How, when & why to lube your spring gun’s piston seals

By B.B. Pelletier

You’ve asked about proper lubes for spring-piston guns, so I thought I’d offer some pointers.

Spring-gun piston seals are either leather or synthetic. It matters because there are different lubes for different materials. It isn’t always easy to tell what’s in your gun, so this may involve some research.

The gun’s owner’s manual is the best resource to consult about oiling, however most gun makers only recommend their own brand of oil and don’t tell you what type oil is inside. So here are some tips for when you just don’t know.

When in doubt, use silicone chamber oil
For most spring-gun seals, either leather or synthetic, silicone chamber oil is an ideal lubricant. It works best when used sparingly (one or two drops) in guns that have synthetic seals. RWS/Diana guns need one drop every 2,000 to 3,000 shots. Gamo airguns can tolerate a bit more – perhaps a drop every 1,000 shots or so. The models sold today don’t really need that much. Other gun brands should get a drop every year or so.

Leather seals in spring guns need a lot more oil to stay flexible. RWS/Diana guns of the 1970s (models 25, 27, 35 and 45 rifles) as well as most other 1960s-vintage German and English spring guns can use 5-10 drops of silicone chamber oil every 500 shots or every six months.

Lower-powered guns with leather seals, such as the youth models made in the 1950s and ’60s, can actually use regular petroleum oil. If you aren’t sure of the gun’s age or the piston-seal material, silicone chamber oil still works okay. Sparingly lube the synthetic seals of spring guns, but use a little more on spring-gun leather seals – and a little more often, too.

Use oil ONLY – and nothing else!
Do not use anything but oil in spring guns. Don’t use moly, regardless of what you read. Moly that is suspended in solvents will diesel and may damage your gun!

Do NOT try to make spring guns diesel! Internal combustion fuels – diesel, kerosene and similar ones – will explode in a spring gun, causing SERIOUS HARM to the shooter! Even petroleum oil can diesel in a powerful gun! If it explodes, it can cause gun damage and possibly injure the shooter and those standing nearby.

Some target spring guns, such as the FWB model 300 rifle and model 65 pistol, have seals that self-lubricate and do not require any additional attention. Just shoot and enjoy.

Old gun won’t spit out a pellet? Rejuvenate it with oil!
When a gun with leather seals won’t shoot a pellet out the muzzle, put 10 drops of silicone oil down the muzzle and stand the gun with its muzzle pointed up for two hours. The oil runs down the barrel, through the air transfer port and into the compression chamber, where it soaks into the leather seal. Usually, this rejuvenates the gun.

If your gun is spitting any sort of material into the barrel, STOP SHOOTING IMMEDIATELY! That material is the piston seal breaking up and being expelled through the transfer port. Repair it before shooting the gun again.

34 thoughts on “How, when & why to lube your spring gun’s piston seals

  1. Hey BB.

    I have a cfx and it has seen 1000 pellets give or take.
    1. Should I/ how often should I oil it?
    2. If so, How do I oil it?
    3. What oil do you recommend?
    4. Will it require any dissasembling of the gun?

    Thanks a million, Kyle.


  2. Kyle,

    1. In about 2000 more shots
    2. Drop one drop of oil through the air transfer port in the sliding compression chamber.
    3. I recommend any airgun chamber oil Beeman and RWS are both good.

    4. No disassembly required.

    B.B.


  3. Hi BB,nice post :)

    I have a hard time finding oil for airguns in my country (i own a Diana 350 magnum).I just find shotgun oils in store,and i know that these can harm airgun seals…But is there any of these shotgun oils that do not contain pertoleum? If i am correct,I know that petroleum is the thing that damages the seals and maybe spring….right? So maybe finding an all purpose oil WITHOUT petroleum would be ok?
    Thanx,
    Fouad


  4. Fouad,

    You are right – don’t use petroleum-based oil in your Diana 350 Magnum. I don’t think any shotgun oil is going to work for you.

    Look for a pure silicone oil that has a high flashpoint (the temperature at which the oil ignites). That’s what you need for the air chamber on your rifle.

    B.B.


  5. B.B,

    Thanx for the reply,i will go and ask for 100% silicone oil.Do you have some known brand names in mind? Also what are approximately the temperatures for silicone oils to be considered as ‘high flashpoint’?
    Is the temperature mentioned on the oil box in general?
    And last thing,my Diana 350 is new and under 2 years warranty…so i can’t disassemble it to put silicone oil right now…Will it be enough if i put some silicone oil in the end of the barrel and just let the airgun stand for 2 hours(the time for the silicone oil to go through all the barrel ,the breech ,the piston ,to finally reach the spring ?

    Thanx for your time!


  6. Fouad,,

    I wouldn’t oil the gun before I had shot at least 3,000 times. Then what you do is break open the barrel and drop the silicone oil down the hole behind the barrel. That’s the air transfer port. It’s where the compressed air comes out of the compression tube.

    Oil the mainspring with a good grade of petroleum oil, but not too much. Maybe 5-10 drops. Wait until you have 3,000 shots before doing that, too. It will migrate forward into the compression chamber, but in amounts so small they won’t cause a problem.

    I don’t have the name of any silicone oils that are not already labeled airgun chamber oil.

    If you are handy you might want to tune your rifle with moly grease on the piston seal and velocity tar on the mainspring. You will have to order those by mail, I’m afraid. Read my 13-part blog on tuning a spring piston air rifle here:

    http://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2006/08/spring-gun-tune-part-13-range-testing.html

    If you do that you will never have to oil your rifle again.

    B.B.


  7. BB,

    I really appreciate your help :),and the link you provided is much of a help ,but seem to require a lot of work especially for me because i havent disassembled an airgun before.I mean it is better to not take that risk,even after 3000 shots…
    -Is silicon oil suitable for both the chamber AND the spring at the same time? If not what type of oil could be used for BOTH? From your last post,i noticed that putting some petroleum oil on the spring should require disassembling the gun (am i right? ).
    -Can i oil the spring without disassembling the airgun?(if i can see the spring in some way without disassembling,that will be ok)

    Thanx for understanding,but i am on my own on this as it is hard to find ppl that know about airguns in my country.

    Fouad


  8. Fouad,

    The oils must be different because they do two different things. In the compression chamber, the silicone oil helps the piston seal to seal the compression chamber for better compression. The Diana has a very special blue synthetic seal that needs very little oil, so you are very fortunate.

    The mainspring needs an oil with good lubricating properties and good viscosity, which silicone oil doesn’t have. It makes the mainspring slide inside the spring chamber better. That’s why I mentioned petroleum-based oil.

    Maybe it is difficult to find somebody who knows airguns where you live, but every country in the world has good mechanics, and they usually know a lot about lubricants. Whether they repair cars, or guns, they are good sources for information.

    The military of any country usually has wonderful lubricants. When I was in the U.S. Army, I had access to some of the finest lubricants ever made, including sperm whale oil that filled the tins of special-purpose roller bearings. I saved that stuff and used it for years.

    Sometimes a lubricant may be made for one thing but be good for another. That’s where the knowledge of a good mechanic comes in handy. Believe it or not, watch and clock repairmen are also good sources for lubricants. When I used to repair clocks as a hobby I had a cabinet filled with special-purpose lubes. Do you know any watch repairmen?

    B.B.


  9. Hey B.B, good to hear you were in the U.S army :D ;thanx to you,i have learned some basics about lubricants in a matter of a few posts :) I really appreciate that.
    And yes ,i sometimes lubricate the door with a spray and based on what i’ve learned,that sure contains petroleum because it is used on the metal that rotates, to keep the door opening without that ‘kweek’ sound hehe.
    -Is there a way to put a few drops of petroleum oil on the mainspring without disassembling at all? I just want a quick way that let me see the mainspring so that i can put the few drops …IF this process requires long disassembling ,yes maybe i’ll take the airgun to a watch repaireman and disassemble together.

    Fouad


  10. Fouad,

    You are in luck, because it is possible to lubricate a 350 Magnum spring without taking anything apart. Hold the rifle on a steep angle with the muzzle pointed up, but not straight up. You will see how to hold it when you try this. Shine a bright flashlight down the cocking slot in the stock and you can just see the mainspring through the spring cylinder slot. Look at that spring gun tune blog I sent you.

    Drop the oil straight down through the slot and it will get on the mainspring. Then cock and uncock the rifle 25 times to spread the oil.

    You’re done!

    B.B.


  11. Hello B.B :)

    i have found on the net Ballistol.
    http://www.ballistol.com/….it is a NON based petroleum oil and it is an outstanding penetrating oil (like said).It can be used on plastics,leather and metals…..so i guess this could be OK or enough to oil all parts of my Diana 350?
    Sorry for all these questions but i hope u can understand me…

    Fouad



  12. B.B,

    Nice blog,u seem to have written everything on pyramydair :)
    I just Remembered to have noticed a Ballistol spray at the gun’s shop!
    Just asked about Ballistol.One guy told me to use it just on seals and exterior parts,because it is a THIN lube,and therefore it will be used up very quickly and thrown off of parts like the spring and piston.
    Should i use it for spring /piston also? Or should i stick with petroleum oil when it comes to the spring/piston? (putting petroleum oil on the piston will likely after some shots get to contact with the piston seal and therefore diesel..i am right?)

    Thanx!

    Fouad


  13. Fouad ,

    Why don’t you read Ballistol’s web page and see what they say? Ballistol is used on the mechanisms of machine guns all around the world, so it doesn’t get used up. It penetrates the steel and leaves a coating of lubricity.

    B.B.


  14. B.B,

    Take it easy man ,just cool down.I am completely new to these things and just wanted for someone to help me a bit.I have read about Ballistol,but it isnt specified about airguns.
    AND BTW,trust me,these questions/answers are for the good of the airgun community…..New commers will be so lucky finding all these things about lubing without having to ask questions.I thought you were enjoying this.
    I assure you that I was nearly done concerning lubing because i learned much in a matter of some posts.
    You dont want to help,that’s up to u….but take it easy.
    AND IF THERE ISNT ONE LUBE THAT CAN DO EVERYTHING(like i asked in one of my previous posts),THEN WHY HAVENT YOU TELL ME FROM MY FIRST POSTS THAT BALLISTOL CAN DO IT ALL??? I am sorry,but it seems there have been some contradictions in your posts.

    Take care

    Fouad


  15. Fouad,

    You are reading things into my reply that aren’t there. By reading the Ballistol website, you will learn more than by hearing part of the story from me.

    Ballistol is used by armies all around the world – that is fact.

    Of course no one lubricant can do everything. That would be impossible. But Ballistol can do many things.

    Relax, take a deep breath and resume enjoying this blog. No one is angry with you.

    B.B.


  16. Hi, I have a crosman quest 1000x and the manual says to use RMCOIL aka silicone chamber oil but online it is $5 plus $7 shipping. I was wondring if you knew any store that I could get it or similar in and not have to pay $7 shipping for a $5 product.
    Thanks, toxic





  17. B.B.,
    The manual also says to oil every couple of hundred shots. This sounds like a lot to me and I was wondering what you thnk I should do. Also does the mainspring need oiling? If so then what should I use for that and how often should I do it?
    Thanks alot, Toxic






  18. B.B.,
    Are you still there? Do you know how much chamber lube there is in the bottle from the link you gave me?
    Thanks so much, Toxic


  19. Toxic,

    B.B. is now at the SHOT Show. I guess he missed your question before he left this morning.

    I’ll find out how much is in the Chamber Lube bottle and post that info here.

    Edith (Mrs. B.B.)


  20. Toxic,

    Called Pyramyd Air for you. The bottle contains one ounce of chamber lube.

    If you need anything else Pyramyd Air can be reached toll free at
    1-888-262-4867. Very helpful folks.

    Please join us on the current/active blog where airgunners like you are exchanging ideas and sharing stories about airgunning. Here’s a link to take you there:

    http://www.pyramydair.com/blog/

    Look forward to hearing from you!

    kevin





  21. Hey Howdy!!!
    I have a Crosman Storm XT
    I bought it last march( should have gone Gamo my wife would have been p.o.ed either way) so far I've replaced the piston seal and the main spring( it broke in two places)
    I've used 30 weight NON detergent oil in the Chamber thinking its good for the multi pump b.b. gun I have
    After reading all this I was Dead Wrong
    Now what do I do?
    I've Went to pyramid and crosman
    The 1/2 oz silicone by crosman cost 5 bucks the RWS Chamber oil cost about the same then they Sock you with the shipping which jumps the price from5 or 6 bucks to 20 bucks
    where can I find it local ( Ocoee Florida) I also Asked crosman and Pyramid about the Crosman nitro conversion kits they have them for Gamo beeman and everything but Crosman
    I asked them about useing the conversion kit on the Storm they said They have no idea how it would work out
    as they don't have the kit for the storm xt
    Did I buy a hunk O junk?


  22. darvy hearts paulie perrette,

    Why do you think that your gun needs chamber lube?

    When you replaced your piston seal and mainspring I'm assuming that you lubed them correctly.

    If so, you won't need any type of chamber lube for a long time (2,000 shots or more depending on the lubes you used).

    If you didn't lube correctly here's a series that B.B. did on tuning that will show you, among many other things, correct lubrication:

    http://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2006/08/spring-gun-tune-part-13-range-testing.html

    Here's the best place to buy lubes for tuning a springer:

    http://www.airrifleheadquarters.com/catalog/item/251484/4169286.htm

    If your gun is shooting at decent velocity and hitting what you aim at just continue to shoot and burn off the residual petroleum that you now know doesn't belong in a springer. The risk in doing this is burning up your seals. Minimal risk in my way of thinking since you're comfortable in replacing them and the cost is minimal.

    kevin


  23. darvy hearts paulie perrette,

    No, you didn't buy a hunk o junk. But by over-lubricating your gun you may have made one.

    Stop lubing the piston. It doesn't need it. That advice is correct for 1970, not for today.

    With a proper moly lube on the piston seal you should not have to lube it again for five to ten years.

    B.B.


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