Historical Data for your reading pleasure. We wrote this because everyone was against Nitro.
What a major magazine said at the time:
The majority of paintballers we've spoken with are very concerned about the explosive hazards of such a high-pressure gas.
If a hose leaks or a burst disc ruptures, the high-pressure nitrogen jetting out of the hole can slice through skin like a razor. And if nitrogen gas enters the circulatory system, an embolism can cause a fatal heart attack in a matter of seconds.
If one of the fittings blows at a joint, the escaping nitrogen will whip the metal-tipped hose with approximately four times the force of CO2.
And if nitrogen gas at 3,000 psi blew past a seal and into the valve housing of most currently manufactured paintguns, there is a real possibility of the valve housing exploding like a grenade or the power tube blowing out of the barrel like a bullet.
Current two-stage regulators with rupture-disc safeties are not safe.
AIRGUN DESIGNS, INC.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT NITROGEN
Q: WHY SHOULD I USE NITROGEN?
A: Today's high-performance guns are capable of shooting hundreds of shots in a matter of minutes. This rapid consumption of liquid CO2 leads to freezing and pressure loss in the tank and plays havoc with the gun's velocity. Liquid CO2 pressure can be affected by ambient temperature alone. Nitrogen is never in a liquid state and is not affected by ambient temperature or rapid consumption.
Q: WHAT ADVANTAGES WILL I SEE ON THE FIELD?
A: Consistent velocity regardless of temperature or consumption rate; no liquid means no supercharging; improved velocity consistency has allowed many players to chrono in at the low 290's with no fear of shooting over.
Q: WHY IS VELOCITY SO IMPORTANT?
A: Contrary to popular opinion, a paintball shot at 290 fps will travel the same distance no matter which gun it is shot from. Maximum effective range can only be had by shooting at the highest legal velocity. With today's high firepower guns, close- in skirmishes are giving way to long-range sniping. The farther and more consistent your gun will shoot, the better you will score.
Q: ISN'T NITROGEN MORE DANGEROUS BECAUSE OF THE HIGHER PRESSURE?
A: Any pressure over 500 psi is considered high pressure and should be treated with the proper respect. Nitrogen tanks are rated to 3000 psi and are generally filled to 2500 psi from the fill tank. They have the same D.O.T. approval number as the Parker 7 oz. tanks. Once filled our built-in regulator regulates the outgoing pressure to 800 psi or less so the gun sees the same pressure as CO2. A 500 shot nitrogen tank at 2500 psi and a 500 shot liquid CO2 tank both have the same amount of energy stored in them.
Q: HOW DO I GET THE TANKS FILLED AND HOW MUCH DOES THE GAS COST?
A: The same places you or your field purchase liquid CO2 can supply you with 2500 psi nitrogen tanks that look just like the 50 lb. CO2 tanks. They have a different valve thread but accept a fill station that is functionally similar to CO2 fill stations. The average cost to fill a 50 lb. nitrogen tank is $10.00 to $15.00 and is good for 10-15,000 shots.
Q: NITROGEN STARTS AT HIGH PRESSURE AND GETS LOWER WITH EVERY SHOT; HOW DOES THIS AFFECT VELOCITY?
A: The nitrogen tank has a built in regulator that is adjusted to regulate the outgoing gas to 500-600 psi. It then enters the gun where the 68AUTOMAG's internal regulator brings it down to 400 psi to fill the chamber. This 2-stage regulation assures consistent pressure/velocity until the tank's pressure is below 400 psi.
Q: HOW MANY SHOTS WILL I GET FROM A TANK?
A: Using 450 shots per 7 oz. CO2 tank as a reference, there are several different size tanks available: 500 shots 3.6" x 8.4"; 800 shots 4" x 9.5"; and 1500 shot capacity which is 4.5" x 11.6".
Q: WILL THEY LET ME USE NITROGEN IN TOURNAMENTS?
A: Nitrogen has already been accepted by the Florida Captains Council and the Paint Check 5 Man Tournament. We are currently working on tournament approval by distributing information such as this leaflet. If you feel nitrogen is a good idea, let your tournament director know.
Q: WILL NITROGEN WORK ON MY PUMP GUN?
A: Yes, pump guns will work fine.
Q: CAN I FILL IT WITH CO2 IF NITROGEN IS NOT AVAILABLE?
A: Yes, but you will have to adjust your velocity down 30-40 fps.
Q: WHAT IS THE COST?
A: High performance generally has a high price tag. The solid aluminum bottles that hold 3000 psi are too heavy for paintball (ever lift a scuba tank?). The bottles we are using are identical to the units on the space shuttle that provide high strength with low weight by using a light weight aluminum core overwrapped with a fiberglass filament for strength. Preliminary estimates put the cost between $250-$300 for a complete system.
Here is the press release we put out after we got blasted.
Airgun Designs, Inc. has always been on the leading edge of paintball technology and in the middle of controversy. All of our products have met some form of resistance when they were first introduced but went on to become very successful in the marketplace. The Micro C/A was the first 12 gram changer to have a back check valve that held gas pressure at all times. This feature was banned from many tournaments. The 6-Pak+ changed cartridges so fast it was just like constant air and by the next season all but one of the national tournaments was back to CA. Our semi-auto the 68AUTOMAG when custom tuned, has recorded chrono strings as fast as 9 shots per second. This blurs the distinction between semi and full-auto and is prompting the major tournament directors to consider limiting the number of semi-auto's per team.
Nitrogen is our latest project causing the industry to stand up and take notice. In the world of paintball technology there are only three areas that can be improved on: 1) the paintballs, 2) the guns, and 3) the power source. As we all know, the guns have evolved tremendously while the paintballs and the power source have remained virtually unchanged. Nitrogen is our attempt to bring the power source into the twenty-first century. Nitrogen is advantageous because it is stored as compressed gas with no liquid. The disadvantage, and hence the safety issue, is that in order to store enough shots in a small tank the pressure can be as high as 2500 psi. Although these pressures are unfamiliar in the paintball industry, they are being safely used on a daily basis in other industries such as scuba (3000 psi venting into lungs), fire fighting (3000 psi plus high heat and flames), and welding (2500 psi plus explosive gases). Even closer to home are the nitrogen gas springs in hatch back cars that are under thousands of pounds of pressure.
Airgun Designs, Inc. has been a long-time supporter of the IPPA and applauds their efforts to establish safety standards for our industry. We feel that we are acting responsibly in not selling nitrogen systems until the safety questions have been answered. At the time of this writing, there are less than twelve nitrogen systems in existence. One of our systems has recently been tested by AUTHORIZED TESTING INC. a DOT proved testing facility and consultant to the IPPA on safety issues. Page seven of the report states "BASED UPON THE TEST DATA OBTAINED AND DOCUMENTED HEREIN, THE AIRGUN SYSTEM SUBMITTED FOR EVALUATION APPEARS TO BE WELL ENGINEERED AND HAS INHERENT PRESSURE CAPABILITIES WELL IN EXCESS OF THOSE ASSOCIATED WITH NORMAL USE." Complete copies of this report are available from Airgun Designs at no charge.
In the end the players will decide if they want to continue with co2 and the temperature/pressure fluctuations along with its contribution to global warming, or join Airgun Designs in the 21st century and enjoy the rewards that come from being on the leading edge.