In paintball there is nothing more exciting than taking a stock marker and upgrading it into the perfect marker for you. Tippmann markers have always been known for their durability and upgradeability. With so many upgrades available on the market today, it is easy to get lost in the confusion.
I have a made list of the 3 most common upgrades for Tippmann Markers to get you started on your path.
This is the most overlooked upgrade for every marker. Most of us still use Co2 bottles and these work great with all Tippmann markers. However, upgrading to an HPA (high pressure air) tank will have tremendous effects on your marker:
- HPA will cause your marker to become more efficient and increase your overall accuracy. HPA is a better alternative to Co2 for the reason that Co2 has to expand from a liquid to a gas in order to be used correctly inside of the paintball marker. This is done automatically with your Co2 tank and paintball marker. Although there are many factors that play a role in how quickly or slowly the liquid can expand. Temperature and rate of fire are two of the biggest factors in how efficiently the Co2 expands.
The warmer the day the easier it is for the Co2 to expand and vise-versa with how cold it is causes it to expand more slowly. Higher rates of fire can also cause slower expansion rates because the Co2 doesn’t have time to expand all the way. This ends up hitting the paintball with small amounts of liquid Co2 causing the ball to spin or curve when coming out of the barrel. By using an HPA tank you no longer have to worry about the expansion of gasses. Since all HPA tanks use a regulator which assures you that you will hit the paintball with a constant pressure each and every time you fire a paintball. HPA is also a cleaner gas and will actually make your O-rings inside your marker last longer than when using Co2. Some of the downfalls to having an HPA tank include the fewer places to fill them and a higher upfront cost. Overall if you’re looking to improve your accuracy and efficiency then a tank upgrade should be your first stop.
Barrels are the most common upgrade for any marker. They can also be the most confusing upgrade because of all the different types of barrels out there and different sizes. The first thing you have to ask yourself is what are you looking for when choosing your barrel? Are you wanting to get better accuracy or more distance? The common misconception with paintball barrels is that like with real rifles, the longer the barrel the more accurate the marker. This isn’t necessarily true. Yes a longer barrel will make your marker easier to aim, so hitting your target is easier, but it will not make the paintball go straighter or add more distance to your shot.
The accuracy from your barrel is only affected by the first six inches of the barrel, after that it is all player preference. Also, the longer your barrel the more contact it has with the paintball, so the likelihood of a ball break inside of your barrel increases. The typical size of the barrel you want to go for is about 12-16 inches long. These sizes will provide you with the most consistent accuracy from ball to ball. Here is what type of barrel you should be looking for depending on what you want out of your barrel:
- Accuracy – Barrel kits are the best way to increase accuracy using a barrel. They come with multiple barrel backs or sleeves that allow you to adjust the bore size of the barrel to better fit the paintballs you’re using that day. Barrel kits are more expensive, but you can’t beat them in terms of accuracy. If you’re looking for cheaper options there are great barrels our there too. What you want to look for when buying new barrels is what the bore size of that barrel is. Bore sizes range from about .695 to .675 in bore size. The most come paintball is .68 caliber, but can range from the same sizes listed before. Most stock barrels come in as .690 caliber. This allows for a wide variety of paintball to be used without issue. For your first barrel upgrade you should start at about .688 caliber, and as your game expands so will your barrel collection.
- Distance - If you’re looking to achieve more distance out of your marker a longer barrel will actually cause your paintball to slowdown causing it to not travel as far as a shorter barrel would. There are also barrels on the market like the Flatline Barrel by Tippmann that puts a backspin on the ball that will increase the distance by up to 100 feet! They work by adding a curve to the barrel to achieve the desired effect. With barrels that will shoot greater distances they will also lower your accuracy a little. It’s not the barrels fault, just when shooting greater distances things like wind, pressure other factors play a bigger role in your shots. The advantage of barrels like the Flatline, is being able to shoot your target well before they are in range to return fire.
Firing mechanism (Trigger)
Having the capability to fire your paintball marker at higher rates of fire makes trigger upgrades the fan favorite of the paintball world. Being able to shoot more paint than your opponent is a huge advantage on the paintball field. There are three different types of trigger upgrades currently for the Tippmann 98 Custom:
- Double Trigger – This is the cheapest and easiest way to increase your firing rate. It will help your rate of fire by making it easier to pull the trigger. There are no mechanical internal upgrades with the double trigger. It a quick and easy swap of your old trigger and guard to the new double trigger and extended trigger guard. This is a great upgrade for beginners and works with the following upgrade listed below
- Response Trigger – The response trigger is the air assisted, non-electronic trigger upgrade. This upgrade has a higher difficulty installation process than the double trigger. It will also vary depending on which series of the Tippmann 98 Custom you have. The instructions come with easy to follow instructions which also help to determine which style of marker you have. It works by installing a small cylinder and piston behind the trigger of your marker. It operates off the additional air that you marker uses to operate. (No batteries needed). You can tune your response trigger to adjust your firing rates from normal operation to dramatically higher rates of fire. Great for intermediate and above players
- Electronic Trigger – Electronic Triggers (E-triggers) are the high-range trigger upgrade. They will give you the highest rates of fire for your marker. Easier to install than the response trigger, but will require a little more understanding of how your marker operates. Instructions are easy to follow and make installation simple. You will have to change out some of the components in your trigger assembly with the ones that come with the E-trigger. Having an e-trigger allows you to easily switch between firing modes: semi-automatic, 3 round burst, fully-automatic and other types of firing modes. Great for intermediate and above players.
Having the ability to upgrade your marker is what makes paintball a fun and unique sport. No other sport in the world lets you add this type of customization and individuality to your equipment. Hopefully we have helped guide you down your path to paintball greatness.
Willie is a tech at TippmannParts.com.