Airsoft enthusiasts understand that performance matters on the field, and one crucial component that can significantly impact an airsoft gun’s performance is the inner barrel.
A high-quality inner barrel can enhance accuracy, range, and consistency and thus make you outcompete those players whose equipment compensate for their skills.
In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of airsoft inner barrels and provide you with the knowledge to make informed decisions when selecting the best inner barrels for your airsoft guns.
The Role of Inner Barrels in Airsoft Performance
To understand the importance of inner barrels, it’s essential to grasp their impact on airsoft gun performance. The inner barrel serves as the conduit through which the BB travels, influencing its trajectory and accuracy.
Thus, several factors come into play:
Inner Barrel Material
Inner barrels are commonly made from stainless steel, brass, or aluminum. Each material has its unique characteristics that affect performance:
- Stainless Steel: Known for its durability and resistance to corrosion, stainless steel inner barrels provide excellent consistency and longevity.
- Brass: Brass barrels offer good balance between durability and cost. They provide decent accuracy and are suitable for most airsoft applications.
- Aluminum: Lightweight and cost-effective, aluminum barrels are popular among entry-level airsoft players. However, they may not offer the same level of durability as stainless steel or brass.
The bore diameter, or the internal diameter of the inner barrel, also plays a crucial role in performance. Bore diameters for airsoft inner barrels range from 6.00mm to 6.08mm. According to manufacturers, a tighter bore diameter typically results in increased accuracy, while wider bores may provide slightly better range, at the trade-off of a potential decrease in consistency and sensitivity to dirt and debris.
In my experience, tighter bore barrels are the only type of barrels you’ll need in airsoft as they produce the best results (effective range and FPS) as long as they come from a reliable manufacturer.
Barrel length do affects both accuracy and range to a degree. However, there’s a certain length that is optimal, and just because you’d increase the barrel pass that point the results won’t continue to better and better with the length.
I have covered this topic in the article on is the barrel length a myth or does it matter.
In short, pick a barrel with a length that fits your gun, it’s more about quality then the length when it comes to performance.
Top Airsoft Inner Barrel Brands and Models
To assist you in your search, we have compiled a list of reputable airsoft inner barrel brands known for producing quality products:
- Prometheus: Renowned for their tight-bore barrels, Prometheus offers a range of inner barrels with exceptional accuracy and consistency. They utilize high-quality materials and advanced manufacturing techniques.
- PDI: PDI barrels are highly regarded for their precision and craftsmanship. Made in Japan, PDI offers precision barrels with various bore diameters and lengths, catering to different airsoft gun platforms.
- ZCI: ZCI barrels provide excellent value for money, offering reliable performance at an affordable price. They are a popular choice among airsoft players looking for an upgrade without breaking the bank.
- Mad bull: Mad bull produces a range of inner barrels designed for both performance and durability. Their tight bore barrels are widely used and praised for their consistent performance.
- EdGI: EdGI barrels are known for their precision and customization options. They offer high-quality barrels for sniper rifles, allowing players to fine-tune their setups for optimal accuracy.
Remember that this list is not exhaustive, and there are other reputable brands available. Research and explore different options based on your specific requirements and budget. (Sometimes a simple suggestion from an experienced player will be all that you need!)
Among these brands, my favorite are Prometheus, Mad bull and ZCI thus I can mention some choices I would feel confident recommending.
Moreover, I’ll mention the whole sets (barrel+hop-up) you can find because it’s often suggested to replace the inner barrel along with the hop-up, as this is the quickest way to see a real change in a performance.
If you only need a barrel, find any place where they sell them separated, but don’t fall for anything that has no brand behind!
Types of Airsoft Inner Barrels
There is a wide range of inner barrels available in the market, each with its own characteristics and benefits. Let’s explore some common types:
Tight Bore Barrels
Tight bore barrels have a bore diameter of 6.00mm to 6.05mm (some may say up to 6.08mm). They are ideal for accuracy and range on most airsoft gun types, making them versatile options for various playstyles. Tight bore barrels are widely used and available in different materials to suit different budgets.
These are the barrels I recommend for majority of airsoft guns.
Wide Bore Barrels
Wide bore barrels, with bore diameters above 6.13mm, prioritize lots of room for air, which isn’t good for most airsoft gun types. These barrels reduce air resistance and allow for smoother BB flow, resulting in enhanced range potential, but only for HPA airsoft guns.
To use a wide bore, you’ll need plenty of power or otherwise the performance is going to drop significantly.
Some middle between wide bore and tight bore is between 6.05mm and 6.13mm (again, some people view it differently). I mean, this depends on who you ask as some people say that 6.08 is also tight bore.
In addition to the above types, some manufacturers offer proprietary barrel designs and coatings that claim to improve performance. It’s important to research and consider user reviews and feedback when exploring these options.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an Inner Barrel
Selecting the right inner barrel for your airsoft gun requires careful consideration. Here are some essential factors to keep in mind:
Ensure that the inner barrel you choose is compatible with your airsoft gun’s make and model. Different guns may have varying barrel lengths, hop-up units, and attachment methods. Research the specifications of your gun and check for compatibility before making a purchase.
For instance, you won’t be able to fit an AEG barrel into a hop-up unit made for snipers and vice versa.
The optimal barrel length depends on your playstyle and the type of airsoft gun you have. Longer barrels, such as those around 455mm, are commonly found in sniper rifles and designated marksman rifles, providing excellent accuracy for long-range engagements. On the other hand, shorter barrels, typically around 300mm, are more suitable for close-quarters battles, offering better maneuverability.
Consider the quality of the inner barrel material. While stainless steel and brass are generally reliable choices, variations in manufacturing quality can affect performance. Look for barrels from reputable brands known for their attention to detail and quality control.
As a matter of fact, the quality of the material used and the quality of production which leaves no imperfections on the surface are the most important factors that determinate the performance.
Reputation matters when it comes to inner barrels. Well-established brands with positive feedback from the airsoft community are more likely to produce reliable and high-performing barrels. Research customer reviews, seek recommendations from experienced players, and consider the brand’s history and track record.
Inner barrel prices can vary significantly. Determine your budget range and look for options within that range. Remember that while higher-priced barrels often offer better performance and durability, there are still affordable options that can provide satisfactory results. Consider your specific needs and strike a balance between budget and quality.
Installation and Maintenance Tips for Airsoft Inner Barrels
Proper installation and maintenance are vital for the longevity and performance of your airsoft inner barrels. Here are some tips to consider:
- Ensure the inner barrel is clean and free from debris before installation.
- Align the barrel properly with the hop-up unit and secure it tightly.
- Take care not to damage the hop-up bucking during installation.
- Double-check the barrel’s alignment and test for any wobbling or misalignment.
- Regularly clean the inner barrel to remove dirt, debris, and residue. Use a cleaning rod and lint-free cloth or cleaning patches.
- Avoid using abrasive materials or solvents that may damage the barrel’s finish.
- Apply a light coating of silicone oil to the inner barrel after cleaning to protect it from corrosion.
- Check the barrel for signs of wear or damage regularly. If you notice any scratches, dents, or other issues, consider replacing the barrel to maintain optimal performance.
- When storing your airsoft gun, ensure that the inner barrel is clean and dry to prevent rust or other damage.
Troubleshooting Common Inner Barrel Issues
Even with proper maintenance, you may encounter certain issues with your airsoft inner barrel. Here are some common problems and their possible solutions:
Barrel Clogging or Jamming
If you experience frequent barrel clogs or jams, it may be due to debris or dirt in the barrel. Clean the barrel thoroughly using a cleaning rod and cleaning patches. Avoid using low-quality BBs that may leave residue or fragments in the barrel.
Inconsistent or Erratic Shots
Inconsistent or erratic shots can be caused by various factors, including improper hop-up adjustment, worn-out hop-up bucking, or an irregular inner barrel surface. Check and adjust the hop-up unit, replace the hop-up bucking if necessary, and inspect the inner barrel for any irregularities.
Poor Accuracy or Range
If you notice a significant decrease in accuracy or range, it could be due to a worn-out or damaged inner barrel. Consider replacing the barrel with a high-quality option that matches your airsoft gun’s specifications. Additionally, ensure that the hop-up unit is properly adjusted for optimal BB spin and trajectory.
Also, do not ever reuse the BBs from the ground!
A broken BB can have pointy edges which can scratch the barrel.
Choosing the best airsoft inner barrel is a crucial step in optimizing the performance of your airsoft gun. Consider factors such as inner barrel material, bore diameter, and length, as well as your playstyle and budget. Research reputable brands and models, and seek advice from experienced players.
Remember to properly install and maintain your inner barrel to ensure its longevity and performance. Clean the barrel regularly, use high-quality BBs, and store your airsoft gun in a safe and dry environment.
By investing in a high-quality airsoft inner barrel that suits your needs, you can enhance accuracy, range, and consistency, giving you a competitive edge on the airsoft field. Happy shooting!