Anyone who has ever played combat sports will know that the sniper is the most coveted role.
The lone wolf, hidden from the enemy, patiently waiting to take out an opponent from distance.
But how realistic is it when it comes to paintball? How far can a paintball gun shoot?
And the answer is – it depends. But generally speaking, you’re looking at an effective range of somewhere between 80-100 feet.
There are a lot of factors involved, so read on to learn the effective range of a paintball gun, and find out if you can become a sniping legend.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases if you shop through the links on RiflePal. For more information, read full disclosure here.
- How Far Do Paintball Guns Shoot? The Quick Version
- The Paintball Marker
- The Quality of the Paint
- Weather Conditions
- The Angle of the Shot
- Effective Range – How Practical is It?
- Distance Wars – Airsoft vs Paintball
- How to Be a Sniper
How Far Do Paintball Guns Shoot? The Quick Version
If you’re in a hurry, and you don’t have the time to go through the whole article, here’s a brief summary:
On average, in optimum conditions, with good-quality equipment, a paintball gun will typically shoot between 80 and 100 feet.
However, there are ways to increase this, and some paintball guns – with the right paint, setup, and conditions – can shoot anywhere up to 400 feet, and sometimes more.
Let’s take a look at all the things that affect the range of a paintball gun.
Paintball Ballistics – The Variables Involved
As with almost anything when it comes to getting the measuring stick out (sciency stuff) there are a number of factors in play that will determine the outcome.
And the distance a paintball will travel from a paintball gun is no exception. Here are the main variables involved:
The Paintball Marker
With the paintball marker itself, there are several variables within this variable when it comes to achieving the best possible range for your shots.
How powerful the paintball marker (feet per second) will affect the distance it’s capable of shooting. This is adjustable on most paintball guns. Check your manual to find out more.
Just remember that all paintball operators will have field limits, and going over them is illegal, can harm other players, and will get you banned.
A fresh tank of compressed air or Co2 (whichever you’re running) will give you a greater range on your shots than one that is running low.
For blowback paintball guns, the hammer spring can wear out over time and with use. To stand the best chance of maximum range, try replacing an old or worn spring.
Some of the best paintball barrels can impart backspin on the paintball, which is going to help to keep it in the air for longer. Check out that review for several excellent options.
A clean, well-maintained paintball gun is always going to give you better shots across the board. To maximize overall performance, make sure you stick to a good maintenance regimen.
Generally speaking, a good quality paintball marker that’s clean and well maintained will perform better than just about anything else.
Take a look at this review of the best paintball guns on the market to get you started.
The Quality of the Paint
One of the most important considerations when it comes to paintball distance – is the quality of the paint itself.
It almost goes without saying, but to achieve the best possible range and accuracy with a shot, you need good-quality, fresh paintball paint.
Which means paintballs that are well within their expiry date. For more information, read this article on the shelf life of paintballs.
Optimized to shoot 400 + (with the right mag-fed marker), they’re your best chance of reaching crazy distances for paintball shots.
The video below gives you an excellent visual example of what’s possible with this kind of setup.
But that loadout certainly doesn’t come cheap, and the spiraling price of paintball is one of the reasons it’s growth has slowed. Why not stick to some more affordable paintball gun options, instead?
You won’t be able to change it, but the weather is also a significant factor when it comes to paintball gun range.
You’re going to achieve higher distances with a breeze at your back than you would by firing into a headwind.
And if it’s blowing a gale, your shots might not make it anywhere near the target at all.
The Angle of the Shot
It is estimated that shooting at an angle of 30-degrees will offer the greatest shot distance, regardless of any other factors.
Of course, this isn’t always practical, as your accuracy is likely to be way off, and your paintball marker becomes more like paintball artillery.
Effective Range – How Practical is It?
You’ve fine-tuned your paintball marker to shoot the furthest it possibly can, and all other factors are in your favor – but is it going to be of any use?
All paintball fields will post FPS limits – which means that every marker used at that field must not have a higher velocity than the house rules.
Typically, this is no more than 300 FPS for outdoor arenas and 250-280 FPS for indoor play.
The chances of hitting your target, and the paintball bursting on impact, both diminish the greater the range.
So, it might feel awesome to have the most powerful marker with the furthest shot at the field, but it’s unlikely it’s actually going to be of any real use in a game.
At least not when compared to anything that is designed to shoot fast.
Distance Wars – Airsoft vs Paintball
Perhaps one of the main reasons why airsoft has risen in popularity for players who might otherwise have been involved with paintball – is the realism of the weaponry.
This article on the best airsoft sniper rifles is all you’ll need to understand why.
The only thing comparable to this level of realism in paintball is things like the First Strike mag-fed paintball guns – and those things are far from cheap.
And not only do they look better, but airsoft guns perform better.
A sniper rifle that shoots at 500 FPS, with a hop-up that increases range, and a capable shooter pulling the trigger, can accurately hit targets as far away as 180 feet, and more.
Remember, though – like paintball, airsoft fields have strict FPS limits.
Either way, perhaps airsoft is one of the reasons we’ve seen a decline in paintball numbers since the early 2000s? Follow that link for more information on the state of paintball today.
And this article on paintball vs airsoft will give you a more direct comparison between the two – so you can make your mind up which is the right sport for you – if you haven’t already.
How to Be a Sniper
You’ve come this far, and you still want to be a sniper? Then you need to learn how. There’s a lot more to it than simply creeping in the bushes with a long-range gun.
A sniper is actually one of the hardest combat sport roles to perform. At least, if you’re actually going to be effective and beneficial to your team, that is.
Take a look at this in-depth article on how to be an airsoft sniper. While it says airsoft, don’t be put off if you’re a paintball player; many of the tips and tricks contained within are applicable to both.
And if it’s a paintball sniper you’re interested in, then you’ll need the best kit possible. Head over to this review of the best paintball sniper markers available.
Read, and learn them well. If you’ve got talent, pretty soon, you’ll be invoking your inner Chris Kyle.
How can I make my paintball gun shoot further?
There are five main things you need to adjust if you’re trying for optimum range on your paintball gun:
- Increase the velocity.
- Use a fresh gas canister.
- Optimize the barrel/bore.
- Ensure your gun is clean and well-maintained.
- Use fresh paint.
Take a look at the video below for a step-by-step guide on how to tune your paintball gun.
Does the type of paintball affect distance?
Yes, it does. You should be using fresh, good-quality paint to maximize range, and make sure the caliber you’re using is right for your bore size.
The wrong caliber paintball for your marker will seriously hamper its effectiveness.
You can also try using First Strike Paintballs – which have been optimized to shoot at least twice the distance of normal paint – given the right setup.
For more information, take a look at this article on the different types of paintballs.
Why are paintballs not accurate?
It’s true that paintball isn’t nearly as accurate as airsoft, and there’s one main reason for that – the ammunition.
Paintballs, by their very nature, have a liquid core, and this affects the flight of the ball on every shot. It’s why you are unlikely to hit the same mark twice – something that airsoft guns are more capable of.
How far can a paintball gun shoot? Between 80-100 feet on average. But if you’re willing to throw money at the sport, there’s new technology available that can shoot much further.
The real question is – why would you want to?
Let me know your thoughts on the topic in the comments below. Are you a paintball sniper? Does having the longest range actually matter? What’s your loadout and how effective is it? Drop us a line, anytime.
Stay safe out there, and happy sniping!