But I've shot all kinds of paint through it
Hello fellow paint flingers! So, we've all heard of the elusive, ultimately accurate barrel. Legends are spoken in hushed tones in dark corners of fields around the country. The shining epitome of paintball marker barrel perfection that we've all heard about but knew would never come to pass has arrived. Read on, and listen.
My roommate purchased this barrel in the summer of 2004. At the time Hammerhead didn't have any A-5 fins available so they included an autococker adapter with his three fin set. He boasted of his new barrel and showed many a video of incredible feats being accomplished by players who were using it. Unfortunately for my roommate, this is where his enthusiasm ended. The first time he got to try out his barrel, it broke paint on the second shot. Then the fifth. Then the eighth. You see where this is going. There wasn't an instance where he didn't break paint in his barrel when he tried it. Needless to say he was extremely upset and frustrated with this useless and expensive barrel he had wasted his time and money on. However, thanks to the man who first introduced me to this wonderful sport, the story doesn't end there. My other paintball cohort purchased the new 5 fin system for his 98 custom, and was delighted with his results. At his suggestions, my roommate sent his whole setup back to the company with a letter explaining his complaints and requesting any help the manufacturer's could supply. The same day that his barrel arrived, a new one had been sent out to him. Apparently there was a batch of around 40 fin sets that had been made that were erroneous, and Hammerhead was glad to fix the problem for NO charge. Not only that, they sent him a 5 fin setup instead of the original 3 he had purchased. He had his new setup in under a weeks time from when he sent his barrel off. Impressive to say the least. Over the next few months I witnessed his game improve and it got me thinking that I might like to partake of this barrely goodness. The opportunity arose at this years (2005) Oklahoma D-Day. The Hammerhead guys had a table set up in one of the tents and low and behold, they were selling full setups for $50 under their sticker price. I took the plunge, and let me say that I'm oh-so-very happy I did.
The barrel comes in a sturdy carrying case made of black abs plastic with the groovy "Hammerhead" logo embazoned on the side in yellow. There are two opening latches, both with lock holes to secure your barrel when not in use. Upon opening the case, you see contoured foam snuggly holding your barrel, fins, ball sizer, and thread lube in place. The barrel itself is constructed of a solid metal (I believe its aluminum).
The barrel isn't too heavy at all, especially when compared to some other barrels such as the Dye stainless steel barrel or a flatline.
Due to the reverse porting at the end of the barrel, most of the sound is actually pushed back at you, the firer. This sometimes makes you believe that its very loud, and is therefore a disadvantage. Don't be fooled. Let someone shoot the marker in your direction from 20 yards away and you'll be amazed at the sound transferrence.
The real test of a barrel. The question that we all want to know: How accurate is it? Let me tell you. I have never fired a more accurate barrel aside from real firearms. Period. Thats all there is to it. When I turn on my site, I hit EXACTLY where I aim 9 out of 10 times, with the tenth only slightly deviating. I was shooting holes in the leaves of the tree 25 yards away from my porch like a cowboy shooting the ace of spades. I've shot Boomsticks, Freaks, Empires, Tippmann Werks and Flatlines, Armson's, Dyes and J&J's, and NOTHING comes close. At close range (20-30 ft) I got 10 shots with 3in grouping. At mid range (30-60 ft) I got 10 shots with 5-6in grouping. And at long range (60-150 ft) I got 10 shots with 8in grouping. These tests were done using PMI Marballizer paint using the .683 fin.
I've mostly shot Marballizer through it, but I bought a case of Draxxus and Blue Streak to test other paint quality. Through the bore sizing, you can shoot almost any brand of paint without fuss or deviation. All paint shot straight and true without a single break.
This is an expensive setup, no two ways about it. The 5 fin setup with barrel and case will run you about $200 or so from the company. Thats more expensive than most entry level markers. But what price do you put on perfection. What would you pay to be able to hit your opponent with only one squeeze of the trigger, knowing full well that a second shot won't be needed?
If there is a category that outshines the accuracy of this little baby it would be this one. As I mentioned earlier, the company sent a new setup to my roommate free of charge. Most of us would say that's nothing to boast about; that the company owed it to my friend for selling him damaged goods in the first place. And of course you would be right. But how many people can get an e-mail response from a company the same day you sent in your question? Or actually get an honest-to-God live human being with an accomplished vocabulary on the phone when you call them up? And here's another wonder. My roommate upgraded to a WGP VF Tactical Autococker this year after D-Day. He emailed the company wondering what cost he would be looking at to replace his A-5 fins for autococker ones, and they said that he shouldn't worry about it. All he needs to do is send in his old ones, and they will send him a brand new set of cocker fins for no cost. Its been over a year since he originally purchased his barrel and he is still getting this kind of treatment. This company stands behind their product, and they have every right to do so, and be proud of it. If your barrel isn't shooting like what I've described, then send it back to them explaining your concern. Believe me, they'll do EVERYTHING they can to correct the issue and to get you back out on the field with their barrel.
In conclusion, this is the most accurate barrel on the market today. And with the superb customer service of Hammerhead standing behind it, its worth every penny of the retail price. Save your allowance, bug your friends, beg your parents and loved ones, do whatever it takes for you to own one, because when you do, you'll be like me and every other Hammerhead owner out there. I feel almost like I'm cheating when I play with this barrel and I mourn for the poor people about to be shot out by me. Then I chuckle slightly.