The paintball has to get into the gun or it’s over.
If you enjoy sneaking around a playing field littered with obstacles and structures, looking for someone to shoot and enjoy the thrill of nailing an opponent with a shot that just might sting a little, paintball is for you. However, get a good gun with a hopper that won’t jam, or you won’t enjoy it at all. Paintball guns shoot half-inch-round balls filled with colored dye using compressed air. They come in both pistol and rifle configurations. The balls are fed into the gun from a hopper located either above or below the gun. Your ability to survive depends on your choice of hopper. It takes a few seconds to clear a jam, and that might be all the advantage your opponent needs to send you to the sidelines. According to the website Paintball Hoppers, there are three types of hoppers: gravity-fed, agitated and force-fed.
Cheap, Simple and Flawed
The most basic hopper is a simple gravity-fed hopper mounted on top of the paintball gun. Unfortunately, the paintballs can interfere with each other as they drop down into the gun, forcing the gunner to clear the jam. This is usually done by shaking the hopper. The hopper is made of plastic and may break as the plastic fatigues.
Moving the Little Balls with Paddles
Agitated hoppers tackle the jamming problem with small battery-operated paddles which move the paintballs around as they approach the opening. The paddles are powered by a small battery and work only when needed. Agitated hoppers still use gravity to move the paintballs into the gun.
Pushing the Balls by Force
Force-fed hoppers are expensive and use a variety of mechanical methods such as rotating cones or spring-driven tubes to push the paintballs into the gun. Since these hoppers don’t use gravity to move the paintballs, they can be mounted under the paintball gun. A bottom-mounted hopper gives a significant tactical advantage. When a player stealthily raises his gun over a wall, he doesn’t want the hopper, which can add a foot to the height of the gun, to appear before he gets the shot off.