Have you ever wondered “How far can a paintball gun shoot?” If so, like many things in life, the answer is, “It depends.” No one answer covers every situation, as there are many variables and outside factors that can affect distance. That said, there are several ways to estimate the shooting distance of your paintball gun.
Now that you know there’s no exact numerical distance on how far a paintball gun can shoot, let’s take a look at how far a paintball can shoot realistically.
The first thing you need to know about is the effective range of a paintball gun. The paintballs themselves have a very delicate balance in their design. A paintball must be hard enough to leave the barrel of the gun at speed without breaking, but it must also be fragile enough to break when it hits the target. The effective range of a paintball marker means the distance a paintball can be fired while still traveling fast enough to break on impact.
These two factors are the reason why paintballs need to travel at a certain speed for them to break on impact: if you shoot a paintball a very long distance, by the time it reaches the target, it might not have enough speed to break. Typically, the effective range is 80 to 100 feet, but it can vary on the model of paintball gun and how well-made the paintballs are.
The next thing that can help you understand how far a paintball gun can shoot is the safe range. The design of paintball guns is quite complicated: they must fire the paintballs fast enough that they break apart on impact, but not so fast that they hurt or cause injury. The safe range is simply an answer to the question: “How far can a paintball gun shoot without causing injury”? Safe range differs from effective range, as effective range is only concerned with whether the paintball will break, and not whether it will cause pain or injury.
The most common cap on the velocity of a paintball marker is 280 feet per second. If you aim the paintball gun a little upwards of where you want it to go and lob the paintballs to the target, it can give you a good 100 yards of range.
And now to the absolute range. We will assume that you don’t care much about the paintball hitting someone too hard or about having the paintball break when it hits – primarily, we are talking about being able to shoot the paintball as far as you can.
To shoot it as far as you can, you need to find paintballs that are hard, and tune up the velocity to a high setting, so the paintball marker propels the paintball faster. The harder a paintball is, the faster it can exit the barrel without breaking. The harder the paintball and the higher the velocity setting, the farther it will go.
Of course, you can only set the velocity so high. There are maximum muzzle speed limits on paintball guns, and each of them has different absolute ranges. On an average model, you can increase the maximum speed to make absolute range as far as 150 yards.
No matter what model of a paintball gun you have or the quality of the paintball, the laws of physics remains the same for paintballs. There is little you can do to increase the distance a paintball travels, except changing the way you shoot.
At any given velocity the paintball is shot, two factors determine how far you can increase the speed: the shape of the paintball and the rotation. If you have the right apparatus, you can adjust both of these factors to increase how far a paintball gun can shoot.
Some manufacturers make paintball gun barrels in a way that they give the paintball a backspin rotation as it leaves the gun – this does not change the effective range of the paintball gun, but it does allow you to shoot farther than 100 feet.
Then there is the shape of the paintball itself. Certain manufacturers play with the aerodynamics of the paintballs to give them a form with fins on the sides to help it travel a much farther distance. Aerodynamically designed paintballs have a brittle nose and more robust sides. This design also increases the effective reach of a paintball gun. You can expect the effective range to go up to 200 feet, and the absolute range to go up to around 200 yards.
So you can understand that there is no clear cut answer about how far a paintball gun can shoot, but these factors can help you get a much better idea. If you’re beginning your paintball journey, it’s a good idea to keep the safe range in mind while you play and wear proper protective gear at all times. Have fun shooting, and stay safe!