How To Clean Your Paintball Gun: Easy-To-Follow Guide To Keep It Firing Accurately

Cleaned up paintball guns - feature image

It’s not rocket science. Paintball guns, like every mechanical equipment, need regular maintenance.

If you don’t clean your paintball gun, you risk damaging parts, jamming the barrel, or killing the marker altogether.

But then again…

What many players don’t know is that thoroughly cleaning the marker regularly can also cause some damage. In the process of dismantling or coupling the gun, you may lose or wrongly couple some of the components.

And what you get is a broken paintball gun after spending so much time trying to keep it clean.

Does this mean you should never take your gun apart for cleaning? Most definitely not.

You can follow a simpler and safer routine to keep your marker well oiled and firing accurately after each session.

But there’ll be times when you’ll need to dismantle the marker for serious cleaning. You’ll get to know when and how soon.

Let’s go…

All The Instruments You’ll Ever Need to Clean Your Paintball Gun

Indeed, you don’t have to pull your gun apart after each use, especially if you use it sparingly. But you don’t know when you might need to.

So it pays to have all the necessary cleaning in your garage or basement—both for quick cleaning and occasional servicing.

Here are the tools you’d need:

  • Set of Allen keys
  • Barrel swab or squeegee
  • Cotton swabs or Q-tips
  • O-rings
  • Lubricant
  • Toothbrush
  • Vinegar/rubbing alcohol solution

If you don’t have every item, you can get a paintball gun cleaning kit for only a couple of bucks.

How To Clean A Paintball Marker Regularly

Again, if you use your marker, say bi-weekly or monthly, you don’t always have to dismantle it. Not only is it stressful but counterintuitive. I’ve seen many players complain of having issues with their paintball gun only after taking it apart for cleaning.

I see you, Tommy, the Handy Guy. You find it fun to unscrew machinery, but don’t! Please.

Instead, hold on till you can see traces of dirt or paint in the breach (where the balls go), or if you are sure mud or dirt has gotten into the gun frame.

If not, stick to a routine of wiping down the exterior and cleaning the barrel, bolt, and hammer after each use. All while you’ve degassed the gun, of course!

But what about oiling the movable parts?

How To Oil Your Paintball Gun Without Disassembling

After removing the barrel and attachments, like the tank and hopper, get the air tool oil ready. This should be a lubricant that came with the marker or a similar product.

Add 2-3 drops into the air source adapter (ASA) – the port under the gun where the tank screws into. Then dry fire (shoot without paintballs) until the oily splutters stop. Continue shooting till you feel the oil has worked its way into the insides of the marker.

You can then go ahead clean the barrel and bolt system. After this, you should have a squeaky clean gun, all without taking it apart.

How To Clean A Paintball Gun: Thorough Cleaning

Here are simple steps you can take to keep your marker in top form if you use it regularly, say twice or more a week. Or after each use.

Empty The Gun

To carry out any type of cleaning at all, degas the paintball gun. Carefully remove the gas tank so you don’t damage the threading or o-rings of the ASA.

Emptying the gun of co2 would prevent any accidents. But wearing out the o-ring of the ASA would cause other problems.

Also, make sure there’s no paintball stuck in the breach. If there is, you’d need to disassemble the gun for thorough cleaning.

Clean The Barrel

It’s easy just to want to wipe down your paintball gun with a cloth after playing. But you need to dedicate some minutes to cleaning to get it right.

First, take off the barrel from the marker for proper cleaning.

Take a swab or squeegee in warm soapy water and put it through the barrel, ensuring it reaches every part.

Scrub the outer part with a wet toothbrush to get rid of paint stains or dirt. Wipe clean with a soft cloth and air dry.

Use rubbing alcohol or vinegar on hardened stains if you are cleaning your marker late. An equal parts solution (1:1) in warm water would be more than enough to get the job done.

If you still don’t have a squeegee, try this ingenious method shown in this video below, to clean your barrel with a paper towel.

Clean The Body

Spot stains on the body of the gun and scrub them off with a toothbrush. Some gun designs may have grooves that’d be hard for a toothbrush to clean properly.

As a beginner, I used to think this was harmless. Besides, I’ve cleaned the other parts, and the gun is squeaky clean.

But leaving dirt in these tiny spots caused my marker to jam a couple of times before a friend enlightened me.

Long story short, use a Q-tip to reach these spots. And don’t leave any cotton fall-offs (common with low-quality q-tips) in the marker.

Tips To Clean The Exterior Of Your Paintball Gun

Use a toothbrush on visible dirt on the outside of the barrel. Make sure the metal is sparkling clean.

Cleaning The Bolt And Hammer

The bolt system is one of the more significant parts of the paintball gun. You don’t want to leave dirt in there at all.

Pop or unscrew the bolt out of the gun. It should be straightforward but confirm with your gun’s manual so you don’t break or lose anything.

Clean the breach exposed from the bolt’s position – the same way you did with the barrel. You can use the squeegee or a paper towel, but only add water or rubbing alcohol if it’s necessary.

Now, to the object of concern. Wipe old lube off the bolt’s outer shell with a paper towel or cloth till you can see your reflection on it (literally).

Then, unscrew the shell to gain access to the inner bolt. Clean this part the same way you did the casing. Again, make sure it’s sparkling clean.

In short, follow the directions of your gun’s schematics to dismantle the bolt system. Then clean it as I’ve recommended.

Cleaning The Grip Frame

This is another crucial part of the marker and usually the recipient of the most dirt.

If you play in a muddy location or are sure dirt has sipped in, you have to take the gun apart and clean the grip frame thoroughly. Make sure you don’t leave any spot dirty or unclean.

Use a brush to scrub the crevices the swab can’t reach. As I’ve said earlier, you can use a q-tip or cotton swab in warm water and vinegar to dissolve stubborn stains.

Tips To Clean The Grip Frame Of A Paintball Gun

While you’re at it, make sure you remove o-rings before using cleaning agents other than water.

More importantly, don’t fiddle with the trigger assembly. Unless you’re a gun tech and your trigger is damaged, leave it be.

Lubing and Changing O-Rings

Any worn-out o-rings on the bolt may cause the paintball gun to leak or even shoot inaccurately.

As a result, regular cleaning and inspection become paramount for such vital parts. The o-rings make the gun shoot despite how insignificant they may look. If none of the o-rings are chewed up or worn out, go ahead and lube them up.

In the case of a worn-out O-ring, change it immediately. If you can’t, hold off using your marker till you can. You don’t want to be a liability to your team when your paintball gun eventually jams in the middle of a game.

Tips To Lube The O-rings Of Your Paintball Gun

Put only a dab of only the recommended lubricant for your paintball gun over the o-ring.

Also, add a little to the stationary o-rings inside the threaded grooves. Just put on your finger and spin the bolt around it.

P.S. You can use any lubricant as long as it’s safe for rubber seals. What if the manufacturer’s grease runs out? Just be careful of the off-brand oil you use. No cheaps.

Putting The Gun Back Together In One Piece

As long you group all the components as you removed them on a work table, reassembling would be easy peasy.

Again, no guesswork. Turn to the gun’s schematics if you have a shred of doubt. Any mistake, and you might jam the gun. For me, the frustration of trying to figure out where it all went wrong is the worst feeling.

But you’re safe as long as you follow instructions rather than intuition.

Paintball Gun Cleaning Sins

  1. Don’t leave a dirty paintball gun for too long
  2. Don’t soak the parts in rubbing alcohol. Only clean with it
  3. Don’t leave the tank o-rings or ASA

Wrapping Up

Well, that’s all you need to know about how to clean your paintball gun.

If it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it. Stick to regularly cleaning the barrel, grip frame, and bolt and hammer.

When paint gets in the breech, you can then take it apart. Or after a day, you particularly used the marker roughly.

Do this, and you may never have to worry about your paintball gun till you want a new one.

Last Updated on November 24, 2020

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