Tippmann Custom 98 (factory camo)
J+J 14" ceramic barrel
Dark Horizon Titanium Hammer
Palmer Stabilizer (mounted below handle)
ACI High Pressure Remote coil
9, 12, and 16 oz CO2 tanks
XBall Bronze worked well, even in the extreme heat.
Draxxus Frostbite did NOT work at all (stay away)
RPS Stingers seemed to work well. (only put a few through however)
-Ability to control a portion of the field
-Modification required for Cyclone
-Breaks in barrel severely effect performance
-Installation and breakdown take time
I read just about all of the reviews, and clearly two camps on the Flatline, either you love it or hate it. I decided it was worth investing in one. I went in fully understanding the shortcomings of the product, but also the potential. For the record, after a couple of uses, I LOVE IT. Let me tell you why and what you need to know before you dive in.
Two different examples of play where the flatline helped my team win the round:
On a split field, where half was a hill with lots of places to find cover, and the other half was more of a "no mans" land. We sent all but three of us into the hills to do close up battle and the rest of us "guarded" no mans land. The opposing force sent 5 into our part of the field, but they never got very far. As soon as I could see them, even in the far cover I could reach out and touch them. No one wanted to venture out into lesser cover knowing I could get them out from that range. We took the round, partially because we were able to commit more resources to the actual fight, rather then having equal numbers defending the other side of the open field.
On a more traditional field with classic bunkers, we were moving up the left side which was a bit more dense and better suited for up close engagements. I was actually wishing for my standard non-flatline A-5 at that moment, until I saw one of their players make a fast dash flank at the opposite side of the field. I let go a hail of balls right into his path, and because I didn't have to "arc" them, I was actually able to lead him not unlike the way a duck e hunter leads with a shotgun. He called himself out, and I didn't really know I got him out until after the round when (covered in my orange paint) he said "who got me out and where the h*ll were you?!?!?!"
OK so here is what you need to know with the Custom 98 flatline.
The installation is somewhat time consuming and has to be done correctly. The adapter has to put in so it is completely flush. The manual says "crack the case" No. You put the adapter in with the two halves open to make sure its flush. Like anything else worthwhile, its a pain and takes some practice and understanding to fit it properly. If you don't have patience, you won't succeed. When you close up your clam shells, its going to be tight. Yea, the front site spring is now even harder to keep in place when your re-assembling it. The plasitc shroud goes over pretty easily, however Cyclone users will need to grind plasitic to make that fit correctly. That was a bit of a pain. At this point the barrel goes in. Be aware, THE BARREL WILL NEED ADJUSTMENT LATER ON!!!! Do be sure to give a tap with a soft mallet to be sure it seats properly. No your ready to tune.....
Tuning (yes you have to do this)
Take your marker out somewhere you can gage the flight path of the ball. I shot mine from a field into a stand of trees that wasn't too dense. Shoot some rounds into the trees, to gage the path. If they tend to curve off, loosen the adapter and twist the barrel left and / or right to straighten out the path. When you get close smaller adjustments will be required. If you can't find the sweet spot make sure you aren't tilting the marker, that will affect the trajectory. This takes about 30 mins to 45 mins, so don't get frustrated! Once you have your sweet spot, indicate on the barrel where it is, so when you disassemble it, you know how to put it back. Chrono the marker to somewhere between 265 and 280. I shoot at 265 to 270 and it works fine.
Wall Mart cheap paint has no place in a Flatline. The trick is thick shelled balls with very smooth seams. I used XBall Bronze and didn't have one break. Because the flatline is hard on paintballs, fresh(er) paint is a must!!! Also if you play in winter, even fresh paint gets brittle. A guy I know uses "Arctic Ice" in his flatline and that works well when its cold.
Edit: Arctic Ice is becoming hard to find. Do NOT put Draxxus Frostbite through this barrel!!!! Your shots will curve off to never never land. The pattern I am starting to see is any paintballs with a shiny coating seem to have trouble in this barrel. As mentioned above, I tried some RPS Stingers for winter play and they seemed to fly pretty well.
Other and general comments
You have to play with marker completely level. Tilting the marker will make the balls do weird things. Sometimes you can use that to your advantage. Breaks are bad, and really affect the way the ball flies. (Thus why good paint is a must...) Always carry the squeegee, just in case. If you get a break and have the opportunity, try to wash it out before playing again. It does matter.... This thing is LOUD. Its not a stealthy thing.... But you can use that as an intimidation factor when the other team knows you can get them. Even the best paint will give you an occasional zinger to the left or right. Just know it happens and learn to live with it. Because all balls have seams it can't be completely avoided.
I recommend this to anyone why wants an advantage on their long game, and is willing to work and take the time to get it right. Anyone who needs instant gratification will not like this upgrade. The accuracy is NOT perfect, and it does NOT shoot as straight as a rifle on every shot. It does however give you the ability to slip a couple into a bunker that a traditional barrel would have trouble with, (note: arc) and gives you a significant distance advantage. Also good for defending areas with limited resources.
9 out of 10
Last edited on Thursday, November 22nd, 2007 at 8:15 am PST