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How Long do Paintballs Last? On The Field and On The Shelf




paintball bullets in a box and a canister for them

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How many paintballs are you going to need for a day of playing? And how long can you keep them on a shelf? What you should be asking is how long do paintballs last?

A 2000 count case of paintballs will last for 4 days of play, and about 3 months on a shelf. If the paintballs are stored properly, they can last on a shelf for up to a year. 

How Many Paintballs Do You Need for a Game?

There are so many factors that determine how many paintballs you will need for a game, so it’s nearly impossible to tell you how many you will need. 

One big tip for players is to bring more than you think you will need for a game. It is far better to have more than you need than it is to not have enough to enjoy your game.

With this in mind, a hopper can only hold around 200 paintballs, so if you are going to need more than that, consider carrying extras onto the field with you, or putting them in a pocket in a paintball vest. 

Loader Paintball 500 Rounds Basic Training Paintballs – .68 Caliber – Color May Vary (Orange/Yellow) (Orange/Yellow)
  • Full BAG of Paintballs (500 Rounds)
  • DXS Basic Training Brand
  • Eco Fill of Paintball: Orange or Yellow Fill
  • Shell Color of Paintball: Color will vary

On average, a player will use 100-150 paintballs per hour, so in a 2-hour game a player can 200-300 paintballs. If you play 2 games in a day, you can expect to use 400-600 paintballs in a day. 

These are all averages, but the player’s skill, mood, shooting style, and game type can also affect how many paintballs you use in a game. 

Player’s Skill 
A skilled player won’t need to make as many shots to hit their targets. They have practiced through many games, and they can accurately hit their target within a couple of shots. New players, on the other hand, will likely fire several times in the hopes that at least one of them will land on their opponent. 

Player’s Mood 
If a player is in a fairly aggressive, or trigger happy mood before starting a game, they are going to go through more paintballs than they would on any other day. So even if you know you only use 400 paintballs in a day, there might be times when you go through 600 in a day. 

a paintball player

Shooting Style 
If you’re not in a position where you can line up your shot, you might opt for the “spray and pray” technique. You fire a bunch of consecutive shots towards your target and pray that one of them hits.

If you are using an electronic paintball gun, and you fire 3 shots every time you pull the trigger, you are also going to go through quite a bit more paintballs. 

Game Type 
Scenario Games are known to use the most paintballs. In scenario games, the players are following a story-line. This can be a historical re-enactment or a futuristic plot, but there is often rapid shooting action with whichever type of scenario game you play. Players who bring at least 500 paintballs to these games find they barely have enough for an entire day of playing. 

Woodball games tend to use fewer paintballs than any other game because you are often doing much more running than you are shooting. Players will often use 100-150 paintballs per hour, but because you’re exhausted from running all day, you won’t end up playing all day.

Players will bring 350-400 paintballs to woodball games, and they might still have another hour of play-time with what they have leftover. 

Speedball games are played in a much smaller field with less running and more shooting. In these games, you can expect to go through 200-300 paintballs per hour. If you plan on playing two 2-hour games, you’ll need 600 paintballs; more if you plan on playing longer!

Do you want to learn more about the gameplay? Check out the complete beginner’s guide to paintball!

How To Check If Your Paintballs Are Still Good?

Why do paintballs even have an expiry date? It’s not like you’re eating them- I hope. 

Paintballs have an expiry date because, over time, they start to become brittle, deformed, or they break down and the paint makes the paintballs stick together. 

paintball bullets in a box and a canister for them

To check if your paintballs are good, check the following before bringing them to any game: 

  • Inspect the paintballs. They should be perfectly round, have no dimples, and have nothing on them (no spilled paint!)
  • Feel the paintballs. They should be hard but not brittle. If they are brittle, they won’t break when they hit an opponent, and if you aren’t getting anyone out, you are just shooting for fun. 
  • Test a paintball by throwing it at some cardboard or scrap paper. If it explodes, your paintballs are still good, but if it doesn’t explode you should throw the rest of your paintballs out. 

How To Store Your Paintballs?

The good news is you can extend the shelf life of your paintballs by storing them properly. While the recommended shelf life is only 3 months, you can make them last a year or longer by following these tips! 

Store them in a cool, dry place
Paintballs should be stored somewhere there is no moisture, and in temperatures of 50°F to 70°F. If paintballs are in a damp environment, the paintballs will absorb the moisture, causing them to swell, and swollen paintballs won’t fit down the hopper or in the barrel. 

What to store them in
While putting your leftovers back in the container they came in might sound like a great idea, it’s not. Those containers are meant to expose your paintballs, causing them to go brittle faster so you buy more paintballs. 

If you want the best protection for your paintballs, you should invest in paintball storage tubes. They are plastic containers with a flip-open lid, and they come in a variety of sizes ranging from ones that will only hold 10 paintballs, up to 140 paintballs.

These pods are also the perfect size for storing in paintball vests, so you don’t need to transfer them into anything else if you want to take them on the field with you. 

Keep them out of the sun
Paintballs should be kept out of direct sunlight. The heat from the sun will make the gelatin casing break down, and the paintballs will stick together. Once that happens, your paintballs are completely useless and you will need to buy new ones. 

Don’t store them in the freezer
Some people will tell you to store your paintballs in the freezer, but this will ruin your paintballs. The water content in the paint will expand when frozen, and this will cause deformities in your paintballs. Once they have been deformed, you can’t change them back to perfect spheres. 

Turn them every week
By giving your paintballs a gentle turn once a week, you can help prevent warping. The longer the paintballs sit on a surface, the more likely they are to mold to it. Paintballs on the bottom will flatten against the surface of the container, and paintballs that are resting on other paintballs will dimple where they are touching. 

Final Thoughts

The most popular way to purchase paintballs is in a case of 2000. If you’re wanting to know how many games that will last you, or how long they will last on the shelf, the answer will differ. 

If you play in line with the average of paintball players, a 2000 count case of paintballs will last you around four days of games. 

If you don’t care for your paintballs, they will only last around three months on a shelf, but if you follow the tips from this article, you can get them to last a year!

It’s important to bring more than you think you will need, but if you run out, most paintball fields have paintballs you can buy, so try not to worry too much about having enough!

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