Part of keeping your paintball marker in tip-top shape is by lubricating it.
There are two major types of paintball lube: grease and oil. Grease is generally thicker and is meant to stay in place, while oil is lighter and flows around.
The best oil or grease to use for your paintball gun is the one written in your manufacturer’s manual for your marker. But the general rule of thumb is: use grease for spool valves and oil for poppet valves.
In this article, you’ll learn about the following:
- Why do you need to oil your gun?
- What’s the difference between oil and grease?
- What are spool and poppet valves?
- What is the best oil and grease for paintball guns?
- How to lubricate your paintball marker?
Why Oil Your Paintball Gun?
Paintball guns have moving metal or plastic parts inside of them.
These scraping parts can wear your guns out faster, If left unattended or dry.
Some paintball marker lubricants also help swell o-rings that are found inside your paintball gun. They act as a seal for gas that may otherwise escape, which helps with gas efficiency.
When you grease up an o-ring to swell, this can save you more gas in the long run.
Oil vs Grease
Oil and grease both act as lubricants for your paintball guns.
Oil has a runny consistency, allowing it to travel into the tiniest cracks of your gun. This is good for consistently moving o-rings, also called dynamic o-rings, because it lessens friction.
Oil also slowly dissipates because of how lightweight it is.
The good thing with this is that you don’t need to wipe it off when it’s time to clean your marker.
The bad part? You’ll have to re-apply it more often.
Some markers, on the other hand, need extra lubrication and sometimes swelling in the o-rings.
This is where grease comes in. It’s thicker and heavier, meaning it stays on longer, and you don’t have to re-apply it as often compared to oil.
What Are Spool Valves and Poppet Valves?
Spool and poppet-type valves both fall under electronic paintball guns.
What differentiates a spool valve from a poppet valve is how they propel paintball ammo.
Poppet valves have more moving parts than spool valves. They typically require a ram that hits the poppet to release ammo.
They are also more air efficient but are noisier than spool valves when you pull your trigger. They also require lesser upkeep.
Meanwhile, spool valves give a smoother feel when pulling the trigger because you have fewer moving parts. The downside to spool valves is that they use up more air and are thus less efficient compared to poppet valves.
Grease is used on spool valves more often because they use more air. If you use oil on a spool valve’s inner parts, the oil will dry up quickly.
Poppet valves, on the other hand, typically have smaller o-rings. Having smaller o-rings means you won’t have to lubricate as much, which is why oil is usually enough to do the job for poppet-based markers.
Many paintball enthusiasts go by the rule of spool = grease and poppet = oil.
While there is some truth to this, it shouldn’t always be the case, which is why it’s important to always read your manual first and see what your manufacturer has suggested for you.
What’s the Best Oil for Paintball Guns?
Here’s a small list of some of the best and trusted paintball marker oils out there:
- Gold Cup Oil : well-established, affordable, gets the job done
- Captain O-Ring : trusted and widely-used
- Tippmann Marker Oil : generally good, widely-used
- Planet Eclipse Gun Oil : generally good and trusted
One important note: never use mineral-based oil like Tri-flow on your paintball marker.
Mineral-based oils can cause your o-rings to crack and dry out.
Some people use it, but it’s not an optimal choice.
What’s the Best Grease for Paintball Guns?
Many paintball aficionados swear by the DOW 33. Many paintball greases in the market right now are DOW 33-based.
Here are a couple of good paintball greases you can use:
- DOW 33 : pioneer, silicon-based cult-favorite;
- DOW 55 : silicon-based, swells rubber o-rings;
- : DOW 33-based, reliable, and trusted;
- TechT Gun Sav : high-grade, cult-favorite; and
- Monkeypoo: hybrid oil and grease, runnier than normal grease.
Some DOW 33-based lubricants have additives in them. If you’re new to the paintball scene, you may not want to expose your gun to unfamiliar additives.
So if you’re buying paintball grease, it’s better to just stick with using DOW from the original manufacturer.
There are two ways to know if your DOW 33 is not made of true DOW 33: if your grease has a color other than white or it separates when it sits.
How to Lubricate Your Paintball Marker?
Oiling or greasing up your paintball gun is easy.
The very first step you should NOT skip out on is degassing your gun.
Before you do any cleaning and lubricating, you must ensure your safety by removing the gas tank attached to your paintball marker.
Normally, you only need to lubricate the o-rings located in your bolt, rammer, and valve. The key here is to put your oil and grease sparingly.
Whether you have a spool valve or a poppet valve, a thin coat of lube will get the job done. If you over-lubricate your inner parts, you might end up with a jammed barrel, which can result in highly inaccurate shooting.
For a detailed tutorial on how to lubricate your paintball gun, you can watch the short video below:
To make things simple, the easiest way to find the best oil or grease for your gun is whatever’s in the manufacturer’s manual.
The holy grail for oils and greases are the Gold Cup Oil and DOW 33, respectively, If you insist on expanding your options.
You must remember two crucial things while lubricating your gun: de-gas your gun before oiling and never overdo with the grease and oil because it will not add to your gun’s functionality or performance.
Knowing if you own a spool or poppet valve is also crucial for choosing which type of lubricant you’re going for.
But in terms of performance in the field, the type of valve system you have for your gun makes little difference.
At the end of the day, it all depends on the hands of the player!