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The Types of Paintball Tanks and Their Differences

Aug 21, 2008
Paintball which originated back in 1976, has had a steady increase in popularity. The primary strategy behind paintball is to shoot your opponent with a ball of paint that is traveling at excessively high speeds, hence "killing" him and bringing your team one step closer to another victory.

The rate of acceleration that a person's paintball travels is a very critical factor for this type of sport, as the slower moving paintballs can be dodged more easily by your opponents. There are basically two types of propellant tanks that are used; High Pressure Air / Carbon Dioxide or Nitrogen.

Type 1 - Carbon Dioxide Paintball Tanks

Carbon dioxide tanks utilize what is known as a liquid CO2 which then expands itself into a gas which then takes the paintball and propels it out the barrel. One of the side effects of using a carbon dioxide tank for extended periods of time is that crystals of ice can form on the tank itself. The primary cause of this is because the liquid CO2 expansion turning from a liquid to a gas requires heat energy, eventually this can result in the counter effect of the propellant tank becoming very cold. Combine this with long periods of use and you get the creation of ice.

When these carbon dioxide paintball tanks are used in a rapid fashion they can become unreliable for both distance and accuracy. This is mainly because the carbon dioxide requires time to expand out to a form that is gaseous and when your trigger pulls are too rapid the inner pressure might not form fully.

Tanks such as these can also have the tendency to leak because of erosion of the seals and o-rings, yet with some maintenance and care this typically can be prevented. Carbon dioxide paintball tanks should not be directly left in the rays of the sun for too long as there is some risk of the internal gas expanding to a level that would be unsafe.

Type 2 - High Pressure Air and Nitrogen Paintball Tanks

Nitrogen tanks and high pressure air function in a different manner compared to carbon dioxide tanks since they don't have to expand a liquid into a gas to result in the propellant effect; this is because the material is already formed in a gaseous state. Because of this process it augments both of the distance and accuracy over carbon dioxide paintball tank. These type of tanks will have a tendency to grow colder when used, nevertheless the overall effect is much less compared to carbon dioxide tanks.

Even though they are generally preferred over carbon dioxide paintball tanks, the nitrogen and high pressure types of air tanks do have some disadvantages. The weight of nitrogen and high pressure tanks are higher and they are also larger compared to CO2 tanks, since the propellant is already in a form that is gaseous. There are smaller tanks that are produced but will typically not have enough gas to last out a long game. Nitrogen and high pressure paintball tank also are more expensive to buy, yet refilling them is much less costly then having to refill tanks
About the Author
Listen to Corbin Newlyn as he shares his insights as an expert author and an avid writer in the field of recreation sports. If you would like to learn more go to Paintball advice and at Indoor Paintball tips.
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