What should I upgrade first?
Props to my man Tim for editing this.
Upgrading a Spyder is a very simple process, but can be confusing at first. Here are some suggestions of upgrades and why. I have also put these upgrades in order of importance. There might be a couple that others might suggest first, but these are again in my opinion of importance. I would also like to say that you should never upgrade or spend too much on you Spyder if it will prevent you from playing. That is first of all the reasons why you upgrade: to play.
1) The Barrel. Most stock Spyder barrels are never the best option when looking at barrels. Barrels are usually the first upgrade to be made by most Spyder owners. A few commonly recommended barrels are the J&J Ceramic barrel, any Smart Parts, any CP, or DYE barrels. All of these barrels are excellent choices. Most ballers on a budget go with the J&J ceramic barrel or a CP. If you are not on a budget you can go with either of the four different branded barrels. It has been my experience that all barrels perform about the same, only main difference being that the J&J is cheaper, that the DYE and SP barrels come in other colors than black, and the micro honing is affected by their price (i.e. the more expensive the barrel, the more time spent on it).
2) The Hopper. When talking about hoppers it is always a best to be not partial, I will try. It is recommended that a person get a good electronic hopper, as this will allow you to have a somewhat steady flow of balls in your Spyder and therefore avoiding chops. Here are a list of hoppers in no particular order.The eVLution & eVLution II, the Revolution, Halos, Reloaders, the Fasta, and the Apache. There is much debate on what hopper is the best. My suggestion is try them out, see what you like and see what you can afford. I will say that it is good to invest in a good hopper because it is one of the few things that you actually put on another marker. It should also be noted that there are various upgrades that can be done to the hoppers themselves, I suggest looking in the Hopper forum on PBN if interested in more information.
3) The Switch and Trigger. I have put these two together because they help achieve the same goal, getting the max out of your stock board. The switch is the little nub/box that is located right behind the trigger. When the switch is pressed by the trigger, the switch releases the sear and the sear releases the hammer which allows for a shot to be fired. The stock switches on Spyders are 250g switches. This means that it takes a weight of 250g to activate the switch. This may seem like a small amount of weight but it can mean the difference of how many balls per second you can shoot. These switches come in many other weights. The most commonly uses switches are the 50g and 25g lever switches. Personally, the 25g switch has a lot of bounce on occasion if you pick out the normal style. The lever action style reduces this a lot, but some mechanical bounce still might occur. It really comes down to personal preference. The switches can be found pre-soldered at www.scenariodreams.com
, and from drefish99 on this forum. These switches are also available at your local Radio Shack, but those require soldering. As for triggers, there has been a recent surge in triggers available for Spyders. Here is a list of manufacturers of some awesome triggers (be sure to check with each of them to see if they are compatible with your marker): any ACP, Check It Products Sweet Spot, Sundragon magnetic, and Shocktech.
4)The grips. This isn't really a performance upgrade but more of a comfort upgrade. Some don't see the point in upgrading this particular part of the marker... However, "a comfortable hand is a well shooting hand." You can decide that for yourself. On many Spyders the grips that come stock on the electronic trigger frame are usually flimsy and do very little to protect the electronics. I personally would definitely recommend getting new grips. In my opinion, the best grips in both feel and looks are the DYE Stickie grips. These grips come in various colors, but more importantly allow you to get a firm grip on to your marker. They're much like the hogue grips used on modern day firearms, and the more you sweat, the more they stick to your hands. This upgrade -- again -- will not improve your guns performance, and is only for comfort and protection of your electronics.
5) Compressed air. Most people when starting to play will use C02 as their air source. Compressed air is just that, air. Air is recommended over CO2 for many reasons. First of all, air is more consistent than C02. C02 is most of the time a liquid and needs time and space to expand into its gas form. More consistency in air means less chops and a more constant speed in your marker, which contributes to accuracy since the shots will be placed generally the same distance away from you. Compressed air will also allow you to play during cold weather, whereas C02 usually freezes up and will not function properly. C02 can also cause damage to your markers internals and o-rings because of the coldness of the gas. Air is clean, constant and reliable. I will say that compressed air tanks are not cheap, and have seen some start at $40 and climb up from there. They're pricier, but well worth it. Again, this is one of the few items that can be put on another marker later on.
6) Feed necks. Feednecks that usually come on Spyders straight-out suck (with the exception of the VS neck, those are pretty good from my experience). Spyders usually come with a plastic elbow that has clamp on both sides: one side to clamp to your marker and the other end clamps on your hopper. This usually results in having your hopper a good 5" above your marker. Although this all preference, most people prefer to have the hopper be as low as possible. This will allow the player to get a better shot without getting shot in the hopper themselves. Just like triggers, there has been a sudden surge of companies making feednecks for Spyders. There are also various methods that a feedneck can use to keep a loader on. There are twist-lock feed necks, cam-lock feednecks, hex-lock feed necks, and adapters. There are various others that I can't remember now. Companies that make good aftermarket feednecks are New Designs, Trinity paintball, Lapco, Hybrid, Check It Products and Phat performance. Be sure to ask which one would fit your marker; there are two styles: feedneck with ears with no holes and feednecks with holes in ears. Just ask them nicely, and I'm sure they will be happy to answer your every question.
7) The Bolt. The bolt is basically what propels the ball from your marker and into your opponents' face mask. There are many bolts available. Most are made of a delrin or other plastic type materials. If upgrading from the stock aluminum bolt, it is recommended to go with a delrin, teflon, nylatron, or other plastic type material bolt. This will prevent scratching in the chamber and most likely is lighter, therfore increasing your cyclic time. There are also other types of bolts that help in preventing chops. One of which is the Kingman ACS bolt and the other being the JAM bolt. Out of these two most people recommend the JAM as the Kingman requires some breaking in of the internal spring. This is done by compressing and decompressing the spring a high number of times (200-500 is usually the number I find).