I recently emailed back and forth with a seller on ebay, “Burritoconnoisseur,” who had listed a 68 Special which Tippmann had converted from an SMG-60.
You see many SMG-60s and SMG-68s pop up that have undergone the factory Tippmann conversion from stripper clip fed semi or full auto to a direct feed semi auto, but the unique thing about this SMG-60 to 68 Special conversion was that the seller kept the original receipts.
These receipts let us date the serial of this SMG-60, 6642, to October 15th 1989, which is exciting because it offers a few clues on the timeline of Tippmann’s transition from SMG-60s into 68 Specials.
Burritoconnoisseur kept both the receipts from when the SMG-60 was originally purchased from Arms & Ammo Supply Inc. and when the SMG was sent back to Tippmann for the direct feed conversion.
Burritoconnoisseur bought this paintguns from Arms and Ammo Supply, Inc. out of San Bruno, California for $299.99. The original date of purchase for the SMG-60, with serial number of 6642, pre conversion is October 15th, 1989.
In July of 1990 the Tippmann 68 Special was premiered at the Bay City Open and around this time fields in the bay area were banning the full auto SMG-60s.
“I had the work done to the smg because all the fields banned the paintgun because of its rapid fire and above psi issues.”
I talked to Dennis Tippmann Jr. at Hell Survivor’s Tippmann World Challenge game in September of 2010. Dennis told me that production began on the 68 special at “the beginning of 1990 or the end of 1989.” And that Tippmann was afraid that insurance would cause fields to ban Semi Autos similar to what was happening with Tippmann’s SMG-60.
So when Tippmann learned that Sheridan/PMI would be releasing the PMI-3 in “9 months” they began working on a direct feed design (9 months is the time table that Dennis Jr gave me).
With “two semi automatics out at the same time,” Dennis explained that it was more likely they would be accepted. The Palmer’s Hurricane, the Elite rifle and the Brass Eagle “Eagle” were already available by this time but not as well known and widely distributed as Tippmann and PMI’s models would be.
Read more on the time table for the Hurricane, the Elite rifle, the AGS rifle and the Eagle in this post:
On November 11th, 1991, Burritoconnoisseur, sent his SMG-60 in to Tippmann for the direct feed breech conversion. The receipt says that the conversion to Semi Auto and Direct feed was 100 dollars, the tube (maybe a siphon tube?) was 20 dollars and a 16 inch barrel instead of the stock 11 inch was an additional 10 dollars.
When the Tippmann 68 special was sent in, the original parts from the conversion that weren’t removed beforehand were kept by Tippmann (likely discarded). Burritoconnoisseur explains:
“Tippmann kept the parts because I thought they were not important to keep at the time.”
This makes sense since there would be no point in keeping a magazine, clip spring or even extra clips after the conversion. A barrel sight that is 60 caliber would have no use and the foregrip on a smg 60 would also be useless.
Burritoconnoisseur even held onto the Tippmann “Customer Return Report.” As noted on the Customer Return Report, the SMG-60 was converted to a 68 Special by Tippmann and then shipped back on December 4th, 1991.
The return report also states that the SMG was shipped with a tank which likely confirms that the “tube” charge listed on both the conversion shipping invoice and the customer return receipt was for a Siphon tube installation.
Find parts for the Tippmann SMG-60 and 68 Special at http://www.baccipaintball.com/parts/semi/tippmann.html