Tippmann's (Model 98, Custom 98, A-5), Smart Parts ION
Tippmann A-5 E-Grip w/ 14 All American, soon to recieve Tacamo AK Kit
2004 VF Pro-Stock with ever-growing list of ups
Smart Parts SP1 w/ "custom cardboard chunk in the grip" lolz (to stop battery rattle)
Psychoballistics Lightning Cocker w/: Orracle 3-Way
WGP Hinge Frame
WGP Y2K RF "old school cocker" (brass ram and 3 way, slide frame)
Brass Eagle Talon and Tigershark from when I was like 9 (Can-Tire baby!)
As of now there isn't too much out for the SP-1
Stock Barrel is decent but has room for improvement. It does, however, match the look of the SP-1 very well
Scenario add-ons (stocks and rifle barrels)would be great, but are currently not very available due to the age of the SP-1
Laser Dots and Flashlights?
Not exactly an upgrade, but it's a modification for sure. Trigger Job...(find it in the review body you'll understand)
Doesn't perform very well on CO2
Cold Weather=Affected Performance
Let me start by saying that for the money, this is a great gun. Not good, GREAT. In this day and age of paintball, some prices have gone up, others down. When you're talking about the SP-1, the price of a high performing electro-pneumatic is definitely going down. The thing is $150, and these days you can get a 48 or 72ci 3000 psi tank (recommend 48ci for a small gun like this) for around $70, and then all you need is a basic agitated hopper like a Revy for like $30.
There are a number of choices for entry level guns. Tippmann Custom 98, Spyder MR1 and VS1, BT-4, and PCS US-5 are the names that come to mind for me, and the most I see are Spyders and C98's. Even though these are all quality markers, I really wish that everyone starting out, and even some experienced players looking for a backup, would opt for the SP-1 instead. Just shooting one was enough to convince me.
So here's the deal: Dropping only 150 and tax, I got my money's worth, and then some. Locking feedneck, ultra cool looking, ease of maintenance, and as you know, electro. The only thing I noticed was when I first aired it up (in which case I find you should actually turn the board on FIRST, and gas up slowly to be safe) and started firing, it sounded like the tank was OUT OF AIR or there was a MALFUNCTION, because pulling the trigger resulted in faint popping noises and very little air blow through the barrel. Neither were the case. The darn thing is THAT QUIET. When I added paint to the mix, the paint seemed it was going a little slowly, so I went and turned up the inline reg pressure a little (the only way to adjust the velocity) and then it was amazing. The paint was seemed to be going somewhere near feild limits, and each ball was going exactly where I wanted (just shooting in my back yard). Aiming can be an issue to those used to sighted guns due to the vert feed blocking your view, but walking it to the target is a dream. After noticing that, I decided to just let 'er RIP, and to my surprise, the gun shot as fast as I could pull the trigger and never skipped a beat. Adjusting the trigger so there is basically no post-firing point travel would make it awesome.
Soon after I took this to the field. On a cold day where everyone's gun's velocities were spiking, the SP-1 showed what it could do. I never had to adjust the speed, my previous instincts may have been fluke, but were dead on. That fields limits were 285, and the SP-1, without any adjusting, shot mostly at 282, fluctuating no lower than 280 and no higher than 284. Absolutely amazing, and probably could be even better in warm weather and when the gun is broken in, hmm?. In the first 2 games it was especially cold, and the accuracy of the paint was obviously affected, but perhaps a little more than normal? Who knows. By 3rd and 4th game it grew a little warmer, and the SP-1 seemed to have "broken itself in". Compared to a fully upped 'cocker, it shot true and as smooth as ever. To put it plainly, I was spanking even experienced players with milsim Tippy's, and was always confident to run the entire field with the little SP-1. I lost count of my kills that day. I was also getting almost a full bag of 500 rounds out of a little 48/3000 tank, which is rather decent efficiency for a such a low pressure gun. The only problem was that I forgot to turn on my hopper one game, and when I went up to bunker a poor soul, I shot air about five times right on top of him, alerting him to my presence. I was barely able to shake the paint around and shoot some more before he could shoot at me. Needless to say this was pretty embarrassing. But it makes sense, since there is pretty much zero recoil, therefore nothing to make the hopper shake.
After this day I stripped the gun down (I'm a huge tinkerer), cleaned out the bolt housing and the bolt itself, lubed the bolt, and put it back together with no problems (although the screwing in of the bolt is a little catchy, you have to get a feel for it and push it slightly, or it will just sit there and spin) . All I noticed is that I couldn't manage to get the battery into that special place where it sits comfortably and doesn't rattle, so later on I put a slice of cardboard in the bottom of the battery housing in the grip to fill in the empty space (I know, some pretty heavy custom work right there lol). And then, like the manual says, I aired it up after this strip down to do a "test dry fire" (and I also did this because with only one major moving part, you don't really know you've done something incorrectly, like not put the bolt in all the way, until you air it up and something goes wrong) and it turns out there was a problem, it would turn on, but not shoot or anything...(UH-OH!) but it turned out the battery that it came with was dead. Hey, the things been sitting in there for a while slowly draining power, it happens. Threw a brand new Energizer in there, no biggy. Shot flawlessly again after that.
Another day I went to a different field with my cocker, and brought the SP-1 just in case there were any big problems encountered throughout the day. After a few games, a 13 year old or so kid's "high end JT" (please just get the SP-1 instead people) was severely jammed and just totalled it seemed. Instead of watching him fix it all day, I gave him my SP-1 and he gladly used it with his hopper and my spare tank. The velocity was now high 280's (who knows, but no big deal) and the same great consistency of +/-2 fps and at one instance 3 fps lower, so he just left it right there and went and played. Just after shooting it, he commented about how there was no kick, aswell as the accuracy, he couldn't believe it. We compared shots pre game on a huge dirt mound field that was very long. At distance, it stayed more true than my cocker which has upgrades costing more $ than the SP-1 itself (it came down to a slightly smaller barrel inner diameter than my cocker's All-A). After that game, the kid told me that it was the BEST gun he had EVER shot. We exchanged e-mails, and days later he wrote me saying he had a pball store gun tech tear down his JT, get it shooting, sold it for more than I thought it was worth, and with the money, was able to purchase the SP-1 with a 48/3000, and he loves it more than he can express. This really made me smile.
Writing this now, April 18th of 08, I am for sure bringing the SP-1 as my main next weekend outing to the field, or any other time I'm looking to have a gun-hassle-free day of woodsball (this winter for some reason I feel like playing in the snow, and what better gun to use than the SP1???). Upgrades I'm considering are a laser dot on the front-lower picatinny, tac-lite just for looks, and sending it back to Smart Parts to get it reflashed for Select Fire, since I got this back in December and it's considered an "early model". In the future, a new barrel is a good thought (even though the stock one looks perfect for it and is quite good), and maybe even a stock. The main thing I'm focusing on is tweaking it; getting an ideal velocity to operating pressure setup, and adjusting the trigger pull to only go as far back as it needs to hit the actuating point, and if possible make it snappier, even though stock this thing comes with a pretty short and snappy pull and set at an ideal pressure, I thrive to make things better.
And oh yeah, the low force bolt works alright. I've yet to chop a single ball, and have personally put my finger in the breech and pulled the trigger (although I wouldn't try this with my tongue). It gently stops on it and retracts, just like Smart Parts says it does.
Sidenote: (Update) Set it to run specifically on HPA after seeing how on the Smart Parts website (its very simple!). Haven't really noticed a difference in performance, but it feels really good. Also adjusted the trigger to almost zero pre-firing point travel. It rips. I've yet to find the screw to adjust post-firing point travel though.
Sidenote (Problem Encountered): One day out at the field I turned it on to make sure it was all in working order before I chrono'd, and the solenoid would not activate when I pulled the trigger. By the way it felt when I pulled it I knew that it was locked at the half way point and would not return to the forward resting position. Originally I thought it was because I have the trigger adjusted for a very short pull (which I now have to readjust because I screwed around with it, thinking that was the problem. ARRGH!!!!) but the real reason was the grip frame screws were a bit tight and somehow put tension on the trigger spring. I put them on a bit more loosely and it worked flawlessly, but this was a very strange problem, one of the most bizarre I have ever come across.
The last things I've got to say:
1. If you have the means, get HPA instead of C02 and you'll thank yourself.
2. I really don't recommend using a non agitated loader/a "shake and shoot". You can get away with these on Spyders and Custom 98's and such, because the high level of kick does the agitating for you. A standard Revy or the new Revolution Force/Eye-Force will easily keep up with it and aren't too pricey.
3. Go ahead and stick something in the grip to stop battery shake.
4. Read the manual knowing it kinda sucks (I've experienced leaks when I air up without it turned on, even though thats what the manual says to do)
5. You don't really need to strip it down, just clean and lube the bolt and the inner body after every 2nd or 3rd day's play, and make sure that you screw it in all the way and correctly, this is the only problem I can see possible with the SP-1.
6. You might want to replace the original battery right off the bat or after the first field outing or something like that. I wouldn't have been a happy camper if I took it out to the field and ran out of juice, although this is bound to happen sometime to everyone.
7. If you want to put a flashlight in the housing, take off the lower picattiny on the front, remove the silver set screw. (Not sure on whether you leave it in to set the flashlight in place though) It doesn't say anything about this in the manual.
8. Sorry about this whole schi-bang I wrote up, I'm a bit of a story writer :)
9. Oh yeah, buy it...
Thanks for reading!
Whether you're a beginner or an experienced player, this is a great gun and anyone can find a friend in it, as a backup or a primary. For 150 bucks and maybe soon to be even lower, you can't go wrong. I hate to say it but it totally smokes the C-98 or MR1 out of the water in terms of smooth operation, maintenace ease, accuracy and efficiency, and is in a whole different league in terms of operating pressure (200 psi max! definitely a full blown low-pressure gun). Pretty soon it will have a great milsim appreciation. Don't hate the SP-1 just because you may dislike Smart Parts (I feel the same way, this is my first Smart Parts gun). This marker is an amazing performer in every way, at a price I find very hard to comprehend.
Without doubt, an Ace in my books.
10 out of 10
Last edited on Wednesday, August 6th, 2008 at 12:53 pm PST