Ammo Page:  Tips for the Frugal and for the Furious!
Merrill     Dunes
Here are some thoughts on how to use paintballs at Merrill Dunes - - - if you want to be extravagant or if you want to squeeze maximum fun out of each shot!

Our traditional way to distribute ammo is illustrated on our Ammo 101 page.  The system has worked well for years but we now have two other options that will work for many groups.






One new choice is to get your paintballs in personalized Ball Caddy Jugs.  Keeping ammo warm, if it is cold weather, is critical.  Cold paintballs are brittle and break in the gun when the propulsion air blast hits them.  Our Safe Zone heated "refrigerators" make the Caddy system work.  The Caddies are easy to identify with a player name on them and "borrowing" other player's ammo doesn't seem to be an issue with most groups.  Any time you need more ammo, no need to wait in line!  Below is a price list of what you save and gain by using the Caddy system. Because of our saving on packing ammo, you can get all your event ammo for 4 cents a ball vs the normal 5 cents.  The down side is that we know that groups that use Caddies also use a lot more ammo.  If young players are involved, this system doesn't work (unless the paintball expense account is huge!)  The system for young teams is covered lower on the page.

1.5 hour event - 250 balls come in the basic package.  If two players share a 500 ball Caddy Jug, the basic cost drops by $2.50 for each player.  If each player gets a single 500 ball caddy jug, each pays $7.50 for the extra ammo which would normally cost $12.50.  If ammo for the group is handled with our Self Serve Distribution Center**, again, each player saves $2.50 off the basic player charge.  Finally, if the Distribution Center** is used but there is an urgency to get the group out and at it quickly, we can use our conventional ammo system for the first load of 100 paintballs and the Self Serve system cuts in after that.  That feature means there is a $1.50 saving per player as well as unlimited 4 cent ammo if players use more than the basic 250 balls.

2 hour event - 300 balls come in the basic package. If two players share a 600 ball Caddy Jug, the basic cost drops by $3.00 for each player. If each player gets a single 500 ball caddy jug, each pays $5.00 for the extra ammo which would normally cost $10.00. If ammo for the group is handled with our Self Serve Distribution Center**, again, each player saves $3.00 off the basic player charge. Finally, if the Distribution Center** is used but there is an urgency to get the group out and at it quickly, we can use our conventional ammo system for the first load of 100 paintballs and the Self Serve system cuts in after that. That feature means there is a $2.00 saving per player as well as unlimited 4 cent ammo if players use more than the basic 300 balls.

2.5 hour event - 350 balls come in the basic package. Ball Caddy Jug sharing doesn't work here due to the ball totals but if each player gets a 500 ball Caddy, the extra cost is only $2.50 per player for 150 extra paintballs that would normally cost $7.50. If ammo for the group is handled with our Self Serve Distribution Center**,each player saves $3.50 off the basic player charge. Finally, if the Distribution Center** is used but there is an urgency to get the group out and at it quickly, we can use our conventional ammo system for the first load of 100 paintballs and the Self Serve system cuts in after that. That feature means there is a $2.50 saving per player as well as unlimited 4 cent ammo if players use more than the basic 350 balls.
Ball Caddy 
Jug System
Ball Caddy Jug Heater - several heaters are available in the safe zone.
The Self Serve Distribution System** :  Here is a wonderful Merrill Dunes innovation that fits younger team groups.  The system is fun to use and keeps ammo cost at a minimum while assuring good times in the battle field.  We know that handing out ammo, 100 or 50 balls at a time, allows the basic ammo that we supply with each player spot, to go the "time distance".  If unregulated Ball Caddies are used, ammo consumption for all ages jumps, and for young players, the usage will be dramatically expensive!  Here are static shots as well as an educational video so team leaders can figure out how to use the system before they hit ground Zero! 
The Distribution System consists of two sections of ball bottles - 15 to each section.  The ball bottles hang in a swirl of heated air.  The ammo is warm when it comes out of the box, in 500 ball bags. Then it is quickly poured into either 100 or 50 ball bottles, where it can remain warm until placed into a gun hopper.
The bags are dumped into the hopper and have no where to go other than the ball bottles.  In the photo, three 500 ball bags have been poured into the hopper which sits over 15 100 ball bottles. Notice the regular pattern of the balls in the filled bottles and notice how the three bags had 4 extra paintballs in them.
There is a vibrator that can be turned on while the balls are flowing into the bottles and then turned off once that process is complete.  On cold days, the heater is available and is thermostatically controlled to avoid overheating, so it can be safely left on.
Here you can see a case of 2000 paintballs about to be opened.  The second section of 15 ball bottles, in this case is loaded with 5 100 bottles and 10 50 bottles so that two bags of 500 balls can be poured in the hopper and be totally taken care of.
The 1000 paintballs drop into the ball bottles and we have two balls left over.  Nice to know we didn't get short changed!  On occasion, the balls log jamb slightly, more so on 100 ball bottles, but by slipping the thin and blunt nylon rod down the side of the ball bottle, the balls drop into place.  The count is exact and the 7 ball pattern at the top of the ball bottle tells you that accuracy has been achieved.  It is a satisfying system for those who enjoy perfection!
The ball bottles are easy to grab and the size is perfect for a spill free transfer of the balls into the hungry paintball hoppers!
The 50 ball bottles are painted white to make it easy to see what size of bottle you are grabbing.  We have a secondary, insulated holder that you can store packed ammo in such that a rush of demand can be handled without slowing the troops.
If there is a lull in activity, the packer can be covered with it's insulative foam cover, thus keeping the ammo warm and ready for action.
As the team troops come in for ammo, each one has a ball card on his Team Identification Neck Band and the ammo attendant simply snaps his ball card. Thus it is easy to maintain fairness.  Anyone who gets extra ammo can be charged for it.  High initial users can be advised to slow down a bit.  Our experience with our regular distribution system is that it is rare for any child to squander his ammo and be out of ammo and out of action early.  The regulated system works really well.

And this device makes it practical for groups to self serve and save group funds.  The job is highly enjoyable and you really get to know the players over the course of an evening.  Prepare to hear the latest news from the battle front on a minute by minute basis!  Manning the Distribution Centre is a bit like being an army cook handing out snacks to hungry soldiers.  You are popular and really connect to the appreciative troops.   The personality of hungry and happy little troopers flows out in a way that is quite pleasant for the popular cook!
Self Serve gives 20% savings on paintballs!
ABOVE: We offer low impact / soft hit paintball for those who want the adrenaline level slightly reduced.  Same price - but easier on the skin! Good for younger groups. Ask us for details!
Low Impact / Soft Hit Paintball