Paintball gun barrels come in many sizes and styles, so it is VERY important to find the right one for your gun. Are paintball gun barrels universal? And to answer the question: No! Paintball barrels are not universal.
There are two main attributes of the barrel that determines its compatibility with the marker: the bore size (caliber) and the barrel thread type. However, you can make a paintball barrel universal by getting a “thread adapter”. I personally like using thread adapters because it’s very handy equipment.
Now let’s talk about the main attributes of the barrel, the types of the barrel, and what it’s made of.
Base Material Of Paintball Barrels
The barrels are made of different materials like:
- Carbon Fibre
- Stainless Steel
It is one of the lightest options. Carbon fiber also reduces friction, which means your paintballs travel further.
Another lightweight material is aluminum which is the most common material. It is cheaper and easily molded.
It is the preferred choice of professional paintballers. A stainless steel barrel will add a couple of pounds to the overall weight, but it will last a long time. It is heavier as compared to carbon fiber, brass, or aluminum.
But it is much stronger and less likely to bend down in your gear bag. Stainless steel barrels also help reduce recoil, which leads to higher accuracy.
Types of Paintball Barrels
There are two types of paintball gun barrels: one-piece barrels and two-piece barrels; long barrels and short barrels.
One Piece VS Two Piece Barrels
One-piece barrels are cheaper than two-piece barrels, and one-piece barrels are usually more efficient. Two-piece barrels, on the other hand, have a larger control bore, which helps them perform better.
Long VS Short Paintball Barrel
The basic barrel length of the barrel is 14 inches but it ranges from 8 to 20 inches. As the name states long barrels are the ones from 14 to 20 inches and short barrels are from 8 to 14 inches.
Short barrels are loud and don’t offer as much range but are gas efficient. On the other hand, a long barrel is a quieter barrel but they eat up too much compressed gas but they do offer a longer range and increased accuracy.
Different barrel length offers different distance shooting range as well.
Paintball Barrel Bore size (Calibre)
You will find many sizes and styles of barrels in the market. The most common and main sizes are .50 and .68 Calibre size.
Caliber size is the size of the internal diameter of the barrel.
The bore size of the barrel is very important. I would recommend getting the bore size as close to your paintball size as you can. Doing so will improve shot accuracy greatly.
Getting the wrong size will be a crisis for you nonetheless and it also decreases gun efficiency. Too small will jam up your paintball gun with paintballs thus risking the outburst of paintballs inside the barrel. Now I know it is pretty hassled to deep clean but to keep it in top condition, it’s necessary. And honestly, there is no way around it.
On the other hand, too big caliber size of the barrel will compromise your shot accuracy. As mentioned above the popular and worldwide used size of caliber among paintball players is .50 & .68 caliber size.
.68 caliber size paintball markers are famous for longer range shots however they are heavy in nature, which is not much of a problem for paintball professionals or enthusiasts.
Whereas .50 caliber size paintball guns are preferred for beginners players and kids as they are light in nature but you won’t get as much impact as .68 caliber guns. Another advantage of having a .50 caliber size marker is that you can fit more rounds in the hopper since the paintballs are smaller in size.
For casual matches, I prefer to go light since there is other paintball equipment that needs to be carried around along with the marker that adds up to the overall weight and I could use some extra ammo in my hopper.
Different Types Of Threads
Each paintball marker has a different thread type so it is essential to check the thread type whether it is compatible or not before you buy a barrel. The most common threads are as follows.
- Autococker, also known as ‘AC’ or ‘Cocker’
- A5 / X7
- Impulse, goes by other names as well: Luxe, GOG, small parts, and ION
Almost all elite paintball markers come with an Autococker thread barrel. Markers like:
I have come to know Autococker thread by other names as well like mini, Timmy, or TM-15 , so don’t get confused, it’s the same thing.
A5 / X7
This one was designed especially with the key features in mind of quick assembly and air tight seals. This type is more compatible with the paintball markers collection of Tippmann and Killhouse.
Other compatible markers include:
These are also known as ‘piranha barrel thread’. Among other types of threads, these are the simplest ones to install on the paintball gun and provide an airtight seal.
Spyder barrel threads have compatibility with the following paintball guns:
Impulse thread used to be known as small parts barrel and like others have other many names as I mentioned above. Players do get confused because of all the different names but after reading this article you won’t be clueless.
You will commonly find this type of thread on Smart Parts markers, Ions, Luxes, eNEMIes, G1 and:
Usage of Thread Adapters
The thread adapter is one of the paintball smart inventions. It allows the player to use their favorite barrel on any paintball marker. It allows you to either use it to attach a new barrel to the old paintball marker or vice versa.
For example, you can attach a Spyder barrel to a Tippmann marker with the help of LAPCO Paintball Barrel Adapter or like other combinations, so we do highly recommend you to purchase a thread adaptor:
- Spyder to ION
- ION to A5
- Tippman 98 to Tippmann A5
- Spyder to A5
- Spyder to Autococker
- A5 to Spyder
- Autococker to ION
- Tippman 98 to Autococker
- Autococker to A5
- Impulse to Autococker
You will find thread adapters in the market that support the above mentioned combinations. I mentioned the ones in my knowledge if you know any more, I would love to know more. And I really do recommend you purchase a thread adapter.
Paintball Barrel Kits
Many players tend to convert their .68 paintball markers to shoot .50 calibre size paintball rounds and vice versa to enjoy both things. these kits also help in barrel length upgrading.
With proper paintball barrel kits, you can even shoot .50 calibre rounds from a .68 paintball marker. But let me notify you beforehand that there are limited options of conversion kits for paintball gun barrel available on the market. The kit also helps in readjusting the barrel length according to the nature of the gameplay.
I have seen many players do that due to the following reasons:
- .50 calibre size paintball rounds hurt less because they have low impact force than .68.
- More Ammo; quantity vice more paintball rounds of .50 calibre can fit in the hopper as compared to .68.
Why do you need a Barrel Kit?
Barrel kits are necessary if you want to just convert the calibre size of your marker instead of keeping buying new paintball markers.
The barrel kit helps you change only the barrel part according to the requirements you’re looking for.
This is yet another paintball equipment used by pro players to acquire more precision and consistency. Barrel inserts are hollow pipes that help in aligning the size of the paintball to the size of the barrel.
The normal length of a barrel insert is 12 inches but it could be longer as well. The inside diameter of the barrel ranges from 0.670 to 0.695 inches. Brass, aluminum, and bronze are a few different materials used to make barrel inserts.
For enhancing the smooth flow of the paintballs I prefer to oil the inside of the barrel insert with Teflon. You can also use other paintball marker oil or ceramic to get a smooth finish.
Will a Barrel shoot without an Insert?
The paintball marker will still shoot without a barrel insert but let me warn you before it will be pretty messy. Your shot accuracy will also be compromised.
Cleaning the Barrel: INSIDE Out
As you know cleaning and proper maintenance are essential for your paintball marker to stay healthy (function properly) and top notch condition. The same goes for the paintball barrels.
A Barrel needs cleaning from both outside and inside. Many new players make the mistake of not cleaning the INSIDE of the barrel. This could cause a misfire or jamming of the gun.
To efficiently clean a barrel using a two sided squeegee and rub it inside and out. This will help in eliminating any dust or paint residue stuck inside the barrel pipe hole.
After proper cleaning with lukewarm water, dry it properly and then lubricate it with the special oil only for paintball guns. This help keep the barrel surface smooth and rust free. AVOID the use of any house cleaning chemicals, those tend to damage the paintball marker.
Are paintball gun barrels universal? The simple answer is that Paintball barrels are not universal, and it is not possible to use any barrel with every paintball gun. They must have the same type of thread as the gun itself. However, you can use a thread adapter that lets you use any type of barrel with your paintball gun.
The barrels are available in various sizes to suit different guns. Each size is available in various finishes to meet your needs and match the paintball size.
While many manufacturers of paintball barrels claim it to be universal, THEY ARE NOT! This means that you need to find the one that fits your gun.
With the help of a thread adapter, you can use your favorite barrel on your favorite paintball marker without worry.