Tippmann A-5. Black, compact,
with a retail price of $369, the A-5 has the Tippmann "challenge"
look. Straight from the factory, it was an easy set-up to start the semi-auto
A-5 rocking along. We shot over 1,200 paintballs using CO2, without a single
ball break at about 280 feet per second. Accuracy? Good. The somewhat shorter
barrel (8.5 inches) gives the A-5 an excellent profile for small bunkers or
paintball scenario tanks. Buy a longer barrel if you want to, but try the
factory barrel for a while first.
Tippmann's A-5 uses a 150-ball loader that only fits this marker (included). It
has a flip lid for easy loading into the new Tippmann patented Cyclone Feed
System. As you squeeze the trigger, the Cyclone Feed System actuates the
sprocket inside the loader. The feeder captures the paintballs and moves them
into the chamber. Each time you pull the trigger, a ball moves one position
closer to being shot. Tippmann says it will cycle up to 15 balls per second. In
testing, we were not able to get ahead of the loader.
The A-5 breaks down for cleaning easily, and very fast, no tools needed. Plenty
of these were seen at D-Day 2002 at The Bunker Extreme, Wyandotte, Oklahoma,
and players who were polled with "How do you like it?" said good
things and had nothing negative to report.
Tippmann had upgrades in the planning stages at the time of the field testing.
These included a response trigger, flatline barrel, and electronic kit. Check
with Tippmann for prices and availability. During the next year, the company
will continue to add accessories for the A-5.
Although Tippmann planned this marker for use in recreational, scenario, and
tournament play, the early-on email questions about the A-5 that APG received
were over 95 per cent related to scenario or rec ball use. There is a ring
sling ring on the marker.
A closer look at the Cyclone Feed System begins with the exterior. There’s a
loader top piece with a flip lid that looks like most loaders on the market
today. The lower section, however, is a cup-like piece attached to the
right-hand side of the marker. Looking down into the lower section, you see the
two level impeller. It looks like a starfish with five swooshy trailing arms. A
paintball fits in the space between each pair of arms.
When the trigger is pulled, some of the air released from the valve is directed
to drive the impeller. Loaded paint sits above the ball-sized spaces of the
star-shaped paddles. As the paint enters the paddle system, it "gets in
line" to be moved into the chamber. As the leading arm passes the side
entrance to the ball chamber, a curved "finger" riding between the
two levels guides the ball into the chamber, where it is held firmly by the
trailing arm. A small air powered ram advances the impeller one-fifth of turn
with each shot, timed to put a ball in the chamber each time. A small plunger
lets you manually advance the impeller to load the chamber so the first trigger
pull will shoot a ball.
The loader mounts on the feed housing with a wide neck. No other loader
currently available will fit the A-5. It’s a good idea to buy a second loader
upper part for your gear bag, just in case.
The Cyclone Feed System is distantly related to an earlier Tippmann marker, the
F/A, which rotated the feed system using a wound spring-type apparatus. The F/A
is no longer in production.
Visually, the A-5 has a "family resemblance" to the Model 98--similar
main body lines and gas feed line placement. The A-5 is only available in flat
black at this time. There have been quite a few comments received about the
A-5's "military look"--which, without the loader, are not off base.
However, when the loader is added, the A-5 has the general outline of a
paintball marker. Other Tippmann markers have long been used by law enforcement
and the military for various purposes.
The grip/receiver was a hard molded composite with a flat, "bead blasted"
type surface. A short composite vertical grip enables a stable positioning of
the marker. The air line from the bottom of the marker body to the ASA on the
bottom of the grip was of braided steel.
For field tests, you’d think you were reading a Southern novel: "It was
warm and muggy, with a slight overcast, when...." With a 12 ounce CO2 tank
as the power source, we aired up the A-5. Pulling the cocking lever back, we
dry fired about a dozen times to check for cycling. The stock barrel had
measured .690 with a bore micrometer.
Three paint brands were used in the main portion of the chrono and accuracy
tests. With Diablo Blaze, we averaged 293 feet per second (fps). Checking the
function of the velocity adjuster, about 1/4 turn reduced it by about 3 fps.
The velocity adjuster is a screw in the side of the marker body, which
restricts or opens the flow of gas or air. Turning the screw in restricts the
flow and reduces the velocity.
Tests resumed shooting International Worr Paint, which was slightly smaller.
The velocity average dropped to 282 fps on average, as was expected. Because we
ran some rapid fire tests with the Worr Paint (no ball breaks), the CO2 tank
started to cool down and collect a little condensation on the outside. When we
shot PMI/RPS Marballizer, a smaller ball, we found a further velocity drop to
an average of 277 fps with some variation in velocities, not uncommon with
relatively smaller paint being shot out of a relatively larger bore. With year
old Viewloader paint, which was small (the WDP Paintmate suggested using it in
barrels of .684-.686 inside diameter), the velocity average was 279 fps. We had
no ball breakage but did see a couple of wingers.
As we moved into target accuracy shooting, we took the time to run some long
strings. No balls broke but we saw a marked increase in the number of wingers.
We stopped shooting to analyze, and one test team member saw dampness in the
barrel. That’s a sure cause for wingers, no matter what kind of paint is shot.
The cooler CO2 from rapid fire had cooled the marker down, and moisture was
condensing from the humid air onto the outside and INSIDE of the barrel,
leading to the wingers. Shooting the A-5 with compressed air would prevent this
situation. A field solution would call for frequent barrel swabbing with a dry
shotgun swab end or a fluffy swab, and a pull through or stick squeegee
cleaning would also help.
In spite of the high humidity and continuing presence of condensation on and in
the marker, plus a light wind, the A-5 sent 6 out of 10 paintballs onto the
10" x 18" target at 80 feet.
When you remove the tank, the A-5 drains the air out. If you simply turn off a
tank and do not drain the line, the marker and valve will hold some CO2. Our
tests showed five shots remained but the fifth shot did not re-cock the marker.
Remove the tank after playing and before doing any field stripping.
Field stripping is about as easy as it gets. Remove the air source and all
paintballs. Wear your goggles for safety. Removing 4 push-out receiver pins and
pushing on one latch releases the grip/receiver, air line and main body end cap.
With the end cap removed, the main spring, bumper, hammer/valve/power-tube/bolt
assembly can be pulled out of the main body. Reassembly is very easy. Practice
this a few times until you are used to the procedure. The owner’s manual has
a breakdown diagram of the internals.
The Tippmann A-5 is lightweight, shoots fast, and feeds reliably. Tippmann
builds quality into their markers, and has a strong reputation for good
customer service. It’s too early to tell whether the A-5 will catch on for
tournament play, but it’s moving hard into the rec ball and scenario scenes.
Take a look, and have a test range session, with the A-5 at the local pro shop
or paintball park, as you decide what marker to buy next.
ACTION: in-line, open bolt, blowback, semi-auto paintball marker
POWER: CO2, or regulated compressed air or nitrogen
RECEIVER: aluminum; matte black anodized finish
CO2 ADAPTER: bottom line
FEED: patented Cyclone Feed System
GRIP FRAME: molded composite
SAFETY: cross bolt trigger block
SIGHT: iron sight (ring and post in front; adjustable slot in back)
SIGHT MOUNT: standard 3/8" dovetail sight rail
BARREL: aluminum, removable, ported, 8.5 inch
TRIGGER SPEED: 15+ bps
WEIGHT: 3.5 lbs.
OVERALL LENGTH: 20 inches
OTHER FEATURES: front hand grip; rear sling buckle
INCLUDED ACCESSORIES: owner's manual, barrel plug, squeegee, allen wrenches,