What you really need for good play with it:
Ball "rollout" detent (CCI detent rings or Chipley Custom barrel backs or Palmer s wedgits)
Anti-doublefeed ball detent (I have adapt Kingmann ball detend from Spyder Victor)
Bottom line & 12oz with antisiphon tube - when you are going on gas CO2
Raised sight rail & 9oz with siphon tube - when you are going on liquid CO2 (back-bottle)
Quickchanger - when you are stock class player
Red dot sight (I sugest ADCO Sure Shot as cheap and durable sight)
40-50rnd hooper or stock feeder
What is good for it:
Anti-doublecock security (I have adapt familiar hammer-trigger system from Nelson guns)
Bolt modification - fourth o-ring for better support
Polished internals & barrel honing
Lightened (from stock 33g you can go to less than 17g) hammer
Shawet cup seal stem (to 3mm in middle)
New (autococker style) valve body with only one big opening and larger (7mm) hole diameter around stem
What is becomingly on it:
Bolt modification - undershot bolt or velocity adjuster trought reduction of gas flow
Some additional o-rings up to different places for sillencing cocking mechanism
.45 grip frame
Short custom 8" barrel or long 16" ported barrel with tacked, massive, "integral" silencer
Laser sight (just for fun, and intimidating newbies, not for use)
After some tinkering work one of the best C/A, DF pumps of ever
Out of the box NOT virtually unusable
All other people on the net are saying that Sterlings are one of the best pumps (that's why I with my friends bought three of these). I only have experience with the first production run spyder threated, Sterlings Bronze with right feed. So all that is written here is referring ONLY to this type of Sterling. I don't know much about Sterling STP, Sterling STP Turbo, Sterling Silver, or others (first non-spyder threated or late center feed with ball detent) Sterling Bronze, but my type of Sterling Bronze can be really excelent marker... but ONLY after a lot of (and highly expensive) custom work (it took me more than one year to accomplish all that tinkering work). In short: it is imho very good as an intermediate product, but out of the box it's virtually unusable. So, this marker is really good ONLY after a lot of custom work (see above what all you need to do)!!!
Main problem here are permanent breaks and rollouts. The diameter of chamber and stock barrel is too large for overwhelming majority of present paint and there are NO ball detents included. There is neither a lockout of bolt or anti-doublecock security, which coupled together with Sterling's very light pump stroke leads to the extended bolt opening itself on it's own and for the player it is very easy to "manualy" doublecock (= lot of breaks due to "failure of human factor"). Conclusion: regularly breaks paint or rolls out from barrel!!
As with many pumps, axis of sighting is too close to ASA, which makes aiming with backbottle and (modern full-face protection) mask impossible. Raised sight rail or bottom line helps with that, but bottom line mount is quite costly and not easy obtainable, because you need Euro-grip bottom line adapter (like for Trracer/Maverick pump) for this type of Sterling.
Velocity is not always adjusted correctly out of the box and it is not too easy to set it - there are not velocity adjustment screws and it is not possible to adjust velocity through tension of springs without disassembly (and change, cut or underlay springs).
So those were disavantages, all headaches that you MUST resolve. Now the good stuff:
Sterling Bronze is little heaviest than Phantom, but a lot more rugged and still a lot lighter than WGP Sniper. He has perhaps most benefits of both and some in addition. With stock barrel and 7-9oz CO2 tank as back-bottle (liquid configuration), he is short, compact and well balanced. With 12oz CO2 tank (or HPA - low pressure, gas confiiguration) he haves very good stability and manoeuvrability.
Key internals that are really under stress (cup seal stem, valve body, hammer, trigger, cocking rod) are made out of match-grade materials. Body and barrel are made of cheap aluminium alloy (no sweet brass or stainless stell yet..), but this seems to not affect endurance or performance, they are lightweight and have perfect corrosion resistance.
If you know the form, Sterling works even so good on HPA, 12g, liquid or gas CO2 with only small changes (after playing with the springs for a while). Its basic structure is a very smart evolved - all parts are simple and handily available, the marker is very easy to clean (even on field) and resistant to penetration of dirt inside the mechanism.
When is good adjusted and has some good paint, its accuracy is simply GREAT (on unregulated CO2, with honned stock barrel and RPS Marbalizer paint diversion below 90mm (3.5 inch) circumscribed circle on 16m (50 feet) distance) and velocity is very consistant (with good solved CO2 and best paint commonly +/- 3 fps for 10 shots). Pump Stroke is legendary, light and smooth out of the box (some say much more better than Carter) and with some mods (fourth bolt o-ring for better support, polished internals) it can be even better. Due to this pump stroke charakteristics, the Sterling has an unusually good fire rate on pump (3 aimed shots or 9 bps with autotrigger are achievable) and is handy even for small kids and weak Ladies' .
With 10-inch stock barell is the Sterling quite loud (amazing, intimidating), but on other side, it can be extremely well suppressed with some mods (with lightened hammer, on liquid CO2 and with longer barrel it can be incredibly quiet). Stock barrel is very good, obviously one of the best stock barrels on market (after honing it seems to be minimally even so good as 12" Smartparts Teardrop, 14" or 16" J&J Ceramic - I know that exsactly because I own them all), so there is really no need to replace it, but on the other side, it is too short for snipers (loud) and unnecessarily long for CQB (an aftermarket barrel might make the paintgun quieter or more compact, but isn't needed for range and accuracy).
As I already said: Sterling Bronze is not a good marker out of the box, and is far more expensive with all the mods that it really needs to be usable. But as a high-quality intermediate product it is CHEAP. After some custom work, he can be compared with the best (doesn't matter if $300 or $1000) pump-markers. Accurate, durable, undemanding, compact, rapid firing, whispering killing machine...
Great, extraordinary, high-performance, first-class pump-marker... after a LOT of custom work. Be prepared to pay for that, doesn't matter whether money or work and time (or both). It is NOT a good choice for beginners (has many problems that are not easy to identify or resolve out of the box), but for a competent custom enthusiast... take it, work on it, fall in love with it... smash the counterparty.
I give my customized Sterling Bronze a 10 as a rating, but i give the stock a 2, so the average is: 6.
6 out of 10
Last edited on Thursday, January 10th, 2008 at 1:08 pm PST
Amazingly accurate, very reliable, and very easy to strip, nice quiet marker.
This gun is very reliable and easy to strip, I myself chopped a ball when I spazzed out and cocked it to quick, the only chop Ive ever had, I just pulled and turned the metal rod, out came the bolt, a quick blow, and I was back in. Its sight is fantastic, very accurate, recomend to snipers.
Phantom, an extremely custom, German built Sterling STP
Phantom w/ stabilizer, 11 and 14 inch barrels, SS AA 14", 45 grip
Tippmann 98 with a nice lapco barrel plus other 'grades
Maybe a bottomline and regulator
It's very tuff (Ive seen it dropped on rocks only to be used the next game)
Stock barrel is fairly accurate
Smooth pump, well made internals
Can't think of anything really bad... this gun was made to be a rental, and it fits all the criteria for a rental gun... tuff, reliable, decently accurate.
The guy below me who wrote about owning a Spyder is an idiot. Please ignore his review, he obviously has never played a real game of paintball. Of course it's not as fast as an electro, its a pump you fool! The point of buying a pump is to have more fun while playing, save costs, and to improve your game. After playing with my Phantom for so long it's tuff to go back to my Tippmann or AT85. Nothing beats the experience of taking out semi's with a pump. And, like I said before, the guy below me saying that a Spyder Shutter is a better gun is truely mentally disabled.
Sniper II (a lot heavier then the sterling, but can be tweaked to personal preferences. )
Vertical Stock Class Phantom (lighter still then the sterling but harder to keep up in faster paced games if you get cornered because of the necessity to angle the body when pumping to feed properly, and having a very limited amount of paintballs)
Eclipse Sterling with smart parts AA barrel, and two bolts (dialer bolt to make adjusting velocity easier, and the standard bolt.)
The aluminum grip frame if you want to try to run tanks from the grip since the stock composite grip though still more robust then a stock sniper grip is still a bit rickity.
Shoots wonderful out of the both with CO2. Can be shot very quickly if your arm can keep up with the pumping.
Ackward to run anything larger then a 7/9 oz CO2 tank. It's not easy to put a compressed tank onto it. And as with any of the sterlings is difficult to adjust the velocity if i'm not using the dialer bolt that came with it (if i want to use the plain bolt i would need to add washers to increase velocity or clip the spring to lower it.) Also the composite grip is a bit rickity if you try to mount a compressed tank onto it.
It's an amazingly beautiful gun, and operates exceptionally well. Shoots great right out of the box. The dialer bolt from eclipse though makes it so easy to adjust the velocity compared to the regular bolt. Though unfortunately is hard to mount anything besides the back bottle CO2 tanks. Since I have a decent amount of steel braided hose around if I want to mount compressed air.
ACI Maverick, BE Blade (hah), Winchester Laredo (hah hah)
Stock, 14oz CO2
none really, maybe a new barrel if you really need to spend money
Gun never freezes, even runs good on liquid co2
Speed is very consistant even on co2, +/- 5 fps for 10 shots
Simple, easy to strip and maintain
Never breaks balls (even while I had it shooting at 330)
Very very reliable
Hard to adjust velocity, you need to replace the spring or use washers
Need larger paintballs, this gun has no ball detent and small balls run right out
Easy to double cock
Not super co2 efficient
Very hard to find parts for
Great gun, I got mine used for a very good price, not sure I'd spend full retail price on this gun, but overall I'd give it 9.5/10
Small, Light, Tons of fun....Basically the same as the STP except for the barrel which is much shorter and the bottom line....However I actually like the back bottle style for this marker.
Really smooth pump action.
Small size makes it a pleasure to use around small bunkers.
Seems acurate as heck. With good paint it shoots nails.
Many people who have tried mine really like it.
Changing the velocity is a real B**ch. You have to either change or chop the spring and to get to it you must fist remove the grip frame. Then a tiny chance in the spring makes a big difference in the velocity eg. I took off 1 coil on my spring and my velocity drop from 280 down to 200fps. Mine did come with extra springs though along with spacers to tweek it a bit more.
Overall a very good gun once you have worked out the velocity.
I use it as a back up for my Sniper II or to loan to others who want to jump into a pump only game. Definatly worth the money I paid for it ($195 Canadian which is about $130-$140 USD). I picked it up on a whim and did not regret it.