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   September 23, 2017

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The Brass Eagle Tiger Shark! (tm)

Welcome to the first of many "new" old school reviews by SCP. This format will be a bit different than the standard you are used too. Not only will we discuss the pro and cons, but also some technical information, possible modifications and DIY improvements. This is a cooperative effort, and I hope many more people will be involved as time goes on. -Maverick

The Brass Eagle Tiger Shark (tm) Is an Icon in Pump Paintball History! It rarely gets any credit, and is often the butt of jokes, but the truth of the matter is that this pump gun sold in tremendous quantities throughout the USA and Canada, for a very long time, and its tough as nails! We are going to take a new look at this classic pump, and maybe learn a few things along the way.

The Tiger Shark was released In the late 90's by Brass Eagle Rogers (Arkansas, USA) and manufactured in Canada. It was a Bit late to the scene, okay, very late to the pump scene, over a decade, however it was cheap and built on the same basic platform as the Stingray semi auto. It features a Nelson based design, proprietary threaded barrel, and is constructed of a plastic polymer that is very durable, similar to the old NSG Splatmaster.  It shares is basic grip frame design the Stingray, with only minor differences in the mold and trigger assembly. Being a basic and budget friendly marker, there is no external velocity adjustment, and very few options. It was marketed through out the USA and Canada, and widely available at sporting good stores and big box discounters. It was a worthy paintball gun, and well get to the part that makes it worthy shortly, first, lets take a look at the guts of a Tiger Shark!

Breaking down a Shark:
Stripping a Shark is rather straight forward.  As with all marker work, please de gas the marker and remove the air source prior to begining. Failure to do this could result in serious injury or death. The marker body is secured to the grip frame assembly with two simple pushFigure 2 pins. removing the rear lower pin allows the body to tip up and away from the frame. This is a great feature for easy field stripping, especially if you replace the factory push pins with Pull pins, as seen in fig. 2.
The plastic factory pins simply push out from the narrow side, use a small punch or even an Allen key, they don't require much force to remove.
Once you have the rear of the marker up and away from the rest of the grip frame (picture), complete field stripping is accomplished by simply removing the upper rear pin, and pulling the rear Air source adaptor, or A.S.A out of the back of the paintball gun. Since the ASA has two tabs which slip into the marker body it would be difficult to get the orientation wrong upon reassembly, but take a good look fist, or even a digital picture, just in case. Figure three shows the full set of internals after they have been removed. You will also need to unscrew the knurled bolts from the pumps arms and remove the pump.
As you will notice, there is absolutely nothing exotic about this punp. It is similar to all nelson based pumps, but there are some differences. First, it has a huge power tube! You will also find the fit and finish is fairly rough, and well talk about that some more later. As you can see, nothing scary about Tiger Sharks once you dissect them, and all very easy to do.

Adjusting Velocity: You've got to go old school if you want to adjust velocity on a Shark. No adjustable bolt, no adjustable hammer, so that leaves you with shims and springs. Stock with new original springs Sharks should shoot in the 215-260 range depending on air source, and temperature (if using co2.) Which is okay, but not great, however it is enough to get a paintball to break on target in moderate weather.

I did note a few things while inspecting the setup:
  • The Valve nut is very thick, as is the valve tube. but there are problems inherent with the shark that instantly reduces airflow. the first issue I found is that the tube itself is not drilled to tight tolerances, in fact, I dont think it was drilled at all, as the aluminum appears to have been wrapped, not drilled from straight stock. nothing to be done about that except polish it to a mirror finish.
  • The second issue I confirmed, and I must give credit to Scarecrow for this one, which I found while researching online, is the valve tube gas port is severely restricted by the valve nut. Scarecrow has the most reasonable fix for this, but it may also create other issues so take heed before getting out your drill. He found a cure by simply drilling the tube nut a small bit, which allows the shoulder on the valve tube to sit deeper into the securing nut.  This has the result of exposing more of the gas port inside the valve, thus allowing more air or co2 though to the bolt.  A disadvantage of this is that you will also have to add a washer or spacer to the back of the hammer as well to ensure it proper operation. Plan on adjusting or changing springs after performing this modification, as it may suddenly shoot "hot." I have not yet done this so I cant say from experience if this alone is enough to increase the stock set up velocity to over 280 FPS, but it's certainly something to keep in mind.

  • Another note on the valve nut, it has fine threads. Most nelson based markers have wider thread spacing from what I've seen. I'm not an air smith , but I did compare the valve nut threads to some nelson valve nuts I had in my box, the threads are different than the standard valve nuts.

  • As with most Paintball guns, all internals, as well as the barrel on the Shark could benefit from a good polishing. I generally use "0000" steel wool for this. It is not a fast process, but the light weight steel wool makes it nearly impossible to cut grooves or mess things up. Power tools and polishing pads are less labor intensive, but also increase the risk factor for mistakes. Steel wool is about $4 for a large bag at any hardware store, and that bag will last a very long time. besides, it's a good workout! Dont forget ,"0000" rougher grades may result in scratches.

  • Trigger: The shark has a long trigger pull and the trigger assembly is basically a one piece deign, incorporating the trigger sear. The trigger pull is almost an inch in stock configuration! The quick fix, is simply shim the assembly between the rear of the assembly and the body. Experimenting with a paper lollie pop stick, I was able to cut the trigger pull in half with no permanent changes. As you see in the picture, most of the lollie pop had been consumed already, you may use the flavor of your choice, but Dum Dum lollie pop sticks seem to work just fine. Using this as a guide, the next step would be to drill holes in the frame body for a more permanent roll pin type stop, however that may also require slotting the gun body and some precise work.

  • Barrel: The Shark came with a 10" aluminum non ported barrel. This is one area where I wish there was some brass in the Brass Eagle. It is not a bad barrel, and with some internal polishing it becomes much better. About the only other barrel with the exact same threading was the Brass eagle Raptor, unfortunately even the raptor barrel is not a drop in upgrade. The raptor barrel will need to be cut down on the breech end a small amount in order to fit. Its easy to cut a barrel down, its much more difficult to cut a barrel down correctly and evenly. A large pipe cutter can help in this mission should you decide to do so, but don't forget to smooth out the rough edges, and it goes without saying, proceed at your own risk. On the upside, you can actually find a good barrel made for the raptor on occasion and some of the better known manufactures produced them.  Some say Spider barrels also fit, this is only partially correct. Though the threading is similar, the threading collars are of different lengths, and the threads are slightly different. So even though a spyder barrel may appear to fit, it does not and using one may distort the input threads on the gun or the barrel, and the ball will not sit properly in the breech, hurting accuracy.

  • Pump Arm: Its all plastic, its not very smooth in stock form, but its durable. The action will improve quite a bit after you polish the internals, including the bolt and hammer to a mirror finish. It is important both pump arm screws or suitable replacements are installed for best performance. Neglecting the pump arm screw will result in a very sloppy pump action as it will be very flexible.

  • The Feed Neck is very wide, even more so than the old standard of 1" by a few 16th's of an inch. The makes fitting an elbow if you dont have an original a bit of a chore. On the upside, the Inside diameter of the feed neck will accomodate a ten round tube snugly making a "cram and jam" style stick feed simply a matter of in serting a stock class 10 round tube. Since the feed neck is just a plastic composite, a bit of work with some sand paper and you can reduce the od to a more acceptable size.

  • Rollers: With further research I have noticed allot of complaints about double feeds and ball roll outs. While I didnt have any issues with this, I am also very experience using pumps without detent systems and automatically adjust for these issues. I can easily see it becoming an issue for less experienced players, or when you pump timing is off. though this is primarily user error in my opinion, it can and will happen on occasion to even the most experienced players. I will investigate the potential of adding a detente system of some sort to the tiger shark.



So lets review:
The Brass Eagle Tiger Shark is a no frills, inexpensive direct feed pump action paintball gun that is durable, easy to clean and has some limited, but very effective upgrade paths. It can be found used fairly easily, often for under $30.00. Upgrades include Raptor barrels (with some precision shortening), polishing the internals, recessing the valve body screw for improved air flow, and uses standard nelson springs. There are only two o rings to worry about, one on the bolt, and another in the valve body, and they are easy to find. The plastic body pins can be replaced with still available pull pin with rings, that were used on many other BE products including the stingray and marauder/after burner series of markers. There was a factory bottom line kit sold, but it is harder to find.

Some disadvantages include low initial velocity, with no easy adjustment, spring changes or shims (washers) must be used. However, the Shark will rarely shoot above field limits unless it is modified as noted above. If you are not a back bottle configuration fan, changing the air input source location will be difficult, unless you can find one of the rare bottom line adaptors offered by BE for stingrays and tiger sharks, or fabricate your own. A lack of compatible barrels also go into the negative check mark zone, fortunately, the stock barrel is usable, though very loud, and there's always the BE Raptor barrel option.

How does it play?
The first thing you'll note when you pick up a Tiger Shark, is that it is beefy! It has a comfortable feel and is nicely weighted at about 1.8 pounds without tank. It feels solid, and not cheap like some other low end pumps. Its also not so heavy as to be burdensome. The writer likes a nice shoulder stock, so I'm comfortable with the true back bottle positioning. After a good clean up and some very basic tuning as detailed above, I was able to group six of six paintballs within six inches at about 40 feet after installing a 20 oz tank. Not a long range, but about average for a short field contact. Despite the fact the paintballs being used (severe) were over six years old, all balls went on target in a nice tight group, with no chops. The pump arm does have some flex to it, and it could use a pump return spring to speed things up a bit, but for a sub $30 pump (used) it performed above expectation and is on par with a PMI Trraccer or ACI Maverick.

Update: Recently I used the Tiger Shark at a large scenario game for a few hours! Please keep in mind that this marker is bone stock except for a bit of polishing and some new orings. I chronod in at about 240 fps, with a 10 fps spectrum on the stock , original spring set. the low fps certainly limited range, and I had to go in arc trajectory mode to get any sort of distance. It was still a blast to use though, reminiscent of my splatmaster in fact, just easier to shoot and more reliable. It was easy to manipulate, even with a 20oz co2 tank, fairly well balanced (though a bit tank heavy, a 7- 9 oz co2 or 13-22ci hpa tank wouldve been far better choices)and i had about a 1 foot spread at 75 feet. despite this, I was able to achieve a few key elliminations. In fact, it was one of the most reliable markers i played with and I was able to easily compensate for any inconsistency. just a fun gun that is only going to get better with a bit of work, and so cheap to buy!



Suggestions from the field:
  • Greenmtnphantom (scp forums): Is investigating the use of a new Empire Trracer Bolt, which is adjustable, in the Tiger Shark. He will update us when he has tested this theory. I have tried a 1st edition trracer bolt, and while it physically fits, the Shark power tube is to far to wide to fit within the adjustment ring on that bolt. so old adjustable trracer bolt is a no go, waiting to hear on the new trracer bolt.

  • Weigel21 (TechPB.com forums) sent his "A.R.B.A.T.S" project link to us. His creation is a horizontal spring fed , bolt action redesign of the shark into a rather cool AR-15 simulacrum. You can see the full details of this creation here.And he has more hes working on!



  • If you have other modifications, suggestions or just comments, please hit the email link below, try out our new comment box below, or visit our message board to add your thoughts. We hope this article was helpful.

    Reference links:

    Factory replacement parts at ViewLoaderparts.com
    Scarecrows "Hot Roding Your Tigershark"
    Mavericks "Adjusting Velocity in a Nelson Based Paint Gun" & "Maintenance and cleaning of your Nelson"
    Search eBay for prices and ad info


    Happy Hunting and Keep on Pumping!

    - Maverick

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