Just recently, a member of our Tactical Paintball Sniper Facebook Page (click it to join!) posted pics of his paintball sniper marker. Thanks for that! Love seeing what you’re doing with gear. His barrel tops out at about 26″. And is actually two paintball barrels end to end. Nice job. If it’s working for ya, go bananas.
Here’s what I know about barrels and balls. Longer is not better, for two reasons.
#1 – There is a finite amount of gas released with each trigger pull. The theory that says “the longer the barrel, the longer the range” has a big flaw. It takes more gas to push a paintball down a longer barrel. Friction dictates. So, longer is only optimal to a point. And just what is that point? First, point number two.
#2 – Stealth requires mobility. And that mobility needs to be low profile. A long barrel is an extreme hindrance to both stealth and mobility. As a tactical paintball sniper, you need to adjust your thinking and tactics away from making a long shot. A paintball sniper is NOT a long shooter. A paintball sniper is an accurate, stealthy and cunning shooter. If you’re doing it right, you’re making invisible eliminations inside of 100 feet. You will need to be low to the ground. When you get low, you realize that a long barrel is a gong-show of getting tangled in grasses and banging the branches.
So, considering those two factors, just what is the optimal barrel length? In my experience and testing, the balance between stealth, mobility and accuracy comes around the 12″ to 14″ mark. With a 14″ paintball sniper barrel, you should easily be putting rounds into a target the size of a volleyball at 25 yards. And you won’t compromise your stealth too severely, though it will be hampered somewhat when you start belly crawling.
You won’t hear me preaching on barrel length much. I love watching guys sitting back and long-balling with their Ion Longbows. It’s a hoot to try and that’s what gets them out of bed and to the field. Totally cool. Just keep in mind that to maximize, keep your barrel inside of 14 inches.