Proto Matrix Rail
Evloution III Loader
PMI 68/4500 tank
Freak back/AA Front
New Back Cap
Lever locking feedneck
Ease of Use
Size and Weight
Grips don't fit properly
I purchased the Rail as an upgrade from my Spyder. The Rail was the perfect choice for an upgrade.
When my Rail arrived I couldn't believe how small the box was. The Rail is a small gun, maybe not as small as the Mini, but it is still quite small. Which brings me to my first potential problem with the Rail: if you have large hands you may find it hard to hold the rail as the space between the foregrip and the front of the trigger guard is rather small. I have pretty small hands and with gloves on the fit is almost too snug. So if you have big hands I'd recommend you hold a Rail before you buy it to determine if it fits your hands properly.
Out of the box the Rail was in great condition. There were no defects in the manufacturing that I could find, the packaging was excellent, and the manual is large, detailed, and colorful. The body of the Rail is a "composite." While some have knocked the Rail because of this composite, I don't really care, it looks good and is very strong. After a full day of hard play there was not a single scratch or mark on the composite. I personally think there is nothing wrong with the use of composite materials, and I personally like the look and feel.
Using the manual, dissasembly of the gun takes only a few minutes. I took the gun apart, cleaned off the stock lube, and re-lubed all parts. While the Rail comes with a set of allen keys, it does not contain the one key that you need to take apart the Hyper 2 regulator, so if you want to lube the reg you have to go out to the local hardware store and buy a set of allen keys. I think it is a little odd that Proto failed to include this allen key in the box. The manual has clear and detailed instructions on how to disassemble the regulator, but Proto fails to include the tool needed to accomplish this? I think that's a bad mistake/oversight on Proto's part.
I took my Rail out to the field, gassed it up, loaded some balls in the hopper, and pulled the trigger. The gun fired perfectly with no problems. In fact, throughout four hours of playing on the first day, the Rail had exactly zero malfunctions, zero chopped balls, and zero broken balls. I took the gun out to the chrono to make sure that I was legal. FIrst shot was at 290 and the subsequent shots were all +/- 4FPS from that number. Once I turned the velocity down to 278 I decided to try out the speed of the marker. I took aim and ripped off a stream of paint at my target. The Rail snapped off a string of paint without a single problem. There was another kid at the chrono with me, and after I had stopped firing he looked at me and said "woah, what is that?" That comment pretty much summed up my first day at the field with the marker.
I decided to set the marker on PSP mode in order to better compete with the other guys in my group, many of whom had more experience than I or had equal or better markers (our group had an Ion, a Smart Parts shocker, and a WGP autococker, along with various Spyders). This brings me to another problem with the Rail: programming. In order to switch modes on the marker you have to take the grips off, pull the battery out, flip a dip switch on the board, and then go through a series of trigger pulls to get the settings you want. I think this is a little more difficult than it needs to be and suspect that if Proto really wanted to they could come up with a better system. Other than for programming the controls on the marker are very easy and intuitive to use and the LED light is bright enough to see even in the bright South Florida sun.
When I put the grip back together it reminded me of another problem with the Rail: the battery sticks up too much in the grip and forces a small gap between the grip and the frame. This can probably be fixed by shaving down the inside of the grip with a knife, but still, for a marker this nice you would expect that Proto would have designed the grip better. This can also be a serious problem for someone who plays on a field that has a lot of dirt or dust on it as the gaps are large enough to allow junk to get into the grip and come in contact with the board. I'm going to try to fix this problem by getting new grips, something I would have done anyway for personal preference reasons.
I took the marker out on the field and played for four straight hours without a single problem. The gun rips paint and really makes playing a lot more fun when compared to my Spyder. I'm not going to tell you that I went out like Rambo and had 100 kills to 0 deaths on the field, but the difference was enough that the ref on the field told me that I had gotten a lot better, much of which I attribute to the Rail. Shot accuracy was fantastic with the Rail allowing me to hit with only one or two shots targets on the other side of the field. The Rail also allowed me to squeeze shots into tighter spaces than I could ever have hoped. With about 1200 balls run through the marker I had 0 chops, 0 breaks, and 0 malfunctions. Only the Tipmann and Shocker in my group were has problem free as the Rail (the cocker had all kinds of problems while the Ion wouldn't start up, the board had to be replaced and this was only the second time the marker had ever been used). Simply put, the marker performed flawlessly. The Rail was also deadly accurate and was fine in terms of gas efficiency (the 1200 balls only required 2 refills, and I only got the second refill down to 3000PSI from 4500, I probably could have made it with only one refill). The Rail showed no marks or scratches to the often maligned composite pieces. The only problems I had on the field were the trigger and the feedneck. I didn't like the way trigger felt. But this is a personal preference issue, there is nothing wrong with the stock trigger, the pulls were fast and light with no side to side wobble. I just personally prefer something different and will not mark down for this because it is impossible to please every player all the time. The feedneck does not have a lever lock mechanism and can only be tightened using an allen key. This can be a problem if somehow your hopper falls off during a match. I will be upgrading the feedneck too, but again, this is personal preference and not a necessity.
Post-play clean-up is a breeze. The detailed directions in the manual make taking apart and caring for the Rail easy, even for someone like me who has never owned an electronic marker before. The back cap on the Rail may need to be replaced as it is plastic and if you are overzealous while cleaning your marker you can strip the threading which could cause air to leak out the back of the marker.
I strongly recommend this product. If you are a newer player looking to upgrade and advance your game, or if you are an experienced player just looking for a new marker or a backup, the Rail is an excellent piece of equipment. Even though there are a couple mistakes in this piece of equipment, it is practically impossible to have a "perfect" marker. Because of this, I give the Rail a 10 as it is a great marker for a wide range of players with very few problems -- most of my upgrades are things I want to change to make the marker better for me, they are not required upgrades to make the marker perform. When you consider what you get for the price, along with how few mistakes and problems there are with the marker, it is certainly deserving of a ten. The Rail is small, light, fast, efficient, reliable, well built, accurate, and, most importantly, fun. It rips paint in the field with no problems and no down time. I strongly recommend this product for all levels of players. I'm really looking forward to the next time I get to take my Rail out to the field.
Thanks. I was getting tired of reading comments like "oh man this thing rips, it's awesome, get it!" because that doesn't tell me anything about the marker. I would never have gotten the Rail if it weren't for a deal I could get. It would've been a huge mistake to not get the Rail.
Just so you know the rail beats out any smart parts gun out there and wgp hasnt been a competitor in a while and spider never was a competitior on the speed ball field so grats YOU have the best gun in your group.
good review but i want to clarify one thing: the reason it is such a pain to switch through firing modes is because it is designed to make it a time consuming task to prevent people from switching modes in a tournament. (semi to ramp or full) This setup is mandatory in tournaments.