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5 Tips For Cleaning Your Paintball Gun
Cleaning your gun certainly isn’t the most glamorous or exciting part of Paintball, but it is (unfortunately) an essential task. A poorly maintained gun is one that underperforms and has a much shorter lifespan. The last thing you want is for your gun to let you down mid-battle. These five tips should make the cleaning process as painless as possible!
Choose the right equipment
First and foremost, it’s important to note that standard household cleaners like soap, sponges and cloths usually won’t cut it for a paintball gun. We recommend using a specialized cleaning kit, which will include squeegees designed for use on a paintball gun, swabs, and gun oil to lubricate the various moving parts. Some guns include these tools as part of their starter kits, including the Tippmann Cronus, but they can also be purchased separately. It may be tempting to use more common alternatives, and a Q-tip or toothbrush can be suitable if you’re really desperate, but if you treat your gun well, it will reward the favor in the field. Gun oil is particularly important, so it's worth purchasing that at the very least.
Take the gun apart
It's not the most enticing proposition, but if you’re going to clean your gun thoroughly, you’re going to have to deconstruct it into its component parts. The most important thing to do is remove the tank. That’s absolutely vital, and it's a major health and safety concern when you’re cleaning your gun. Modern tanks like the HK Army are exceptionally safe, but you still need to treat them with care, and it’s important to ensure that there’s no gas in your gun. After that, use your schematics diagram to disassemble the rest of the gun. Spread the parts across a table in an organized manner so they will be easy to put back together later. This will also help when you come to clean individual components.
Pay special attention to the barrel
The barrel is one of the main areas of concern and is likely to need the most attention. Even if the rest of your gun seems to be in good condition and you keep up-to-date with your maintenance, the barrel will almost certainly need cleaning. That’s because paint residue builds up over time, no matter how meticulous you are. The effects of this are quite profound, including decreased accuracy and even jamming in the middle of an intense battle! A squeegee is perfect for this task as you can pass it easily through the barrel and remove any debris or traces of paint. Better still, if you can get a hold of a specialized paintball gun cleaning kit complete with gun oil and swabs, this process will be much easier. Most guns, like the Tippmann U.S. Army Alpha, actually come with specialized barrel squeegees that are perfectly suited to this task.
Clean the grip frame
Another part of the gun that has a major effect on performance is the grip. Paint has a tendency to build up over time, as does other debris from a match. When this buildup occurs on the grip frame, it has a detrimental effect on accuracy. Fortunately, the grip is one of the easiest parts to clean. Scrub away any dried-on paint or dirt using a squeegee or even a toothbrush if you really have to. It’s important to remember not to touch the trigger, however. While it may be tempting to disassemble the trigger and give it a thorough cleaning, it will be extremely difficult to put together again, even if you’re an expert. A faulty trigger will radically undermine the gun, and it might even be enough to stop it working altogether.
Inspect the o-rings
O-rings are crucial components on any paintball gun. They act as air/CO2 seals, and if they malfunction, you’ll be in serious trouble on the field and your gun will be next to useless! Fortunately, damaged or worn o-rings are an easy problem to spot and even easier to remedy. Look out for cracked o-rings or any that have become dry and brittle. You'll be able to spot a flimsy component right away. This isn’t a problem that you should ignore, and it’s worth replacing any worn components immediately to avoid problems further down the line. Replacement o-rings are cheap, readily available and easy to install.
When you’ve completed all these tasks, perform a final maintenance check, oil the gun using paintball gun oil, and begin the process of putting everything back together!