In this exciting episode of 15 minutes with Gilly, Gilbert “Gilly” Martinez talks Southern California Paintball history as usual! To days’ topic? Paul Vasquez’ Hornet pump.
Gilly and I recorded this video at the Fall Event West pump game he hosted at Poso Creek Paintball in Bakersfield, California on November 10th, 2012.
The Hornet, produced in Long Beach / Signal Hill, California is possibly the only production pump paintgun that featured a hopper directly attached to the pump handle.
As Gilly explains, “the shaking or agitating [of the pump handle] would hopefully drop balls in[to the breech].”
Gilly remembers seeing Vasquez occasionally while playing in Lopez Canyon at Steve Buzick’s Southern Comfort field. Gilly also tells how Vasquez built stainless barreled hornets for some of the players he knew.
Besides the direct feed elbows connecting the feed to the pump handle, the pump action on the Hornet is incredibly smooth with no wobble. This is a result of the trigger frame’s rail acting as a guide for the pump handle.
Early hornets have a sight notch on the pump handle (as shown in the APG article below) and later hornets have a raised rail (as shown in the picture above) to elevate a sight over the feed neck.
The Hornet was featured in the June 1990 issue of Paintball Sports Magazine and the September 1989 issue of APG.
Earon Carter knew the Hornet as a Landshark which I think may have been the combination of a Carter style frame and a T stock. The APG article does explain the differences between the standard Hornet and the Landshark model.
Paul Vasquez also had a patch for his “Hornet Paint Gun” of a tough looking Hornet. I don’t have one of these patches (but would love to add one to my collection if anyone owns an extra) so I used the scans from Paintball Sports Magazine in the video.
The top of the body also features a groove to allow the balls to roll into the breech as you pump which decreased the likely hood of chops when auto trigger rapidly.
In the video Martinez states, “[The Hornet] was a fast shooting gun, every time you pump it the balls would drop.” This would have been a distinct advantage had Vasquez’s pump received more exposure early on but by the time the Hornet was receiving some press (Action Pursuit Games in September 1989, and Paintball Sports International/Magazine in June 1990) semi automatics were either about to or already hitting the market.
And while most players were still shooting pumps, the idea of a hopper riding back and forth on your pump handle on top of that stack of several copper elbows likely didn’t appeal to most.
Internally the Hornet takes standard nelson breech drop internals but requires extra long pump arm screws because of the outer diameter of the pump.
Hornets typically game with super long barrels, as shown above. The gun shown need a good hone but luckily I have an extra (new) barrel for it in I think 14 or 16 inches.
Vasquez didn’t make the frames for the Hornet and likely used any frames that were available such as 007, Commando transitional, Ranger, Carter and likely wintec as well. In the last 10 years I have probably seen less than 10 Hornets come up for sale and from talking to Gilly I would assume Paul made around 50 Hornets but even that might be a little high. I have never seen one of the stainless barrel Hornet’s Gilly mentions and would Vasquez made less than 10 of those models.
Big thanks to Gilbert Martinez for sharing his wealth of experience and for putting together the Fall Event West event at Poso Creek Paintball in Bakersfield, California.
Written material and pictures copyright Daniel Bacci baccipaintball.com 2012. Article scans copyright their respected owners. For permission to repost please ask.