Mann's Test is a very good scientific test, thanks Viherkogen, but at the same time I don't exactly see where it helps the case of the brass barrel. This is for a few reasons.
First thing is first, sound signature. The PPS brass definitely beats a Carbon Fiber Sly on sound signature from both angles in the test, however by a fairly small margin. The PPS brass is less than one dB quieter than a Sly. Not much of a big difference, you probably wouldn't notice it with your naked ear. Both barrels together, however, destroy much of the competition on the board. This is very nice for both barrels, but when it comes down to it, sound signature is only one important quality for a barrel to have.
Now, for the accuracy test. Unfortunately the PPS Brass doesn't even have a set of listed shot groupings in the regular accuracy section. Not sure if it was removed, or if the section never got completed, but its unfortunate. Being Freak Based, to understand the Fibur you must look to the Freak insert accuracy test. Now, they don't have pictures for Stainless Steel inserts, but they do have pictures for the aluminum inserts in the plain accuracy test, and there those inserts shot fairly well. It had a few off curved balls for the lower grade Rec Sport paint, but what do you expect trying to get away with cheapo-depot paint? They shoot the X-ball and Marbs like a charm, not quite as accurate as the TI Longbow barrel, but they still hold up against most barrels. Another thing to notice is that under a calibrated caliper, the Stainless Steel barrels vary much less when recording the difference between given and actual bore size. This is likely due to the fact that stainless steel retains its size between hot and cold temperatures better than aluminum. This could possibly create a slight change in accuracy, though I do not think it would mean much as paint itself reacts to temperature as well. A large change in temperature could show a difference in results in the accuracy test section when comparing stainless and aluminum freak inserts.
One thing you should really
check out is the accuracy test after a break. Many barrels outright fail in this category. Paint in the barrel is definitely a serious issue, even for the PPS Brass. For being such a nice barrel as you claim, that shot grouping is pretty bad inaccuracy after a break section. Not the worst, as some completely missed the target all together, but still its not very good. It almost makes me scared to see what the regular accuracy must really look like, for that grouping doesn't give me good hopes. The carbon fiber barrels themselves are some terrible barrels after a break as well, they just don't live up to their accuracy expectations. The stainless steel freak inserts, however, are still shooting solid gold.
Let me tell you a short story. There was once a farmer that got tired of dirt getting stuck on his plow. He wanted a system that would actually clean his plow constantly while he worked with it. For his day, this seemed like some sort of mystery magic machine of the future, but this was no average farmer, this one was much more ambitious. It doesn't hurt that he was a blacksmith as well. He knew stainless steel had amazing self cleaning properties, so he decided to make a plow blade entirely of stainless steel. Turns out he was on to something, as the company he founded now sells some of the best farm equipment made here in America. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out stainless steel, as the farmer/blacksmith John Deere figured it out and changed the way the world farmed forever.
Moral of the story, when I heard Freak was stopping the production of Stainless Steel inserts 3 years ago, I scrounged every bit of money I had on me at the time to get my hands on one of these puppies before they were gone, and for good reason. It seems now SP actually brought the stainless steel inserts back into production. I wonder why that is, after seeing Mann's Barrel Test. These things are beauties. If you break a ball, as long as you have a good paint to bore match (as you should with a Freak), the bores will clean themselves after a few shots (for the most part). Accuracy will come back quickly, and you won't be ruined over a barrel break, or be forced to swab or squeegee it mid game (though it wouldn't matter either way for the Fibur, as it is made so well that you can actually swab its inside if you needed to XD). Even though I probably won't chop many balls on an Automag with Lvl10 bolt (you can put your finger or even a rolled up dollar bill in the feed and it won't hurt either one), and probably not so much on a Phantom as well (being a pump gives it less chance to straight up chop), the possibility still remains, but when it happens to me, I will be shooting clear in a few shots and ready for action again.
Now how about weight? Yeah, I almost don't even have to mention this one, its obvious. According to the Deadlywind website, the Fibur barrel weighs on average 46 grams without an insert. That means the whole barrel weighs just a little more than one stainless steel insert. Coming in at a mere 89 grams (and that is using the heaviest SS insert on the list), this barrel is on the very light side of barrels on the list. It may not be the absolute lightest (as the Stiffi Switch beats it at 67 grams at heaviest), it is definitely lighter than most of the barrels on Mann's list, including the PPS Brass which weighs 2.75x the weight of my full set up. Another thing to take into consideration is the positioning of the weight on my barrel. The thread end of the Fibur is heavier due to the Stainless Steel insert, making the back of the barrel contain about 75% of the barrels weight. This makes it feel more like the weight is on the marker, instead of the barrel or the front of the barrel. The front of the Fibur has nothing to weigh the front end of the marker down, allowing aiming to be a breeze.
That being said, by suggesting I get a PPS Brass you are recommending I buy a barrel that almost triples the weight of the barrel I prefer, won't hold up even close to as well after a break as the barrel I prefer, may or may not be close to as accurate as the barrel I prefer (and I surely won't have much option for bore match with a single sized barrel), and what for? For >1dB of sound signature reduced? Unless you are suggesting that I should get a PPS Brass, and get it bored for Freak inserts, you are a nutter. Even then, while it would be >1dB quieter and just as accurate, it would still be 2.75x the weight of the Fibur. Once you were to get your hands on a PPS Brass and pay shipping and labor to have it bored for Freak inserts (if this is even possible), you would probably have just spent just as much, if not more than you would have just buying a Fibur outright, already bored for the freaks, and ready to use as soon as it reaches your house in a cute little box with free Deadlywind stickers to slap all over your paintball equipment cases and bedroom to remind you of your excellent purchase from Deadlywind.
Mann's Barrel Test may have been before my recent return to paintball, but it still hasn't proved a thing against my long held theory that the Deadlwind Fibur is a wonderful barrel that balances some of the best qualities people look for in a paintball barrel. It may not be "THE BEST" in every category, but is very balanced and competes well with "THE BEST" in each category (while it definitely ties for gold in after break accuracy). All too many barrels are one sided deals. One is accurate, but a break destroys that, its heavy, and its loud. One barrel is super quiet, but it is way heavy for a barrel, and doesn't do so hot on the accuracy test. The possibilities go on, but in EVERY single test Mann's team did, carbon fiber has proven to greatly reduce sound signature and barrel weight, while stainless steel freak inserts provide absolutely beautiful accuracy before and after a break. That being said, I too would not go as far as to say I am getting the best of both
worlds. What I am getting is a wonderful balance of performance in ALL
So when it comes down to what you are hoping to discuss, Viherkogen: "preferred barrels that solve accuracy, noise, cost, and rollouts", I don't quite see what kind of argument you could produce to show the Fibur would not fare well in these categories. Accuracy (before and after a break) and sound signature have already been proven effective by Mann's Barrel Test. Rollouts are not as much of a concern, as the Freak is
a barrel kit (with a very large selection of bore sizes at that). Even if the Freak did start having trouble with rollouts on the Phantom for some reason, this could be easily fixed with $6 ball detents or an ASP Phantom Detent Modification
. Either of these should fix the Phantom rollout issue no matter what sized bore your barrel is. Cost is about the only category you could argue the Fibur cannot compete in, as it requires a full freak kit on top of the $90 barrel to make it work its magic, however for someone like me that is not and has not had an issue with the cost, and has already purchased a full stainless steel freak insert kit, this barrel is definitely worth it.
As a side note, I did realize one funny thing about my insert kit. It appears to be incomplete to today's standards. Apparently they now make an even smaller size, .679", which I do not have. When I purchased my Freak insert kit, the smallest bore size was .682". Perhaps with the .679" insert (in stainless steel of coarse), I could even get a perfect bore match for that crappy Wal-Mart paint I bought last week that I was talking about. Not that it really matters a whole lot, I shot that crap paint out of the .682" just yesterday, and with the exception of a few goofy balls it put balls on top of balls from 50-70 feet away. I remember when I first got this barrel, I decided to show it off to my friend who had just bought some other high end barrel kit, and he almost cried when I put 6 balls right on top of each other from 80 feet away onto a >2" diameter fence post. The 7th shot missed due to human error in aiming (I am known to twitch a little under pressure), and I quickly adjusted my aim to put the 8th ball right on top of the first 6. On a vice, it would have put 8/8 on that thin steel fence post exactly where it was aiming. I don't know how much I can stress to you, this is an absolutely fantastic product whether you like to admit it or not. The science is all right in front of your eyes.
This post has been edited by NinjaoftheNight79: 11 June 2009 - 12:45 PM