It wasn't so bad, at least the hook was consistent so you could walk the shots to your target, but it's still annoying and messes with your aim. I am spoiled by my Phantom, though. I bought a barrel for it, but again, haven't used it yet.

It is relatively loud, especially compared to "real" electropneumatic guns (the ones that use solenoids to control airflow instead of just tripping the sear). Then again, it's a blowback, and you can't change that characteristic too much.

It is nice having a regulator on the gun to see operating pressure. The little mini regulator/ASA on the grip is nice. One knob to gas/degas with a dump valve when degassing, and an easily adjusted regulator via hex wrench.

The front grip, while loose, is nice and rubberized. It does rotate easily, though, so dont expect to use it as a very good grip.

The grip panel and electronics set up inside is real weak. You have to work on the wire/battery positioning quite a bit to make sure that there isn't a small crack on the grip for stuff to get in. Small problem.

Battery life has not been a problem, I just charged it overnight and it shot over a case the next day, no problem.

The controls for power/eyes/safety, etc. are easy to use once you understand it. The manual is kind of bad at describing the operation. When it says "press the button for one second" they actually mean "just tap it." If you actually press it for a second it does nothing. Confused the heck out of me for a few minutes.

The eyes really work well. I got one ball chop in a case, but I attribute that to bad paint since I wasn't really wailing away on the trigger. The barrel does not clean itself out well.

Rocking trigger feels like cheating. I think ramping markers are lame, and anything to modify your shooting artificially is really weak, as it diminishes the actual skill involvement of the individual player. This trigger is probably the closest I will go without claiming unfair advantage. You can pop off a 10-15 bps string very easily. The microswitches, compared to the pneumatic triggers I am used to, are like nothing. I can actually flick my finger across one side of the trigger, firing a shot, and it will rebound off the microswitch and hit the other side, for a super quick double tap. Kinda fun.

On the trigger tip, I think having electronics on this gun is kind of overkill. The solenoid is only used to trip the sear. So really, the only advantage of going electronic on this gun is a lighter/shorter trigger pull and eyes (which is pretty cool, but on a properly set up low pressure gun you wont really chop anyway). That and shooting bursts, which is slower than doing it manually in semi anyway. Now, you have to worry about battery charging and failed boards.

The body looks pretty nice. Definitely not Spyderlike.

Now on to the bad stuff.

After playing that one day, I set up my rig after cleaning and lubing it to do some dry firing. The gun started to not recock after 4-5 shots. I couldn't figure out why... I checked everything, compressed air bottle, proper lubrication, mating of the bolt and striker, strange obstructions in the receiver, velocity set screw, messed up spring, pressure, everything. I finally took it into the local shop. They had it for a week and half and said they fixed it, saying that the sear was worn (after one case and some dry firing? kind of weak). They showed me the old sear, and indeed it was very rounded and worn on the side that catches the striker.

I take it back, after paying for my new barrel and clamping feed neck. Gas up (my bottle had 2k PSI in it), set the reg to 225 psi... same problem. I was really disappointed, since I was supposed to go to the field the next day. Take it back to the shop, and they can't figure out what's going on. So they're taking it to Kingman on Monday.

This sucks.

Second time that Kingman has failed me. I swore off Kingmans after my first experience with the original Spyder, but I gave them a second chance because of recommendations and the fact that if they are still around (and selling more guns now than ever), they have to be doing something right.

Either I have really bad luck or Kingman's quality has not gotten that much better. Quantity does not trump quality, as usual.

Unfortunately I don't have a lot of time anymore to sit around and tinker with stuff, and the valve set up seems a little more complex than I am willing to learn in order to get it to just SHOOT.

I'm going to go look for an old Automag now. I'm probably going to sell this gun after I get it back. Pneumatics > electronics any day, in my opinion. I guess if you're recballing you don't really need 300101023891009130 BPS (AGG!...). A hand pulled 10 bps on a pneumatic trigger is good enough. That or play more stock class... more satisfying anyway.

It may be my bad luck, but two times in a row 9 years apart? My Tippman and Automag never had a down day. Never. And I used that Mag for probably close to twenty times the amount of playing days.

I would like to sing this gun's praises, as it shot well for a day, but I just can't after getting burned my Kingman twice. Never again.

Conclusion: Great entry level gun if you are looking for electronic (which really isn't that much of a benefit on this gun, since it just trips the sear). However, in my own experience, Kingman's quality has not gone anywhere from their original days. It may look cooler, but functionally it's exactly the same (ooo new valve... it's still a blowback, not much you can do to change the operation).

I would recommend to get the (some would say) dreaded Ion, the operation seems as if electronics would apply to it better. That or just get a pneumatic/mechanical gun. The operation is easier, fewer points of failure, and they can still hold their own if its set up right. If you're not playing SuperMadSkillz tournaments, it is preferable, in my opinion.
5 out of 10Last edited on Saturday, February 17th, 2007 at 1:37 am PST

Review Comments
Paintballmania5 Sunday, September 23rd, 2007 | 9:36 am PST
Maybe you dont take care of the gun? mine shoots fine but i keep it clean.My friend's VS3 didnt work but he never cleaned it.Mine works fine.

frumpyman333 Friday, September 26th, 2008 | 11:59 am PST
very nice review. besides the fact that kingmann doesn't use industry standard thread is a pain in the @$$.....but my spyders worked ok until i changed the stock paramaters. low pressure valves and regulators and a whole lot of parts that madde no sense on a cheapo blow-back. anyway long live the mech cocker

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