In 2009 Bob Gurnsey, of National Survival Games, sent me a few photos of prototype paintguns he hung onto from NSG. Bob later sold me several of these paintguns which included one design that was never finalized, which he referred to as the Prototype Bottom Grip gun.
The Prototype Bottom Grip Gun is an inline blowback semi automatic which Bob remembers was produced in 1989. Although I have not disassembled this paintgun, the bolt to hammer linkage appears to run down the center of the powertube.
The frame design is some type of polymer and like was built at Gurnsey’s Culpepper Plastics Corp (CPC) molding facility in Arkansas. The trigger group rests underneath and looks to have the side built from metal sheeting.
An air line /hard line travels below the body from the asa to the valve.
The barrel is pictured below the paintgun in the case and although the body is threaded, the barrel that I received with the marker is slip fit. The threads may have been soldered on and snapped off at some point?
In the comment section on Youtube, Nicholas Scott, who has throughly documented the history of the Montneel series of markers and ran the Montneel Designs’ owners group website asked an interesting questions on why GZ Paintball Sports / GFR Corp would go on to produce the GZ 1000 and the GZ 2000 markers, if they had this prototype on hand.
Scott writes, “[It] seems crazy that it didn’t go to market. Seems way more advanced then the 1st gen blow backs. Plus, Gurnsey dumped this in favor of the gz line?”
The history of this marker is not entirely clear. Speaking with Bob about it before he passed away, he remembers that it was likely built in 1989 and explained that all prototype development at NSG stopped before March of 1990 when NSG lost their insurance due to mounting lawsuits.
The 103 lawsuits against filed again NSG hit the company hard in 1990. These suits, which according to Bob, mostly targeted NSG generically as the public face of paintball, equaled to 35 million dollars.
Although Bob defeated the lawsuits, he explained that “Out of 103 lawsuits, no one ever beat me… But those lawsuits did come at a price,” and went on to explain, “Every time I won i lost… The first 55 or 60 lawsuits had an an average cost of winning at 97 thousand dollars. Those Were covered by insurance.” But NSG eventually lost their insurance.
Bob created the GFR Corp around this time and he explained that “If they sue NSG they can’t pierce into GZ.”
So my guess, as to why this marker was shelved in favor of the GZ 1000 and GZ 2000 is that GZ Paintball Sports didn’t have to capital to introduce a new marker design.
Although Bob beat the lawsuits, their costs likely limited NSG’s reach and it’s possible that NSG/GZ didn’t have the capital to sink into refining a semi automatic design that, by that point, would not have not been one of the first to market. This was likely too risky and resulted in the Prototype Bottom Grip Gun shelved.
It’s possible that Bob knew he could re-packaged the already successful and proven Splatmaster with direct feed as the GZ-1000 and the Double Action Rapide with constant air and Direct Feed and these would both be somewhat successful and use the already developed internals.
With this plan, GZ would be able to sell a product with little to no additional R and D. As mentioned above, Gurnsey’s Culpepper Plastics Corp (CPC) did the molds for the GZ line, so again, likely not as much cost.
Bob mentioned two engineers who worked for him at NSG, Russell Barber earlier on and Clyde Brown later. Brown may have designed this Prototype Bottom Grip Gun, but the time frame of each working at NSG is unknown.
I was also asked about the similarities between this and Tom Kaye’s Panther semi. I asked Tom and he said this is not a Panther and he had never seen this paintgun before.
Find more history on NSG at www.baccipaintball.com/oldnews/tag/nsg