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Back to the Basics Series: Disassembling your nelson based paintball gun for maintenance and cleaning.
March 20, 2002

Back to the basics Series:
Disassembling your nelson based paintball gun for maintenance and cleaning.

From time to time , every marker needs a good cleaning. Eventually , even the best of paintball guns need to be taken apart for a complete cleaning, or parts need to be replaced. An if you break some paintballs in your gun at the field, its a good idea to know how to field strip it , so you can clean out the mess and get back in the game, not have to leave it.

Fortunately, most nelson based paintball guns are very easy to work on, it might be a bit intimidating at first, but once you understand how the various parts go together, you’ll be pro at it in no time.

Before you start, you’ll need a few supplies:

Tools:
  • Many pump paintball guns require no tools at all to disassemble, but take a look at yours. You may need a screw driver, an appropriate sized Allen key, or even a box wrench or adjustable one. So gather the right tools for your gun.
Cleaning supplies:
  • Warm water, paper towels, maybe some dish washing liquid soap if your marker is really dirty. A squeegee or battle swab .. "oooo" grade steel wool can be helpful to polish the internals and barrel as well.
Oil:
  • Oil is a good thing, and I recommend using oil specifically designed for paintball guns. Check with the manufacture for their recommendations first. Using the wrong oil can cause o-rings to degrade or swell, eat up your cup seal, cause your gun to lock up and all sorts of nasty things. Generally you’ll be okay using something like KC TroubleFree ™ or GoldCup ™ paintball marker oil. Never , Ever use wd-40 ™ or lithium based grease or oil, they can and will destroy the o-rings or create friction and lock up your marker, especially in cold weather..

Now that you’ve got your supplies together, spread out a towel, and take a good look at your marker. Note how the pieces all go together, where the screws go, how its configured. . If you don’t think you can remember how it all goes together, take a picture or use masking tape to number each part to use for reference later on. Before you start, make sure the air source or co2 tank is completely disconnected from the paintball gun. Some guns will actually hold co2 or air in the valve, and still shoot even with the air source disconnected, so dry fire the gun a few times if possible in a safe direction to make sure its completely de-pressurized.

Disassembling a nelson based paintball gun:
  • If your paintball gun has a removable barrel, remove it. Most barrels unscrew, or have a set screw on the side or underneath. Set it aside. Many older nelson pump do not have removable barrels, if this the case, don’t sweat it, you can still clean the barrel well, read on. Remove the trigger frame from the body of the gun. Most pumps like the trracer have two screws , one under the body in front of the trigger, and one behind it. Some pumps may have the rear screw on the top of the gun body. Remove these and the trigger frame should drop away for the body of the marker. If you have a bottom line setup where the bottle screws in at the bottom of the trigger frame, you can unscrew it from the upper Air system adapter (ASA) once the trigger assembly is free from the body of the marker. Set the trigger assembly aside on your towel. Hint- its a good idea to line up the parts you remove exactly how they would be assembled on the gun, so it’ll be easier to reassemble them later on.
  • Pull the ASA straight back, and out of the body of the gun. Some nelson based pumps have two additional screws in the body of the gun that hold the ASA in, remove these before trying to separate the ASA from the body of the gun. Set the ASA aside.
  • Unscrew the pump rail screws (if you have them, some guns are under cocking, the rod should have come out when you removed the trigger frame.) And remove the pump.
  • Tilt the body back, and the hammer, main spring and bolt should drop out of the rear of the gun, they might need a little push. Take a good look at how these parts go together, and remember, so it’ll be easier to reinstall them later.
Cleaning the components of a nelson based gun:

Cleaning and polishing inside the barrel/ gun body (if its all one piece, this applies to both):
  • Run a non abrasive cloth or battle swab though the length of the barrel to get out any loose or heavy gunk that builds up in there.
  • Run some warm water through it, to dissolve any build up of old paint or debris. Caution: the barrel will conduct heat, using hot water can cause burns even if you don’t touch the water. The heat will travel through the barrel and heat it up.
  • Swab it to dry, or push a paper towel through it with a wooden dowel (metal will scratch) , and use your squeegee to take out any excess water.
  • Inspect it by holding it up to a light (never ever do this with an assembled marker, or you risk blowing your eye out), if it looks shinny and clean, your done , put it back on your towel. If not, repeat the about again.
  • If you have a lot of scratches, or just cant seem to get it clean enough, find some "0000" steel wool (about $3 @ home depot) and a wooden, or tape wrapped rod. Tear off enough steel wool to fit in the barrel snugly, and use that rod to push it back and fourth inside the barrel until the grit is worked out, or the scratches have been polished out. It may take awhile. Then clean again as above. Make sure you do a good job, the steel wool will leave residue behind. Caution: Never use any steel wool above 00 grade, or you will make it worse and scratch your barrel up.
Cleaning the internals:
  • Wipe them off with a paper towel or rag, if you have a heavy buildup of grime, you can run them under warm water, or even soak them in a pan with dish washing liquid for a bit. Dry thououghly. If this still doesn’t do it, you can hand buff the metal parts with 0000 steel wool until there clean and shiny. Don’t forget to rinse them again and get out the steel wool debris. Caution: DO NOT BUFF RUBBER OR PLASTIC PARTS WITH STEEL WOOL, IT WILL SCRATCH THEM AND POSSIBLY DAMAGE THEM PERMANENTLY. Use soap and warm water only on these parts.
Cleaning the rest of the gun:
  • Wipe the remaining parts down with a paper towel or rag, if this isn’t enough you can run them under warm water and use dish detergent. Make sure you dry all parts completely.

Now that you’ve got a pile of clean parts on your towel, its time to get out the paintball gun oil. Use it sparingly. A little oil goes a long way. Put a drop on the hammer, and spread it around with your finger, do the same for the metal part of the bolt, around all o-rings, the valve tube, and place where two parts will come in contact with each other. Its also a good idea to put a drop in the ASA, on the barrel threads if applicable, on the trigger pins, etc. After you oil put the parts on a paper towel so they don’t pick up lint while waiting to be put back on the marker.

You remembered how the marker came apart right? Good, because now its time to put it all back together, get started :) ..

Once you’ve reassembled your paintball gun, its a good idea to test the action , pump the pump, BEFORE putting a co2 source on the gun, to work the oil in and make sure you’ve reassembled it correctly. You should never have parts left over, unless you’ve replaced something with a new part. Don’t over tighten screws, stripping out aluminum threads is very easy and its expensive to fix. Just hand tighten everything so its snug, and you’ll be okay. Your done!! Don’t forget to rechrono your marker before you play with it, and always keep safety first!!!


PLAY SAFE!!!


- Maverick


NEW!! Working animation courtesy "Meph"

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