Ramping is a term used in the tournament paintball but most people outside the tournament paintball community (and probably some Melbourne Paintball players) may not have heard about it and may not be clear as to what it means.
For most casual players they have no knowledge of ramping but for tournament paintball players it is one of the major things that differ between states and countries and makes it difficult for Victorian Paintball Players to compete on an even playing field around Australia and the world. As ramping is fairly unique to paintball the legislation has not ever caught up to it in terms of defining rate of fire.
As far as Paintball in Victoria goes, the laws categorises the rate of fire as either semi-auto or automatic. For Victorian paintball semi-automatic is legal and automatic is not. This leaves a bit of a dilemma as to the use of ramping on tournament paintball markers. All automatic paintball guns are illegal in Australia but are capable of incredibly high rates of fire often over 30 paintballs per second from commercially produced off the shelf tournament paintball markers. Now Americans being Americans tend to like to up the anti with some crazy, often home made paintball guns that can shoot at super high rates of fire.
But with the exception of these crazy contraptions most automatic paintball markers are capable of approx 30 paintballs per second. The part that makes it interesting is that in many cases semi automatics are capable of similar rates of fire. Most tournament players are capable of 15 paintballs per second on their dominant hand. Good players can peak at over 20-22 and a gifted few are able to shoot at the 28-30 balls per second. To do this they use a trigger that is capable of being used by 2-3 fingers at once but with a little practice there is not much difference in the possible rate of fire between semi-auto and full auto paintball markers.
The best summation I have heard for ramping is that it is cruise control for paintball markers. The paintball marker operates as a semi automatic up to a preset rate of fire before increasing the rate of fire to a new, higher preset level. As an example a paintball marker may shoot as a semi automatic until 4+ paintballs per second is achieved. Once this rate of fire is achieved the paintball gun automatically shoots at 15 paintballs per second until the trigger falls back below 4 shots per second.
The max rate of fire can be set by modifying the settings on the paintball gun itself and is normally as simple as plugging it in to the usb port with the appropriate software installed.
Now the interesting thing about ramping is that while the preset max rate of fire is quite easily achieved it is a lower rate than most semi-auto markers are capable of. There are many advantages to ramping but probably the biggest one is the leveling of the playing field. With all players limited to the same rate of fire and able to achieve it easily, tactics and strategy play a bigger role. Another advantage is that the the lower rate of fire generally means that less paintballs are shot in a typical game and therefore it becomes cheaper and more accessible to new players.
For paintball to grow in Victoria players need to be able to practice with ramping mode set as it is required when competing in other states and countries. We will continue to adhere by the current rules but hope to help initiate changes down the track to allow this practice in Victoria.