Proper maintenance of a paintball marker (commonly referred to as a paintball gun) is essential to its proper functioning. Dirty guns become prone to jamming and reduced accuracy. In some cases, it may even cause paintballs to break in the barrel. Thankfully, cleaning your gun is an easy task.
Cleaning Your Paintball Gun
In order to clean a gun, you will need several supplies. Most of these will already be in your home, and they are all inexpensive.
- the schematic for your gun (found in the box or manual, or on the manufacturer’s website)
- Q-tips and/or a toothbrush
- paper towels
- a set of Allen keys
- pull through squeegees
- warm water
- whatever lubricant is recommended by the manufacturer
- a work space where parts will not be lost or disturbed
Step 1: De-Gas the Gun
Before working on the gun, it is important to make sure there is no gas to avoid the risk of misfire. Remove the fuel canister, then locate the ASA lever. If your gun does not have an ASA lever, check the instructions or manufacturer’s site for information on how to properly de-gas.
Step 2: Disassembling the Gun
Beginning with the hopper, carefully disassemble the gun. You will want to remove the barrel, bolt, hammer and grip frame. As you remove each piece, set it aside along with the screws or fasteners. This will ensure you will be able to reassemble the gun easily.
Step 3: Cleaning the Body
Check the instructions to find out whether you may run a squeegee through the gun. If permitted, begin with the squeegee. Next, follow up with a wet Q-tip or toothbrush to ensure the body is completely cleaned out and prevent jamming. Finally, wipe the body down with a paper towel to ensure everything is completely dry.
Step 4: Cleaning the Barrel
Use a pull through squeegee to clean out any paint residue from the barrel. Excess residue will cause jamming and a decrease in accuracy. Wipe the barrel down with a damp paper towel and dry thoroughly.
Step 5: Cleaning the Bolt and Hammer
Using a paper towel, clean and dry the bolt and hammer thoroughly. Check the O-rings on both pieces for signs of wear and tear. A small degree of wear is acceptable, but moderate t heavy damage indicates a need for replacement.
Step 6: Cleaning the Grip Frame
Clear out any debris using a Q-tip or toothbrush, but do not take the trigger assembly apart. This assembly is complicated and difficult to reassemble. It is better to leave it intact than risk a gun malfunction. Once the grip frame has been cleaned, dry it carefully and check for signs of damage.
Step 7: Performing an Inspection
Begin by replacing any cracked or damaged O-rings. These help prevent air loss and bad rings may reduce paintball velocity and spend fuel faster. Next, check all springs to ensure they are straight and in good shape. Third, check any screws for signs of damage. Replace any parts which are in poor shape.
Step 8: Lubricating the Parts
Once all parts are clean and dry, begin lubricating the parts carefully. The O-rings should be lightly coated. Only use paintball oil of the type recommended by the gun’s manufacturer, as other types of oil may damage the parts.
Step 9: Reassembling the Paintball Gun
Once you have lubricated and inspected the components of your gun, it is ready to be reassembled. Pay close attention to the schematic for the order of assembly and install each component with its companion fasteners or screws. Careful assembly will help your gun stay in prime working order.
Proper Care of Your Paintball Gun
Regular maintenance sessions are not the only way to keep your paintball gun clean. In between full cleanings, proper storage will help to prevent damage and reduce performance loss.
Storing the Gun
Paintball guns can be both dangerous and prone to damage if not properly stored. The steps are easy to follow and only take a few moments, but will improve the lifespan of your gun.
- Make sure the gun is not loaded.
- Remove the fuel tank and de-gas your gun.
- Pull the trigger, letting the bolt slide forward gently. This helps prevent spring damage.
- Check to make sure the safety is on.
- Add a drop of marker oil to the screws and push pins to keep them lubricated.
- Store in a secure gun case somewhere dry and away from the reach of children.
- Store air canisters and paintballs separately so that the gun cannot be armed when you are not present.
- Keep a field repair kit with your supplies which includes at least spare O-rings, marker oil, and an adjustable wrench.
Emergency Field Maintenance for Leaks
Sometimes even the best care isn’t enough to prevent an issue with your fuel supply. Thankfully, dealing with an air leak in the field is a fairly basic task, although you will have to enter a safe zone to perform repairs. Begin by unloading the gun and connecting a full air tank. Listen closely for air leaks. If you hear a leak coming from a pressure release valve (which will resemble a small hole where the air canister connects), it indicates that the O-ring on the tank itself is broken. Degas the gun, replace the O-ring, and add a drop or two of marker oil, spreading it with your finger.
If the leak is coming from where the hose enters the gun, try using an adjustable wrench to tighten the connection, being careful not to over-tighten. Once you feel the leak is fixed, perform a test fire without ammunition to see if the gun fires correctly. Adding a few drops of soapy water on trouble spots is another way to test for leaks if there is too much noise to listen or after a regular maintenance session. The water will bubble if there is a leak present.