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Returning back to the game, confused Co2 or Air? noobie guide please

noobie

Member
May 22, 2015
43
11
18
During the war, as my grandad used to say when referring back to the old days, when I used to play it was initially spatmaster bulbs 10gms?, then as things developed it was 7oz then 20 oz co2 bottles. No testing but then there were no alternatives either.

As I read more in the hope to play again soon, particulary through search I see quite a few use air. I also see 3000 and 4500 tanks, certification of tanks and to be honest to my old fart head, confusion.

Is co2 still used, is it still the main propellant, do the tanks now need to be tested, are there any restrictions on it, is it still readily available at sites and competitions, are only the older guns able to run on it, what are the positives and negatives

Air, why was the transition made, is it less potent than co2 so problems achieving just under 300 fps, does it cost more in tanks and filling up, is it only newer guns that should run on it, what are the positives and negatives

Sorry to seem like a dinlo but I've learnt from expensive mistakes before in paintball, ask the right questions and more money stays in your pocket to play.

Thanks for any replies.
 

niloc65

Aka Colin
Oct 4, 2013
319
88
48
Worthing - West Sussex
Welcome back to the sport. I also started in the good old Co2 days and after a 8 year break have got back to playing.

Air vs CO2 has a host of good and bad reasons for one other the other. The prime one for players is number of consistent shots from a tank. The average tank being .68ltr. normally carbon, but often a steelie. CO2 also had the tendency to chill down and I'm sure you remember the plumes of gas in the cold. Air has less of this issue. So on a newish marker expect to get 1000-1500 good shots, on CO2 this was a pipe dream.

From a site owners (and legal stance) Co2 is a horrible propellant for running markers on. Co2 can give you headaches if you spend the day filling site guns. Transporting Co2 is costly, where as site air generators/compressors and storage tanks are better to handle. Piped Air to the players so they can fill their own or to the marshalls gun hut is the norm.

CO2 is a volatile gas when expanding, so shots and therefore speeds are inconsistent. Air has much less of an issue with this.

Air has its own issues but they are more around safety and misuse. Which is where the Testing comes in. Air is normally run at sites at 3000psi (232bar) or if the site has spent the cash adding suitable infrastructure 4500 psi. Tanks running at 3k or 4.5k are required by law to be tested and certified depending upon their construction i.e. fibre, steel, alli etc. Many Dive Shops can test your tank.

The markers all like 600-800psi so stepping down the bottle pressure to a useable psi requires an extra regulator, Co2 did not normally need this reg, but as it could go over 1300psi inside the bottle regualtors for Co2 became available.

I'm sure there are others out there who can and will add to my comments, but this is a starter and hopefully answered some of your questions.
 

noobie

Member
May 22, 2015
43
11
18
Hi Niloc, firstly thank you for the reply and a speedy one too

I am slow on picking up things so if I can ask some additional bits

are you saying then that most sites cater mostly towards air than co2 but some will do both?

we used to regulate to below 300 fps, is this still the site norm?

we used to do this mostly through a dial rod and/or springs...If I've understood correctly...air runs silly high so to regulate the gun you do it by reducing airflow via a regulator?

If I go semi it's likely to be an old automag would this run air okay and mostly my playing would be with a pump so would air be okay on older pumps also?

what are the differences on air bottles between a 3000 and a 4500?

Sorry to ask so many questions but I'd rather look a plumb in a forum than one with empty pockets

Again thanks for the replies.
 

BOD

The brotherhood
Aug 1, 2003
662
183
68
YORK
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The main reason people went to air is because electro pneumatic guns don't like co2, if you remember how cold a gun could get firing fast on co2 and sometimes getting liquid co2 out through it, now imagine that with a circuit board and battery and solenoid, it just don't work. The majority of sites that just run punter days will still only use co2 but any others that cater for own gunners and walk on days will have air.
 

noobie

Member
May 22, 2015
43
11
18
So as a fun player only, using a pump or an old semi such as a autococker or automag, then using co2 would still be okay to keep the cost down at the beginning but if moving back into it long term and possibly a modern semi then I should budget for a marker and using air ?
 

BOD

The brotherhood
Aug 1, 2003
662
183
68
YORK
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Yes but the overriding factor is what the site your mostly going to be playing at uses, you could buy a 0.8L aluminium air bottle for under £40 from most paintball shops as well as co2 bottle so if you do play at sites that have air you have the choice.
 

Tom

Tom
Nov 27, 2006
3,827
1,118
198
Salisbury
www.TaskForceDelta.co.uk
Sites that are primarily punter orientated could run just co2. This would cover those such as delta force etc

Punter sites that run full walk ons will run on compressed air, and primarily at 3000psi

See where you will primarily play and what choices they offer
If you play a punter only site as a walkon with your own gear then you will find yourself Paying punter prices

For your use there is no saving for air or co2. Whichever is provided will be free to you


For air the site needs to put in a lot of investment in a fill rig and compressor capable of providing a full days air. Usually a compressor run periodically and storage tanks
A co2 system is cheaper to setup, but needs the co2 to be repeatedly brought in. And if done correctly every fill should have the existing co2 discarded

Enforcement of legal and tested cylinders changed a few years ago. When I began there were heads buried in the sand about foreign and sometimes out of date cylinders. Instead of refusing a cylinder a site may refuse to fill, people may have brought in a scuba cylinder and self fill

You need a pi marked cylinder in the UK. Generally on a five year test cycle with 15 year maximum life for fibre wrapped cylinders
5 year cycle and unlimited life if tested for steel / aluminiums
But aluminiums have a legal test cycle of 10 years, if the site recognises it

With co2 cylinders being so cheap it's rare that they are financially viable to retest

For aluminiums you can buy cheaply and replace instead of retesting
But if you can test locally for cheap enough then you can retest and keep them going for years


Search the forum for hpa1 and you will find the ukpsf air safety info
 

noobie

Member
May 22, 2015
43
11
18
Okay, again chaps thanks for the info.

Now for a sign of my old age, I'm used to co2 but let's say I take an air tank with me also. How will the marker be effected/ what changes if any, will I have to make to the marker if I am switching between these two sources ?
 

noobie

Member
May 22, 2015
43
11
18
So ideally I would have a 20oz co2 bottle and a 3000k air bottle then I am pretty much covered