Stock Class is a set of commonly agreed upon but unofficial rules for
* The marker must have a horizontal paintball feed, which means that the marker must be tilted (rocked) forward or backward to feed the next shot.
* The marker may not be semi-automatic, which means that it requires pumping or cocking prior to each shot being fired (in other words "rock and cock").
* The marker must be powered by a single 12
gram powerlet, which limits the amount of shots to 15-40 depending on the efficiency of the marker.
* The marker may only hold a maximum of 20 paintballs in it. [http://www.phantomonline.com/stockclass/tournament.html]
Arguably, the most commonly recognizable stock class marker is the Phantom made by CCI, which can been seen [http://www.phantomonline.com/paintballguns/paintballguns.htm here] .
History of stock play
The Nelson 007, originally a tree and cattle marking pistol, is generally accepted to be the first paintball marker : [http://stockclasspaintball.com/images/gallery/nelson/nelspot007.jpg] . While the Nelson Paint Company no longer directly manufactures or commissions markers intended for use in the sport of paintball, the Nelson design is still utilized in both original and slightly modified forms in more modern markers. The Phantom, Buzzard, Line SI Bushmaster, Traccer/Maverick and other markers utilize a Nelson-style operating system which is easily identified as having a hammer and bolt housed within a single-tube body. So long as a 12-gram power source and a horizontal feed tube are present, these markers are generally considered to be stock class.
Benjamin-Sheridan had been producing airguns for some time before paintball was introduced and they were able to easily adapt their pistol designs to fire a paintball instead of a .177-caliber pelet by changing the barrel and making a few minor modifications. The Sheridan design utilizes a multiple-tube body that places the bolt above the hammer and is distinctively different than the monotube design of the Nelson system. Benjamin-Sheridan began producing markers for Pursuit Marketing, Inc. around 1982 with the introduction of the bolt-action PG pistol which soon evolved into the PGP through the addition of a pump handle. Sheridan-style design is still utilized in the present-day iteration of the PGP 2k1 and in other markers such as the WGP Sniper and clones. This design is also considered to be suitable for stock class provided that a 12-gram power source and horizontal feed tube are utilized.
As paintball gained in popularity, other manufacturers began to produce equipment for the sport. Around the year 1983, the Splatmaster marker was introduced by National Survival Game, a new company at the time. The Splatmaster was a single-tube marker but used a different operating system than the Nelson marker which required the user to push in a round button that protruded from the back of the marker in order to cock it and load a paintball. In this design, the 12-gram cartridge is housed within the pistol grip of the marker much like the early Nelson pistols. This marker is considered to be stock class.
Most stock class marker designs today are a copy or combination of one or more of the above systems.
The term 'stock class' originated in the late 1980s as a way to differentiate markers that were used in their factory condition from markers which were modified to include additional, often home-built features. The most common upgrades to a marker at the time were a constant air source and a direct-feed hopper for the purpose of increasing the number of shots a player could take before reloading. Stock class play began as a way to limit the performance of markers so as to limit the advantage one player could gain over another through high-performance equipment.
Today, stock markers can be found in several different designs and are often purchased in a stock class format or else modified to conform to the generally accepted regulations.
Why stock class?
Stock class aims to retain the way paintball was at its birth: before electronic markers, high rates of fire, and overshooting. Players often play stock class for different reasons: some grew up playing paintball this way and don't like the direction the industry has taken the sport, some play this way to save money, and some simply enjoy the challenge of not being able to rely on a fast marker to get eliminations. The common theme among all stock players, however, is a desire to play in a limited fashion. That is, to intentionally put oneself at a disadvantage in relation to other players on the field.
Limited play has many forms aside from pure stock class. Modified stock class, as mentioned above, uses selected elements of stock class play to limit a player. "Limited Paint" is another form of limited play where any type of equipment is permissible with the exception that each player may only carry a set number of rounds with him or her. A commonly accepted limit is 40 rounds per person per game, though this may vary depending on location, type of play, the number of participants and other factors. A common variant of Limited Paint play is what is known as "Hopperball" in which competitors may utilize any equipment they wish but their paint capacity is limited to the volume which may be placed into their hoppers before the beginning of the game - that is, they are not permitted to carry additional paint or to reload during the game. Other types of limited play can include the wear of identifying or brightly-colored clothing (thus negating the effectiveness of camouflage), allowing one team to compete with more players than another or forcing selected players to fire their markers with their non-dominant hands. Because of the variety of limited play styles, Stock Class play is usually identified as separate and unique from other styles in an attempt to eliminate ambiguity.
Regardless of title or definition, there are in fact some tangible benefits to using stock class equipment. Principally, stock markers are generally lighter in weight and smaller in size than semi-automatic markers because they lack a large air tank and hopper. Many stock players also carry less extra paint than average which further helps to reduce the amount and mass of gear they must carry in a game. By carrying less gear, many players find it easier to move more quickly and to play "tighter" - that is, to present a smaller target profile to the opposition when peering around cover, bunkers or other obstructions. Most notably, the lack of a hopper significantly reduces a stock player's profile when shooting from cover.
Additionally, many modern stock markers have performance characteristics which are comparable to high-quality semi-automatics. For example, a stock marker with excellent accuracy, velocity consistency and ergonomic design limits a player only in terms of their rate of fire. For this reason, a common misconception among paintball players is that stock markers are in fact "more" accurate than any other type of marker. In reality, a stock marker presents little to no accuracy advantage (or disadvantage) over a comparable semi-automatic. Considering that markers are always limited to a maximum firing velocity, there is no advantage or disadvantage of a stock marker compared to a semi- in terms of the effective range.
It should be noted that occasionally pump markers will be permitted to fire at a higher velocity limit than semi-automatics. This is most commonly seen in Viper Productions' scenario games where pump markers are permitted to fire up to a maximum limit of 300 feet per second (ft/s) whereas all other markers have a maximum limit of 285 ft/s. In certain situations, this higher velocity limit gives a pump player a significant advantage over an adversary using a semi-automatic. In light of conflicts with insurance regulations and field-specific "house rules," such variations are not always permitted at every event. Players should be careful to always learn and obey the rule variations in effect during the events they participate in.
Stock markers may also have an additional advantage in that they are generally simpler in function than a semi-automatic and almost never use electronic components in their design. Mechanically, this can make a stock or modified stock marker easier to repair and maintain which can lead to more consistent and reliable performance on the field. Depending on the event, these attributes may or may not correspond to a tangible advantage. Conversely, given the relatively low popularity or discontinued status of some stock markers, it may prove difficult to find spare parts when needed.
Lastly, there are numerous psychological effects of the use of stock class equipment. Because of the inherent rate of fire limitation, many stock class players put significant effort and emphasis on the development of marksmanship skills. While this is not an advantage restricted to any specific style of play, it is worth noting that many stock players consider their style of play to be conducive to the development of such skills. Another significant psychological factor associated with stock class play is that of being a relative underdog compared to other players on the field. When a player is at an equipment disadvantage, they may tend to be more alert and cautious than they would otherwise. These factors vary widely from person to person, of course, but they are all fairly common reasons players give as to why they play stock class.
Fringe or mainstream?
Stock class was the original form of paintball. Markers became more technically advanced, and players joining the sport decided that a faster-firing marker would create an advantage over more experienced stock-class players, and veterans of the sport tried to keep up by moving to high rates of fire. But as time drew on, stock class players could be found playing speedball against the high-end markers. This brought stock class back into the minds of the older players and introduced it to a new generation of players. The popularity of stock class play has been steadily increasing for the past few years, as seen in increased demand in sales and trades on popular forums.
List of modern manufacturers
*Carter Machine - Founded by Earon Carter as an extension to his hobby of modifying paintball markers, Carter Machine exists today as the manufacturer of the Buzzard and Carter Comp series of paintguns. Carter Machine advertises that it will accept special orders for select other types of markers, though such projects are rare. Currently, Carter Machine products are available directly as well as through a small number of individuals and pro shops, most of them located in Hawaii and California.
*Component Concepts, Inc. - Manufacturer of The Phantom pump and stock markers, CCI is owned and operated by Mike Casady, the inventor of The Phantom, the most ubiquitous of all modern stock class markers. Famous for having excellent customer service, CCI sells its products both directly from the factory and through their extensive dealer network. Countless modifications and variations have been seen on the Phantom, a marker that has existed since 1987.
*Palmer's Pursuit Shop - Founded by Glen Palmer, PPS bills itself as a full-service custom manufacturer which can provide service on existing paintguns or create a "from scratch" marker to their customers' exact specifications. PPS markers almost exclusively use a Sheridan-based design and make heavy use of brass tubing for the body construction. Stock class markers are available in a variety of formats, notably the pistol-sized Pug, full-sized Super Stocker and rifle-style Painter. Each are available in various configurations with both standard and non-standard options at the request of the customer. Due to their custom nature, PPS products are sold principally through their direct store in CA though there are some low-volume dealers and resellers throughout the US.
* [http://www.stockclasspaintball.com Stock Class Paintball] Site devoted to expanding Stock Class play.
* [http://www.cartermachine.com/ Carter Machine]
* [http://www.phantom-online.com/ Component Concepts, Inc.]
* [http://www.palmer-pursuit.com/ Palmers Pursuit Shop]
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