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Crossfire 88ci system
By Bill Mills

In the early days of compressed air for paintball, players had two choices – Air America and Paintball Mania.  In the later 1990s, a third name jumped into what is now a more diverse market – that new brand was Crossfire.

While other manufacturers have produced product lines with a large number of regulators boasting different features, Crossfire has focused on producing a reliable screw-in air system that requires no maintenance or expertise to operate.  

Crossfire’s regulators deliver in both categories.  Because they operate at pre-set output pressures, they have no adjustments to make.  A single gauge indicates the pressure stored in the tank, and the color of the regulator’s base indicates the preset output pressure – red for high – around 800 psi, and blue for low – around 400 psi.  Dual burst disks protect both the high and low pressure sides of the regulator – the low pressure side providing protection for the paintgun in case of a seal failure.

The Crossfire regulator reviewed was a high pressure output 4,500 psi model mounted on an 88 cubic inch “stubby” tank.  Tank selection is an area where the Crossfire line stands out.  Because they work directly with Carleton cylinders, they offer a wider variety of tank options than some of their competitors.  Their 72 cubic inch “shaved” tank and 88 cubic inch stubby are great examples of configurations not carried under by all of the other brands, especially those offering lower cost presets.

Both of these “stubby” tanks are wider than standard tanks of the same volume, making their overall length shorter in comparison, allowing the player to hold their paintgun tighter up against their body.

Because the Crossfire regulators are screw in models, they are locked into the tank with a thread-locking compound to prevent them from being accidentally removed while the air system is being removed from an ASA.  Crossfire recommends sending their systems back to the factory when the time comes for DOT hydrotest recertification (which is now at 5 year intervals for the Carleton carbon fiber composite cylinders) as some hydrotesters and airsmiths do not use the same locking compounds when reinstalling the regulators after testing.

On the field, the Crossfire system performed admirably.  It was tested on an Automag RT, E-Mag, E-Matrix, and Angel IR3.  In each case there was no noticeable problem with shootdown or slow recharge.  Slow recharge can be a problem with some compressed air systems.  It happens when the regulator can not move air into the paintgun fast enough to maintain a steady air pressure under rapid fire.  Crossfire regularly demonstrates their regulators side by side with the systems of their competitors at paintball trade shows, allowing customers to see the pressure changes on gauges as the paintguns are fired.

Being a 4500 psi system is a definite plus when it comes to paintguns like the older Matrix used – the extra 1,500 psi storage capacity greatly extends the number of shots available per fill.  The same holds true for the 88ci size.  While 88s and 114s can be a bit unwieldy to some players the 88 stub balances like a 68 ci tank, and matches up lengthwise when being used as a stock.  The problem that surfaced in testing was a lack of tank covers.  Some players have reported to WARPIG that they have stretched 68ci neoprene covers over the 88 stub tanks, but that was not successful in testing for review.  Tank protection is important, as any scratch into the clear coating of the tank that exposes the carbon fibers must be repaired by a DOT certified agent, and the tank can even be condemned from service if any of the fibers become damaged or unraveled.  

Overall the Crossfire system performed without any problems.  The size and performance made it an effective air system, and the convenience of simply screwing it in to a paintgun makes it an easy upgrade from CO2, and easier to pack for travel when compared to the mounting and hose systems used on adjustable output air systems.


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