Paintballs are gelatin capsules filled with a water-soluble marking dye. The dye inside is non-toxic, meaning that if you swallow it, it will not hurt you. However, the taste is not very pleasant.
Paintballs are manufactured by many different companies. As with most things, paintballs can be either low quality, or high quality. Of course, paintballs also come in a variety of colors. Paintballs can also be bought in many different quantities, with just as many variations of prices.
Most paintball fields require you to purchase and use their paint. This is how they make their money. Therefore, in most cases, brand and quality of the paint will not be deciding factors.
The best way to determine which brand/quantity/quality of paintballs you should buy is to know how you will be using those paintballs. If you are using the paintballs for practice, you naturally will want to go with the cheapest paintballs. Quality will not matter much in this instance.
If you will be using the paintballs for rec-ball, again, quality is not quite as important, and you may want to go with the cheapest price. However, if you will be using the paintballs for tournament play, quality matters a great deal. You want paintballs that will not break easily inside your gun or in transit. At the same time, you do want paintballs that will break easily when they hit an opponent. Many tournaments will require you to use the paint that they are selling. Tournament grade balls tend to be resistant to “wiping", meaning that the paint is harder to wipe off. This discourages cheating.
You must also purchase the right size paintballs for your gun. Paintballs sizes are measured in calibers. The most common caliber of the barrel on a paint gun is .68. However, it is important that you check the documentation that comes with your gun to make sure you know the correct caliber of your gun’s barrel, therefore enabling you to purchase the correct caliber paintballs.
Both paintballs and paint ball gun barrels range in sizes from .67 to .71 calibers. Just because your gun requires a .68 caliber paintball, does not necessarily mean that this is the best caliber for your gun. Paintballs are not perfectly round. You will need to experiment with different sizes, close to the caliber your gun calls for. It may be that a .67 caliber paintball works best in your gun, even if your barrel bore is .68. An easy test to see if a paintball will work in your gun is to put the ball in one end of the barrel. If it rolls out on its own, it is too small. It is a good fit if you can easily blow it out of the barrel. If you cannot easily blow it out, it is too big.
When choosing the color of your paintballs, it is necessary to consider the playing environment. If you are playing in the woods, bright colors may be preferred, as it is easier to see the paint. Some paintballs glow in the dark. If you are playing at night, this may be what you want.
A few brands of paintballs that are made for cold weather playing. They are designed for better performance during the winter months.
Occasionally, paintballs will break inside the barrel of your gun. If this is happening on a regular basis, there may be a problem. It could be the gun. You may have your velocity set to high. The ideal setting for your guns velocity is about 280. You may also bust balls in the barrel if you do not keep it clean. Having too much oil or not enough oil in the barrel can also cause the paintballs to break. Often, too much air pressure, or uneven air pressure, can cause the paintballs to break.
If the problem is not the gun, it is the paintballs. The most common problem will be the size of the paintballs you are using. Try using a smaller size. Dirty paintballs can also cause them to break. If your paintball hits the ground, do not use it in your gun. Take the loss.
Cheaper paint breaks more often than quality paint. Old paint breaks more often than new paint. Extreme temperatures also have an effect on your paint. Unless your paint is especially made for cold temperatures, avoid using it or storing it in such conditions. High humidity can also cause problems, by weakening and warping the paintballs. You should throw out paintballs that you have had for three or more months. Paint may also break if you are shooting the gun faster than what your hopper can manage. This is called over shooting the feed.
When storing your paintballs, keep this in mind. Higher quality paintballs last longer than low quality when kept in storage. You will need to store your paintballs in a dry area where the temperature does not vary too much. Store paintballs in a sealed container or bag to keep dust and dirt out.
It is a good idea to purchase low quantities of different quality/brand/priced paintballs and try them out to see which one works best for you and your paintball gun.