The October 19th, 1996 issue of Paintball News features a new product write up for Brad Nestle’s pneumatic assist Super Sniper, later known as the SHO (Super High Output) Sniper. I talked to Brad on August 28th, 2014 about the history of the SHO and he gave me a run down on his epiphany that turned into the SHO and a brief chronology of his history building custom markers in Houston Texas.
On February 14th, 1992, Barritz Paintball opened an indoor field in downtown Houston, Texas. The owner of Barritz also owned a funiture company that took up the lower three floors in the same building and Barritz’s field was on the forth story.
Brad started at Barritz when it opened in February but In November of 1992, a tornado hit the building and the building’s owner, who wasn’t aware that one of his tenets was running an indoor paintball field, wouldn’t allow their field back.
During this time, the owner of Barritz offered Brad a job at his furniture company, where he worked until starting again at Barritz when it opened another store in the same complex.
“I was [working at Barritz] when they opened in 92. The owner also had the office furniture place in the same building at the same time. When the tornado hit, the field was gone and the store was sidelined but he gave me a job building furniture. When the store reopened [in Mid 1993], I would hang out there after work (they were in the same building complex, just a different building) and work on guns. [I later] got laid off at [the furniture company], then went back to Barritz full time at the new place.”
Before the tornado, Brad would take projects home for custom machining since his father had machines and Brad had been “Working on a lathe since first grade.”
When the new Barritz shop opened it was better equipped and Brad could work on projects there. It was shortly after this time, in late 1994 that, that Brad would start working on his first reverse Autococker, inspired by photos in a PGI magazine of a reverse Autococker that Danny Love had built.
Tom Boyer has posted, what I would assume is, the same photo posted on his Old Paintball Magazines page:
Nestle’s first reverse Autococker was finished in an “Old School smart parts three color splash of dark green sponge and black, with a silver base.”
Brad also described a “Lexan insert that bolt ran through” on this marker.
Around that same time, while working on a reverse Autococker with the frame removed, Brad found he could easily actuate the three way arm hand, acting as essentially, a pneumatic pump.
In 1995, Brad put together his first pneumatic assist pump, using the pump handle to actuate the pneumatics and recock the Sniper.
Brad writes that his coworker thought this system would be “the dumbest idea” but changed his mind once he saw it in action (as anyone would have!).
Brad hadn’t heard of or seen anyone else implement a pneumatic assist conversion on a pump at the time and wanted to use the name SHO, Super High Output, after Ford’s Tarus SHO. But again, Brad’s co-worker argued against “SHO” and insisted on Super Sniper. Brad thought this wasn’t a great name and was hesitant to use “Super Sniper” because his Sniper wasn’t an official WGP creation. In the end they settled on Super Sniper which stuck until 1997 (when PBMax opened) but the SHO would essentially be the same marker.
Brad would also show his “Super Sniper” to Bud Orr, who Brad remembers exclaiming, “Dude that’s pretty cool.”
A neat and possibly overlooked part of Brad’s conversion were the dual pump rods, one which connected the Auto Trigger to the back block on the driver (left) side and the ram to the back block on the passenger (right) side.
Brad’s first Super Sniper was built around a stock body. He figured, that “if [The Super Sniper] worked we’d build some more and make them look cool.”
In 1993 Brad took the Airgun Designs tech certification class in Chicago and lead AGD technician Sparky asked Brad to tech some of the events that were closer to him.
The photo above, courtesy Michael Goldberg, dates back to the World Cup 1994. Brad writes, “We worked that [the 1994 World Cup] and then flew straight to Nashville for the Masters that year,” and goes on to write, “That was a long 2 weeks of fixing mags.”
Around the middle of 1995 Brad left Barritz to work at Olympic Paintball Sports’ second location in Houston.
At the 1995 World Cup, which took place on October 18-22nd in Orlando, Florida, Olympic Paintball Sports debuted Brad’s Super Sniper creation. During the event Brad was working for AGD but Olympic had a booth showing off custom Autocockers.
The Super Sniper Brad took to Florida was purchased by a French Paintballer with the agreement that Olympic would ship it off after the event. During cycling demonstrations at the tournament (not game play) the “Super Sniper” stripped the threads from the back block. This was caused by one of the pump rods, which was slightly shorter, tweaking the block with each throw of the arms, eventually leading to the block threads stripping one one side. According to Brad, this was the only permanent problem, other than leaks or other general service issues that couldn’t be fixed with a rebuild, he ran into during production of the Super Sniper / Pneumatic Assist SHOs.
After the 1995 World Cup, Brad began building Super Snipers for customers and contracted machine shops to do runs of his parts.
Brad took over as the lead tech for AGD in 1996 and arranged travel and accommodations for for events.
In 1996 AGD released the (Classic) Automag RT, and while working an event clocking the classic RT’s rate of fire Brad had the chance to clock the balls per second on his Super Sniper. At the time Brad clocked “13.5 balls a second dry firing.” This number could have been limited by the speed of the Viewloader VL2000 (9v at the time).
Nestle opened Paintball Max in 1997 and owned it for about a year and a half. He sold it after that time but continued working there until Paintball Max closed in 2006, 9 years later. Over that period Paintball Max changed location three times but remained in Houston.
When Brad opened Paintball Max in 1997 he started referring to his pneumatic assist Sniper as the SHO even though parts mostly remain the same with a few small updates as time went on.
“Later [SHOs] have the rams inline with the slot for the ram rod and 3 way is inserted into the vertical adapter. [I] used the same parts for the both though.” Brad remembers.
Another change with 2k bodies that was the larger air chambers required the channel cuts spaced further out. Brad says, “With 2k bodies, which had the larger air chambers in the front, so you had to spaced [the channel] out,” which resulted in a slightly wider profile by 3/16th of an inch.
Overall Brad estimates he constructed between 75 to 100 pneumatic assist SHO Snipers from 1995 until 2008.
Thanks to Brad Nestle for helping me with this write up. Michael Goldberg for permission to use his AGD Technician group photo, and Dave Reisch for permission to use the Olympic Paintball Sports shirt photograph.