Cowman: You're only a 'newb' if you make yourself out to be one. Asking for help is opening the door to a larger world.
About the leak in the bottomline: check the o-ring on your CO2 tank. If a new o-ring doesn't solve the problem, the pin on the tank is being engaged too soon. First, try other tanks on your marker and your tank on other markers to determine where the problem lies. Whatever the problem, it should be repaired by an airsmith. Should be a simple(cheap) fix. Alternately, you could sidestep the problem by purchasing an on/off CA adapter like this one
. The part should cost between $30 and $50 new. The idea is to be able to screw the tank in completely before engaging the valve pin. This is one of the reasons I use a remote system. I hate to tell you to buy something you've already bought, so I strongly recommend to price both options before deciding.
about upgrades: Play with your marker a lot
before you start pouring money into it. At this point, your money is probably better spent on paint, air, and field fees to get your skills and knowledge up. If you decide you don't like the feel, it's gripframe or dropforward time. If you want accuracy, get a nice barrel and MATCH YOUR PAINT TO IT. The younger brother of accuracy is consistency. If you're in a warm climate, a regulator for CO2 could make a big difference over the chrono. Cold climates might
indicate HPA, but only if you can get cheap and easy fills, play enough to warrant the expense, and are plagued by liquid CO2 problems.
Spend time with players. Play mostly at your own skill level, but don't be afraid to step into deeper water to test the temperature. See what players are using. Ask them if you can try out their markers. Find out what you like, and what you don't BEFORE you start upgrading. Way back in the ancient times, I spent all my money on stuff for my rebel. It looked tight, but I couldn't afford to play. Take a lesson from my mistake.
Long story short: Just play. Lots.