The Tippmann A-5 is the next generation of markers after the Tippmann 98 with a few major differences. On average, they cost a bit more, but for about $50, you get a superior marker.
The first major upgrade is the Cyclone feed system built into A-5 marker. Tippmann has done away with the vertical feed and have added a pneumatic force feed system that virtually eliminates jams. Unlike electronic loaders, there are no batteries and force is only applied to the balls when the gun cycles. Due to the large opening of the Cyclone, it eliminates jams in the feedneck that can happen on the 98 Custom and any other small feed neck gun. The Cyclone has a lower profile than traditional hoppers, which is ideal for woodsball because players will mostly pop up over something than off to the side. Reducing your silhouette reduces your chance of getting shot.
Tippmann has also made the gun more accessible by including pushpins for commonly removed items. Rather than completely disassembling the marker like on the 98’s, you can now remove pushpins to access your optional E-grip, remove your internals to lubricate or fix a problem, or change stocks. The A-5 lets you completely remove your trigger and grip. This is important if your trigger is malfunctioning or if it starts to rain and you want to switch back to a mechanical grip. The front grip is also removable, which gives you more options of style and placement on the marker.
The internals of the A-5 gun are very similar to the 98 Custom with one major exception. The A-5 now makes use of a tombstone. This is a piece that slides into the gun from the outside and is locked into place but is easily removable. On the 98’s, a braided hose was screwed directly into the valve body and was not easily removed unless in the staging area. The Tombstone on the A-5 allows for easier disassembly and gives you more upgrade options. Now you can mount a regulator directly to the gun, move locations of your gas line, or even connect a remote line directly. And all of this is done easily by attaching it to the tombstone with your hands. No tools are necessary to connect components to the tombstone or the tombstone to the gun.
The A-5 now has completely enclosed internals. The 98 Custom had its cocking handle connected to the hammer, which exposed your internals to dirt, paint, and other debris. On the A-5, the cocking handle has been relocated and the internals closed off, which will make your gun operate better and cleaner. Parts such as o-rings will need less replacement, as well.
The A-5 comes with a different barrel threading than the 98 Series guns. One of the complaints of 98 users was the barrel twisting loose on them due to the steep threading. The gradual threading of the A-5 barrels requires more turning to remove the barrel. This creates a tighter fit and it is much less likely to unscrew.
Lastly, manufacturers are producing many more upgrades and accessories for the A-5 instead of the 98 series, which seems to be taking a back seat to the A-5. This gives you many more upgrade options when you choose the A-5 and many of them are easy to install with the quick release pins.
For the little extra money, the A-5 is big step up from the 98 and is well worth price.
-Thanks for the review Lord Odin! An abbreviated version of this comparison has been incorporated in to our Tippmann A-5 Buyer’s Guide. TippmannParts.com carries the full line of Tippmann A-5 and 98 Series Paintball Guns in stock at the best prices.