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=  \  \         /  /  |  \    /  |      / _|       / __ \      =
=   \  \       /  /   |   \  /   |     | /        | |__| |     =
=    \  \     /  /    |    \/    |     | |         \    /      =
=     \  \   /  /     |  |\  /|  | === |  \_        |  |       =
=      \  \ /  /      |  | \/ |  |     |  _  \     / _  \      =
=       \  |  /       |  |    |  |     | |_| |    | |__| |     =
=        \___/        |__|    |__|      \___/      \____/      =
=      From the -Master of the Pan Flute-                      =
-                                                           -
   The VM-68 FAQ to-end-all-FAQs v6.0 Last Updated 10/2/96
   Written by Nick 'Jinxed' Brassard TIP #173
   VM Faq up to v2.0 written by Doug Seman TIP #11
-                                                           -
     This Document is Public-Domain, and can be distributed freely. I
made this FAQ for those who love paintball and their VMs. I do not care
if its copied, and hacked up, but I would appreciate it if my name and
Doug's was kept in it somewhere. Thanks
=                                                              =
----- INDEX                                                -----
----  (** stands for recently modified section )            ----
---   (+ stands for NEW section )                           ---
--    (*  stands for slight modification)                     --
-                                                              -
 ________________VM-68 FAQ_____________
 *   a. What is a VM68?
 +   b. Sheridan VM Family. 
 +      i.    VM-68
 +      ii.   PMI-3
 +      iii.  VM Magnum
 +      iv.   VM EXC
 +      v.  Equalizer  
 +   c. Aftermarket VMs
 +      i.    Pro-Comp
 +      ii.   VM VM-X
 +      iii.  Car-68
 +      iv.   Carter-VM
 +      v.    Palmer-VM  
 +      vi.   Other
     d. Benjamin/Sheridan INFO.
  2. Maintenance/Trouble Shooting.
     i.     General
     ii.    Velocity Adjustment.
     iii.   Lubrication
     iv.    Cup-Seal/Leaks
     v.     Cycling Problems (Check this out!)
          A. Excess Friction
          B. Valve
 *        C. Misc
     vi.    Miscellaneous
          A. Stripped Screws
          B. "Bolt-STick"
          C. Double-Feeding
          D. Ball breakage
     a. Going 'Stock'
         i.    Stock Parts List
     b. Barrels
 +       i.    General/Stock
         ii.   Smart Parts
         iii.  J$J
         iv.   Armson
         v.    Other
     c. C/A
         i.    Bottle-Setups
         ii.   Efficiency
              A.  Expanded CO2
              B.  Regulated CO2
         iii.  Siphon
         iv.   Nitrogen
         i.   Valve
 *            A. Magna-Port
 *            B. True-Flow
 *            C. Carter/Custom
         ii.  Cup Seal
         iii.  Upper Bolt
              A. Delrin
 **           B. Aluminium (Venturi/Starfire/Widemouth)
 +            C. Graphite-Composite
              D. Nylatron
              E. Stock
        iv. Hammer (or Lower Bolt)
              A. Stock
 *            B. PhazzeII
 *            C. Maximizer
 *            D. Misc
 *       v.  Main Spring
              A: ProShot
 *       i.   Powerfeed
         ii.  Grip
 *       iii. Sightrail
         iv.  Sights/Scopes
         v.   Field Strip Screws.
         vi.  Feed Elbow.
         vii. Loaders
*           A. Standard
+           B. Motorized
+           C. 'Turbo' Loader
         viii Stocks    
+           A. Car-15
+           B. Thompson
+           C. SKS
*           D. Misc
     f. MISC
         i. Rate-of-fire
              A. Lightened Internal/Hammer (see above)
              B. Trigger job
              C. Double 'fire' Trigger
+             D. Double 'Shoe' Trigger
              E. Carter Trigger
         ii. Weight
              A. internals/custom work
              B. VMX
     h. POOR-MANS Custom work.
         i.    Trigger-job
*        ii.   Gun-weight.
         iii.  Color
         iv.   Barrel
         v.    c/a setup.
         vi.   Automag Spring Kit/External Velocity Adjuster   
         vii.  Rear-Cock/External Velocity Adjuster Kit
         viii. Another External Velocity Adjuster
         ix.   Porting the Valve.
+        x.    Internal Expansion Chamber.

       i.   Various  Custom Setups.
       ii.   'SHould you buy a VM?'
       iii.  LastWord
   1. ** GENERAL **
        **  What is the VM ?  **
     The VM is a .68 calibre, true blow-back semi, firing from an
open bolt. The VM is a 'Sheridan-based' paintball gun. In many ways,
the VM has the same basic internal structure as the PGP, PMI-x, KP-x,
and Sheridan BB guns.  Other famous guns that are derivatives of the
Sheridan design, are: BudOrr Sniper/Cocker, Promasters, F1/2s,
Sterlings (a hybrid), and Spyders.  The VM is well known for its
extreme reliability, durability and upgradability.  The term 'VM' is
actually a family of guns rather then just one (VMX, EXC, Magnum, etc). 
Throughout the FAQ, I will simply refer to the 'VM', and point out
exceptions where neccassary.

     ** The Sheridan VM Family **

     ** i.  VM-68 **
   The name means 'Virtual Machine'.  The VM-68 is a slightly upgraded
PMI-68, and represents the backbone of the Sheridan line of paintball
guns.   Despite being the 'base' gun of the VM-family, the VM-68 does
come with alot of nice features.  

        Durable (works in any condition).
        Feeds very well.
        Reliable (doesnt need alot of tinkering).
        "Upgradable"     (This feature sets it apart from other low
                         cost semis).
        Ambidextrous safety/cocking lug.

        Ineffecient with Co2.
        Poor brass barrel.
        Difficult field-stripping.
        Front C/A position    (NOTE:  All Sheridan 'base' guns have
                              had the Co2 source located in the front.
                              The VM was the first to use C/A which
                              makes it difficult to use takes larger
                              then 10oz).     
     A stock VM-68 runs around $150-190 new (w/o CA), and a used VM-68
runs $100-160.  The VM-68 by far, has the largest number of aftermarket
parts availible.  Every single individual part of a VM has at least 3
aftermarket equivalents.  In fact, it is possible to built a custom VM
out of nothing but aftermarket parts (like a Harley).

  ** ii.  PMI-3 **
    The name means "Pursuit Marketing Inc, version 3".  Before '92, all
Sheridan products were distributed by PMI.  For the most part, the PMI3
is identical to the VM-68 except for some small internal differences
that should be noted. First generation PMI-3s were NOT ambidextrous
(the cocking knob could NOT be reversed).  Plus, many early PMI-3s had
a separate safety and cocking knob.  Some PMI-3s had bolts which could
be installed upside down.  Most PMI-3s had the 'old' style cupseal. 
This cupseal was of weaker construction, and was not friendly to liquid
co2.  All 'old' cupseals can be upgraded to the 'new' kind, but the
valve might have to be slightly modified. None of the PMI-3s had
ambidextrous feed blocks (as well as some VMs).  The 'body' of a PMI-3
is identical to a VM-68, and thus can accept any aftermarket mod.

     ** iii. VM Magnum **
    The name 'Magnum' refers to the large 14.5"x1" barrel that the
Magnum  uses.  The Magnum is internally identical to the VM-68,
however, it does have some external differences:
       1.  1'OD Aluminium barrel.
       2.  Back Bottle ASA  (Front ASA retained for DUAL C/A).
       3.  Sight Rail.
       4.  Ambidextrous Feed block. 
       5.  Field strip screws.
     New VM-Magnums range from $200-250 (w/ 3.5oz) and used Magnums
range $150-220.  Since the VM-Magnum is simply an upgraded VM-68, it
can accept most AFTERMARKET mods designed for a VM. Though, the Back-
Bottle ASA does restrict some mods.

   ** iv. VM EXC **
     The name 'EXC' means 'EXpansion Chamber'.  The VM-EXC is Sheridans
attempt at solve all of the VM-68's problems.  The VM-EXC is internally
identical to the VM-68, but it does come with some nice external
       1. Expansion Chamber (500+ shots per 7oz).
       2. Raised Sight Rail
       3. Bottom Line
       4. Field strip screws.
       5. Ambidextrous feed block.
    New EXCs range from $210-250 (w/o CA) and used EXCs range from
$150-210.  The EXC is an excellant beginner/mid-range paintball gun. 
The expansion chamber allows the VM to run forever, and the bottom line
allows for a well balenced gun.  Since the VM-EXC is simply an upgraded
VM-68, it can accept most aftermarket mods designed for a VM. The VM-
EXC uses an odd grip/bottomline.  If an aftermarket GRIP is to be
added, a new bottom line will likely also have to be added (and vice-

    ** v. EQUALIZER ** 
    The Equalizer is the lastest gun from Sheridan (based on the unique
Pheonix design). It is completely different externally and internally
to the VM.  I will only briefly mention it here to note that it takes
VM-aftermarket barrels, feedblocks and sightrails.

     Aftermarket-VMs are VM-68 paintball guns, with aftermarket parts,
sold as a complete unit from a noted pro-shop (like a BobLong Cocker).

    ** i. Pro-Comp **
    The Pro-Comp is by far the most famous Custom-VM, most likely
becuase it was the first (built in the early '90s).  You could either
had your VM upgraded, or bought a Pro-Comp as a unit.  The Pro-Comp has
the following features:
       1. Lightened Body.     The front ASA was chopped off, and a
                              permanent bottom line was added. Plus,
                              the sides were shaved.
       2. Custom Internals.   A super-light hammer (external adjust,
                              and rear cocking), light bolt, heavy-
                              duty valve/seal, and trigger jog were
       3. Misc External.      A body was annodized (usually white),
                              plus a sightrail, barrel extension and
                              side panels were added.
    The Pro-Comp went out of business many years ago, but the Pro-Comp
guns are still around being used and traded.  Pro-Comp guns originally
sold for ~$520 new ($300 for the upgrade), and they generally sell for
$250-400 used (depending on condition).  Pro-Comp has recently come
back into business selling 'cocker parts, and are working on a 'drop-
in' version of the pro-comp upgrade (light internals, rear cocking,
etc).  The kit has not been released yet.

   ** ii.  VM-VMX **
     The name 'VMX' comes from 'VM F/X'. The VM-VMX is well known as an
aftermarket body for the VM-68. It is also avalible as a complete unit
full of aftermarket parts. The VMX body is made from lightweight
aluminium, with a built in VERTICAL ASA and 1/8" side-tap. The VM-VMX
unit comes with some nice aftermarket parts:
      1. Pro-Shot spring kit  (External Velocity Adjust)
      2. PhazzeII Hammer      (Lighter and Quicker)
      3. Venturi bolt         (more range, less breakage)
      4. Rifled barrel.       (no-name variety, but fine).
      5. Powerfeed            (opinions are mixed)
     The VM-VMX body ranges from $150-199, and the VM-VMX unit cost
$350+ new (which was much less then buying all the parts separate).
Used VM-VMX units are rare, since they tend to get sold for parts,
rather then whole, but they generally range $250-300.  Since the VMX
was designed to use the stock VM internals, it can accept most VM
Aftermarket parts.  There has been compatability problems with earlier
VMX versions, such as valve and bolt misalignments, but later versions
seem to have the problems fixed (most early versions had a front ASA
instead of a VERTICAL ASA). Despite common misconception, VMX bodies
are made from aluminium alloys, not polymers.

     ** iii.  CAR-68 **
     The name CAR-68 refers to the CAR-15 rifle of which it emulates. 
The CAR-68 is being promoted as a 'Law-Enforcement Training Tool', but
it is really just a VM-68 with cosmetic assesories. The aftermarket
parts include:
      1.  CAR-Stock.  (Nearly identical to the stock on the Car-15)
      2.  Unique Barrel. (The Barrel is aluminium, with a handguard
                         similar to that of a CAR-15).
      3.  Raised SightRail  (Like that of a Car-15).
      4.  Permanent Vertical ASA.  (no Dual asa).
      5.  M-16 grip with conventional trigger guard.
     The CAR-68 does look very distinctive, but I would recommend that
you do not buy it for paintball (only law-enforcment training). The
'military' appearence can only lead to trouble. The price for a new
CAR-68 was $450, and they run ~$350 used.  NOTE:  You could by a stock
VM, CAR-Stock, good barrel, sightrail, and vertical ASA for much less
then $450.  The internals are all stock, and the CAR-68 will accept
most aftermarket parts.

     ** iv. Carter-VM **
     The Carter-VM is another well known custom VM from the early '90s. 
It was used by the likes of Dave Youngblood for many years.  For the
most part, all the mods on the Carter-VM were cosmetic. They include:
      1. Carter-Barrel.  (aluminium w/ muzzle)
      2. Machined Vertical ASA.
      3. Aluminium grip. (installed in old front ASA).
      4. SightRail
      5. Sides Shaved    (along with the signature Carter 'slots')
      6. Everything annodized shades of grey.
     There are alot of Carter-VMs in circulation, which is unusual
considering that Carter stopped making them many years ago.  Despite
having no performance parts, the Carter-guns were popular as a status
symbol.  They came out in a time when ALL guns were black, except the
Carter guns. (which were all grey/silver).  Back in '92, a Carter-VM
cost ~$650 (back when the PMI3 cost $400), and they sell used for
~$350-500.  The used price tends to be high, as many Carter-VMs are
considered one-of-a-kind collectable paintball guns. All internal parts
a stock, but the Carter-VM will accept most aftermarket parts.

  ** v.  Palmer-VM **
     The Palmer Pro-Shop is very well known, but their custom VMs are
not.  Palmer Pursuits has always specialized in custom Sheridan guns
(ie Typhoon, Hurricane, etc), and lately have started customizing VMs.
A Palmer-VM has a good balence between perforance parts, and cosmetic
parts. They include:
      1. Lightened Body. (Chopped ASA, Shaved sides).
      2. Stock bolt modified. (wide-mouthed).
      3. Hammer modified.  (lightened).
      4. Barrel honed.  (to .690 - .696)
      5. Valve job
      6. Misc  (The 'Misc' is the most important part.  It includes
               your personal preferences, like specific machining,
               annodizing, aftermarket parts, low-pressure etc).
     The price of a Palmer-VM is based on the work it has, but the work
runs $150-250 (not including gun). All the work is done by Dan Debone,
who is also working on a Pro-Comp style 'drop-in' kit for the VM (which
includes a custom hammer).  A Palmer-VM will accept most aftermarket
accessories (depending on the specific options).
  NOTE: The airsmith at Palmers that did the custom work on VM's has
left due to "difference of opinion".

 ** vi. Other **     
    Nearly Every Pro-Shop offers some kind of custom VM.  Below is a
short list of Custom Shops that do VM work that I HAVE NOT tested, but
have heard positive things.
     1: Olympic Paintball.
          Olympic Paintball specializes in exotic machine work. (If you
          have seen one of their cockers, you would know what I mean).
          I have heard that they chop a high-percentage of the metal of
          off the body.
     2: I&I Sports.
          I&I does all the usuall stuff like: "Tune-Ups", trigger jobs,
          lighter bolt/hammer, field-strip kit, annodizing and machine
     While Sheriden has been around for a very long time, but has
recently been bought by CrossMan airguns. (rather like Daisy buying
BrassEagle). Also, up until 1992, all Sheriden paintball guns were
distributed by Pursuit Marketing Inc. (hence: PMI-x). This is only
important because it means all the phone numbers and addresses may be
different then when you originally bought the marker. The
current address and phone number is:
          Routes 5&20
          East BloomField, N.Y. 14443
     Unlike most others semi's, the VM requires no general
maintenance. This is often the main reason why people choose the VM
over the semi's available. However, its important to keep the gun
clean, and well lubricated.
          a. ** LUBRICATION **
     In my years, I have talked to 1000 people about their VMs. Each
one of them has their own separate idea on proper VM lubrication.
2-E of the AllAmerican's says that Sesame seed oil for the
internal/external hoses (if any), keeps any liquid co2 from clogging up
the system. The VM manual suggests vegetable oil, or vaseline, which I
don't suggest. Some local VM teams use a thin layer of AXLE grease,
mixed with vegetable oil. However, I have found that ordinary gun
lubricant, like GOLD-CUP or 3in1, works plenty fine. For the most part,
*ANY* lubricant will work fine, just as long as it doesn't contain 2
things: 1. Anything petroleum based, 2. Thicken when it gets colder.
This means DON'T put WD-40 in your VM. All petroleum based lubricants
EAT o-rings. While I realize VMs have far fewer O-rings then many other
GUNS. When your CUP-SEAL goes in the middle of a battle, you'll wish
you didn't use that WD-40.  Also, LITHIUM grease, and other automotive
lubricants tend to thicken in cold weather, causing cycling problems
(see below). Plenty of fine paintball-only lubricants are available,
though, are expensive.
         b. ** VELOCITY ADJUSTMENT **
     You would be surprised the number of newbies I find who cannot
properly adjust the velocity of a VM. Dont feel bad, though. The VM is
by far the most complicated paintball gun to change the velocity on
(even more then 'Nelson' springs). There are 2 methods of adjusting the
velocity on a stock VM: the bolt, and the valve. (plus a few 'trick'
methods further in the FAQ).
     The BOLT velocity screw is the easiest, and most common way. You
simply run the velocity adjustment tool down the barrel, and turn. If
the tool is not available, an allen wrench can be used (with the barrel
     The trick is that the screw -MUST- be within a 'click', which is
every 1/2 turn. If it is NOT, a small bearing will push against one of
the BOLT o-rings, causing the VM to CYCLE poorly. Adjusting the BOLT
screw can change velocity by about +-50fps. (About 10-15 fps for
each CLICK) NOTE: If you use an expansion chamber, the screw needs to
be as far open as possible, to take advantage of the chamber. If
velocity is too high, change the 'time' on the VALVE.
     The VALVE adjustment is somewhat more tricky, but is only needed
a couple times a year. The valve can be set in one of 4 positions,
called 3,6,9, and 12 o'clock. Each one has a different velocity level.
(12 is highest, and 3 lowest, counter clockwise). Each 'time'
represents about 40 fps. 
     To change the position, first make sure the VM is NOT
PRESSURIZED!! (I can tell you horror stories!), next, completely strip
the VM (bolt/ hammer/ springs etc), next unscrew the VALVE screws. Look
at the FACE of the VALVE to see what 'time' it is. Decide where you
want the 'time', then INSERT your VM valve TOOL. (You might have to
depress the trigger). Once the Tool is all the way in, turn the TOOL
until you feel friction, once you do, look into the hole where the
VALVE screws used to be, you should be able to see the valve, and a
hole in which the valve screw threads into. Now, turn the TOOL. Every
hole you see go by, represents 45 degrees on the valve face, and a
'time' on the clock. Once the valve is in the position you want, SCREW
in the VALVE screws, then, unscrew the tool and pull it out.
     Re-assemble the gun, and CRONO it. If the VM VALVE TOOL is not
available, than a VERY long 3/8(?) bolt (course threads), can also do
the trick. The VM Valve tool is available from CROSSMAN, and nearly
ever paintball store for ~$10.
     Another less invasive option to increase velocity: When the
valve is set at 12:00 (max) and the bolt velocity screw is also
maxed out, IF the velocity is still not going up satisfactory then
you can increase the velocity by adding a few spacers behind the
bolt (or behind the spring). This in effect "extends" the length,
hence the strength of the main spring so when the hammer travels
forward and hits the valve, the valve will remain open longer
delivering more CO2. This trick may poorly effect cycling performance,
and co2 efficiency. 
     c. ** CUP-SEAL/LEAKS ** 
     If your VM leaks for any reason, 99% of the time, it is the CUP-
SEAL (other wise its a valve o-ring, or bottle o-ring).  The cup-seal
is a small cup-shaped seal, attached to a pole and a spring, that sits
inside the valve.  In VM's, its the ONLY thing that holds the Co2
inside the gun.
     All VMs made after May, 1992, have the 'new'
cup seal. Its the same as the old one, except, its much shorter,
and friendlier to liquid. Either way, any of them can go bad. If
you ever screw in your bottle, and co2 flies out of your gun like
crazy (turning the VM into an aluminum ICE CUBE), or even a small leak
coming out of your barrel, means the CUP-SEAL is going bad. If a new
cup-seal is unavailable, their is 2 temporary solutions. First,
disassemble the gun completely, and cover the cup seal with a THICK
lubricant, like WHITE LITHIUM or vaseline (temporary). Re-assemble, and
pressurize. If this doesn't work, disassemble the VM again, and SQUEEZE
the VALVE and CUP-SEAL tightly, while turning, to make a better 'seat'
for the cup-seal. Re-assemble, and pressurize. If this doesn't work,
you must get a new one. If you had the older style, get the new style,
they last longer.  
     In desperate emergencies, a cup-seal from some other SHeridan
based gun (Sniper/Cocker/Pmi-x/etc) may or may not work. I have had
mixed results.  Borrowing someone's spare cup-seal is alot better then
going home without playing. 
   d. VM CYCLING.  It seems that everyone has a problem with
their VM cycling at one time or another (the 'full' auto effect).
Below is a step-by-step guide to solving the cycling problem.
---- VM Cycling/Cold Weather MINI-FAQ v2.8----------  
1. Manually cycle the gun (with no air) to see if it has an excess
 amount of friction.  For example: Remove the main-spring, and see if 
 the hammer/bolt will freely slide from gravity alone. If it does, then 
excess friction is not a problem.  If it is a problem, It could be a  
couple things: -
       -A.  Lubrication. I see lots of people who either don't
     lubricate their VM, or use the wrong kind (ie petroleum
     based). If the gun has been sitting a long time, its a good
     idea to strip it completely, and lube it with a some sort of
     oil designed for Paintball guns. Paintball gun oil is designed
     for cold temp. Normal oils (ie petro based, or lithium) get
     thicker when they get cold, making it harder for the gun the
       -B.  Hardened paint. If the VM has been sitting awhile,
     there is a good chance that some paint left on it when it was
     last used, has dried, and is now making alot of friction for
     the upper bolt when cycling. Solvents are useful in getting 
     old paint out, but keep it away from the o-rings.
       -C.  Bad Trigger.  The VM has one of the most complicated
     triggers I have seen on paintball guns. When VMs get old,
     sometimes the sear gets out-of-line, and puts extra friction
     onto the lower bolt (hammer). Also, many people neglect to
     clean the triggers (simply wash with water then lube). In
     fact, most old VMs (3 years +) have had there triggers
       -C.  Dirty Trigger.  It is good to clean out the trigger
     mechanism once in a while with solvent.  Occationally, cold
     weather will cuase the trigger to malfunction if it is
     "gummed" up.
       -D.  Wrong Spring. Although this is unlikely, some VMs are
     sent with 2 springs (upper bolt). For summer/winter. There is
     a chance that a VM with the lighter spring (summer), playing
     in the winter might have problems cycling. Some people also use
     a lighter valve spring and a heavy bolt spring during the   
     winter. You'll want a lighter bolt spring back in the winter for
     efficiency reasons.
       -E.  Check the velocity screw in the bolt to make sure it's
     within a 'click'. Otherwise, the screw will push up against a
     bearing, creating friction. Its odd that alot of newbies don't
     realize that the velocity screw HAS to be within a click to
       -F.  Bad O-RINGS.  The O-rings on the bolt should be replaced
     about every 12 months.  They become worn, and cracked, and can
     even cause the VM to jam.  Replacment o-rings are in the VM parts
     kit, plus fancy aftermarket telfon o-rings are availible.
        -A.  The valve both directs pressure to the bolt to fire the
     paintball, plus, recocks the hammer. When the valve is at 12, 
     velocity is highest, but, pressure to the hammer is lowest.      
     Often lowering the clock will help VM cycling (though, will also
     lower velocity, but turning in the BOLT screw can help maintain
     adequate velocity levels).
       -B.  Drill the Valve out.  There are  2 methods to drilling a
     valve:  1- First, to raise velocity, one of the clock holes can be
     drilled larger, to allow for more co2 to go to the bolt
     (though decreases cycling performance).  2- Second, to improve
     cycling, the recocking jet can be drilled larger to allow more co2
     to recock the VM.  Either MOD is bad for CO2 performance, but is
     a good LAST-RESORT for improving cold-weather performance. Have a
     professional modify the valve (or see the homebrew section).
        -C.   Clean the Valve. It is possible that the valve might
     have  alot of 'gunk' in it. (perhaps you tried to use lithium
     grease). Just pull the valve out, clean it, and replace it.
     (note the time on the valve).
        -D.   Valve Spring. VM/PMI3s all basically have the same
     VALVE SPRING. If the spring was CUT, or a lighter one was
     used, then the velocity would increase and cycling would
     improve. For a cheap fix, you can remove the Valve Spring. This
     works unless you have a bad cup-seal, in which the cup-seal will
     not seat properly without a spring. So, avoid removing the valve
     spring, unless its an emergency.
       E.   Cup-Seal. When a Cup-Seal goes on a VM, it goes in
     STYLE.  Cup-Seals are either the 'old' kind or the 'new' kind.
     Most PMI3s using the 'old' kind can upgrade to the 'new' kind.
     The new kind is supposed to be more durable, though, being
     shorter, its rather tricky to put in. While not directly
     related to velocity, bad ones leak, and can really make for a
     bad day. Usually running lubricant through the c/a system is
     a good temporary fix, until replacement is possible.
       F.   Valve Screws. When the hammer hits the valve, a specific 
     amount of co2 is released. Alot of PMI3s, mostly old ones, loose
     ALOT of CO2 out the Valve screws holes. By simply putting alot of
     teflon tape on the Valve Screws, or using a small o-ring around
     the screw you help the VM cycling ALOT. Plus, it helps keeping all
     the lube from comingout the side onto your hands.....
3. MISC.
       -A.   O-RINGS. The upper bolt has 4 rubber o-rings.
     Some times they get worn, BLOATED, or are the wrong size
     (replacements) . If this happens, make sure they are replaced
     (with the right size). Make sure to also check the o-ring on the
     lower bolt (hammer), and the o-rings on the valve (which should
     never go bad). Aftermarket O-ring kits can IMPROVE cycling alot.
       -B.   Air Flow.  2-E of All Americans, told me that VMs that
     have hoses (ie bottom lines, remotes, etc), sometimes get
     clogged with lubricant. Sometimes the problem is that liquid
     runs through the hoses and gets the lubes so cold that it
     makes the lube so thick that it slows/stops the air flow into
     the valve. He said that best thing was to run sesame seed oil
     through the HOSE. (2-E of AA said this). Plus, running a solvent
     though the gas line will dissolve the lubricant (and hopefully 
     not the o-rings).
       -C.   Liquid. VMs were designed to run straight vapor. But
     are capable of running liquid (siphon tanks) to gain all the
     advantages of using liquid. The important advantage being
     velocity, and pressure gain.  VMs with cycling problem can
     usually be fixed (at least temporarily) by putting on a SIPHON
     tank. Note, excess liquid in a VM can also make the o-rings on
     the upper-bolt expand (so I am told). Also older PMI3s have
     cheaper CUP-SEALS that will leak when using a siphon bottle,
     though, replacements are VERY cheap. 
          NOTE:  The VM-EXC cannot make use of a SIPHON tank, becuase
     it has a EXPANSION CHAMBER, or any VM with an expansion chamber or
       -D. Expansion Chambers, Regulators, and Remotes.  There is a
     misconception that a EC/Reg/Remote will fix cycling problems. What
     they will do is slow the drop in tank pressure when rapid firing.  This
     is usefull in cold weather becuase the pressure in the tank drops
     close to the mininum cycling pressure.  However, if the VM has a
     cycling problem during normal firing, a EC/Reg/Remote will not
     help much. 
      -E. Nitrogen.  The great thing about NITROGEN is that its a GREAT
     improvement over CO2. If the VM has a cycling problem while
     running NITRO, then just TURN UP THE PRESSURE! Presto! Plus,
     NITROGEN is NOT effected by TEMPERATURE/WEATHER like co2. 
      -F.  Delrin bolts. I have heard that alot of people have
     problems with the frictionless, and o-ringless Delrin Bolts.
     The problem is 2-FOLD. First, I heard that Delrin bolts SWELL
     when they get cold, especially when the come in contact with
     LIQUID Co2, creating friction in the VMs cycle. I have had a
     delrin bolt in my VM for many years and never had problem like
     this. Second, since the delrin bolts have no o-rings, the OD
     of the bolt has to match the ID of the barrel. In theory this
     works fine, but its possible that if you pinch a ball, you
     could get a piece of shell between the bolt and breech,
     jamming the gun. This has happened to me in a tournament, and    
     the VM jammed so bad, that I needed to use a hammer to get the
     bolt unstuck!!
         -G.  COLD WEATHER. Most of the VM cycling problems are
     encountered in cold weather. This is do to the bottle pressure
     being lower (with far fewer useable shots), and LUBRICANT
     thickening. ALot of people tell me (like SP), that the VM is a
     warm weather gun, not to be used in cold weather. I tell them
     "GARBAGE!". The VM can function in cold weather just as well as an
     ICON Z1/2 or a PRO-AM/LITE (especially with a siphon). Most of you
     are probably saying, "But, my VM doesn't function in cold
     weather??".  Well, if you go through my ENTIRE MIMI-FAQ, to make
     sure your VM is running MINT, then it should work well below 0
     degrees. Even without a SIPHON or NITROGEN. I live in  MAINE, and
     Doug lives in Michigan -we know COLD Weather. In January, I put
     away the 'cocker, and use the VM as a WINTER GUN! Running SIPHON
     or NITROGEN WILL greatly improve the winter performance.
        -G.  New VMs.  I have seen alot of COMPLETELY NEW Vms, straight
     from TASO-EAST, that go CYCLIC (full-auto) for NO APPARENT reason.
     I told my friends to RETURN their guns, which they did. The new
     ones they received worked fine. I suspect that since SHERIDEN is
     UNDER Crossman CORP now, the Quality Control is NOT-AS-GOOD as it
     used to be. I understand that they are selling them for ~$180 now,
     but that no reason for them to sell low-quality products. The
     people from TASO East felt the same way,they dont want to loose
     customers because Crossman is cutting corners.
        -H.  Cold tank.  If the tank is very cold the pressure in the
     tank is lower then normal, which will effect velocity.  You can
     get a cold tank soon after its field (thats why you should wait a
     few minutes before screwing a new tank on).  Plus, your tank will
     also get very cold if you rapid fire.
        -I.  Overfilled tank.  If the tank is overfilled, the pressure
     inside the tank will be lower then normal.  This is becuase the
     co2 cannot expand properly.  If your tank is overfilled, just dry-
     fire then gun (in a safe place). 
       -4. After market add-ons.  There is a PLETHORA of after
     market stuff for a VM, that are advertised to help a VM cycling.
     Some do, and some don't. Read the up-grade section for these.
          A. ** Screws **.  Keep in mind that the body of a VM is made
     from soft aluminum and magnesium.  It is very to strip the threads
     for a screw.  If the threads become stripped, they needs to be re-
     drilled and tapped to a larger drill size. Plus, it is also easy
     to strip the faces of the allen-bolts from over-tightening (which
     means you can't get the screw out). If this happens, try using a
     bolt-removal tool. If this fails, the bolt needs to be drilled
     out, as well as the hole.  Then re-tapped to a larger size.  This
     is a good reason to buy the field-strip kit for the VM.  It is
     much harder to strip the screws with it.
          B. ** Bolt-Stick.  Bolt-stick is a very rare occurrence of a
     bolt 'stopping' within mid-cycle.  This often occurs with
     aftermarket parts, and can come from a variety of places.  Often
     the bolt orings will become worn and cracked (especially stock),
     and can sometimes create enough friction to stop the bolt. 
     Sometimes paintshells can get behind the bolt, and jam it
     (especially delrin).  Some after-market hammers cause this.
     Probably becuase the sear is getting caught when sliding across
     the hammer (or maybe its the sear release pin).
          C.  ** Double-Feeding **.  Double feeding can only mean one
     thing. Your "Magic Fingers" have gone bad.  The Magic Fingers is
     my name for the rubber ball-detent found in the feed block.  They
     can become damaged for a variety of reasons (including aftermarket
     bolts).  Fortunately, they are cheap and you can get them at most
          D. ** Excessive Ball Breakage **.   The VM rarely breaks
     paint, so if ball breakage becomes excessive, something might be
     broke.   First: The VM might be double-feeding (see above).
     Second: You might be missing a bolt o-ring.  Missing a bolt o-ring
     would cause excessive co2 to enter the feed elbow when firing,
     slowing the feed rate, pinching balls. Third: the stock brass
     barrels bends easily if dropped. Plus, check inside the barrel for
     excessive scratches.  See if you can easily BLOW a paintball
     through the barrel with your lungs. Forth: Perhaps you are using
     bad paint, or even firing the VM faster then it can feed
-- 3.  ** UPGRADES **
     a. GOING 'STOCK'
        I just want to make this note about a stock VM. A stock VM
is a fine gun. The only reason 'mag owners, and 'cocker owners make
fun of it is that they paid $1000+ for their guns, and are jealous
that some newbie's $200 gun is just as good!
        i. --Price List for STOCK PARTS. 
           --Prices, and availability are subject to change 
             (which is likely since this list is old).
REF NO. PART NO.        PART NAME                       PRICE
1       VMX-A01         RECEIVER ASSEMBLY               $184.40
2       VMX-111         AIR CHAMBER ASSEMBLY            $ 12.70
3       VMX-121         EXHAUST VALVE ASSEMBLY          $  6.25
4       VMX-200         BARREL ASSEMBLY                 $  8.50
5       VMX-241A        UPPER BOLT ASSEMBLY             $ 12.00
6       VMX-251A        LOWER BOLT ASSEMBLY             $ 38.00
7       VMX-9011        TRIGGER ASSEMBLY                $ 51.80
8       F503            AIR VALVE SPRING                $  0.50
9       VMS-003         BARREL RETAINING NUT            $  6.50
10      VMS-102         SCREW                           $  0.85
11      VMS-103         LOCKWASHER                      $  0.25
12      VMS-201A        BOLT CONNECTING PIN             $  3.50
13      VMS-231         UPPER BOLT O-RING               $  1.35
14      VMS-252         LOWER BOLT O-RING               $  1.10
15      VMS-257A        SAFETY SLEEVE                   $  1.80
16      VMS-258         SAFETY FASTNER                  $  0.25
17      VMS-403         LOWER BOLT PLUG                 $  8.00
18      VMS-404         UPPER BOLT PLUG                 $  5.30
19      VMS-405         PLUG RETAINING BOLT             $  0.45
20      VMS-406         LOCKWASHER                      $  0.25
21      VMS-502         SCREW                           $  0.40
22      VMS-503         SCREW                           $  0.65
23      VMS-510         PISTOL GRIP                     $ 11.50
24      VMS-520         SCREW                           $  0.35
25      VMS-601         BALL FEED ADAPTOR               $ 28.50
26      VMS-603         BALL RETAINER                   $  0.90
27      VMS-604         BALL FEED SPACER                $  0.85
28      VMS-605         BALL FEED FINGER PLATE          $  1.85
29      VMS-606         SCREW                           $  0.35
30      VMS-610         BALL FEED FASTENER              $  2.50
31      VMS-700         MAIN SPRING                     $  3.15
32      VMS-701         MAIN SPRING GUIDE               $  0.40
33      VMS-800         MONO POD                        $ 11.50
34      P911            BALL INSERT TUBE - 45           $  4.70
35      VMS-5010        GRIP LUG                        $ 11.85
36      PT-418          VEL. BOLT DETENT BALL           $ 11.85
37      P700            FRONT SIGHT                     $  0.85
38      CH4             O-RING                          $  2.50
39      VMT-T01         VELOCITY ADJ. TOOL              $  6.90
       Use the address for Sheriden to order these parts, or go through
a local dealer.  The later is advisable since Crossman prefers dealing
with with retailers over customers.
     b. BARRELS.
        i. General/Stock
     Paintball barrel design is a center of huge debates. Some believe
that different barrels affect accuracy and range differently.  Other
believes that all barrels perform nearly identical.  For the purpose of
this FAQ, I will only cover the barrels which I have personally used
and tested. (I will use terms such as "Turbulance", "distortion" and
"wobble" which are all HIGHLY debated).
           I will just say this once. The stock VM barrel is
garbage (except the Magnum barrel). The finish is always poor, and
brass barrels get scratched VERY easily. Plus, the ID is .690 which
is way to tight for big bore paint (ie Nelson, Bullseye).  However, the
STOCK barrel can be easily modified to shoot good. All it really needs
is to be bored to .692 and honed/polished. A good honing kit will do
both.  An airsmith can also hone the barrel for you, but it might
actually cost less to simply buy a new one.
     For the most part, any barrel is a good replacment over the stock
barrel.  From my experiences, for best performance a VM barrel should
have these 3 characteristics:
     1: External Rifling-  Studies have shown that blowbacks (like the
VM) works best with external rifling becuase they port the highly
turbulant gas inherant to blowbacks.  
     2: Medium to Large bore-  The high pressure blast of a VM distorts
the paintball, and is less likely to break in the barrel with a larger
bore (internal diameter).  Between 692-696 is recommended. 
     3: Barrel length 14-16"-  It was discovered a few years ago that
the most effecient length of a paintball barrel was 14".  Anything
above that, or below that would be wasting CO2.  However, with external
rifling and/or siphon tanks, its more effecient to use a 16" barrel
(for less "wobble").
        ii. SP
          Smart Parts barrels are considered the best barrels for
the VM. Smart Parts use a special externally rifled barrel designed
to reduce turbulence around the ball, keeping the ball stable, thus
providing more range, and accuracy. Lately their has been alot of
fuss over SP barrels. Many 'mag and 'cocker owners didn't see the
same results when they put the SP barrels on their new fancy semis.
This is because 'Mags and 'Cockers have less turbulent air, however
blowbacks, like Vms have lots of turbulence, hence a SP barrel.
SP barrels made within the last few years all have a NEW teflon coating
which is believed to increase accuracy, but, many believe that it hurts
range. This may or may not be true, but the teflon can be removed by
soaking the barrel in ammonia based cleaners or solvents. Modern SP
barrels come in a variety of shapes, including their new 'tear' drop
rifled barrels. The average price is ~$69-125, and are my pick for the
best barrels for a VM. Keep in mind that SP barrels lower the velocity
30-50fps, as with all externally rifled barrels, and are very difficult
to clean when a ball is broken, but greatly reduce barrel noise.
       iii. J$J
          J$J barrels have come along way. 4 years ago, J$J barrels
were considered low quality. But, In the last 2 years, they have
made some leaps. IMHO, top of the line J$J barrels are the second
best barrel that money can buy, and perhaps the best for closed-
bolt guns. (I mean the externally rifled, HARD CHROME plated, brass
w/ muzzle break). J$J also makes smoothbore (to any ID), plain
brass, and internally rifled. You can even get J$J barrels with SP
rifling. The HARD CHROME barrels are nice because they are impossible
to scratch. These run ~75-80 for rifled. $25-35 for smoothbore, and an
extra ~$25 for Hardchromed.  
     I have heard that some J$J barrels do not fit properly into the
VM. Either they dont screw in all the way, or come loose (and fall out)
while firing.  This is probably true, considering what I hear about
J$J's quality control.  If you ever get a bad J$J barrel, simply return
it and ask for another (scream a little, maybe you'll get it for free).
    Plus, early J$J barrels did NOT screw in.  They required the barrel
brace that it used on the stock barrel.  However, if you send it to
J$J, they will modify the barrel, so that it threads in. (NOTE: they
did ask me to cover return-shipping).
        iv. ARMSON
          PCRI rated Armson barrels to be more accurate then any
other, when tested on a 'Cocker, and 'Mag. Armson barrels are
internally rifled, based on a similar scheme used in muzzle-loading
firearms. Unlike mags/cockers they don't work as well on a VM. However,
they do still work very well. But, as with all INTERNALLY rifled
barrels, they are very sensitive to PAINT. Unlike SP barrels, Armson
barrels do not lower velocity, and are easier to clean. These run
~85-99.  BTW, ARMSON barrels are VERY loud on a VM (any gun for that
matter). An ARMSON 'bark' is very distinct.
         v. OTHERS.
          Everybody and their 3rd cousin makes barrels these days.
My advice is to buy quality name brand barrels.  If possible, test
a barrel before you buy. Different barrels have different IDs
(internal diameters), which are more friendly to different kinds of
paint and climates. Other fine barrels include AUTOSPIRIT ,B.O.A., and
Stainless STEEL barrels (many types), but I havnt seen these tested on
a VM. If you can not afford a $100 barrel, smoothbore barrels (no
rifling) are still an improvement over the stock barrel. Carter Machine
and BudOrr makes FINE SMOOTHBORE barrels for ~$20-40. BTW, STEEL
barrels are very heavy, so they might not be the best idea for the
heaviest gun on the market. 
     c. C/A
        i. SETUPS.
           For some odd reason, ALL SHERIDEN guns take in co2 from
the front off the gun. (Piranhas, VM-EXC, and VM-Magnums don't count
since they are custom versions of front-co2 sheridens). During the
12gram days, this was no problem. Unfortunately, the front-bottle
system on the VM severely limits it. In the stock form, only a 7-10oz
can be used. 
     Fortunately, there are many options for barrel re-placement. The
most common is BOTTOM-LINES. Plus there is also BACK-BOTTLE setups.
Both these have versions that allow for dual-bottle setups. Many VMs
experience problems with screws loosening with back-bottles, you may
need to use LOC-TOURNAMENT or LOC-TITE on the field strip screws. Plus,
the bottle can be run on remote, or, the bottle can be retained in the
frontal position, but at a 90 degree, or 45 degree angle. Still yet are
intruder systems, which put the bottle on a bottom line, but on a
frontal grip. 
     The VM has more c/a setup options that ANY OTHER GUN.  This allows
the VM some freedom, as well as some distinct looks. All these allow
the VM to use a co2 bottle of 3-40oz. Most people opt for the bottom
line, with an expansion chamber (like the Black-Rain). Bottle
re-placement kits are usually inexpensive, around $30-50. You can also
use on/off valves, filters, and quick disconnects. These little brass
pieces can run from $5-$30. IMO filters are a waste of money, and have
NEVER HEARD of a VM going down because of dirty CO2.
        ii. EFFICIENCY.
          The most common complaint of the VM is its co2
efficiency. A stock VM, with 7oz usually gets 100-220 shots from a
7oz. The large range is shots is due to weather, temp, and condition of
the VM. This is hardly enough for a game, let alone for a whole day.
Different setup can be used to allow for bigger or multiple
bottles, but, special co2 devices can be used to allow for 350-450
shots from a 7oz. These devices are expansion chambers, regulators
and/or remotes.
          Expansion chambers allow the co2 to pre-expand before
being used, thus more efficient. There is a number of different
types, some do very little while others are very helpful. The most
common is the original Black-Rain system (by AirAmerica), which can be
setup in a BACK_BOTTLE (Terrorist), or BOTTOM-LINE setup. This is the
best chamber, and most expensive at $100-$160. If you already have a
DUAL-BOTTLE setup, and a 3oz (ie MAGNUM), COOPER-T makes a special
valve, that fits on the 3oz, that turns it into an expansion chamber.
I hear this works well. Taso makes many different styles of CHAMBERS
ranging from small ($20) to large ($100), all are quality devices.
Avoid cheap small chambers, they're not worth the money. Also, a remote
system also works as a partial expansion chamber. SmartParts makes an
REMOTE/EXPANSION CHAMBER for about ~100. The Chamber (designed by AIR-
AMERICA) fits on the bottle, and also features a quick-disconnect,
allowing it to switch from gun to gun (great deal). Taso, and I$I also
sell similar setups.
         B. REGULATORS.
          Paintball regulators are basically the same that are on
Soda co2 tanks, and welding machines, but are more precise. They
allow you to control the pressure of co2 coming out of a tank, and
keep that pressure level. This is useful because it keeps wasteful
liquid from entering your VM, and keeps the operating pressure at
the perfect point for a VM (550-650psi) instead of 900-1000psi. Using
a regulator can also mean less ball breakage, due to the lower
operating pressure. The best REG around is the AirAmerican UNIREG, but
its also the most expensive, around $250. Other people make quality
cheaper ones like Palmer Pursuits for $70, and Paintball Mania
Supplies. A regulator is a great idea if you plan on upgrading to
NITROGEN in the future (since the REG is a must). 
     iii. SIPHON.
        The one cure-all for velocity problems, cycling problems,
cold weather problems, and consistent velocity problems is to use
a SIPHON tank. Siphon tanks allow the VM to drink straight LIQUID
co2. This allows for a GREATER operating pressure. Most other blow-
back semis use SIPHON tanks (ICON Z1/2, PROAM/LIte). The only
drawback is efficiency. With a siphon, expect only 100-150 shots
from a 7oz. This means a 20/32/40oz is a MUST. Although, if the VALVE
it drilled out bigger, you'll get 130-175 shots from the 7oz. VMs
CANNOT run on a SIPHON and EXPANSION chamber at the same time, as
they are contradictions (people really ask me that). Plus, the VM will
blow giant VAPOR clouds which impress the newbies (and give away your
position). Make sure your VM was made after MAY 1992, as it may have
the 'old' cup-seal. Siphon tanks are the same as regular PV tanks,
except have a special $10-15 SIPHON VALVE. (TIPPMAN or TPI makes the
best). It should be noted that since running on a SIPHON means your
velocity rises when rapid firing, you should crono this way, to get an
accurate fps reading. NOTE: Most tournaments require you to chrono this
way if you use SIPHON, which is a GOOD thing becuase its nearly
IMPOSSIBLE to get a HOT shot if you chrono on 'liquid'.
     iv. NITROGEN/HPA.
       The VM can run on NITROGEN/HPA just like the 'mag. Many quality
kits (ie expensive) will allow the VM to get nearly 1000 shots between
fills. Running on NITROGEN has same benefits that SIPHON tanks provide
like stable velocity, and all-weather performance (without the cloud).
Most NITRO kits run from about $200 (low pressure), to about $500 (HIgh
pressure). I should point out that NITROGEN is quickly becoming the
choice of tournament players. Mostly becuase 'Cockers and 'Mags are
sensitive to liquid co2 (unlike the VM). So if you are worried about
the availibility of nitrogen in the future, I wouldnt worry. I predict
all tournaments, and most fields will have NITROGEN capabilities in the
near future.  
          The VM is an UNUSUAL gun, in that it can run on an
EXPANSION CHAMBER and NITROGEN like a 'mag or 'cocker, with great
results. Plus also run on SIPHON like a ICON Z1/2 or PROAM/LITE
also with good results. This ability makes the VM an EXCEPTIONAL
paintball GUN.
   d. ** INTERNALS **
      i. VALVE.

     A.  Magna-Port/Turbo Valve.
     The Magna-Port valve is probobly the most common replacment valve
for the VM.  The valve was designed to improve cold weather
performance.  It does this by having only ONE large 'clock' hole bored
much bigger then the 12 'oclock hole on the stock valve.  This
increases velocity.  The recocking hole is also enlarged to increase
cycling performance.  This degrades effeciency by 10-15% over a stock
VM, and 30-45% over a VM with an expansion chamber.  This valve is only
usefull if used in cold temperatures where siphon tanks are unavalible. 
Magna-Ports have been known to fit poorly in VMX's. 
The Magna-Port also comes with a delrin cupseal, which is supposed to
last much longer.

     B. Tru-Flow valve.  
     For the most part, the Tru-Flow valve is must like the Magna-Port
valve.  Both the recock jet and 12-oclock hole are bigger then stock.
However, the holes are smaller then the Magna-Port.  This was done to
retain some effeciency, while still giving moderate cold weather

     C. Carter/other.
     Alot of pro-shops make custom VM valves, which are all basically
the same.  The #3 (smallest) hole is bored slightly larger then the #12
(largest hole), and "Venturi-style" jets are drilled around the
recocking jet to provide for better cycling, at the expense of
efficiency.  The Carter valves are the most common "custom" valves.

      ii. CUP SEAL.
       Apart from 'new' style, and 'old' style replacement cup seals,
there is also the NELSON cup-seal for the VM. This clever aftermarket
device uses a NELSON CUP-SEAL in your VM. This means that if your CUP-
SEAL goes, you need only to get a replacement NELSON-based seal, and
not the whole device like before. However, before using it, make sure
that you use LOC-TITE on the PIN, as you screw it into the cup-seal.
When I first used mine, the PIN managed to work itself loose from the
CUP-SEAL, jamming the GUN (in a GAME!!).     
      iii. BOLTS.
          A. ** DELRIN BOLTS **
     The Delrin BOLTS are made from DELRIN, a fancy plastic, and are
light. They usually contain no o-rings, so expect more blow-back
exhaust in the feed elbow. Cooper-T makes an unusual DELRIN bolt called
Maximizer, designed to give the ball a backspin, and an extra 150'
range. Results though, are mixed. (I have one, and they work, but most
people have had problems with Maximizer bolts). Some Ventrui bolts have
oversized OD's (causing cycling problems) and I typically find that
delrin bolts usually cause more problems than they fix.  Usually. NOTE:
You should check the face of the delrin-bolt often.  The high-pressure
CO2 often causes to face to distort, which will brake paint.
     I have then bolts grouped together becuase they are all virtually
identical, except for the face.
     Venturi bolts are usually ALUMINUM, like the stock, but contain
fewer o-rings. Venturi bolts try to reduce the turbulence behind the
ball using the 'Venturi Effect', providing better range, and reduced
ball breakage. Both TASO, NPS, APS, OTP, I$I, etc distribute venturi
bolts. Aftermarket bolts can run from $25-55, and often
reduce/eliminate ball breakage. Quality control varies from company to
company, so try to buy from well known companies. Try it on YOUR gun if
possible before buying. 
     Starfire bolts are similar to the Venturi-style bolts, with a
star-shaped bolt face.  For the most part, they are identical to the
venturi style.  NOTE:  'Real' Starfire bolts are only made my StarFire
inc.  Avoid the cheap copies on the market.
     Widemouth bolts have a VERY large blast hole.  The theory is that
the blast will evenly dispurse onto the ball, lowering the chance of
breakage.  The majority of 'Widemouth' bolts are simply modified stock
     In theory, graphite-composite bolts have nearly 0 friction,
meaning no-oil, or o-rings needed.  Paintball Dave's sell them (often
with there PhazzeII hammer).  Being the 'new' product on the block, its
not thoroughly tested yet. Its not well known how the graphite-
composite reacts with high-pressure or liquid co2.
        D. ** NYLATRON BOLTS **
     Nylatron bolts are very similar to delrin bolts.  They're both a
space-age 'polymer'. However, unlike the delrin bolts, the nylatron
does not distort the way that delrin does under high-pressure, so they
brake less paint.  NOTE:  They tend to cost more.  
        E. ** STOCK BOLTS **  
     A word about the stock bolt.  The stock bolt's biggest benefit is
also its biggest drawback: Its o-rings.  The 4 orings on the stock-bolt
allow the VM to feed very fast because VERY LITTLE co2 goes into the
feed elbow when firing. At the same time, most bolt problems come from
the bolt's o-rings (bloating/cracking).  Another drawback is the flat
face of the bolt.  Most aftermarket bolts have concave faces to reduce
ball-breakage. With all that in mind, having an air-smith modify your
stock-bolt will usually make it as good as any aftermarket bolt.
     iv. HAMMER
     A- Stock Hammer 
        The STOCK hammer on the VM is FINE for the most part. It is
made from solid stainless steel.  It is very heavy, which makes for
very reliable feeding/cycling.  However, the heavy weight makes for
slow cycling and ineffecient co2 use. The stock hammer can be modified
to cycle faster by drilling holes into it (lengthwise), but velocity
will have to be increased to make up for the lighter hammer.
    B- PhazzeII
       This is the most common aftermarket hammer, made by Paintball
Dave's.  Early version of the PhazzeII were chromed stainless.  Is was
assumed that a chromed stainless bolt would retain all the benifits of
the stock bolt, but also cycle faster. Later versions of the PhazzeII
lightened (slightly) chromed stainless hammers (without 'bumpers').
   C- Maximizer
       This is an unusual hammer from Cooper-T.  The Maximizer is made
from machined aluminium, and is incredibly light.  The benifit of this
is a theoretical cycle speed faster then a mag.  The downside is that
the valve needs to be drilled out to get velocity up to 300fps, and it
will jam easily.  Unlike other hammers, the Maximizer includes an
external velocity adjuster.  Also unlike other hammer, the Maximizer is
NOT a drop in kit.  In order to use it, the valve needs to be drilled,
the sear needs to be sanded (or it will scar the aluminium hammer), and
a hole needs to plug (for the velocity adjuster).  

   D- Misc
     For the most part, aftermarket hammers fall in 3 catagories: 1-
Chromed solid steel, 2- Chromed drilled steel, and 3- Hybrids (Steel w/
aluminium inserts).  The only real difference with hammers is there
weight.  If you want reliabilty, go with the heavier hammers (or even
stay with the stock).  If you want performance, go with the lighter
hammer (but be prepared to modify your valve).
     v.  MAIN SPRING
       A- ProShot kit.                                                
     The KIT replaces the stock VM spring, with an AUTOMAG spring
behind the HAMMER (instead of behind the bolt). The KIT is advertised
to reduce recoil, and wear on internal parts. Plus, the kit also allows
for external velocity adjustment, by adjusting spring pressure. The KIT
is available from TASO for ~$45. (If you have an automag spring, look
in the Homebrew section for a homemade ProShot kit).
      i. -POWERFEED-
          The purpose of the powerfeed, is to allow for faster
feeding of paint, from the loader, into the breech, by making use
of exhaust co2. On a STOCK VM, this is NOT USEFUL, as it cycles much to
slowly to make use of the blowback effect. However, many custom VMs can
cycle very fast, faster then the loader can feed, requiring a powerfeed
to prevent ball chopage. Some people argue that POWERFEEDS were
designed for 'mags, and simply don't work on VMs. But, many others say
different. If you can fire your VM faster then it can feed, get a
POWERFEED, if it doesn't work, send it back. Pro-line makes both a VM-
powerfeed, and a UNIVERSAL powerfeed (which fits on the VM, and is $20
cheaper!). POWERFEEDS run ~$25-50.
          (Now for my opinion).  I have never seen a VM powerfeed that
worked.  The problem is that it doesnt line the balls in the correct
45degree angle (like in the automag PF).  As a result, it actually
slows down the rate of feed.  Plus, if your bolt orings are bad, you
will get the 'popcorn' effect from the powerfeed.  The exhaust co2 will
actually PUSH the balls into the loader.  Instead of a powerfeed, you
are better off to have holes drilled into the feed block.  This will
allow for faster firing, without the 'popcorn' affect.  
      ii. -GRIP-
          The VM uses the BASIC M-16 Lonestar grip, and will accept
ANY aftermarket grip designed for LONESTAR grips. This includes
RAM-LINE grips, and 'European' style grips at around $10.      
.45 grips, and IVORY grips are around $50, and may require special
adapters. Keep in mind that different grips use different style bottom
lines. A bottom line designed to fit on a stock M-16 Lonestar grip,
will NOT fit on a custom .45 grips. (Though, .45 grips take the well
known mag/cocker style 'duck bill' bottom line).
       iii. -SIGHTRAIL-
          The VM comes with NO SIGHT RAIL (except MAGNUM and EXC). Some
aftermarket sightrails SLIDE on, while others require
drilling/tapping. If you want to use a sight, you need a sightrail
(or DUCKTAPE, which I have also used). Most are around $25-$35.  Keep
in mind that the feed-block gets in the way of most sights, and a
raised sight rail is often needed.  Raised sight rails are usually
designed to attach to the existing sightrail, meaning that a VM owner
would have to buy both to use some sights.
       iv. -SIGHTS-
          (see iii). Fancy hunting scopes look nice, but are of
little use to a paintball gun IMO. Any scope/sight that allows for
quick sighting is fine. This includes point sites ($15), dot sights
(~$100), and armson sights (~$80).  The ADCO Square-Shooter and model
2000 are highly recommended.
          The VM needs to field striped very often. Unfortunetly,
the VM has MANY screws. Using field strip screws allows the screws
to be taking off with the fingers, very quickly. The Magnum comes
with this, and worth the ~$10. On behalf of all the techs that work on
       vi. -ELBOW-
         Those stock brass elbows are HORRIBLE. Pro-team, and Armson
make quality aftermarket elbows (that DONT REQUIRE DUCK-tape to stay
on!). Aftermarket elbows are a MUST when using LARGE bulk loaders.
(Though, some COME WITH elbows).
       vii. -LOADERS-
     A. Standard
     A standard 'non-motorized' loader is fine for a VM.  The heavy
hammer creates enough recoil to keep the loader feeding fast enough to
keep up with most people.  The only time a standard loader will be
inadequate is if:  The internals are lightned, and cycling speed is
increased.  If this is the case, go with a motorized loader.
    B. Motorized
    If you do have lightnened internals and/or increased cycle rate,
then a motorized loader is recommened. Motorized loaders contain a
device that senses when the loader is jammed, and automatically unjams
it.  Motorized loaders run from $50 to $125. 
    C. Turbo-Loader
     The Turbo-Loader is a special loader specifically designed for the
VM.  The turbo-loader is very similar to a stock loader, except that it
has a small hose that runs from the loader to the small hole behind the
feed-block. What this does is allow excess co2 to be channelled into
the loader to keep the balls unjammed.  In theory, this is a very good
design, but I've heard that it tends to break balls in the feeder.
       viii. -STOCKS-
          With the m-16 (lonestar) GRIP, it is difficult to get a stock
that will fit a VM. Because of this, most people run a bottom-line or
back-bottle, and use the bottle as a stock.  However, their are 3
stocks available that -cannot- be found on ANY OTHER paintball gun,
that attach directly to the VM. 
     The first is the CAR-15 stock.  The CAR-15 3-position adjustable
stock, a direct copy of the stock found on the military-issue M16
Carbine, is made mostly of a synthetic material of comparable strength
to high-grade plastic. It provides for maximum support and range of
adjustability while retainting structural integrity without excessive
weight (~8 oz., or 1.1 kg). The four inches of travel
over three positions should accomodate the shooting preference of
players of_any_ physical stature. The stock attaches to the reciever
via a metal assembly the same size as the lower rear cylinder; and has
the appropriate mounting holes machined. Before purchasing, keep in
mind that this stock may not be compatible with certain aftermarket
hammers and spring/cocking-kits.  It is avalible from I$I and Taso for
     The second is the THOMPSON stock.  This wooden stock is the same
used on the Infamous 'Tommy' gun rifles, and makes the VM look like a
mid-east terrorist weapon.  Like the Car-15 stock, the 'Tommy' attaches
to the 2 holes on the back of the VM.  It is available from TASO for
     The third is the SKS stock. This is folding fiberglass stock that
attaches to the rear of the VM (like the previous 2).  It is called the
'SKS' stock becuase it is made from actuall SKS folding stocks (which
were illegalized in the crime bill), and modified to attach to a VM.
I$I is having a sale on them for ~$50.
     Keep in mind that the Car15, Tommy, and SKS stock are all
'military' style stocks.  If you are worried about the image of
paintball, these might not be the best stocks to get.  However, I enjoy
the fact that these stocks are only availible to VM owners.

     If you have a DUAL-BOTTLE adapter, but DO NOT need the rear
adapter, SMART_PARTS makes an expensive STOCK that fits in the REAR C/A
adapter for ~$50-90 (designed for 'mags, but works fine for VMs). Some
versions also have a Quick-Disconnect on the side, to allow the use of
a remote, while using the STOCK.     
     Also, if you switch to a .45 style grip (or have a VM_EXC), you
can use -ANY- stock designed for 'Mags and 'Cockers.  Occasionally I
see a wire stock that uses the m-16 grip, or the 2 holes in the back,
but I was unable to find a company that sells them.......:(
   f.  MISC
     i. RATE OF FIRE.
          There are 2 basic ways to increase the VMs cycle rate.
First, is lighter INTERNALS (see above), second, is a better
trigger. The VM trigger is slow, complicated, and tends to break
down. For a trigger job, I recommend that the trigger be sent to a
professional, as it is very easy to break (I KNOW, I have broken
2!). A trigger job usually includes a lighter pull spring, and a
block behind the trigger. Trigger jobs are around $30. 
         C. Double 'FIRE' Trigger
     Another option is the Double Trouble, double trigger (like the
AUTO-RESPONSE on the automag). This trigger does work, but trigger pull
is long and uncomfortable. I am told that the .45 grip, makes the pull
more comfortable. Either way, a powerfeed is a must. The DOUBLE TRIGGER
is currently $120, which is to much for most VM users. Once the price
drops, and I hear better results, I'll recommend it.
        D. Double 'Shoe' Trigger
     The 'double trigger' shoe is becoming popular.  Basically, its
just a trigger shoe that allows you to use 2 fingers to pull the
trigger instead of one.  The reasoning is that two fingers have more
strength then one, and thus can pull faster. The 'Double-Trigger' shoe
has never been proven to work, however, the VM is the ONLY gun that
doesnt need 'machine' work to use one.  Smart Parts sells them for
        E. Carter-Trigger
     I hear on the grapevine that Carter is working on Drop-In custom
trigger for the VM.  Last I heard, it was 'still in progress'.
      ii. WEIGHT.
          I remember hearing people complain about the weight of a
custom PGP. The VM is HEAVY, but not unbearable. I ran my VM on 2
20oz's for about a year, but I am a big guy. Fortunately, there are
2 options to weight reduction on a VM. One simple, one complicated.
The easiest is using a remote, which takes a couple pounds off the
weight. To reduce any more weight will require MACHINE work.
PRO_COMP, ABC paintball, and Palmer all do great work. They trim a
couple more pounds off weight from the VM, making the VM resemble a
pro-master. Lots of people have their VMs redone by CARTER MACHINE
(That SILVER Youngblood gun). Note, Carter doesn't reduce any
weight, in fact, he adds more. But they look cool (I have one).
Custom work can range from $50-350.
     If you don't want to desecrate your VM with machine work,
there is a CUSTOM body available. The VM-X, is a replacement body
for the VM. Its made from 'durable' plastic, and makes use of
existing VM internals (much like 'mag and 'cocker F/X bodies). I
have heard that many people have problems with their internals
fitting into the VMX, while others LOVE it. There have been reports
of bodies cracking also. From what I have heard, their is a new version
of the VMX redesigned to fix the old problems. The new version is
apparently made from metal, comes with a built-in vertical line, and
all the valve holes are guaranteed to fit. The new version strips with
one thumb-screw, and is as durable as the original VM. The STOCK VM
trigger, and Double TRIGGER have to be modified to fit the VMX body
(cut with a hacksaw), but most other upgrades fit with no problem.

=====  VM HOME-BREW ===============================================
  h. POOR-MANS Custom-work.
     If you're like me, you think you can save money by doing
custom work yourself (and you probably don't read the manual for
anything either). Alot of the CUSTOM work below was summarized because
the full length description took up too much space.  If you email me,
I'll me happy to explain the idea's more fully.
     i. TRIGGER.
          The easiest thing you can do is drill a hole in the block
behind the trigger, and tap a screw into, this keeps the trigger
from going back a certain distance. Next, if you are BRAVE/STUPID
you can take the trigger apart, shave down the sear, and adjust the
spring, making the trigger pull short and crisp. (I broke mine doing
this). In fact, when I called Sheriden, as soon as I mentioned the word
'trigger', they simply said "send it in!". Keep in mind, that its
usually best to send the trigger to someone else. That way, if he
breaks it, he buys a new one.....not you! 
     Also, the hammer cycles about 1/4" past the sear before it
catches. For a slight increase in rate-of-fire, putting spacers behind
the bolt shortens the cycle.
     ii.  GUN-WEIGHT.
          Apart from using a remote, you'll need access to  machining
equipment, drills and/or hacksaws (ie shop class).  Keep in mind that
reducing the weight of a VM could permentantly damage the gun if your
not carefull.  Unless you are a experienced machinist, I would skip
this section, and send you VM to a pro shop.    
     Its possible to drill holes in your HAMMER (heavy steel), thus
making it lighter, and will also INCREASE THE CYCLE rate. However, this
will decrease velocity, and you will have to port the valve to adjust
for this. 
     A very popular mod is side shaving.  The body of a VM has VERY
thick walls (almost 1/2" thick!).  Alot of weight can be lost by
shaving the sides and top.  (like Palmer/Carter)
     I have personnally chopped the rear 1.5 inches off of my VM. I
also had to chop the rear 1.5 inches off of my HAMMER to make adequate
room for the spring-kit.
     Its also possible to TOTALLY chop off the C/A adapter (nearly a
pound of aluminum), and thread a brass quick-disconnect, to a remote
(ie like PRO-COMP/PALMER).
     iii.  BARREL.
          If you have machining equipment, making BARRELS is fairly
simple, and cheap. Friends have made them in shop class, and they
all broke paint (but they also watch Beavis&Butthead). None-the-
less, I have seen fancy brass rifled barrels made for about $5 at
shop class. (It is possible).
         Plus, you can also polish your stock barrel using a 12 guage
cleaning swab attached to a drill and a little oil.
    iv.  COLOR.
          Don't Laugh, I have seen anodization advertised at $100-150
in APG. If you look in your phone book, you can probably find a
local gun-shop that will anodize, or even NICKEL plate for $30-45.
If you are just plain weird, you can spray-paint your VM.            
NOTE: this will eventually sweat off, and be careful not to spray any
inside the VM.
    v.  C/A SETUP.
          If you have looked up hoses, and fittings in your local
paintball store or paint-mag, you might have noticed they are
EXPENSIVE. If you want a cheap alternative, go to your local hardware
store for BRASS 1/8 fittings. You'll find that High-pressure hoses,
elbows, on/off valves, and misc. Fittings usually cost 30% the price
found at paintball stores. Make sure you get HIGH-PRESSURE brass
fittings, and dont get steel or aluminum.
          With a little ingenuity just about anything is possible. You
can use an AUTO-MAG bolt spring instead of the stock VM spring (behind
the hammer). This nearly eliminates the VM from CHATTERING, and
eliminates most of the recoil. You basically take out your STOCK
SPRING, and replace the AUTOMAG spring behind the HAMMER. However, it
wont fit unless you make some space. Remove the rear hammer bumper (the
white thing), and run a 1" long bolt in its place. Its also possible to
make an adjustable version which allows for velocity change, by
controlling spring pressure. (I made something like this for mine,
which I still use).  Experiment with this.
     If you are tired of getting dirt inside your VM, you can install
a rear-cocking knob by drilling a hole at the center of the block
behind the hammer, and replacing the screw in the hammer with a longer
one that extends out the back. Then find something to cover the
side-ports (after you remove the side cocking knob). Or, if you want
external velocity adjustment, take out your hammer, and drill a hole
though the middle (there already is a hole 1/4" partly through the
block). Then, tap it to 1/4-1/8", and insert a screw about 5" long (or
3 inches if you want a tourney legal internal velocity adjuster)., into
the hammer until the screw appears at the far end (the part that hits
the valve). Then put the hammer back into the VM and test fire. Turning
the screws control how far the VALVE opens.
     Another trick for external velocity adjustment: The top bolt
velocity screw is replaced with an allen screw at a 90 degrees from the
hole that lets Co2 in.  Its set into the bolt to keep it from hitting
walls of the receiver, but long enough and wide enough that it could
close up the hole which lets in Co2.  The gun then has two holes
drilled into the side where the upper bolt velocity screw had just been
placed, in order to get to the allen screw.  One hole was in the
uncocked position of the bolt, the other in the cocked position.  It
seemed to work well, but may have loosened during play much as the
other allen screws tend to loosen all over the gun. 
      If you use a LIGHTENED hammer (or drilled the stock one), you may
find that the MAXIMUM velocity is much lower then it used to be. One
easy way to fix that is to REMOVE the valve, and drill one of the
'clock' holes to some width slightly bigger then 12 o'clock. This does
raise your velocity, but has side effects.  If you are using an
expansion chamber, you will get slightly less shots per ounce of CO2.
However, if you are using a SIPHON tank, porting the valve will raise
the shots per ounce.  Also, cycling performance will be slightly less,
since more co2 is diverted behind the ball, instead of the hammer.   
     You can improve cycling by  drilling out the recocking hole (what
the cup-seal rod sits in) to increase the recocking pressure). Also, if
you plug up the other unused 'clock' holes, with recessed allen bolts,
it will slightly increase velocity and cycling performance. These 2
valve tricks will produce a valve similar to the MAGNA-PORT, and PRO-
     x. Internal Expansion Chamber
      Many people say that Expansion Chambers are cumbersome, and get
in the way.  However, it is possible to put an INTERNAL Expansion
Chamber, INSIDE the VM itself.  To do this, you need either access to
machining equipment, or a drill press.
     Behind the front ASA sits about 1 inch of solid aluminium.  It is
possible to machine that space out, to allow co2 to expand before
entering the valve.  Plus, it will also catch any liquid co2 before it
enters the valve.  THe actuall machining is difficult, but I have seen
it down before.  Depending on how it is down, it will be completely
invisible to an observer.
******  Send me any "HOMEBREW" VM ideas if you have any.
******  I'll add them to the FAQ 'cus I love 'em!!
  i.  <Various Custom Setups>
      Often, I get E-MAIL from people asking how they should customize
their VM, and I always tell them..."Any way you want".  Below is some
example of Custom 'HOT-ROD' VM configurations from different
rec.sport.paintball posters.  (plus, you can find pictures off all
these guns, and more at my WEB page)
  ----   Nick Brassard (HEH! That's ME!)
     1st gen. PMI3. Body work by CARTER-MACHINE. Smooth-bore, 2" J$J
     HardChrome Rifled (672ID!), Body anodized Blue/Silver/Grey, Front
     ASA chopped off and sides shaved, Ivory grips, Delrin bolt (back-
     spin), Aluminum Hammer (Cooper-t), rear 1.5 inches CHOPPED off,
     Automag Spring kit, Nelson Cup seal, Rear Pull-Cock kit, a Adco
     Square shooter, and VL2000 sitting on top.
  ----   Jay Tu
     VM-EXC.  Body work by PALMER PURSUITS (lightened), Black Rain
     Expansion chamber (instead of stock EXC E.C.), OTP Venturi Bolt, 
     PHAZZE II hammer,   J&J Internally Rifled Hard-Chrome,  PRO-LINE
     powerfeed, and a VL-2000.
  ----  Doug Seman
     3rd gen. VM-68.  Body work by PRO-COMP (lightened),  PRO-COMP
     venturi bolt, PRO-COMP lightened hammer, PALMER REGULATOR  (for
     co2 OR nitro), Smart-parts externally rifled barrel, PRO-COMP
     powerfeed, and a VL-2000.
  ----  Tim(packrat)Wood
     VM-X body, with venturi bolt,  Pro-Shot (auto-mag spring) kit, 
     Air American EC (custom modified), Indian Creek .45 grip, remote
     w/ 15oz tank, and 14" SP barrel (or 8" armson).
  ii. <Should I buy a VM?>
     Before buying -ANY- paintball gun. Ask yourself, how much do
you plan on playing? Also, ask, do you want to ability to upgrade
in the future?  For the NEWBIE, there are basically 5 choices of
ENTRY level SEMIs: 1 Stingray ($100), 2: VM ($200), 3: PRO-LITE
($250) 4: F1/2 ($250).  5: SPYDER ($200). If you plan to play a couple
times a year, with friends, perhaps the STINGRAY is best, but
otherwise, I would recommend the VM. Its cheaper then the PRO-LITE and
F2, and can be UPGRADED much further then the SPYDER, and is superior
in many ways to all 4 guns. BEFORE you make the choice, go to your
local field, and ask to TRY some guns out. Different people have
different opinions. 
  iii.  <general>
     Information in this FAQ came from a variety of places. Much came
from my 4 year experience with a VM. ALso Doug Seman, author of the
original FAQ, David Bowden, Brian Quan, C. Allen Lee, Jay Tu, and
whatever stuff I could swipe from WARPIG. The VM can range from the
ENTRY LEVEL marker, to the TOURNAMENT level mega-marker. This is the
main reason why there are more VMs then any other paintball gun. Sure,
the VM has its idiosyncrasies, and may not be the gun for some, but is
a fine gun, made from one of the oldest paintball/bb gun companies. No
matter how  you look at it, the VM is a piece of QUALITY and HISTORY.
   ** LastWord **
     In the last 9 years of playing paintball, I have used nearly every
paintball gun ever made. Out of all of these, the VM remains my
favorite. I still have the first one I bought 4 years ago (though it
has been hacked up). My teamates think I am crazy, which I am. Plus,
being my teams TECH-man/Air-Smith (guy who gets to fix all the guns),
I have a rather good idea about a VM also. I would love any suggestions
or ideas to be added/deleted.
____Real---Nick Brassard_______TIP#173_______IRC-Jinxed---------___
____Team---North Shore Devil Dogs, Weare NH (Home Field)--------___   
____WWW- www.cs.usm.maine.edu/~brassard/paintball/vm/vm.html----___
[email protected](Internet/Bitnet/Cern)---___   
____Gun--MEGA-Z (Tourny Play), CARTER/MAXED VM (Recreational)---___   
 "You can't use that much paint in a single game..................!"  
       Typical newbie resonse to my one-man-ambush tactics...