Prior to the hammerhead, I've used only smooth bore barrels.
DYE Ultralite- considered to be the finest smooth bore barrel there is. Very accurate, but doesn't hold up to this.
Smart Parts Freak (stainless steel version)- very adaptable barrel system, but lacks pin point accuracy
Eclipse SL Kit: as good or better than the DYE Ultralite, these fine barrels also don't measure up to the hammerhead.
You can use just about anything, really, especially if you have the five fin set.
- Highly accurate
- Light for its construction
I first read into the hammerhead myth when I heard about Tippmann's release of their straightline barrel. having knowledge of how effective actual rifling is, I was very interested to find out just how effective it was on paintballs. After a lot of research, I finally decided to buy the barrel. Fortunately I got a good deal on e-bay. The following has been my experience with it over the past six months.
For anyone on the fence about getting the barrel, I will say this; much of the hype about these things is true. However, for the rifling to work, you MUST SIZE YOUR BORE CORRECTLY. Improper paint-to-barrel match will result in poor accuracy no matter which barrel you use. For this reason, I'd recommend, despite its higher asking price, taking the plunge and buying a five-fin kit. This adaptability is part of this barrel's strength; simply use the included bore sizer, attach the right "fin," and you'll be good to go.
If all of the above is said and done (which should be done on any barrel, anyway), the barrel is a nail-driver. I won't bother to make any fantastic game winning claims, but I did notice a slight increase in effective range over the SL kit i'd previously used. My shots were much more consistent and precise than they were before.
I'll note now that I'm using this barrel on a Planet Eclipse SL8R for speedball type games. The barrel is extremely light for a barrel of its kind (granted, it's no Ultralite or stiffi) and will keep you mobile. I'd even go so far to as to say It's much lighter than Smart Parts' freak system.
The only downside I could find about this is its high asking price. In this writer's opinion, the price asked is well worth the product received, though I would check around E-bay for these things first for a better deal.
As I have yet to break a ball in the hammerhead, I can't say anything about claims that it self cleans. I can only say that it never breaks paint.
For anyone looking for a highly adaptable, highly accurate, and long lasting barrel system, pick up a hammerhead. It is quite possibly the best barrel I've ever used.