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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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FLsmotherer Saturday, January 10th, 2004 | 6:42 pm PST
great review. I love when people actually do research for their reviews instead just stating opinion or what they've heard. Great job.

FLsmotherer Wednesday, January 14th, 2004 | 11:19 am PST
Originally posted by sniper111387
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" )

Dude, chill out. He said "OR..." He's not saying you are a child, or a spray and pray guy. Just a shorter sniper. It's not a big deal.

FLsmotherer Wednesday, January 14th, 2004 | 11:21 am PST
Great review. Most the time when people don't like the Tippmann products they just say it's terrible and don't get it. But you did the tests and have true results. GREAT JOB!

FLsmotherer Wednesday, January 21st, 2004 | 2:34 pm PST
Great review. I was wondering. Did the balls chop in the barrel more often in temperatures less than 50?

edogt98 Friday, January 23rd, 2004 | 2:27 pm PST
To touch on what spydah 07 said, they don't make an all-american barrel threaded for a tippmann, but my cousin bought an adapter for the all-american and it fits fine on his C98.
Last edited on Friday, January 23rd, 2004 at 2:28 pm PST

bigboy_cars_0 Wednesday, January 28th, 2004 | 12:00 pm PST
Originally posted by edogt98
To touch on what spydah 07 said, they don't make an all-american barrel threaded for a tippmann, but my cousin bought an adapter for the all-american and it fits fine on his C98.
Are you stupid? Yes, they do make an all-american for the 98c. I just bought one. I did have to buy an adapter though because the barrel threads were for the old threads on the custom. Tippmann changed the gun threads a year or two ago. None of the barrel manufactures cared so all barrels for the 98c are the old style. If your gun is less than two years old then it is most likely not going to be compatible with any barrels. You can go to and buy the adapter. They also make barrels for the new and old threads.

manticore Friday, February 20th, 2004 | 10:45 am PST
Originally posted by pbjunkie1220

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

Just because someone owns a flatline barrel, doesn't mean that they are a sniper wannabe. You shouldn't criticize them unless you own a flatline or have used one and have met and know personally every person who has used one.

Shadowfang Sunday, February 29th, 2004 | 5:13 pm PST
I agree 150% with indybeast36. The 98c w/ Flatline is one of the cheapest, most effective systems in the world of paintball today. I think AgentOrange over there is going to get his butt seriously mutilated by some newbie with the FLATLINE BARREL SYSTEM.

madskillz90 Thursday, March 11th, 2004 | 12:07 pm PST
I foud this review to be very helpful. I bought a flatline and it has worked better then any other barrel that i have used. I think that it's funny though cause sniper11387 said that he was 15 and was only 5 3". I'm only thirteen and im 5 7".

p8ntbal4ever007 Sunday, March 14th, 2004 | 6:44 pm PST
Hey mallen thanks for the review im not looking to buy a flatline just reading it for fun but that was the best review ive ever read and thanks for teaching me how to turn corners ill definetly use tthat next time i play speedball

MRFIXIT08 Wednesday, March 17th, 2004 | 3:25 pm PST
This is a very well thought out and informative review but i think your overating the flatline a bit. i meen sure it is a good gun but you can get barrels with the same accuracy ,without the insane range. but when are you going to even attempt to shoot at something 200 ft plus? the lapco bigshot is just as accurate as the flatline and is 50 bucks less.

Flatline Fire Thursday, March 18th, 2004 | 7:35 pm PST
indybeast36-----ya baby flatline rule......


- A.K.A I'll Snipe u :P

Spyder1691 Monday, March 22nd, 2004 | 10:35 am PST
Great review, this review showed the most information and facts about the barrel than any other review ive seen, the only bad ting is that you say not for children? well, i guess that depends on how old of a child you are talking about. im 16 , i own a proshop custom 98 sniper package and i know how to use it well, without being an adult, or having any military experience. But other than that your review is great. Thanks for all the info!
Last edited on Monday, March 22nd, 2004 at 10:36 am PST

MRFIXIT08 Saturday, March 27th, 2004 | 7:10 pm PST
"But since you CANT hit something that far away without a flatline a 50% chance of breaking on a target seems like a huge improvment over a 0% chance."-Quote from Mallan7818. I think you are overating the FL quite a bit. i have a Pr/Carb with a 14'inch Lapco Bigshot on it and i can make accurate shots well passed 175 feet. the most was between 240-280 feet. my friends A-5 with a armson stealth can also make shots like that. other than that very informative review.

dude14 Thursday, April 1st, 2004 | 6:10 pm PST
dude, my grandma accidentally ran over my flatline barrel with her car and it shattered into 1,000 peices! then her car exploded. a true story, but her car didnt actually "explode". the engine just went BOOM! and her car broke.

SPPaintball Saturday, April 3rd, 2004 | 6:51 am PST
ive never really met this guy but, did u see his expirience? 6 months?! maybe hes just a natural or somtin but, it seems a little too thorough of a reveiw for som1 with 6 months expirience.

SPPaintball Saturday, April 3rd, 2004 | 7:00 am PST
bertbert2006 ur the moron. u said that guy wus a little kid and hes 15. i checked ur profile; it says ur 16. so i wouldnt be talkin moron.

Blitzpb69420 Monday, April 5th, 2004 | 8:21 pm PST
man thanks a lot, ive been hearing mixed reviews from my friends. Some say it just curves right away some says its the best thing in the world thanks to you i made my decision and im gonna get it

brandonhamilton Tuesday, April 27th, 2004 | 1:49 pm 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.
there scarey when there 1 foot in front of you and your thinking of not saying mercy

Mercenary 22 Friday, May 21st, 2004 | 8:18 pm PST

Great review. I use a Flatline myself and most people that don't like it, I find are slightly impatient and want every thing to work fine right out of the box. My experience is that things seldom work fine or fit right out of the box and need to be tweaked cleaned up or modified. People that complain about curving check your barrel alignment. If your using the alignment marks on the barrel check that there not off because mine was.
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