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Paintball Shots

How far will a paintball fly? It depends. What is the weather and if the barrel is parallel to the ground, under perfect laboratory conditions, the distance until it will hit the lab floor can be calculated with some exactness based on the ball’s speed and weight as it leaves the muzzle. Little variations can affect actual performance. Now add variables and the distance changes. Tilt the barrel up or down. Decrease or increase the ball speed. Add some wind or objects to disturb the air and the flight path. Change the ball weight or other ball characteristics. The barrel design has an effect, too.

The farther out from the muzzle, the more the ball loses speed. Without speed, the ball will drop to the ground. So how would you think you should test the accuracy of your set up? At 150 feet with the ball going very slowly? Ten feet where the ball has barely left the muzzle? Experts don’t agree on test distances. 

Earon Carter of Carter Machine usually would set up a paper target at about 10 or 15 feet because he said if it is on target that close, it is on target out farther. The tests I have seen run on high tech gear are generally at 60 feet with a two-foot size target. A lot of paintball games are won or lost at the 60 foot range. If something is off (the paintballs are out of round, the ball-barrel match is off, whatever), the paint won’t hit a 60 foot target repeatedly. Then you go find what’s off, to make it better. At 100 feet, and a two-foot round target, even with everything good, misses are common. The paint is slowing down. Any little variable can cause a miss.

New players, spend time at the target range. Get used to how far the ball will go straight. After awhile you will know when you are in good range of the other team, or too far away to make your shots count. 

On another subject, sliding into bunkers can be dangerous to your career or your job. You can rip up a knee or tear up your ankle. A loose goggle strap might let the goggles shift away from protecting your eyes when you slide. Do you really wear all the protection you should? 


Q: I’m 14, and own a Tippmann Model 98 with a LAPCO Bigshot barrel. I don’t have a lot of money. What should I buy?

A: Paint and air. Put your money into your game. Stick with your gear at least six months until your game is the best you can make it. Borrow other markers when you can so as to see the differences.


Q: I have a very simple question. What is a reasonable price for paint?

A: It depends. Take notes while you shop. Keep in mind shipping, handling, gasoline, and phone bills as you compare. Compare high end paint with other high end paint, not against seconds. Think price-per-ball. Example: 2,000 paintballs for $100 is a nickel a ball (5 cents each). 


Q: I’m looking for some ballistic information. What is the effective range for paintballs?

A: A marker’s range depends. Generally, a .68 caliber paintball will fly mostly straight and direct to a target for a distance of about 60 to 70 feet. Thereafter, the ball slows down, and the ball  characteristics plus wind and gravity affect the flight path. The world speed limit is 300 feet per second when the ball leaves the muzzle. The ASTM standards limit ball weight to no more than 3.5 grams per ball, and they can be lighter and will vary from ball to ball.

Target consistency tests can be run at other distances, say 100 feet, by adjusting the elevation of the barrel so it is aimed for a target and can hit that target 100 feet out. However, there are many forces acting on the paintball the farther it gets from the muzzle. Tests will show no matter how hard one tries to remove all the variables, they will affect the flight path of the paintball. 


Q: What does the PMI Ram Air Chamber do for performance?

A: PMI says: "The Ram Air Chamber consists of a hollow chamber containing a piston with a spring behind it. The Ram Air Chamber is connected directly to the main valve chamber of the marker. When the marker is pressurized the piston is pushed back against the spring. As you fire the marker the air is released from the valve chamber through the valve and down the barrel. At the same time the valve is attempting to refill itself to allow for the next shot to be fired. What happens in continuous firing sequences or when the pressure drops in the valve chamber is that this doesn't always happen fast enough to allow a full charge to be in the valve. The Ram Air helps to push air or CO2 into the valve chamber faster as the pressure behind the spring forces the piston forward as the pressure in the connected valve chamber drops. The lower the pressure the better this works."


Q: What is wrong with overfilling a tank?

A: Aside from being against the law as a safety issue, too much pressure in your tank can also lead to difficulties with your equipment. Extremes in pressure can lead to a wide range of undesirable events ranging from challenging the structural integrity of the hardware to erratic operation and unsafe velocities.

Your life, and the life of everyone around you, depends on safe air fills. An overfill creates the risk that something will not hold the extra pressure. If it lets go, someone can be killed or seriously injured. It might be a metal fitting, hose, regulator part--anything that the higher pressure can get to has the potential to let go. Pieces of metal are shrapnel that can cause injury or death. 

A sudden, powerful release of compressed gas or air can cause injury or death from the gas or air itself. There have been two reported instances of players trying to stop a high pressure air leak with their hands, and air blew into their bodies, swelling them up. One was hospitalized. They did survive. A small stream of high pressure air or CO2 has the power to cut through skin and into the body. CO2 can also freeze body parts just like serious frostbite.

Take a lesson from the scuba industry, where there have been deaths related to overfills, improper parts or hoses, etc. A tank must not be filled without a visual inspection according to safety regulations, and a tank out of hydro must not be filled until it passes hydro.
Q: Why does my brand new case of paint have paint goo in it?

A: The balls are mass produced on huge machines. Sorting generally removes any that are leakers, or that are far out of round. Sometimes a leaker gets through quality control. It is also likely that a seam was weak, which sometimes happens, so in shipping there was pressure on the ball and the seam began to leak. Dropping a case of paint can cause leakers or total ball burst inside the case. Have the store open the case and take out each bag before you buy. If you see true goo, don’t buy that bag or that case.

Q: Are paintballs all alike?

A: No. Paintballs are round liquid filled projectiles usually with a gelatin skin. There is a seam around the ball. Humidity can make them swell a little bit very quickly when exposed to the humid air. The skin softens with heat. Sometimes the two halves are not even. The seam can differ from ball to ball. The weights can vary a little. The gelatin thickness can vary. Jerry Heacock once called paintballs "little animals" because if you leave them out of the packaging and on you desk, and watch them day by day, they will change. The more expensive premium level paintballs tend to be more uniform in size and weight and more round.

(c) 2003 Пейнтбол Клуб Егерь

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