M98 and A5 with Flatline with lots of various upgrades for gas efficiency, looks, and ROF.
Generally the smallest you can get, but see the review for more details.
Range, the wow factor of the first time you shoot it.
Accuracy, maintenance, and most of all CONSISTENCY - read my review!
I was an early adopter of the Flatline barrel when it first appeared on the market for the Model 98 years ago. At that time I had not yet graduated to an electric marker running on HPA and was using a tricked out M98. I play a lot of scenario games and liked to play sniper so the Flatline seemed like a great choice, man was I wrong.
6 months later I was so frustrated with my M98 + Flatline I not only stopped using the barrel but I SOLD my M98 and all related accessories! I have since tried the A5 with flatline to see if it has improved and found it to be essentially the same. I have 6 months of play experience with this barrel - PLEASE if you are considering a Flatline purchase keep reading and think carefully.
There are a lot of 10/10 reviews posted on this page. They all say things like "Wow! Amazing range!" and "Great Accuracy!" but if you read carefully you will see the word "if" used an usually high number of times - and that, in a nutshell, is the basic problem with the Flatline barrel. The Flatline seems great when you are shooting it in your backyard under perfect conditions. The Flatline will shoot an acceptably accurate shot at slightly longer ranges than traditional barrels IF:
- You can keep your velocity at a consistent 280 FPS +/- 5 FPS at all times.
- You never break a ball in the barrel (God help you if you do)
- You have the exact right paint for your barrel (which can vary from barrel to barrel and can even change depending on the temperature outside!)
But these are just too many "if's" for a day of actual paintball. Good luck keeping a consistent 280 FPS all day long, especially if you are on CO2. Play somewhere where it gets hot in the afternoon? I hope you like frequent trips to the chrony. Is the field you play at or the scenario your are attending "Field Paint Only"? If so and if that is not the exact right size for you flatline you are in for an afternoon of comically inaccurate shots, or worse - spraying liquid paint out the front of your barrel most of the time. Did you just experience a barrel break? Hope you brought a sidearm! Have fun taking your gun apart after the game to clean it out while your friends kick back with a can of Coke.
Even IF all the stars line up for you - you have PERFECT paint match for your particular flatline, your velocity stays extremely consistent all the time (maybe you are on good HPA and have an awesome reg installed... why you would pay for that kind of hardware on an A5 or M98 is beyond me... but some people do...) AND you never have a barrel break ALL DAY, your ball-to-ball accuracy will still not be any more consistent (probably a lot less) than a traditional barrel - and consistency is ultimately the most important thing in paintball accuracy. I do not care if you can hit a coke can 25 yards away dead-on with flat trajectory 4 out of 5 times. A good player with a good marker will be able to do that 5 out of 5 times with an arced trajectory. Flat trajectory does not automatically translate into "accurate." Sure it looks cool, but is it consistent and reliable? No it is not.
If you buy the flatline you will probably be impressed with it when you set it up, chrony it to the right velocity, get the right paint, and play with it in your back yard. But when you take it to the field - you are in for a day of frustration. The concept of the Flatline barrel is insteresting and I commend Tippmann for coming up with a novel approach to delivering paint to a target, but there are just too many variables in paint quality, gun velocity, and field conditions to achieve CONSISTENCY on the flatline. Want to be a paintball snipre? Do yourself a huge favor and just buy a nice long high-quality traditional barrel and PRACTICE. Paint does not care if it was "floated" to the target or "lobbed", it will break either way. Marksmanship is about knowing where your shot is going to hit before you pull the trigger and not having to cross your fingers and hope for the best! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! ;)
98 Custom with RT, two-finger trigger, revy hopper, Lapco folding stock, Smart Pats teardrop barrel, Flatline Barrel, 50ci 3000psi Hpa tank, 12 oz CO2 tank
Range is this barrels greatest advantage, it looks cool
Lenght can be a problem, accuracy with field paint is a problem
I've had good days and bad days with my flatline. I love the range, it enables me to hit targets far off or at least get them to bunker down. With high end paint the accuracy is good, not great but good. If you are useing field paint or other mid to low quality paint accuracy will be a problem. Take some time at the begining of you day to adjust you velocity and barrel. I've found the barrel works best at around 260 fps. I haven't had to many breaks, no more than my 14" barrel so this really isn't a issues. The flatline is a good investment for anyone looking for range and or a cool look. This barrel was made for woodsballers and as such should work well with less than perfect paint this is my only real complaint about it.
It's all about the paint, this barrel has a expensive appitite for premium paint.
Tippmann Custom 98 (factory camo)
J+J 14" ceramic barrel
Dark Horizon Titanium Hammer
Palmer Stabilizer (mounted below handle)
ACI High Pressure Remote coil
9, 12, and 16 oz CO2 tanks
XBall Bronze worked well, even in the extreme heat.
Draxxus Frostbite did NOT work at all (stay away)
RPS Stingers seemed to work well. (only put a few through however)
-Ability to control a portion of the field
-Modification required for Cyclone
-Breaks in barrel severely effect performance
-Installation and breakdown take time
I read just about all of the reviews, and clearly two camps on the Flatline, either you love it or hate it. I decided it was worth investing in one. I went in fully understanding the shortcomings of the product, but also the potential. For the record, after a couple of uses, I LOVE IT. Let me tell you why and what you need to know before you dive in.
Two different examples of play where the flatline helped my team win the round:
On a split field, where half was a hill with lots of places to find cover, and the other half was more of a "no mans" land. We sent all but three of us into the hills to do close up battle and the rest of us "guarded" no mans land. The opposing force sent 5 into our part of the field, but they never got very far. As soon as I could see them, even in the far cover I could reach out and touch them. No one wanted to venture out into lesser cover knowing I could get them out from that range. We took the round, partially because we were able to commit more resources to the actual fight, rather then having equal numbers defending the other side of the open field.
On a more traditional field with classic bunkers, we were moving up the left side which was a bit more dense and better suited for up close engagements. I was actually wishing for my standard non-flatline A-5 at that moment, until I saw one of their players make a fast dash flank at the opposite side of the field. I let go a hail of balls right into his path, and because I didn't have to "arc" them, I was actually able to lead him not unlike the way a duck e hunter leads with a shotgun. He called himself out, and I didn't really know I got him out until after the round when (covered in my orange paint) he said "who got me out and where the h*ll were you?!?!?!"
OK so here is what you need to know with the Custom 98 flatline.
The installation is somewhat time consuming and has to be done correctly. The adapter has to put in so it is completely flush. The manual says "crack the case" No. You put the adapter in with the two halves open to make sure its flush. Like anything else worthwhile, its a pain and takes some practice and understanding to fit it properly. If you don't have patience, you won't succeed. When you close up your clam shells, its going to be tight. Yea, the front site spring is now even harder to keep in place when your re-assembling it. The plasitc shroud goes over pretty easily, however Cyclone users will need to grind plasitic to make that fit correctly. That was a bit of a pain. At this point the barrel goes in. Be aware, THE BARREL WILL NEED ADJUSTMENT LATER ON!!!! Do be sure to give a tap with a soft mallet to be sure it seats properly. No your ready to tune.....
Tuning (yes you have to do this)
Take your marker out somewhere you can gage the flight path of the ball. I shot mine from a field into a stand of trees that wasn't too dense. Shoot some rounds into the trees, to gage the path. If they tend to curve off, loosen the adapter and twist the barrel left and / or right to straighten out the path. When you get close smaller adjustments will be required. If you can't find the sweet spot make sure you aren't tilting the marker, that will affect the trajectory. This takes about 30 mins to 45 mins, so don't get frustrated! Once you have your sweet spot, indicate on the barrel where it is, so when you disassemble it, you know how to put it back. Chrono the marker to somewhere between 265 and 280. I shoot at 265 to 270 and it works fine.
Wall Mart cheap paint has no place in a Flatline. The trick is thick shelled balls with very smooth seams. I used XBall Bronze and didn't have one break. Because the flatline is hard on paintballs, fresh(er) paint is a must!!! Also if you play in winter, even fresh paint gets brittle. A guy I know uses "Arctic Ice" in his flatline and that works well when its cold.
Edit: Arctic Ice is becoming hard to find. Do NOT put Draxxus Frostbite through this barrel!!!! Your shots will curve off to never never land. The pattern I am starting to see is any paintballs with a shiny coating seem to have trouble in this barrel. As mentioned above, I tried some RPS Stingers for winter play and they seemed to fly pretty well.
Other and general comments
You have to play with marker completely level. Tilting the marker will make the balls do weird things. Sometimes you can use that to your advantage. Breaks are bad, and really affect the way the ball flies. (Thus why good paint is a must...) Always carry the squeegee, just in case. If you get a break and have the opportunity, try to wash it out before playing again. It does matter.... This thing is LOUD. Its not a stealthy thing.... But you can use that as an intimidation factor when the other team knows you can get them. Even the best paint will give you an occasional zinger to the left or right. Just know it happens and learn to live with it. Because all balls have seams it can't be completely avoided.
I recommend this to anyone why wants an advantage on their long game, and is willing to work and take the time to get it right. Anyone who needs instant gratification will not like this upgrade. The accuracy is NOT perfect, and it does NOT shoot as straight as a rifle on every shot. It does however give you the ability to slip a couple into a bunker that a traditional barrel would have trouble with, (note: arc) and gives you a significant distance advantage. Also good for defending areas with limited resources.
9 out of 10
Last edited on Thursday, November 22nd, 2007 at 8:15 am PST
The Flatline was designed with Marblizers in mind, but Stinger seems to work just as well. I tested 200 Stinger, 100 rapid-fire, 100 slow, not a single break.
Incredible range and accuracy, flat trajectory. (see review)
Cost. Assembly was easy. Just remember to keep the notch pointed upwards.
If you are a military person (ex or still enlisted), law enforcement, hunter, sport shooter, etc, that plays woodsball or scenario paintball, the Flatline is really the only viable choice; no other barrel emulates the trajectory, range, or accuracy of an actual rifle as closely as the Flatline. Personally, I quickly grew weary of the shortcomings of standard smoothbore barrels--stock or aftermarket--, ie. the arc, inconsistant accuracy, and pathetic range.
I am more of a ranged player on the woodsball field, but I also like going commando on everybody. But... being a sharpshooter, my capability was severly limited by the limitations of regular smoothbore barrels.
Perhaps you're wondering how the Flatline can be more accurate and have greater range than a regular barrel? Well, here's a little physics lesson, courtesy of an 18-year old:
The bore of the Flatline is textured, which gives the paintball a backspin, allowing it to "drift", giving it greater range and a flatter trajectory. As far as increased accuracy: there are essentially two components of accuracy: horizontal and vertical. The backspin solves both these problems; with a flatter trajectory, there is less guess-work when it comes to range. The backspin also counter-acts the horizontal component; it works along the same principle as a spinning bicycle wheel: the centrifugal force created by the spinning wheel balances out the perpendicular component of motion. If the wheel is spinning while being held strait up and down, it will resist yaw (that is, it will resist side-to-side motion, at right angles to its path of motion) This is how a Flatline Barrel System operates.
Absolutely essential for anyone wanting to either get an edge over the competition, increase the Mil-Sim factor, or are experienced riflemen wanting something a little more realistic-shooting.
The system is costly; I got mine for about $100. But trust me, if you're serious about woodsball, this is the SINGLE BEST purchase you can make after purchasing your Tippmann and the other essentials (tank, hopper.).
10 out of 10
Last edited on Sunday, July 29th, 2007 at 1:23 pm PST
Tippmann 98 Custom WITHOUT ACT
21in sniper barrel
M-16 foregrip with AK-74 front sight
Red Dot sight
any medium grade
Flat shots a close to mid range
Instil fear in the uneducated
Slows shots down (beyond mid-range)
I picked one of these up just to test it out.
After less than 200 balls I had already had a ball break (premium paint). With my 21in sniper I have had zero breaks in the last 3000 balls. The barrel HAD to be cleaned IMMEDIATLY, you couldn't hit anything beyond 40 feet after the break.
After cleaning I got it tuned and began full out testing, target shooting, shooting at PEOPLE, at clost range and at distances beyond normal (flatline SHOULD get more distance right?)
Target shooting showed that low grade paint is USLESS!!! I couldn't hit a SHED at 50 feet!!!!!, 4 out of 5 balls shot of in usless directions, only 1 ball even HIT the shed and IT was no where near the target. The GOOD part was that with leathery Brass Eagle Monster Balls their tough skin and small size DID keep them from breaking, couldn't HIT anything with them, but I didn't have to clean the barrel after 100 shots.
Move to premium paint. Not too bad on the aim, but 1 or 2 out of every 5 balls STILL shot off in some wild direction,10 feet, up, left or right, nobody knew where they were going. At CLOSE range, where I would aim straight on with my 21in , heck, under 50 feet I would aim straight on with the 81/2in STOCK barrel and HIT EVERY SHOT, well the flatline was fairly acurate, except for the wild balls. At mid range everything went down hill, more balls off target. Those that DID go straight were VERY straight (nice if you want to shoot through a culvert or tube) but acuracy suffered and I could hit more reliably with ANY other barrel, even the 81/2 in stock one. At long range (this is what the flatline is FOR right?) it was so inacurate that the people being shot at had to actualy move to get in front of the ball, even 2 people standing side by side were too small a target.
Hindreds of rounds were shot at human targets (including ME) and NONE hit the person! By the time they got downrange(150 feet NO obstructions!) they wre moving so slowly that you could just step out of the way, 1 ball or 30, it didn't matter. They were going so slowly I actuall cought several out of the air, I could throw a paintball harder! (280fps out of the muzzel, floating like a butterfly at 150ft) I even jumped in front of several and thost that I MADE hit me DIDN'T BREAK!!!!! What good is a LONG ball if they have no energy? If they don't BREAK you might as well have dumped them on the ground and stomped on them!
With the Flatline you had to move to GET hit, now a switch to the 21in sniper had people jumping OUT OF THE WAY at 150 ft from the first shot, they were MORE acurate AND were moving TWICE as fast, they actualy HURT when they hit you! Not to mention the fact that the flatline is LOUD, almost as loud as the 81/2in stock one!!!!! Almost ANY aftermarket barrel is quieter! You have to take your gun apart to put on the shroud ANd it covers your sight rails AND it only has ONE (dovetail) not the double like the 98 has without the shroud!
If it was under $50 AND you could swap it out without taking your gun apart, well maybe I'd get one to put in my pack for that "odd" shot.
BUT as it is, I would NEVER use one on MY gun.
I would NOT recomment a flatline barrle for any but SPECIFFIC applications.
The Flatline RUINS your acuracy at anything over 50ft no matter what paint you use, it breaks balls, it slows them down making them easy to dodge at over 50-75ft, it is LOUD, and it is expensive. A good sniper barrel will shoot harder at long range and will hit more often! Add that to the fact that you must take your gun apart to put the shroud on (no swapping barrels) AND the shroud covers your sight rails, is it a DEFFINATE NO for MY gun.
Now it DOES have it's uses, is scares noobs when you say you have a flatline (any GOOD player will be HAPPY to hear you are using one AGAINST them). It is GREAT on a grinder set in the bunker to keep the other team's heads down at a longer distance. (So the players WITHOUT one can sneak up and SHOOT them) And yesm in the RARE occasion that you have a close shot that must shoot under an overhang, it MAY help, if the ball doesn't fly wild giving away your position!
Always go with higher end paint if you can afford it, even if the barrel doesn't tear up the paint, better paint = better accuracy.
-You do have to put time in
I was pretty excited to get this gun, since it seemed to be the next step up from my Phantom. Installing the barrel took about 30 minutes (15 of that was me taking it off and putting it back on once I installed the stock). I spent another 15 minutes and about 25 paintballs making sure the barrel was lined up correctly and not shooting the paintballs consistently to one side or another. However, this was hard to do once I ran out of good paint (more below). Also, the velocity on this barrel matters ALOT. The people at the store told me it would take about 2000 rounds before the bolt on a new gun was completely broken in. Until then, they wouldn't even bother trying to chrono. So, I went to Wally World and got a case of "monster balls." 1900 rounds into the testing, I was pretty dissappointed because my flatline couldn't consistently put paint on a cardboard box from less than 40 feet away. But, I went and got the gun chronoed and bought some decent, tournament grade paint for it. With the gun chronoed correctly, I was able to hit a wooden sign (6' by 5') that was about 500 feet away (according to the guy who owned the land/paintball field). What really surprised me was that I didn't have to aim up hardly at all to hit at that range. Just compensating for the sideways force of the wind put my ball right on it. It might not break if it hit a person instead of a piece of wood, but making someone keep their head down is just as good as shooting it off.
As for paint, the flatline didn't break a single Brass Eagle paintball out of the 2000 I put through it. However, even chronoed and tested as being accurate, the Brass Eagle paint went all over the place. I dont think it would have done better in ANY gun, but the fact remains that bad paint can ruin a good setup. From 50 feet away, I was constantly putting paintballs within about 6-8 inches of each other with the flatline and some of the tourney grade paint. And that was all snapshot kind of work. If you were to throw an expansion chamber on this thing, I'm sure you could improve that more.
This barrel will make your woodsball game go a hell of a lot better, since you can slip shots between branches instead of aiming above them. I'd recommend this barrel to anyone who doesn't play speedball very often, and who is willing to put in the time and effort to make sure it's installed correctly. Anyone who rags on this for being inconsistent and inaccurate, probably was using it on a brand new gun like I was. Shoot some rounds, get it chronoed (265-285 is a good speed from what I've heard), and then try again.
It is not accurate with the response trigger. Take it off and its fine
The range is awesome and my friends also have it on their guns as well and think very highly of it. It's very accurate for them. It's an all around strong and sturdy barrel. Installation is easy. Not to accurate with response trigger but it hasgood range. Makes the 98 more rifle like in appearance.
If you want either more accuracy or range then get it. If you want both of those dont use it with a response trigger.
-Tippman 98 C
-Flatline Barrel System
-32 Degress Hyperstar Bolt
-BT Folding Stock (hollow)
-Silicone lubricant (trust me on this!)
Excellent looks, excellent range
Requires tuning and adjustment, shroud can pose problems in future
Ok, first off, I haven't done any real tests apart from simply playing in games at my local field... They run HPA there which dispels most of the spiking issues...
As you probably know the flatline barrel curves up and forward, so as the ball leaves the marker, it spins backwards as it rises up through...
The trajectory is a LOT more even than a stock barrel and the extra range is great. I've broken very, VERY few balls in this, but that's probably because I've maintained the marker well... I wouldn't say it adds 150feet at all, but it does will give you a clear advantage...
Where I'm at now with my marker is tuning... As other reviewers have stated, you need to line the barrel up perfectly and find the optimum velocity for this barrel to perform it's best or you'll find your balls swinging from side to side (also your paint will be curving off course ; ) heheheheh... oh... :\
This requires some tuning to keep it accurate beyond 50ft, so be prepared to fine tune it a litte :)
Looks wise, this is SO SWEET!!!! Coupled with the stock and a rifle sling, the reactions I got at my field was worth the price alone! :D
"F^£ing hell!! That guy's got a f£"!ing rifle"
"He better not playing against us :| "
heheh - excellent!
Marker looks awesome with the shroud, very MP5ish, but... there's a little problem - the flatline shroud makes some other aftermarket customisations difficult - namely closed bolt systems and feeder systems... also, you don't get the standard sight rail (I think...)
Excellent barrel! Highly recommended, be willing to invest a little time in optimising and testing the setup for best performance and you'll never look back!
Having said that, the only other barrel that comes close to this is the Apex. Check it out too. But the 98C looks WAY better and the Apex has almost cheating functions! :(
Tippmann 98 Custom
response trigger system
cyclone feed system
expansion & verticle chamber kit
Dye Ultralite 2-piece barrel
Use high-end paintballs. Don't use cheap ones or soft ones.
easy to clean
Balls fly straight for about 50-60 ft., then curve up
I didn't like this barrel too much. I started with this barrel on my gun, then purchased the Dye Ultralite 2-piece barrel. The Flatline barrel performed poorly for me. Everytime I shot, the ball would fly straight for about 50-60 feet, but then it would curve upward. Maybe it was the paintballs I was using that was causing this, because I was playing at a course that required you to use their paintballs. They were JT Evolve paintballs, and they are VERY soft. You can easily squeeze them with your fingers, so maybe the balls were to blame for the upward curve.
I wouldn't recommend this barrel. Perhaps it works great for some people, but it didn't for me. I was disappointed with it, especially after all the hype I had heard about the barrel. It certainly didn't live up to the hype, in my case.
The accuracy of this review is disputed. Please see discussion on the comments page.
Period of Product Use:
Less than a month
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Similar Products Used:
Smart Parts Ion
Halo V35 w/ rip drive
14" Dye Ultralite w/ gold tip
Steel 47/3000psi tank
XSV clamping feed neck
New Designz Pro Bolt
I really wouldn't know.
Looks pretty cool
A real huge pain to install
Doesn't really add range
Don't even get me started on this barrel. . .what a piece! I really would not recommend this barrel to anybody. It does look pretty fancy, but it doesn't work like they say. Trying to install this thing was a total pain and it didn't hold much reward. I took it out to my fence after it was finally installed and shot 5 rounds. Only 3 broke! And it was Xball Silver!
Do not buy! A huge waste of money. Buy an Ultralite.