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Thread: best barrel?

  1. #1

    best barrel?

    I've been going back through a lot of punkworks' stuff on barrels with a focus on standard deviation. I think we can agree that accuracy comes down to a low standard deviation on things like fps, spin, etc. with all else being common. And efficiency comes down to low standard deviation at higher fps produced with all else being common.

    First off, it's amazing how well the 14" CP .685 1-piece barrel does as a control in all of these tests. This is across different paint types and different weather conditions. It seems you could go so far as to say, if you can only own one barrel, get the 14" CP .685 1-piece.

    But it is possible to do a little better.
    When looking at spin induced by the barrel, their tests showed no noticeable difference made by rifled barrels, but the lowest standard deviation of spin was produced by unrifled barrels underbored by .003 or bore matched.

    At various times and with different paint, they have done efficiency testing and the .682-.685's tend to come out the best (again, looking at higher fps with low standard deviation) with overall barrel lengths between 10-14".

    In their control bore study, the 9" control bore seems to be the clear winner in terms of low deviation.

    And in their underbore study, they found a .003-.005 underbore to be best.


    So, It seems you want a 10-14" barrel with a 9" control bore with enough backs to keep you underbored around .003 for the best accuracy and efficiency.

    I remember that they said the Lurker and FLASC kits came closest to the ideal barrel for them.


    This is probably old news to most of you since most of this testing was done years ago, but every once in a while I get the urge to buy a new barrel and have to remind myself that what I have is more than sufficient. So maybe next time I won't have to do all that forum-scouring all over again.

  2. #2
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    The trouble with underboring is that the paint needs to be consistent. If the paint is that consistent, the barrel effects are mainly efficiency and rollout prevention.

    If the paint is lumpy or varied in shape, a rifled barrel helps turn everything on the same axis. If the paint is varied in size you need a large overbore to keep from breaking in the barrel and some long porting often helps even out the velocity some.

    A little underbore with nice paint makes a wonderful day, but I've had whole events saved by a rifled or old overbored barrel.

  3. #3
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    "best" depends on what the player is looking for...best bang for the buck, lightest weight, smallest size, noise suppression, if it has backs / inserts, etc.

    "bore matched" depends on how you define the term. there is no such thing as a match, as all paint varies in size and shape. "matching" in the tradition sense (average paint size) usually results in decreased consistency in terms of velocity over the chronograph, as some paint will be larger then the bore (underbore, higher fps) and some paint will be smaller than the bore (underbore, lower fps). i define "bore match" as either a proper underbore or overbore for your paint. underboring or overboring has been shown in several tests to be the most consistent over the chrono.

    anyway, paint quality will have a larger effect on consistency and accuracy than your barrel will. assuming good paint, underbore if possible for better gas efficiency. cold weather or crappy paint, overbore it.

  4. #4
    The last 3 barrel kits I've bought, I only got bore sizes for .687, .685, and .682.

    Almost every field I play uses valken and it seems .687 barely prevents rollouts while .684-685 is usually right on the money with a sample of 15-20.

    I think what you guys are saying is part of why the 1-piece .685 CP barrel does so well. It's basically a "match" to most rec paint out there today. It's not so small that it's breaking odd-shaped balls and not so big that it's super inefficient.

    On many of their tests, a .003 underbore performed the best, but the next best was a "bore-matched" barrel. And you guys know that punkworks refused to use only pre-sized balls. They took a sample and based their boring off the sample. They said sizing each ball was unrealistic and therefore did not yield results useful to the average player. Thus, their tests should account for the different sizes and shapes inherent in a regular bag of balls. And you'll note that underbored barrels did not break paint any more often than overbored barrels. Again, this was not done pre-sizing all the balls, but by establishing a base bore off a small sample from each bag.

    and Cyco, I agree that "best" means many different things to different people. But every baller I know starts with "what gives me the best chance for accuracy and efficiency?" and then factors in budget, weight, etc. Maybe not everyone follows that same process, but it's what I see repeated over and over.

  5. #5
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    I am a huge fan of Lapco one piece barrels. Their manufacturing is superb and a .687 bore on my Mags usually does well with most paint.

    Since we are talking "best" barrels, here is something I believe to be true on Automag barrels simply by my experience without testing or analysis of many barrels, just what I believe to be true based on my use... twist lock barrels are easier on paint than 'Cocker threaded barrels. I have both and I really think that twist locks are a little better with brittle paint.

  6. #6
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    With the crap field paint that I'm generally limited to, it makes little to no difference what my paint to barrel match is. My old DYE stainless in .690 shoots as straight as any barrel kit I've used. This might also be because the bore is polished so smooth it feels wet to the touch!

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by JKR View Post
    I have both and I really think that twist locks are a little better with brittle paint.
    Along the same lines, just based on experience and nothing more, in one day with the same kind of paint I've gone from twist-loc to a doc's adapted mag to a ULE mag. And I don't remember thinking that any one of them was any worse that any of the others.

    That would be interesting to see, though. Just need to get the same barrel in twist-loc and cocker thread. Use the same valve on both platforms so that nothing except the body changes and shoot over a chrono at 30ft and 60ft.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bowcycle View Post
    and Cyco, I agree that "best" means many different things to different people. But every baller I know starts with "what gives me the best chance for accuracy and efficiency?" and then factors in budget, weight, etc. Maybe not everyone follows that same process, but it's what I see repeated over and over.
    well, we know for a fact what's most efficient, as for what's more accurate...better paint and more practice.

    Quote Originally Posted by bowcycle View Post
    Along the same lines, just based on experience and nothing more, in one day with the same kind of paint I've gone from twist-loc to a doc's adapted mag to a ULE mag. And I don't remember thinking that any one of them was any worse that any of the others.

    That would be interesting to see, though. Just need to get the same barrel in twist-loc and cocker thread. Use the same valve on both platforms so that nothing except the body changes and shoot over a chrono at 30ft and 60ft.
    why would the body have any effect? if you're using the same paint, and same barrel, in the same conditions, on the same platform, you should see the same results.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JKR View Post
    here is something I believe to be true on Automag barrels simply by my experience without testing or analysis of many barrels
    without testing, this means nothing. there are so many variables...

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyco-Dude View Post
    without testing, this means nothing. there are so many variables...
    This was the reason for my post about using the same barrel in twistloc on a classic body and in cocker-thread on a ULE body. So with nothing changing except the body (and obviously the thread type), you could test to see if twistloc barrels really are more gentle on paint.

    I'm pretty sure twistloc barrels have a gentler chamfer down to the control bore size than cocker-threaded barrels. So there could be something to this.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bowcycle View Post
    This was the reason for my post about using the same barrel in twistloc on a classic body and in cocker-thread on a ULE body. So with nothing changing except the body (and obviously the thread type), you could test to see if twistloc barrels really are more gentle on paint.

    I'm pretty sure twistloc barrels have a gentler chamfer down to the control bore size than cocker-threaded barrels. So there could be something to this.
    The twist lock barrels will be more gentle on smaller bore paint. This is because the barrel back is the same size as the control bore. The next ball in the stack is still sitting above the contact point of the bolt. In a ULE body, the breach is full size and the next ball in the stack actually sits down in the breach area allowing it to get clipped by the tip of the bolt as it fires. This is more pronounced when using small bore paint, because it allows the next ball to sit farther down in the breach than when using large paint.

    As mentioned above, an ideal barrel is one that is 0.003" underbored. That is great if you hand select every ball you will be firing so that they all fit that criteria for your barrel. Since you usually don't select your balls that stringently, you have to select a bunch of balls and then size your barrel for the largest ball in your batch. The problem hear is that the ideal fitting ball will have the highest velocity and the smallest one will have the least velocity, causing inconsistent shooting. So, Overbore your largest ball a bit so that all balls are overbored and that variance is reduced. You give up on efficiency as a whole, but your consistency will still be pretty good, but not perfect. The overbore will prevent barrel breaks in brittle paint as well. So, you won't be sacrificing a lot of consistency, but you will give up some efficiency and you will gain the ability to keep your barrel clean and free from broken ball goo.
    Except for the Automag in front, its usually the man behind the equipment that counts.

  12. #12
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    Inception Designs Stella / Freak / Apex .

    A lot longer with the Apex2 than I'm used to, but I like it.


  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bowcycle View Post
    This was the reason for my post about using the same barrel in twistloc on a classic body and in cocker-thread on a ULE body. So with nothing changing except the body (and obviously the thread type), you could test to see if twistloc barrels really are more gentle on paint.

    I'm pretty sure twistloc barrels have a gentler chamfer down to the control bore size than cocker-threaded barrels. So there could be something to this.
    i dunno, i see what you're saying but my a-5 freak back is like that...the insert doesn't sit flush with the end of the back (due to tippmann markers bolt having to enter the barrel, instead of just moving up to it). so the paintball is pushed into the barrel, then basically shot into the insert. you would think it's rough on the paint, but i haven't had any issues with it so far.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by athomas View Post
    The twist lock barrels will be more gentle on smaller bore paint. This is because the barrel back is the same size as the control bore. The next ball in the stack is still sitting above the contact point of the bolt. In a ULE body, the breach is full size and the next ball in the stack actually sits down in the breach area allowing it to get clipped by the tip of the bolt as it fires. This is more pronounced when using small bore paint, because it allows the next ball to sit farther down in the breach than when using large paint.

    As mentioned above, an ideal barrel is one that is 0.003" underbored. That is great if you hand select every ball you will be firing so that they all fit that criteria for your barrel. Since you usually don't select your balls that stringently, you have to select a bunch of balls and then size your barrel for the largest ball in your batch. The problem hear is that the ideal fitting ball will have the highest velocity and the smallest one will have the least velocity, causing inconsistent shooting. So, Overbore your largest ball a bit so that all balls are overbored and that variance is reduced. You give up on efficiency as a whole, but your consistency will still be pretty good, but not perfect. The overbore will prevent barrel breaks in brittle paint as well. So, you won't be sacrificing a lot of consistency, but you will give up some efficiency and you will gain the ability to keep your barrel clean and free from broken ball goo.
    it should be noted that paint is pretty robust; punkworks did some extreme underboring tests and found not conclusive evidence to suggest that extreme underbores cause more barrel breaks. so, i agree with your statement to find the largest diameter of the paintball and overbore the barrel, so all paint is smaller than the barrel bore. but, i would also say that it's better to find the smallest diameter of the smallest paintball, and slightly underbore it, or just match it. that way all paint has a tight fit down the control bore, and will yield greater efficiency while still being consistent over the chrono.

    it all comes down to the paint you are using and your playing conditions. if the paint is good, and you aren't playing in very cold temperatures (which makes the shell more brittle), i would underbore. if your paint is old and hard, or you're playing in the cold, or the paint is just crap, i would overbore then.

  15. #15
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    Underboring isn't the cause of the barrel breaks in conjunction with brittle paint. Cracking the paint shell prior to it loading into the barrel is the culprit. Overboring will allow it to be shot without breaking. Underboring causes the extra barrel restriction to increase the bolt force on the ball and bust the cracked shell during loading into the barrel. If you hand load the balls one at a time or use a pump, you should never have a barrel break during a shot, even when underboring.

  16. #16
    Freak back with riffled hammerhead barrel system is the best in my opinion.

  17. #17
    I've stated it before and I'll say it at least once more. Lurker makes the best barrel kit for the money. I've not used a Stella, but the options it offers are ridiculous. A full kit isn't cheap though. For less than a bill you can get a three back, two tip kit and case from lurker. The empire sniper/resurrection kit would be my second choice. If I ever get my hands on a Stella then I may be willing to put it ahead of those. I just can't pay as much for a barrel kit as I did my marker. Maybe it is that nice. I would invest in one for sure if Simon made a twist lock version as was mentioned as a possibility.

  18. #18
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    I've liked the Stella system so far.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by dboggs79 View Post
    I've stated it before and I'll say it at least once more. Lurker makes the best barrel kit for the money.
    Quote Originally Posted by dboggs79 View Post
    For less than a bill you can get a three back, two tip kit and case from lurker.
    I'd like to second, third, and star this. The Eigenbarrel is phenomenal and inexpensive. My 2nd place goes to Deadlywind for the Fibur barrel, which is my current go-to since I have Freak inserts. I bought a Lurker kit for my brother for his birthday, and now want to steal it for myself. So quiet and efficient, and as accurate as anything I've ever used.

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