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By Bill Mills - Photos By Dawn Mills - June 2006
As a paintball player, how much time does it take you to flip open the lid of your loader to dump in a pod full of paint, and then flip it closed again afterward Ė or worse yet, fail to properly close it, and end up losing a loader full of paint while diving behind a bunker.
For the type of player who goes through 200 paintballs in an afternoon of walk-on play those few seconds opening and closing a hopper happen in the staging area, and really donít matter. For the serious tournament player, however, they are precious moments that can be stolen away from time posting up, either shooting, or being ready to shoot an opposing player. The cost of having to re-load again due to spilled paint from a loader that didnít get closed can make a big difference in a game.
Up Front Paintball Sports has addressed both the time spent opening and closing a hopper and the chance of not closing it right with their new On Top Speed Feed.
The Speed Feed is about as simple a product as they come. It is a collar designed to fit over the top of HALO/Reloader bodies and replace the flip top lid. Instead of a lid, four flexible fingers act as a one way gate for paintballs.
Installing the Speed Feed requires separating the two loader halves and removing the stock lid. The Speed Feed has a tab that locks in the place of the stock lidís hinge tab, and its collar simply locks down around the loaderís mouth, just the same as the stock lid.
In place, the four gate fingers reliably keep paintballs from falling out, and in testing, were completely effective, regardless of how the HALO B on which it was tested was tilted or shaken. When loading, just the weight of falling paintballs was enough to flex the fingers inward allowing paintballs to enter the loader.
While it was designed for use with HALO bodies, we also tried the Speed Feed on other loaders. It was a perfect fit and worked properly on ViewLoader Revolution loaders. On all of Ricochetís models and on Tippmannís A5 loader it fit, but loosely. A thin strip of tape was enough to secure it in place. For ViewLoader eVLution and VLocity loaders, it was a no-go.
While the Speed Feed doesnít offer the protection from rain or dirt entry that come with the standard HALO lid, thatís a trade that players can weigh against the benefits of faster loading. Because the Speed Feed doesnít require any cutting or permanent fixture to the loader body, it can be quickly changed out for the original lid for rainy conditions.
While still a very new product, the
Speed Feed saw tournament use at the 2006 Tampa NPPL event, and as evidenced
by the teams quickly adopting it, is a simple enough hopper improvement
that it didnít suffer from hidden problems.
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