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Titanium Paintball

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Titanium Paintballís Longbow Barrel
By Technical Editor, Bill Mills

Titanium Paintball appeared on the paintball scene in mid 2002 with their first product, the Longbow barrel system, a two piece barrel with rear sections in various bore sizes.

Looking at the Longbow, itís clear where Titanium Paintball got their name.  The rear section of the barrel is machined of titanium alloy.  While stainless steel has been a popular material for the rear half of two piece barrels, titanium offers an attractive alternative.  Its material strength is very comparable to stainless steel, yet is even more resistant to oxidation (even stainless steel can rust), and significantly lighter in weight.

The barrel design is typical to two piece barrels in paintball.  The overall barrel length is twelve and a half inches, with a five and a half inch rear control bore section.  The aluminum second half of the barrel is of a larger bore diameter, anodized aluminum with porting in its last two inches.  Titanium Paintball is planning future editions of the barrel with a total of three porting patterns, one optimized for sound reduction.  The two segments are joined by a threaded connection that is different than those from other manufacturers.  Instead of the control bore piece having a female threaded connection, it is male threaded, and screws into the second half of the barrel.  While this is unusual, it makes much sense design wise.  It allows the end of the control bore to be chamfered so that it will self center its smaller bore to the larger bore of the second half.

A major manufacturing difference between the Longbow and other barrels is that it is not honed.  Most manufacturers achieve their bore size and smoothness with a rotary hone.  This is a device that uses abrasives to grind and then polish the interior to exacting specifications.  While Titanium Paintball is tight lipped about the methods of their process, they refer to it as hardbore finishing.  Titanium claims this finish is up to six times smoother than microhoning and leaves a more durable surface.  Looking down the barrel, one can easily see the mirror-like scratch free finish.  This surface has mild waves (far different friction wise than surface roughness) that are similar to the appearance of mandrel pressed barrels, where a plug is forced through the barrel pressing and forcing the surface to a specific smoothed diameter.

The Longbow barrel used for review featured a satin blue tip section, and control bore sections in .684 and .689 inch inner diameters, which are in the middle of the size Titanium Paintball has planned.  Both control bore sections were threaded with Autococker threads and the .684 was engraved with its inner diameter and the Titanium Paintball logo was engraved on the side (the .689 was sent for testing prior to its production batch getting label engraving).  

Field testing was performed with an Autococker, and Action Markers Sentinel, both running on compressed air.  A variety of paints were used, including RP Scherer and DraXxus brands.  Titanium Paintballís philosophy is that it is better to use the Longbow in a tighter size relative to the paint, and rely on its low friction surface to get a tight seal against the ball.  At the chronograph, without adjusting the velocity settings of the Autococker, paint that wedged into the barrel typically shot through without breaking, but at a lower velocity than paint which just grabbed at the barrel but could be easily blown through with lung power.  On the field, with both paintguns, after some intentional barrel breaks, the Titanium barrel cleaned up with a squeegee as easily as most barrels, but if shooting larger paint that fit tight into the .684 back, any debris left behind in the barrel was likely to break another ball rather than shoot through.  Paint that closer matched the bore size shot straight again within 5-10 shots after a barrel break, and on the next shot after cleaning the barrel.

In all, the Longbow barrel performed well.  It has the paint to barrel matching benefits of a multi diameter barrel system, and is the first product to combine that with the durability and weight factors of titanium which is in and of itself an exotic metal that adds an extra coolness factor.


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