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Can you Refill a Paintball CO2 Tank with Compressed Air?

The tank holds the compressed gas known as CO2. The gas is used in firing the paintball marker by propelling paintballs through the barrel of the marker.

When your tank runs out of gas, your weapon will not be able to fire.

to refill paintball marker with compressed air tank

Your tank running out of CO2 can be caused by various reasons, and that’s what we’ll talk about in this article.

We will also cover what signs you need to notice to let you know when you are running low on gas.

This article will also key you in on ways to refill your tank.

Let’s get started.

A family playing laser tag

CO2 Tank

Maddog 20 Oz Refillable Aluminum CO2 Paintball Tank Bottle
Click the image for more info

Your tank is where CO2, or Carbon Dioxide, is stored. The CO2 in the bottle is in its liquid state. The paintball marker’s mechanism only allows for minute amounts of CO2 to be released into its chamber.

Through this process, the minute particles of liquid then become gaseous CO2. The gas produces pressure that is then used in maneuvering the paintball within the marker.

This concentrated pressure is also the force applied to launch the ball out of the barrel to allow high-speed firing.

We can say that the tank plays a pivotal role in your gun’s performance.

What Happens When the CO2 Tank is Low or Empty?

your paintball marker runs low on gas
The effects of running low on gas are most apparent in your ammo’s velocity.

When your marker runs low on gas, your paintballs are launched with less force. With your marker applying less force, it affects the range your paintball achieves.

If your tank is empty, there is no gas to apply force to the paintball.

Your marker is incapable of firing without gas, or high pressurized air, to apply the force needed in hurling ammo out of its chamber.

What Causes the Tank to Run Out?

  1. Usage. Depending on what gun you are using and the conditions you play in, the average CO2 tank can fuel up to 1100 shots. You can buy CO2 tanks in:
    • 9oz that is good for 400 shots.
    • 12oz that is good for 600 shots.
    • 16oz that is good for 900 shots.
    • 20oz that is good for 1100 shots.A reliable tank that fits into most CO2 markers is the Empire Aluminum CO2 20oz . Although it is made out of quality material, it is still inexpensive. The tank offers 800-1000 shots per fill.
  2. Leak. The CO2 in its gaseous state creates concentrated pressure. This formulates great amounts of force.
    It can force its way out of the slightest crack from anywhere of the components involved in dispersing the compound. This malfunction is known as a gas leak.
    Often, this problem stems from a ruptured insert seal or the improper screwing of the air source adapter.

Quick Fix and Prevention of Tank Leaks

You can remedy this by ensuring that the O-ring is intact and that the ASA is screwed on correctly.

You will also have to lubricate the parts regularly to prevent certain features from becoming too brittle and forming cracks.

Watch this video below to learn more about preventing leaks:

Can You Refill a Paintball CO2 Tank With Compressed Air?

There are two types of tanks that are used in paintball markers. One of them is CO2, and the other is an HPA tank.

We know what CO2 is, but what is an HPA tank?

HPA is just compressed air. It is highly pressurized oxygen, or better known as High-Pressure Compressed Air.

CO2 Tank Vs. HPA Tank

While both tanks serve the same purpose, they have distinct differences.

HPA has proven to be the more popular choice among players. Some players think that CO2 can be too unstable.

CO2 is highly dependent on its environment. If it is too hot, the tank can absorb too much heat. When the tank’s internal temperature gets too high, its contents may expand and damage the tank. A damaged tank is more prone to leaking and causing other issues to your paintball marker.

If it is too cold, the compound shrinks, creating less pressure, affecting your maker’s ability to fire the paintball further.

HPA tanks work off oxygen particles which are more adaptable to their environment.

If you are thinking of switching your tank’s contents from CO2 to HPA, forget about it. Although possible, it is highly inadvisable.

It would be best if you did not refill your CO2 tanks with HPA.

SAFETY REMINDER: You can’t just swap a CO2 tank for an HPA tank using the same paintball gun. These guns come with markers that specify what kind of tank is compatible with your gun. You should not interchange the tanks to prevent ruining your gun and causing potential danger.

How to Fill a CO2 Paintball Tank Properly?

The best way to refill your CO2 tank is with the use of a high-pressurized air compressor.

These compressors are what are used in commercial establishments that offer tank refills.

How to Refill a Paintball CO2 Tank With an Air Compressor?

New 30Mpa High Pressure Air Filter 4500 psi PCP Compressor Oil Water Separator for High-pressure Air Compressor
Click the image for more info

A high-pressure air compressor is needed to refill a CO2 tank properly. You cannot fill CO2 tanks using a low-pressurized pump or hand pumps that only go up to 150 PSI.

The PSI needed to be produced by the compressors must match up with the tank’s requirements. If the PSI is too low, it will not have a strong enough force to enter the tank and much less to fill it.

If you do have access to an appropriate air compressor, refilling your tank by yourself can be more practical.

These steps involve:

  • Drain. Attach the proper compressed air fitting to your tank’s hose. Open the bleed valve atop the fitting to drain any excess gas in the tank. This step allows for more accurate filling.
  • Fill. Ascertain the size of your CO2 tank, and this is an absolute must. Multiply that amount by two. That is the maximum time you can run the compressor in refilling your tank. Overfilling is a severe and dangerous issue. Do not overfill your CO2 tank.
  • Lock. Quickly open the bleed valve once more to let out any excess. This helps clear out the lines to avoid any build-up. You can now unscrew your tank from the air compressor’s hose.

You can also use this video as a guide in refilling your CO2 tank with an air compressor:

Quick Review

We hope that this article has helped solve any issues you might be having with your CO2 tank.

If you just did a quick skim and happened to miss some of the facts, here are some of the key takeaways you shouldn’t miss.

  • CO2 and HPA tanks are not interchangeable on paintball guns.
  • Know what tank your markers can accommodate.
  • HPA tanks are more stable, but they do cost more.
  • CO2 tanks are cheaper and give you more bang for your buck, but it is more sensitive to ambient temperature.
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