Vike's Proto Rail Review
As many of you know, I have to really believe in something before I support it. I’m not a fan boy of any company, and have no loyalty to any particular group. That being said, I just got this gun, and it’s the first Dye gun I’ve owned, so I WILL NOT BE COMPARING IT TO THE PM’s or DM’s. Rather, I will be comparing it to my Shocker, another spool valve gun. The idea was to see if this gun would turn my Shocker into my backup gun (as if I need one! LOL!) I’m going to get some more air and paint and get videos of it for you to round this review out, but probably not until next weekend.
Past the initial thrill of getting a new gun from Fed Ex, I settled down and decided to judge this with a reserved eye. First thing I noticed was how small the package was and the good packaging. It’s in a solid cardboard box that is wrapped with an outer sleeve around it. There was no wasted space in this package. However, I don’t think the packaging made the cost of the gun rise much, if any.
It’s roughly HALF the width and depth of my Shocker box, and roughly the same width and height, but half the depth of my Empire Reloader B box.
While I oohed and ahhed about the size of the packaging, my wife and kids were bugging me to open it! So I opened it, and immediately saw the manual on top. The manual itself is very well written, with very detailed colored pictures explaining everything from the Quick Reference/setup guide to the board and how to set it to the Airport, everything. Very easy to read, and the pictures help a lot! Under the manual was the actual gun in it’s foam holder.
I got the black one because when I ordered it, the colors weren’t out yet, and weren’t scheduled to come out for another month, although as soon as I ordered it and sent my money, I found out the blue ones were out, and possibly the red (I wanted the olive one, but oh well!) Underneath that were the barrel, the condom, the lube, a set of Allen wrenches, a parts kit with orings and detents, a Proto battery and a Proto sticker.
The milling on the gun and barrel is ok, not super impressive as I was led to believe by some posts on other forums, but not bad - definitely not cheap as I had seen mentioned on yet another site. To lay this issue to rest, the composite polymer parts (not plastic as plastic is more brittle – think Glock handguns polymer) are the feedneck SLEEVE, the frame, the trigger, the eye covers, and the back cap. The rest of the gun is well-anno’d in a dust finish (mine is black.) The frame is super light, yet feels pretty sturdy. Not sure how I feel on this part yet. The rubber on the back of it is actually quite comfortable as it rests on my hand. It really makes it possible to grip the frame with a somewhat looser grip, and still feel solid in the hand.
The trigger, while not totally uncomfortable, is not ideal. Because of the spring, it’s hard to walk fast (for me.) As of now, I’m definitely looking at another at a cost of about 30.00. The stock trigger is easily adjustable in two spots for front and back travel. Not sure yet if the microswitch activation is adjustable, but I don’t think so. The feedneck itself is metal, and although the outer sleeve is polymer, I still prefer the lever style clamping feednecks. I’ll probably switch my Qlock sleeve over when I use this gun, but I won’t be buying a new feedneck as this is plenty good the way it is.
The eye covers are designed to sit flush with the body, and one of mine actually does. The other juts out a little at the bottom, but as I’m not too picky about the little details, it’ll be fine for now. I will be upgrading these though with the aluminum, colored version soon. The only other problem I’ve heard of is the back cap giving way. This will probably be an upgrade I’ll be making soon, but not too soon as I’m sure it’ll be fine for awhile. Unless you look at it up close, it looks just like the rest of the body as far as the dust finish goes, so not a big deal until it goes out. I’ll definitely be upgrading the trigger, back cap and eyes – mostly for the aluminum parts, but also because I can get them in a different color. Just have to decide what color!
I’ve heard a lot said about the weight – taken from another site, the actual weight the actual weight with reg, barrel, battery and all is 1.22 pounds. However, it didn’t feel all that different from my Shocker until I held both, and sure enough – it did weigh less. Not a significant amount, though.
OUT OF THE BOX
When I removed it from it’s case, I really got a feel for it’s size. Amazingly, though, it’s not smaller than my shocker. See comparison pics below.
Here's a pic of it compared to my Halo shelled Reloader Spawn of the Devil.....
My shocker has a 12 inch Freak barrel, and the Rail’s Proto barrel is 11 inches, so there is only like an inch or two difference between the two in length. I put the Rail on top of my Shocker and they are exactly the same height. The difference being that my shocker has an SP rail and an ASA on it, whereas the Rail has an integrated dovetail in the bottom of the frame. So, size for size, they are equal - however in the weight battle, the Rail wins.
After putting the barrel on (a nice .690 Proto one piece) and hooking the air up to it, I decided to give it a go. First thing, I had to play with the new style adjustable Airport ASA. This isn’t an on/off – which I think is a necessity for me – but I thought I’d give it a shot. It took awhile adjusting it, but I found the combination soon enough. Now, I haven’t lubed it yet, nor have I changed any settings other than adjusting the trigger pull and turning the eyes off. I shot some air through it and was a bit surprised that in my initial dry firing (100 or less) I had used up about 1000 psi. WOW! Not very good at all, even for just dry firing! Surprisingly, the trigger is very easy to walk with my left hand, rather a bit more difficult with the right – I personally think it’s the spring, which I’ll remove as soon as I’m brave enough to take the frame off.
Another myth – my Rail has absolutely NO kick. It also had NO barrel rise at high rates of fire, unlike my Shocker. As far as noise signature, it’s very similar to my shocker.
New pictures of the Rail with UL frame here:
Never argue with an idiot; they'll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." ~ Anonymous