The goal of this post is, for you the reader, to better understand the Flatline barrel System and how to make it work. The primary purpose of the Flatline design is to eliminate the “arcing” of shots you get with the standard or “traditional” type barrels. For those of you who currently own a Flatline barrel, or are looking into the barrel, you will want to pay extra attention to this thread.
The Flatline (if properly tuned) will be more accurate within the standard barrel range than most traditional barrels. If you take the time and patience to really fine tune these things and can keep your velocity very consistent (by means of a regulator), you will be able to maintain that "traditional barrel" accuracy beyond the standard barrel range. This simply takes time, and know-how to get the Flatline to perform as it was intended to.
*NOTE: If you are not prepared to adjust and learn to use this barrel, or even spend the amount on paint for the barrel, then it is best you start to look at other barrel options now...
Cleaning the Flatline after a break;
The 98 Flatline’s design does not allow the quick removal that the A5 Flatline has. Cleaning a ball break in the 98 Flatline is not too bad for most; however, it can be a pain for some users. Since the barrel can not be removed in the field without any tools (As of writing this I am not familiar with any “field-strip” modifications). If you suffer a break in the Flatline the most common and probably the easiest way to clean a break will be to insert a squeegee in the feed neck. The bolt should be in the cocked position and the safety on so it does not close on the squeegee. Simply insert the head of the squeegee all the way to the end of the barrel and pull it through. This may take more than 1-2 times to clean the barrel after a break.
The A5 Flatline was designed to be quickly removable in field for cleaning. The way the barrel adapter is designed you can twist the barrel 90* on the A5 and pull the barrel out of the receiver. If you cannot twist out the Flatline without loosening the front two screws, then either back one, or both of them out a bit to the point where the barrel is somewhat tight in the receiver, yet lose enough for you to quickly remove it with a twist. Another option for the above method is to purchase a "quick change kit." Basically nothing less than a couple of thumb screws that replaces the two front receiver screws, and the cyclone screw. These can be tightened and loosened in field to clean the barrel. Once you have removed the barrel from the A5 receiver you can run a squeegee through the barrel a lot easier than trying to feed it through the cyclone. This is not to say that you cannot feed it through the cyclone to clean the barrel, but it is not the easiest way to be done.
Cleaning the Flatline Barrel;
For both of these barrels after a day of use you should boil the barrel in hot water, yes that’s right, cook it. Just leave the barrel soak in the boiling water for about 5-10 minutes and this will clean out any dried, or paint residue left inside the barrel. This will guarantee you a “spotless” type clean on the barrel’s inner surface. Nothing is worse then going out to play with a dirty Flatline. I have always boiled my Flatline barrel after a day of play, even if I do not break a ball this still ensures a clean barrel for my next use. If you cannot boil the barrel then simply run some hot water from the faucet through the barrel for a good 5 minutes, be sure to switch ends.
**WARNING: Barrel will be hot so use caution when removing it from the boiling water process!
Setting up the Flatline;
Now this part is where a lot of people “skim” over, or they just do not read the full details. I cannot stress enough how important this next chunk of the thread is to your enjoyment and success with this barrel is.
For both the 98 and A5 the barrels will have something called “alignment marks” on the barrel. This is simply a line etched into the barrel and either the clamp (98) or the barrel adapter (A5). If you have purchased a new Flatline barrel and your shots do not seem to go straight, check the alignment of the barrel. The same can be said for a used Flatline barrel as some users simply never think to check this. The markings must be lined up or your shots will obviously veer either left or right from where you are aiming. After the cleaning stage you will most likely need to re-align the barrel, this is a good thing as it will ensure you the user, that your barrel is now properly aligned.
*NOTE: There have been some users that the Alignment marks are not correct, be sure to keep that in mind in this step!
When it comes to paint I have never experienced a pickier barrel than that of the Flatline. The reason for this is because of the barrel’s curve design and inner surface. Since the barrel surface is rough and not smooth like most traditional barrels you can have problems breaking paint that is thin shelled, or has a noticeable seem on the ball. Now a traditional barrel is simply straight, with little to no surface resistance, the way the Flatline was designed it depends on the resistance to generate the Magnus Effect which gives the ball that “flat lined” trajectory.
Now the bore size of the Flatline barrel is significantly larger than any other barrel on the market. The approximate, if not exact, bore size for the Flatline is .700”; a common barrel bore size is approximately .689”. The Smaller the paintball you use in the Flatline barrel the better results you will receive. The key for the Flatline to work is the small bore paint with a thick shell. Thin shell paints may work in the Flatline barrel for some users, but the majority will suffer from massive amounts of paint breaks.
The other issue I addressed was something called the “seem” of the ball, or where the two halves of the ball are joined in the manufacturing process. A paintball with a noticeable seem will also be susceptible to breaks, or inaccurate shots. The less noticeable seem your paint has the better your shots will be, and also the paint will be less likely to break in the barrel. Remember, the paint must still be of a thick shell to work properly.
In conclusion with paint you want to find a brand that has both a thick shell and little to no seem on the ball. A good rule of thumb for paint is "Smaller is better", unlike most barrels the Flatline will respond better to small sized paints. Such paints that have these characteristics are, in order from best performing (Based on my previous results);
PMI/RPS - Marbalizers
PMI/RPS - Premium
PMI/RPS – Evil
*NOTE: There are other paints out there that could work, but from my past experience with the Flatline barrel I have found these three to be the best.
Setting up the Flatline - Cont'd;
Now if you thought having to deal with paint issues were enough, then you’re in for more surprises. The next “picky” thing about the Flatline barrel, whether it is the A5 or the 98, the velocity setting is the final touch to success really. Since the paint needs to be a thick shell that may make some automatically think the velocity will be set high. The opposite is true here, since the Flatline’s surface is rough, and curved, increasing the velocity will only force the ball out in a rapid manor that could result in messy results. This can also cause inaccuracy of the Flatline barrel.
Now you may be thinking the velocity will be set low, again, not true. If you set the velocity too low you will never see the optimum results that the Flatline barrel is capable of. Having a low velocity will also prevent you from reaching the full range of the Flatline barrel; this like a high velocity will also be the result of poor accuracy.
The premium range for the velocity of a Flatline barrel is generally in the 265-275fps range. I have never had to set a velocity on a Flatline any higher than 273-274, and never as low as 265. Some of the Flatlines I played around with actually worked better at the 265fps setting than at a 270fps setting. The Flatline velocity can vary from barrel to barrel but the majority will find the optimum setting for the velocity to be between that 265-275fps range. Another way to increase your velocity consistency will be to invest in a regulator, a Palmers Stabilizer for those of you with Co2 works best. A regulator will help your velocity tuning greatly, you will not see any major fluctuations in the velocity, also you will be able to fine tune the velocity better.
In conclusion with the Velocity portion you will see that it is almost as important as paint to have the proper velocity. You will be required to spend a bit of time on this to find your Flatline’s “perfect shot” and velocity setting. The best way to do this is start at 265fps and work your way up through the 265-274fps range until you find the optimum setting.
Now if you are like some of the Flatline users out there, you may run into an issue of not being able to get your velocity high enough. A cheap and simple fix for this problem is to purchase a Maddman, or Trinity Spring kit (any will really do the job). They will give you three different Drive springs; Light, Medium, and Heavy. Each one will be different for tuning your velocity but they will do just what they are intended for, and that is get your velocity to the desired setting
*NOTE: Not all Flatline users will require a spring kit to reach the optimum Flatline velocity ranges, results may vary per user so double check your velocity before purchasing one!
Yes, even the weather can affect yoru Flatline's performance. Like most barrels you need to observe the current temperatures you are playing in, most people already have experienced first hand the "wonderful" mess a Flatline can make in cold weather play. You can get around this problem by simply purchasing cold weather paint, but even then you may not be able to find that thick shell. The Flatline will not work for most people once temps drop below the 35-40* mark, paint starts to get cold and brittle, even if it is a thick shell you will still suffer from massive amounts of paint breakage.
Simply put the Flatline barrel may work for some in the cold weather, but your performance results will not be near as high as it would in fair playing conditions. If you can, simply use another barrel than the Flatline in the colder temperatures to avoid these issues.
While using the Flatline you must not "skimp" on the quality of paintballs you purchase, if you can't afford to purchase Marbalizers or Premiums (or other thick shelled High qaulity paint) every time you play, then do not get this barrel. Marbalizers are practically the only paintball that works almost flawlessly with the Flatline system. If you do not intend to purchase the high quality paints all the time or, take time to learn about them, take time when finding the "perfect shot” velocity setting, then you will not be any happier with the Flatline then you have been with any other traditional barrel (with a select few exceptions).
This post has been edited by MONITOR: 24 September 2006 - 11:09 AM