Various Gravity Feed Models, Hopper on Tippmann A-5, Ev'Lution II
Spyder Imagine, ANS delrin bolt, ANS Expansion Chamber and ANS feed neck, SP Teardrop Barrel
Several "Cosmetic" Upgrades
Competitively priced, 6 vanes V. Revy's 4 (faster?), Sanding not required, Sound-activated.
Slower than some more expensive types, (Evo II, Empire Reloader "B" and Halo).
Strengths. This hopper cost me $41.00, plus $6.00 shipping on e-Bay from a well-known Paintball Store. That saved me almost 7 dollars over what it would have cost me locally (with sales tax). If I could have found it! So I saved a little money on the hopper, and got a product that, in my opinion, is better than its main competition, the Revy. I will add an edit later if I find its durability/reliability to be less than expected.
It was a clear model originally, but is now painted a flat black (Zynolyte Speed-E-Namel) which was done in three thin coats that adhere very well to the plastic. I had to scrape off some black paint with my pocketknife over the red power indicator light. That took about one minute.
I also feel this to quite possibly be a better design. It has six vanes instead of the four on the competition, is sound activated, and has been flawless to date at up to the modified Imagine's maximum ROF. Due to the bolt that is probably a little faster than a stock Spyder's 13-14 bps.
A little "common sense" evaluation of potential feed rates seems appropriate. The Egg, Halo, A-5 and Reloader "B" are all "force feeding" models that are faster than this class of hopper, while almost anything is faster than a gravity fed hopper. But I have a strong opinion that the Empire is somewhat faster than what some people say gravity alone limits it to. Why? because there is more than just gravity on a single paintball at work here. There is also the force applied by the overlying paintballs in the hopper. A full plastic 1 gal. milk bottle provides a good example. Poke a hole in the bottle near the water (milk?) line and the fluid barely dribbles out. Poke the same size hole near the bottom, and a stream will be formed that shows the extra force acting on the liquid. Think of paintballs and water molecules as being similar except for size, and you should have the idea.
But, remember that the lower the "water level", the less force pushing down on the contents, be it liquid or paintballs. A near-empty hopper may be slower. Make sense? Weaknesses. The down-tube is considerably smaller than on the "high-end" hoppers, and will fit into stock feed tubes easily. One caution, some larger diameter after-market necks may not be tight enough, and you may have to shim them for this hopper. I won't mention any names, but the initials are ANS (A good product though). No real problem, I used a cut up foil "sticky" with its own adhesive. Works fine.
If you have an Angel, Timmy, TES, "The One", or any of a number of inherently fast markers, or even one that can be upgraded to around 20 bps, you may sooner or later need something faster to avoid chops or "dry-firing". (This depends on whether or not you have an "eye") But for all but the fastest of the fast, the Empire is a good choice.
If it is appropriate to your marker now, and in the foreseeable future, buy it. Once again I am vacillating on a rating. I would give it a nine, because it is a little slower than some. BUT, if one does a little research on a product before the purchase, they should know the capabilities of it. In that case any problem is probably due to the "nut behind the trigger". That combined with the price advantage of this product gets it into the high nines, rounding off to a ten. Doesn't mean that it is the best, just the best in its class.
10 out of 10
Last edited on Sunday, February 1st, 2004 at 8:06 pm PST