So the C3 is the revolutionary Propane powered marker from Tippmann. And many people are still a bit confused on how it works. It's only just by now settled that it is combustion inside, and even still some people don't realize this. So I'll try and break it down piece by piece for everybody.
Lets take a look inside...
The action of this marker is more complicated than your average Phantom or Sniper. You donít just pump the handle and load a ball, ready to fire. No, much more than that. So lets break it downÖ
Step 1: What happens with the back pump stroke.
When you pump the handle back you are in the first stage of venting any excess gases in the combustion chamber. It goes ďthroughĒ the piston to the front of the chamber, where step 2 will take over.
Youíll also note that when pumping back that the bolt doesnít move immediately. The piston has a longer distance than the bolt is required to move. So the linkage arm actually floats within the pump handle a little. Once pumped far enough back the linkage arm catches on and moves the bolt.
Eventually you will pump back the handle far enough, which will activate the brass valve in the front. Itís a pneumatic ďswitchĒ similar to that of an autococker. When opened the propane flows through an external air line hose, just like on the Tippmann RT setup. This gas goes to the back of the chamber forÖ
Step 2: Next what happens with the forward pump stroke.
On the exhaust piston connected is a U-ring. When pumping forward this U-ring will suck in air from the back valve body. In combination it will also suck in the propane. These gases will go around the big orange ring called the ďFlapper.Ē When sucked through itís loose and lets gas go around it. But after the pump stroke the gases will push against this Flapper and seal it shut, thus closing the Combustion chamber off.
What also is happening is the excess gas from the previous shot is now going to be vented. When the piston is pumped forward the gas vents out the sides of the front valve. There's a hole on either side.
And again the pump stroke will have a delayed bolt movement. After 1/2 way through the stroke then the linkage arm will catch and the bolt will seal. Chambering the individual paintball, ready to fire. So on toÖ
Step 3: Finally, when you pull the trigger...
As soon as you pull the trigger, underneath the combustion chamber is a spark plug. A very fast series of tiny sparks will ignite the propane. Upon ignition the pressure will build drastically (a tiny explosion) and start to push back the REAR piston. Once back far enough the expanding gases will vent out, through the bolt, and propell the paintball out the barrel. This is why the spring tension regulates velocity. And of course not all the gas exhausts, which is why the step 1 process is required.
This also explains why the barrel needed to be a proprietary design. It HAD to be made of the composite material. Too much heat buildup for a standard metal barrel.
How I Improved My C3 Pump Stroke
Bolt Lubrication. Simple as that. Youíll probably notice that the stroke seemed a bit rough. Well thatís because of the bolt chamber. Itís rough in there, not polished unlike the barrel section. I put Dow 33 (shocker lube) onto the bolt. Went from rough to smooth motion.
I went from a pretty rough stroke to butter smooth. Fired another 1/2 case worth of shots through and so far no trouble, or signs of trouble.
Now on to some common questions Iíve had and would like to address.
Is 50K shots real or hype?
It is possible, yes. But doubtful honestly. 50,000 shots is estimated with optimum efficiency, no leaks, never taking off the tank, etc. Like the MPG of a car, it might say 40mpg but expect 35mpg. Same with the C3. Most people will take the tank off numerous times, have some priming issues occasionally at the start, and not use the leanest possible air/fuel mixture, etc.
What is a more realistic figure? Iíd expect 35,000-40,000 shots per 16oz propane tank. However thatís splitting hairs on a moot point. When a single $3 propane tank lasts you even only 30K shots you really donít complain. I know I donít.
Could I burn myself?
From my experience, no. Iíve shot hopper fulls and still only gets warm. WARM to the touch. I have never burned my hand or face from touching the hose, the chamber, or anything from this.
Iím gonna put a match at the end of the barrel and make a flamethrower out of it
Go ahead. Wonít do anything. You canít re-ignite the gas thatís leaving the barrel. Dee De Deeeee!
First off the combustion chamber is called that for a reason. Combustion. The propane is already ignited. That is what is leaving the barrel.
And secondly a flamethrower would need liquid to be shooting out super-soaker style. That simply ainít happening.
Now if you proceed to get a super soaker, fill it with gasoline, and have a lighter at the end of THAT barrelÖ donít cry to me when you win a Darwin Award. But hey congratulations on that victory. Alright 2 thumbs up if ya can move them that farÖ
Can I bring some burgers and grill it on there?
Go ahead, knock yourself out. Enjoy your food poisoning. Iíll play paintball and have fun, you can have 4 days on the ****ter courtesy of your parents gene pool passed on to you.
Why isnít there an auto-trigger?
Because auto-triggers suck. Ever see anybody hit another player while auto-triggering? Neither have I. Accuracy goes to **** really quick. Besides itís a pump. If you want higher ROF then get a semi. Keep pump simple and to the roots of itís nature.
As for the real reason, over heating, dunno. Itís probable Iím sure. But I have yet to shoot 2000 rounds non stop with mine to see what would happen. Donít plan to. Need a 15 year old kid whoís used to being home alone in order to get those kind of results.
Is the whole body metal?
Nope. Just the combustion chamber and front/rear valves really. The clam shell items holding it all together? Plastic. Yep. Durable stuff, and lightweight.