Multi Shooter Field Review of Planet Eclipse’s Newest High-Eng Mech: M170R
(DL) — Since laying eyes on the new Planet Eclipse M170R at Paintball Extravaganza it was number one on my list of guns to review. The M170R was one of the only things at Paintball Extravaganza to impress me. Would it perform as good as it’s first impression? When the chance to have one sent from Planet Eclipse for personal review and put one through the paces, I made sure that I got my grubby paws on it.
This review a little different than most for a few reasons. I shot it but also handed it off to several others. This marker was tested across different backgrounds for various impressions. More than one opinion helped.
A New World
Planet Eclipse is obviously known for its electronic markers at all levels, and by that, I mean a high end, mid-level, and entry levels. While this isn’t even close to PE’s first mechanical marker, it is their first high-end mech marker.
The M170R uses the gamma core bolt engine. It’s featured in several other markers at all levels. The result is owning an M170R puts you in league with high-end markers.
Under the Hood
The gamma core bolt system is the heart and soul of this marker. It’s a proven system that runs in everything from the Emek through CS2. They use a modified version of the gamma core. There are good reasons why the gamma core is widely used within PE’s portfolio. In the M170R, the gamma core handles some big issues other mechanical markers have not.
The M170r sports a self-timed spool valve, gentle on paint, requiring little maintenance.
That means you don’t need to adjust anything in the engine to time it. You don’t have to worry about paint quality for functionality, and can hand it to your little brother, sister, or idiot friend and expect it to come back working and in one piece. Those are big boxes to check when designing a mechanical marker. Those are most likely the obvious reasons why PE took this route with the marker. If it works, why mess with it?
The m170R makes a good first impression. It comes in a nice box, and perhaps more important — it comes in a nice case. Inside that case come the marker, a two-piece barrel with a .689 bore (great for the over-boring crowd), lube, manual, barrel condom, tool kit, and parts kit. All of that is loaded into and protected by thick foam cut to form. Would you expect anything less from a marker sold at this price point? It’s a good case that would also allow for two more backs or fronts and has another small area cut for storage.
The marker itself is all aluminum or rubber externally. The styling is the same as the electronic 170R, and very similar to the flagship CS2 from Planet. The most obvious immediate difference is the single trigger frame. It has an attractive body, at least looks nice to me, although mileage here varies because everyone has their own opinions. It’s clean milling and a nice, solid ano with no visible mill marks.
The single trigger mounts as a swing-style and has three points of adjustment. There is a forward stop, a rear stop, and a screw that acts as an adjustment point for firing the marker. This allows you to really set the marker up to fire with any sort of trigger pull that you would like, from one with a bit of length and extra play to extremely short and responsive.
The pull itself is light, with very little weight to it. Out of the box, it’s got a little bit of length to it, so most people will probably start here when adjusting the marker to their preference.
The trigger itself isn’t as wide as a lot of the old school players, myself included, might be used to shooting. It’s about 1/3 the size of the frame’s width, and well contoured to your finger. It’s thin, but comfortable, and was easy to shoot with either hand.
You’ll also notice a couple of things regarding the frame. There’s a fully functional safety that locks into place with a satisfying click. It also has nice rubber grips held in place with two screws, and an indexing cut jutting out between your middle and ring fingers helping lock your hand into place.
The indexing does help so that you don’t have the grips feel like it’s rolling on you at any point, and the grips do a good job of clinging in the hand.
The foregrip on this is pretty thick, at roughly the same size as the grip frame. I prefer this, but it is definitely a notable difference for those used to the Shocker’s thin foregrip. As someone with man-sized hands (really, mid-size or bigger), it felt really nice. If you have tiny baby-hands, it may be on the bigger side.
The foregrip is just that, a rubber grip covering what amounts to a solid plastic post. It’s firm and is really just there to be grabbed. The rubber cover slides straight down with a good firm yank, and beyond acting as a grip, also locks the detent covers into place. It’s simple, but well-engineered and does the job.
The other features that you’d expect are there as well. By that I mean there is a clamping feedneck with a hand-adjustable tension screw and swingarm. That’s something I would honestly expect on any marker above an entry-level at this point. It’s a simple, reliable on/off, with a push-button allowing it to be moved or locked in place.
It also has a nice, new sliding on/off Emek POPS on/off. Once the button is depressed, you can move the slide forward or back towards the tank, depending on if you are starting or ending your day. These are one of the best on/offs in the industry and are a welcome addition to this or any other marker.
On the Field
I shot the marker but also handed it off to several others to get their thoughts. I’ve shot autocockers for over a decade and spent a decade prior shooting mags. This is an entirely different animal. But, being that I do and have shot the classic cars of paintball, I didn’t think it would be fair to just get my opinion. Instead, here are how it went for five people, and what they thought.
Each player had the marker for around thirty minutes, with no restrictions. I told them to not baby it, and play like they normally would with their markers. With one exception, the set up was a Rotor LT-R and Gen 1 Powerhouse Regulator on a 68ci 4500psi First Strike tank. The players that shot it ranged from normally shooting a TiPX to a Shocker XLS.
Pull Trigger, Go Boom
The common positives were all pretty similar across the board. Every single player noted the marker being extremely light and easy to maneuver, and switching hands with it was a breeze. In other words, Planet has done a good job with the ergonomics on it. The length and placement of the foregrip felt good to everyone that handled it.
They all thought that it had a good shot quality, that it was extremely consistent, and due to that consistency, it felt accurate, even with the stock barrel (in this case, there was an overbore, not blow through). You can stack paint if you know where the shot is going, and they all felt like they understood where the paint would go when they pulled the trigger. They also all got used to the shot and feel of the marker pretty quickly, which I didn’t necessarily expect considering two-shot TiPX’s regularly.
It also did really well in terms of efficiency, for the ones that managed to burn through the paint in their thirty minutes. They also liked the hoseless design and overall small size of the markers.
Although we didn’t play with the M170R over a period of months, the marker was incredibly easy to take apart for maintenance with a tool-less design. It takes literally two arm motions and about three seconds to remove the bolt engine. The internals performed well, as I would expect from a marker in this price point.
In terms of other opinions, the balance was a little bit different for different people. It actually felt a little back heavy to some (but not all) with the Powerhouse and First Strike tank, but it was noted that they didn’t really notice it at all when the marker was in a shooting position or being shouldered. They really only noticed it when just carrying it in staging. This is really due to the marker being so incredibly light. First Strike tanks are not heavy but felt that way compared to the marker.
M170R Field Test
Once it made it on the field, there was only one chop through five shooters on an unadjusted stock trigger and unfamiliar marker, so that was extremely solid in terms of performance across a broad range of shooters and paint. It should also be noted that it also came from the player using a Spire IR instead of the Rotor.
Spires can be a little less consistent in terms of feeding mechs at high rates of fire. This occurs consistently players in tournaments on electronic markers. Regardless, the m170r put up a really solid performance given the circumstances. We put it through different types of players handling the marker with differences in shooting.
The foregrip was also noted as significantly bigger for the player who used the Shocker XLS regularly. It took a little bit for him to get used to the difference in feel. However, I will also say that the 14-year-old who shot it didn’t have a problem with the foregrip being too big for his hands. Unless you have tiny little baby hands, the m170r foregrip won’t be too big. As previously noted, it actually felt extremely comfortable.
In terms of flat out speed with the trigger, the marker performed extremely well. The trigger felt extremely fast and responsive to everyone who shot it.
The obvious comparison will be to the CVO, and is it faster?
I would not claim that it is, but I also wouldn’t call the trigger slow by any means. This marker is not going to have a hard time keeping up with you unless you shoot at a consistently above average speed. I’m looking at you mech tourney players, you glorious bastards.
The CVO and M170R have different feels. Personal preference plays a part here. You’ll probably want to pick up both and pull the triggers. Decide for yourself which one you like more. A CVO feels a lot like a tuned Automag. Younger readers out there may have no idea what the Automag reference means, but think short, snappy, and responsive. These triggers are more of a swing cocker trigger. They’re definitely a bit different.
For a mech marker, it does weigh in at the higher end of the spectrum at around $650. It does have the same bolt engine at the Etha 2 or Emek, both of which are significantly cheaper. You are getting an all-aluminum body and bolt engine, a well accommodated adjustable single trigger, good ergonomics, great on/off, and smart design. It can be anodized to make it your own, and it has the potential to be milled if you’re feeling frisky. The overall build quality is nicer, you are getting more in terms of features and color options, and the stock trigger is a lot nicer. If that is worth it to you, it’s worth the jump up.
This marker is seriously impressive. One of the people that played with it this weekend flat-out said that he’d be buying one after using it for 30 minutes. The others all walked away impressed and with positive impressions, the Shocker shooter included. I’ll be extremely surprised if these don’t immediately make their presence felt in the mech tourney scene, and feel like they’re a very strong alternative to the CVO for teams that demand high levels of performance and reliability out of their mechs in extreme conditions.
It’s really, really light, has a very adjustable trigger, balances well, and does one thing extremely well. It makes you forget about it while you’re shooting it, and I mean that in a positive way.
You don’t worry about chopping, short stroking, how it feels, or efficiency. That lets you focus on what you’re shooting at instead of thinking about the marker and what it’s doing, which is what we all want out of our guns. The paint consistently went where it was expected to go, quickly, easily, and reliably. Planet Eclipse is known for building high-quality, well-engineered paintball guns, and this marker lives up to that reputation. If you’re looking for a high-end mech, it should be on your shortlist to seriously consider putting your hard-earned cash towards.