Solid Construction, Reliable, Simple Operation, Good Price to Performance Ratio
Heavy, Quite Large, Loud,
First off, let me say that it has been some time since I have shot a Spyder marker. I used to use Spyders regularly several years ago and have fully played on a Spyder Compact 2000, Spyder TL, Shutter, Spyder SE and the 2003 Xtra.
First up the packaging.
The packaging was very slick, I have to say. The box was very compact, nicely designed. The marker was nicely displayed. I am sort of a tree hugger as well, so it was nice to see the box not using styrofoam and instead using recyclable plastic and cardboard. The box was also very efficiently packaged with a lot less space used in previous spyder packages. The entire thing was only 2-3" thick.
The marker has a very nice feel to it. The entire thing has a matte finish with a great, slightly rough texture. It is a nice change from all of the smooth aluminum. The overall texture gives the marker a very nice mil-sim feel and even the barrel comes off looking nicer than it really is with the matte textured finish. It feels very solid in the hands.
When I first put the marker together I was slightly surprised at the weight of it. Compared to my Automag, it has some good weight. It definitely feels solid however and durable and like I said before the overall texture just adds to that feeling.
The stock fits nicely into place and is screwed on via a screw at the top back of the marker. This may be inconvenient if you need to field strip the marker and I hope they have a field strip screw available. Unfortunately, it appears that the rear sight gets in the way and the screw is recessed too deeply for this to be possible.
The stock itself fits very snug and there does not appear to be any wobble in it. It is adjustable with four positions going from about 12"-18". I would have liked to see it go slightly smaller as I think I prefer something more in the 8"-10" range for the stock. The stock adjustment is done with its own field strip screw.
One thing that people seem to not have mention is that there appears to be a screw near the base of the stock in which you can remove the stock, but keep the head of it in the marker. Again, this would be very useful if a field strip screw was available to hold the stock to begin with.
Overall though the stock does feel nice, if not a bit weird at first for this speedballer.
The Bolt/Sight Rail/Barrel
The cocking bolt blocks sights on top of the gun, which at first I did not think was a problem. I am used to looking down the side of the gun for sighing with a drop forward system. I have noticed however that with the stock in place the overall position of the marker is lowered on my center of gravity and I would indeed be looking down the top of the gun for sighting. I did not find the bolt so distracting however as to really annoy me.
I don't have any comments on the sight rail beyond that as I do not have any attachments to put on it, but I have heard reports that it can be too short. The feed neck appears sturdy enough and is removable. A worthwhile upgrade in the future might be to replace this with a clamping next to eliminate a screw on elbow.
Now the bolt when I first setup the marker surprised me a lot. IT IS PLASTIC!!! (UPDATE: I later found out that this is known as a Delrin bolt and is self lubricating and lighter then a metal bolt) I have never seen a plastic bolt before and I am extremely curious as to how it is going to perform in the long run. Every previous marker I have used, including the former spyders has been metal. For the first round of balls that I have put through this marker, I did not notice any performance dramatically different than previous spyders. The overall construction of the bolt system seems pretty much the same has it has been for the past 10 years, which for me is a good thing. The bolt is loud and it has that classic kick that you find in all spyders previous.
The barrel is a 12" and shoots fairly decently. It is not the best barrel I have ever shot, but it is perhaps the best stock barrel i have ever shot.
The trigger frame is an electronic trigger frame featuring semi, 3-burst and auto modes. As you would expect the modes work as they should. The frame feels pretty good, but not all of the wires really seem to fit that well within the frame. The grips seem to bulge slightly on the left hand side of the marker. This may just be the case of me needing to move things around in there, but I think they should have designed it so I don't have to deal with something like that.
It would also have been nice to be able to adjust or select the rate of fire for auto mode. I think it by default it is set to 15 bps with no way to adjust that to your particular hopper. One under the radar feature is that the frame now uses the standard drop forward holes on the underside and no longer uses the offset spyder setup that previous systems used. A nice plus for those wanting to upgrade the drop forward, which is rather measly. Perhaps they are expecting people to go remote? I know I am.
The trigger itself has adjustable pull which is very nice. It involves two screws for the trigger set point and pull depth point. It is a simple but effective setup that gets you some nice trigger pull. Rebound on the trigger is fairly good and if set properly you can pump out some fast paint on this one. The only complaint with the trigger is that it has a slight wobble perpendicular to the marker itself. I would say that I can probably put out paint faster on semi-auto with the trigger properly adjusted than on what the full auto can do.
UPDATE 10/13/07: So I have had an opportunity to play a complete big game on the marker and I have some updated impressions based upon 24 straight hours of play.
As has been reported by many people before the marker runs extremely hot out of the box. I spent the night before breaking in the springs and I could still not get my marker velocity below 310 fps, even with the velocity screw toned all the way down. I had to snip about 1/4 of an inch off the springs to bring myself down to ~270 with the velocity screw all the way over.
During this big game I was running the marker on remote and had extremely good performance out of it. The paint at this event was RPS marbalizer, which I have read has a very small diameter size. That paired with the presumably larger bore size for the stock barrel made the marker a little less accurate. Nothing so much though as to make the marker unplayable, and in almost all cases it was perfectly accurate for anything up to about 30-40 yards. I wonder if the performance is not so much to the barrel being poor, but rather simply the barrel to paint match being poor.
I also had an opporunity to perform in all of the modes during this event as well and can safely say that semi and 3-burst performed without any hassles. I did get a couple of chops I believe when trying to run full-auto. This is presumably because my hopper could not keep up. I was running a Viewloader revolution w/ xboard.
Now I did notice something interesting when the marker did appear to chop. When firing the bolt only cocked half way forward, requiring me to re-cock it with no paint broken in the marker. Now this behavior appears to be similar to the ACS system that is in place on the MR2 from what I have read online. However, no where have I read that the E-MR1 has an ACS bolt in it. This may be simply something else occuring but I am not sure.
The only other significant problem to report with the marker is the adjustment screw with the shoulder stock. The screw is a quick release screw, and unfortunately does not stay tight on the field. Multiple times I had to manually re-tighten the screw after I flet the stock beginning to wiggle. I even at one point had the back half of the stock completely fall off without my noticing when I raised my arm up to signal out. I then had to re-trace my steps through the forest to find where it fell. Securing that stock and that screw is something I am personally going to look into and something I would suggest anyone out there to be very aware of.
Overall the marker seems to perform pretty well. It has a great feel and shoots fairly accurately out of the box. It is a spyder and with that it carries all the traditional expectations, be them good or bad that spyder generally always has had. It is loud, but shoots fairly consistently. Is it the most accurate marker in the world? No, but you shouldn't have any problem hitting your mark in the first few shots.
It has a very easy bolt system with easy field stripping, but seems to suffer from the standard trigger pull issues that spyders have always had. If you already own an eFrame for a spyder it appears that it should fit on this one and you may be better off purchasing the regular MR-1 and installing your own frame. Otherwise this frame is very adequate with the semi-auto and burst mode being very effective. Auto works fine enough, but is not adjustable.
For $140 it seems like a great marker. Having played on spyders for the past 9 years or so, it amazes me what you can get for $140 these days. I remember picking up a Spyder Compact 2000 that had a vertical bottle input for about $120 way back. Spyder TL's and Shutters were close to $200 and did not feature an eFrame or adjustable trigger.
Is this going to be a marker for the hardcore scenario player? No I don't think so. The E-MR1 does accel at being smaller, lighter and more maneuverable that its bigger brothers, the MR2 and MR3. I had a chance to demo, but not fire the others at the store I went to and while they are not unwieldy the weight difference is noticeable. With that weight difference you do probably get some more firepower being able to put up to 25 BPS out of them. This may be a position marker for some daggers out there.
In the price range I think it is extremely able to compete with the Tippman 98 or maybe the A5 (MR2/3 are probably more appropriate). They are about as equally as loud. I am not familiar with the A5's field strip-ability, but the 98 I have used required you to split the shell in half, making the spyder infinitely more strippable. That may have changed in the past five years. The mechanical trigger on the stock 98 is better I think than the mechanical MR-1 frame, but if you are into electronic frames I think the spyder is the one you would want to go with, at least for stock comparison. Weight wise they are comparable, but I think the spyder is more evenly distributed. The Tippman 98 seems to be more rear heavy, even with the tank on remote.
I suspect as with most Spyders, there are going to be plenty of after market upgrades available, so this might be a great marker for new scenario players like myself, or for those looking for a secondary marker. I think it will be interesting to see how the Spyders compare to the Tippman line in the next 2-3 years as the after market fully develops.
8 out of 10
Last edited on Friday, November 23rd, 2007 at 9:28 pm PST