DP Fusion - slightly more accurate and efficient
Shocker NXT - comparable accuracy and efficiency, but ROF unsatisfactory
ICD ProMaster - crappy regulator, terrible board
Ion - bad regulator, board, valve, feedneck, etc.
Impulse - ditto
Proto Matrix Rail:
- NDZ Pro Lite Frame
- NDZ Roller Trigger
- NDZ Clamping Feedneck
- NDZ Aluminum End Cap
- NDZ Aluminum Eye Covers
- NDZ Bottomline w/ On/Off
- Smart Parts Angle Drop
- Powerlyte Scepter 2007
- DXS Pulse w/ RF module
- DXS 68 CI / 4500 PSI fiber-wrapped HPA system
- NXE Dynasty Tank Cover
New barrel - Freak, Redz, or Powerlyte systems good
Aluminum end cap
Roller trigger (maybe)
Very fast board
Light-weight & ergonomic body
Slight gas hog
End cap unscrews and strips
This marker is by far one of my favorite medium-range markers, for good reason. It is outclassed by only the Dangerous Power Fusion (which doesn't even use a spool valve). The Rail has the same board and regulator as the DM7, and its specs are damn close to it as well. It is certainly an excellent choice for a frontman, even stock system. Objectively, I'll try to explain why...
BODY: The PMR is essentially a frontman's marker, and for good reason. It's size is comparable only to the Invert Mini, with a tiny profile but a huge appetite for destruction. Measuring a little over the DM7, its profile is much smaller than any other marker due to integrated technology such as the ergonomic 45 frame, low-rise feedneck (which is nonetheless big enough for your widest loaders), and a small indentation in the trigger guard which provides a nice place to hold the marker. The marker is significantly lighter than even the newest DM, but with a small downside (comparable to the DMC).
The anodization on the aluminum components is especially good, without much cause for complaint. However, Proto took a different approach to some of the weaker components. They replaced the aluminum frame, eye plates, locking feedneck, trigger, and quite mistakenly, the end cap, with a composite material that reduces the marker's weight. Actually, most parts are not affected by the implastination, but the end cap uses a heavy guage allen key, and eventually (by your second use thereof), it will either strip or become a circular allen key. I suppose my toolbox is slightly outdated, but I don't have a circular allen head wrench.
BOARD: The Rail's board is merely the same as the DM7, albeit without the option of customization with different chips. This is basically a nonissue, because its settings can be adjusted every which way, including ROF, fire mode, dwell, anti-bolt stick, debounce, and anti-FSDO (first shot dropoff). It has the ability to customize to whatever setting you desire, and it offers three firing settings (semi, PSP and Millennium modes) with a "hidden" fourth setting (NXL). Also, of note is the maximum board speed, a ROF of 30 BPS. This is higher than any other stock board on the planet, save for an Ego. So go ahead, buy that Pulse/V35, the board can certainly keep up with it.
VALVE / OPERATION: The marker operates using an integrated spool valve, a very slight modification to Smart Parts' own valve. A three-piece bolt system is operated by a solenoid which delivers air to the manifold. Once the bolt is pushed forward, a small internal outlet allows the high-pressure air still in the manifold to transverse through it and back into the bolt again, pushing the ball further forward and enabling a much lower standard operating pressure. However, as the bolt is repositioned in the manifold, air must be displaced via the end cap, and so, the marker expends some gas releasing it. Note that the end cap also draws in that air as the bolt is sent forward. This is why the marker is capable of such high cycle speeds, but at the same time consumes more gas with each stroke, as the manifold must perform work to allow air to be drawn through the end cap.
As of this moment, there are no viable options for bolt replacement. Orange and Techt offer higher efficiency bolts, but it seems noone has yet reaped the benefits of their $60 cost.
REGULATOR: This is nearly why I bought the marker in the first place. The Hyper2 Inline Regulator is perhaps the best on the planet due to its high consistency. The stock marker does not offer a guage to see this happening, but no matter, for a frontman, it would be in the way anyways. A secondary regulator (like on Intimidators) is completely unnecessary, as the Hyper2 has been proven to have the strongest in the way of regulating standard air pressure, and I believe the stock system on the Rail has a capacity of 50-450 PSI, a great asset to the player. However, the Hyper2 isn't strong enough yet to regulate carbon dioxide, so it's up to HPA to give you the power you need, The Hyper2 also has a swivel gear, so you can put your macro wherever you see fit. The Bob Long Torpedo, Palmer's Stabilizer, and Custom Products Regulator are the only ones in the same class as the Hyper2, and the Hyper2 outclasses them with its versatility and consistency.
Conversely, the Hyper2 HPR on the PMR is the only regulator on the marker. I suppose with its lower cost Dye felt the addition of an LPR might be a little bit of a cash cow. The absence of a LPR does change the mechanics of the marker; more air is required to send the bolt forward and induce the power stroke. There is far less leeway in terms of operating pressure due to the sensitivity of the solenoid. Furthermore, the spool valve operating system eats much of the energy which the expansion produces. Although cycle time is slightly improved, the absence of an LPR completely prevents the use of CO2 and can induce shootdown at high rates of fire.
BARREL: The stock Rail barrel is simply a Proto one-piece, 12", .690 bore barrel. The inside is polished to a mirror finish, which allows the ball to transverse it without fear of barrel break. It is also supremely quiet, with six-inch ports running down four points of trajectory. However, the barrel is slightly too large for most sizes of paint, and consequently, the ball isn't as fast as it could be. In addition, though the ports make the barrel very quiet, they also reduce the time in which the ball is in contact with the marker's air supply, further reducing muzzle velocity. You should definitely upgrade the stock barrel. Dye Ultralite barrels seem to work well.
AESTHETICS: Overall, I think the Rail is an exceptionally sexy marker, with beautiful 3D milling and a nice dusted exterior. There is nothing wholly wrong with the design, and it seems to have the trademark streamlined design that follows with all Dye models. It looks good on the shelf, better in the hand, and flawless on the field.
The Proto Rail is an exceptional product, especially for under $500. Although the intergration of composite parts makes the marker somewhat temperamental, a state-of-the-art board and regulator provide the marker with some of the fastest and most consistent rates of fire in the market. Even if it is a bit of a gas hog, the PMR has capabilities which outclass even some of the "better" markers, like the Shocker NXT.
9 out of 10
Last edited on Tuesday, May 15th, 2007 at 4:34 pm PST