This an important factor to bear in mind when shopping for paintball barrels. Arguably the most common material you will encounter is aluminium. It is relatively lightweight and cheap to produce and work with, making it a go-to choice for most manufacturers. More proficient players less concerned about carrying weight may be better served by a stainless steel barrel.
Although stainless steel is considerably heavier than aluminium, it is very durable and ensures optimal performance. If you have a bigger budget to play with, consider carbon fibre barrels. This material is incredibly robust and lightweight, giving you the best of both worlds.
The vast majority of barrels boast a 14-inch length. However, you will find barrels much shorter and considerably longer than this. If you are after the very best in accuracy, a much shorter barrel is the way to go. However, the shorter the barrel, the less distance you can expect to clear. If you find shorter barrels hard to handle, you may better served by a barrel length measuring 16 inches or above.
Most bores have a diameter measurement of .689, however as with barrel lengths, there are plenty of other options readily available. You need to pay special attention to bore measurements when shopping for a new barrel. If your bore diameter is too narrow, paintball ammo is likely to rupture before it leaves your weapon.
This will cause leaking and blockages, requiring you do dismantle your marker and clean it before you can return to the game. When playing tournament games, this is something you really want to avoid. You should also avoid bore diameters that are too wide. The wider the bore, the less accurate your firing will be.
One-Piece vs. Two-Piece Construction
In the past, paintball marker barrels usually only came in one-piece varieties. While these are effective enough to accommodate everyday paintball game scenarios, the more proficient may wish to invest in a two-piece barrel. These types of barrel are the way to go if you are looking to see significant improvements to accuracy. Unlike one-piece barrels, two-piece alternatives allow you to determine the barrel back and barrel front lengths separately. When it comes to barrel back pieces, size varies wildly. Having the option to explore these available sizes is a definite must for anyone who takes paintball seriously.
Looking to save money in the long run? You should definitely consider purchasing a complete barrel kit. The best paintball barrel kits on the market will include a good range of backs and fronts, along with a diverse selection of inserts. If you have a sizeable budget, look for sets that include components made from carbon fibre. This robust material will yield the best all-round performance, while also ensuring your components last for as long as possible. Having said that, aluminium inserts are also effective, provided they have been manufactured to a high standard.
A complete kit will allow you to play around with barrel configurations, letting you find a setup that works best for you. A full kit also means you have a barrel configuration for each type of game scenario, be it everyday practice and recreational situations, focused training or tournament-level play. A full barrel kit can be a relatively expensive investment, especially if you are looking to purchase a carbon fibre set. However, if you can afford the outlying cost, a barrel kit will pay off dividends in the long run.