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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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E-Victor Sunday, October 24th, 2004 | 6:58 pm PST
I think all these peopel who say that there barrel can outshoot the flatline are complete idiots. there is NOT a barrel that wil out shoot it in terms of range. There may be a few high end barrels with better accuracy but with the right paint the Flatline makes a great combination of accuracy and range. This barrel doesnt really intimidate me.. but i hate the fact that im gonna have to work my way to close range or ill get plastered when im fighting a good player with a flatline. I think that this may be one of the best barrel systems made. NOTHING will compare to it it terms of range and being able to control people at those ranges.

cmorris326 Friday, November 5th, 2004 | 8:45 am PST
sorry that all u people that don't have a flatline are just angry u wasted money on other guns it doesn't mean you should envy the flatline. i admit that i use a spyder xtra with an all american barrel on it. the all american barrel is one of the best. but unfortunately it just isn't good enough to compete with the flatline. i will honestly say that the flatline is the GREATEST BARREL ON THE MARKET. i have four years experience and can nearly wreck anyone out there but at the end of the game its always the flatline that ends up wrecking me.

jokesquad Saturday, November 13th, 2004 | 9:00 am PST
A great review, very informative. I bought one a litlle while ago and this review seems very consisent with what i've experienced. I'm waiting until I've owned mine longer until i write a review. Although with this great accurate might not. Excellent job mallen

TIPPMANN1490 Tuesday, December 7th, 2004 | 5:49 pm PST
I have a flatline for my 98 but dont waste your money on it. to heavy and is hard to figure out if the ball will go ,where you want it. It also travels to slow. Just not worth it i am willing to sell mine. Go with a Empire Twister.

TIPPMANN1490 Tuesday, December 14th, 2004 | 2:27 pm PST
Flatline sucks. Waste of money.

brihard Sunday, December 19th, 2004 | 10:04 am PST
TIPPMANN1490, it sounds like your experiences differ from almost every other flatline user.

Admittedly, I had initial problems when I got my flatline, but found that I just had to be really careful about installing the barrel correctly. The angle is important. Otherwise yes, you will get weird ballistics.

The flatline is pretty finicky when it comes to grit and crap inside the barrel. Make sure that it is clean and DRY at all time. Ball to barrel match is also more vital than almost any barrel out there, because of the peculiarities that the backspin puts on ballistics.

I thoroughly enjoy my flatline despite these minor irritations; my local field sells well matched paint, and keeping your weapon clean is merely a matter of self discipline; if you haven't the inclination to maintain your kit, you have no business owning such quality gear regardless.

If weight is an issue, I would seriously suggest working out your arms- and that's not snide or sarcastic as I've sometimes seen here. The flatline adds less than a pound of weight. The service rifle I use - a Canadian M16 variant- weighs upwards of 7 pounds. An M98C with the flatline is much less than that, even considering weight of paint. It's more like a submachinegun than anything else. My marker has the Car Stock on it as well, and I'm still fully comfortable with the weight and profile. Granted, it can be annoying in tight circumstances, but like the original reviewer I've been trained in engagements in that kind of terrain; you just need to learn how to move. For corners, I'd reccommend you google a technique called 'slicing the pie'; anyone with military or other tactical experience will know what I'm talking about.

I mentioned the Carbine stock; that's another benefit of the flatline that I found. With my car stock mounted, the marker sits far lower than it would using, say, the bottle as a stock. This means you really can't look down the sights of the weapon, which is annoying for me. The flatline adds about an inch of vertical profile, and, importantly, mounds a 3/8" dovetail mount, so you can add on various sights. I played around with an air rifle red-dot sight, though found that my mask prevented me from using that. I'm picking up either a Profiler or a JT Flex 7 to remedy that. But overall, the raised sight mount inherent in the flatline shroud is another benefit to serious MilSimers.

Flatline isn't really a speedball barrel; I'll grant that right away. You don't need that kind of range on an average speedball field. But in woodsball, where distances extend, a flatline can be a devastating advantage. PArticularly if you have a high rate of fire from a response trigger or an electronics kit, you'll very much find yourself acting as a 'machinegunner' for a team if you're flatline equipped; the value of such suppression fire is immense.

Flatline is a great barrel, but its real niche is in woodsball. For speedball, you may be better off with a barrel with better pinpoint accuracy up to 75 feet or so, but the flatline doesn't give much up, and you'll find yourself loving the extra range as you move into the woods...

TippmannPhreak Monday, December 20th, 2004 | 4:14 pm 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

Sniper wannabe? Ha, good one. When they pick your ass off, I'll stand there and laugh.

99 ANGEL RULZ Monday, December 27th, 2004 | 6:59 pm PST
I have to agree with agent orange on this one. I had a flatline and i was not happy. Broke alot of paint. I used Draxxus Blaze and thats good paint. I now have an angel with armson stealth and broke 1 or two balls since having it. Flatline is a waste of money!

And i will not be ''Picked off'' by u sniper noobies. go get a J&J ceramic NOOB
Last edited on Monday, December 27th, 2004 at 7:01 pm PST

TXtippmann Wednesday, December 29th, 2004 | 3:40 am PST
The ignorance of the flatline bashers never ceases to amaze me. Does anyone ever notice that they are the ones that can't spell, don't use proper grammar, and their overall English skills compare to that of an average 8 year old? This just proves their stupidity and their lack of credibility in all matters. They are also the ones calling all flatline users noobs when they can't even figure out how to install something as simple as a barrel. Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black to me.

thunnderstrukk Sunday, January 2nd, 2005 | 12:12 pm PST
the only other weakness is that the thing is loud as hell. i think that if you are on a budget, just og get a smart parts progressive 14in, or 16in.

TippmannPhreak Wednesday, January 19th, 2005 | 5:41 pm PST
Originally posted by 99 ANGEL RULZ
I have to agree with agent orange on this one. I had a flatline and i was not happy. Broke alot of paint. I used Draxxus Blaze and thats good paint. I now have an angel with armson stealth and broke 1 or two balls since having it. Flatline is a waste of money!

And i will not be ''Picked off'' by u sniper noobies. go get a J&J ceramic NOOB

Ha! Have fun with that Angel. I think you're the stupid one for spending thousands of dollars on a paintball gun. That is if you even have an Angel, probably not. Or if you do, mommy and daddy probably bought it for you. And he calls us n00bs.

humvee Friday, January 21st, 2005 | 4:56 pm PST
Now, don't think I'm bashing the Flatline, but I've heard that putting spin on the ball doesn't help anything, because paint is smooth and very much round, and doesn't pick up much friction, assuming you're not using Blue Streaks or something of the like. Like I said, I'm not bashing, I just want someone to clear this up for me.

brihard Wednesday, January 26th, 2005 | 1:19 pm PST
It's a matter of physics. Yes, it's fairly smoother, but nonetheless there's enough molecular attraction between the air and the paint chell so that,a s it spins, it does in fat create higher pressure below the paint, and lower pressure above it, thus giving the paintball some lift as it flies. It's weird physics; I can't really explain it better than that.

ARIAKONSIMSERIE Friday, January 28th, 2005 | 6:13 pm PST
Wanna know how to make a custom flatline. Simply aim above your target and arc your shots. This barrel has terrible accuracy.

99 ANGEL RULZ Sunday, January 30th, 2005 | 7:28 pm PST
Originally posted by indybeast36
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.

HEy man dont bash the angel.

99 ANGEL RULZ Sunday, January 30th, 2005 | 7:39 pm PST
Originally posted by TippmannPhreak

Ha! Have fun with that Angel. I think you're the stupid one for spending thousands of dollars on a paintball gun. That is if you even have an Angel, probably not. Or if you do, mommy and daddy probably bought it for you. And he calls us n00bs.

dont you bash me like that u goddam* pann-z i worked all summer and bought a used one for 400$ YOu insolent fools disgust me if you think only rich people can afford an angel. Go get a Job u lazy bastar*
Last edited on Sunday, January 30th, 2005 at 7:42 pm PST

cmorris326 Thursday, February 3rd, 2005 | 8:45 am PST
Do you guys realize that your comparing angels to tippmanns with flatlines. If you haven't noticed they're both THE BEST AT THEIR PURPOSE. Angels are the best for speed ball and the flatline is the best for woods ball and scenario play. Just think about it. Could an Angel stand up against the Flatline in woods ball. Obviously not. But, could it stand up against the Flatline in a game of speed ball. Of course. It's just what you play that takes in account what equipment is better for the job. I play woods ball and scenarios just because I think paintball should simulate real war. And the Flatline is as close as you can get to a real weapon. Im not an Angel hater but do think that they should stick to the speed ball course and out of the woods. And one more comment I would like to add and just think about this. All of the reviews that say the flatline is one of the best paintball systems out there are straight from the military. These guys have more experience with real weapons than any of us do which makes their reviews more credible to the argument.
Last edited on Friday, February 4th, 2005 at 4:57 am PST

cmorris326 Thursday, February 3rd, 2005 | 8:54 am PST
Originally posted by Chris253-
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.

This goes along with my review above. This is exactly what i mean.

99 ANGEL RULZ Sunday, February 6th, 2005 | 4:22 pm PST
Hey, if u think u can take me with your flatline in the woods, your an idiot. not to sound cocky or anything, but i make all the flatliners run for thier lives..... most dont make it.



cmorris326 Tuesday, February 8th, 2005 | 8:12 am PST
Sounds like your too cocky to even be playing this game. If you think that having an Angel will make you better than anyone with a Flatline your dead wrong, and incompetent to even think that. If you can't even use the Flatline barrel correctly then how could you even handle an Angel. Sounds like your the noob if you can't even install something as simple as a barrel.
Last edited on Friday, February 11th, 2005 at 8:16 am PST
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