Bolt issues (had to contact DYE)
I had been out of the sport for a few years but still kept my gear. My Spyder Xtra was getting boring and I wanted a new gun when the paintball bug bit me again. At first I was looking at the Ion and Epiphany but looking around and talking to people, as well as personal experience with the ion and seeing how it tore down, led me to look elsewhere.
And then I saw the SLG. It's perfect for my price point at $200. It's compact. It's light. It's fast (well fast enough for me) and it has a great regulator and adjustable ASA. It operates on very low pressure and it's gentle on paint (I'll get to personal experiences in a bit).
I take gun maintenance very seriously and I enjoy servicing equipment that I own. However I don't want equipment that needs extensive maintenance very often, so while autocockers are cool they aren't my cup of tea. Not yet at least.
I watched videos on Youtube about maintaining the paintball guns I was interested in getting, and the SLG seriously takes the cake here. It's the most stupidly simple design you could imagine. The only moving parts are the solenoid, sear, and a bolt. That's it. As soon as I got my gun from the shop the first thing I did was take it apart. The only parts that need servicing are the bolt and plunger which are both removed by unscrewing the back cap of the gun with a 5/16" hex wrench. I cleaned out all the lube from the factory (because I could) and re-lubed all the parts and reassembled the gun. Took all of maybe 10 minutes for my first time.
I tried getting my 12V Reloader installed into the feedneck and I had problems. It wasn't a tight fight at all. So I tried picking at the o-rings inside the feedneck and pulled them out. DO NOT DO THIS IF YOU DON'T WANT TO GET A NEW FEEDNECK RIGHT AWAY. You'll spend hours trying to get those stupid o-rings back in and it'll never happen. So I went back to the shop and bought a clamping feedneck. Couldn't be happier now. But seriously, why can't Proto just sell a clamping feedneck? Make it cheap quality, make it require a screwdriver, I don't care. Just include a clamping feedneck!
Gassing it up:
So then I gassed up the gun and tried some dry firing indoors. This gun is LOUD. At least dry firing indoors. I didn't expect it to be quiet. A couple days later I took the gun outside and shot some paint (cheap no-name paint) through it. It fired OK, but was much quieter outdoors and with paint going through it. The barrel is over-bored and the paint was dimply. No chops though. I did have a couple times where the bolt would pinch a paintball and the gun would jam up. Pushing on the purge button in the back cap of the gun would recock the marker. Proto gets mad props here, GOOD DESIGN!
I came back a few days later with 500 rounds of PWI paint (no not PMI. PWI, some knock-off brand but decent quality). The gun was shooting much better now. I could hit a 3" wide metal post from about 45 feet away with a very small spread. The gun is consistent, however it could be better with a good paint-bore match.
I had read about improperly machined bolts that caused ball rollback problems in the gun if it was tilted upwards. The paintball would roll backwards down the gun and part of it would sit inside the front hole of the bolt, bypassing the break beam eyes and causing the gun to not fire. I purchased my SLG from a shop that ordered it directly from DYE/Proto and this was a few months after the initial bolt issues so I thought I was safe. I wasn't, I had to send the bolt in to DYE to get it serviced. There were some troubles with contacting DYE and getting through their phone system to talk to someone. Occasionally I would just stay on hold with no sound. Once I got through though I was immediately given an RA number and sent the bolt in. Nearly two weeks later (DYE promised a 2-3 day turnaround and it took much longer) I got my bolt back with a new front end that was some sort of black plastic composite with a smaller front hole. Bolt problem solved!
---Update: After replacing the bolt I have had no eye problems and no ball pinch problems. Seems like the bad bolt allowed the ball in the breach to roll back enough to allow the ball above it to fall in halfway as well, pinching the top ball.
It was finally time to try out the gun. I had already put through about 1500 rounds of paint so the Hyper3 regulator was almost broken in. This was also the first time I'd be using my J&J Edge kit. Chrono'd at stock settings and I was shooting a reliable 270 fps. The field sold Bonus Balls so I tried them out. They're crappy but cheap. The SLG shot much better than the rental Tippmann 98's with the same paint, with less curving and longer range. But that's not saying much. My experience was mediocre. I then bought a case of WPN Toxic off some players and my experience suddenly got a LOT better. Very straight shots that traveled a good 100' down the Spools field (estimating) and had a tight spread. I could shoot bursts at 10-12 bps and the gun kept up very nicely with no shoot down problems. The compact design of the gun makes it easy to tuck in and keep a low profile. I was only hit in the goggles, jersey and my left glove, playing against all different players but sometimes against guys with high-end equipment and paint (and maybe shooting hot) who shot ME, not the gun. My friend who was using my Spyder Xtra got hit on the gun a few times. The Xtra is a bigger gun = easier target. I definitely liked the compact nature of the SLG.
I went through a case and a half of paint without a single break and had a blast with this gun! The only maintenance I had to do at the field was to wipe off paint stains and dirt and clean out the barrel. When I got home I removed the trigger frame, regulator, bolt and back cap and cleaned everything to good-as-new in 15 minutes.
------- Update 8/18/08
I just played two more days of paintball with this gun and it's just getting better. I get a perfectly acceptable 600 shots from a 47/3000 tank and using good paint with my J&J I can hit targets 40 feet away with just a couple inches of spread.
I had a few ball breaks when shooting Bonus Balls that were originally opened and then dumped back into a bag after a day of play, and then used a week later. But the WPN Toxic paint that went through the same ordeal had no breaks and shot better anyways. So bear in mind that before you blame the gun for chopping paint check the condition of what paint you're shooting first!
I would definitely recommend the SLG to anyone who wants a low-priced electric gun that offers great performance. My inexpensive setup was a blast to play with and I didn't break the bank to do it. The gun is easier to maintain than an Ion and comes with better parts to boot. It looks elegant and understated. It has a small form factor that's easy to conceal. It's reliable and there are only two parts to service.
I just wish that Proto would offer a better trigger and a clamping feedneck. DYE's support was acceptable but could have been better and they should have taken care of the bolt problem by now. The bolt I got was bad. It happens, but they took care of the problem in a reasonable amount of time.
As for the stock trigger, I wanted the trigger to bounce back harder. I swapped out the stock mushy spring and replaced it with a stiffer mechanical pencil spring and now it's easy to shoot at high speeds without having to walk the trigger. Although when you get down to it, even 10 bps is almost too fast anyways. Save your money, don't waste tons of paint, buy this gun and you can have a cheap setup with plenty of money to spare to actually go paintballing without going broke!
8 out of 10
Last edited on Monday, August 18th, 2008 at 5:14 pm PST