Etch-Marc Thunderbird [Archive] - RetrieverTraining.Net - the RTF

: Etch-Marc Thunderbird

01-02-2005, 08:40 AM
Has anyone seen, used or heard anything about this new product?

01-02-2005, 12:35 PM
Has anyone seen, used or heard anything about this new product?

Can't wait to find out more info. on it. I just saw it advertised in the current HRC 'Hunting Retriever Mag.' Do you know what the costs is?

01-02-2005, 01:48 PM
Their website has them listed as:
4 shooter- $599, 8 shooter- $879, 12 shooter -$1069

01-23-2005, 08:51 AM
Has anyone tried one yet? How does it compare with the Maxs? Any idea how they are able to eliminate the need for oxygen and the regulaor for the propane - just curious.... if it still works as well - what an improvement!!

01-24-2005, 01:37 PM
I have been training with a person who has one. It throws a nice mark about 25 yards or so. It uses a dogtra remote release. The thunderbird uses mapp gas to shoot the bumpers. The sound when the bumper is launched, sounds like a real gun. I like the bumpers it throws too, the middle of the bumper has softer plastic that the dog can hold better. The softer plastic is nice on cold days.


01-29-2005, 09:01 AM
I have not seen or used one yet, but I understand that TB uses a new a launch procedure (for lack of a better term)... you push button once to "fuel" it, then push again to launch. I've really liked my Max5, but from a fuel/charging standpoint, the TB sounds like it would be nice.

Can anyone else post up about their usage experience from the new TB. I'm particularily interested in hearing about, reliability and consistency - in otherwords does it misfire much, and if not are the bumpers being launched approximately the same distance on each mark.

Also, what do users think about the ability to adjust the arc and distance?

All comments will be appreciated.

02-03-2005, 04:11 PM

Sally Ann Earl-Costello
02-24-2005, 08:40 PM
Has anybody tried it (the Thunderbird) in cold weather?

We had problems with the Max in cold weather, but I liked them otherwise. Would really like to be able to use Maxwell in cold weather, and hoping the Thunderbird will be the ticket!

Anthony Heath
03-16-2005, 11:25 AM
Any new insights from anyone?

03-22-2005, 07:24 AM
Would like to hear more on this one. Will it work with my sport dog transmitter?

Cray Stephenson
03-23-2005, 08:07 AM
Would like to hear more on this one. Will it work with my sport dog transmitter?

At this time, Sportdog isn't making any remote release electronics, so it wouldn't work with your transmitter.

03-24-2005, 07:27 AM
Wondering about cold weather also. Since the the time I really need it is cold weather when nobody is training.

03-26-2005, 06:27 PM
Do they make a sound for it? Like BB has the advanced sound with the duck quack.

chprblst (Jim)
03-27-2005, 10:14 PM

Tim S.
03-30-2005, 11:20 AM
The new unit works on the same principal as the Maxx Blaster 1000. Step one, A priming mechanism loads a chamber with gas. Step two, an electric firing system ignites the gas creating combustion in the chamber which discharges the bumper.

Because of the design cold weather should not have an affect on the system. They are new and time will tell what problems exist with the unit like anything mechanical.

If they are anything like the system in the Max Blaster, timing is critical. To little gas and not a good throw, this is supposed to be self regulating with an adjustment to increase or decrease the gas to change the throw distance?

I used the Maxx 5000 for as long as I could stand them and always had problems with the plate rotation system, inconsistency of the firing mechanism and hoses deteriorating and gas leaking. Maybe they fixed all that.

It will be interesting to see what develops with this new training equipment.


03-30-2005, 02:20 PM
So Tim what are you using now for training?

Tim S.
03-30-2005, 06:34 PM
I use BB 12 shooters, I have 4 of them and just received my upgrades. I am happy with them and still own 2 Max 5000 launchers that are collecting dust.

I am not against the thunderbird at all, I am just happy with what I have and how they work.


03-30-2005, 06:59 PM
Would you rather spend the extra money and get the BB or spend a little less and get the thunderbird?

Tim S.
03-30-2005, 07:39 PM
That reads like a loaded question. Personally I can only base my decission on experience.

I train anywhere from 20 to 30 dogs a day so I have to have dependability. I did not get that from the Max 5000 units.
The BB's have given me few problems. I had some bumper blow up problems do to design, they replaced everyone and charged me nothing. Since then they have redesigned the bumpers and I do not hear of people having as many problems. I have wore out about 20 servos and they replaced everyone of them. Speakers have gone bad and they were replaced. I have sent the Max 5000 units into be repaired 3x, it cost me shipping there and back and the parts that "wore out" were not covered under any warranty so I paid for them as well. I have had three plates come apart on the Maxx 5000 from combustion. There response was just take them to a welder and have them repaired. Another cost to me.

I do not know if they operate any differently now then back then, some people may be able to respond. BB had some problems with customer service for awhile but I feel thay have that handled now. Most of the major hunting dog retailers carry the Bumperboy's but few if any carrie the Etchmark product to my knowledge. there are people who swear by Etchmark I am sure but I am content with BB.

BB has spent a lot of money in design, and as the ole saying goes you get what you pay for. Also, with the upgrades now and in the futuer, diversifacation in general, with Bumperboy you can start small and increase as you need to.

I would venture to say that the BB's you see for sale are because people are upgrading or not using them. Thats just my opinion.

If your budget allows you to purchase BB's then go for it. You may not be happy with one unit if you get into multiple marks, unless you always have someone helping you? its nice to set up my 4 units and run through 12 dogs before I have to rebird.


03-31-2005, 05:11 PM


04-05-2005, 07:44 PM
Im still not sure which one to get. The Etch marc thunderbird 4 shooter is cheaper than the BB 4 shooter. But I am still going to have to buy the release system for the etch marc which would cost a round a new BB 4 shooter all together. Which release system would you prefer the tri tronics pro series or the dogtra release. I want the dogtra RR2 or something like that where it has a transmitter and 2 recievers. Any good. Or I could go ahead and buy a BB 4 shooter for the cost of the etch marc ready to go. The people at etch marc keep telling me to get a tri tronics pro series release system so I can work 2 things at once, like the turntable. Which would you prefer the dogtra or the TT? Why?

Lance Vines
04-18-2005, 01:55 PM
I have 2 thunder bird 12 shooters. I sold my max 5000 to get these. They are great. They are easier to use, and seem to be a lot better product. I want to get one more but just can't afford it right now. They give you a really nice mark with the angle of throw being very ajustable. I have been using mine for about 3 weeks now and havn't had any problems. I would recommend them to anyone.

Lance Vines
Duck Band Retrievers

Matt Griffiths
04-18-2005, 03:00 PM

I'm interested in the T-birds, good to here from somebody who's got them and using them. I have spoken to etch-marc on the phone, and one thing that concerns me is the time it takes to launch them. If I understand correctly you press the release once to "arm" the unit, then have to wait up to 10 seconds and press the release again to launch a bumper. One of the reasons I want a multiple bumper launcher, is for younger dogs, to be able to launch a second bumper while the dog is in route to the mark, to maintain momentum. Do you have any feed back on the launch sequence, can you fire multiple bumpers one after the other?

Lance Vines
04-19-2005, 04:02 PM
Once you launch your mark you can go ahead and hit the button again. This will be getting the next one ready. You can shoot another off before the full 8 seconds you just will not get as far of a mark as the first one. It is not the perfect set up for what you are talking about but I have had not problems. I just reset before I send my dog if I think they may need help. Then in just a matter of seconds I can launch another one even if it isn't as nice of a mark.

Kim Moses
04-21-2005, 08:38 AM
My daughter in law just purchased a 12 shooter. They work off of propane. The weight of it is heavy, best if you can drive to where you want to set it up. Compairing it to the bumper boys we use it does make a loud shotgun sound, and you don't have to reload shells each time. but already with having it for only two weeks we have seen it is missing and not shooting every time. For the weight difference alone I like the BB much better also like being able to change from duck to goose on BB.

05-11-2005, 07:22 AM
So.... how are they working? Any problems?

05-12-2005, 01:06 PM
I have been using my four shot version of the Thunderbird for four months now, and as a former Max 5000 user, the thunderbird is great, not one problem with it, and i had over 300 launch's on one propane cylinder. It is well built, easy to transport, and much smaller than the old Max 5000. I am already planning to purchase another one. :)