Cleaning and Maintaining your Air RifleMark Watts
Any seasoned airgun shooter will tell you that like their real-world counterparts, Air rifles require a lot of maintenance to ensure the various internal mechanisms found will continue to function to the best of their ability. Therefore, it is imperative that any prospective airgunner is aware of the methods to maintain their new purchase in order to keep it working at a high standard. While Airguns looks fairly simple on the outside, there are a number of parts which make them up, all of which require some form of cleaning and maintenance. With that in mind, this blog will look at the various ways in which you will have to maintain your air rifle to ensure it performs at its peak!
While airgun barrels do get dirty, they don’t need as much cleaning as a real firearm. The main issue that you find with airgun barrels is that they amass a build up of oil or deposits of metal from firing pellets. Generally, when cleaning the internal barrel, two rules apply –
- NEVER OIL YOUR BARREL – Due to the nature of Airguns, oiling your barrel is a massive no-go. Not only can it get inside the various mechanisms found within an airgun, damaging them in the process, it can also cause dieseling, in which the oil combusts as you fire a pellet. Over time, this process will damage your seals.
- INSTEAD, USE CLEANING PELLETS – Cleaning pellets are a very efficient way to ensure your barrel stays clean. The general rule of thumb is to use one cleaning pellet after every tin of pellets you put through it. If you want to go the extra step, you can also make use of a cleaning rod as well.
Like all things of metal construction, the exterior of a barrel needs maintaining to ensure it doesn’t rust. This is a fairly easy process though and doesn’t require any specialist equipment.
- WIPE YOUR BARREL WHEN WET – Whenever your barrel is exposed to water, simply wipe it over. Water can damage metal work fairly rapidly so ensuring this is done is important.
- APPLY PROTECTIVE SPRAYS – Should you wish to ensure your airgun maintains its new look, you can also make use of either a rust protection spray or silicon gun oil – both of which will protect your barrel against rust and wear, maintaining a brand-new look in the process.
One of the biggest draws of a lot of Airguns is the bespoke woodwork that distinguishes them from other products. Airguns make use of a variety of different woods, including beech and hardwood, and although these are varnished at the manufacturing stage, over time the wood can show the effects of general wear and tear. The good news is this is easily treatable.
- WIPE YOUR WOODWORK WHEN WET – Like the external barrel, whenever your air rifle is exposed to water, you want to ensure you are wiping it over to prevent the woodwork from rotting in the long run.
- VARNISH YOUR WOODWORK – If you want to ensure your air rifle continues to look exquisite, you can also apply a varnish to the woodwork with a stick finish. Not only will this give it a high-quality sheen finish, but it will also protect it from mild impacts.
A lot of those within the airgun industry do not understand the importance of properly maintaining the action. Found within the stock, many within the industry believe simply wiping it over when wet will protect it, however, water can seep into the stock, causing the mechanisms within to rust and seize.
– USE GUN OIL TO PREVENT THIS – To ensure the mechanisms do not seize, you will have to remove the stock using the appropriate tool and put a tiny amount of gun oil inside the action. You must ENSURE this is gun oil though and not motor oil, which is far too thick and will seize the internal mechanisms while softening the wood in the process.
Generally, any trigger work is left to the professionals due to the importance of the trigger mechanism. If done wrongly, you could essentially destroy the cocking mechanism within the rifle, stopping it from cocking. If you do want to tinker with your trigger mechanism though, the following can be explored.
- DEGREASING – Generally, you’ll want to leave your trigger mechanism alone, however, if you’re somewhat of a tinkerer, you can remove the casing from the trigger mechanism, which will reveal an internal mechanism. Once doing this, you can use a degreaser spray on the trigger mechanism and then re-oil the appropriate areas.
- DO NOT DO THIS IF YOU ARE NOT CONFIDENT – We will reiterate though, if this is not something you are comfortable with doing, DO NOT attempt it. The last thing you want to do is destroy the mechanism in the process!
In closing, these are a number of tasks you can perform to ensure your air rifle is maintained to a good standard. With that said though, our final piece of advice would be to get your air rifle serviced by a professional on a regular basis. Doing so will ensure it continues to perform at a high rate for a prolonged period of time. How much you use your air rifle will determine how often you get it serviced – so if you’re someone who shoots once a week, a service every two years should suffice.