What's 45 ci? And what the heck is the difference between 3000 psi and 4500 psi?
A number ending in 'ci' is the size of the tank, it means 'Cubic Inches'. This is the physical space and ultimately size of the tank/bottle and only refers to HPA systems.
3000 and 4500 psi refers to the pressure rating. This means that the tank can either be filled up to 3000 psi or 4500 psi. This will affect how many shots you will get out of a tank. A 45 ci tank at 3000 psi will get fewer shots then a 45 ci 4500 psi tank because there is 1500 psi less in the 3000 tank compared to a 4500 tank. Whether you get 3000 or 4500 is up to you.
Very quickly on sizes, there is a 45, 68, 70, 72, 88, and 92 respectiably. There are some odd ball sizes out there but those are the most common sizes you will see. Please note that the 72 ci size is more common for metal tanks, not carbon fiber tanks.
When you put these numbers together you get something like this, 45/4500. This means 45 cubic inches and 4500 psi capacity. Now when shopping for one you will see HP 45/4500 or LP 45/4500. What does this mean? Hopefully you've been paying attention. One is an HP (800 psi output) tank at 45 cubic inches and 4500 psi capacity while the other is LP (400 psi output).
And for the love of Paintball, these sizes don't mean that with an HP tank you're only getting 4 shots out of a 3000 psi tank because you're using 800 psi per shot; I know somebody is thinking that. It just doesn't work that way.
Alright, I get it now but what's the BEST tank out there?
In my opinion, along with others, Crossfire, Macdev, and Centerflag in that order. Why? Those three companies have excellent safety records for one and have high manufacturing standards and quick recharge rates.
Remember you are dealing with air that is compressed to 3000-4500 POUNDS PER SQUARE INCH. Now if you paid attention in math if you take a cube that is one inch by one inch there is 3000-4500 psi in the one little space and there is 45-92 cubic inches in a tank depending on what one you have. I can not stress that enough so you maintain your equipment properly and safely.
But back to those three tanks, all make tanks around 200 dollars and have some of the best recharges rates meaning you won't suffer from shoot-down as much if at all because the air pressure will go back to normal more quickly. Macdev is rated at 8ms, Crossfire at 10-12 ms, and Centerflag is 14 ms.
Now, I know that Java, Pure Energy, and other companies make fiber wrapped tanks for cheaper but that is the key word... Cheaper. It's not to say they are bad tanks it's just that their recharges for one are much less then the other three I mentioned and I personally feel that they are not built to the same standards as Macdev, Centerflag, or Crossfire. I know all tanks have to meet specific regulations to pass but Macdev, Centerflag, and Crossfire all surpass those standards so just in case one is sub-par for them it will still pass those regulation tests.
I would rather pay the extra money for a tank that I know is going to be safe and effecient rather then take a chance on something that may be subpar. That's the way I feel about and that's what I'm sticking too. If I had a 150 bucks in my pocket and couldn't afford the 200 dollar tank... I would take a metal crossfire over a fiber wrapped Java or Pure Energy.
Please keep in mind that the basis of which tank brand is preference and if you think I 'bashed' a brand because I said it's cheaper is based solely on my own PERSONAL preference. Just keep in mind safety first and I will be content.
I absorbed the knowledge like a sponge and understand the differences of CO2 and HPA. Now I am set on an HPA tank, I know the size I want, whether I want metal or fiber wrapped, what brand, and I know if I need HP or LP. But should I get a drop forward or rail on/off?
This is probably one of the most asked questions next to 'what tank is the best'. This is based solely on personally preference but there are a few things to keep in mind.
A drop forward will add height to the marker while a rail will add some length you will get a tighter, smaller profile with a rail. I am not going to comment on dropforwards since I don't use them but I will say read the review boards on drops and ask around, even see what the pros are using if they are using them.
Rail on/offs are quite simple in how they operate, they are mounted on the bottom of the grip frame and you screw in your tank to the on/off. There is a knob on the end that screws in and out, when screwed in it depresses the valve pin on the tank and allows air into the marker. When turned out, it released the valve and allows it to seal cutting off the air supply to the marker. If you screw it out further, the bleed hole comes into play as it will release all the air stored into the marker and degass it. Simple enough. Just don't screw the knob in too far or you risk damaging your valve pin, screw it in until you hear the marker gas up and then give it a half to full turn more to ensure that it won't back out and you won't have air while in the middle of a game.
Now with rail on/offs there are two recommendations. The New Designz (NDZ) on/off ultra lite combo or a Custom Products (CP) on/off rail.
I personally use the NDZ on/off ultra lite combo. This is the on/off where you screw in the tank and a rail to mount it onto your marker. NDZ makes superior quality products that are durable, affordable, look nice in my opinion, and are just over all well designed products. The ultra lite only differs from the regular on/off in the weight aspect. Both have an on/off knob with a bleed hold, have dovetail mounts, and the combo comes with a rail as I said before.
The CP on/off is similiar to the NDZ on/off but the only difference is, milling/style, company, and potentially price. CP makes superior products as well and has excellent customer support. In a choice between the NDZ and CP on/off I would choose the NDZ only because I have used it and I hardly notice the weight on my marker. It's up to you what you ultimately put on.
Though I would recommend staying away from Unimounts as any repairs that you may have to do will involve you removing your macroline and elbow to remove the unimount from it's cage. Best to just stay away from them as they are a hassle.
Hopefully this clears up alot of question people may have. I offer Uziel and other mods to add to this or edit as they see fit; hopefully this may become a sticky that people will actually read. I also apologize for mistakes in grammar, spelling, and anything else as this got rather tiring after a while.