Dye Precision’s Proto Rail is a solid marker for entry level and mid-level paintballers. While those who play the sport at a high level of competition likely won’t be satisfied with this marker, those who are casual players or new to the game will enjoy it. Dye Precision is known for selling high end markers yet the Proto Rail sells for about $250, so it won’t break the bank. Dye Precision actually created Proto as a subdivision in order to sell paintball guns under a new name that has more of a mainstream marketability to “lay” style players. While the Proto Rail is affordable, it does not excessively scrimp on quality or technology. This is a solid marker in nearly every aspect.
The Proto Rail Look and Feel
The Proto Rail is a bit more diminutive than the popular ETEK marker. Yet it is larger than some other guns on the market, making it a mid-range marker in terms of size. The Proto Rail is built with a solid aluminum hourglass Ultralite Ergonomic Frame. This straight edged marker has a wide range of features including an eye pipe system that prevents the accumulation of debris and dirt, an adjustable clamping feedneck, lasers within the chamber that guard against ball breakage, an 11 inch Proto barrel and an LED circuit board.
The Proto Rail is a beautifully anodized gun is sold in a chic looking box that lifts your hopes as soon as you see it. This is one of the most attractive paintball markers on today’s market thanks to its sharp lines, aggressive curves and general sheen. You will be hard pressed to find a more aesthetically pleasing marker in the Proto Rail’s price range. The fact that players love to shoot it makes it all the more alluring. The marker is available in a wide variety of colors including black, blue, clear, olive, orange, red, lime, purple and tan.
While the marker looks rather heavy, it is surprisingly light once you have it in your hands. It weighs a mere two pounds once the tank, loader and barrel are put in place. It feels well balanced and won’t slide along your hands thanks to its comfortable handle grip. This grip is the same as those found on high end Dye Precision markers such as the Dye DM14.
How the Proto Rail Shoots
Like all Dye and Proto guns, the Proto Rail features the Hyper 3 regulator. This feature is the catalyst for the marker’s optimal performance when compared to guns in a similar price range. It provides respectable air efficiency operating at 155 psi. This .68 caliber autococker electro-pneumatic marker shoots 15-18 balls per second with reliable accuracy. There are four tournament modes that can switch and a very handy auto fire feature. Players have expressed their appreciation for the fact that there is enough space to finger spray. Players can even can adjust the Proto Rail’s aluminum trigger length as desired.
Unfortunately, many ballers have described the Proto Rail as a “gas hog”, so you will likely choose to play with a larger tank than you have grown accustomed to with your past markers. Yet the Proto Rail creates little kick back upon fire and it really feels like a true extension of your arms and hands.
Many paintballers have commented that the Proto Rail shoots similarly to antiquated markers that were first used in competitive play. Do not misconstrue that statement as a veiled jab. It is actually a compliment as many hardcore paintball players still use those guns and dominate the competition with them. It is worth noting that the Proto Rail can be used in a tournament thanks it its PSP standards.
Proto Rail Maintenance
The marker’s box contains a complete color manual, lube, Allen-wrenches, a warranty card, a barrel bag, the aforementioned 11 inch barrel and the marker itself. The typical Proto Rail paintball gun will operate beyond half a million total shots thanks to its 9 volt battery which provides 40,000 additional shots. Those who perform regular cleaning and tuning of the marker will find that the marker’s parts last for years. The Proto Rail also comes with uber-cool color coded o-rings to facilitate maintenance procedures.
Proto Rail Upgrades
The Proto Rail is compatible with the vast majority of feeders and hoppers on today’s market. Unfortunately, other batteries and some parts beyond feeders and hoppers are not compatible with the marker. However, a wide number of Dye replacement grips are available in all sorts of colors. The barrel can also be replaced. Peruse the web and you will find that there are plenty of rail board upgrades as well. These include Tadao and Hater. You can also add a new aluminum bolt cap, an on/off rail mount asa, new grips for color coordination and macroline / fittings that permit easier access to the marker’s regulator.
Is the Proto Rail the Right Marker for You?
While the Dye Precision Proto Rail might not be jam packed with the latest high tech features that highly competitive paintball players desire, it is an excellent starter gun. It feels nice in your hands, shoots accurately and has impressive durability.
An appropriate analogy for the Proto Rail is the Mini Cooper automobile. The Mini Cooper is created by the masterminds at BMW yet it does not sell for the same lofty sticker price as a BMW. Both the Mini Cooper and the Proto Rail appeal to customers who desire quality machines but do not want to devote a considerable amount of their discretionary income toward those purchases.
Yet it must be noted that this relatively cheap gun should not be immediately neglected by more experienced players. Plenty of paintball aficionados have picked up the Proto Rail as a second, very affordable marker, that functions as a solid backup.