How to Pick The Best Barrel For Your Paintball Gun
The measure of resistance against a paintball’s movement down a paintball gun is called friction. In paintball gun barrels, the lower the friction, the better. The more friction, the less gas efficiency, less velocity and more ball breakage. Choose a barrel for your paintball gun with the least amount of friction for the best performance.
An exception to this rule is a barrel system called the Tippmann Flatline, which relies on slight friction to cause backspin on the paintball and thus increasing its range/distance. These barrels are amazing in their ability to shoot farther and straighter, however only work on Tippmann paintball guns.
Barrel composition depends on individual taste and the position you play. Basically, there are three kinds of barrels: brass, stainless steel and aluminum; all have their pros and cons. Brass is heavy, not as durable as the other two materials and requires more maintenance, but it has a very low friction quotient (meaning it has low resistance to paintballs).
Stainless steel is the heaviest material and can change the balance of your marker; this should be a consideration regarding the position you play. Comparatively, it has the second lowest friction quotient, however is also most durable.
For the most part, aluminum is the material of choice. It is lightweight and inexpensive; however its friction quotient is the highest. Aluminum barrels are the best all-purpose and the most commonly used; however, durability can be an issue as aluminum barrels can bend and break.
The best option is to buy a barrel that has a combination of two materials; for example, aluminum and brass or stainless steel. These are called hybrid barrels; the Dye Broomstick barrel is an example of this. The Broomstick is a two piece barrel that uses a stainless steel base with an aluminum tip. Barrels like this are great alternatives but can often be a bit more expensive than the one-piece, however most players agree the improved performance is worth it.
The length of your paintball gun barrel is also an important consideration, especially regarding the player’s position. A longer barrel (16-18+ inches) usually offers added accuracy, and reduces noise level, but may impede a frontman’s movement and hiding ability. For ease of movement, shorter barrels (10-12 inches) are best for the frontman, while sniper paintball guns are often seen with the longer 18+ inch barrels for their accuracy and reduced noise.
Yet another important consideration in the accuracy of your paintball gun barrel is the type of paintball used. You can go way out of your way to upgrade your barrel, but if you’re not using a quality enough paintball, your barrel will hardly make a difference. Unfortunately, not all paintballs are alike. The best way to determine which brand of paintball is best for the barrel you’re using is to try multiple types to see which works best.
Overall, there is no specific barrel for each paintball marker, paintball or intention. Like a paintball gun, a barrel must fit the player’s position, style and budget. For the best performance, use a barrel made of aluminum or low friction materials. Also, try to match a good brand of paintball that works best with the barrel you choose. Purchasing an upgraded barrel for your marker will definitely improve your shooting ability and is worth spending the extra money on.
About the Author
Dan Levesque is the owner and operator of a successful online paintball retail store, ChoicePaintballGuns.com. He also owns and operates several other successful businesses and is the treating doctor at a full time chiropractic clinic. He is also a professional powerlifter and trains several top level strength athletes.