How Do I Keep
Paintballs From Breaking In My Gun?
Paintballs breaking in your marker is the most frustrating
thing that can happen while playing. You pull the trigger and nothing but an
explosion of goop comes out the end. Every shot afterwards is either the same
spray of paint or wing off in every which direction. Sometimes it is just occasional
bad luck, but at other times it can be a constant chronic problem. There is no
one simple solution; there are many factors that can lead to paint breakage
when shooting your marker. This article will go in-depth on the causes and
provide a checklist of factors to determine a solution to why paintballs keep
breaking in my gun.
Barrel Break, Breech Break and Ball Chop
The first step is to determine where the breakage is occurring.
Take off your hopper and tank, and completely degas the marker. Once sure your
marker is depressurized fully, take the barrel off and look down it from the
breech end where the barrel threads are. Is the paint breaking from the breech
end, or does the paint goop start further down the barrel? If the mess starts
somewhere down the barrel then it is a barrel
break. If the paint is all the way through the barrel then look down the
feed neck at the bolt. Is the bolt covered in paint as well? If the paint mess
starts at the head of the bolt then it is a breech
break. If the entire bolt is covered in paint, then you have a ball chop (aka bolt chop).
Causes and Fixes to Paintball
Barrel Breaks and Breech Breaks
- Bad or Brittle Paintballs
The quality of your paintballs are the #1 cause of paintball
barrel breaks. An overly fragile ball won’t survive the push down the barrel.
Using tournament grade paintballs in an entry level marker can also cause this,
as lower cost guns usually have a rougher action than high end models. Try a
different paintball if they are available. If it’s a humid day then you can try
opening up your bags of paint to absorb some moisture and add some elasticity
to the shell.
- Cold Paintballs/ Cold Playing Conditions
The shell of a paintball gets brittle as the temperature
drops. You may start to notice a lot of breakage as the temperature drops below
55-60 degrees Fahrenheit. See our article on Playing Paintball In Winter for
ways to combat this.
- Too Tight Paintball Bore
If the inner diameter of your paintball barrel is too snug
then it can break paint in the barrel and breech, especially with fragile
paint. Try a different barrel, barrel back or insert with a larger inner
diameter. Your accuracy may suffer a bit, but that is better than no ball
making it out the barrel at all.
- Pressure Too High
The initial blast of air hitting the paintball may be too
great, causing it to shatter. This is a common cause of breech breaks. In
blowback markers you can try turning down your velocity. In full pneumatic
markers you can try turning down the pressure while increasing your dwell
setting. This will lower the pressure making initial contact against the ball
but increase the amount of time the air is transferring through the bolt,
giving the ball a softer but longer push down the barrel. You won’t get as many
shots per fill but you waste less paint and game time cleaning.
- Obstruction or Defect in the Barrel
Remove your barrel, clean it, and look through from both
directions. Inspect the edges of the muzzle and breech ends. Did the edges get
a ding that could be snagging the ball? Push a cotton ball or similar loose fluffy
material down the barrel. If it snags anywhere such as around some porting then
there could be a burr or metal splinter catching the shell. If you have a two
piece barrel then the barrel front should be a larger diameter than the back. There
should be a visible “step” when looking from the muzzle end. If you see any
edge of the front when peering from the breech end, then the front is too small
or defective, with the paintball hitting that edge like a tire hitting a curb.
- Check Your Hopper or Loader
Take a look inside your marker’s hopper or loader. Is there
broken paint or sand and debris in there? You may have broken paint at one
point from jarring impact to the hopper or a pod, or the paint may be too fragile
for your particular electronic loader. Paintballs entering the breech with paint
or dirt are prime candidates for breakage.
Causes and Fixes of
Ball chop happens because a paintball is not completely
within the breech when the bolt comes forward. The bolt pinches or slices
through the half-chambered paintball.
- Paintballs Not Feeding Fast Enough
This is the primary culprit. Players often spend lots of
time and money tuning and upgrading their marker to fire crazy fast but don’t
do the same for their loader. If you notice skip in firing your marker fast,
you simply need to slow down or get a faster loader.
- Blowback Pressure Up the Feed Neck
Markers that use a blowback action and some stack tube
electropneumatic designs can get air pressure blowing past the bolt and going
up the feed neck. Again, if your loader is not feeding fast enough then it isn’t
keeping a stack of paintballs over the breech to prevent them from ‘popcorning’
- Dirty or Malfunctioning Anti Chop Eyes
Anti-chop eyes in an electronic marker ‘look’
for a paintball to be in the breech before letting the marker fire. However, if
they get loose, misaligned or dirty with paint and grease they can read
incorrectly and cause a chop. Cleaning the eyes is always one of the first
things to check