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Gun Design:

The key to the unique operation of all ATS paintball guns is the magazine (figure 1).  Because of the magazine, ATS gun owners get all the benefits of a magazine fed gun and a standard hopper fed paintball gun without any of the drawbacks.  When examining the magazine of any conventional firearm they all have one thing in common... they use a spring to push rounds into the breach.  Rather than use a spring, the ATS magazine uses an ingenious chain feed that pulls every ball from the magazine and feeds it into the breach.
Figure 1
By removing the clear half of the magazine in figure 1 its guts are exposed.  Inside the ATS magazine (figure 2) a silver chain is clearly visible running form the top right to the bottom left of the magazine following the shape of the letter "J".  Spaced out at equal distances along this chain are pins that protrude from the chain's side.  These pins are the orange dots visible in figure 2.  For a close up of these pins see figure 3.

In a nut shell, the magazine and gun function in following manner (for a detailed description of the guns operation see chapter 4 of the ATS owners manual on the ATS website):

Loading the Magazine

 
Figure 2
  • The magazine is loaded by dropping paintballs through the oval opening visible on the left side of the magazine in figure 1.  This does two things.  First, it fills the magazine with paintballs.  Second, it allows two paintballs to fall in between the three pins located on the chain at the bottom of the magazine.
  • A small crank on the backside of the magazine is then turned.  This action pushes the two balls in between the pins at the bottom of the magazine around the corner where the orange paddle wheels are located (visible in figure 3).  Once around the corner the paintballs move up the path of the chain toward the top of the magazine (this can be seen in figure 4). With each turn of the crank paintballs fall into the spaces between the orange pins at the bottom of the magazine and move up the path of the chain toward the top of the magazine.  The crank is no longer turned once the first paintball reaches the top of the magazine.
  • A few more paintballs are now added through the oval opening until the magazine is full.  The clip is now loaded and ready for action.
  • Gun Cycle and Magazine Function

     
    Figure 3
    • The magazine is inserted in the gun and the trigger is pulled.  A shot is fired (the first time you pull the trigger no shot is fired because the chamber is empty) and the gun begins the action of automatically re-cocking the gun.  This cycle consists of the following series of actions:
      • The bolt is pulled backwards opening the breach.
      • A cog grabs hold of the chain in the magazine as the bolt moves backwards forcing a paintball into the breach.
      • A paintball falls in between the newly created open space between two orange pins at the bottom of the magazine.
      • When the bolt finishes its backward motion and has reset all the mechanisms that will make it possible to fire the next shot, the bolt moves forward.
      • As the bolt moves forward it pushes the paintball from the breach to the chamber.
    • The gun is now ready to be fired again.  This entire process can be seen in figure 4.  Clicking on the link below figure 4 will open a larger version of figure 4 directly from the ATS website.  You can also click here to see a video of the gun/clip in full auto action, or click here to see a video of the gun in both full auto and semi auto action.
    The beauty of this design is three fold:
       
    Figure 4

    Larger Version

    • Because every paintball is forced into the breach in perfect synchronization with the firing mechanism you will drastically reduce the number of balls that brake in your gun!  I have fired tens of thousands of paintballs through my AT-85 and only broken three balls.  I must admit that each of those breaks was my own fault.  One time I used really old paint.  The other two times I didn't index my magazine properly.  In other words, if I hadn't been stupid three times I would never have broken those three balls.
     
     
    • With a magazine there is no hopper that sticks up like a target above your gun that is gravity fed.  No hopper means you can bring your gun up to aim without letting everyone on the field know where you are (figure 5).  No use of gravity means you can fire from weird angles.  In fact, you can turn your gun upside down and still fire five shots without any trouble.  No other paintball gun can make that claim!
    Figure 5
    • Because the ATS magazine does not use a spring to load balls it is capable of bulk feeding.  With a spring powered magazine all the rounds must be loaded one at a  time into the magazine.  Once the magazine is empty it must be removed and replaced with a full one.  This is not the case with the ATS magazine.  Because the clip loads itself (remember the balls automatically fall into the spaces between the pins on the chain), as long as there are balls in the magazine you can continue to fire the gun.  In other words, you can fire bulk amounts of paint with the all ATS guns.  This is how the AT-85 functions.  Paintballs are fed into the magazine through the oval opening from  the forward loader (figure 6).  For more information on the AT-85 see the gun versions page.
         
    Figure 6