Tippmann SMG-68s have risen in value significantly in the last 5 years. This is a result of a small production (at least for Tippmann) and that even smaller run being canniballized to turn into the far more reliable 68 specials.
But what most enthusiasts fail to consider about this seldom seen classic, is the weak point of the aluminum magazine which can render this paintgun a wall hanger.
But they’re a Tippmann, they can shoot 68 caliber out of a magazine and were introduced in 1989, what could possibly go wrong with them?
Unlike the durable Tippmann SMG-60, which uses a steel magazine, the SMG 68 uses an aluminum magazine to hold the red (68 caliber) stripper clips.
Over time, and thousands of cycles, the force from the hammer slamming into the valve and depressing the cup seal, in either full auto or semi auto modes, ripples through the entire paintguns and eventually causes the aluminum magazines to deform.
On top of this, the barrel screws through the mag, and this can lead to other possible probems if time is not taken to line the mag up correctly.
After the magazine has seen extensive use and the thin walled magazine has been deformed, the square end of the mag typically starts to buckle in and causes resistance agains the stripper clips. This friction prevents the stripper clips from feeding smoothly when pushed towards the breech by the coil spring.
Over the past 10 years I’ve come across two examples of SMG-68s for my collection. Unfortunately, when I finally tested them last summer in Northern California, I found both examples has smashed in mag ends. I brought one down to Los Angeles last winter to mess around with.
On April 5th, while browsing craigslist, I came across a listing for some “Laser Tag and Tipman SMG 68 Stuff.”
Okay, probably a SMG 68 converted to a 68 special, I thought. And then I read the rest of the ad, “I also found stripper clips and spare magazine for a tipman SMG68 paintball gun.” I called the seller, Phil, who seemed excited to hear I actually had an SMG-68.
I went out to meet Phil on April 6th (yesterday). I brought my SMG 68 with me to show him and we talked a little about his paintball past. Phil told me how he moved from a PMI 1 up to a SMG-68 in the late 80s (likely 1989) and he played all over Southern California, mostly on outlaw fields with his friends. Some of the exotic locations they played at were the early 1900’s Los Angeles Subway and at the 1930-40’s Nazi encampment in the Santa Monica Mountains.
I wasn’t sure what he meant by the old LA Subway, so Phil asked if I had seen Predator 2 (with Danny Glover), and I answered “of course!” He then described the subway as, “the tunnel where the Predator’s spaceship flies out of at the end of Predator 2.”
I tried to find that clip but all I could find was the above Danny Glover vs Predator dance off (which is definitely worth posting).
Phil’s parts included a junk mag, a nearly new and not squished aluminum mag, a parts kit and a ton of clips! Phil’s SMG-68 went off for repair work in the last few decades and has met the same fate as so many other classic paintguns, likely lost or thrown away. Phil told me if no one messaged him in the next few days about these parts they’d go in the trash as well!
With this amazing stash of parts I’ll be able to get SMG-68 serial 667 shooting this summer and record some videos. Giant thanks to Phil!