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It's been a little while since I posted, but I’m going to bring up a topic that not everyone likes to talk about: rules. I’ve been to a couple events recently who’s rulesets genuinely alarmed me (particularly with snipers and HPA) and I want to at least give some guidance to the organizers out there. I know some of you read this forum 😉. If you just want the rules without the reasoning, scroll to the end of the post.

I’m not here to throw any events or organizers under the bus, so I won’t be giving names, but I at least want to show what I thought was dangerous.

Snipers:
Spring - 550 fps with a .2g, chronoed with hop up OFF
HPA – 2.8j with hop up OFF


With that said, let's get into all the different aspects that go into the rules for snipers. I'll give some reasoning and then my recommendations for the rules.

Hop up
It may seem counter-intuitive but turning your hop up off does not increase your guns FPS in most cases. Furthermore, no-one is going to actually use their gun on the field with no hop up, so why chrono with none? By doing so you're building a fictional use case and testing for it. Meanwhile allowing much more energy to make it onto the field in guns that see a positive energy gain from turning on hop up. As an example, my personal sniper rifle gains 1.3J of energy just by turning the hop up on when chronoed with 0.32g bbs. What that means is I could show up with a gun that in practice outputs greater than 4J of energy in field form on a ruleset that limits to 2.8J and passed safety inspection.

Recommendation:
Always chrono guns in their “field form” with their hop up on


Quick definition: Joule creep – The process where a system will output a certain energy with a lighter weight projectile and then output a (normally) higher energy with a heavier projectile. An example of this is outputting 2.0J when measured with a 0.2g bb and then 3.0J with a 0.45g bb.

Treating HPA and spring differently
I understand that normal AEGs don’t normally have the issues with joule creep that HPA systems do, and that’s why HPA is normally required to chrono with heavier bbs. I agree with this method, however I’d recommend at least for bolt actions that this distinction be removed. Although spring snipers may use a similar system to AEGs, the volume of air output from almost all spring bolt action guns is way higher than any AEG. What this means is spring snipers joule creep just as much as an HPA system.

Recommendation:
Chrono snipers, whether HPA or spring, the same


BB weights

As I explained in the joule creep definition, bb weight can play a massive role in how much energy a system output. Whether that sniper system is spring or HPA there is a good chance it will joule creep. If we want to get technical, the guns with long inner barrels are a lot less likely to joule creep, but if you’re the guy running the chrono station there’s no way to know. Ideally, we would want each gun chronoed with the exact ammo the player will be using on the field, but again are we really going to trust what the player says their bb weight is? Probably not. So, we should probably chrono with the heaviest bb weight that is realistically possible. For snipers that’s probably going to be 0.45g or 0.48g and for everyone else it’s probably 0.32g. By using the heaviest bb realistically possible we can at least eliminate the worst actors in joule creep. If we want to get technical again there is a sweet spot in bb weight range for each gun. Going higher or lower will reduce fps, however the fps loss from going higher is normally less and won’t pose nearly the problem that low weight ammo causes.

Recommendation:
Chrono all snipers (HPA or spring) with the heaviest weight bb possible (probably 0.45g or 0.48g)
Chrono all other classes with 0.32g bbs


Joules and limits

We should be using Joules as how we limit system output. Joules are a direct measurement of energy, and that’s what we are trying to control here: energy output. How fast (FPS) your projectile flies is a lot less important than the energy it imparts on the target. Furthermore, I believe that the snipers Joule limit should be based on the type of field the event is hosted on. For tighter and smaller fields, we should have a lower Joule limit than larger and more open fields. This is just based on the likelihood of shorter-range engagements. Obviously if you’re at a CQB field the likelihood of shooting 300ft is not very high, but 100ft may be very common. Inversely, if you’re at a massively open environment the likelihood of close encounters is low, but super long ranges are common.

Recommendations:
For small or tight fields: 2.3J limit for snipers and 100ft minimum engagement distance
For normal or medium sized fields: 2.8J limit for snipers and 100ft minimum engagement distance
For large and very open fields: 3.6J limit for snipers (and maybe a 150ft minimum engagement distance)


I recognize that the MED (minimum engagement distance) may seem like it counters the idea of lowering the Joule limit. However, the MED is based on the minimum for safety and the Joule limit is based on the likelihood of engagement distance. These values are just based on my experience with what I thought has worked well in the past. I’m sure there can be some discussion here with MEDs, but I think this is a good start.


To organize all this into one concise list:
  • Always chrono guns in their “field form” with their hop up on
  • Chrono snipers, whether HPA or spring, the same
  • Chrono all snipers (HPA or spring) with the heaviest weight bb realistically possible (probably 0.45g or 0.48g)
  • Chrono all other classes with 0.32g bbs
  • For small or tight fields: 2.3J limit for snipers and 100ft minimum engagement distance
  • For normal or medium sized fields: 2.8J limit for snipers and 100ft minimum engagement distance
  • For large and very open fields: 3.6J limit for snipers (and maybe a 150ft minimum engagement distance)

Hopefully this helps the event organizers out there in some way. And yes, this will probably upset some people who mis-use joule creep and/or bend the un-informed rule sets out there.
 

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My field chronos snipers up to 550FPS with .2g bbs. This allows joule creep, but even still the snipers don't get a whole lot of extra range over the AEGs to really offset the volume of fire difference - especially when windy. This last playsession they chronoed my rifle at 480 and gave me a 50 MED, and someone else got a 150MED, so I assume they were shooting over 600FPS. Due to the wind, my rifle was pretty much worthless, as I had no range advantage over the rifles which chronoed in the 400FPS range.

We played with 500FPS guns with no MED in high school (nobody thought of that kind of thing back then), so I have been on both ends of that kind of ruleset. Once I got hit my ear from a friend's sniper at <50ft - it stung and bled a lot, but that was the end of it. Another time, I shot a friend (after warning him several times) at point blank range as he was trying to wrestle my gun away from me. Hit him right in the middle of the chest - it staggered him for a bit, but the welp was no worse than a paintball hit.

Fact of the matter is even by 100ft a lot of the energy is lost. I think 3J (game bbs) with a 75 MED is a fine baseline, personally. At the minimum, it should be 1J higher than whatever the next highest gun limit is, whether that be DMR or a support gun; the ROF advantage for even a semi-auto is huge.

Obviously, we don't want anyone to get hurt. I get the argument for keeping the sniper limit down so that accidentals (people running in front of you, etc) are minimized. But I do think the current limits are a bit overzealous in the name of safety. I've been shot by my brother's 3.3J SSG10 at 100ft, and it wasn't any worse than a point blank hit from a 1.3J gun.

Somewhat related amusing story: my grandfather and his friends played with bb guns back in the day. No eyepro, since they didn't have any. One game he was peeking through the barn slats and his friend got him right in the lip. It nearly went all the way through, and his mom had to fish it out. He said if it had been one slat higher he'd have lost his eye. "Not the smartest thing to do, but we had to keep ourselves entertained somehow".
 

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I'm lucky that my home field uses the same chrono rules that third coast uses. (Most of the members of the field are all milsim players and go to TCA events regularly.) On average there are about 20 people or so. They chrono everyone with a field ready condition. Hop set, game weight bbs you are using.

I think all fields and events need to chrono in joules with field ready conditions. Not doing so is insane, reckless, and stupid.
 
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