Safely Change Your Paintball Gun's O-Ring Without Affecting The Firing Rate

Paintball has grown to be one of the most popular hobby sports in the United States. Competitive paintballing, however, demands much more from its participants than traditional sports like basketball— the costs, injury threshold and maintenance are all higher. Proper cleaning and safe repair goes a long way toward holding the costs down and ensuring high-quality performance of your gear. Let's start with one of the basics: How can you change the rubber o-ring in your paintball gun without the risk of damage or failure?

O-rings are used in a paintball gun to seal off the interior where compressed air powers the paint shot, so that no air is wasted and the pressure gives a paintball its full strength. They also help to cushion the recoil so that the force does not cause your gun to break down. Proper installation and repair of the o-ring, among all parts of your gun, is crucial to staying safe and successful on the paintball field.

Getting Parts Together

Like any other repair job, you want to get the right tools available prior to installing or replacing the gun's o-ring. Make sure you have the proper tools: you need a pick to get the old ring out, a screwdriver to open up the gun, a lubricant (paintball gun grease does the job) to make sure no parts grind and the o-ring itself. You need to make sure the ring fits perfectly in the socket, or else the gun will have a much lower firing efficiency. You'll likely need either a 70 or 90 durometer o-ring, depending on the pressure of your gun. Check out Apple Rubber's o-ring chart to make sure you have the proper dimensions of width and length.

Get the Old Part Out

Use your screwdriver to open up the paintball gun's muzzle where you will see the old o-ring. If you cannot see damage, but the firing rate is still lower than desired, it may be an issue with the canisters rather than the ring. Usually you can tell right away, because the ring is broken or has become unhinged. Use the pick to pull out the old ring and scrape away any glue that remains.

Put the New One In

Replacing an o-ring is a fairly straightforward endeavor. Grip the ring and apply pressure to all sides when you slide it into the muzzle so that no part of the ring bulges. The o-ring should stretch over the muzzle, but if it stretches too far (with visible tearing), you have applied it imprecisely or you need a different size part. Spread the lubricant over the entirety of the area so that it slides back into place.

If you're not comfortable changing the o-ring or another part of your gun, consult a professional or someone who knows how to repair them. Having a safe and perfectly tuned gun is one of the most important parts of paintball.

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