Knowing how far a paintball gun can shoot can prove to be helpful in a variety of situations.
Maybe you want to know if it’s possible to shoot someone off the break in a speedball game. Or maybe you just want to know if it’s safe to play paintball in the woods behind your house, or if it’s too close to home and someone may shoot one of your windows out (or even worse, your neighbors).
So how far can a paintball gun shoot exactly?
A paintball gun can shoot up to 250-280+ feet away if the barrel is tilted upwards at a 30° +/- angle. If equipped with a barrel that imparts backspin on the paintball, a paintball gun can then shoot up to 350+ feet away. Accuracy at these ranges, however, is going to be all over the place.
The maximum range to shoot a paintball gun effectively is somewhere between 80-100 feet (effectively = fairly accurate and less likely to bounce). And while it’s not unheard of for a paintball gun to be accurate at distances over 100 feet, you’ll need to have all of the odds in your favor to be accurate at this range.
This means you’ll need a great performing paintball gun, a high-quality barrel, an HPA tank, and high-grade paintballs with virtually no imperfections. Even having the wrong bore size paintball can reduce your chance of being accurate at distances over 100 feet in range, but that’s a story for another day.
If you want to learn more about how far a paintball gun can shoot then continue reading below.
How Far Can a Paintball Gun Shoot?
As said before, the maximum range a paintball gun can shoot is somewhere in the vicinity of 280 feet if you tilt the front end of the barrel upwards at around 30°.
Why a 30° angle?
A study was done at Fresno State that shows that tilting your barrel upwards at a 31° angle provides the maximum distance when firing a paintball gun at 280 FPS. Although, I’m sure the angle would remain the same no matter what velocity you shot at.
Now, if you want to further increase the range of your paintball gun then you have two options. You can either use a paintball barrel such as the Tippmann Flatline or Empire Apex I or Apex II to impart backspin on the paintball, or you can use a magfed paintball gun and shoot First Strike rounds (Do Not Do Both). Using a barrel that imparts a backspin will give you a maximum range of 350-375 feet, whereas a magfed marker with First Strike rounds will shoot up to 500-530+ feet away.
Of course, your accuracy is going to be virtually non-existent at those ranges, and even if you do manage to hit anything the paintball will be unlikely to break. According to the same study referenced earlier, once a paintball has traveled 100 feet its original velocity is going to be cut in half. And the further the paintball travels, the lower the velocity will be.
This goes for both regular paintball barrels and backspin barrels. It doesn’t matter whether you put a backspin on the paintball or not, it’s still going to have the same effective range as if it was shot from a regular paintball barrel. Of course, the extra range may increase the possibility of you shooting someone further downrange, but it’s also likely the paintball would just bounce off of the player since its velocity is going to be extremely low by the time it reaches them.
Only First Strike rounds maintain a higher velocity when traveling downrange. At least compared to regular paintballs.
How Far Can a Paintball Gun Shoot Effectively?
The maximum effective range to shoot a paintball gun accurately is somewhere between 80-100 feet. Although, it can be even less if the paintballs are severely underbored or overbored, or if the paintballs are poor quality and/or were stored improperly and are now misshapen and full of dimples.
Effective = Still likely to break upon impact
Now, there are some situations where you may be able to shoot accurately at distances of over 100 feet, but this typically requires you to have a good performing marker, high-quality paintballs, and a quality paintball barrel with a good paint-to-bore match. However, the opposite can be true as well, as you could have a bad performing marker, bad quality paintballs, and a bad paint-to-bore match that doesn’t perform well.
Then you may not even be able to shoot your paintball gun accurately at distances up to 80-100 feet. Heck, you may not even be able to shoot accurately at all depending on how bad your paintball gun and/or paintballs are. And even when you do manage to shoot accurately at distances over 100 feet, you still have to account for the rapid loss in velocity that will lessen the chance of the paintballs breaking upon impact.
How to Increase the Range of a Paintball Gun
There are two ways to increase the range of a paintball gun. The first way is to use a paintball barrel that imparts backspin on the paintball such as the Tippmann Flatline or Empire Apex or Apex II. The second way is to use a magfed paintball gun with First Strike rounds.
I’ll discuss each option below.
Use a Backspin Barrel
Paintball barrels (such as the Tippmann Flatline and Empire Apex I & II) increase the range of your paintball gun by imparting a backspin on the paintball to effectively push air downwards and lift the ball upwards. This is known as the Magnus effect.
By utilizing the Magnus effect you can increase the range of your paintball marker by up to 100+ feet in distance, although you’re likely to notice a loss of accuracy at the same time. It’s up to you to decide if you are willing to sacrifice your accuracy to improve your overall range.
So how does the Tippmann Flatline and Empire Apex I & II make use of the Magnus effect exactly?
The Tippmann Flatline utilizes a curved barrel to essentially create a ramp for the paintballs to travel on. Traveling up the ramp imparts a backspin on the paintball so by the time it leaves the barrel it’s making full use of the Magnus effect.
The Empire Apex I & II works similarly to the Flatline barrel but only in a slightly different way. Instead of forcing paintballs to travel up a ramp in a curved barrel, the Apex I & II is attached to the end of a barrel and utilizes a small rubber ramp (at the top of the barrel) to push the paintballs downwards to impart a backspin on the paintball and make use of the Magnus effect.
The benefit of this design is that it comes with an adjustable slider with a total of nine position settings to determine the height of the ramp coming down at the end of the barrel. This will allow you to determine how much backspin you want to impart on the paintball, thereby allowing you to adjust both the range and trajectory of the paintball’s flight path.
You can also rotate the Apex I & II to adjust the location of the rubber pad and which way the paintball comes spinning out of the barrel. However, this feature can be both an advantage and a disadvantage as many players will waste their time trying to adjust their Apex tip when it’s unneeded and doesn’t help.
Shoot First Strike Rounds
No longer do you have to sacrifice accuracy to increase the range of your paintball gun. Now all you need is a magfed (magazine-fed) paintball gun and First Strike rounds and you can increase both your range and your accuracy at the same.
By how much?
First Strike states right on the box that their shaped projectile rounds fly twice the distance and are 25x more accurate than a regular paintball. And from what I’ve seen I believe this to be true, except the maximum range is slightly less than double that of a regular paintball.
First Strike rounds have a maximum range of 530+ feet when shot out of a paintball gun at 280 FPS, whereas regular .68 caliber paintballs (shot out of a regular barrel) have a maximum range of 280+ feet when fired at the same velocity. The most impressive part about First Strike rounds, however, is that they seem to slow down at a much slower rate, giving them a maximum effective range of around 400+ feet before they start to slow down to the point they’ll bounce off an enemy player.