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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
A marker's barrel directs the paintball and controls the release of the gas pocket behind it. One of the most important and popular upgrades you can do to your paintball gun is get an aftermarket barrel. Not only can you increase accuracy, but you may see a difference in range and efficiency. It can be difficult when choosing a new barrel for your gun. Many different aspects go into choosing one such as length and bore size.
What kind of barrel should I get? That is a very common question among paintballers and is tough to answer. You need to look at what style of paintball you play and choose a barrel that fits your needs accordingly. We will answer various questions in this paintball barrel buyer's guide.
Why should I get a new barrel?
Have you noticed your shots are curving? Is paint breaking inside your barrel? It may be time for an upgrade if these are true for you. Barrels are the most popular upgrades, especially for lower end paintball guns. A new barrel can do wonders for your game. You will increase your accuracy, distance and often times get better air efficiency. Some barrels can even be quieter than the stock barrel.
What barrel should I get?
There are one piece barrels, two piece barrels and barrel kits available. See what fits your needs and purchase accordingly. If you have a lower end gun such as a Tippmann or Spyder, most any barrel will be an upgrade to your game. If you are not looking to spend a whole lot of money but still want a nice barrel, you may be interested in the J&J Ceramic barrel. This barrel has a ceramic coat inside that acts as a self cleaning mechanism if a ball is chopped. The ceramic coat prevents paint from sticking inside the barrel. Just shoot a couple more and it will clean itself out. This starter barrel is available for multiple types of threads.
One Piece Barrels: One piece barrels are machined from a single piece of material, usually either aluminum or carbon fiber.
Two Piece Barrels: Two piece barrels consist of a front and back. The back attaches to the marker and is machined with a specified bore between .682 and .695 caliber. The front makes up the rest of the length and contains the porting. Fronts usually have a larger bore than the back. 2 piece barrels are supposed to be more accurate than 1 piece barrels.
Barrel Kits: There are some barrels that must use an insert or sleeve that is inserted into the barrel back. The inserts vary in bore size so that you can size whatever paint you are using perfectly. This allows your shot to be consistently accurate because your barrel bore size matches your insert bore size. Smart Parts was the original manufacturer of these inserts but have since been discontinued. They made aluminum and stainless steel inserts. The aluminum inserts could be bent or scratched easily and could change with temperature fluctuations. Stainless steel inserts were more resilient and would not change composition. TechT has recently introduced their iFIT precision barrel boring kit. The biggest obstacle with bore sizing paint is that balls are being manufactured progressively smaller and the bore sizes do not exist. This is where the iFIT comes in handy. Their 6 piece kit includes bore sizes of .670, .673, .676, .679, .682, and .685. There is also a 9 piece kit available that has one bore size smaller and two larger.
Why is bore size important?
The bore is the interior diameter of the barrel. The bore must properly match the type of paint being fired. A mismatched selection will result in velocity variations, inaccuracy and possible ball chopping.
What are the advantages of a carbon fiber barrel?
Carbon fiber is stronger than steel and carbon does not change with temperature fluctuations. There are very accurate and extremely light compared to other barrels. A while ago certain carbon fiber barrels were not supposed to be used with any fuzzy barrel swabs as the fibers would get caught in the barrel. Since then, companies have made drastic improvements and now you are able use not only rubber squeegees, but swabs as well.
What size barrel should I get?
Most tournament speedball players will tell you a 14 inch barrel will give you the most accuracy and distance. Most high end guns such as Planet Eclipse Egos and Dye DMs come standard with a 14 inch 2 piece barrel which leads us to believe that it is true. Choosing the right length barrel really all depends on your style of play though. Longer barrels are usually quieter than shorter barrels but often need more gas to propel a paintball making it more inefficient. 20 inch or longer barrels are often times referred to as "sniper barrels".
Most barrels are ported or vented. Porting consists of the holes on the sides of a barrel near the tip. These holes serve primarily to reduce the sound of a gun firing by allowing air to gradually escape from the barrel rather than in one load burst at the tip. In general, more porting means a quieter barrel, but more porting also requires more air to fire the ball and decreases gun efficiency. Porting is sometimes spiraled or straight, though the differences we have found are pretty minimal.
If you still haven't found a barrel that fits you, you may be interested in a specialized barrel. Tippmann's Flatline barrel is the only barrel on the market that puts a backspin on the paintball. It has a slightly curved barrel which applies centrifugal force to the ball creating the backspin. It offers increased accuracy but most of all distance. Targets that would normally be out of range are now achievable. The Flatline Barrel System adds 100 feet of flat trajectory.
BT Designs have developed a barrel that can literally shoot around corners. The Apex barrel has an adjustable tip that can be used to curve the paintball. Just adjust the ramp switch to choose the desired level of curve and twist the barrel any way you like to attain left hooks, right hooks, drop shots and long flat trajectory shots. This is a popular barrel in woodsball and is commonly available for Tippmann and Spyders markers.
Tippmann modifications have become very popular. We have barrels available by Maddog Designs and BT Designs that can turn your ordinary Tippmann 98 or A5 into an M-16 or AK-47.