Been ages since I've seen a strange science, but does the atom smasher have a ramp flap on it? Is it torqued down too much to the playfield? I've seen lots of games where people shop it/replace ramps, etc. and when they put the ramp flap back, it gets tightened too much and robs a LOT of the power of a flip. With the proximity of the flipper to the ramp I can see in an IPDB pic it seems like a solid shot should always make it, and that flipper coil should be plenty strong to do it.
I think doing a down/upgrade to the linear actuator is always in order too - IMO linear flippers are garbage and should always be swapped out. They were designed for lazy operators that never wanted to rebuild flippers in the 80s, and they are actually pretty good at that - they will continue flipping long after other types have given up the ghost but at the price of heavy materials that don't wear well.