What Are First Strike Paintballs?
First Strike Paintballs, also known as First Strike Rounds or First Strike Projectiles, are a true sniper paintball projectile from Tiberius Arms. Rather than a round gelatin sphere, the shell of a First Strike is made of a photodegradable polystyrene material that is rounded in the front and cylindrical in the rear. The hollow cylinder half has external angled fins that act as rifling, imparting a spin. This allows the FS Round to fly further and straighter than any other paint projectile on the market at this time! They are much more expensive than regular paintballs but have developed a cult following of loyal users.
Can My Paintball Gun Shoot First Strike?
First Strike Projectiles will fire from any .68 caliber paintball marker, but are slow to load if your marker is not compatible or converted to load them. Because FSRs are shaped different (like an elongated capital D), the breech of the marker needs to be properly shaped. If yours is not the proper shape you can still load them one shot at a time by unthreading the barrel, loading it in the breech end, putting the barrel back on and firing. This works, but it is a very slow process!
The pre-FS Tiberius markers require a First Strike Conversion Kit to shoot them. If your model does not include the .1 designation, such as T8 vs. T8.1, then it is pre-FS. More and more tactical/ scenario paintball guns are coming equipped to accept First Strikes from the factory. Some, like the Empire BT Tracerr pump marker, have a standard paintball feed neck that can slide out of the way for breech-loading individual First Strike Rounds. Mag fed paintball guns like the Tiberius line, Dye DAM, and select Spyder MR series models will continuously feed First Strike Projectiles. Some of these feature a rotating barrel or select feed, so you can switch between FSR and regular paintballs on the fly.
How To Chronograph First Strike
Because of their shape and characteristics, First Strike Projectiles will shoot at a higher speed than standard paintballs at a specific velocity setting. This is not a problem if you are only shooting First Strike, but if your marker can switch between FSRs and standard paintballs on the fly then you need to adjust your marker accordingly. While results will vary from marker to marker and barrel to barrel, most users find that FSRs shoot about 20 fps faster than normal paint at a given setting. Since it would be very costly to adjust purely with First Strikes, a common method is to chrono with regular paintballs and set your velocity 20-25 fps below the field limit. This will get your setting close, so you can do your final adjustment with as few FSRs as possible to verify your marker is field legal. Just remember… if you are using First Strike on the field, your final verifying chronograph results need to be done with them for safety!
What Bore Diameter Work Best For First Strikes?
While paintballs will vary in size and shape constantly, First Strike Projectiles are, by the nature of their composition and manufacturing, very consistent. Paintballs these last few years have gotten progressively smaller in diameter. A .689 diameter barrel used to be the norm for regular paintball, but now using sizes down to .675-.679 is common for best accuracy and efficiency. First Strikes, on the other hand, are consistently in the mid .680s. Too small of a bore and you lose efficiency and start breaking the rifling fins off the projectile; too large and you lose accuracy. Results of course will vary slightly, but the vast majority of players experience the best results with a barrel bore of .686-.687 internal diameter. This is a close fit to the FSR’s typical size, and will yield the closest FPS difference between regular paintballs and First Strikes.