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How to Clean a Paintball Gun

How to Clean a Paintball Gun

Keeping your paintball equipment in top working condition is one of the most important parts of the sport. If you have a dirty barrel or a dirty loader, the likelihood of ball breakage or loading issues grows exponentially and can turn you into a liability on the field instead of an asset. While you don’t need to clean your paintball gun after every round of paintball, you should clean it after every session or every couple of sessions. This helps keep your equipment in top working order and also helps extend the life of your equipment. 

What You Need

Cleaning a paintball gun is much easier than you may think. One of the first things that you will want to pick up is a paintball gun cleaning kit. This is easy enough to obtain from most sporting stores or to directly from Lone Wolf Paintball’s online store and will usually include a squeegee and swab. You'll also want to keep some paintball gun oil nearby so that you can use it when the time comes. Some brands refer to this as "paintball grease" instead, so don't worry if you can't find the exact term. Either of these will do just fine.

A general toolkit is a good thing to have with you since you will be doing some disassembly with a thorough cleaning. A few common tools like a variety of small screwdrivers is likely all you will need. You may want to bring your phone or a camera to take before and after pictures as well. This can help with reassembly, which can be confusing the first few times you clean your paintball gun. Bring a small bristled brush such as a toothbrush for scrubbing. Finally, make sure your area is set up and organized. There will be many small parts and you don't want to accidentally lose a gear or screw. Put out containers to keep the pieces organized and trackable, as well as something to cover the surface such as a towel if need be.

Safety First

When setting up your area, one of the first things that you will want to do is de-gas your gun. The vast majority of paintball markers will operate using high pressure air tanks or a similar gas. No matter what gas you are using, ensure that your gun is de-gassed before beginning. Also, be sure to have a barrel cover over the end of your barrel. This will remove the chance of an accidental firing while cleaning or disassembling. Some paintball markers will also have batteries. If you’re working on an electric paintball gun, ensure that they are removed before you begin.

How to Clean a Paintball Gun

When you have your area set up and your gun de-gassed with all batteries removed, you are ready to begin cleaning the paintball gun. This will be done in many small steps. Make sure you stay organized as you go to keep everything as simple as possible. One important thing to note is that all guns are different. Consult your paintball gun’s owner manual to see the specifics of how to clean your paintball marker. The following is a list of general tips and areas of focus, but the exact details will depend on your exact paintball marker.

How to Clean a Paintball Gun Barrel

One of the first - and easiest - steps is to clean your paintball gun barrel. For this, you may want to keep a second squeegee or barrel maid nearby in case there's too much for one to clean. This will prevent you from having to stop and go rinse your squeegee in the middle of the process. If your barrel is removable (most are simply unscrewed and removed) then cleaning will be much easier. Simply unscrew the barrel and run your squeegee or paintball barrel swab through the interior, pulling it through. You'll want to take several passes and use some sort of cleaner - even water works well for this.

One of the most important steps is to make sure that you let the barrel dry thoroughly when you're done. It's a good idea to dry it yourself rather than blow-drying it or letting it air dry. Leaving the water in the tube can lead to rust and corrosion which can affect your shots. It's important to note that gunk will build up in the barrel of your paintball marker. You're firing balls of paint down a small tube at a high rate, so don't think you can get away without this crucial maintenance. Removing the debris and gunk will increase accuracy as well as lengthen the life of your barrel.

For a full video explanation of how to clean your paintball barrel, take a look at our helpful YouTube video below:

Cleaning the Body of a Paintball Marker

For this particular step, you'll be happy you have the tools needed to clean small areas. Your paintball gun has dozens of small nooks and crannies that you wouldn't be able to reach otherwise. Still, many areas will likely need a squeegee or paintball swab to clean. 

Make sure your tools are the ones you need for your job. This is a good time to use that toothbrush you laid out earlier, or your barrel swab. If you use cotton swabs (or any sort of towel), make sure you aren't leaving small fibers behind. Using warm water can also help to get rid of the grime, but make sure that you thoroughly dry the parts after!

Hopper and Magazine Maintenance

The maintenance protocol for barrels is basically the same for all markers. However, the same can't be said for the paintball hopper, or loader. Your hopper, thankfully, usually won't get too dirty unless you've had some sort of malfunction that caused a ball to rupture inside. However, you’ll still want to clean and maintain this part of the marker. 

 Make sure the reservoir itself is cleaned well, especially of any dust or dirt that it might feed into your gun. Clean the grooves with a microfiber cloth and make sure you aren't leaving any fabrics behind. Take the time to inspect the rotor and other electric components of your loader during this time as well. Once this is done, carefully reassemble the loader. 

Bolt, Hammer, and Grip

The bolt and hammer will need to be removed and cleaned with a damp (but not dripping wet) cloth. Again, ensure you're using a microfiber cloth and not leaving any fibers behind to become problems later. Air dry these pieces to prevent corrosion. You should also take this time to inspect the O-rings on the bolt and hammer. These are the small circular rubber rings that are around many of the smaller pieces, usually black or tan on most markers. If these appear worn, replace them before reassembling your paintball marker to prevent the gun from failing.

This is also a great time to go ahead and get working on your grip frame. Your toothbrush and a cup of warm water will be able to scour away the majority of the dirt and grime. Still, be thorough and ensure you're letting the piece dry properly. One vital tip is to not disassemble the grip frame.

Lubricating Your Paintball Gun

Finally, you'll want to ensure that you adequately lubricate many of the smaller pieces of your weapon. Don't go overboard with the lubricant during this step, but do make sure that everything is properly hydrated and running smoothly. Adding excess lubricant can actually have a paradoxical effect and gum-up your paintball marker by acting as a magnet for other dirt that can clog your marker.

There's a high chance that the manufacturer that made your marker has a type of lubricant they prefer. It's strongly suggested that you use the lubricant they recommend as it can increase the lifespan of your marker and keep things in top form. 

Take a look at our comprehensive “How to” YouTube video below to learn how to lubricate you spool valve:

Gas Back Up

At the start of this process, you de-gassed your gun. Now is an excellent time to go ahead and gas it back up. Make sure not to overfill your tank both for safety and waste. Ensure that you're using the proper filling technique and paying attention to the gauge on your marker's tank. Once your tank is full, reattach it to the marker. If you plan on storing your paintball marker, consider only filling your tank to about 20% capacity and leaving it detached from the marker.

Take a look at our YouTube video tutorial below to see how to fill your high pressure air tank:

Clean and Ready

If you've followed this guide you should know how to clean a paintball gun. With a paintball gun cleaning kit, some patience, and a bit of practice, you won't struggle to get your gear in top shape. If you're hesitant, consider finding a professional to clean your gun for you.

If you have more questions about paintball markers, feel free to contact us. Our website and products also have a great amount of information to keep you playing in the field.