This will be the third in our series on the .50 Caliber revolution that we have all been hearing about. The Catshack Reports think it important to keep an open mind when it comes to the introduction of new paintball products no matter how off the wall it may sound.
This editor felt the .50 Caliber topic of such importance that we got on the phone and spent the better part of an hour with the man behind the evolution/revolutionary idea that is .50 Caliber Paintball. The following is our conversation with Richmond Italia of G.I Milsim in Montreal Quebec, Canada.
To begin with and for those of you who do not really know who Richmond Italia is, suffice it to say the man is yet another of the “legends” of the sport to be added to our “Catshack Hall of Fame”. Over the 20 years of his involvement in paintball Richmond is the man who financed the “Halo” project which now allows us use of those fancy Halo hoppers. Richmond was also the individual who created the 500 round paintball bags that is standard in the industry and he was the first to add graphics to your everyday box of paintballs. He bought and played a part in the creation of the Matrix markers now known as your DM9, played a part in the creation of the spool valve and last but not least Richmond was the one that created XBall. Did I mention he used to own Pro Caps/Draxxus?
Ok so in short here is a man with a list of accomplishments that have lent to the evolution of paintball with numerous improvements to make it the game we all enjoy today.
So how did .50 Caliber paintball come about?. Richmond has numerous issues with today’s existing products. Today’s economy has caused people to choose their leisure activities, lets face it paintball is not an inexpensive game to play. Rental players pay premium prices making the enjoyment of paintball much less attractive in today’s day and age. Other reasons include some questionable raw materials going into some paintball’s.Ã‚Â .50 Caliber paintball’s will have much less environmental impact. Richmond also explains that less joules of energy pertaining to paintball impact equals far less hurt and injury. Which leads directly to the .50 Caliber being safer on paintball goggles and other equipment. What was particularly interesting is that on a global level, many countries have made paintball illegal as anything propelled at over 10 joules of energy is against the law. While these same countries look the other way quite often and do allow paintball to be played at designated facilities, the .50 Caliber paintball at less than 10 joules of energy make this caliber and paintball completely legal in those countries in question.
Soooo. ….Richmond, with his idea a few years in the making approached Adam and Billy Gardner of Smart Parts for purposes of getting permissions to use some of the Smart Parts patents and in so doing forge ahead with the project. As most are aware, the Gardners opted to partner with Richmond and G.I Milsim seeing the wisdom of the concept in front of them.
The Catshack Reports took issue with .50 Caliber initially in that we do recall the .55 Caliber introduced by a company a few years back. For those of you around at the time, we can all agree I am sure that those paintballs really hurt on impact. Richmond explains that we are in a much different technological era than what was around then. New plants with machines that are PLC Computer controlled allows for the production of a paintball with a thinner shell that still breaks much the same as the .68 Caliber paintball. The G.I Milsim ribbon allows them to make a shell that is 40% thinner than the .68 Caliber. The .50 Caliber paintball is lighter, weighing in at only 1.2 grams, a third of the weight than that of .68 Cal. Ok so now what about range?….Richmond explains and is supported by preliminary tests by Mike Phillips of TechPB that less wind resistance on the smaller .50 Cal allows it to keep distance and range capability. The only drawback they have noted is in rainy conditions where the rain itself seems to have more of an impact than the .68 Cal in side by side testing.
The Catshack Reports was given the figure of a 60% reduction in air consumption. In field tests, a 3 oz Crossman co2 canister yielded 290 rounds fired with .50 Caliber. As well those places in the world like Brazil for example where it can cost upwards of $100 for a single bottle of co2 makes it much more cost effective for paintball players there.
As far as other paintball manufacturers, Richmond explains that he has made the .50 Caliber conversion an open book to everyone. As he put it anyone who so desires are welcome to touch base with him and see the .50 Caliber for themselves. Such companies including Kee Action Sports, Bob Long and Tiberius to name only a few have approached Richmond and are now working on their own .50 Caliber models.
So from the paintball players perspective, what about the cost to us to convert?. Well I pretty much answered my own question, if paintball’s are 30% cheaper to purchase, and air consumption is lessened,Ã‚Â in the short term, the initial cost may be more, but the savings long term can be realized. For field owners who have to purchase or convert rental markers, Richmond suggests they do it gradually with again the savings realized in a years time. The savings seen in year one is more than enough to see the cost effectiveness of the switch over.
In a quote from Richmond on the topic of .50 Caliber paintball.
“The sheer number of big paintball companies who have gone bankrupt, laid off many of their employees or ceased normal production is huge, the industry is not a healthy one, not to mention the drop off of people who like to play the game. Its time to do something to stop the bleeding. .68 Caliber will not go away, but .50 Caliber is here to stay”
Stay tuned as The Catshack Reports will soon have one of the .50 Caliber markers to test ourselves and report on!