The z90 is the newest addition to the Splatmaster line of .50 cal paintball markers. This series is marketed as a gateway into the world of paintball, with smaller paintballs and lower (though respectable) performance due to the manual nature of launching the balls. No CO2 here.
While there is already a pistol in the series (the z100, with its removable magazine), JT had a different idea with this blaster - paintballs load from the top, and can be pushed into the ammo slot one at a time.
Being .50 caliber and spring-powered, these markers are a natural choice for conversion into Nerf-type blasters. More pics and thoughts after the jump!
The paintballs are loaded from the rear, above the priming handle. The black tab is spring-loaded, and keeps the paintballs from coming back out.
The priming handle is actually fairly stiff - it may be tough for younger uses to use. After pulling to prime, the handle has to be pushed forward and returned to its resting position in order to fire.
Finally, the insides! It turns out that the z90 internals are similar to previous spring-powered markers. The priming handle pulls back the plunger tube and the plunger against a massive, precompressed spring. This motion also opens the rear of the barrel to allow a paintball to drop in. Finishing the priming motion pushes the plunger tube forward again, sealing off the barrel and pushing the paintball into a rubber cradle that holds it until you fire.
Ranges? Very good. VERY. GOOD. After firing dozens of Elite darts, the z90 proved capable of exceeding Nerf's new 75 ft. standard, fired parallel to the ground. It should be noted that the extreme launch speed causes the Elite darts to behave erratically and fly off course, float in the air, dive, etc. Not unheard of, especially since streamline darts were notorious for their flight issues. Firing homemade darts corrects this problem, of course, provided you have enough weight in the tip. With the right dart fit and weight, you can easily push level firing ranges past ninety feet.