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mallen7818 Monday, April 21st, 2003
Period of
Product Use:
Less than a month717 of 736 people found this review helpful.

6 months
Products Used:
14 Inch Smart Parts Barrel - Increased accuracy over the stock barrel, but not in the same category as the Flatline.
Marker Setup: Tippmann 98 Custom with Response Trigger and Folding Stock
Tippman Flatline Barrel System
Tippmann Expansion Chamber
Drop Forward
Anti-Siphon System
Best - RPS Marbs, RPS Premium or RPS Big Ball
Good - Diablo Dusk
Fair - I-Balz, Zap Sport
Poor - Brass Eagle
Strengths: Accuracy, Distance, Zone Control and Intimidation
Weaknesses: Installation, Price and Paint Requirements
Review: The Flatline System for the M98 Custom is a personal choice for most players. The advantages will far outweigh the disadvantages for most recreational players.

I would recommend this system for any player that has prior military experience or training as a MUST have upgrade. The difference between a regular barrel (excluding the stock barrel because it's useless) and the Flatline is the difference between shooting a 9MM and an M-16 when playing paintball. The Flatline gives you a MUCH better chance to "reach out and touch someone" than you get with a non-Flatline system on your M-98.

For younger players, I would recommend that you borrow a M-98 with the Flatline before you go and purchase it. It improves the balance of the marker by giving you a forward position to place your hand, but it may be too "long" for younger players or players with short arms.

Fact - Better Distance/Accuracy

The Flatline offers users the opportunity to reach targets at a greater distance than is possible with conventional technology. While I have yet to experience the "awesome" range increase that some users claim, I am easily able to shoot an offhand 12 inch group at 135 feet (yes we measured) placing 24 out of 25 balls (RPS Marbs) within a 12 inch grouping at that distance.

Fiction - Eats Paintballs

The Flatline doesn't "chop" any more balls than any other barrel if you use the correct paint. I enjoy testing things and on our most recent country outing, I fired 6000 paintballs to test various paint in the barrel (having read so many reviews about what a vegi-matic this system was.)

1000 RPS Marbs
500 Single Shot (Zero Breaks)
500 3-5 Round Burst (1 Break)

1000 RPS Premium
500 Single Shot (Zero Breaks)
500 3-5 Round Burst (Zero Breaks)

1000 RPS Big Ball
500 Single Shot (1 Break)
500 3-5 Round Burst (2 Breaks)

1000 Diablo Dusk
500 Single Shot (3 Breaks)
500 3-5 Round Burst (Zero Breaks)

As you can see in the decent to premium paint range the Flatline broke 7 out of 4000 paintballs. I didn't sort the bags or look for mishapen rounds, I just dumped them in and fired away.

1000 View Loader I-Balz
500 Single Shot (1 Break)
500 3-5 Round Burst (5 Breaks)

500 Zap Sport
250 Single Shot (Zero Breaks)
250 3-5 Round Burst (7 Breaks)

The lesser quality paint was much more prone to breakage when firing rapidly . A friend of mine had box of Brass Eagle Ammo that he wanted to get rid of, so I bought it from him for a few dollars. When trying to use BE ammo, the breakage was unbelievably bad.

When you break a ball in the barrel, it does affect the accuracy of the marker. I was unable to to consistantly hit anything past 70 feet after breaking a ball in the barrel, but cleaning the barrel with the supplied tool takes less than 20 seconds.

Fiction - The Balls "Float"

I have a friend that can dispell this myth in a hurry. I've read that the balls appear to be moving slower because of the lack of arc. I can't attest to that, must have lost my physics degree somewhere, but I can tell you that my friend said the balls coming from my gun towards him looked "slow and lazy" so he decided to catch one. He was off the field icing his hand shortly after that, he also said the next round that I shot (the one that hit his mask) hurt quite a bit. Some people say the balls from the Flatline travel so slowly that they can be dodged. At 280 FPS the ball leaves the barrel approaching 190 MPH, a human being standing 60 feet away has 0.20 seconds from the time the ball is fired until impact. How far can you move in 0.20 seconds? Your mind can't even register that the trigger was pulled in that amount of time, so I'm dubious about claims that people "dodge" paintballs.

If you're shooting a longer distance, the ball actually gets there first. At 80 feet my friend with a M-98 has to aim slightly high to make sure the ball reaches the target. We stood an equal distance from a target as someone counted down and pulled the trigger at the same time. His ball had to arch through the air (thus traveling farther) while mine went straight downrange. My ball hit the plywood noticiably before his.

Fact - At Extreme Range Balls from a Flatline May Not Break

This seems like a no brainer to me, but a big deal to some people. Yes, if you're shooting at something 175 feet away (even something hard) the ball from the Flatline may not break (I'd say one out of two do though.) But since you CAN'T hit something that far away without the Flatline a 50% chance of breaking on the target seems like a huge improvement over a 0% chance.

Fiction - Maintenance is a Problem

If you have the wit to work on/clean a real firearm, the M-98 with a Flatline presents about as much challenge to maintain as pumping gas. I'm no mechanical genius, but I can break down the whole system in under two minutes.

Fact - Installation Takes Care and Concentration

To install the system correctly, you need to take your time and follow the directions. The only problem I had was the spring clip that provides tension to the front sight (and the bar that allows you to swing the feed arm down) kept popping out of place. Poor design on Tippmann's part, really ZERO to do with the Flatline because it's part of the stock M-98 marker.

Fiction - The Barrel Uses more CO2.

I won't even dignify that complaint with a response.

Fiction - The System Makes the Gun Too "Big/Heavy"

This is likely true for players of short stature, I'm 5'9" and it's not a problem for me. As for it keeping you from "taking corners" here's some advice. Most paintballers I've seen move around the corner and follow with the marker. The head/shoulder of the player comes around the corner and then the marker is aligned for the shot. In the Army we used to call that "dumb." Point your marker down (not up) and move it around the corner first, as you bring your leg around snap the gun up into firing position as your shoulder clears the obstacle and bring your head around and crouch. If it's clear proceed, if not, from the crouch you can make the decision to engage (your marker is up and ready to fire) or retreat behind cover. Crouching lowers your profile. If you watched any of the Iraqi war coverage, you saw how the soldiers moved around corners. Weapon first, snap it up, bend slightly, look, fire/retreat/advance. I know for a fact that an M-16 or even a cut down M-4 is longer than a Tippmann with a Flatline.

As to it being to heavy, maybe if your 10 or really weak it is, for me nope and I doubt it is for most players either.
Conclusion: This system allows "Zone Control" on an unheard of level in the arena of paintball. Since adding this to my M-98C, I have the ability to control everything within 75 feet of my position. I mean CONTROL. Nobody gets within that arc unless I let them or I don't see them. I can shoot through a fork in a tree at 75 feet, first time every time, if you're within 75 feet and in the open, you might as well save yourself the bruise and call yourself out because you're going to get painted, period. If you're farther away than that, I can still pin you down and paint you if I throw enough balls your direction. The system takes experience to use properly. It takes patience to find the right velocity setting to propel the balls at 280 to 300 FPS. The system requires a higher grade of paint and is thus more expensive to operate. I am no longer allowed to play on defense when we play capture the flag because I could sit back nice and safe and pop anyone that gets close to the flag, so I'm relegated to offense only.

I would not say this system is for everyone, but it's made me a more capable player and it intimidates the other team more than you can imagine to know that they still have 20 to 50 feet to cover before they can get an accurate shot at me even though my balls are breaking around them.

Recommend for Adults with Military Training, Hunting Experience or individuals that are more comfortable with a marker that fires/feels closer to a real weapon than a shiny ray gun.

Not Recommended for Children, Individuals under 5'6" or people that like to spray and pray.

I'm giving this product a 9 because it does have its flaws, but the good truly outweighs the bad. Matched with a R/T it's almost an unfair advantage.
9 out of 10

Review Comments
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sniper111387 Saturday, May 3rd, 2003 | 5:51 pm PST
i found this review very mean.
i am 5'3" and 15 years old
and use on average 45-100 paintballs in a game
i use sniper like tactics
that is why i found this part very mean
(Not Recommended for Children, Individuals under 5'6" )
Last edited on Saturday, May 3rd, 2003 at 6:16 pm PST

Black_Ice_4 Monday, May 5th, 2003 | 10:56 am PST
I liked this reveiw, its honest and fair toward the flatline. sniper111387 needs to go and finish school, grow up, then try to talk like a man.

AgentOrange Saturday, May 10th, 2003 | 11:26 am PST
Funny thing is I'm not very intimidated when i see the flatline to say the least, in fact if there on the other team, i count them as having one less player considering they'll be out cleaning it in short time.

spydah_07 Thursday, May 22nd, 2003 | 7:52 pm PST
nice, thorough review. i just think there are alot of other barrels that get pretty much the distance and easily the accuracy, that are in fact cheaper. so when i look at someone with the flatline, i think they could have spent their money a little wiser. it does indeed get its job done, but i like my all-american ($45) i dont know if they make it for tippman though :( i got one for my agressor and Electra

ByPermitOnly Sunday, June 1st, 2003 | 8:30 pm PST
A good, informative and TRUE review. For "AgentOrange": Whatever! You must be a cocker fanboy or a completely useless, ignorant and newbie paintballer to count a player out cause they have a flatline. You're going to find yourself getting shot out BY the flatline.

Chris253- Friday, June 13th, 2003 | 12:28 am PST
This review was very usefull and true. I am a sniper in the military and if you want to try to simulate combat as much as possible, you need the 98 with a flatline barrel. The feel of the 98 alone will set all you old timers back to the M-16. I would take a tippmann with a flatline over an expensive shiny cocker toy any day.

porcupine Sunday, July 27th, 2003 | 10:36 pm PST
This is most likely the best da*n review iv ever read, it was informative, true, and fair towards tippmans. Plus i learned a new way to turn corners! I agree with ByPermitOnly,
to count someone out because they have a flatline you've gotta be an idiot, when i see someone with a flatline i think of the team as having an extra player. Thanks for the tip bro!

P8nthavcmkr Tuesday, August 5th, 2003 | 1:49 pm PST
Agent Orange you are an idiot the flatline does not break balls at all. I shot around 800 didnt break 1 ball. Just wait you well end up getting shot by one.

Pumpactionman Monday, September 15th, 2003 | 3:05 pm PST
Man, don't you guys wish all reviews were THAT infromative? That'd be great! You'd only need to read 1 or 2. My buddies got a flatline, and it DOES look like they're floating, but I garuntee you that they're not, it's just like Mallen said, it'll hurt just like anything else, and hit you like anything else. The flatline is a good barrel, and it was a wicked sick reveiw.

tippmanns rule Tuesday, September 30th, 2003 | 3:53 pm PST
This review was AWESOME!!! There is so much information, and i wish every review was this detailed. "Agent Orange" ive had the flatline for 4 months, and ive probably shot at least 9,000 rounds through it, and i have NEVER broken a ball EVER!!!!! so dont say anything unless you actually have a flatline!

pbjunkie1220 Thursday, October 2nd, 2003 | 11:21 am PST
Originally posted by AgentOrange
Funny thing is I'm not very intimidated when i see the flatline to say the least, in fact if there on the other team, i count them as having one less player considering they'll be out cleaning it in short time.

yea me either im not intimidated by guys the FL barrels cause i know that im better then most of those "sniper" wannabes.your all a bunch of newbs if you think a barrel or gun is going to make you better at paintball. the Fl is junk man. its a waste of $100
Last edited on Thursday, October 2nd, 2003 at 3:14 pm PST

dariunas Sunday, October 5th, 2003 | 12:21 pm PST
I must say, this is the most thorough review I've read yet. I couldn't really ask for more information and all ground over it's functioning is covered from all angles. The accuracy of the information about the barrel itself seems extremely plausable. Definitely the most helpful review I've read. Very nice

tippmann-mania Tuesday, October 28th, 2003 | 4:40 pm PST
An unbelievable review. Thanks!!! This is the review i used to base my decision to buy the flatline on. And i must say i am quite happy with my purchase.
Thanks again!!!

clecko54 Monday, November 3rd, 2003 | 7:38 pm PST
I considered getting a flatline, but then got a cocker and then an angel. Those gund need a barrel kit. If you play in the woods alone, get the flatline. Speedball fields make the flatline unneccesary. But it seems the flatline gets good range, but my experiences show a lack of accuracy at a longer range. But I must hand it to the reviewer for the detail, but the comments show a lot of hostility to non-woodsballers. What do you all say we accept each other's comments and not call them idiots and newbs? If someone doesn't like the flatline so be it. Let them not like it and don't flame them for it.

CHikI MaN Saturday, November 8th, 2003 | 9:21 am PST
this was one of the best reviews i have read, i have a 98 stealth and the flatline rules all i think agent orange should come face me some time and see how bad the flatline really is.

TippJoeman Friday, November 14th, 2003 | 7:51 pm PST
Thanks for the review... It has swayed my descion on getting a flatline... Thanx!

supersoaka Thursday, December 11th, 2003 | 3:37 pm PST
GREAT REWIEW but as for the height requirement on the barrel i hope they will sell it to me since i am only 5 foot 5 or 5 foot 6 man i might have to get my dad to buy it fro me HAHHAA might i ask wwhy height would have to do with anything ide think more along the lines of reach? you said the BE painbt chopped was bad how bad?? i use draxxus recsport i didnt know they where end run paintballs till after i got 2000 of em but they shoot great and i havnt busted any of the 300 ive shot so far... are superswirls good?


cockercane Wednesday, December 24th, 2003 | 10:59 pm PST
Originally posted by ByPermitOnly
A good, informative and TRUE review. For "AgentOrange": Whatever! You must be a cocker fanboy or a completely useless, ignorant and newbie paintballer to count a player out cause they have a flatline. You're going to find yourself getting shot out BY the flatline.

WHOA!! Relax buddy, remain calm. No need to insult the 'cocker.

indybeast36 Sunday, January 4th, 2004 | 10:35 pm PST
i would just like to say that all of u people say that this barrel is worthless need to think about something:
the people who recommend this gun r members of the most powerful army on the face of the earth. I think they kno what they r talking about when they say that this marker performs more like a real gun that a "shiny ray gun". I am inclined to believe they kno what they r talking about.

I have been using the flatline for eight months now. In that time i have shot at least 20000 round with it. I have yet to have a problem with chopping and i buy the cheapest paint i can find at the local paintball store. Also, i have yet to see anyone dodge my paint no matter how far away i am. I have played both woods and speed ball and i can outperform anyone on the field with me with the flatline. I play a mixture of sniper and berserker depending on the situation. i recommend the barrel for both. I am 18 and i play with a team of ex-military men who regularly enter and compete in major tourneys. I am now a valued member of the team and i am sought after as a teammate. I owe most of my success to the flatline.
to all the people who say i wasted money on my gun i would like to say this:
my gun cost me just under 400 dollars. i compete with and beat guys with 500 dollar cocker's and jts and also with guys who have 1000 angels. look at the results and tell me who wasted money.
u guys can call me a newbie all u want but all of ur slander cannot touch the fact that the m98-c w/ flatline is one of the cheapest most effective systems out there. I consider myself smarter than the guy who bought the 1000 dollar angel, and all of u flatliners out there can back me up on this.

texasrules17 Wednesday, January 7th, 2004 | 4:23 pm PST
The Diablo Midnight Paintballs are very good to
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