As an avid paintballer myself who quickly grew tired of renting equipment every week and playing with sub-par gear, building my own paintball gun brought me a new level of enthusiasm to the sport. There are a few main components that make up your gun such as the hopper, stock, air regulator, main body and barrel. However, the barrel is the component which will considerably improve your accuracy the most.
Having the best paintball barrel will ensure that your gun is one step closer to being the ultimate paintballing weapon we all desire. Just make sure you have a good paintball mask to go alongside your best paintball barrel.
This article will help you find the best paintball barrel on the market. If you’re stuck on what to buy or what features to look for, we have also highlighted the factors and considerations you should be looking at whilst buying your paintball barrel.
Let’s get started!
Best Paintball Barrel's: at a glance
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#1 Best Paintball Barrel
#2 Best Paintball Barrel For Accuracy
#3 - Best 'Quiet' Paintball Barrel
#4 Best Customizable Paintball Barrel
#5 Best Paintball Barrel Kit
#6 Most Durable Paintball Barrel
#7 Best Beginners Paintball Barrel
#8 Best Ceramic Paintball Barrel
Beginner-Friendly Buyers' Guide
Barrel length – What’s The Ideal Length?
There is a myth that appears all over the internet (internet lies – shock alert!) that a longer barrel helps you shoot straighter – this is not necessarily true. Accuracy is usually determined by your control bore. The more ergonomically designed control bore the more accurate the gun will shoot.
The best paintball barrel lengths vary from 8 to 20 inches. Usually, I shoot with a 12 or 14-inch barrel and this suits me just fine. Some people prefer a longer barrel because it is better for shooting through objects such as trees, bushes, and around barricades. If you play in the woods or dense grassland then I would suggest getting a longer barrel but it is certainly not a ‘must-have’.
The advantage of a shorter barrel is that you get greater flexibility, you can move more easily and it is often lighters and easier to control than longer barrels. If you do a lot of crawling, running, jumping, and/or climbing this a shorter option is going to be the best paintball barrel for you.
Ultimately, you should ignore some of the myths online and pick a barrel size on your personal preference and playing style.
Barrel Bore Size
When picking the best paintball barrel this is one of the most important features you must check. The bore size refers to the inner diameter of the barrel. You need to match the bore with the size of the paint that you are shooting. There are a couple of ways to do this.
The first, and easiest way, is to check the manufacturer’s label to check the size of the bore and then you do the same with the type of pellet you use. If they match up – then great.
The second way is to go into your local store and to do a quick test of the products. To do this you:
- Take a paintball and put it in a barrel placed vertically
- If the ball falls straight through the barrel, it means that the bore size is too big
- If the ball gets stuck in the barrel, but you can get it out with a light blow of air from your mouth, it means that is just right
Make sure you test more than one paintball. I usually use 10 in order to get a good sample size. If you only use one to test your bore you could end up with a bore which is too tight or loose because the paintball you used to test it with was not a regular size compared to the other balls you use (this does happen a lot).
If, like me, you buy all your paintball gear online, make sure the retailer has a returns policy so you can send back products if they do not fit the specification of your pellets or vice versa – that way you can do this test from the comfort of your own home.
The best paintball barrel will have a bore size range from .689 to .674 with the most common size being .689. Some manufacturers are now offering barrels with interchangeable bolt inserts. This means you can have one barrel with several bore inserts that you can change and use depending on how you are looking to play the game.
Choosing the barrel material is one of, if not the most, important decision you will make when selecting your best paintball barrel. There are three main variables that you need to consider when choosing which one is right for you.
Firstly, the material you select will directly affect the weight of your paintball gun. If you are after a light gun that you can manoeuvre easily with then you need to choose a lighter material.
Secondly, the barrel material affects the accuracy of your paintball shots. Now, there is a lot of conflicting information out there about how to improve accuracy. I am not going to tell you that the barrel material is the be-all and end-all! It isn’t! But, at the very least, the material of the paintball barrel will affect the weight which in turn affects your balance at firing position – thus impacting the accuracy of your shots.
Finally, the material will directly correlate to the durability and life-span of your paintball barrel. We all love a great deal! Right? But, don’t let this come at the cost of quality construction. If you do, you will be back on the internet looking for your next best paintball barrel.
So what options do you have?
The aluminum barrel offers an excellent balance of weight and durability. The aluminum is lighter than the steal options and tends to be better priced too! If you are hunting for the best paintball barrel on a budget, I would recommend looking at these options. Due to this unmatched balance between cost, weight, and durability, it is no surprise that amongst causal paintballers this is the most popular material.
Stainless Steel Barrel:
This is a great option for the best paintball barrel material. In fact, most pros and serious paintballers will opt for this type of material. The main reason for this is that it can take an absolute beating and still work just as well day after day. Stainless steel is definitely the most durable material you can use for your barrel. The drawbacks? Well, this sturdiness comes at a weight-cost. In fact, you can add at least 2 pounds to the weight of your gun from this barrel. This may not sound like a lot but trust me when you are 30/40 minutes in and are tired from ducking, weaving, and running around the area – those 2 pounds begin to bite! Ultimately, if you are looking for a long-lasting barrel and don’t mind that extra weight – this is the best paintball barrel for you.
Ceramic barrels are as lightweight as aluminum. The main benefit is that they are self-cleaning which reduces time spent maintaining your best paintball barrel and should also prevent a build-up of paint which could affect performance. The major issue with the ceramic barrel (in my opinion its a pretty big issue!) is that it is incredibly delicate! If you are rough with your barrel or find yourself darting around the area you should avoid this type of barrel as it won’t last long.
Carbon Fiber Barrel:
Carbon fiber is the lightest material available on this list and on the market more generally. As well as this weight advantage, the material is incredibly durable and you won’t see it breaking anytime soon. Furthermore, with zero friction on the interior of the barrel your paintballs will shoot as far as possible with great accuracy. This all sounds great but the drawback of this barrel type is the cost. It is not cheap and if you are a casual paintballer the price may be too much to stomach compared to the aluminum option.
Vents & Design
The small holes you see dotted along your barrel are called vents. These are an important design feature of your best paintball barrel. The primary function of these vents is to allow air pressure to escape from your barrel.
Generally, the closer together the vents are, the quieter your gun will be when you shoot. This is great when trying to conceal your position in the area but it does come at a slight loss of power when you shoot limiting distance and it can affect, albeit marginally, accuracy.
On the other hand, vents closer to the tip of the barrel tend to be louder and create a more powerful shoot – this is because the air pressure has further to travel before it can escape.
Ideally, you would have a selection of barrels with different vent designs so that you can tailor it to the type of game you intend to play. If you are a beginner, I would go with a barrel where the vents are closer together and once you have mastered this you can move onto the more advanced designs.
One Piece Or Two
One of the major developments in recent times when it comes to the best paintball barrel is a two-piece design. The two-piece design has a front part and a back part which work independently of each other.
The back piece attaches to the marker. Different markers can use balls of different sizes, so the width of the shaft has to match that. Front pieces can be found in different lengths, and you can switch them up without changing the back piece. This allows you to customize your paintball gun to fit the needs of the game, your own playing style, and also to add a bit of personalization to your gun.
Proper Barrel Porting
Studies have shown that having proper barrel porting significantly affects the accuracy of your paintball gun. Barrel porting is the little holes in the front of the barrel. Properly ported barrels and counter-bored barrels performed better than traditional barrels having perpendicular, small opening porting
The two main advantages of proper barrel porting are: increased accuracy and lower noise output when shooting. It does this by removing any ‘extra’ energy and pressure so that the barrel stays stable and the pellet stays straight.
Conclusion: Best Paintball Barrel
Paintball barrel’s come in all shapes and sizes. The developments in the design and construction means that you can pick up a straight shooter at breathtakingly good value. Remember, you can read all you want on the internet about what I think is the right pick for you but ultimately you need to figure out what you value most in your paintball barrel.
If you are after something lightweight, go for the carbon-fiber option. If you want something durable which will withstand heavy punishment go for the stainless steel option.
My #1 overall pick for the best paintball barrel is the Deadlywind Null Autococker Carbon Fiber Paintball Barrel. This barrel is light as a feather, super durable and still packs a punch when you have your the target in your sites! I love this barrel so much that after testing it out for this article – I went ahead and bought one myself!
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