The Tippmann model 98 is a tremendously popular choice for many young players who are entering the world of paintball. The M98 is the relative of the Pro-carbine, and comes from a long line of quality markers before it. These guns include the SMG-60, Pro-Am, SL-68, Carbine, Pro-lite, and Pro-carbine. The model 98 has both its flaws, and of course, many of the advantages found in most paintball markers in the entry level category. This section of the Battle of the Newbie Guns article series will discuss in detail the model 98 marker from beginning to the current stage of evolution.
The Tippmann Model 98 is a standard blow back open bolt semi-automatic. What does this mean? It means that the marker is fired while the bolt is still in the pulled-back position. It also means that the bolt must be blown back to cycle the marker for the next shot. The M98 is approximately 19.625 in length with the stock barrel and no tank. It has a cycle rate of 11bps from the factory, and gets approximately 500 shots from a full 9 oz. Co2 tank. It weighs in at approximately 2.9 lbs. without a tank. The stock barrel is 8.5 long and has a muzzle break and a single vertical row of porting about halfway down the length, with an effective range of approximately 150 feet.
The Tippmann model 98 is currently in its second stage of evolution, with the new M98 Custom release being the latest model line available. The Model 98 Custom is different from its predecessor in visual design mainly, but has some internal differences. The new design features no gills and pre-milled areas where drop in kits can be added. These drop in kits consist of an electro-trigger mod, a reactive trigger, double trigger frame, and low pressure operation modifications. These can all be done to the classic M98 as well but the marker must be sent into Tippmann for some minor mill work to be done to the body. The Custom M98 also differs in the trigger spring system with the springs being switched from a post design to a trampoline style. Refer to the pictures on the right side for differences between the Model 98 and the M98 Custom.
Inherent problems can be found in the M98, but such is the case in any paintball marker. One common complaint involves the screws holding the power tube in place. These screws seem to strip easily. Another complaint is the clamshell design where the body is made of two separate halves. Though it is the main reason the M98 is so affordable, it makes field stripping the M98 near impossible. A third common complaint is the front sight spring popping out and getting lost. The last on the short list of gripes is the fact that the gun is simply too long and/or heavy. However, these downsides are more than made up for in Tippmanns legendary customer service and the features offered by the low cost marker.
You knew there had to be some up sides to this marker, or youd never see them at the field. Well the fact is, the Pros definitely outweigh the Cons in this case, especially for the new paintballer. Nearly all paintball players love to tinker, and the M98 has one of the largest upgrade paths found for any marker, ever. Common upgrades consist of the Flatline barrel system, mocked by some paintballers and revered by others, but none the less effective and feared. The RT trigger system modification allows the M98 to fire as if it were an Automag RT. Other modifications include double triggers, new electronic upgrades, and much more become available on a regular basis. Really, you can take the M98 in any direction you want. From the ultimate in recreation guns, to a full scale scenario machine gun, and even to a lean mean Tournament machine!
In a clamshell...
For around $140.00, the bottom line is that the Tippmann M98 is a very tough gun, and a tough gun to beat for a new paintballer. Overall this gun is a great choice for a new player, and it is, without a doubt, built like a tank. If you have any questions concerning the M98 feel free to post at our forums, or email me at Avenging_Ronin@msn.com and I will try and help you.
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