Whether you are into woodsball or speedball, there are a lot of advantages to having a compact gun, but the one thing you don't want to sacrifice is performance – enter the short Lapco Bigshot barrel for the Tippmann A-5. The A-5, taking it's design cues from the H&K MP5 series of firearms, easily lends itself to the idea of a compact design.
The Bigshot for the A-5 is 7.5 inches long. Like others from Lapco it's flawless in construction and anodizing, with a look of quality and refinement. The fluting is a nice touch. There is a small amount of porting near the muzzle end, but otherwise it's solid one-piece construction. Inside the barrel seems to have varying diameters. It appears the bore tightens down just inside the first inch or so of the bore, then there is an obvious step just past the porting where the barrel opens in diameter.
From a performance standpoint, the little Lapco barrel works great. When compared to the other barrels I have for the A-5 (a Flatline and a Pro-team products 4 inch barrel), the Lapco stands heads and tails above on consistency. This especially applies to windage, where the other two barrels both tend to fall somewhat short of what I consider "decent" performance. With the other barrels being less than "decent", does this mean the Lapco is just "average"? No. I'd say it's above average. It shoots as good if not better than any barrel I have on any gun. It helps that even in stock form the A-5 holds a pretty consistent velocity, but so do most of my other guns.
usually have red dot sights on my paintball guns, and the overwhelming
majority shots from the Lapco barrel go right where I expect them to go.
I am not sure of the technical reasons for the variances in the inside diameter, but perhaps that has something to do with it. I put the barrel through portions of a lot of scenario games using a variety of field paint brands prior to writing this review. This barrel seems to digest anything well. I have yet to run into anything that caused problems. A 10-shot bench rest test at about 20 yards shows it's easy to hold a fairly tight pattern with the Lapco barrel despite using a mixed bag of paint (notice the photos).
The barrel also shoots clean
with relative ease. At one game where I could actually use non-field
paint, I had a mixed bag of leftover paintballs from who knows where. In
what has been a rare occurrence for the A-5, I had a ball break in the
gun. The Lapco barrel shot clean within about 10 shots and I continued
to use it for the rest of the day with no problem. The same problem occurred
right after doing this test shot (some of this paint is really old) and
again the gun was shooting straight after about 10 shots.
Lapco's short Big Shot barrel package also allows the user to takes advantage of the guns looks by using a "fake" suppressor cover, which is sold separately for about $35. The cover, which is basically a hollow aluminum tube, comes with a nice threaded mounting block to allow it to easily screw on and off the gun. The front hole of the cover includes a rubber o-ring to protect against marring the outside of the barrel. The cover is entirely cosmetic and does absolutely nothing to suppress the noise level of the paintball gun - and the A-5 is a loud gun.
Like other Lapco barrels, this one retails for about $50. The 7.5 incher easily stands on par with more expensive barrels on some of my other guns (some costing twice as much or more), and there's the real rub - the cost, and the convenience of the length. Whether I am in the thickest of wooded areas, or trying to squeeze around a bunker on a speedball field, give me a short compact gun any day of the week. This Lapco barrel let's you have a compact gun without sacrificing performance, and that performance comes without breaking the bank - and did I mention it looks good? The bigshot barrel is a big bang for the buck.