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S4 - Revisited
By Bill Mills - Photos by Dawn Mills Apr 2006

In late 2005, National Paintball Supply delivered S4 drive cones for the HALO and Reloader B loaders to sponsored teams and players.  One of these drive cone sets was reviewed on

As the S4 made its way through normal dealer channels to players, the newer drive cones looked a little different than those reviewed, resulting in questions e-mailed to WARPIG, and prompting us to re-visit this loader upgrade.

The drive cone and wheel remain the same as those reviewed, produced on the same injection molds, however these newer S4s are molded in a red-tinted clear color.  The internal bracing, support for the spring catch, and the filetted fins remain the same.

Also included with the S4 now, are some additional parts.  A drive cone screw stands ready as a replacement in case the original is lost while making changes.  A space c-clip stands ready to replace the clip at the bottom of the main drive axle.

Also packaged with the S4 are a pair of springs.  The drive spring is key to the HALO’s design.  The drive spring acts as an energy storing buffer between the loader’s powered drive train and its drive cone, allowing the stack of paintballs to feed as needed to the paintgun, without the motor having to provide the exact start and stop motions necessary.  The motor needs only to be driven at the proper times to maintain tension on the drive spring.

Many players pre-wind the HALO or Reloader’s drive spring an extra turn, to put more driving pressure on the stack of paintballs, to achieve higher feed rates.  This was something the S4 cone addressed, by using a reinforced spring stop to handle the extra load.  Similarly the filleted arms on the cone itself are designed to better distribute a stronger force on fragile paintballs, and be more durable.

Actually getting the pre-wind setup can be a bit tricky, so to make things easier, National has included a pair of replacement drive springs with the S4.

The hard spring is darker, and made of thicker wire, to store more force given the same amount of twist.  With a normal twist, it delivers resistance more similar to an over-wound stock spring.  The softer spring is lighter in color and has a feel comparable to the stock HALO spring, if not a touch lighter.

As heavier spring tensions can potentially cause problems of pushing paint past a paintgun’s ball detents, multiple springs in the completed kit allow the end user to configure their loader to best suit their paintgun.

Another question we received a few times about the original S4 review had nothing to do with the drive cone itself, but rather about the loader on which it was installed – particularly, from players wanting to know about the black HALO catch-cup in which the S4 was pictured.  While they have also been made in blue, the catch-cup shown was the stock catch cup in the pictured HALO Victory equipped loader.

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