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June 9th, 2005

The Phantomģ , A Review


The Phantom paintball marker is made by Mike Cassidy of Component Concepts Incorporated. The gun is a standard Nelson-clone with a few personal touches and ideas by Mike, and is leading the pump market among old and new Pumpers alike.

There are many great features to the Phantom that add up to a great marker, most of which will be talked about in this article. Many people like the gun for even more reasons, but the strongest features to me that make the Phantom such a great paintball gun are itís light weight, adaptability, efficiency and consistency, and customer service.

Construction:

The Phantom is a single tube Nelson-design and is made mostly out of aluminum, which allows for a very light marker. Because of this, it can
be switched from hand to hand or whipped around a bunker to get off a quick shot with ease. It also makes it a snap to stay posted up on someone and keep that straight shot, and get to your bunker off the break without having to lug your marker behind you. You can pretty much carry it around all day without having to worry about a fatigue because of its light weight. Add on a micro conversion kit and it will barely feel like itís there!

However, one small word of warning: if you prefer heavier setups, then this might not be the gun for you. A Phantom in Stock Class, Vertical Stock Class configuration only weights slightly over two pounds! I know quite a few people who have had Phantoms and just could not shoot them straight to save their lives, all because the marker was actually too light; they were used to heaver markers like old Sheridan's and Sniperís (at >1.5lbs heavier). If you think this may be an issue then I recommend trying one out on the range or playing with it for a few games (if possible). The Phantom is probably the most popular pump out there, and whereís thereís Pump or stock class paintball players, thereís usually a Phantom or two.

Adaptability:

Feel like hosing for a few games? No problem - throw on a different body - and choose from either left feed, right feed, or center feed, I might add. Want a challenge or feel like saving a little paint? Go ahead and play stock class for a few games and get rid of that blimp! Run out of 12 grams for the day or are you feeling a little lazy? Toss on a bottom line and a drop forward and/or regulator if youíd like, and screw your tank right in. Want a small gun and profile? Toss on a micro-conversion kit. Feel like that 10 round tube doesnít leave you with enough paint while reloading? No problem; grab a 15 round tube and screw it right in. Not only all that, but there are the options of a .45 or M-16 style grip, L-stock or telescoping T-stock, back bottle or vertical air, the list goes on and on. With all these extra parts, you can change your gun and playing style in a matter of minutes; most people can change a body in under a minute or two, and everything else takes mere seconds. Not only that, but all these extra parts are pretty cheap to pick up!

Efficiency and Consistency:

On a nice warm day I get roughly 40-45 good shots per 12 gram with an 11Ē barrel and matching paint, and am usually +/-5 fps at the chronograph on un-regulated CO2. ĎNuff said. <Editors note: Your results may vary, but if your not getting at least 25 good shots per 12 gram co2 cartridge with the Phantom, something is wrong.>

Customer Service:

The Phantom is personally backed by Mike Cassidy, the sole creator of the gun, and to tell the truth, youíre going to hard-pressed finding another person who takes as much pride in their work as he does. If you ever have a problem with anything in the paintball gun, contact Mike and heíll take care of it for you, often times replacing the broken or malfunctioning part at no charge, even years after the warranty has expired. Talk to anyone who has dealt with Mike and you will hear nothing but good things about him and his service. That alone is one of the most outstanding things about the Phantom, even though itís not actually physical part of the gun.

Maintenance, Cleaning, Etc. :

The Nelson-design is simple and easy to understand, so thus, it is an extremely easy marker to clean and maintain. Basic maintenance should be performed at the very least every other time you play with it, and will take you no more than 20 minutes once you get the hang of it.

Make sure the gun is not gassed up or loaded, unscrew the barrel, wipe it down and clean out the inside of dirt and paint, unscrew the pump handle and washer, and pull off the return spring and nylon washer, taking special care not to lose either. Wipe all of them down and set them aside, and unscrew the front thumbscrew. This will remove the body, so make sure the internals donít fly out everywhere. Wipe down the body, feed gate, and feed tube, make sure there isnít dirt or paint that made itís way in through the small openings in the gun (if there is, you can rise it out in your sink or use a barrel swab, but make sure you dry it out after!). Set that aside, and grab the hammer. Wipe off all the grease and dirt, dry it, and put a small drop of oil on the outside (only a small drop! A little oil goes a long way!) and spread it around with your finger. Grab the back part of your marker (the grip frame and valve, still connected by the rear thumbscrew) and slide the hammer back onto the power tube, flat part facing the rear of the gun. Grab the mainspring, wipe it down, and place it inside the hammer around the power tube. Next, take your bolt, wipe it down, oil it lightly, and grab your body. Slide the bolt into the body, o-ring facing forward, making sure the large hole for the pump rod is visible out of the bottom grooves in the body. Slide it forward, attach the pump rod to the hole in the bolt and, making sure you are holding the pump rod and bolt in place, slide the body onto the rear of the gun. It should slide right together. Screw in the front thumbscrew, replace the washer and nylon screw, and screw the nut, pump, and barrel back on. Your Phantom is now clean! I do this after every time of play, and if my gun got a lot of sand on it or itís been a while, Iíll break the gun down even further to make sure itís fully clean. A properly maintained and cleaned Phantom will last you years and years!

Also, I usually go through and replace all seals and internal springs once a year. Replacing the seals iCCI Repair kits just a preventative measure taken by me against leaks, and replacing the springs helps keep your velocity nice and consistent. You donít have to do this, but it works for me, and my Phantoms hardly ever have problems (knock on wood!). As with this and the cleaning, find which way works for you the best and go with that - this is just here as a reference and starting point.

Adjusting Velocity :

 Included with your Phantom (hopefully) is a long metal rod with a plastic cap on the top. If you look at the top of your bolt and rod (while the gun icci velocity ajustment tools disassembled or degassed, preferably), youíll notice that the two match. The piece inside the bolt is called the Tuned Port Compensator, or TPC for short. This controls how hard the hammer hits the valve and your velocity. To adjust velocity, stick the velocity adjusting tool down the barrel, line it up with the slot of the TPC, and turn clockwise to increase velocity, counterclockwise to decrease. The easiest thing to do the first time is to turn it all the way to the left, and adjust it as needed.

 NOTE: do not turn the TPC to the right more than 5 full turns; this will unseat it and mash the threads, causing erratic velocity fluctuations. If you have to turn it 5 full times and are still not getting decent velocity, try replacing your main and valve springs.

Also, the TPC may come loose during play and move in and out, causing velocity changes, which is why CCI has added a little nylon screw into the side of the bolt, which locks in the TPC. However, this is a little hard to lock down once you have your velocity set unless you have a Right Feed body, so the easiest thing to do to hold it in place is this. Next time your gun is disassembled, take out the TPC, and look down the bolt. Grab the appropriate Allen wrench, and screw the nylon washer in until you can just see it protrude into the interior of the bolt. Leave it there, and when you reassemble the TPC and bolt, it should feel a little snug while you screw it in (but make sure itís not too snug or you wont be able to adjust it!). This will help the TPC stay seated where you set it throughout the day while still allowing you to adjust velocity.

Accessories and Custom Parts:

There are many accessories and custom parts out there for the Phantom, so I will only go over a few of them here.

Detent Ring Set: Available from CCI, the detent ring set is an absolute must if you are going to be using a non-multiple bore barrel system. These little rings are 4 different sizes, and sit in the breech of your gun (just unscrew the barrel, drop them in, making sure theyíre seated correctly, and screw your barrel back in) and help prevent rollouts. This is a lifesaver at many Field Paint Only (FPO) fields where the paint is too small for your barrel, and will save you many moments of frustration. Being only a few dollars, this should be a definite item in your gearbox.

CCI Nickel barrels: Also available from CCI are nickel-plated stock barrels. They are just a little smaller than the stock barrel due to plating, but it is an excellent barrel (as is the stock barrel). The matte nickel finish complements dust anodizing nicely.

Trigger Shoes: Available from CCI, trigger shoes fit over the thin trigger and provide a flatter, wider surface for your finger to pull against, which makes for a comfortable trigger pull and feel. This is more of a personal preference/style thing - I have a trigger shoe on one of my Phantoms and not on the other, and I can honestly say I have never noticed the difference while Iím playing, only in the staging area and range. However, they can be anodized to match your gun, which adds a nice little flair. These are only a few dollars, as well.

Bobbed Valves: Available from Punishers Customs, as well as most paintball machine shops. Bobbed valves are replacement valves for the Phantom (though you can send yours in be modified), and are shorter than the stock ones. The air chamber inside the valve is decreased, which will help your efficiency using 12 grams, adding 3 to 4 extra shots or so. However, there is one downside to this: during rapid fire you will experience a little drop off, and it will increase the longer you shoot. CCI doesnít ship Phantoms stock with these because of that very reason, nor do they offer that option at this time.

Fr-antom II Barrels
ģ : These custom-made barrels are done by White Wolf Air-smithing. The barrels are milled out to accept Smart Parts Freak barrel inserts and still fit the Phantom marker. This is a great option if youíre going to be using multiple types and sizes of paint, because it lets you match the paint to the bore for maximum efficiency and accuracy. The barrels costs around as much as other aftermarket barrels, plus you have to buy all the Freak inserts, so it can get a little pricey. However, you can purchase the barrel and a couple of inserts of the paint size that you use the most and go from there.

Where to Buy:

There are many places on the internet to pick up pretty much anything you want, but here's a few that are outstanding to deal with and others that I mentioned in the article.

http://www.phantomonline.com - Home page for the Phantom paintball gun.

http://www.wevopaintball.com - Site sponsor of SCP, good prices on Phantoms and accessories, and a great guy to do business with! Wevo also carries a lot of other pump and stock class gear. You wonít be disappointed dealing with him.

http://www.punishers-customs.com, http://www.airsoldier.com - The first link is the main page for Punisher. Bobbed valves, under-cocking kits, one piece feeds, and amazing custom work can be found here. The second link is where you can buy Punishers products.

http://www.whitewolfairsmithing.com - Maker of Fr-antom barrels as well as other Phantom accessories like ghost rings and one piece feeds.


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Silk
A Proud member of the SCP Florida Pump Chumps


The Stock Class Players Network recommends WEVO Paintball for all your CCI product needs!

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