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Misshaped First strike rounds


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#1 FirstTI

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 08:21 AM

Howzit guys!

I've recently joined the forums, and so far the only person I'm a little familiar with is Mike. From watching his videos, this guy knows pretty much everything there is to know about paintball. He's the whole reason why I've decided to share this knowledge with you, even though that I have no technical data to back it up. I just hope my personal experience from trying it, and getting good results, might motivate others to do so aswell.

Living in south Africa, I've shipped in a lot of first strikes the past year and were pleased with the performance upgrade over normal paintballs. But one thing kept bothering me… The perfect barrel to get the best out of them. Let's face it, the rounds are very expensive. It's only natural that people will try and look for the best ways of launching them.

But while people where looking for barrels, I went into a personal project to see if I can improve the round it self, and have had what I believe a few breakthroughs.

Not all first strikes are the same. Look at the skirt. Roll it on a flat surface and you will see in some of them that they are not consistently round. I especially found them in the blue filled first strike boxes, to be slightly out of shape. It makes them less stable in flight and also makes them catch on the inside of the barrel creating drag and making them sway left or right depending where they catch of course.

Now look at the top of the round(the dome). Do you see the hard polystyrene surface where it was cut? Sometimes that surface can be very hard and hurt players more then the fins do. It could also sometimes not break on the target at longer ranges…

Now how do you fix this?

Something to remember about polystyrene is that it has a low melting point.

Take a old thick paintball barrel that just fits the first strike's caliber. Stack the first strikes together in the paintball barrel just like you would find them in the first strike tube.

You will also need 2 rubber balls, one for the front of the barrel and one for the back. Also look for a blocker for the back hole of the barrel so the rubber ball, and first strikes don't full out when applying force. When they are all in, push slightly down to make sure all of them are aligned and snug.

Now boil some hot water on the stove and while it's boiling put the whole paintball barrel in the boiling water. (Don't worry about water getting inside the barrel, water doesn't do anything to the first strike rounds)

Submerge for about 20 secs and then *gently* push with your paintball squeegee stick down at the open end of the barrel. The unique shape of the rounds will stack into each other bending the skirt round.

Keep applying pressure for about 15 secs(again) using the squeegee stick. Take it out of the boiling water and submerge in cold water (still keep pressure) and wait 10 secs.

<IMPORTANT>

(Keep the stove on) When submerging in boiling water you might need to hold it under for longer depending on the heat of the water, but don't do it for to long or the fins might melt.

When you are happy with the results, then take a bit of soft sanding paper and polish the top of the round to weaken the dome to allow easier breaking at longer ranges.

All this takes a bit of work, but I have to say from my personal experience, it definitely improves the accuracy and consistency of the round.


Just be careful not to burn yourself. :excl:

#2 brycelarson

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 08:26 AM

great suggestion. Take a look over on the PunkWorks section of the forum if you want help setting up a test to measure how much your mod might effect the accuracy of the FS rounds.

#3 andrewthewookie

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 11:15 AM

That sounds like a good idea. I'll have to give it a try next time I've got some FS rounds

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#4 Alted4

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 04:02 PM

Interesting. Have you ever had a bent fin dig into the front dome?

#5 UV Halo

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 06:24 PM

Personally, I have already tried something like this with no success (which is why I never posted).

I boiled water in the microwave, and immediately tossed in a round to steep for a couple seconds. Pulled it out and the round was still rigid. Granted, either the round never got hot enough or, it cooled off to quickly enough but, I didn't test if further (till today, see edit). The glass transition point for normal polystyrene is 95* but, this isn't normal polystyrene so this point may actually be somewhat higher.

Something else to consider- These rounds are not manufactured in the same way as other polystyrene products. One of the technical accomplishments needed for these rounds to be successful is that they need to be more likely to break on impact than in the breech. Perfect Circle patented a method of pre-stressing the polystyrene so that it will fail under shock. Who knows what this 'heating and reforming' process does to this pre-stressing. Worse case scenario- the rounds become harder.

I've also tried sanding the fill-hole scar (the circle on the nose) and noticed (by my eye's reckoning) no significant difference (if any at all). Further, I also found that it's not practical to sand them smooth as the thickness of the scar varies by round to round and, some rounds will actually begin to leak well before you get that scar smooth.

EDIT: I revisited this idea by boiling a round in the water for a bit on the stove. Yes, the round became more pliable but, it failed to crack on a 4ft drop test on my ceramic tile floor, while a normal round cracked.

Edited by UV Halo, 12 January 2011 - 06:43 PM.


#6 FirstTI

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 12:20 AM

Thanks for the replies, I really appreciate it.

Shot! I'll start from top to bottom ;)
I have checked the PunkWorks section, it's been a lekker amount of help thanks man. B) Now I just need to find some time to run the tests. It's the beginning of the year, so I'm a little busy.

I've never had a problem with a fin digging into the front dome. I don't melt them for to long, just enough to bend the skirt of the round. The more you do it, the easier it gets. It took me about 2-3 tries to get it right.

I've been testing this mod out for the last 7 months. playing games with my group of good friends. Running speeds of 280-290 fps I've shot players from close, +-10m with no real difference between a normal paintball round and a first strike's impact. I enjoy the mod, It works better then the standard first strikes they ship here. (Maybe we just get the bad ones, haha) I think the trick is to not boil them for to long. Remember the skirt just needs a *gentle* push.

Thanks again guys, really enjoying the forums.

Edited by FirstTI, 13 January 2011 - 12:20 AM.


#7 FirstTI

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 03:27 PM

I had some time today to do a few rounds. I took some photos with the hope of clearing up some questions people might have.
This photo shows 8 First Strike rounds of which four have been modified. At first sight they all seem similar...
Attached File  First strike (3).jpg   67.59KB   134 downloads

In this photo, you can see clearly that there are some differences. (top of the photo) Photos taken of the same round. It's a before and after picture to show how the skirt was bend to be more round. (Bottom) The top of the dome has been lightly polished with soft sandpaper and has become more brittle. It almost looks like there might be a little less air resistance as well.
Attached File  First strike (1).jpg   137.39KB   157 downloads

I understand it might be hard to see how round the skirt is from looking at the pictures, so here's one where I took some red paint that I applied to the back of the skirt and then made a imprint on paper. Hopefully this will make it easier to see.
Attached File  First strike (2).jpg   75.96KB   134 downloads

Most First strike rounds are not round at the skirt. You can see this for yourself when you roll the round on a flat surface. If you want them to be more consistent then try this mod. It's easy, most paintball players now how to cook, do they?
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#8 WilliamShattner

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 05:39 PM

This is interesting. One thing about the first strike round is that you do get the occasional screwy shot that just spins in a big arch off target. I had always chalked this up to some defect with that round but I never thought to inspect or even modify them.
I would be interested in some hard data though. A lot of things seem great in theory but real tests show very little improvement.

#9 spisla

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 05:44 PM

interesting thread...


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#10 FirstTI

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 05:31 AM

I'm only going to be able to do a accuracy test in March.
Just really busy at the moment...

Me and a few mates will try do a test using 4 or 5 tubes of FS rounds. The Target will be placed at 130ft indoors to be sure that no wind can affect accuracy.
We will then fire the tubes with out modding them into a container with a few sheets of fabric spaced between each other. Hopefully it should catch the round before it breaks. It's similar to the way I target practice on the weekends. I can use the same round more then once saving me allot of money.

The first sheet will be a fin transparent plastic. The rounds should past through with no trouble and leave holes behind that should make it easy to measure and give accurate data. Then we can use the rounds again and Mod them to see if the bend to the skirt has really affected the rounds trajectory and accuracy. The marker will be a Tiberius T4, carefully placed in a vice to assure stability.

I'll try and do the same test Punk Works did, and use a chronograph with every shot.

I apologize that I cant do the test sooner.

#11 UV Halo

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 12:24 PM

I'm only going to be able to do a accuracy test in March.
Just really busy at the moment...

Me and a few mates will try do a test using 4 or 5 tubes of FS rounds. The Target will be placed at 130ft indoors to be sure that no wind can affect accuracy.
We will then fire the tubes with out modding them into a container with a few sheets of fabric spaced between each other. Hopefully it should catch the round before it breaks. It's similar to the way I target practice on the weekends. I can use the same round more then once saving me allot of money.

The first sheet will be a fin transparent plastic. The rounds should past through with no trouble and leave holes behind that should make it easy to measure and give accurate data. Then we can use the rounds again and Mod them to see if the bend to the skirt has really affected the rounds trajectory and accuracy. The marker will be a Tiberius T4, carefully placed in a vice to assure stability.

I'll try and do the same test Punk Works did, and use a chronograph with every shot.

I apologize that I cant do the test sooner.


Sounds good- some key points:

Make sure you lock the marker down in such a way that it doesn't move as you switch mags.

The plastic sheet might work but, if the impacts are close together, it may be hard to clearly identify the holes. The punkworks grid method allows for better community analysis.

A sample size of 20 (modded and unmodded) is all that is needed.

#12 brycelarson

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 12:33 PM

A sample size of 20 (modded and unmodded) is all that is needed.


yup, 20 good data points. we collet 22-25 just to make sure we get enough. Once in a while we'll have a mecahnical problem or some other factor that means we need to toss a data point. In those cases we like to have a few extras so that we can still do math on 20.

#13 FirstTI

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 02:16 AM

Shot. I've spoken with my mates and we are more then happy to follow your recommendation.

50 rounds of blue filled field paint will be used, 25 rounds will be modded and 25 will be fired without modding them. Because we want PunkWorks to maybe back us up here with a future test of their own, we have decided to go with the Grid test, similar to the one in the first strike accuracy video posted by PunkWorks on youtube. (Just because we are all fans of the show)
If there's anyone that might want me to add to the test to make it as accurate as possible, please say so. ;)

Edited by FirstTI, 20 January 2011 - 02:19 AM.


#14 WilliamShattner

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 01:35 PM

Awesome and I look forward to the results. I hope to see an improvement but how frustrating would it then be to have use FPO First Strike rounds that we don't have a chance to modify. All of the sudden I would be irritated that I have to use inaccurate regular FS rounds.

#15 BORG

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 09:28 PM

Interesting,can't wait to see the results, to see if moded FS are more accurate.
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#16 brokeballr14

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 09:52 PM

FIRST AFTER BORG! :D

more accurate and further traveling fs rounds = win
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#17 FirstTI

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 10:49 AM

Posted Image

Here's the Marker I will be using for the tests. It's fitted with my own unique barrel, the same caliber as the barrel I'm modding the first strikes from.
It gives me a perfect match.

#18 PrometheanFlame

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 12:57 PM

Is that the "stealth" barrel from the Smart Parts SP-8?

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#19 FirstTI

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 02:36 PM

Is that the "stealth" barrel from the Smart Parts SP-8?

Yup. Out of 4 barrels I tested, this was the one I eventually ended up modifying to fit my T4.

#20 BORG

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 07:25 AM

Posted Image

Here's the Marker I will be using for the tests. It's fitted with my own unique barrel, the same caliber as the barrel I'm modding the first strikes from.
It gives me a perfect match.

that's a nice looking marker. I see you have red dot bellow the scope. Do you use that red dot when you shoot normal paintballs and scope for FS?
<!--sizeo:3--><span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><!--coloro:#ff00ff--><span style="color:#ff00ff"><!--/coloro--><b>IF </b><b>KITTY ASKED 57 PPL TO SPAM YOUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL,</b><b>PUT THIS IN YOUR SIG...</b><!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->
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#21 FirstTI

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 11:00 AM

Only First strikes. The scope is at an angle and sighted in at 200ft. The red dot has been sighted in at 90ft it makes it easier to shoot players at close range. I'm happy you have shown a interest in my topic Borg.
I'm a big fan of your work.

#22 SlovPeter

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 07:30 PM

very interesting. hoping to follow up on this. I just got a t9.1 and want to see if this actually works !

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#23 FirstTI

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Posted 02 March 2011 - 02:15 AM

I have serious doubts of doing the tests this month. Have to go to Namibia soon and work is just overpowering me.

I don't even think I will be able to play paintball for a while...

Sorry guys. :(

#24 Orubus

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 11:08 AM

My first post...wow am I interested to see what your test produces. I signed up for this thread alone!

#25 Orubus

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 01:13 PM

also, wanted to ask....what rail modifications are you using to include that reddot. Also, is that a standard TA scope mounted on a stock t4 rail?

#26 eggplant

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 12:47 AM

Same here, I signed up for this thread too. The implications are huge if the data supports the theory.

#27 FirstTI

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 12:51 PM

I apologize for not getting back sooner. Unfortunately I'm still very busy with some other work related projects that demand my full attention. I'm sure there's a few people that have tried this mod out with some short of success. The biggest trick of course is using the right calibre barrel. To big and the rounds will not line up correctly to small and you might brake them. To be honest, I don't think I'm the right person to do these tests. Time is a very elusive thing for me right now. But if anyone asks "Are you still using this exact method?" Then the short answer is ...No. I've designed a jig that bends them perfectly about 2 months ago.

#28 spqr-king

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 05:12 PM

Posted Image

Here's the Marker I will be using for the tests. It's fitted with my own unique barrel, the same caliber as the barrel I'm modding the first strikes from.
It gives me a perfect match.


Sweet marker

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