M16 Paintball Guns

image of actual weapons ~ M16A1 M16A2 M4A1 ~ click the image for paintball versions

Go to the progress photos

Pushing 5 years now I've been toying with making an M16 paintball gun. Like a couple of other projects I've seen on the net lately, I was thinking of stuffing the workings of a Tippmann Model 98 - a gun I knew and had one of - into an airsoft M16 upper receiver. I never really liked the idea, the 98's working are longer by nearly 3 inches and there's not much you can do to shorten that.

Then I ran across this thread on MilSimZone of a M98 to M4 conversion by a fellow in Poland, which led to finding This thread on Paintball Mods. which was quite impressive. Even unfinished, the second one was the best job of getting the M98 into an airsoft M4 receiver I've seen yet; it also perked my ears to the availability of metal airsoft receivers! It got me itching to blow the dust off my project and finally make it work.

At the drawing board I still could not come up with a way to make the action of the Model 98 fit into an M16 receiver and retain the features I wanted it to have:

  • Receiver to break down as the original.
  • Able to use real hand guards, butt stocks, magazine, etc, with all the interchangeability of the original weapon.
  • Paintball gun action to be modular and able to be placed in another prepared receiver.

First I hunted down an Airsoft receiver set, actually getting two; a whole airsoft Jin Gong G6618 M16 AEG with an ABS plastic A2 receiver; and a Classic Army metal A1 receiver set.

I tossed out the Model 98 stuffed into an M16 approach and set out to determine what paintball gun's guts would best fit the job. For that information I turned to our paintball community's combined knowledge and experience via the forums. The answer was quick and logical: the Air Gun Designs AutoMag!

This one's not exactly pretty, but this ebay purchase was meant for this project! In fact, the "Mag" is often used in projects of this sort for the very reasons it's perfect here. The whole gun is basically a 1-1/8" cylinder that can be made to fit in a lot of real gun stocks and receivers.

Wandering about the Internet, looking for anything on Automags, M16s, parts, ideas, etc, I stumbled on some pictures of an obviously professional job which turned out to have been made by Reaper Custom Paintball using real receivers and, you guessed it, AutoMags!. Reaper now machines custom receivers for his guns and they are a work of art.

That fellow is a machinist with equipment and skills far beyond mine, but it definitely proved the thing can be done and that I was on the right track with the right marker. Besides that, the guy is really friendly, helpful, and has shared some great tips and suggestions. If you want an M4 type paintball gun, and don't want to get your hands dirty like me - this is the guy to see. Reaper and more pictures plus plans for a magazine fed version are over on the MilSim Empire Forum

Romping about the Internet seeking parts and tools. (It's amazing how hard it is to find something like a bandsaw blade in a "hardware store" now-a-days.) Most of the parts I had gathered so far were A2 parts; handguards, buttstock, delta ring, etc, and some A1 parts; handguards, grip, end caps; but in my virtual travels and little bit of ebay I've found an A1 buttstock, straight-sided delta ring, slings, and even a D-Boys metal M4 receiver set.

In-fact, what started as an M16A1 project has become a project to make an M16A1, M16A2, and an M4.

Not having a bonafide "shop," I'll be working out of my apartment with such tools as a drill press, small bandsaw, Dremel rotary tool, hand tools, bench grinder, JD-Weld, and hopefully patience to do a quality job, or rather three quality jobs both in metal and plastic.

This site will document that attempt to create three M16 family Paintball guns.

click a pic to see a larger image

Follow the work in progress.


March 18, 2008

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