Your range doesn't come from the speed the BB comes out of the barrel, there I've said it :-p It is a factor, but not a huge one! The most important factor in your airsoft gun's range is a good hopup system, a good rubber, a good chamber and a good barrel. But most of all a good rubber can be like night & day to an airsoft rifle, changing it from a floor shooting lacklustre pita into something that will put BBs down range laser straight for what seems like miles.
The basics... Your hopup system is a small mechanism usually around the start of the barrel which puts a backspin on the BB. This backspin does 2 things, first and most important it acts in a simiar way to an aeroplane wing, putting low pressure air above it and high pressure air below giving it lift, this allows you to stretch your effective range incredibly, your BB trajectory can be made very flat, give it a slight lift, even disappear up to the heavens if you over set it! Secondly it stops any random spin the BB would generate coming down the barrel and centralises it to just the back spin in a very specific direction, without this you would have BBs flying everywhere but where you're shooting! Taking all this into account you can see that your hop rubber can be the single most important factor in range and accuracy in your Airsoft gun!
So... What am bestest hop rubber? Unfortunately it's not quite that simple, every rubber works differently in each gun, hop windows are cut to different sizes, barrel widths are different, hop chambers can be very tight and they can even hold the barrels in slightly different positions. All of these factors complicate if you shiny new rubber will improve your shooting, sky shoot or even feed at all!
A well set up hop can almost double your effective range, a better hop rubber can push the BB even further and sometimes shrink your grouping.
Seeing strange numbers on your hop rubbers? 50, 60, 70, 75 & 80 degrees all refer to the hardness of the rubber used to make the hop rubber, the softer ones are good for lower power 50s & 60s are great around 300-350, but not so great for a high rate of fire (they can be a lot more vulnerable to tearing). 70-80 are great for snipers, gas guns & high ROF guns. Guarder make 2 different types of AEG rubber, silicon (great for low power, but delicate to fit) and rubber (great for higher power and much easier to fit!).
There are many different types of contact patch (the part that actually contact the BB) the main standard is a basic single bulge, the Maple Leaf Delta has a triangular patch, the Monster has a longer split style run. Each style has different benefits and will work differently for each individual gun. There are many more styles of patch from a separated 'R' hop patch (which is completely separate from the hop rubber) to the firefly 'finger' style patches. The only way to know what will work for you is by trying them.
Although I can only recommend 'suck it and see' with a lot of these, I've tried to clear up a few of the basics. Any more questions, give us a shout on our facebook page here or drop us a quick message through our site.