How to Set an Inline Regulator

How to Set a Regulator

Regulators, regs, that thing on the gun in front of the grip, what ever you call them, they are the one of the most misused, and poorly set parts on a paintball gun. So first we’ll cover what they do, then we’ll cover how to set them.

The main reason people use regs on paintball guns is to control the pressure of the gas that’s firing the ball. If the pressure (or PSI) of the gas propelling the ball goes up and down, the velocity of the ball goes up and down, leading to missed shots, because the balls were following different paths in the air with each shot.

For instance, if you fired a ball at a 45 degree angle, at 275 feet per second, the ball is going to follow a certain arc. The next ball, again fired at 275 fps, will follow the same arc, but might drift a little side to side. It will land at just about the same distance, and area. Now fire a ball at 265 fps. Its going to follow a lower path in the air, and land closer to you, simple right? Now fire a ball at 275 fps, get an idea of where it hits, adjust you aim a little, and fire a ball at 260. You missed. Adjust your aim to the new arc, and the next one comes out at 285, you still missed, and so on, and so on.....

That’s the point of a reg. By keeping the pressure that fires the ball more consistent, the velocity will be more consistent. That means your gun will be more accurate, and you’ll get more people out.

Now, how do they work?  Well, I had a bucket analogy, but, it wasn't the best, and I was never really happy with it, so we're going to use an example based on a regulator everyone uses every day:
Your toilet.  
When you flush a toilet, the tank empties into the bowl, which pushes the waste down the pipe.  Once the tank is empty, the float control inside it adds water until the tank is full, then shuts off.  If the control float allows too much water in, the tank over flows.  If it doesn't let enough water into the tank, the toilet doesn't flush correctly.

In this case, your valve chamber is the tank, your bolt is the bowl, your barrel is the pipe, and your inline regulator is the float control.  If there isn't enough pressure in your valve (water in the tank) when you fire (flush), you get low velocity (something left floating).  If there's too much pressure (water in the tank), you flush, the flush works, but you end up with higher than wanted velocity (water on the floor when the tank overflows).

The biggest thing the regs do is to keep your gun from spiking. If the pressure from the tank goes over the limit that the reg is set at, it wont let the extra air into the valve chamber, thus, fewer hot shots.

Any way, this is how to set a reg for the most consistent, and efficient pressure.

First, set the internal velocity adjuster on you gun to the mid point. That’s the way you normally adjust the velocity. It doesn’t matter if it is exactly at the mid-point, it just needs to be close.

Some people set the IVG at the lowest setting, and then sweet spot the reg. There is one small problem with this. You loose the lower end of the adjustments when you do this. If your gun is shooting 290 fps on the day you sweet spot the reg and the IVG is all the way back, you are screwed if you need to turn it down later. By setting the IVG at the middle, or close to the middle of the threads, you not only gain the lower end adjustment, but you can also fine tune the sweet spot for the gun by not only setting the pressure, but also adjusting the spring tension using the IVG.

Now, turn the reg down to the point where the gun fires consistently, so it re-cocks and every thing. At this point, you’ll be shooting some where around 100 fps. Now slowly turn the reg up, and chrono after every adjustment. As the pressure from the reg goes up, so will the fps. When the velocity stops going up, (if you go to far past this point, it will begin to drop) that’s where you will get the most shots per tank. Its not the quietest pressure, but its the most efficient.

On low pressure guns, i.e.: cockers running valves that are suggested to run under 300psi, you may get better results by doing the above, but with the velocity set at the lowest point. If you are unhappy with the results you get from the above, try this.

If the velocity is too high when it stops going up, and you can’t get the velocity down by adjusting the IVG, you need to change the main spring. That’s the one that pushes the hammer, and thus opens the valve.
If the adjuster is at the mid-point, and it stops climbing at 350 fps, just lower the IVG until it is down to about 300fps, and then put the finishing touches on it. If it never stops climbing, then you have either a much too stiff main spring, or a much too light valve spring.

If its too low, same thing, replace the main spring with a stiffer one, or the valve spring with a lighter one.

If you want to, you can try different combinations of valve spring, and hammer spring to fine tune the pressure your running when you hit the sweet spot. Spring balancing is one of the most time consuming jobs you can do to a cocker. Don’t rush it if you decide to start swapping springs, and always keep the stock set handy, just to have a base line you can go back to.

Now that its set at the most efficient, now you have to find the “sweet spot” for the gun. The sweet spot is where you are going to get the best chrono results. Now on most guns, is just a hair below the setting that’s the most efficient. All you have to do is play with the pressure a little. Lower the pressure a little, then take three shots over the chrono. Bring it up a touch, and do it again, and again, and again.... Well, you get the point. One note, USE GOOD PAINT!!!!! or you will drive yourself nuts. You are never going to get good results with crap paint, or a bad paint to barrel match*, so don’t skimp on the money, and buy the cheap stuff.

You need to note that turning the pressure past the sweet spot, doesn’t do a thing, it will make your velocity drop, and just makes it harder on paint.

Now that your reg is set up, save yourself some time and energy, and use a good gauge to check the pressure. That way, you know what you are set at, and if you need to change anything in the air system, you know where you need to start out at.

One other thing, your tank should be about 150psi to 300psi over the setting of your reg. Start at 150psi over, and if you get shoot down, bring it up until it goes away.

Now the psi is set where it should be, and you know the pressure the gun needs, why are you reading this? YOU SHOULD BE AT THE FIELD PLAYING!!!!!!!!!!!

*Paint that rolls out of the barrel, or gets stuck in it will cause problems at the chrono. You want the paint to be held by the barrel, but still be able to be pushed out if you blow on the end of the barrel.

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