Playing paintball is fun. The fun and excitement can get doubled and turn this game into a passion if you are thriving in it.
But if you want to thrive in a particular field, you need to know all the basics of it.
How far a paintball gun can shoot is just one of those basic questions that may arise in your mind if you are starting out as a player.
You may have landed here in search of an absolute answer. But, to your dismay, we have to tell you that there is no absolute answer.
We have still got the ultimate information on the topic. And you can find your answer out of it.
And, just to add in, this ultimate information will prove more beneficial for you in the long run than any absolute answers.
So, let us dive in without further ado!
How Does a Paintball Gun Shoot?
A paintball gun is fed with paintballs that exit the barrel of the gun with the pressure created by the propellant gas.
So here are the three things that are playing a role to determine the range of a paintball gun.
- The gun that you are using.
- The paintballs.
- The propellant gas.
Paintball Gun Range
Let us start with another truth to digest: not all paintball guns have the same range of shooting. They can be modified to increase the velocity, and consequently, the shooting range of the gun, but that range may not be the “effective” range you desire.
In addition to that, sometimes these modifications can affect the accuracy of the gun.
So let us discuss it in steps for an easy understanding.
Typically, this concept is made clear by dividing the gun range in three categories.
- The Effective Range
- The Safe Range
- The Absolute Range
The Effective Range
As we all know, a paintball hit is considered “effective” only if it breaks upon hitting its target. Merely hitting someone and not breaking the paintball is of no use as it does not eliminate the other player according to the paintball rules.
So if a paintball gun is shooting at a far range, the velocity of the traveling paintball is going to decrease eventually. When it does hit the target finally, it has lost the energy required for it to break open.
In simple words, the range of a paintball gun that follows the paintball breaking on impact is called “the effective range”.
Most paintball guns have an effective range of 80 to 100 feet. Any paintballs going farther than this distance are unlikely to break on impact, rendering the range ineffective.
Apart from the gun you are using, the paintballs in use also play a role to increase or decrease the effective range. The brittle the paintballs are, the easier they will break on impact. But if you are using some old or expired paintballs that may have become soggy from humidity or other similar reasons, they are unlikely to give you the result of fresh paintballs.
Reminder: The effective range of paintball is also determined by the things that you have no control over, like the clothing of your opponent. The softer gear makes it harder to break for the paintball on impact.
The Safe Range
Like all other sports, paintball is played under some rules and regulations. The main purpose of these rules is to ensure the safety of all players.
This is the reason most paintball fields do not allow an increase in the velocity of a gun after a certain point.
For most fields, this certain point happens to be somewhere between 250 to 275 FPS or feet per second.
This precaution makes sure that the players who come out to have fun and enjoy their day out, do not go back with bruises and injuries.
Now, this is evident that if you are limiting the velocity of a gun with which it sends a paintball in the air, its range is also going to be limited accordingly. You can shoot paintballs at a certain distance, but the safe range does not mean that these paintballs will also hit the target “effectively” to the very end of the range.
That’s why the effective range of the paintball guns, set to the velocity of 250 to 275 FPS is somewhere between 80 to 100 feet.
The Absolute Range
The above mentioned categories are discussed in regard to playing paintball. The absolute range is the range that can be covered by a ball, shot through a paintball gun regardless of all paintball field rules.
Let us suppose, we are using paintballs that can bear the utmost velocity of a gun without breaking inside it, and we are using a gun set to the highest point of velocity it can shoot, the range acquired by this should be unlimited.
But, unfortunately, that is not the case in reality. Paintball guns are made to work to a determined highest velocity to be functional.
Set to the highest velocity, most paintball guns can shoot to 350 feet or even above.
How to Increase the Range of a Paintball Gun?
Who does not want to have an increased range of how far their paintball gun can shoot?
Luckily, there are a few tricks that you can use to increase the range of your paintball marker.
Upgrade the Barrel
A barrel on the gun gives direction to paintballs and puts them on the right course.
I. The Longer The Better
A shorter barrel may not give the proper direction to your paintball as a longer barrel can.
If your gun is not shooting accurately, or if you want to increase the range of your gun, you better think about a barrel upgrade.
We recommend using at least a 14 inch barrel to have the best results.
II. Add Indentations
Instead of using a barrel with bland insides, using one with small gloves gives better results. This adds a spin to the ammo so it is capable of traveling farther.
Unfortunately, these grooves have not proved to be of much help for the common paintballs (these grooves can cause the paintballs to break inside the barrel), but they can become a game changer if you are using different ammo, like first strikes. Continue reading to know the details.
Use Good Quality Paint
As we explained above, the quality of the paint you are using affects the effective range of a marker. Paintballs are tricky little creatures that need good making and proper handling.
The good quality paint will stay intact inside the marker and will perfectly bear the pressure applied to it by the gun. But it is not so hard as not to break when it hits the desired target.
This is how good quality paint helps you reach a better effective range than the ad quality one.
In the past, CO2 was the most common propellant gas used with paintball markers but recently HPA is taking over, and for good reason. HPA is a better option not only because it is environment friendly, but also gives better and consistent results.
This means if your gun is running over HPA you are more likely to get a better effective range on most of your shots than using CO2.
Keep Your Marker Clean
A clean marker is a key to good shooting. If your marker has some broken paint inside or if it is clogged by dust and debris, it is certainly not going to give the best results it is otherwise capable of.
Try Using First Strikes
No matter what tricks you are using to get a better effective range with your paintball marker, they have some limitations because they are using paintballs as their ammo. We have already discussed how a paintball cannot take too high a velocity setting from the gun without risking the breakage inside the gun.
So why not try to change the ammo?
No, we are not talking about hard core balls, obviously, that stuff is not allowed in the fields.
But we do have an alternative.
First strikes are just like paintballs that break on impact but they are shaped differently to increase the distance they can cover and still break on impact. They can increase the effective range to 200% as they have a brittle front that breaks on impact but the cylindrical rear with fins helps them cover longer distances without losing the velocity.
They have their own drawbacks though. Firstly, you cannot feed them into the gun with a hopper. Either you use a magazine or you hand feed them one by one.
Secondly, they are a bit too expensive and cost you a lot more than your normal paintballs.
Although there is no definite answer to how far a paintball marker can shoot, after discussing all those points you must have got your answers. It depends on the paintball gun, the ammo, the barrel, the gas, and the rules of the field authority where you are playing.
But you can try to get better results with some upgrades with your barrel and ammo.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How far can I hit my target successfully using a paintball gun?
Successfully hitting the target means getting your paintball broken on impact rather than bouncing back. In other words, it is called the “effective” range of paintball markers. A paintball marker usually has an effective range of 80 to 100 feet.
How can I increase the effective range of my paintball marker?
In order to increase the effective range of your marker, you can consider upgrading your barrel with a longer one. Using first strikes can also be a great alternative if you are not on a tight budget.
Can I set my paintball gun to the maximum velocity settings?
You obviously can if you are a master of your own deeds, but you better not if you are playing on a paintball field. Most paintball fields require restricting the settings to 280 to 300 FPS. Yet if it is a smaller field, you might be asked to restrict it to a further 250 FPS for safety reasons.