Paintball guns are fun to play with, but if you want them to last, you’ll need to clean them. While it’s certainly not an exhilarating chore, it’s necessary to keep your gun functioning correctly.
Allowing your gun to go uncleaned for extended periods of time can actually cause severe damage. Rather than waiting until it’s too late and having to purchase new parts, or even a new gun, make sure you set aside some time to give your paintball gun the care it deserves.
Take Out the Tank
This step is the most important. All paintball guns have an air tank or a C02 tank that helps them fire. Before you start fiddling with any of the components, remove the tank from the gun.
Accidents can always happen, no matter how careful you believe you’re being. Don’t risk harming yourself. Just pull the lever and pop the tank out.
Properly Take the Components Apart and Inspect Your Gun
In order to thoroughly clean your gun, you’ll have to disassemble it. This is the exact reason why your gun came with a schematic. Never assume you know the proper way to take it apart unless you’ve already done so several times.
If you’re still getting used to your gun, follow the schematic’s disassembly instructions.
As you take apart the individual components, make sure you have a proper method of storing your fasteners next to the parts they came from. You can’t afford to lose these fasteners, and your gun won’t work safely if you mix them up.
It might help to get some small glasses for the fasteners, organizing them and setting them next to the component they came from.
As you’re disassembling the gun, check for signs of damage. Loose or broken screws, damaged seals, cracked o-rings and broken springs can prevent your gun from operating, or render it dangerous to use. There’s no point in cleaning a broken gun.
If you see any signs of damage, you’ll need to make repairs. If the damage is too great, stop using the gun.
Start By Cleaning the Barrel
The barrel is the easiest part to clean. Your gun probably came with a small squeegee to use with the barrel. If not, it’s easy to find one online or at a paintball shop. Run the squeeze through the barrel until it comes back clean, wiping the squeegee between each pass.
After that, you can wipe the barrel down with a cloth that’s been moistened with warm water. Don’t forget to properly dry the barrel to prevent corrosion.
Make Your Way to the Body
Depending on the model of your gun, you may also be able to use the squeegee to clean the interior of the body. If you aren’t sure, you can always consult the manufacturer’s instructions. You’ll need to be able to get inside all of the nooks and crannies as well, and the squeegee will be too large for this purpose.
Some people like to use old toothbrushes or cotton swabs to clean the small crevices. A little bit of warm water will help break down hardened residue. Be sure to thoroughly dry the body after you’ve cleaned it.
Don’t Forget the Frame
The grip frame probably needs the most thorough cleaning. This is where you’ll see an excess of dried paint. A small cleaning brush will probably work the best for giving the grip frame an intense scrubbing with warm water.
Your paintball gun is probably designed to withstand a rough cleaning, but don’t rush the grip frame. You’ll want to be very thorough and meticulous to be sure that the gun is free of any debris that can cause clogging or other malfunctions.
The grip frame is where you’ll find the components that make the trigger work. It is highly inadvisable that you attempt to disassemble the trigger. Since the parts are so small and finely tuned, you may not be able to put them back together. Don’t fiddle around with these parts.
Clean the Moving Parts
Now, it’s time to clean the hammer and bolt. Cleaning cloths or paper towels work best for this purpose, and this is another area where you don’t want to cut corners drying, because any moisture left behind can ruin the metal parts.
The hammer and striker is where you’ll find the o-rings. This is your opportunity to give them a thorough check. O-rings aren’t intended to last forever, and they’ll need to be replaced periodically. Thankfully, o-rings aren’t very expensive and replacing them is very straightforward.
Once you have an idea how much use your o-rings can typically withstand, you’ll be able to come up with a strategy when to change them.
Prep the Gun Properly
Once it’s clean, it needs to be oiled. Never use anything other than paintball gun oil to lubricate your paintball gun. Other oils can cause serious damage to your gun, and may pose safety issues.
The manufacturer of your gun probably makes their own brand of oil that they intend for their gun owners to use. If there is a warranty on your gun, using other oils may void it.
One of the most important areas to properly lubricate is the o-rings. In order to prevent them from prematurely cracking or snapping, they’ll need to be thoroughly coated. It may help to lubricate them after they’ve been removed, placing them back on once they’ve received a light coating of paintball oil.
Put it Back Together
Once it’s cleaned and prepped, it’s time to put your gun back together. You can use the same schematic you used to take it apart. Never assume you know what you’re doing if you aren’t sure – a few misplaced or forgotten fasteners can cause major issues. If you placed the fasteners into separate containers, this will make the reassembly process much easier.
In the event that you lost any small parts, don’t attempt to use your gun without them. Always contact the manufacturer if you have any questions or issues regarding your paintball gun.