One man’s vision becomes reality in honor of his fallen friend.
In my experience, pump players generally have a more laid back view of the sport, and the device they choose to play it with. There’s always “mods” out there: things they have done to their marker or added on to make it just the way they like it. It doesn’t have to be pretty, trendy, or a certain brand – just functional. I was handed a Gargoyle prototype pump marker made by Rodney Neill of Massachusetts. After talking with him, it’s easy to see that he’s no different than any other pumper, except for the fact that he’s putting his mods into production for all to enjoy in a sexy, well-made package.
When I first got my hands on this thing, I said to myself, “This is a modified Phantom.” The marker bears a resemblance to the venerable Phantom for good reason: the barrel, bolt, and hammer have been purchased directly from Component Concepts Inc. – the Phantom’s home base.
This was to start out with a reliable platform, one that includes design elements dating all the way back to the Nelson company, creator of the original Nelspot 007, the world’s first paintball marker. Rodney also wanted Phantom owners to be able to buy parts and modify their Phantom markers with parts from the Gargoyle.
Pull the Trigger; Smooth as Butter As a result of this relationship, his lower receiver and trigger group will fit on a Phantom and vice-versa. The trigger group is in fact my favorite part of this marker. It’s a 45-grip frame, featuring a Teflon-coated slide trigger. It has a completely different feel than most markers, akin to an old, polished pneumatic cocker trigger, but with absolutely zero play. This thing moves in only one dimension, forward and back. It makes for a crisp, clean action that’s buttery smooth.
Valves and ‘Feed Blocks’ One of Rodney’s goals was to make the marker tool free with regards to disassembly of common items beyond simple field stripping. If you want to change your valve spring, you simply unscrew the cap on the back of the valve body and out falls the spring and spring guide, an invention specific to this marker.
It comes with one long spring guide to accommodate standard springs, but a shorter version is also available for “madman” spring kits, popular with many Nelson-based action shooters. In this same spirit, comes the most apparent innovation Rodney added, a completely removable breach cover he calls a “feed block.” Ingeniously linked to the feed tube using it for retention, one unscrews the tube and slides it out.
The feed block then easily plucks out of the marker’s body, exposing the bolt and hammer assembly. You can snatch the parts right of out there making for easy velocity adjustment (which can also be done down the barrel), spring replacement, or cleaning.
I can honestly say that cleaning out a severe broken ball from this marker could be completely done easily in the field and without tools.
Gargoyle Additions Inspired by Functional Gadgetry A close friend and teammate of Rodney’s, Mathias “Gizmo” Luber, Captain of Team Ronin (Hawaii), passed away in 2003 at just 36 years old after a bout with Walking Pneumonia. Mathias graced the cover of this publication once with one of his mods, a CO2 tank mount, which came to be known as the “Luber Bracket.” It was Mathias’ interest in functional gadgetry that inspired many of the additions to the Gargoyle.
Aside from all of the tool-free breakdown on the marker, simple but intelligent things like a small slot milled under the feed tube cap to receive a rubber band just in case you break your feed tube retention ring, call back to honor Mathias’ spirit and thought process.
It’s a simple part that does break and would render the marker useless. Now the user has the option of throwing a rubber band in there to limp through the rest of the day instead of sitting on the bench.
The pump stroke on my prototype marker is a little too rough for my taste, but Rodney assures me that he has made improvements by leaps and bounds since my test marker was produced.
Trying to keep tight tolerances throughout the unit, he is using self-lubricating synthetic bushings made of Delrin along with a pump guide rod to resist torsion in the assembly.
The marker comes with a stock Phantom barrel, but can accept almost anything with cocker or Phantom threads by changing out the bushings.
The gargoyle is available for $625.
Check out Gargoyle markers online:
Contact Rodney Neill at
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