Tippmann Pro/Am

Frequently Asked Questions

Version 1.52
6/24/94
Maintained By: Steve Mitchell steve@cati.csufresno.edu
Html conversion by: Jim Burke jburke@bates.edu

This FAQ is intended to be a collection of knowledge and wisdom of this particular gun based on comments and experiences of those in REC.SPORT.PAINTBALL. No guarantees come with this FAQ and the author or contributors are not responsible for mistakes or problems incurred from using this FAQ. All suggestions and comments are in good faith and do not intend to create problems. Prices are what I have found through mail order.

Note: Please send all corrections and comments to me directly by email to the above address. All info and comments not accompanied by an email address and first name are my own. Those that send info and comments to me will have and email address and first name attached for reference purposes.

This file is available via anonymous FTP at caticsuf.cati.csufresno.edu under the name ~ftp/pub/rec.sport.paintball/FAQ/pro-am.faq

A text version is also kept on-line for easy reference.


Index


General Information

Product:
Pro/Am & Pro/Lite

Manufacture:
Tippmann Pneumatics Inc.
3518 Adams Center Road
Fort Wayne, IN 46806
1-800-533-4831
1-219-749-6022
FAX: 1-219-749-6619

Action Type:
Semi-Auto (Open bolt blow-back)

CO2 Capacity:
700+ shots per (standard) 12 oz.
500+ shots per (siphon) 12 oz.

Cycle Rate:
300 RPM

Standard Barrel Length:
10.5"

Sniper Barrel Length:
16"

Length - Overall:
32"

Weight:
4 lbs.

Current Average Price (NEW):
$280 (Pro/Am with 12oz & case)
$245 (Pro/Lite with 12oz & Sniper Barrel)

Product Description:
The Pro/Am and Pro/Lite are the descendants of the famous Tippmann 68-Special semi auto. Like the 68-Special, the Pro/Am is a blowback operated semi auto. It is an open bolt gun. The Pro/Am comes with a bottom line CA adaptor at the base of the pistol grip. The gun has external velocity adjustment, the ability to squeegee from the breech forward (with a wire squeegee, included with the gun), open sites, and both 3/8" and Weaver dovetail site rails. The Pro/Am is all steel & aluminum. The Pro/Lite is all steel & aluminum with the exception of the pistol grip and foregrip, which are both composite. The new Pro/Am and the Pro/Lite are identical guns with the exception of the composite grip and foregrip on the Pro/Lite. The Pro/Lite is considerably lighter than the Pro/Am.

Both guns come with, at minimum, wire squeegee, extra mainspring, allen wrenches for velocity adjustment and breakdown, operators manual, lube, barrel plug, and a Tippmann patch. Many Pro/Am packages include an excellent hard plastic carrying case that stores all of the above nicely. Tippmann used to send out a video with their guns, but have recently discontinued this practice.

Revision History:

"1 - 2500: serial number was engraved on the left side of the gun. No name plate, Tippmann name directly engraved in gun. Sported an aluminum-magnesium foregrip, and small square rear sight.

"2500 - 5500: Tippmann used a plastic foregrip, larger rear sight, and delrin front bolt. Foregrip had a tendency to split apart at the seams. Tippmann logo was an insert of the left side of gun, and serial numbers were postion on the right side of gun.

"9000 - 12000: the next upgrade I'm aware of was the improved rear valve, porting of elbow (reduce blowback), and ported barrel."
-- Henry Chan <henryc@panix.com>

Advantages/Pluses:

Disadvantages/Minuses:

Operation

The internals of the Pro/Am consist of a front and rear bolt system, a valve body, and a power tube. The valve body and power tube are located in the center of the gun's receiver, with the power tube being located directly in front of the valve body. The rear bolt is located behind the valve body, the front bolt (not pictured, below) is located in front of and around the power tube. The two bolts are connected together via a wire rod. The two bolts are the only major moving parts of the internals of the gun.

The gun's mainspring provides the energy required for the forward movement of the bolt. The sear (located below the rear bolt) keeps the bolt open until the trigger is pulled.

The valve body and power tube do not move inside the gun. The power tube is held in place by a lip inside of the receiver at the power tube's front, by the valve body at the rear, and by the velocity adjustment screw. The valve body is held in place by the power tube in front and by a small square of metal fitting through a slot in the bottom of the receiver and into a slot in the bottom of the valve body.

                 _________       ____________________
Power tube ___  /         \     |                    |
   _______/  / _|  valve   |_   |  rear bolt         |main spr.
   _______     _   body     _| |                     |\\\\\\\\\
          \||\  |          |    |  _______________   |
           ||   \_______|_/     |_/             / \__|
 vel. adj.-^       | |  |                      / /
  screw           |   |                       / /sear
                  \___/
                   | |  CO2 hose to CA 
		   | |
When the trigger is pulled the sear releases the rear bolt. The main spring propels the bolt forward until it strikes the rear of the valve body. The impact of the rear bolt against the valve body causes a valve in the valve body to open. This valve causes two bursts of CO2 to be ejected from the valve body, one out the front of the valve body, one out the rear.

The CO2 burst ejected from the front of the valve body travels through the power tube, past the velocity adjustment screw, out the front of the power tube, through the front bolt (not pictured above), then against the paintball in the barrel--propelling the ball out of the gun. The CO2 burst ejected from the rear of the valve body causes the rear bolt to recoil, compress the main spring, then catch itself on the sear--effectively recocking the gun.

The front bolt (pictured below) is connected to the rear bolt via a rod that passes over the top of the valve body and power tube. The front bolt is essentially a short, hollow tube that surrounds the front part of the power tube. The front bolt only serves to push a ball into the barrel, then to guide the CO2 burst from the power tube through to the ball.

                  ________________________   <-connecting rod
                 /                        \
  /-\    -------|-   /-|   ---------     -|------------------
 |   |      =========  |   |       |     |                  |
  \-/    ---------   \-|   ---------     --------------------
  ball    font bolt    ^   valve body            rear bolt
                       |
		        \--power tube
It is clear that there are three areas of the gun that effect velocity:

The Pro/Am comes from Tippmann with two main springs. One for cold weather and one for warm weather. The heavier of the two springs (the "summer" spring) is roughly 3/8" shorter than the lighter "winter" spring. Use the longer, lighter, winter spring when the weather is cold and pressure from your power source is low.

The amount of pressure from your power source directly effects velocity. Should pressure in your power source change (i.e., bottle heats up or cools down), velocity of your projectile will change also. This is why Tippmann suggests the use of a siphon bottle when playing in cold weather, or to encourage consistent velocity--the liquid CO2 will always be at the same pressure when it enters the system.

The velocity adjustment screw serves to restrict or liberate the flow of CO2 through the power tube. Screwing the screw into the power tube restricts the flow and causes lower velocities. Backing the screw out of the power tube increases flow and causes higher velocities.

Maintenance (cleaning)

Well, most of the assembly/disassembly of the pro/am is pretty straight forward. If you're unsure, you might want to call Tippmann and ask them to send you their video.

To "field strip" the gun.

  1. . Take off the loader and CA bottle.
  2. . Lock back the bolt.
  3. . Remove the allen screw at the front/bottom of the receiver.
  4. . Unscrew the barrel.
  5. . Let the bolt forward, then use your allen to push the two pins holding the lower receiver (trigger group) onto the upper receiver (main body). Let the lower receiver hang onto the upper receiver via the air hose. Be careful not to twist this hose around too much.
  6. . Unscrew the big "plug" at the rear of the receiver. Careful for the mainspring as it attempts to jump out of the gun.
  7. . Unscrew the allen holding on the rear sight on the top of the receiver. Slide the rear sight off the sight rail.
  8. . Dig the connecting rod (connects the front and rear bolts) out of the top of the gun.
  9. . Remove the bolt handle out of the rear bolt.
  10. . Slide the rear bolt out of the back of the receiver.
  11. . Remove the front bolt from the front of the receiver.
At this point you have field stripped your gun to the point that you can clean it up nicely. Use a rag to get any excess paint and grime out of all areas to which you have access. You might find an old toothbrush useful for this. You should wipe off all the parts you can that have paint or grime on them. You can then lightly coat these parts with oil by putting liberal amounts of oil on your rag, then wiping the parts with the oily rag.

Reassembly isn't too tricky:

  1. . Slide the rear bolt into the back of the receiver. The part of the bolt with the hole in it should be towards the rear of the gun.
  2. . Notice that the bolt handle has a hole in it. The gun's mainspring goes through this hole. Put the bolt handle in the bolt, roughly aligning the bolt handle hole with the horizontal axis of the gun.
  3. . Slide the mainspring over the mainspring rod and insert the mainspring into the rear bolt. You will need to fiddle with the bolt handle in order to get the mainspring to go through the hole. The rod should be in the rear of the spring.
  4. . Screw the large plug on the rear of the receiver. This will involve compressing the mainspring while guiding the spring and rod into the rear of the bolt. I find the be best way to do this is:
    1. . Hold the receiver in your left hand, with your index finger and thumb on the bolt handle. You will need to fiddle with the bolt handle while compressing the spring so that you're sure it's aligned correctly, and you're not binding the spring inside the bolt.
    2. . Take the receiver "plug" in the palm of your right hand, holding the mainspring and mainspring rod in the small indentation on the plug with your fingers.
    3. . Guide the spring and rod into the rear bolt. This is the only tricky part as it involves some dexterity. :) Screw the plug into the rear of the receiver.
  5. . Put the lower receiver (trigger group) back onto the upper receiver (main body). You should be able to push the pins back into place with your thumb. I don't think it matters which side of the gun they go in from.
  6. . Put the front bolt back into the front of the receiver. Be careful for the rubber ball detent in the bottom of the chamber. You might need to use your allen to push the detent down as you slide the front bolt back into the receiver. Try to align the small hole in the top of the bolt with the top of the gun. The bolt connecting rod is going to go into this hole.
  7. . With the rear bolt forward, drop the connecting rod into the top of the gun. The rod should connect the front and rear bolt via the holes in the top of each.
  8. . Slide the rear sight onto the sight rail and screw it down with the allen. Be sure the sight is in the right place on the rail, that being over the circular indentation under the allen. The sight holds the bolt connecting rod in place. If it is not in the correct place on the rail, the rod can pop up out of the front or rear bolt. Also, be sure to secure this sight well. If the allen backs off during a game your gun can malfunction and you can even loose your connecting rod.
  9. . Lock back the bolt.
  10. . Screw the barrel back into the gun, but do not tighten it yet.
  11. . Replace the allen at the bottom/front of the receiver. Tighten it snug to medium tight, but not too tight.
  12. . Screw in the barrel as tight as you can.
  13. . Tighten down the allen.
  14. . Make sure your foregrip will still latch onto the receiver. If not, loosen the allen slightly. [Tippmann design flaw #2]
If you want to go farther in the breakdown of your pro/am you'll need a wrench or socket to remove the air hose from the main body. This is kind of tricky and shouldn't be done too often as you could cause damage to the valve body or fittings. You'll probably have to do it some time during the life of your gun though.

Once you have the hose detached from the valve body fitting, use a socket (forget the size, might need a deep socket too) to get the brass fitting out of the valve body. I have been able to do this with a regular open ended wrench, but I highly advise using a socket in this situation. You'll have to push the valve body forward, by working the socket onto the fitting, in order to get it seated properly. The valve body does move forward against the power tube, it just takes some pressure.

Taking the valve body out of the gun's main body is something you should certainly do every once in a while. This area around the valve body seems to be the "dirtiest" in the gun. It collects lots of grime and way too much aluminum filings and other junk that I don't think you want finding its way into other parts of your gun.

I completely disassemble my pro/am after every weekend of use. But then, I am confident I can take it down without causing damage or wear on its parts. I also find cleaning my paintguns a labor of love.. :) I'd recommend that normal people take the valve body out and clean it about once every 10-20 uses.

I *do* recommend field stripping the gun after every use. Be sure to keep that rear bolt clean and well lubed, as it will rust if it sits too long with moisture. Use the corners of a rag to get as much paint (if any) out of the chamber area of the gun.

Common Problems

Modifications/Accessories

Aftermarket Barrels.

Just about any aftermarket barrel is better than the gun that comes with the Pro/Am. The Pro/Lite is generally packaged with the new Tippmann Sniper barrel, which is an improvement over the stock Pro/Am barrel, but is not as good as many of the aftermarket barrels out there.

Barrel    Price  Length   Materials    Rifling      Comments
------------------------------------------------------------------
Tippmann 
  Sniper    $40   16"     Aluminum     Some,        Not as accurate as
                                         internal      other third party
                                                        barrels.
SmartParts  $89   16"     Stainless    External     Very Accurate, but not
                                                        so easy to clean. 
                                                        Quiet.
Armson      $90   13"     Aluminum     Internal     Very accurate, but
                                                        loud.
J&J         $50+  Many    Brass/       Internal/   
                           HardChrome    Smoothbore

SpeedFeed (PowerFeed)

"The SpeedFeed replaces the entire front grip of the Pro/Am and provides a PowerFeed type (You can still slide it up to run a squeegee through in a game) It blocks your sighting a little bit, so instead of looking down the barrel, look at your victim and adjust on him. The balls feed fast through the speedfeed. If your loader is feeding, your speedfeed will be dumping them into the chamber really quickly. And there is no blowback up into the hopper since it takes that 90 degree turn, so a ball is always ready to feed quickly. Similar to the automag (in idea at least) it has a little knob you can turn to stop balls from flowing into the chamber. The knob is a little stiff but it works.

"It's a good thing to have. I like it and I know quite a few players that have them. Check Central Ohio Paintball supply's price on them, they used to have them for $65, some places run to about $70 or so, I'm not sure what the going rate is."
(Rob Schneider/schneidr@csugrad.cs.vt.edu/TIP#194)

Upgrade options from Tippmann

Internals

If your Pro/Am has a serial number less than about 10,000, your gun may have the "old" internals. These older internals had shorter front and rear bolts, and a longer valve body. The new internals have longer front and rear bolts, with a shorter valve body. Tippmann will upgrade the internals and give you a Sniper Barrel for $80. Tippmann says the new internals reduce "blow back" in the gun.

Composite Foregrip and Pistol Grip

Tippmann will put the composite foregrip and pistol grip found on the Pro/Lite onto your Pro/Am for $50.

Opinions and other Comments

"Got a Pro-Am and it works real well. I know 4 people that own the gun and no one has any major problems of any kind and several have been through at least 30,000 balls. I've played with one and shot 2 month old paint and not broken anything. As long as I've played with the gun (about 5 months) I've only broken one ball (and it was RP Scherer, what do you expect, it was a month old.) The front grip assembly is a bit heavy but I've replaced it with the PPP Speed- Feed and that takes the weight of considerably. I'm not that big so I use a 12oz bottle but I have a friend who uses the 20oz Siphon and gets 800 balls out of it without a problem. You can also run it in the cold (unlike the VM-68)."
-- Rob Schneider schneidr@csugrad.cs.vt.edu

"If and when you break a ball, you'll discover the OEM wire squeegee does a so-so job of cleaning out the barrel during a fire-fight. Get yourself a Straight-Shot squeegee or a power squeegee (has four or five neoprene washers) which will remove all the paint in one pass."
-- HenryC@panix.com

"Pro-Am: I shot one that a friend had just bought. I was surprised at how well it is made. It's a very solid gun. Good points: Price. You can get a Pro-Am package deal from I&I for about $345 and have everything you need to go out and play. The feeder slides forward to allow you to run a sgueegie through the gun. Great idea but I did see one break. (I'm sure it's covered under warranty) This gun works on liquid or gas so you probably won't have any problems in the winter. Bad points: No versitility. The tank screws into the bottom of the handle and that's it. (unless you go remote) The trigger gard is also the tube for the CO2 supply into the gun. I personally don't like open-bolt guns because they are clunky."
-- m18921@mwvm.mitre.org (Martin E. Heffron)

"I personally have a Pro-Am. I have one that numbered in the 12000s and they're producing Pro-Am's in the 15000s. They sell really good considering I only got mine in October. All I can say is good things. The gun is sturdy, very well balanced, accurate and as we all know, Tippman has the best customer service in the industry. The gun is also real simple to strip, clean and reassemble. With practice, it can all be done within 10 minutes. I can strip, clean, oil and reassemble the gun in probably less than 10 minutes now. This is a real bonus on the field if something goes wrong, but it probably won't since the Pro-Am is mechanically pretty reliable."
--hans.lo@tortwi.uucp (Hans Lo)

"...Moving on to Tippmann themselves... I don't have any experience with other manufacturers customer service, but the experience I _DO_ have with Tippmann makes me a firm follower of their goods. They treat you right and ask little in return. I borrowed a friends 68 Special that he was trying to sell. I inadvertently finished off the already damaged trigger spring. I searched locally for a replacement and came up zero. Finally, I called Tippmann and asked about it, they shipped me a replacement free of charge and I had the replacement in hand within 3 days of my phone call. Installation was a little work, but not much. With my Pro/Am, I sent it back for upgrade and minor work three times. Each time was with out problem, and I received the piece back within a week or so of shipping you decide to go with the Tippmann Pro/Am or ProLite, I doubt you'll be disappointed."
--tarl_cabot@delphi.com (David Stidham)


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