Do Paintballs Expire?- How to Store Them Properly?

Do paintballs expire? This is a question that many people have, and the answer is not always clear. The fact of the matter is that paintballs do expire, obviously. But the point is how long they last depend on a few different things.

Do Paintballs Expire

In this blog post, we will discuss the different factors that determine the shelf life of paintball. We will also list down some tips that you can use to increase the shelf life of your paintballs.

How Long Do Paintballs Last?

It is important to know how long paintballs last and how to store them properly so you can get the most out of your purchase. Paintball expiration dates vary depending on a variety of factors, but typically they have a shelf life of about 4-8 months. After this time they may not fire correctly or may not be as effective in combat.

The first thing that determines how long will the paintball last is the quality of the paintball that you have. There are usually two quality grades in paintballs, one is Recreational grade and the other is tournament grade.

The second thing you need to consider is how the paintball is stored. If it is kept in a cool, dry place it will last longer than if it is stored in a hot or humid environment.

How to tell if the paintballs are bad?

If you are unsure if the paintballs have expired, there are a few ways to tell. The most simple and basic way is to check the paintballs by firing a couple of shots, if the paintball breaks too early or doesn’t break at all upon impact, then they are ruined.

However, here are some more signs that you should check before telling if the paintballs are bad. If your paintball has these signs then it is definitely bad.

1. Dimples and Soft spots

If you see dimples or soft spots on the paintball, it is also a sign that they are bad. This happens when moisture seeps into the casing of the paintball and softens the shell. Once the shell becomes soft enough, small indentations are formed due to the weight of other paintballs. These dimples can make your marker jam, so if this is has happened to your paintballs, they might not shoot properly.

2. Deformed shape

Another sign that the paintball is bad is if it has a deformed shape. The exterior of the casing may become misshaped due to storage conditions or damage to the shell, so keep an eye out for this problem when inspecting your paintballs.

3. Powdery residue

If there is a white powdery residue on the paintball, it is another sign that they are bad. This usually means that the shell of the ball has started to break down and you will likely see this happening on several balls.

4. Fading color

If the color on the ball is starting to fade, it means that the paint is not as fresh as it used to be and might not shoot correctly. This happens when the ball is exposed to direct sunlight for a long time. The sun’s UV rays bleach the color pigments which result in fading of color. Fading of color is usually accompanied by cracks in the shell.

5. Cracks in Shell

A crack in the paintball shell is a big sign that you should not use them. If your balls have cracks and this happens during storage, it usually means there was some damage to the casing which allowed moisture inside the ball. The main reason for these types of damages is improper packaging when transporting or storing the balls.

However, cracks in shells can also be formed when the paintballs are exposed to sunlight or the overall climate has humidity.

6. Hard as a rock

If they become hard as a rock, it means that there is absolutely no moisture in the paintball. This happens when your balls are exposed to direct sunlight or excessive heat for long periods of time which causes evaporation and lack of humidity inside the ball casing. It is definitely not a good idea to use these paintballs as they will damage the internal components of your marker.

7. Close to a year old or older

As paintballs are biodegradable, they will start breaking down into components after a certain amount of time. Most paintballs have an average shelf life of 4-8 months. If your paintballs are a year old or older, it’s time to throw them away. Do not use these balls as they will likely break before even coming out of the barrel and damage your marker in the process.

Can You Use Old Paintballs?

Using old paintballs that show signs of being damaged is not a good idea, you will only end up damaging your paintball gun.

What Problems Can Old Paintballs Cause?

Old paintballs neither shoot accurately nor can break properly. They will only result in damaging your marker, hence creating more problems. Let’s take a look at some of the problems old paintball can cause.

1. Squishiness

When paintballs are exposed to moisture for a long time, they become very soft and squishy. Do not use these balls as you will end up with problems like jamming and chopped balls which might permanently damage your marker’s internal components.

2. Bounciness

Excessive moisture can also cause the paintball to become very bouncy and erratic. This will significantly affect your accuracy and make it difficult to hit your target.

3. Inaccuracy

Bad paintballs will also affect your accuracy as they won’t travel in a straight line. This is because the ball’s shape and weight are no longer consistent, making it difficult to hit your target.

4. Clogged Barrel

If you do decide to use old, damaged paintballs, there’s a high chance that they will clog your barrel. This will require time and effort to clean and can also damage your marker.

The best thing to do with bad or damaged paintballs is to discard them properly.

How to discard bad paintballs properly?

Airsoft vs Paintball, which is more Eco Friendly?

Paintballs are bio-degradable which means they can degrade on their own. You can throw them in the trash can but it is better to throw them in a composite or recycling bin. Make sure that you discard the paintball at the right place as it might be dangerous for choking hazard for children and small animals who might mistake it for food.

Paintballs are toxic for cats and dogs and might result in diarrhea. Therefore, if your pet has eaten paintball mistakenly, immediately take them to the vet.

Factors that Determine the Shelf Life of Paintball

Now you know that using old and damaged paintball is totally not worth it. But how can you determine the shelf life of paintballs? Let’s find out.

1. Manufacturing Date

The first and most important factor that determines the shelf life of paintball is the manufacturing date. The fresher the ball, the better it will perform. All major paintball brands have a dating system on their packaging which indicates when they were made.

However, keep in mind that paintballs can still be used a few weeks after their expiration date as long as they have not been opened and stored correctly.

2. Quality of Paintball

The quality of the paintball also plays a huge role in determining its shelf life. Cheap, low-quality balls will break down much faster than expensive high-end ones. That’s why it is important to only buy quality paintballs from reputable brands, as they will last longer.

3. Storage Conditions

How you store your paintballs also has a big impact on their shelf life. If they are exposed to excessive moisture, heat, or direct sunlight, they will start breaking down much faster. It is therefore important to keep them in a cool, dark place away from any kind of extreme weather conditions.

How to Store Paintballs for the Long-Term?

If you want to store your paintballs, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. To maintain their shelf life for as long as possible, here’s what to do:

1. Store them in a dry, cool place

Ideally, you should store your paintballs in a cool, dry place where they will be protected from the elements. This could be in a closet, drawer, or cabinet. Make sure to keep them away from any kind of moisture as this will speed up the degradation process.

If you live in a very hot climate, it might be a good idea to store them in the fridge.  Just make sure that they are packed in an airtight container as the refrigerator has much more moisture than the normal environment and also let them come back to room temperature before use.

Quick Tip: When letting your paintballs come back to room temperature, keep them in the air-tight container as the cool paintball will attract water vapors from the open air.

2. Rotate them from time to time

It’s a good idea to rotate your paintballs after every few weeks. This will help distribute the weight evenly and prevent any one ball from deteriorating too quickly.

Just make sure that you don’t keep the container opened for too long as this will let in moisture and ruin the balls inside.

3. Store them in an air-tight container

As mentioned above, storing them in an air-tight container will help keep them dry and prevent them from deteriorating. This is especially important if you live in a humid environment.

There are many different types of airtight containers that you can use, such as zip-lock bags, plastic boxes, or glass jars. Just make sure that the container is completely sealed to avoid any moisture getting in.

4. Don’t expose them to direct sunlight

Exposing your paintballs to direct sunlight will speed up the degradation process and can even cause them to crack and fade. Try to keep them in a dark place where they will be protected from the sun’s rays.

Now you know everything there is to know about storing paintballs for the long term! Just follow these simple tips and your balls will be fresh and ready to go for many months.

Final Words – Wrapping it up

In conclusion, there are many things that play into how long paintballs last. The most important thing is to buy quality balls from a reputable brand and store them in a cool, dry place where they will be protected from the elements.

By following the above-mentioned tips, you can ensure that your paintballs stay fresh for months.


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