Much like the confusion/misuse of the term accuracy, I think there is a broad misuse of term sniper in paintball. I would venture a guess that what most people consider "sniper" style of play, I would actually classify as "ambush" style. Sneaking up behind people, flanking them etc and ambushing them is considerably different than digging in 100 yards from the action with your ghuilie suit hiding under a shrub. All woodsball isnt sniping. You can still play balls out woodsball, we usually do. I think that was PGoPs use of the term "real" was aimed at, not woodsball in general.
And to further the "ambush" vs. "sniper" mentality... Since we all use the same weight of paint at the same velocity (relatively, I understand their are .50 Cal paintballs and FSR's), we are all in the same arena. Compare that to the broad spectrum from a 9mm Luger (Parabellum, x19, however you know it) to a .338 Lapua, and I think that paints a pretty clear picture.
Last of the Salzburg Clan
I recently played with a guy who was playing pump against the likes of Axe's, Mini's etc. But his game was not to creep around and one time people from hiding. It was movement, communication, angles, and being very judicious about the shots he took.
The lack of accuracy in paint ball isn't so much to do with the equipment or the projectiles; it has to do mostly with the players.
It goes without saying that paint balls are inherently inaccurate. Compared to real ammunition that's absolutely true but if we go into it with an understanding of the limitations and the ability to work within those boundaries, they are more than accurate enough.
For me, coming from an extensive background in competitive speed pistol shooting where accuracy is 50% of the equation, it was a difficult adjustment. But even so, I honestly have to shake my head sometimes when I watch people "shoot" their guns.
The three main variables as I see them are:
The inherent accuracy of the firing system, the inherent accuracy of the projectile, and the ability of the shooter.
Assuming that a paint-baller is using reasonable quality paint and a reasonable quality launching system (underbore, over bore....doesn't matter so long as it's consistent), we can expect a certain standard of average accuracy out of say, a 2000 round case of paint. So for argument's sake we'll just pick a number out of the air and say that we if clamped the gun in a stable machine rest and fired 2000 rounds at a target the size of a trash can lid 20 meters away, probably 1800 of them or 90 % of them will get the hit. It's a pretty big target. This is assuming it isn't massively humid or raining and there isn't a cross wind.
So a 90% hit ratio @ 20 meters is our standard. In fact, let's be generous and call it 80%.
Therefore, I have to wonder why I continually see guys who will expend hundreds of rounds at distances of 20 meters or less to get one hit....IF they get the hit at all. And I see this all the time. The guy may have the fastest gun on the planet and he can lay down ropes of money...err...paint just like a squad machine gun. But watch what happens to his muzzle as he's walking the dickens out of that trigger; it's wandering all over the place and he's shooting a group the size of a building. Mathematically, firing a two hundred round hopper at a target twenty meters away, even it that target is popping in and out from cover, should get a fairly large number of hits.
Personally I prefer not to play the accuracy-by-volume way. It's too expensive and it's just not as much fun for me. I prefer to shoot as accurately as possible within the design parameters of the firing system and the projectiles being used. I get more satisfaction out of a well-placed shot than I do out of an almost accidental hit that results from a whole hpper fired on one target. I will certainly cluster short salvos of fire on a target in order to take advantage of the averaging factor, but if I can't get the hit it's usually because I lack a suitable position to deliver it, not because I don't know how to fire an accurate shot on demand.
I've often wondered if round limits would change the way the various types of games are played. I mean, if you had to walk onto the field with only what you can carry in your hopper, you'd have to start focusing more on the tactical problem of flanking and out-maneuvering your opponent, wouldn't you? Of course, paint ball field owners would ever go for that. They wouldn't make any money.
PS- I love Hopper Ball.
I think accuracy in a paintball gun would be fantastic. An accurate ball still doesn't make an accurate shot. The player has to be accurate as well. An accurate ball just takes an unknown out of the equation. That would reward good players more than those who are not. As it stands, any player that points a gun down field and just pulls the trigger has a random chance at hitting a target because the balls hit in a random pattern. A player that accurately aims has a slightly better chance but it is still somewhat random given that the paintball is not going to go exactly where you aim it.
Now, given that paintballs have a finite distance that they operate within, you have to be pretty good at judging air movement and elevation even if they went exactly where they were aimed. It wouldn't make that person suddenly invincible from anywhere in the field, but at least anyone who practiced would be better than someone who didn't.
There is nothing more frustrating in the sport of paintball than sneaking up on your opponent, taking a perfect shot from 30ft away and having the shot miss by 3 feet due to a bad ball, and then having that same person turn and hold the trigger and spray a 10 ft area around you without moving his marker and eliminating you with an errant ball.
Except for the Automag in front, its usually the man behind the equipment that counts.
Anyway, just listen to the typical chatter in the staging area. Mostly it's about how fast their gun is, how sic it looks, how walkable the trigger is, blah blah blah. I almost never hear anyone say they can hit a grapefruit-sized target at 20 meters on demand with it. Most of them still think a longer barrel gives them more distance. Usually these are the same guys who later ask me, "how did you hit me through that knot-hole." Easy, I aimed.
I can say for certain that even with the limitations and wild variations we see in paint balls and paintball guns, it really does generally average out better if you can actually shoot. As athomas noted; it removes one variable
Reading some of the outlooks on general paint I think some people have never used decent paint. Yes. With good paint we will all get a stray or two. But in general any decent paint I've used is more than accurate enough for my front line style of play. It almost always goes where my barrel is pointed. What more could I ask for? Wish they would fly farther at times. But hey. We all or almost all have that limitation. FSR excluded. The locals at white river paintball think there JUNK field paint is the norm. Now that is sad. Great fields. Good reffs. The expense I could handle. There paint quality would easily start a discussion like what is going on here. I had to play more spray and play than I'm comfortable with because if you actually hit them. It would most likely bounce.
As far as spray and pray. No thanks. Generally I do 1 to 3 shot sets. If its more than that its cover fire to get someone in position. Getting a position set up. And one balling a guy as he is trying to peek out is always my favorite.
As for a team of guys that like to sneak around in the weeds. Bet a good team of them would be a pita to the opposition in a big woods scenario. Get a couple of them in your team. Keep good coms. And wreck havoc in the woods. Got a couple of them guys I've ran with from time to time. They will disappear right from the start. While the other 5 of us are running front we keep them in the know of what's going on. While the opponent is fighting us. They all of a sudden take shots from beside them and don't know what hit them. Doc on the outdoorsmen is one that comes to mind. He crawls through anything. Its the style he prefers. And he is great at it. No FSR or anything. Basic round paint. But he can also play well in a city fire fight.