There is one component that I find more important than all the others when it comes to paintball, and you probably know what it is. It’s not shooting, because without a reliable marker or gun there would be no point in doing anything else! The best way for your aim to get better? Practice practice PRACTICE – but don’t forget about safety first!
What’s the most exciting part of playing paintball with friends? If we had time constraints on this answer then maybe picking up new tricks like how to shoot quicker or making sure our equipment works well enough could come into consideration. But overall my favorite thing has always been pulling off some amazing shots during intense games where everyone was watching me do something cool – now THAT
But there’s an item that makes your shooting better. We are talking about the gun barrel. A paintball barrel is a long tube-like thing that is fitted at the front end of your gun. It increases the gun’s length and helps you improve the accuracy of the shot. The barrel makes your gun look beautiful and stylish. Some barrels also reduce the sound of the shot and increase its range.
We can safely summarize that a paintball barrel is an essential part of your gear and a must whether you are a beginner or a professional. High-end paintball guns come with barrels attached. However, these barrels can be removed and replaced with the ones of your choice.
Companies like Smart Freak are famous for manufacturing a wide range of high-quality paintball barrels and barrel inserts. A barrel has a front end, a back end (to fit it to the gun), and an insert that goes inside the barrel tube. These usually come together as barrel kits. We can also find kits with only barrel inserts as professionals like to change them often.
Barrel kits can be confusing to buy, especially since each kit contains different items. The threading style is another aspect you have to think about. The bore sizes are just as important as they decide which paintballs will be suitable for the barrel and the gun.
If this sounds confusing, worry not. We are here to help you resolve it out and understand the paintball barrels. We have compiled a list of the top 5 best barrel kits for paintball and a detailed buying guide to discuss the factors to consider when choosing barrels for your paintball guns. Shall we start reading?
Table of Contents
The Best Barrel Insert for Paintball For The Money
#1 Smart Parts Freak XL Barrel Kit - Editor’s Choice
The first barrel kit on our list is by Freak. These are XL barrels of 14 inches in length and come with 8-inch color-coded inserts. Over the years, Freak became a well-known name in the paintball market for manufacturing high-quality, durable, consistent, and reliable barrels and barrel inserts. This XL barrel kit contains inserts, barrel back, and barrel fronts (all in XL size) for increased accuracy of the shot. Let’s read more about this barrel kit in detail.
Features & Benefits
The entire set comes in a soft handy case with partitions on the inside. You can neatly place the items in their respective slots and carry the handy case with you to the paintball field. The inserts are made of aluminum and have a hard ionized finish. They are laser engraved so that it’ll be easy for you to identify the right one for your game.
The barrel is suitable to work with 8 different bore sizes- 0.679, 0.682, 0.684, 0.687, 0.689, 0.691, 0.693, and 0.695. This barrel kit contains barrel backs with Autococker threads. That means the barrel can be used with any Autococker gun.
- The company has tested the barrel in a controlled environment to ensure that is less recoil.
- The barrel also reduces the sound of the shot apart from providing you an accurate aim.
- Since it is a well-known brand, the barrel kit by Freak is rather expensive. However, professionals love them.
- If you are a beginner and want to improve your game, look at it as a long-term investment.
- Ensure you take good care of the barrel and the inserts for them to last for a long time. Even though they are durable, you will need to put some effort clean them.
- Leaving paint on the barrel or the inserts will reduce their life span.
#2 Planet Eclipse Shaft FR Back Kit Black - Best Customized Bore Selection
Most of you would know the brand Planet Eclipse. It is popular for manufacturing and selling paintball equipment. Since the barrels are compatible with Freak inserts, many advanced paintball players like to buy these. Of course, the performance of the barrels is just as good. There is hardly anything to complain about this barrel kit.
Features & Benefits
The barrels are made of aluminum and come in a unique design. The back of the barrel guides it to the insert via a tapered opening. You can find it at the rear end. The barrel has a joiner section. This is a smart way to hold the insert in place.
And joiner also ends up an interface at the tip. The barrel has three windows, and it is super easy to identify where the insert should go. You can change the inserts in a quick time without worrying about making a mistake.
- The barrel comes with Autococker threads and is compatible with all Autococker guns.
- The threads are another highlight of this barrel kit. It takes less than a few seconds to attach and remove the barrel from the gun.
- When compared to barrels with standard threads, these work really great. No wonder professionals prefer to invest in this kit.
- The barrel can be customized to suit the bore size of your choice.
- However, some players complained that the barrel was a bit too tight.
- Though it could be a problem, the good news is that the barrel doesn’t pick much paint. That makes it easy to clean after the game.
- Even if a couple of paintballs burst inside the gun, you should be able to get rid of the paint from the barrels without much trouble.
#3 GOG Freak Barrel Kit - Best for Consistency
If consistency and accuracy are a priority, you can’t go wrong with the GOG Freak barrel kit. This kit also includes 8 barrel inserts made of aluminum. The GOG Freak barrel comes with the original Boremaster kit in a hard case. This is something you must carry with you to every paintball event. Be it the finish of the inserts or the quality of the barrel and backs, this kit offers everything you expect from a famous brand.
Features & Benefits
The barrel kit includes a Freak barrel back and a 14-inch tip, along with the 8 inserts we already mentioned. The inserts and barrel tips can be interchanged as and how you want to. This doesn’t have to depend on the threads either.
That said, it comes with Autococker threads. You can use the barrels only with guns compatible with Autococker threads. These will not suit the standard threading system. But since Autococker happens to be a common threading system for barrel backs, it shouldn’t be much of an issue.
- The barrel comes with a unique porting design.
- The kit is suitable for use by intermediary and advanced paintball players.
- Each insert comes in a different color with the bore size engraved on the outer side. This makes it easy to choose and change the inserts during the game.
- The company claims that the inserts offer pinpoint precision that translates to the higher efficiency of the barrel.
- Every shot you fire will be accurate and pack a punch. If your aim is just as good, you are sure to have more hits and very few misses on the field.
- This kit is also a bit expensive, but that is to be expected from Freak.
#4 Empire Apex 2 3-in-1 Adjustable Barrel Kit - Best for Budget
If you are in search of an affordable and reliable barrel kit that suits more than one type of gun and can shot across a longer range, we’ve got Empire’s Apex 2 adjustable barrel kit for you. This kit is a good example of durability, reliability, and affordability. It has a few misses but delivers a decent overall result, especially for beginners. The barrels have a wider and longer range, which are necessary for outdoor paintball games.
Features & Benefits
The barrels are stylish and sophisticated. When you attach them to your guns, they’ll transform the markers to resemble the MilSim models. And that’s not limited to the looks alone. The barrels have the ability to let you shoot around the obstacles.
Yes! If you want a barrel that shoots in flat and curved trajectories, this kit is for you. Of course, it’s not easy for a beginner to get it right the first time. But with some practice, you’ll be able to master it.
- There is an adjustable slider on the barrel. You can increase the range of your shot by moving this forward.
- With 9 different levels of control, you can adjust the range between 9 distances.
- If you move the slider forward, the trajectory will be flat, and when you move it backward, the shot will be curved.
- You need to use any special tools to take apart the barrel. However, since the entire setup is held together using 5 O-rings, disassembly is not as easy as it appears.
- It would be better if you want until you’re off the field so that you can sit in peace and take it apart for cleaning.
- The barrel threads suit Autococker guns, Spyder guns, and Tippmann A5 and 98C guns.
- Still, we wish the barrels were more accurate and produced lesser sound when firing the shots. These are definitely not silent.
#5 HK Army XV Barrel Kit Autococker - Best High-end Model
HK Army is another known paintball brand in the market. Beginners and professionals alike like to buy paintball equipment manufactured by this company. The XV barrel kit with Autococker threads is a high-end product by HK Army. The barrels are reliable, consistent, and accurate. They are lightweight and made of good quality durable aluminum. The total length of each barrel is 15 inches. If you like longer barrels, this one is definitely for you.
Features & Benefits
The barrel kit consists of two barrel pieces- one 6-inch barrel tip and three 9-inch barrel backs with different bore sizes- 0.689, 0.685, and 0.681. It also has two removable barrel rings- Black Accent Ring and Gold Accent Ring.
The bore numbers have been milled on the barrel backs for easy identification. The barrel tips have been honed to deliver accurate and precise shots each time. Consistency is another plus point of this barrel kit.
- The barrel kit comes in a quality throw case with a dual zipper system. It is easy and convenient to carry.
- The lightweight design makes these barrels a favorite of many advanced paintball players. Who doesn’t like barrels that promise precision and are also not heavy?
- The barrel threads are Autococker. This does restrict the compatibility of the barrels. However, it shouldn’t stop you from buying this bit.
- If you use Autococker guns, these barrels would be a perfect fit anyway.
- They are a little expensive but are worth the price, be it the quality or the performance.
Best Barrel Kit for Paintball Buying Guide
You must have understood by now that selecting a paintball barrel kit is not too easy. You have to choose a barrel that suits your style and the gun. Barrels are not universal in nature. One type of paintball barrel will not fit any kind of gun. It could be because of the kind of threading used or the caliber of the gun (and the bore size of the barrel insert).
Though the popular bore sizes are 0.689 and 0.674, there are other sizes available to suit the variety of guns in the market. Not only this, all paintballs are not of the same size. While 0.68 is the standard size, you can find paintball as small as 0.40. These are used in woodsball, where smaller paintballs can easily reach the target through the branches and shrubs.
One of the common questions beginners often ask is whether they need to buy a paintball barrel kit. Is it necessary?
Yes, it is, but only if you plan to play regularly and participate in various paintball tournaments. Since the size of the paintballs tends to change from one event to another, along with the venue and the game rules, having your own paintball barrel kit will help you stay prepared for any game.
And you can also improve the accuracy of your shot by attaching a barrel to your paintball marker. Once you invest in a high-quality barrel kit, you don’t have to think of buying more barrels for the next few years.
So what about the barrel sleeve? What is it, and why do I need it?
A barrel sleeve, cover (or sock) is used to prevent the accidental release of paintball from the barrel. You can also use barrel plugs.
However, a barrel plug is not effective for electronic paintball guns. A barrel sleeve, on the other hand, serves two purposes.
It stops paintballs from being shot at unsuspected people by accident, and it also saves you from burning your hand by touching the hot barrel. It shouldn’t surprise you that the barrel would get hot from constant firing. If you are not careful and touch the hot end of the barrel, you will end up with a burn. A barrel sleeve will save you and your teammates from such injuries.
However, once the game is over, you need to empty the magazine (or disconnect the hopper from the gun) to get rid of the remaining paintballs in the barrel. This will prevent accidental firings and injuries.
Factors to Consider When Buying the Best Barrel Kit for Paintball
Let us now look at the factors you need to consider when buying the best barrel kit (barrels and inserts) for paintball.
The Material of the Barrel
Do you know that barrels come in different materials? Though we see many of them made of aluminum, we also find the ones made of stainless steel, ceramic, and carbon fiber. Carbon fiber barrels are strong, durable, lightweight, and expensive. Aluminum barrels are cost-effective, lightweight, and can last for a decent time if made using high-quality aluminum. Professionals tend to choose these or the carbon fiber models.
While the stainless steel barrels are super strong, they are heavy and can sit like an additional weight at the end of your gun. The ceramic barrels are the weakest of all and break easily.
The Length of the Barrel
The longest barrel is 20 inches in length. The shortest one would be around 10 inches. So which one is more suitable? That depends on your game and skills. The average barrel length ranges about 12 and 14 inches, though we see players who use 16-inch paintball barrels as well.
Power, accuracy, and consistency are three aspects you need to keep in mind when deciding the right barrel length for your guns. While longer barrels are more accurate, they reduce the power of the shot. This is because the paintball has to travel a longer distance within the barrel and its confines.
Barrels of 12 and 14 inches tend to create a good balance between the three aspects and make you a good paintball shooter.
The Interior Finish
What does the interior finish of a barrel have to do with your game? A lot, we would say. If the finish inside the barrel is not neat and smooth, the paintballs will drag against the walls. This could lead to more paintballs bursting inside the barrel. Or it could result in the shots lacking enough power to reach the target. Or the accuracy of the shot might be compromised, leaving you frustrated. To sum up, if the interior finish of a barrel is not good, your game will not be consistent.
The Bore Size
We have already talked about the different bore sizes in the previous section, right? We have barrel kits that offer around 6 different bore sizes for you to choose from. Isn’t that wonderful? Picking a barrel with the wrong bore size is a common mistake made by newbies and even intermediary players.
Add to it the different sizes of paintballs we get in the market. You have to be doubly careful when choosing the barrel for your gun and the paintballs. That’s why a barrel kit comes in handy. If the barrel you picked is not working, you can remove and replace it with another barrel.
The threading is that one thing attached to the barrel. A barrel is usually screwed to the front end of the gun. And when the threading doesn’t match, Autococker is used as a connector between the barrel and the gun. Some barrels are not designed to go with Autococker. The Empire Apex barrel kit is an example. These barrels work with Tippmann guns- A5 and 98 models, to be more specific. That makes the barrels less versatile, but if you own Tippmann guns, you will find it easier to use a barrel that is a perfect choice for the paintball gun.
Why do barrels need vents? These tiny holes help release the excess pressure and sound generated inside the barrel when firing a paintball. With the vents releasing the sound, your shots will be silent so that when you fire from your hiding place, the sound of the shot will not give you away.
However, there is a small drawback of vents. The high-pressure required to power long-distance shots cannot be maintained inside the barrel. But fear not. This is taken care of by spacing the vents. That’s the reason you see some barrels with vents closer to the gun’s end while other models have vents at the opposite end of the barrel.
What is the best kind of insert you can have for your barrel? Stainless steel. These are durable and can last longer than other inserts. If you are on a budget, you can opt for aluminum inserts as well. You can easily find high-quality aluminum inserts in the market. These are manufactured by brands like Freak.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Well, no barrel will continue to deliver great accuracy and power if you don’t clean it after every game. It’s natural for a few paintballs to burst inside the gun. You will need to clean the barrel inserts and the inside of the barrel to get rid of this paint. Make sure that the barrel is good as new before the next game. The easiest way to clean a barrel is to buy the Squeegees. These are easily found online and have been specially designed for the purpose.
Wrap Up: Our Choice
Have you decided which paintball barrel kit is the best choice for you? If you are still baffling about which one to buy, we recommend Smart Parts Freak XL Barrel Kit. It has everything you will need to attach the barrel to the gun and get a perfect aim.
We have already brought to you the features and benefits of the barrel kit in detail, isn’t it? With 8 inserts in multiple bore sizes, barrel backs, and front tips, Smart Parts Freak XL Barrel Kit is worth the price you pay for it.