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Your Paintball Marker Can Shoot Marbles but Should it?

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Paintball markers are air-powered devices (pneumatically powered) that use work done from compressed gases to propel paintball rounds. This mechanism means you can replace paintball rounds with just about any other ball or sphere with the same characteristics and texture. This means your paintball marker can shoot marbles, but should it?

Yes, paintball markers can shoot marbles but they should not shoot marbles. Paintballs will rupture and break on impact but marbles will not. This makes shooting marbles very dangerous.

You don’t have to be a lawyer or police officer to know this, but if someone were to use a paintball marker to fire marbles, they could be charged with assault. You may think this is a bit of an exaggeration, but it isn’t. Besides, most paintball fields won’t allow it.

Paintball markers can shoot marbles as long as there is enough air to propel the rounds out of the barrel. For this to work, however, the marble must be the perfect size since it won’t disintegrate in the air like a regular paintball.

Ideal sizes are somewhere in the range of .68 caliber. Think of it as the ‘goldilocks zone’, too big and it obviously won’t fit into the barrel and may get stuck. Too small and it won’t propel down the barrel since too much air forms around it, or it may move at a snail’s pace, which defeats the purpose of fitting it inside the paintball marker.  

Besides the obvious ramifications to health and safety, the mechanics of shooting marbles with a paintball marker remain roughly the same. The difference comes down to the amount of air pressure needed to shoot the marbles out of the barrel, this can be accomplished with a spring pressure or regulator. You will need more gas than usual to make up for extra leaks around the marble’s sides.

The gas can be carbon dioxide, but in some cases, you may use nitrogen gas or regular air depending on the type of marker. More gas means more speed. But if you’re following the rules (which you should!), then you would know that most marker fields have rules paintball less lethal, and cap speeds at no more than 100 feet per second.

At this speed, paintballs start deforming but have enough power to leave a bruise at close distances. Marbles are a different story and can seriously injure and even kill.

Shooting Marbles with Paintball Markers is Assault, Period! 

There are some serious legal ramifications of using paintball markers to shoot marbles. Essentially, it’s assault with a weapon.

Paintballs are non-lethal, and they are made from edible biodegradable substances. Marbles are a whole different story. They are far more dangerous than paintballs because they are solidly built just like a bullet and will not break apart easily.

Paintballs break apart and cause next to no damage to a person - provided they’re wearing proper gear - leaving little more than a colorful stain to indicate they’ve been hit. Marbles cause severe pain, injury, and maybe even death to a person, regardless of whether or not they have protective gear.

If you do decide to use paintball markers with to shoot marbles, you will have to follow the same safety practices you would with a real firearm.

While the internal mechanism of paintball markers allows them to shoot marbles, they are not designed by manufacturers with this intent. Shooting marbles can easily damage your paintball marker because the sheer weight and hardness of the marble create more recoil. The excessive force needed to fire a marble will cause all kinds of damage such as overstretched springs and blown o-rings.

You may use marbles on a non-living person like watermelons and cardboard boxes. Bystanders should be informed beforehand that what you’re carrying is an actual firearm.  

Other Kinds of Alternative Ammo That Paintball Markers Can Shoot

What paintball markers can and can’t shoot have been a subject of much debate on online forums, with plenty of YouTube videos showing people outfitting their markers with marbles, pepper balls, glass, and even pepper balls. This raises a new question, what other kinds of alternative ammo can a paintball marker shoot?

As long as the projectile has similar size, weight, and texture, you can lock and load it into your paintball marker. Below are just a few examples.  

i) Can a Paintball Marker Shoot Pepper Balls? 

Paintball markers can shoot pepper balls because they are the same size as paintballs, at around 0.68 calibers. The difference is where things get much more dangerous. Pepper balls contain powdered chemicals instead of paint. Actual armies and law enforcement agencies use pepper balls and similar projectiles for training purposes.

The chemicals inside pepper balls can irritate the eyes and nose in much the same way as pepper spray. Police may user pepper balls to control large riots so they move away from a place.

It is obvious you are not allowed to use pepper balls in a game of paintball, but you can use them as a defensive tool, depending on where you’re from. This is true especially if you live in a place with lots of wild animals like bears. Make sure to check in with local state laws for more information.

ii) Can a Paintball Marker Shoot Soft Rubber Rounds?

Soft rubber balls, such as the GxG Z, are 0.68 caliber rounds that can fit into paintball markers. They are not as dangerous and may be used as a replacement for regular paintballs. Soft rubber balls are reusable and make as excellent rounds for target practice. Make sure to use a lower velocity because they can hurt.

iii) Can a Paintball Marker Glass Breaker Rounds?

This one is going to hurt. Glass fiber projectiles can do a lot of damage and are much heavier. Without excessive use of force and pressurized gases, you wouldn’t have much luck getting them to budge from the barrel of the paintball marker. Glass projectiles will lose their velocity well before they make an impact with targets at high distances. That said, class rounds can be especially lethal and shouldn’t be used in a regular game of paintball.

How to Load Alternative Ammo in Paintball Markers

If you are using an electronic paintball marker, you will first need to install the batteries to turn it on. The second step is to fill the paintball marker with carbon dioxide or pressurized air and attach it into the air source adaptor (ASA). Depending on the make and model, your paintball marker might not be compatible with CO2. Make sure there is enough filled air to propel the pellet forward.

Step three is to load your hopper with as many pellets as you want. The hopper is the paintball holder sitting over the marker that loads paintballs into the barrel of the marker through the use of batteries or gravity.

Step four is to activate the paintball marker using the power button (or a cocking knob if you use a mechanical paintball marker). You may need to turn off the safety button located near the trigger frame.

Step five is to simply pull the trigger once you’re in position and have acquired your target. If the paintball fails to hits the spot you were aiming for, simply reposition the barrel in the direction you were trying to hit.

To ensure the safety of you and all other people around you, make sure to hit only non-living things.

Things Your Paintball Marker Can’t Shoot

You can’t shoot regular bullets with a paintball marker. That’s good news because some people would go to great lengths when it comes to pulling ‘pranks’ on others. Shotgun shells and 12 gauge projectiles are also not possible because they simply won’t fit.  

Can Paintball Markers Kill?

While paintballs are generally safe, they can cause severe injury and even death, with a few anecdotal stories circulating the internet as tales of precaution. There have been a few documented cases of people dying due to indirect causes and even carelessness.

It is possible to die of a heart attack, stroke, and migraines because the surprise of getting hit by a paintball can push you over the edge. This happened to a 39-year-old man who died after being shot in the head. A few days later he collapsed and died in a hospital.

The second reason has less to do with paintballs, and more to do with the actual gun itself. Most paintball markers have CO2 tanks to propel paintballs. The CO2 tank has a valve that is secured into the bottle and is held in place by a thread lock or epoxy. People who remove these valves try to incorrectly replace them.

This process cooks up the CO2 so much so that the tank fires up like a rocket and can cause blunt trauma. Many companies have tried to remedy this by adding an extra safety feature: the CO2 gas starts to leak once the valve has been removed from its place. This means there is less risk of setting off those ‘CO2 rockets’ with newer models.  

All deaths and severe injuries related to paintball games are 100% preventable. While accidents do happen, the vast majority of them can be avoided if everyone on the field uses common sense and follows the basic rules of safety.  

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