and that's it, a short and sweet project. the end result of this is that I was able to get a 1/4" ball bearing to travel 14 inches horizontally with a 2 inch elevation of the barrel. not exactly the most stellar results, but i'm glad i did it, and as a proof of concept it works.
the timing was kind of a pain, here was my basic setup
since I don't have any feedback, I just had to start with one coil at a time and move my way through, finding (roughly) what timing got me the furthest distance. I feel like the project could work better if I put even more time into getting the coils to fire perfectly, but i'm satisfied with the way it is now.
and here's the coilgun is working!!!
onto the next project!