Stock Class Rules

When somebody says ‘stock class’, do you think of a paintball marker straight from the box? That is kind of right. Just the wrong time period. The term ‘stock class’ really means a certain group of markers that plyers play with that resemble the way markers looked like during the early days of paintball. That is correct, pump markers. Stock class games are slowly becoming popular. Some fields may have a stock class or pump only day from time to time. There are tournaments that are stock class based. Some players are just stuck in that time period using these ‘ancient’ markers. These same ones can hold there own quite well against there semi-auto cousins.

What I will be covering is the following…

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Benefits of Stock Class

Why play stock class? You may have heard the phrase (or soon will hear the phrase), paintball is more about the skill then the marker. Playing stock class builds on this greatly and will improve your paintball game. Even semi-auto play.

In stock class play, you need to think more on movement. Sure, the rate of fire is slow. But, you need to move quickly to to get into position. You may even build upon sneaking up on somebody to get into prime firing position. Strategy is needed. You need to think, “If I move there, what are the pros and cons?”.

Marksmanship is also improved. Since you are limited on the amount of gas and rounds you have on the marker, you need to make each shot count. You will also get to know how the paintball travels. Remember, a paintball traveling at 285fps from an Angel will go the same distance as a paintball traveling at 285fps from a Phantom. Once you learn the trajectory characteristics of paintballs, you will notice your improvement in shooting.

Combine marksmanship and movement, you begin to become more skilled. Instead of relying on your equipment, you will know the best time to move and to plan your shots carefully.

Not only will you improve your game, you will save on money. Stock class markers can be cheap, or expesive, depending on the route you take. PGP’s are under $100 new. one of the original markers considered as stock class. If money is not a problem, you could spend alot for a Carter Buzzard through DYE at around $650. Whatever stock class marker you decide to purchase, it will last you and be more dependable. Even with abuse. There are less parts to break. Paint is another money saver when playing stock class. For a days worth of games, 1/4 case will last you. Even if you do “spray and pray”. Probably the most expensive item for stock class games is the 12grams. Depending where you get them, there about $.50 to $2.00 per powerlet. Also, depending on your markers gas mileage, a single 12g can last you 10-40 good shots.

With the thought of improving their game, many will still not try stock class. Mainly because these type of markers are slow firing and may not be of interest as compared to the firepower of the semi-auto markers. To some, it may be cumbersome carrying the 12g and 10-round paint tubes and loading them in the heat of battle. Or, it could be because they do not want to try cheap markers and letting there $250.00 plus markers sit on the sidelines.

With whatever excuse you may have, I do hope that you at least consider playing pump of not stock class. You will be humbled and learn a lot. Playing as I did in the mid 80’s is certainly a different view on the sport that is played today.

There are several groups that are die-hard stock and pump players. One being The Paintball Marshals. This is a club that spans from coast to coast. Something to look into if you wish to help keep stock class alive.

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The Stock Class Classes/Rules

There are some simple rules to follow if you wanted to try this type of game. There are two types of classes of stock class. I heard of a third one, but will not get into that. The first type of stock class has the following restrictions…

1) The marker has to be pump action. As in, after one shot, the marker needs to be cocked and reloaded manually. No semi-auto’s allowed. No auto-triggers allowed.

2) The marker must operate on a single 12 gram CO2 powerlet. No constant air tanks. The CO2 powerlet cap requires you to unscrew it more than 1.5 times before a 12g is changed. No fast or lever changers. No check valves. You may carry any number of 12g powerlets. The only marker in exception to this rule is the Nelspot 007. This marker requires you to remove the entire grip panel to change 12g.

3) The feed must be in horizontal configuration. No more than 20 rounds maximum. The maximum balls mention is when the magazine is capped or with tube inserted. Must be “rock-n-cock” gravity fed (the marker has to be tilted for the paintball to roll into the breech during the pumping process). No spring feeds. You may carry any number of paintballs on the field on top of jerseys/pants.

Those are the 3 basics that a stock class marker must have. There is a modified class of stock games. The rules to the type of marker is very similar with the following exceptions.

1) Same as #1 stock class rule with the exception of alowing auto-triggers. Sometimes. This can be placed into the third class that I mentioned earlier.

2) The marker must use a single 12 gram CO2 powerlet. Fasst changers and or lever changer are allowed.

3) Same as #3 stock class rules with the addition of a vertical feed. A vertical (or stick) feed will have a 10 round maximum. The maximum balls mention for the vertical feed is when the magazine is capped or with tube inserted. Horizontal feed is still 20 rounds. This is sometimes allowed with the normal stock class rules. Depends on the field.

That is it. Pretty simple. All other tournament or field restrictions will apply.

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The Markers

There are not many stock class markers that are still made today. One marker that has been around since 1987 is the CCI Phantom. Many configurations are available conforming to the stock class rules. Another marker that conforms to these rules is the Sheridan PGP. They have changed there design recently. The changes, though little, conforms more to the modified stock class rules. Mainly, the fasst changer. A recent entry into the market is the Carter Buzzard. Probably one of the most expensive stock class marker available.

Another company is Action Markers that puts out the Illusion marker. This is a Sniper (AutoCocker) based marker that has configurable feeds. Also, Palmers Pursuit Shop has a few different stock class markers. One resembles the PGP (the Pug) and another slightly larger marker named the Super Stocker.

There are other markers that are not made anymore, but you may be able to find. Those being the Nelspot 007, SplatMaster, K-series rifles, Brass Eagle Nightmare, older PGP’s, Sheridan P68, and Lapco Grey Ghost. There are more. The ones I mentioned are the more popular ones.

If you already have a pump, but it is direct feed, you can make yourself a stick feed. This is basically a length of PVC pipe attached to an elbow. Or, if you want something more permanent, send your marker to a capable airsmith and have the direct feed taken off in place of a stock class feed. I have seen this done to Snipers (AutoCockers before their addition of pneumatics) and Trracers.

Another addition to the older markers is to have the hammer lightened. By doing this, you will recieve two benefits. 1) the valve is not open as long, and 2) there is no bouncing of the hammer, thus re-opening the valve. You can make a tube extender for the magazine. Basically, this is a simple extention of the tube to help load paintballs faster. Sometimes, you can make it so that it can hold a tube while operating the marker. Making a velocity adjustor can be as easy as drill and tapping a hole in the rear plug of some markers and adding a screw. How about milling the side of the magazine tube so that you can see how much ammo you have left. Many of these “home modifications” are stock legal and can enhance the performance of the marker. For those stock class markers made today already have these perks incorporated into their design along with other nice additions.

What is a marker that I would suggest? That is a tough decision. The PGP’s are very rugged and cheap. They are like cockroaches. They will most likely survive a nuclear blast. But for $50 to $100 more, you can get a nice Phantom. There are many features for the Phantom like changing from stock class to direct feed within 1-minute. It is an all aluminum construction. So it is lighter than a PGP. Even though the Phantom is much larger than the PGP. I think the Phantom is the better buy. Check out their site to see more stats on it.

Do not look to getting a stock class marker and try to find upgrades for it. There really is none out there. You may get DYE or 32degrees to make a barrel for the Phantom. Most of the time, a stock class marker is great shooting right out of the box. Though, some custom milling from an airsmith could help in performance.

Another important item for stock class markers is the tubes. Not many sell them. But with some searching, you will find some that do have access to them. National Paintball is one that has them available. Count on $0.10 to $0.50 per tube, new. Each of these cigar looking tubes will carry 10 paintballs. Order accordingly.

It would be nice to pick up your spent 12g and/or paint tubes between games. Just the right thing to do to help with the upkeep of the fields you play at. I have heard that you may be able to recycle 12g casings. That is a few cents back in your pocket.

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Using the Stock Class Marker

Practice! Get to know the marker. It is different in the semi-auto cousins. Difference in firing, loading paintballs, and maintenance. It may be very cumbersome when you first start out. But eventually you will get the hang of it.

Since it is a pump marker, maintenance is easy. Almost not required. Just the usual lubing of the o-rings and making sure that all the screws are tight. Also, make sure the barrel is clean of any debris. Do an occasional overhaul of the marker. Make sure the springs are in good condition along with the o-rings. Replace any cup seals that appear “dried out” and in bad shape.

Loading CO2 is different than the bulk tanks. During a game, you may need to reload a powerlet 2 or more times. Because of this, some ingeneous contraptions were developed that fit in with the modified stock rules. One being a fasst changer. Mainly made for the PGP and similar Sheridan markers, this was a modified plug for the CO2 that reduced the number of turns it takes to unscrew. Basically, it was a longer body. The 2001 model PGP’s are made with these. AirGun Designs (and other manufactures) made a device that used a lever to change CO2. Pull the lever, cartridge falls out, drop in a new one, push lever back. Brass Eagle used a similar concept that used the drop out idea, but used a knob to screw in the CO2. A typical changing in stock class involves unscrewing a cap, inserting a fresh CO2 (when chamber is empty), and screwing the cap back in. Sometimes you need to fire the marker (with or without a paintball) to “prime” the marker. The first shot is sometimes weak.

Another concept that one needs to get used to is the loading of paintballs. Back in the day, you bought paint in tubes of 10. Somtimes bags of 100 and you loaded your own tubes. These tubes were basicaly translucent plastic tubes that held 10 paintballs at a time with a cap on one end. Resembles a cigar. To load, take off the cap on the marker’s magazine, take off the cap of the tube, and tilted the tube to let the paintballs roll in. Some made extensions that could hold these tubes in the magazine. Some markers did not have a cap and required you to insert the tube that doubled as your magazine. This may sound really cumbersome. But a skilled player could load a marker within 4 seconds. With some thought, you could attach a string from the tube to the cap to allow you to flick off the cap with your thumb without the fear of loosing it on the ground. Also, some have redesigned the magazine cap with a tire innertube so that the player can insert the paint tube, tilt to load, then remove the tube and have a “self-sealing” barrier. Phantom has plastic teeth to allow tubes to be inserted, yet keep the paintballs in once the tube is removed. Another nice feature that Phantom uses with it’s markers are slits in the side of the magazine. This allows the player to know how many shots he has left. I have seen some PGP’s milled for these slots.

As you use your marker, you may develope a style that is easy for you to operate the marker. You may see a need to modify the marker. Like lightening the hammer. You may increase the gas efficiency by lightening the hammer. Since the hammer of most pumps will rebound between the valve and the cocked position, the hammer could reopen the valve letting precious air to escape. A lightened hammer will not open the valve during it’s rebond. Markers that are blow back (and semi-auto) do not suffer from this. However, markers like the AutoCocker can.

There are several airsmiths that are able to do custom work and tuning for markers. Whether it be slots in your magazine to lightening the hammer, White Wolf Customs, Palmers Pursuit Shop, Docs Machine, Masses Machine, and Punisher Customs are just a few that can do quality work and specialize in pumps. Some have gone so far as to make their own markers.

What about how you handle the CO2 powerlets and tubes to and from your marker? You can put them in your pocket. But these are hard to get to if you are kneeling behind a bunker. There are some manufacturers that have made custom vests specially made for stock class. Some have made harnesses like Doc’s Machine. Or, you can use a bandolier or other type of holder for 12gauge shotgun shells. This will hold 12g powerlets and/or tubes. Personally, I use an M-16 magazine pouch. Holds tubes nicely. Go into an Army/Navy store or gun shop and use your imagination. Who says using your mind for stock class is only good for the field. Need something that enables you to get to your tubes and powerlets quickly. You may be able to find something that attaches to your marker for the powerlets.

Some markers handle more like pistols than anything else. So, your sight picture could be lost during the pump. Adding a stock would help considerably. It will help you to stabilize your marker. This is totally up to you. CCI makes a nice adjustable stock that screws onto holes that are on your bottom of your grip (if you have them). Or, drill your own holes to attach this type of stock.

The above are the some common concepts that one discovers about the stock class marker. But as the first word of this section says, practicing will let you use the marker more proficiently.

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Tactics To Use

Again, practice with the marker. Learn it. The faster you are able to load paint/air, the better you are with getting that tag. Also, aiming and firing a pump is just as important. Hitting a 12″ target at 100 feet 90% of the time will enable you to get the tags.

Some markers have different ways for pumping. Some, like the Phantom, requires you to point the barrel down to load a paintball. Or, for PGP’s, you need to point the barrel up. This is known as ‘rock-n-cock’. With what ever type of pumping you need to do, you may loose your target. Some suggest the above mentioned to reload. Others, they keep the pump hand in the same plane and lower (or raise) the trigger to load. This is to keep the barrel pointing towards the target. I am inbetween. Find out what works the best for you.

During critical moves, you may need to fire a fast string. With a standard stock class marker with horizontal feed, I have seen one shoot 4bps. Sounds slow. But that is really fast given you need to pump open the bolt, rock, close bolt, and fire. For the new guy with a pump, they do not have the rhythem down and will pinch (and break) paintballs. Not good. Practice behind a bunker, pop out and fire at a target, then duck back in. Maybe when you popped out, fire 2 shots.

You have limited air and paint. Make every shot count! Do not try shooting an elbow unless you are sure of a hit. Otherwise, shoot at a larger target. Practicing with your marker will give you experience with how the marker shoots paint. Eventually you will be able to know exactly where the paint will hit by just knowing the angle of your marker. Make a note on how many good shots you have per powerlet. Some marker can shoot 30 balls on a single 12g while others will only have 10. You will see paintballs arc a lot towards an empty 12g. Generally, a paintball going faster than 230fps will break.

Practice pumping your marker. See what is best for you to keep your marker on target. Then, when you find pumping comfortable, do some fast strings. I will say that you will not do you many fast strings given the limited amount of air and paint you have. But there may be occasions that you need to provide cover fire. I also suggest laying on your stomache and pump that way. Do not pop out from behind a bunker in the same place. The opposite team may notice this and have some paintballs meet you when you pop out next.

You may not think that this is a tactic, but have your air in an easy accesible area on you or the marker. These are small items that you can easily drop. Fumble with the air at the wrong time and you are out! Same goes for the paint tubes. Though, not as small, you can still not be as agile. If you are right handed, practice loading air and paint with your left. Do the opposite if you are left handed. Your air and paint should be on the side you can get at quickly. If the need to change both air and paint at the same time, do air first. This is the life of the marker. Paint will not tag somebody out without air. Besides, I have fooled many by shooting air.

Another way to speed loading during a game, have that desired item out and ready to change. Up to 3-seconds can be lost moving your hand from the pump, down to your 12g, get out a 12g, then back up to remove the cap. Try aiming and firing one shot as your other hand gets a 12g. Same with paint. Do attach a string from the tube to the tubes cap. That way you not delayed taking the cap off and setting it down and wondering if you can retrieve the cap later. Ready to load paint? Hold the tube with cap up. Give a “thumbs up” to flick off the cap and load. Remionds me of a Menthos comercial.

Use mother natures law of gravity for loading and unloading. Changing air? Take off the plug, tilt the marker to extract the 12g. Now, tilt the marker the otherway and drop in the 12g. Same with paint. Take off the cap, place the tube over the hole and tilt down.

Some tricks to full an opponent is to release some of the air by unscrewing the cap to the 12g. Your opponent will hear air and think you are changing powerlets. He may charge. I do not suggest this since air is limited. Every shot counts.

Now that I have shared some tips for air and paint, how about some physical tactics? The average rate of fire for a stock gun in an average players hands is around 2bps. Because of this, plan on moving. Think where you are going to go. When your opponent shoots, MOVE! He will need to load and re-aquire a moving target. By that time, you should be safe. You may coax him to ‘waste’ his shots. By getting him to shoot, he looses air and paint. This will enable you to take more chances on movement.

With experience, you will be able to tell if your opponent is low on air. The Paintballs will not have the trajectory as they would with a fully charged powerlet. When you see that, charge. His/her aim may be dead on. But without full charge of air, the shot may go short or not enough energy to break. They may also be changing air at the same time you charge. Tables can be turned just a easily. If you notice your one shot going short, get ready to change 12g, quickly!

Team work is also needed. Cover eachothers blind area. Communicate. Having two players working together is twice the amount of paint flying. Also, when one is low on air and/or paint, the other can cover.

For more on basic tactics, refer to my Basic Tactics article.

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Stock class games levels the players to an equal level. No need to worry about being tagged out multiple times by a single opponent. It is less technology to play with and worry about. Many times over, players do not need much setup time, tinker time, or sideline time. Pumps are extremely dependable due to it’s lack of… technology. Do not get this mixed up with technologically advanced. There is a big difference between a Phantom and a PGP. Weight is different. Features are different. Overall feel and performance are different.

Playing pump is an inexpensive way for the new player to get into the sport. The markers are cheaper. You use less paint. You think more on your feet. You are also lighter on your feet. Not being tied down with bulk loaders and tanks. You also depend more on your teammates to building a team.

Try stock class. If not, then try pump. It is a definate rush going onto a field. You against semis. Sure, you will be the main target. Just more incentive to think about what you are doing on the field. Besides, it gives you insight on how the game was first played in it’s infancy. And, how it should be played.

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