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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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Axe_32 Thursday, February 10th, 2005 | 6:30 am PST
Very good review. Knows what he's talking about and very informitive.
Good Job!

99 ANGEL RULZ Monday, February 14th, 2005 | 3:52 pm PST
Originally posted by cmorris326
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.

im sorry my dear friend, but i am no noob. i am very good at what i do. I am serious when i say i make all the flatliners fun for their lives

cmorris326 Wednesday, February 16th, 2005 | 8:25 am PST
Originally posted by 99 ANGEL RULZ

im sorry my dear friend, but i am no noob. i am very good at what i do. I am serious when i say i make all the flatliners fun for their lives

What pansies do you play with? They run away just cause you have an Angel? If you played an experienced player you would be the one losing. And what the hell does "fun for their lives" mean anyway? Did you fail English class?
Last edited on Wednesday, February 16th, 2005 at 8:27 am PST

99 ANGEL RULZ Thursday, February 17th, 2005 | 3:21 pm PST
Originally posted by cmorris326

What pansies do you play with? They run away just cause you have an Angel? If you played an experienced player you would be the one losing. And what the hell does "fun for their lives" mean anyway? Did you fail English class?

If i ever see u at the local field im gonna give u multible welts up the backside of the head. (:

EmptiMind Sunday, February 27th, 2005 | 11:22 am PST
I own the Flatline. And I have to say it's alright. I'm using RPS Premium and I'm not getting near the results of mallen, in fact I'm getting quite a bit of breakage. What bore size paint should I get?

Also if you're a rec or senario player people will respect you. I just went paintballing yesterday, and I was one of the more important people, even though every 50 shots I'd have to squeege.

I've also used Hurricanes with my Flatline. It works great. Almost no breakage.

Shifty01 Friday, March 18th, 2005 | 7:28 pm PST
Originally posted by Pumpactionman
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.

I wish every review would be like that, no bulls--- just good information like you'd read in some paintball magazine. Kepp up the good work bro.
Last edited on Friday, March 18th, 2005 at 7:28 pm PST

Stox Sunday, March 27th, 2005 | 2:21 pm PST
I don't know what is wrong with my gun set up. It is either my gun or the barrel. I just tried marbalizers the other day and it did the same as the Evil paintbals I use. they exploded. If any one can help me with this then plesae E-mail me at I NEED HELP!!!

cmorris326 Wednesday, March 30th, 2005 | 8:31 am PST
Your velocity is probably too high. I would try to use some RPS Big Balls they're a little smaller than Marballizers and Evils.

jr4241 Monday, April 4th, 2005 | 10:14 am PST
mallen7818, a flatline does not imtinidate me. In fact it builds my confedence because flatlines, while they do icrease your distance, they are not very accurate. I say this because tons of spin on any paintball makes it curve, so for the flatline to work properly the barrel can not be tilted to the side at all. If u do tilt the flatline the ball curves really bad, making it very hard to hit a person.

Car4Painter Saturday, April 16th, 2005 | 8:05 am PST
Why would you ever want to shoot Big Ball? Those things look more like golf balls then spheres.

mattyp151 Monday, May 23rd, 2005 | 10:52 am PST
Yes, there isn't a barrel out there that will outshoot the FL distance wise...however, if you're tilting around a corner and you gun isn't straight up and down, good luck to you.

THe barrel has its plusses and minuses, but it's not the greatest thing since sliced bread.

pbdemon22 Wednesday, May 25th, 2005 | 11:40 am PST
Well this review is wrong because the reason the paintballs look like theyre floating is because theyre going in a straight line and theyre going SLOW .The flatline actually slows the ball down and i have proved it with a chronograph.when i had my flatline on my 98 c it was shooting about 120,130,112(not a very regular gun either)but when i switched to the stock barrell AND NO i did not touch the velocity screw the velocity was about 360,350and yeh pretty much that so it does in factslow it down.Reason:because the ball is going through a bent barrell.Its going to slow the ball down like it or not.the writer of the review related the balls "Floating" to physics or something.WTF! its common sense.which ball will travel that has to move through a straight barrell or one that has to go through a curved barrell that is sandblasted on the quit trying to sound smart mallen.please. and no the velocity cant be turned up past about 130 while the flatline is on because it is at MAX! plus it got me slaughtered one time which is funny to think of now.i was trying to shoot people and whil shooting and cussing at my guns newfound innaccuracy i got shot in the leg by some guys who flanked me from the right side well i walked passed them looked down and noticed that the ball did not break.gee they thought i was out when i really wasnt,i was right behind them and their backs were turned,and i had the element of complete suprise!well i turned around shoot tne nearest one.i went for a headshot.the freakin ball curved and missed him then i started shooting his body they were all bouncing! like 15 shots to his chest!then the rest of the guys turned around and slaughtered me in a hail of gunfire .since i got a low pressure system and regulator on my tippmann its a little better with a flatline but i just use my smart parts progressive barrell($35) and it does wonderful

Ace-o-Spades Tuesday, May 31st, 2005 | 12:51 pm PST
this is a hell of a review....

ruler_rome13 Monday, June 20th, 2005 | 5:51 pm PST
Originally posted by bluespider
Alright, I like your writing style, and I like the flatline, but you should not contradict yourself. It makes you seem less credible and therefore makes people think that the flatline maybe isn't so great. You said, "Your mind can't even register that the trigger was pulled in that amount of time," then you said, "my friend said the balls coming from my gun towards him looked "slow and lazy" so he decided to catch one". Now, if you can't register that the trigger has been pulled, how are you going to have time to reach up and catch the paintball. It is comments like these that in support of the system that makes people look down on the flatline.

I don't think he contradicted himself... Keep in mind that the comment he made about not having time to react referred to shots at a distance of 60 ft., wheras he never specified what the distance his friend was when he tried to catch one... My assumption is that it was substantially more than 60 ft., probably somewhere in the 150-175 ft. range, because in my experience that's when they start to really give the deception of a slow, lazy path.

Jackson123 Friday, June 24th, 2005 | 8:34 am PST
dude that man is only 5' 9'' who the hell is he to say that a person 3 inches shorter than him cannot shoot one? i'm 6' 1'' thus i should have a better hold for the gun. yeah right. my friend 5' 5'' could hold it so, how does it matter on your height? i would say that it really matters on how physically big you are (mass wise) to be able to steady it. but the review was really great. that is the reason that i got one.

Ace-o-Spades Monday, August 15th, 2005 | 10:39 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" )

boo-hoo if your 5'3". as long as you can hold it well, your fine. and another thing, a heavier paintball gun is easier to aim with (not much wobbling)

Ace-o-Spades Monday, August 15th, 2005 | 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

shove it dude, you are a newb if you think that there are no such things as snipers, because when you get shot, its prolly gonna be from the same person you said was a wannabe...

SHANE_98C Wednesday, August 24th, 2005 | 7:27 pm PST
this is the most well written review on this site. I will now get a flatline for my 98 custom THANK U

99 ANGEL RULZ Wednesday, October 26th, 2005 | 5:43 pm PST
DONT BE A ROOKIE, 90% of people who buy flatlines always end up getting rid of them a month later

JMCeltics34 Monday, November 7th, 2005 | 5:12 pm PST
I'm considering getting a flatline for my 98 custom with a response, do you think it is also a good additon to have a stock, or no???? I've been playing for about 2 years, so what do you mean about rookies getting rid or them, if there so good why would they????
Last edited on Monday, November 7th, 2005 at 5:13 pm PST
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