Cleaning your paintball gun might be boring, but it’s a necessary chore. The guns in this sport are quite delicate, so you’ll need to invest extra care and attention during the maintenance process. Luckily for you, we’re here to give you a couple of tips that will significantly help you out with this matter.
Regular maintenance not only prolongs the lifespan of your paintball gun, but it also affects how well it will perform. Just like any other gun, even paintball guns can jam. Imagine you’re in a heated paintball match; just as you’ve zoned in on your target, you hear the ominous ‘click’ – the ball won’t come out. Proper maintenance is actually one of the many factors that determine whether you will win or lose.
Furthermore, the ‘ammo’ can also burst if not properly cared for. Simply washing your gun and letting it ‘dry’ on its own is the last thing you want to do.
Some people don’t think that something as simple as cleaning can do so much for their paintball marker. Let’s remind ourselves – paintball guns don’t exactly come cheap. If rust gets a hold of certain parts, you might as well throw them away.
Every paintball gun is made differently, which basically means that every cleaning and maintenance process should look different in turn. You can’t simply apply what you did to your newbie guns. The devil is in the details, or so they say – we’re here to help you tackle these details down with brutal efficiency.
The Essentials of cleaning Paintball Guns
In the following segment, we will give you a step-by-step rundown of what needs to be done when cleaning your paintball gun. Let’s get moving!
Step 1: Remove the air canister
Let’s begin by removing the CO2 canister. Alternatively, if your gun comes supplied with a CO2 tank, you should remove it in the same fashion. The main reason why this should be the first step you are going to take is safety. The compressed air can accidentally fire and damage your paintball gun or even worse – injure you.
Every paintball gun air tank comes outfitted with a simple ‘detach’ button; what’s really important to never force it. Since every paintball shooter is different, you should make sure to consult the user’s manual on how to remove the CO2/Air canister of the model you own.
Once you’ve safely removed the tank, double-check if it is still properly sealed. Remember how it was positioned and how tightly it was screwed in before you actually take it off.
Step 2: Disassemble your paintball gun
The second step involves disassembling your paintball gun. Needless to say, this part is one of the hardest ones and it will require some patience to tackle down. Again, we recommend you exercise caution and be as accurate as possible. Let us remind ourselves that paintball guns are generally quite flimsy and can be damaged and/or broken quite easily.
The parts you are going to disassemble are the hopper, the bolt, the barrel, and the grip. Even though you can do it in any order you like, it is highly recommended that you consult the manual for specific details.
After you’ve disassembled all the bits and pieces, make sure to organize them all in front of you; it’s easy to misplace some of the parts for as long as you’re unfamiliar with them.
Step 3: Cleaning the barrel
Just like police officers and soldiers begin cleaning their guns with the barrel, you should begin cleaning your paintball gun from here. The process is relatively straightforward, although mistakes could easily be made if you aren’t careful.
Use water to clean any debris that got stuck in it. Repeat the process for as many times as possible until you are sure that your paintball gun’s barrel doesn’t have any larger chunks of debris in it. After you’ve completed this process, use a swap to wipe away the dust. Even though dust isn’t nearly as dangerous as actual debris, it can severely affect your gun’s performance by a long shot.
This should conclude the barrel cleaning process, but it still wouldn’t hurt to double-check. You can use a lamp or a flashlight to look down the barrel. If its texture is smooth and sparkly, you’ve cleaned it properly.
Step 4: Cleaning the body
The type of cleaning tool you are going to use to clean your paintball gun’s body largely depends on its construction material. Certain models are made from waterproof materials, others aren’t. Even if we were to assume that all paintball guns are immune to water damage, the level of their durability will determine which tool could do the job properly.
Again, we advise you to read the instructions that came with your paintball gun. Most models can be cleaned with a dry piece of cloth, though.
You will have certain difficulties in reaching several narrow spots. You can use a toothbrush to reach tough choked spots. For this particular process, you should be as thorough as possible. These hard-to-reach spots are, in most cases, the prime suspects when guns jam.
Step 5: Cleaning the bolt & hammer
The bolt and hammer of your paintball gun are among the most delicate parts which require special attention. They wear off with time and only regular maintenance can slow down their degradation process. You shouldn’t be too alarmed if you notice significant damages – replacing the bolt & hammer is actually quite cheap.
As you get more experienced with cleaning your paintball gun you will also learn how to preserve each part in a more efficient way.
To clean the bolt & hammer you should use a simple paper towel. Polish the parts carefully and gentle and dry them. You should also check for any potential damage on the O-rings while you’re at it.
Step 6: Cleaning the O-Rings
The O-rings are small, thin, and very flimsy almost by default. If this is your first time cleaning your paintball gun, you shouldn’t get discouraged even if you completely destroy them. After all, the O-rings are highly affordable and can be bought in bulks at ridiculously low prices.
There is absolutely no way to preserve these rings for long periods of time; even if you are extra careful with how you use and clean your gun, they will still crack after a certain amount of time.
If they’re still usable, the cleaning process is very plain and straightforward. Use a dry cloth to gently remove any debris and dust from them. If they’re not, replacing them might be somewhat of a challenge.
It should be noted that the O-rings come in all shapes and sizes. First, you should consult the user’s manual to find the proper size. After you’ve found adequate replacements, you should lube your paintball gun’s valve assembly right before sliding your new O-ring in the grove.
Step 7: Battery maintenance
The batteries are often overlooked during the first maintenance session mainly because some beginners don’t even know their paintball gun features them. Obviously, these are the most affordable paintball gun parts that will definitely run out of juices in due time.
Even though almost everyone knows how to replace a set of batteries, you should still take a look at the manual to see what type of bats your gun is using. Certain models use rechargeable Li-Ion batteries; you don’t need to throw them away even if they’re completely out of charge.
If they’re plain, non-rechargeable batteries, you should simply check which type (and size) you should stock up on.
The most important aspect of battery maintenance is recognizing the real threat – leaking batteries. Typical batteries are filled with liquid electrolyte. This is basically a mix of water and sulphuric acid, which is highly corrosive. Even though most batteries are well encased and protected, we advise you to wear gloves just in case. The sulphuric acid can melt down your gun and severely injure you, so be very careful.
Step 8: Damage inspection
One of the final steps in the paintball gun maintenance process is damage inspection. Basically, you should double-check everything to see if you’ve missed any little detail. Smaller parts such as screws and O-rings, for example, are very easy to overlook.
Whenever you are relying on online ‘how-to’ instructional guides and videos it’s imperative that you check the manual. Instructional guides are almost exclusively referring to general rules of cleaning and maintenance; they will be of very little use to you if you own a unique paintball gun model.
Carefully check every single part of your gun while referring to the user’s manual to double-check if you’ve done everything correctly. Ensure that all the screws are accounted for; replace any replaceable part if necessary.
If you notice any substantial damage to some of the larger parts, don’t tinker around with them unless you know exactly what you’re doing. It is often smarter to take your paintball gun in for repairs than to cause further damage by trying to fix it on your own.
Step 9: Lubrication
By now you’ve mostly used water to clean all of the paintball gun’s parts. However, the mechanism of these guns requires a certain amount of lubrication, else it will malfunction.
You’ll need the right amount of lubrication and the right type of lubrication for your paintball gun. Picking the wrong type might substantially damage the gun while applying too much lube will further amplify the potential damage.
Step 10: Reassemble the paintball gun
Reassembling the paintball gun is the final stage of the cleaning process. With all the parts neatly organized and oiled right in front of you, all you have to do is simply put the pieces back together. Now, if you’re a beginner you probably don’t remember all the steps by heart, so again, we recommend that you keep your instructions’ manual handy.
The reassembling process is basically a direct opposite of the disassembling process. You should start by putting the batteries back in and finish up with inserting the air canister.
It is highly recommended that you take this step as slowly as you possibly can. There are so many bits and pieces (including all the hardware parts) that even some experienced players still don’t know how to do it without sneaking a peek in the user’s guide.
Note that even a simple mistake can potentially ruin your gun. Take as much time as you need and most importantly – don’t force anything into place.
If for whatever reason a certain part (or parts) won’t fit back into the frame, stop the reassembly process immediately and take your paintball gun to a professional.
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The 10 steps we have talked about so far refer to ‘total maintenance’. You could do it once a week, or once a month, but you shouldn’t stretch it out any longer than that. Given that it requires a lot of time and effort, once a month is quite alright.
Regular maintenance consists of daily check-ups, rinsing, and partial lubrication. You don’t need to disassemble the entire gun, only a couple of its parts, such as the barrel and the canister, for example. Additionally, you should only lube the parts you take out.
Since batteries and O-rings are the least durable components of a paintball gun, we advise you to check on them as frequently as you can. As we’ve mentioned earlier, they are quite affordable so you should stock up beforehand.
Polish the gun’s exterior and use a small toothbrush for complex hard-to-reach spots. The gun’s exterior also affects its performance, although in a somewhat diminished way.
Certain paintball guns (that are made in a more complex way) feature especially delicate nooks that are usually unreachable with smaller toothbrushes. Most people prefer using Q-tips or cotton swabs in such scenarios.
We would generally advise against using warm water to polish paintball guns’ exterior; use lukewarm water instead. Also, you should consult the manual to find out about the chemicals you can (and can’t) use on your specific paintball model. Using paper towels won’t hurt your gun, regardless of the model you own.
Sanitize the grip of your paintball gun, even if you’re always using special gloves during your paintball matches. You would be surprised at the number of germs that you can catch on outdoors; even the cleanest, most well-preserved gloves aren’t as clean as they look like.
The sanitation process is quite easy. Once you’ve learned which chemicals you can use on your gun, dilute them in lukewarm water and dip a sponge into the mix. Gently rinse the grip and dry it with a towel afterward.
Adequate storage is equally important as regular maintenance. Here are a couple of tips that should improve your paintball gun storage method:
- Always unload your paintball gun before storing it
- Remove the air/CO2 canister and empty it
- Lube the hardware (pins, screws)
- Check up on the safety lock and make sure it’s always turned on
- Lock the case in which you’ve put your paintball gun
- Even though the gun is locked in unloaded, keep the children away from it at all times
- Store the ammo and the gun at separate locations
As you can see, the cleaning process is fairly simple, although it does have quite a few steps. It will get easier the more you repeat it, so don’t feel discouraged if you miss a few spots on your first try. The general rule of the thumb is to always have your manual handy and consult it whenever you’re in doubt