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View Poll Results: Proto Rail
Recommend! 14 77.78%
It is an alright product. 4 22.22%
Not recommended! 0 0%
Voters: 18. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 01-02-2007, 02:58 PM
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vikingshadow vikingshadow is offline
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Default 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.



FIRST IMPRESSIONS

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!

WEIGHT

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:



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Old 01-02-2007, 02:58 PM
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Default Re: Vike's Proto Rail Review

SHOOTING

Ok, decided that after looking at it and stroking it for awhile, I was going to just have to take it outside and shoot some paint through it. I shot a few shots with some old paint (Nelson Nel-Splatt) I had left from my last practice about a year ago and the shots were WAY off target. I chrono’d and it was at 332! This brought up a problem with the manual. It says, “Turning the adjustment screw in (clockwise) will decrease the pressure.” Um, not on mine! I did that and it shot to 372 fps! So I went the other direction, and got it shooting in the 300 fps range.

I was amazed! The sound signature DROPPED to much less than my shocker, and each shot was nearly ball on ball at about a 40 ft range. I had probably a 6 inch pattern where 8 out of every 10 balls were hitting – and that’s with the stock Proto one piece barrel. Not bad at all. I also noticed I wasn’t using near as much air (duh!) I stuck it over the chrono and recorded shots of 286, 296, 285, 294, 292 and 295. Not the +/- 3 I’d read about, but by the end it was pretty close. However, remember that this is with factory lube and the reg not being broken in. I think it’ll work out great in the end. I decided to try and rip on it with the paint I had left in the loader and OMG! Stock trigger or no, that thing flew, even with my weaker hand!

I haven’t messed with the PSP settings or the Millenium settings yet – everything is bone stock right now. However, if I can rip this easy on it in semi, after being out for a year and not even picking up a gun until this past couple of weeks, then imagine what could be done with someone with practice. I may never even use the other settings!

FINAL THOUGHTS FOR NOW

If you read PBNation you’re going to see a lot of flaming going on that reminds you of the ION flame fest of a couple years ago, and still continues today. However, while I have shot DM’s and PM’s, I haven’t played with them enough to compare the two. I can say that if the DM/PM owners are correct and this is a cheap version of their guns, then WOW! Those DM’s and PM’s must be awesome. This gun flat out rips, for the money or not. I choose to believe that they’re being hateful to those beginners who haven’t “earned” their way, in their minds, to a high end performing gun yet, and want to let them know about it. I, on the other hand, have a high end gun, and honestly can’t tell the difference between the two as far as quality goes.

So, in Vike’s opinion (and you all know I have one!):

Is it worth the MAP of 400.00? I don’t think so, but then I don’t think any gun is worth the money that we’re charged. A better question is if it’s worth it compared to the price we pay for most guns, then yes, definitely!

Is it perfect? No. You have to fiddle with the new style Airport, which is a hassle. It has parts that are going to need to be replaced like the trigger and back cap. It has parts that you will want to replace, but aren’t necessary - the eye covers and the feedneck sleeve. Obviously, when a new bolt comes out that offers better efficiency, that’s going to be important. No, it’s not perfect, but it’s close enough out of the box that you can take your time getting these parts.

Is it like an Ion? Go away. It’s not made by the same company, it uses a different operation and parts – of course it’s going to be different. In my opinion, it’s better than an Ion, especially out of the box. I have no problems with Ions – just stock, they aren’t that great. Sorry if that offends – but the Rail blows a stock Ion, or even one that’s moderately upgraded, away. However, the idea isn’t that it’s better than an Ion – it’s a better gun for half the price of it’s brothers…

Is this my new primary gun? You know what – it might just be! My Shocker is great – I’ve played with it for years, and I love it, but this new Rail is just something else. Right away, it’s AT LEAST as good as my Shocker, with less efficiency, and my Shocker is upgraded to the hilt. I’ll have to play a bit with it to see for sure, but it’s sure looking good right now!

Sorry for the long winded review, but it’s not even close to finished yet! I just got it so I haven’t put it through it’s paces yet. I’ll update this as I discover more about this beast!

Here’s what I’m going to to: New ASA, new trigger, new bolt cap, new eye covers and possibly a new barrel and feedneck sleeve. After that, if the frame gives me any problems, I’ll look into getting an UL frame for it.

Edit - I don't believe it, but I actually think I chopped a ball. I'm going to have to raise the speed to 3 on the Reloader!
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Old 01-02-2007, 03:16 PM
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calebh calebh is offline
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Default Re: Vike's Proto Rail Review

umm, if there's eyes, how'd it chop? j/w
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Old 01-02-2007, 03:19 PM
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Default Re: Vike's Proto Rail Review

tl;dr

lol, just play'n. Looks great Vike, I haven't played in a few months so i haven't been out to try these new guns, hope it all works out for you Vike. Good luck.
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Old 01-02-2007, 03:24 PM
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vikingshadow vikingshadow is offline
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Default Re: Vike's Proto Rail Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by calebh
umm, if there's eyes, how'd it chop? j/w
See, I don't know about that. I thought it was a barrel break, but paint was going up the feedneck so I assumed it was a chop.(I haven't cleaned it yet, so I don't know if there's any on the bolt.

It could have just been a ball that got pushed past the detents, then shot by the next ball. I don't know. All I do know is that I've never had super fast fingers, at least not for an extended period of time. Add to that I haven't even shot a paintball gun for almost a year and the speeds I was achieving in semi with both hands, and the amount of time I did it for, just amazed me.
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Old 01-02-2007, 03:36 PM
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Default Re: Vike's Proto Rail Review

Wow, you review has really swung me into the direction of buying a Rail..

Great review Vike, Very impressive.. Let us know how it does as you put it through it's paces..
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Old 01-02-2007, 03:58 PM
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Default Re: Vike's Proto Rail Review

DM/PMs are amazing guns, so you were definitely right with your suspicions. I also have that same barrel(came stock on the PM5s) and it does shoot great. I've used it sometimes when I'm shooting crappy paint and don't want to get a lot of breaks in my Stiffi and it shoots fine.

I'm trying to trade my Empire2 for a UL'd PM6 right now. You need to UL your Rail, it turns it into a whole new beast. I think it should be the last upgrade you do, but it should definitely be done.

IMO. Barrel(unless you like em short, which you might considering your Freak), Trigger, eye covers, bolt cap, feedneck. Upgrade in that order. I actually like non-on/off ASAs after using one on my Marq6, its not as bad as I used to think it was.
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Old 01-02-2007, 04:40 PM
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Default Re: Vike's Proto Rail Review

Great review Vike....

and the point of a review is to be TL;DR
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Old 01-02-2007, 05:18 PM
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Default Re: Vike's Proto Rail Review

uhh do you think the rail is better than a mini? I just bought a mini but may be looking towards a rail....
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Old 01-02-2007, 05:55 PM
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Default Re: Vike's Proto Rail Review

Don't know much about the Mini. What I researched though didn't sound too promising to me. Remember, though, I'm a spool valve junkie, and I think the mini is some sort of poppet valve gun.

My reasons for staying away from that gun were sort of shallow, though. I didn't like the looks of the gun, the fact that it's a new company without any tried and true markers on the market, and it just seemed too small to me, and that's coming from a guy with small guns in the first place! However, I'm not going to say anything bad about them because i don't know any particulars about them.

Maybe you should test yours and write a review when you get it!
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