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Thread: Tech Tip #4 How to Test Paintballs and Adjust Breakage

  1. #1
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    Tech Tip #4 How to Test Paintballs and Adjust Breakage

    Tech Tip #4

    How to Test Paintballs and Adjust Breakage

    Have you noticed and increase in complaints about paint breakage in the past few months? Do you know that pros with the super tuned guns are dealing with it too? Like to know if it's your gun or your paint? Well read on because this is my fourth installment of Tech Tips designed to inject your brains with knowledge.

    Paintballs are made in a 100 year old crude but finely developed process that no one thought would work. The fact that paintballs are as good as they are is really amazing. They are made by pulling two sheets of gelatin, sort of like the Jello stuff, through two pinch rollers. The rollers have holes in them which act like cookie cutters and stamp out the round shape and seal the edges. This is equivalent to taking a piece of round pipe, heating it up the end, press it into a plastic bag laying on the table and trying to seal and cut the plastic at the same time. Now you have to also fill it with goo. We'll try the same thing again but this time you stick a needle between the bag layers, then press the pipe into the bag and seal the needle in the process. Here is the tricky part, you now fill the bag full with goo but don't press hard enough to cut the bag just pinch it closed and seal it. Right when the bag gets completely full you yank out the needle and finish cutting and sealing the bag. Your left with a flexible bag of goo, maybe it leaks maybe it doesn't.

    In paintball manufacturing the balls come out of this process all rubbery, flexible and oversize. They really look more like water balloons than paintballs. In order to get them stiff and round they are dried carefully in a tumbling process that takes the moisture out of the gelatin. This is the key point, getting the moisture out. You all know that humidity affects your paint and if you get it wet it goes to hell. Perhaps you have seen paintballs sitting under a bush at your field that look huge and rubbery, that is the extreme example.

    In the past couple years or so it has been fashionable for pros to demand more fragile paint that will always break on impact. This idea of more fragility has spread around the industry and a lot of the paint appears fragile now. I am concerned about this because it is putting a lot of blame on all the guns and pressure on us designers to fix it. Besides that, paint that gets old or is not properly stored tends to get more fragile. So now you can have bad paint being passed off as tournament quality because "that's how they like it"

    So how do you know what you have and how do you test it? That is the subject of this tech tip. It is actually a tried and true process called a Bounce Test. We have used it for ten years to determine what type of paint we have and how it will work in the guns. In order for this test to have significance you must do the same thing every time and don't cut it short. Start with 10 paintballs, take one paintball and drop it from about 6 feet and let it hit a hard concrete surface. Catch it on the first bounce, do not let it bounce twice in one drop. Now with the same paintball drop it again from six feet, catch it and repeat until it breaks. Mark down how many bounces it took to break that paintball and then repeat with the other 9 balls. Throw out the high and the low numbers and average the other 8. This gives you the "bounce number" for the paint. Simple but effective. Make sure you use a hard surface not a wood floor etc.

    So what does this bounce number tell you? 1-2 bounce paint is super fragile and will break down the barrel in most guns just from the air blast. It will also break in your tubes if you don't pack them tight. 1-2 bounce is pretty worthless paint, you can get it at Wall Mart. 2-3 bounce is considered fragile tourney paint, breaks on people and in the guns too. We are now seeing some field paint at this level. 4-6 bounce paint is good all around and considered fresh. It goes through most guns very reliably but will bounce more often on long shots. 6 and higher used to be considered the best tourney paint in the early 90's because it would go through the guns and never break. Nelson paint was very notable at 8-9 bounces. This paint is hard to find these days but still fun to shoot. Great for big games and when you just want to shoot a lot and not worry about anything. The best thing about high bounce paint is that as it gets older it still works pretty good. 2-3 bounce paint goes to unusable 1-2 bounce pretty fast.

    So now that you know what you have, what do you do about it? Well we have a fix for that too. Back to the idea of moisture, by controlling the moisture in the paint shell you can adjust the bounce level but only to a certain extent. If your paint is too fragile you can generally move it up one category by setting the bag on a table, opening it up and placing a standing glass of water inside the bag and closing it back up. Let it sit overnight and your paint should move up one bounce category. If it's too bouncy (not likely lately) then you can leave the bag open over night and unless your in a humid area the paint should get a little more fragile. All of this is true for standard gelatin paintballs, we have NOT tested the new dry paints so we are not sure if the same thing applies. Test it yourself and let us know.

    My opinion is that the pendulum has swung too far the other way right now and paint is too fragile. This fragility is masking poorly stored paint and millions of rec players are dealing with broken paint when they shouldn't have too. When doing the bounce test note the variation in how many bounces it takes to break the ball. If it ranges from 1-8 then it's inconsistent and will give you problems. Good fresh paint consistently breaks between 4-6 bounces and is worth what you pay for it. As with many things in paintball this test is under utilized to diagnose problems. Take it to heart and show your friends, a little knowledge goes a long way. I want to hear about you guys putting this info to use!

    Tom Kaye

  2. #2
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    Apparently fragile paint is the reason paintballs seem to be getting smaller.

    Apparently as more tourny players want fragile balls the manufacturers were concerned that it would be more likely to break in tight barrels so started making/accepting through quality control smaller paint. This is so it is less likely to have a bad one fit tight and break in the breech. This in turn got people to make smaller bore barrels and... well the process continues.

    I wonder if the process of making the paint more fragile is just drying it out a little more and this makes it smaller anyway? Could be...

    I've not used much of the new advantage shelled paint but I did get a sample to try out. I took some balls and some normal hellfire and left them out in the open to see how soon they went bad. The advantage shell definitely seemed to stay harder for longer.

    I want to see manufacturers make the larget paintballs they can with the heaviest fill within accepted energy limits (12ftlbs). That would give us more range and make the paint more likely to break on target... maybe make the guns a little less efficient but hey can't have everything Anyone remember Forest Heavy? Best paint ever!

    manike

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    An interesting way that I have seen tourney players make their paintballs more fragile and a way to clean paintballs from splatter of broken paintballs in a bagi is to soak them in acetone for approximately 30 seconds. After swishing them around in the acetone, if you're going to try this wear chemically safe rubber gloves, safety glasses, and make sure to do this in an extremely well ventilated area, remove the paintballs from the acetone and carefully roll them around on a dry towel. Ensure that as you are rolling them around, you pick out all the fragments of any broken paintballs. After rolling them around for a couple of minutes, allow them to dry on the towel, try to keep all the balls seperated as much as possible. As they dry, you will hear small crackling sounds, take this time to pick out all the deformed paintballs that might be in the set. Strangely enough, the acetone does not eat the paintballs as one would expect, though the entire process leaves the batch of paintballs very brittle, with very little to no bounce at all. I tried test shooting these but they would explode when they were hit by the bolt. I have seen them successfully shot, but only by shockers and impulses, the extreme low pressure does not cause them to explode like in my E-mag. It is wierd but it actually works, it creates a very fragile paint suitable for those extreme low pressure guns, though I have not seen it tried, I am sure a extremely low pressure tuned autococker would be able to shoot these without breaking them.

    "The BEAST"
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  4. #4
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    See Tom is letting out all my trade secrets on how to control paint

    Damn you !

    Also if you have very very bouncy paint you can use the 1-2oz Sicial Gel packs to pull more mosture out of the balls.

    The old 1250rnd bag formula was 1 1-2oz bag per 1/2 case for 5-8 hrs. I dont know the exact weight of the bags because I actually didnt but them but that came in a 5 gallon drum. Brown Paper bags about the size of you palm.

    If you leave them in too long you will have very very unusable paint.

    -Robert
    Serving AGD customers since 93, wishing I could beat some common since into some of them about 5 hrs later.


  5. #5
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    Field Test

    I just tested the paint me and the kid shot yesterday. I had 2 barrel breaks out of a whole case in my E-Mag, My son broke none in his 'cocker, again out of a whole case. The paint was (Nelson) PowerBall...

    6,1,4,3,1,7,2,2,1,1 averages out to 2.5

    Very inconsistent, I'm surprised it worked so well.

    That's great info, Tom. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  6. #6
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    Yesterday i used...
    400 rds old school year old marbs (very dimpled)
    500 rds new dry formula RPS slam400 rds 2 month old 32* team colors (summer fill)
    100 rds 5 month old 32* team colors, however this 100 rds had ben dropped into a cooler filled with ice/water. So most of them went to crap, but i was able to semi salvage this 100. I tumbled it in a towel and put it in a plastic bag and let it sit.

    I had one new rps slam break in the end of my barrel. All the rest worked great. I was using my hyper frame/warp fed classic mag with extended nose non foamie bolt.

    I think i have found the best consistancy overall from team colors. I still have yet to use their lower competition stuff though.

    Never cared for diablo, have had nothing but problems with it.

  7. #7
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    hey

    I just tried 6 proball platinum, yea yea it wasnt 10.


    9, 1, 12, 3, 2, 4

    avg. is 5.2

    wierd...
    I also notice all my proball (off the internet it is!), has flat bumps on almost everyball, and the accuracy of them stinx with mucho curvage.
    lookin fer IR3 or Xtreme (C&C)

    black RT Mag for sale. Great condition. Stock barrel, sanded bolt, I-frame, blade trigger. Extra parts, bolt spring, internals o-rings, extra hardline, nubbins, hardline. it doesnt break balls except on ppl. asking $450.

    AIM SN: Fishsauce66

  8. #8
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    on a similiar note

    SO, in general, the day or so before play, take
    10 balls, bounce them and avg them.

    If they're inconsistent, or avg between 1-4 bounces they're bad.

    If they go from 5-whatever then they're good.

    If the balls are too brittle and fall under like 3 or 4 bounces, I should take the open bag of pballs, and place a cup of water in the bag, with the pballs surrounding and touching the glass.

    CLose the bag. This will put moisture in the bag and make the pballs less brittle, which means less ball breaks in barrel ----IS THIS CORRECT?
    Won't it also increase bore size???

  9. #9
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    An interesting way that I have seen tourney players make their paintballs more fragile and a way to clean paintballs from splatter of broken paintballs in a bagi is to soak them in acetone for approximately 30 seconds.
    Would that not be illegal in an NPPL tournament (or any tournament using NPPL rules?

    NPPL Rule:
    5.4 PROHIBITED EQUIPMENT
    5.41 Prohibited equipment includes listening devices, communication devices and any form of electronic surveillance device, incendiary devices, smoke producing devices, red paint, paint which is toxic and not biodegradable and paint which has a shell, fill or both altered or augmented in any way.
    5.42 Anything not specified in Sections 5.01 through 5.34, inclusive as permitted shall be prohibited unless allowed by the ultimate judge.

  10. #10
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    Muzik you beat me to it!!!!

    I also read that out of there rule book. But at those few day tourneys the players can take there paint to the hotel parking lot and alter it as much as they wish. I am soon going to try many of these tricks. Using Diablo Blaze all year can have crazy effects. My rt shoots it great usually with no breaks but the accuracy starts to go to crap after they swell.

    I see this as a many year long problem. While paint manufacturers started to make brittle and smaller paint people needed barrels to fit this paint. From this the Freak, Phat system, OTP and many other barrels system were developed and now preached apon.

    But now for the major question. Should we try to alter our paint to work in these gun or should we change guns to fix this problem. I am buying an Extreme the day they come out and if i'm gonna pay all that money for a gun soley for tourneys am i gonna have these problems. I love my mag and rt and even my cocker but i am partial with mags. There has to be ways to fix these problems with out changing the gun. If most other guns are capable to shoot this brittle paint then we(the AO community) need to find methods or parts for all mags to drop the bolt pressure or decrease the force put on the bolt from this overpressurized bolt. Foamies may work but there has to be a way to make these guns lower pressure. I as a very commited tourney player know how bad it sucks to hit the 50 off the break have beuatiful shots all around you but nothing will break on anybody. Brittle paint is almost nessesary for great tourney play. We need to try to figure out ways to fix these problems!!!!
    www.teamrhythm.net

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  11. #11
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    Re: Tech Tip #4 How to Test Paintballs and Adjust Breakage

    Originally posted by AGD

    Paintballs are made in a 100 year old crude but finely developed process that no one thought would work. The fact that paintballs are as good as they are is really amazing. They are made by pulling two sheets of gelatin, sort of like the Jello stuff, through two pinch rollers. The rollers have holes in them which act like cookie cutters and stamp out the round shape and seal the edges. This is equivalent to taking a piece of round pipe, heating it up the end, press it into a plastic bag laying on the table and trying to seal and cut the plastic at the same time. Now you have to also fill it with goo. We'll try the same thing again but this time you stick a needle between the bag layers, then press the pipe into the bag and seal the needle in the process. Here is the tricky part, you now fill the bag full with goo but don't press hard enough to cut the bag just pinch it closed and seal it. Right when the bag gets completely full you yank out the needle and finish cutting and sealing the bag. Your left with a flexible bag of goo, maybe it leaks maybe it doesn't.




  12. #12
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    OOOH! I have to try this! THANX TOM! Tom's Tech Tips RULE!

    ENDO!
    Oldskool

  13. #13
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    OMG... I just tested some PMI Premiums that I was having problems with last weekend, Here were my Results:

    1,1,2,13,15,4,1,7,15,13,11,15,1,1

    The results seemed Pretty Consistant with my CRAPPY performance i was seeing. I'll make sure to test any other stuff I use

    Thanks Tom!

  14. #14
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    Well Well...

    It is nice to see this information. I played yesterday with some PMI Advantage and I would be breaking balls left and right in my E-Mag yesterday. Right on the bolt face, in the barrel, it didnt matter where. I took 5 balls left over from yesterday and went into the garage. Dropped them, all 5 didnt even bounce once! I guess that was the problem for me yesterday.

  15. #15
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    Tom,
    Thanks for responding so quickly to my request. I didn't think you'd be able to, being so busy with new products and all. I found this new tip very informative and useful.

    AO definitely makes one feel like part of the "club".

    Thanks again.

    -Riot
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  16. #16
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    I had some big balls left over from my last practice and the did extremly well, i had 15 balls to use here's the reults.

    3,4,4,4,3,3,3,2,5,4,5,4,3,4,2 "AGD edit: note the consistency"

    So the average was 3.53 not bad at all, I can only remeber breaking 2 balls at the tip of my barrel in the last game. The paint is 12 days old, I will try it with some new big balls sunday and report the results, but as for me I will stick with my Big Balls.
    Last edited by AGD; 11-18-2001 at 11:54 PM.

  17. #17
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    I just tested ten Zap, and was pretty disapointed at the inconsistancy of it. I dont think it gets much more inconsitant than this, but the only good thing was that it averaged out to 4.6.

    11, 6, 3, 1, 11, 4, 1, 2, 1, 9

    Well, now I know why alot of my balls seemed to be hitting people but they didnt come off the field. Im definatly going to try a different brand now that I know this. Thanx for the great info.

  18. #18
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    You might as well call me Mr. Hardballs.

    Broke on the following bounces: 17, 8, 26, 9, 13, 14, 33, 22, 11, 31!!!

    Averages out to: 17.875

    I know what I'm playing speedball with next time! LOL
    Posted by someone talking about cockers shooting further and more accurately:
    Plus, I don't want to see a bunch of stupid people running around the field with all sorts of bad info.
    Everytime you break the forum rules, God kills a puppy... please think of the puppies.



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    17.875!!!!!!!

    What kind of paint were you using, I have to get me some of that.

  20. #20
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    Question Dry paint?

    Now, I've been out of the loop since my retirement. Hey,
    You may call it too old and fat to play, I'll call it retirement. Anyway, whats dry paint? Tom referred to it in his post. I havent heard of it. Sounds interesting.
    " Free thinkers are dangerous"


    www.tremis.us

  21. #21
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    bond, they are one year old marbs. Since I live in Iowa, the humidity really gets to my balls and makes 'em bouncy. God I hate when that happens. LOL

  22. #22
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    Brand X

    Check this out guys...this is what i had left over from my tourney yesterday.

    6, 1 , 6, 13, 19, 28, 32, 5, 7, 9

    this was the fields tourney paint.
    Flip out
    • Mini Mag
    • 10" red cp
    • AGD Blade IntelliFrame
    • 12v Revvy w/ intellifeed
    • 68/45 MacDev Max Attack
    • Reactor Valve
    • And

  23. #23
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    THAT PAINT SUCKED!!!!!! The few balls that didn't break in the barrel wouldn't have broken on a brick wall. It had to have been the worse paint I've ever used.

    I'm glad Flip did that test. Can you believe one ball was 1 bounce and another 28? Great stuff.
    "Relax. Don't worry. Have a Home Brew."
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  24. #24
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    Tried the new advantage yellow all star 2 weeks ago, and altough it broke extremely easy (most of them would break if you dropped them on a hard surface) I only had one single barrel break in my RT (the revolution was almost empty) out of the entire lot. All of them also broke on Supairbunkers, not a single bounce. The only problem I had was that the paint is very small, so I won't buy it again untill I get a smaller bore barrel. If you have access to it try it out, I doubt you would be dissapointed.

  25. #25
    The only problem with this test is that there are too many variables that aren't kept constant. Temperature, surface dropped on, etc. I don't think the actual numbers have very much validity, but the consistency does. The hard surface in my garage is not nearly as rough as the hard surface in my driveway. It would make sense that the rough surface on the driveway would break paint easier than the smooth surface in my garage. I doubt everyone here dropped the paint on the exact same surface. Also, did everyone drop their paint from EXACTLY 6 feet, or was some of it an estimate? Was it a really hot day? Or a really cold day? That'll affect how the paint breaks.

    What I'm trying to say is that you can't compare your marbs with Billy's Evil and Joe's blaze. You have to do all your own tests, so that you get consistent results. There are too many variables to be considered.
    Jeremy

  26. #26
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    Thats awesome! Thanks Mr. Kaye.

    Now....only two fields in my city are complete desolate wastlands of dirt for miles.....

    Tucson Arizona = dirt + cactus

    CraigEgg

    P.S. We got great bush ball though!

  27. #27
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    First of all, way to resurrect a thread!

    Originally posted by wadd
    The only problem with this test is that there are too many variables that aren't kept constant ... There are too many variables to be considered.
    Jeremy
    Second of all, welcome to paintball. There are far too many variables in almost everything you do, so this isn't an incredibly scientific sport. It's hilarious when people try to make up statistics like "Every ball I shoot has a 2/3 chance of breaking." or "When I snap shoot 1 out of every 4 balls will be right on target." It's ridiculous, the sport just doesn't work that way.

    Also, I think the point of the test was to get an estimate on how brittle the paint is, I don't think anyone wants to know exactly how many ounces of force per centimeter squared it takes to crack one of their paintballs or anything like that.
    The only difference between martyrdom and suicide is press coverage.

  28. #28
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    Mr. Kaye, would opening my paint and placing it in a room with a humidifier be to much?

    CraigEgg

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