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.50 Caliber Paintballs?

By October 20, 2009

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I've been following the recent attempt by G.I. Milsim to start the next great change in paintball gear with the introduction of .50 caliber paintballs and paintball guns.  G.I. Milsim is a joint venture between Richmond Italia (inventor of XBall and former owner of Procaps) and the Gardner brothers (owners of Smart Parts), so they definitely have some clout in the industry.  An article at CatShackReports.com reports that the new .50 caliber paintball guns are more accurate and efficient than traditional .68 caliber guns, plus the paint costs less and it hurts less to get hit.

I haven't yet had the opportunity to try out one of these new, smaller guns, but I hope to in the near future.  What do you think about this new gun size?  Are you willing to purchase new equipment to save money on air and paint in the long run?  Do you think .50 caliber will even catch on or will it be a passing fad?

Whether .50 caliber paintballs catch on or not, it will be interesting to see how the industry reacts to such a radical change.


October 20, 2009 at 5:22 pm
(1) Paul says:

I am in the same boat you are. I am waiting to cast judgment until I am able to see what happens as well as try out one of these markers.

October 21, 2009 at 6:15 am
(2) djnaz98 says:

Why do we need to change what works. My son and I play a lot with our .68 caliber guns that did not come cheap. I can see the .50 caliber being used by players who what to be snipers in woods ball or scenario paintball but your going to waste a ton of paint in speedball anyway. There will definitely be a disadvantage with .68 caliber players going up against a .50 caliber. As for the price of paint the fields drive it. I played on the same field and paid $35 for a case and went back for a special event and paid $75 for the same case. Oh and when is something new cheep when it first comes out. Price will be driven by demand and availability and greed. Look at what has happen with Hybrid cars. They cost too much when they first came out and people opt for the lesser expensive choice. I’m not swapping out.

October 21, 2009 at 6:21 am
(3) Evomatt98 says:

“it hurts less to get hit” Give me a break! Who is driving this change to .50 caliber? Mothers? So much talking about war wounds (welts) with .50 caliber.

October 24, 2009 at 12:14 am
(4) Phil says:

50 cal is not new by any means. I know that Nelson Paint has been manufacturing 43 and 50 cal for at least 10 years. But I believe it was only used in training, or in mechanical non-air pb guns. Get the facts straight.

October 25, 2009 at 12:18 am
(5) Pain4Glory says:

I don’t see what all the fuss is about switching to .50 cal.

For one it will invite more to play this sport, because hits are less painful. I know too many one-timers that had terrible first experiences where some “regular” tool stitched them up point blank. If we can’t get rid of the tools, then we should switch something else.

Secondly its cheaper. Meaning you can play longer and more frequently.

Third… there will be a heck of a lot more room for movement. Sure the round may be a little less accurate at longer distances and not travel as far as the .68 caliber… but who cares? This opens more room for movement, which is EXACTLY what people watching the sport want to see, and what makes the sport fun (in my opinion). No new player wants to get shot right away off the break.

October 28, 2009 at 12:23 pm
(6) Zeus the great says:

“No new player wants to get shot right away off the break.” Well with .50 cal you will get hit off the “break” because .50 caliber is more accurate.

#2: “Sure the round may be a little less accurate at longer distances and not travel as far as the .68 caliber… but who cares?” I care! currently with .68 I’m able to set myself up at a longer distance and take out opponents. So accuracy is important.

November 2, 2009 at 9:46 pm
(7) dye dm7 says:

There is no point in switching to .50 cal its hard enough to see the paint from a .68 cal much less a .50.The splatter from a .50 cal is half the size of a .68 If it even breaks at all.Smaller balls are durable, which means more bounces. They are less accurate, trust me I’ve shot them already.And also if your afraid of the pain DON’T PLAY PAINTBALL.Real paintball players don’t care about the pain bruises or welts it’s part of the game.If your going to be a girl about it go play airsoft IT HURTS LESS.

November 2, 2009 at 9:51 pm
(8) planeteclipse says:

There is no point in switching to .50 cal its hard enough to see the paint from a .68 cal much less a .50.The splatter from a .50 cal is half the size of a .68 If it even breaks at all.Smaller balls are durable, which means more bounces. They are less accurate, trust me I’ve shot them already.Especially at distances of 50 feet or more,lighter ball doesn’t carry on same as a .68 cal.Also if your afraid of the pain DON’T PLAY PAINTBALL.Real paintball players don’t care about the pain bruises or welts it’s part of the game.If your going to be a girl about it go play airsoft IT HURTS LESS.There is no sense in pushing something that doesn’t work in to a sport that works fine the way it is.

November 8, 2009 at 1:31 am
(9) beerdoodle says:

Evomatt98, you are kind of a twat for saying, “it hurts less to get hit” Give me a break! Who is driving this change to .50 caliber? Mothers? So much talking about war wounds (welts) with .50 caliber.”
—Don’t you know that the sport is dying? The local field I play on has a 10 year old limit. I’ve seen kids walk on to the field that young who have never played before, get shot once, cry, leave the field and never come back. Don’t say stupid stuff like that. Just because we are accustomed to a .68 sting doesn’t mean that everyone else is. If you really want the sport to grow, you have to embrace the younger players and take them under your wing, help them out, show them some tricks. They are the future of paintball. I’ve heard a lot of players that use this selfish kind of talk. You can’t just say to a 10 year old “Stop being a pussy!!! Take it like a man!!!” Yeah, MOTHERS bring their kids to paintball parks. MOTHERS don’t like seeing “war wounds” on their children. And if MOTHERS don’t want their kids playing paintball, the kid isn’t playing paintball. The sport will die, especially if people listen to you. I’m not saying that .50 cal is God’s gift to paintball, it may all just blow over. We will have to wait and see. If you are going to open up your mouth and try to spout out an opinion, try to bring intelligent thought to the conversation instead of biased hatred toward it because you fear change. Keep an open mind. You haven’t even tried it yet. You probably don’t even know anyone personally whose reputation you trust that has tried it yet.

November 11, 2009 at 5:52 pm
(10) Joe says:

Hey, if people want to buy it, let them. I’m not rushing out replace all my .68 gear. Who cares?!

If people don’t mind me shooting them with my stuff while they shoot me with theirs, it’s all good.

I’m more concerned about mechanical vs electro markers myself. Say what you will, but my game of choice is a day in the woods with a good ol’ 98c.

January 6, 2010 at 1:25 am
(11) Jack says:

50 cal paint is a terrible idea. the ingredients have a product that stains. they’re harder to get to break, you will have to increase your operating pressure, which means more air, and you will have to buy new guns just because they want to make a few dollars. if anything we should go up to a .69 or .70. this could use a lower op. pressure and would break easier

January 13, 2010 at 12:24 pm
(12) Dusk says:

I am very interested to get my hands on one and how they compare to the 68s i can see them being more accurate because its easier to produce rounder balls in smaller calibers, thus the additional range makes sense because of less imperfections in the ball. Also the idea that they hurt less make perfect sense its simple physics the smaller ball moving at a lower velocity wont hit as hard, the reason why they are trying to get more people into the sport. Now im not fully behind it but already in the market for a new marker so its sounding alright to me. I do agree that they probably wont be any cheaper go to rap4 and check out the price on the 43cal paint but there isnt anyone else producing them so maybe competition will drive the price down but that will take time

January 26, 2010 at 12:43 am
(13) hempzityshizzle says:

I really don’t see the big deal about switching to .50. “jack” says its a bad idea because “they’re harder to get to break, you will have to increase your operating pressure, which means more air, and you will have to buy new guns just because they want to make a few dollars.”
Hate to tell ya, but the prices of most of these markers are more than enough to make their few dollars. Paintball is already expensive enough and I believe that is a huge reason why it hasn’t caught on as a “sport.” Popular sports like “soccer,” caught on in the world because they are cheap to play, and once you have your equipment there are no other costs to go play it. Basketball is in the same boat, football isn’t; paintball isn’t. You pay hundreds or thousands to get into the “sport” side of paintball (speedball, xball, whatever) and still have to pay 60 dollars for decent paint, which could be used in a game or two, which might last 10 minutes. Anyways, the point is, paintball needs to become cheaper to gain more interest from the “sports” industry. It’s too expensive to practice 3 or even 4 days a week like other sports and be able to continue to afford it. I’m hoping .50 cal paintballs are a step to lower the cost of paint for the average, middle class, player – not the rich kid that gets everything handed to him. At my field, air is free, so more gas consumption is not that big of a deal; that is, if the velocity needs turned up, which it would, to achieve the same kind of accuracy and distance as the .68.

March 21, 2010 at 1:16 pm
(14) t-mann a5 says:

i think the only good thing about this is the paint will be cheaper and more accurate, but theres still going to be all the wearing 5 layers of clothing and they wont feel . the balls will most likely not even break. they are smaller, so they are more durable, so they will have to make the shells thinner, so more ball breakage. i just bought my t-mann a5 with response trigger and im not about to switch it out for something that isnt going to break and get someone out just so i can save a little money on paint. and the sport is NOT dying. who cares if a bunch of get shot and dont want to play anymore, and who cares if their mothers dont let them go. they will grow up as that everyone makes fun of. for the rest of us, i dont think that if we do or dont switch to .50 cal paintballs is going to make any difference. pain is part of the game, makes it more realistic.

March 22, 2010 at 9:08 pm
(15) Steve says:

This is not new. .50 cal paintballs have been around for twenty years. You should do some research before you write. The guys who own G.I Milsim were playing paintball before the standard caliber went to .68. .68 because the standard because it contained all the compromises for distance, accuracy, rounds carried, mark size and energy imparted upon impact. This allowed us to establish an FPS(Feet Per Second) standard for the industy as we all fired the same projectile. This in turn allowed insurance policies to be written and public fields to open. The reason .375, .60, .62, and .50cal were passed over is because they fall short in some compromise. .50cal physically cannot maintain a similar ballistic trajectory to .68cal when launched at the same speed. This is true because the .50cal weighs 66% less than a .68cal, while it only reduces it’s drag profile by roughly 23%. It lacks the distance, accuracy, and breakability of a .68cal. The owners of this company are the owners of Smart Parts Inc. and former CEO of Procaps. They have a shady business history within paintball, at best. Ask any who has played long enough about a product called the “Magic Box”. Hell, google it. If you don’t know jack about paintball then leave it to be written by someone who does.

March 24, 2010 at 11:00 am
(16) pspplayer says:

.50 caliber will hurt much more than .68 as a madder of fact. the larger paintball spreads out the impact. you can count on a much more sting-like pain from the .50

March 31, 2010 at 9:13 pm
(17) someone says:

pspplayer… you obviously haven’t taken a physics class. the .50-cal paintballs mass less than the .68-cal paint. .50-cal paintballs are estimated to have about 60% less force behind them (5 joules in comparison to 13 joules) but are still close to 75% the size of the larger paintballs. therefore, even if your suggestion that the larger paintball “spreads out the impact” is correct, the smaller .50-cal paintballs will still be around half the sting of the .68-cal paint.

some other benefits of .50-cal:
1. Since they don’t travel quite as far, smaller fields can be used, so large tracts of land wouldn’t be as necessary. In other words, you could see paintball entering cities where it wasn’t previously feasible.

2. Shorter ranges also mean that indoor fields might be more likely to pop up. This adds a whole new aspect to paintball in most places.

3. More places to play=more players. More players=more investment by paintball manufacturers. More investment by paintball manufacturers=better equipment at a better price.

So don’t be too negative about a change- no one has told you you’re not allowed to use your existing equipment, and no one is going to. If it helps the sport, why are you opposed to it?

April 2, 2010 at 11:05 pm
(18) john says:

Many of the stated benefits of the .50 paintball I am not sure will hold up in the long run.

Less energy (pain) from each hit and greater air efficiency will likely not be relevant in the longer term. Why you ask? Because if there is less energy in a .50 paintball traveling at the same speed, then its “safe” for the existing .68 caliber paintball speed limits to be significantly raised. Thus allowing less shot drop and possibly greater range. Accuracy may be improved as well, but there are so many variables when firing a liquid filled projectile that it may not be a significant change. Will have to wait and see.

If speed limits are not increased and or accuracy greatly improved its unlikely that .50 paintball will catch on.

April 26, 2010 at 7:33 am
(19) n7teasy says:

I’ve played with the .50 cal GI Milsim markers and .50 cal paint. In my experience so far, the paint breaks more often in the loader and gun than .68 cal, but doesn’t break on targets unless you hit something hard (mask, head, shoulders, etc.). It is also significantly less accurate than .68 cal, especially at range.

What I believe may well be the biggest barrier to acceptance from the more seasoned players, is the inabaility to see the trajectory of the paint as it leaves the barrel. This makes “sighting” much harder and effectively means you end up using more paint! I think that may actually make .50 cal more expensive to the player in the long run!!!

With regards to whether it hurts when it hits, I think that’s another myth. If a hit hurts with .68 cal paint, it hurts just the same with .50 cal. The only difference is the size of the mark left. Although, hits certainly don’t hurt from distance with .50 cal, so maybe that’s where this claim is coming from???

All in all, given the choice, I would rather use .68. At least until they really get past the problems with the paint not breaking on targets (which is really annoying for all levels of player – even moreso for the first timers!!!). I’m not sure if the breaks in the hopper are due to the hopper design or the paint, but the number of breaks that occur in the barrel and breach definitely have a negative affect on the accuracy (more paint in the barrel means more spin on the ball).

The only sure way to know is to find a .50 cal field and try it out. Some people will like it, others won’t, but anything that has the potential to attract more people into the sport has to be a good thing. After all both Marmite and Strawberry jam survive in the sandwich filling market! ;o)

May 3, 2010 at 11:46 pm
(20) businessreality says:

what about if it does take off, the simple solution of conversion kits and barrels, to make your marker work with .50 cal paint!!! either way i will use any thing that makes my gun more accurate and possibly get better range, regardless of the cost, within reason!

May 28, 2010 at 4:45 pm
(21) AvieMare says:

I have always wanted to play paintball. I am a 47 year old grandmother of 7 and suffer from severe chronic pain due to Fibromyalgia, Diabetes and all sorts of other problems. I have had surgery to reconstruct the tendons in both elbows and twice in the left ankle.

No pain any paintball gun could cause would be worse than what I am forced to endure every day of my life but I can’t take the hits from a regular paintball gun; they would tear open my skin and with my diabetes could cause severe, even deadly infection. The bruises would last for months and I would be down in bed for just as long.

However…if they ever do come up with a less damaging way of playing this game, I am in! Just because I am sick and injured does not mean I don’t want to play this game called LIFE! I can’t walk well anymore, but I still can ride my horse! So I’m sure I could hobble around some hay bales and manage to take out a few hapless “victims”

Plus, I would be a confidence builder because I would be easy to hit as I move slowly. Great for the kids to fire at, and my butt is nice and big!


June 19, 2010 at 11:57 pm
(22) The Doctor says:

I am about to buy a .5 caliber paintball gun. A Spyder Opus. I am going to use it in speedball and tournament play. I will modify it to have a response trigger,(I don’t know much about those!), so I’ll let you know how it goes.

July 6, 2010 at 5:10 pm
(23) Ombray says:

Fine for the .50, but the ammo cannot be found anywhere

October 2, 2010 at 12:16 pm
(24) Commander_Matt says:

Yeah about the .50 hurting worse that the .68, the airsoft nerds say the same thing..”airsoft pellets “sting” so much worse than paintballs…” That is BS…when it comes to ballistics, what matters more than velocity or energy? The TRANSFER of energy…how much of the energy created by the velocity, weight, and mass is transfered into the target upon impact…2 projectiles, 1 being a .22 caliber and one being a .45 caliber, going the same velocity, which one will hit harder? The .45 ofcourse, because it has more MASS, the increased mass impacting the target transfers more energy into the target. Now the .50 is lighter than the .68, and has much smaller mass, so both rounds at 300fps..the .68 is gonna hit WAY harder..now here is something I think we have all been missing on the .50

What advances will the .50 allow the industry to make? I mean if we tune the gas/air feeds on our markers wide open for the .50, how much more velocity will it make than the .68? How effective would that be in close quarters paintball? Think about it, if the lighter round allows us to increase the velocity of our paintballs by 40%..that means the opponent has 40% less time to react…and I get that most fields will require markers to be set at a standard limit of FPS, regardless of caliber…but i’m just saying, theoretically, think of the advances. And for those of us that just play privately on our own land, with very few rules and most of us being crazy enough to turn our markers up to 500fps if it were possible…this would be a huge advantage.

I am very, VERY interested to see what kind of new/advanced RIFLE technology might be introduced to the sport…since the smaller .50 rounds are more resistant to breaking…more rifleing and added velocity but dramatically increase accuracy..and possibly lead the way for a practical, safe oblong.conical paintball round in the future.

I think this could open the doors for alot of good things for the sport..

October 11, 2010 at 12:45 am
(25) frank says:

.50 storm , shot it, got shot by it , they are more accurate, flatter trajectory and sting more than .68 this is out of the box factory setting . looks like the brusing will be smaller. ballistics think BB gun . I am sold !

October 29, 2010 at 12:36 pm
(26) Schwarzenegger says:

For everyone that wants to switch to .50 cal your all idiots and I’ll tell you why. Paintball will never catch on like any real sport because of one reason. Theirs no money in it. Only money there is, is sponsors (good luck) and people manufacturing guns and paint ect.. Paintball has been stagnant in recent years with no new breakthrough in technology like nitro or electric markers so guns aren’t selling. All companies now will come out with new equip just for money and all companies will claim it’s better and so on. .68 cal is the only way to go, would you change the size of NFL football just because it flies straighter, lighter better cover for grip and has faster velocity? He’ll no I wouldn’t. Same as with baseball Nolan Ryan held the record for fastest pitch for a long time. If they changed the size of the ball it would undo and uncredit his records as long as everyones elses. As far as making paintball little kid friendly?? To increase the sport and make it mom approved blah blah grow up dudes. It’s not safe for kids at a certain age anyway. There masks fogs up and they pull it off right when paints flying at there face. Paintball don’t really hurt anyway. For paintball to grow. Maybe paintball reality show like top model ido so on. The main thing for it to grow is getting adults interested in it. Not just 17 and under kids wanting egos for there birthday. Bigger prizes. Million dollar tournaments for winning team. Kingman save your money on production of .50 cals and invest in a once a year tourney that gives away a shut ton of cash and plaster your name all over it. That’s how you grow. Teams from all over will come. Don’t do anything bigger than 5 man. It’s confusing to audience for tv and bleachers. Bodybuilding has the olympia, world series, superbowl. World cup, masters, opens. Paintball needs a new cool named tournament to attract attention. People like Heros. Keep teams

November 3, 2010 at 9:29 pm
(27) Hysteria says:

I am currently in the works of building 2 indoor fields to support all of the players in my area that have nowhere to go. The only thing I love more than playing paintball is watching other people play and have a good time. The only thing I’m holding out on is whether to use a .50 or .68 caliber for my rental setups. I am more inclined at this point to use .50 for the simple fact that it hurts less. Because I want to see the sport that I love grow, I want to encourage new people to start playing. Two of the biggest factors that prevent people from getting started in paintball are costs, and pain factor. .50 paintballs solve both these problems. I don’t see .50 taking over the industry, seeing as almost every player is used to .68, and obviously doesn’t mind getting hit, or they wouldn’t be playing. But I do see .50 as a great way to get more people into the sport. As more players join they will step up into the “Big Boy” world of .68

November 25, 2010 at 1:53 pm
(28) geezer says:

This isn’t about anything more than money. They make a marker smaller they use less raw material they charge the same price. Like a few of you have already said money money money. Look at the people behind it; The brothers from smart parts. While I have nothing against them personally and love to shoot their markers they had sued many many people in the industry for bringing new ideas to the market. Then when they had went belly up no one came to their rescue. Now here they are again trying to find a way to monopolize the market again. remember people its all about money not the love of the game. I will stay with the 68 cal. thank you very much. if i want to do something different I’ll try airsoft.

February 20, 2011 at 12:43 pm
(29) Ogrecorps says:

Haven’t used it but I can see how it would be useful. I’m making a business out of introducing noobies to the sport and less cost + somewhat less pain is great for me. I’m willing to give it a try.

March 9, 2011 at 6:20 pm
(30) Jake says:

On the Innovation Adoption Curve I’m an early adopter. I will be the first to try this new technology and help it flourish. I think the smaller paintball will translate into less wind drag and potentially tighter shot groupings. As for distance, I’m no scientist but hopefully we can see equivalent distances if not better than the .68′s.

March 19, 2011 at 1:46 pm
(31) Dave says:

Hey everyone. I just did quite a bit of research on the new products that are correlated to the attempt in changing over to .50 cal paintballs. I love planet eclipse products and I have an Etek3 LT which is a great marker, and i’ve shot the best markers (luxe, bob long victory, sl series ego dye nt) and this competes with the top notch markers. Planet eclipse makes a drop in kit for $150 for every etek, and every ego from 07 to present. now if you do a fairly simple cost analysis and you spend $150 on the kit, from what i have seen, the .50 paint will run you about $10 less than the .68 paint PER CASE! so in 15 boxes (about 10 practices), you just made your money back on the drop in kit.
Positive attributes to using .50 cal paint for tournament play are that they are much more accurate and you will have better air efficiency. i have yet to test either the accuracy or efficiency but this is what i see from credible sources online and youtube. the .50 caliber paintballs are said to be significantly cheaper than .68 caliber paintballs

Negative attributes are that they hurt LESS. Yes they hurt less! That is great if you are an 11 year old playing in the woods for the first time but if you can’t feel the paint breaking on you, that may be a very costly penalty for playing on. you die and so do two of your teammates depending on if you have made any influence to the game after you being shot. I want to feel when i get shot, and i also want my opponent to feel it when I shoot them, i feel like that is a huge part of the sport. the paint splatter is also smaller so it will also be more difficult for ref’s to spot the shots. In conclusion, I do like the idea of .50 cal and if i can buy the kit and the paint in the same place I have always been practicing, i probably will.

May 10, 2011 at 10:42 am
(32) TJ says:

You guys should check out the Crosman 3357. This is a .50 calibre paintball revolver from the 1980s!
I’m loving that .50 calibre is popular for blow guns – it means I can still get ammo for my 3357.

May 30, 2011 at 9:48 pm
(33) Ryan05 says:

I play semi pro speedball/xball and play in many scenario based games. For speedball, I would not recommend a .50 but for xball i would very much use a .50! it slings more paint and for a tournament box is about $30 cheaper. Also, the field is much smaller and it helps to shoot ropes.. I am partial to the .68 but I must say, stop the pissing contest!! it’s not replacing anything, it is just another option.. and a good one at that!! For scenario play I must say, as a CQC or a riflemen, a .50 call is the best!! I have smoked SO MANY people using RAP4′s!! they are light weight, carry more ammo and once again, goes back to shooting ropes.. 200 rounds of .68 or 350 rounds of .50.. you gotta reload while i bunker you.. The .68 will always be around and thank goodness for that!! but the .50 cal is a great idea and not only will get more people into paintball (WHICH PEOPLE SHOULD BE PRAISING RATHER THAN COMPLAINING!!) but also adds new alternatives!! Also.. WHY IS EVERYONE AGAINST .50 CAL? your not shooting it, your just getting shot by it!

June 9, 2011 at 9:54 pm
(34) captain_morgan02 says:

I think alot of you guys are pulling facts out of you @$$e$. If the people manufacturing it are lying people would find out pretty quick. It is in their best interest to sell more guns….that being said, how many people rush out to by the same old gun with a new name or new feature set and really dont get anything new. The cheaper the game gets to play per person the more people want in. Its a good strategic move for the manufacturers and the sport, which means its better for all of us!

July 10, 2011 at 3:04 am
(35) joey says:

the soprt is dieing, and if .50call brings more people than let it be, we need every one we can get. the main fact is, is that paintball is an expensive sport, and little kids quite simply do not have the income to suport the sport. sure kids can have thier parants buy them a few things hear and their, but most parents i know will not suport such an expensive soprt reagularly. marketing needs to be aimed at individuals who have a job (Adults)that allows them to play reagularly. more than likely when a parent gets in to a sport children tend to want to try it too, so its like geting two birds with one stone. you can market to adults who can aford the sport but still get the kids into it as well.

September 14, 2011 at 5:46 pm
(36) Colt45 says:

ok the guy who said some stupid stuff about never changing the size a foot ball… well they did that more than once, also the bats used in the major leagues now are of a signifantly higher quality than when babe ruth set home run records during his carriers… and that takes nothing away from his record, lastly there arnt any records or anything to diminish that has to do with paintball so EXPERAMENTING with a differnt callibur paint ball has no negitive effects… btw paint ball has alredy died only the rich and heavly dedicated still play so if i were any of you i would welcome new members…

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