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
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?
WHAT TO BUY
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
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
PMI RAM AIR
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
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
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.