The vast majority of Stingers use Carbon Dioxide (CO2) as the source gas for their Stingrays. Very simply, CO2, when under pressure, turns into a liquid. When that pressure is released, it changes into a gas. When your CO2 tank is filled, it is filled with liquid. As the pressure is released momentarily every time you fire the gun, a small amount of gaseous CO2 goes into the gun and propels the paintball out. The Stingray, as well as many other guns, can operate on gas or liquid CO2.
The Stingray will also operate on the new, high tech Nitrogen (N2) and High Pressure Air (HPA) systems. These systems use gaseous compressed air or nitrogen under extremely high pressures (3000 to 4500 psi) to operate the gun. Some sort of regulator is part of the system to reduce the pressure to something the gun can use safely. The two main drawbacks to HPA and N2 systems are the cost and filling. They can cost upwards of $300 (You can have your 12 oz. CO2 cylinder filled about a hundred times for that amount of money!), and are complicated to use and maintain. Plus, it is sometimes difficult to find a place to fill the tanks. Not all paintball fields and stores are set up to fill them.
If you would like to learn more about HPA and/or N2 systems, check out Warpig's Technical Pages for some excellent articles.
Stingray 1 with 12 ounce CO2 cylinder attached.
Now, more about CO2...
CO2 for paintball guns generally comes in two forms - so-called "Constant Air" (CA) or "12 grams". The CA is simply a refillable CO2 cylinder which screws into the back of the Stingray, into the "CA adapter". (Brass Eagle calls it a "Donkey". Go figure!) Some players use a "bottomline setup" which is a CA adapter attached to the bottom of the pistol grip, and connected to the gun's CA adapter with a braided high pressure hose. There are also remote setups, where you carry the cylinder in a harness on your body, and a long high pressure hose is attached to the gun. Regardless of which system you use, if you run CA, you'll need a CO2 cylinder.
CO2 cylinders come in many sizes, from 3.5 ounces to 20 ounces, and even more. (A 9 oz. is pictured above.) A 20 ounce is usually the largest you will see being used, due to the increased size and weight. A cylinder in the 9 to 15 ounce range is probably the most common. Not too big or heavy, and yet a 12 oz. will give you about 400 shots. If you sling a lot of paint, or are a very large person, you might consider using a larger cylinder. Likewise, if you are a younger and/or smaller person, or play with a fast-paced style where light weight would be an advantage, you might look at a cylinder in the 7 to 9 oz. range. Some players will carry a very small cylinder, like a 3.5 or 4.5 oz., as a backup.
CO2 cylinders are commonly made in two different materials - aluminum and chrome moly. There's not much weight difference, and the chrome moly's are usually cheaper. Frankly, I don't know much about the pros and cons of either material. I've used both with no problems. If anybody out there knows anything about the differences, let me know and I'll post it here.
Whether you use aluminum or steel, you'll probably want to put a "butt plate" on the back of your cylinder. (Pictured to the left.) The butt plate acts like a shoulder stock.
One last thing - temperature affects the performance of CO2, sometimes very drastically. It doesn't like to change to a gas under very cold conditions. Some players will run a remote, with the cylinder next to their body, to try and warm it up. Some have even tried battery powered socks and heat packs! Probably the best thing to do, if you play in near or below freezing temperatures, is to run your 'Ray on liquid CO2. You'll need a siphon tank, and you'll need to lower the velocity accordingly. Click here for more information on liquid CO2 use.
Conversely, in high temeratures, the pressure in your CO2 tank can increase dramitically. Left in the sun, the internal temperature can quickly reach 100 degrees or more, and develope pressure in excess of 2000 psi! If you play in warm or hot weather, NEVER leave your cylinder in the sun. If you play consistently in very hot weather, you might consider installing a universal regulator between your tank and gun. The regulator will supply a fairly constant 800 psi (approx.) to the gun, eliminating a lot of the velocity problems associated with hot weather. See Warpig's Technical Pages for more information about liquid and gas CO2.
The other CO2 alternative is "12 grams". 12 grams are small, prefilled, disposable CO2 cylinders, with (You guessed it!) 12 grams of CO2. They must be used with a 12 gram adapter which is inserted in the CA adapter of the gun.
The main drawback to the 12 gram, is you only get about 20-40 shots per cartridge, then it must be replaced. 12 grams are hardly used any more, except by stock class players in pump-guns.
The Stingray 1 pictured to the left has a 12 gram adapter in place. It also has the stock 40 round hopper, and quick strip pins installed.
See our Accessories Page for more information on hoppers and quick strip pins.
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