How to Make your Paintball Gun More Accurate and Shoot Straight

I play a lot of pump and magfed paintball and accuracy is my number one priority. If I my shots don’t shoot straight, I won’t have a good day and will have to use more paint than normal to compensate.

Sacrificing accuracy can also be expensive! Think about it this way, if you can hit your target in 3-5 shots vs 10-15 shots you are shooting less paint and saving more money!

Here is what I do to improve my paintball guns accuracy:

Use Higher Quality Paintballs

Using fresh, quality paintballs is the best way to increase accuracy. Even if you have the best of the best gear, if your paintballs are bad, your accuracy will be bad.

Also things like excessive oil or broken paintballs in the bag of paint can throw off accuracy as well. Always check your bag of paint before you fill your hopper for broken paint and clean the rest out before using them. This can easily be done by using a paper towel and swirling it around in the bag to absorb the excess moisture.

Keep in mind that one brand of paint isn’t any better than another brand of paint at a similar level of quality. Things like how old the paint is, how they are stored, how they are handled, if there is any broken paint, and even differences from each batch can significantly effect the quality of the paint itself.

Paintballs Do Go Bad and Expire

Yes, all paintballs will expire and go bad. Things like storage temperature and humidity will cause your paint to swell and dimple, reducing accuracy. With proper storage you can make your paint last several months or more.

If you have to buy paint, I personally have found that buying from my local field provides better quality paint than buying from the store. You can also buy them from an online paintball store and receive fresh paint as well.

Paintballs at your local sporting goods store have a high chance that they were made months ago and have gone bad before you even purchase them. Lots of the boxes do come with labels with either their manufacture or shipping date and can be used to find the freshest paint.

How to Store Your Paintballs

The best way I have found to store paintballs is putting the paint in a large resealable bag with desiccant packs or loose rice at the bottom to absorb excess moisture. Lay them flat on a soft surface like a towel and make sure to rotate/flip the bags every week to make sure that one side doesn’t sit too long and form a flat side.

You can store your paintballs in the fridge for a short period of time (maybe 30 or so minutes). Keeping paintballs in cold conditions for long periods of time can cause them to become brittle and deform, but you can store them in a cooler on a hot day for up to half an hour with no problems.

Freezing Paintballs

Attempting to freeze paintballs in a regular home freezer won’t successfully freeze them solid. Instead, your paintballs will become extremely brittle, dimpled, and/or deformed reducing accuracy and increasing the chance of them breaking in your barrel.

Even if you were to successfully freeze your paintballs, they will become so brittle that they will just break when you shoot them. Check out this video that Defcon Paintball did demonstrating this:

Clean Broken Paint From Your Barrel, Breach, and Hopper

Chopping paint can quickly turn shot on shot accuracy to not hitting the broadside of a barn. This is caused by a slow feeding hopper, bad paint, or your barrel bore size is too tight.

Thankfully this is easily fixed both on and off the field. If you are on the field you can use a barrel swab to quickly and easily clean the paint out of the barrel by inserting the squeegee and/or swab end to remove the broken paint. You can also use a barrel swab off the field, or a pull through squeegee to thoroughly clean out the barrel.

My favorite barrel swab is the Exalt Barrel Maid and I take two on the field with me every game, plus keep 2 more in my gearbag. They combine the best of both worlds as they have a squeegee on one end and a super absorbent fluffy swab on the other end. Pick one (or four) up on Amazon –

Upgrade The Barrel

Next to the quality of the paintballs, the quality of the barrel matters as well! I have found that smooth, polished barrels shoot straighter than any “rifled” barrel for regular paintballs.

There are a lot of barrels to chose from, and I have used quite a few of them! My personal favorite is the Freak barrel kits (both regular and XL versions) because I can quickly and easily change out the bore size depending on the temperature of the day and different paint from different fields.

Using some lower end markers stock barrels, or even damaged barrels can’t compete with modern mid range and high end barrels and barrel kits. My go to barrels for anyone wanting to upgrade are the Custom Products (CP) paintball barrels. They are affordable and made very well.

Underbore or Overbore

The question to overbore or underbore your paintball barrel has been debated for years! Basically it all comes down to this; if you underbore you gain efficiency but risk more barrel breaks, and if you overbore you loose efficiency but are less likely to break paint in your barrel.

Accuracy with either overbore and underbore is mainly dependent upon the quality of the paintballs and cleanliness of the barrel.

My personal experiences are that you should overbore a little bit for semi autos (paint just barely roll through the barrel without stopping) and underbore a little bit for pump paintball and closed bolt setups (paint stays put at the beginning and is easily blown out).

I wouldn’t overbore too much as it can start causing larger variances in velocity and lower efficiency. On the other end, you don’t want to underbore too much as paint will be more likely to break in the barrel.

Paintball Barrels Are Not Universal

Treads from left to right: Spyder, Spyder, 98 Custom, A5/X7, Autococker

If you are going to buy a new paintball barrel, understand that they are not universal. Different manufactures will sometimes have different barrel thread patterns from other manufactures or even within their own company.

The common barrel threads you will find are Autococker, 98 Custom, A5/X7, and Ion/Impulse. Always check what threads your paintball gun uses before you spend money on a new barrel. This can be found in the manual or from various guides online.

If you need help locating your thread type, check the links below:
ANSGear’s Paintball Barrel Guide
Doc’s Paintball Barrel ID Guide
MCS/RAP4 Paintball Barrel Guide

Longer Barrels Don’t Increase Accuracy

A longer barrel isn’t any more accurate than a shorter barrel. Plus, plenty of tests have shown that shorter barrels, between 6 to 8 inches, are more efficient than longer barrels as less air is needed to push the paint all the way through a longer barrel.

Using a longer barrel also increases the chance of you snagging on branches, bunkers, the ground, or even other players! They become more cumbersome if playing in the woods and usually get in the way.

On the flip side, shorter barrels are louder! The extra barrel length allows for more porting, which help dissipate and bleed the air pressure behind the ball before it hits the end of the barrel. Also, one upside of using longer barrels in the woods is that you can use the length to push through bushes and shoot through the shrubs while staying hidden.

Check Your Velocity

Paintballs are not an ideal ballistic projectile, they are basically like small water balloons that can change in shape when shot. I have found that if you keep your velocity between 270 fps and 280 fps you will get the best accuracy with most paintballs. Anything faster than that, you start getting hooks at the end of the shot.

I have played a game where one person had sudden gun issues and ended up shooting 330 fps! He was shooting at my direction but all of his shots were flying wild and none of them came close to hitting me. If you keep the velocity lower, you have less issues with how the ball shoots.

More Information to Improve Your Game!

There are plenty of other tips and tricks to improve your gear and amp up your game here on the website. Here are a few that may help you along your paintball journy:

How to make your paintball gun shoot farther:

How to be a paintball sniper:

Play and shoot accurately and with skill like a pump paintball player:


Florida based paintball player with 20 years of experience playing everything from recball to 24 hour scenario events.

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