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Paintball Sniper Barrel – Is Bigger Better?

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.

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14 Comments

  1. Michael
    Posted November 10, 2010 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    nope there is a point were a longer barrell becomes pointless. on mine i have a 12′ tac barrel and a flash hider wich adds about another inch or so. any thing bigger than that and your just going to start to loose velocity and there isnt going to be a large difference in accuracy. as for the 26’…. wow i didnt even know they made barrels that long, i guess it is because it is ultimately pointless.

  2. Adge
    Posted November 21, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Myself personally, as I have stated before, I am a fan of longer barrels. i have two 20″ barrels that work great for for accuracy and mobility. I have tried all different sizes from top brands and none of them compare to the barrels I have. That being said I do believe there’s such a thing as too long. The longest i have tried was 22″ barrel and I could not manouvre with it, but a 20″ is perfect for me. Now a 26″…wow I think that is way too long. there is no way one can manouvre with that size. The velocity thing i have to disagree with. I am still pumping out the same fps the only thing is that i use more air. To me, what are field fees for right.

  3. Big Daddy
    Posted January 2, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    All the ballistics tests have proven that at around 14″ or 16″ you start loosing efficiency, but not velocity, but don’t really gain any range. However, a longer barrel is easier to aim and being heavier, will make for a steadier marker. Seems like it’s all a wash.

    During my short stint in the Navy, I’ve seen guys that can hit targets at 500 and 600 meters with an issued M16A4, and other guys that couldn’t hit a target with a shotgun at 25 meters. It’s all in how comfortable you are with your gun/marker. If that 26″ barrel gives you the confidence to hit targets, then you’re going to. If you think that your 12″ is the best thing out there, then that’s what is going to get the job done for you.

    Gun bunnies have been arguing ballistics since some Chinese guy loaded up the first fireworks rocket. Our sport is still VERY young, we can start arguing about what works best for us.

    Me? I love Hammerhead rifled barrels and APEX tips. :)

  4. Big Daddy
    Posted January 2, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    I forgot to add something…

    I agree with the big guy, a paintball sniper is NOT a longballer. He’s the guy getting eliminations inside 100′ and no one knowing where he is.

  5. Ross
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 4:20 am | Permalink

    Well i have an 18 and 14 inch, the 14 gives me better velocity n mobility but the 18 give accuracy

  6. xXSniper88Xx
    Posted June 2, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    I have a 15 inch and a 13 Inch… My 15 is on my Sniper and my 13 inch is on one of my Assault Rifles. I Personally have no problem with either of them except for the Shiny Chrome on My 13(Which Now that I got my Sniper,I’ll Prolly Get Rid of it).

  7. Playpep
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 1:25 am | Permalink

    Well I’m just starting to get into this paintball hobby. I’m not looking to become a paintball sniper, but I’m looking for accuracy. I’ve seen that the golden barrel length is between 14 and 16 inches. Is this true? Also what setup would be recommended with the Tippmann a5 on hpa? Again I don’t know much… Just looking for direction.

  8. White Scorpion
    Posted April 23, 2012 at 3:43 am | Permalink

    I am right in there with the whole 12″ to 16″ barrel argument and what is optimal for range, accuracy and sound profile. But in our 26″ friends favor is the dreaded pine tree You know the one. Big one in the middle of your field. Sure you can hide under those low hanging branches but you have to lift half the tree up just to get your marker into a shooting position. Not with 26″. Heck he can be on the other side of the tree. Tree getting hammered by paintballs not a one having a hope of getting through. Pinned, not mr 26″ he just calmly sticks his barrel through the whole tree and takes out his opponent. Very situational, but I have seen it happen. He got me from under that tree.

  9. Anon.
    Posted April 26, 2012 at 3:22 am | Permalink

    “White Scorpion” has a good point, having the extra barrel length to stick through bushes and such is a big plus… but it IS very situational.

    My favourite barrel is the stock barrel from the Empire Trracer pump gun, 14″ long and autococker threaded. Putting it on a mini is just a beautiful thing, total beast in the woods and speedball alike.

  10. Jack
    Posted May 10, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Stealth is not an easy thing to accomplish. You have to stay quiet and stay hidden. Staying hidden is the hardest part. The best way to stay hidden is to use a ghillie suit. Use camouflage so you can blend into the background and take out the enemy from far away.

    http://ghillie.gknv.co m/shop/shop.php?c=5907&n=3375301&i=B001IAQHD0&x=Paintball_Sniper_4_Piece_Desert_Ghillie_Suit_ML

  11. TaTaTyrone15
    Posted January 3, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    For me personally, a 12″ is all I need. Seriously guys if you find the perfect paint to barrel bore match, your accuracy will definately increase. All the people that say i get more velocity with my 18″ or 20″ need to get their facts right. Longer barrel may yield better accuracy, very true. However velocity is the same with any barrel. But with longer barrels, you put more drag on the ball so you actually lose velocity. I can even make my 8.5″ stock barrel extremely effective. I just stuck a techt Ifit kit to match the barrel and paint bore. About as accurate as my 12″ Hope this helps bros!

  12. Shaun McMaster (RSA)
    Posted May 2, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Hi All

    I have experienced something completely different. I bought a Tippmann Sierra One recently and it comes stock with a 14″ barrel i was shooting at full velocity at around 300FPS i then bought a Proto 16″ Camo Barrel and I was shooting at 330-350FPS. Funny thing is : Same paint, same velocity setting, same gun, same day, same weather conditions and the same air tank(HPA).

  13. Posted October 30, 2013 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    To Playpep
    I would suggest getting a 14 inch Apex 2 for your A5. If you set the Apex 2 dial on 2 or 3 clicks and have the dial pointed straight up you will be making some LONG and STRAIGHT shots. I have played around with First Strikes alot and I think the Apex 2 (when used properly) is as good( if not better) than First Strikes. I would not recommend the Apex 2 for all the trick shots(curving around bonkers and dive shots) because, by the time you mess around that much trying to make a trick shot your opponent will know where you are and will be shooting back at you. That being said, you can make some cool trick shots with the Apex 2 but you should really practice those kind of shots for a long time before you try it on the field. I have taken some really long and straight shots to take people out with the Apex 2 ( i set mine on 2 clicks but some people like 3 clicks) and I am sure you will be happy with it.

    If anyone here likes paintball forums (but this one is the best in my opinion) , you should go to http://www.pbriot.com . There is alot of AWESOME and friendly people there that love to talk about paintball. Pbriot is very friendly, so if you do sign up make sure you start a thread in the meet and great and you will get a warm welcome.

  14. Posted October 30, 2013 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Sorry, I meant to say that I think Pbriot is the best in my opinion but i put that in the wrong spot in my other post so it did not come out right and I can’t seem to edit my last post….lol

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  1. By Doug Kramer on August 30, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    RT @sniperpaintball Sniper Barrel – Is Bigger Better? | http://tacticalpaintballsniper.com/blog/paintball-sniper-barrel-is-bigger-better

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