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Long Paintball Barrel vs Short Barrel. What's the difference?

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Paintball barrels vary in length, usually from about 8 inches to 21 inches. The ideal length for a paintball barrel to shoot effectively is 8 inches. A minimum of 8 inches is necessary to help the paintball generate adequate force to shoot out the gun without causing any damage to it.

Rumour has it that the longer a barrel, the more accurate and farther the paintball will travel. This belief is not entirely wrong though; while a longer barrel does not increase the range of the paintball, it can, however, add more spin to the ball while being shot out of the barrel (a paintball shot with a spin tends to travel in a more accurate path than one without).

A longer barrel could also mean that the velocity of the shot could start reducing since it takes longer to be shot out of the barrel. Therefore, a longer barrel could even mean a shorter range. Some players also find it easier to aim with a longer barrel length which in turn improves their accuracy.

Hence, the length of a paintball barrel might just add a little improvement to the accuracy of a paintball when shot but it is not a major determinant of the accuracy of a paintball.

The major factors that add to the accuracy of a paintball gun include:

  • Barrel bore size and size of the paintball
  • Cleanliness of barrel
  • Quality of the paintball

Barrel Bore Size and Size of the Paintball

The barrel bore size simply has to do with the inner diameter of the barrel. The barrel bore size should match the size of the paintball to greatly improve accuracy. 

To check if your barrel bore size and paintball match, you can simply put the paintball into your barrel. If the paintball rolls out, then your barrel is too big. If the paintball gets stuck, then the barrel size is too small. The ideal fit would require you to slightly blow the paintball out of the barrel with your breath.

Getting the perfect barrel bore size can greatly affect the accuracy of your shots. The most common barrel sizes are the .684 and .685. These two are great picks players who seek to improve their game.

Cleanliness of the Barrel

If you play paintball regularly, then you will know that debris from paintballs tends to stick in the barrel of your paintball. Continuously using your paintball gun over a long period without cleaning the barrel could affect your accuracy.

The debris left behind by the paintball will cause friction which can therefore reduce the force of your shot. With lower velocity/force, your shot might not stay true to its path thereby causing your shots to stray off target.

Even if you have not been using your paintball gun for a long time, it is advisable to clean your barrel after each game as paintballs could break while being shot.

Quality of the Paintball

Cheaper paintballs tend to break easily when shot. This is because some of these paintballs are filled with air bubbles which prevent the paintball from flying true to its path. To get the optimum result, it is advisable to invest in quality paintballs.

The design of short and long barrels is similar. They are broken down into three main parts which include:

  • Threading
  • Shaft
  • Porting

The threading is the part of the barrel with a spiral screw that allows it to connect with the paintball gun. When it comes to threading, the issue of compatibility of your barrel with the paintball gun comes up.

To get more insight on the various types of barrels and the paintball guns they are compatible with, you can read our article on the topic Are paintball barrels universal

The shaft is the tunnel path through which the paintball is shot. The shaft is the solid portion that makes the most of the barrel.

The porting is holes that are found close to the exit opening of the barrel. The porting helps reduce the noise produced from the gun being shot. The porting lets air escape the barrel instead of one huge burst at the end.

Snipers usually prefer barrels with porting since this allows them to take silent shots while staying hidden. Too much porting could be bad too as this allows a lot of air to escape the gun when shot thereby reducing the velocity of the paintball.

However, the 14-inch barrel is length is considered to be the perfect balance of the short and long barrel type. The 14-inch barrel has a mixture of both advantages of a short and long barrel length.

What determines which barrel paintballers chose is their style of play. For players who enjoy close contact game plays, a short-barrelled paintball gun would be an ideal option while players-especially snipers-who loves playing a more conservative game and who enjoy taking long-range shots would prefer a long-barrelled paintball gun.

Long-barrelled paintball guns are a lot quieter than short-barrelled paintball guns. However, they consume more gas while being shot. We will discuss the pros and cons of shot and long barrel paintball guns below.

Are you wondering what the best paintball barrels are? Well, take a look at our article on the 8 best paintball barrels that will fit your gun to gain more insight and make the best decision.

Advantages of a Sort Barrel

  • Short barrels are gas efficient 
  • They are great for close combat scenarios 
  • They pack a strong kick when shot

Disadvantages of a Short Barrel

  • It is quite loud which means that it can easily give away your cover on the field.
  • It is much more difficult aiming with a short-barrelled paintball gun

Advantages of a Long Barrel

  • They are quiet which makes them a suitable choice for snipers who want to avoid detection while shooting at opponents.
  • It is easier to aim at opponents with a long-barrelled paintball gun. Long-barrelled paintball guns allow shooters to take shots from behind the bushes or from bunkers simply by sticking the barrel tip out while avoiding detection. 
  • Long barrels give room for paintballs to have a spin effect when shot. This can help them stay true to their path thereby maintaining accuracy.

Disadvantages of a Long Barrel

  • They consume more gas due to the amount of force required to push the paintball out of the barrel
  • A longer barrel can reduce the velocity of your shot thereby reducing the distance traveled by the paintball.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, people have various preferences based on their style of play and it is this style of play that determines what kind of paintball barrel would best suit them.

We hope that after reading this article, you will be able to decide on your own on which of the two barrels is a better choice.

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