Before you run out and get yourself a carbon barrel- there are some points to consider:-
Carbon Barrels are light which is a plus but there is also a minus. If you’re shooting a heavy marker esp the lower end types- the light weight carbon tube will throw the balance of your rig out of whack. Don’t forget to consider the weight of your tank on the other end.
CARBON FIBRE BARRELS ARE NOTORIOUSLY HARD TO CLEAN
These are actual warnings from Sly and Stiffi on their products.
Sly Equipment warning:-
ALWAYS CLEAN BARREL WITH PLUNGER TYPE SQUEEGEE. DO NOT USE CLOTH OR ANY OTHER TYPE OF SWAB.
This warranty is invalid if this product is:
Cleaned with anything other than a rubber or silicone squeegee. (Never use a battle swab or other fibrous material.)
Carbon barrels are notoriously hard to clean - you can’t just clean it with the traditional swab or you’ll end up getting loose fibers from the swab caught in it. If you’re not careful and you scratch the lining, you end up throwing accuracy out the window. Although some of the guys shooting Death Stixs have claimed to use the swab with normal results.
However it must be said that the DeathStix dont seem to mind getting swabbed. It can be cleaned with the cotton swap without any fibres getting caught inside.
Carbon barrels are more fragile than aluminum barrels. Carbon fibre is technically stronger than stainless steel however it is more brittle if you stress it from “normal use”. Meaning - if you’re the type of noob nut who has to pick out bits of grass and dirt from your barrel after diving into a bunker - you might want to reconsider getting a CF barrel.
14” IS GOOD ENOUGH - TRUST ME.
After using a 16 inch barrel in practice games - I have decided to stick to using 14 inch barrels with my main rig because of a coupe of reasons:-
First - having the 2 extra inches doesn’t really help much in accuracy. Get the tube dirty and the balls will fly all over the place and this applies to 12, 14, 16 and 18 inch tubes.
Which leads to the matter of swabbing it in the field- most field swabs are not long enough to clean 16 inches. So if you’re playing with 16 inches you’d probably be able to only clean 12-14 inches and hope you can shoot out* the rest of the gunk.
So now you (and I) know why almost all the pros shoot with 14 inches. I know all the Ironmen and all the Dynasty guys shoot 14”. I did see one or two Aftermath guys using a 16 inch barrel, but I think 14” is the most versatile and logical compromise. The 2 inches doesn’t really make that big a difference to me. Its just an extra 2 inches to have to clean.
The third reason would be the ability to play tighter in the bunker with a 14 compared to a 16 or longer barrel. With the extra length you either have 2 inches extra sticking out or you have to play a little bit deeper to snap back in. Obviously if you're a snake or forward player you would prefer to have a 14 inch barrel than have a longer one get caught up in the snake. I have played with a 12 inch and that shoots just as well from anywhere and I'd recommend snake players use a 12 inch barrel.
Now there are those who swear by 16 inches – ironically my snake player used a 16 inch freak and he get majority of the kills. Another of our players - Slow Poke plays exclusively with his 16 inch MatchStik. He can take out 3-4 guys playing from the back. His belief in his Cyborg and the belief of having the 2 extra inches helps him to make those ”long bow” kills. My point is that it’s also a psychological thing – Slow Poke’s supreme confidence in his marker and 16” barrel allows him to make those kills all the way from the back. In other words he can walk the talk and all the way from the back too.
MY BARREL KIT
Right now in my barrel kit I have the 14” Matchstik, A 14” Infamous Sly Dual Carbon Barrel I picked up from Jon Richardson and the Ego Barrel also 14” that came with my Ego. They all have cocker backs and I can switch them around. I haven't tried the Sly on the ego but I used Azlan's 14” Sly at the XSV Clinic and that shot pretty decent. The stock Ego barrel shoots great and I think even the MacDev MatchStik is reliable although there is a slight curve in the ball flight.
My conclusion would be to say that the stock barrel is good enough. I'd say the advantages of having a carbon fibre would mainly be psychological. I would rather have a 14 inch aluminum tube to swab than a Carbon Tube that I have to baby.
I know one ex player who sprays his barrel with Rain X so when he gets a ball break the Rain X helps the paint to flow out when he shoots to clear the barrel. According to him - it clears after a couple of ramps.
How he shoots his tube to clear with the Rain X is his trade secret – that one I’m not revealing.