Friday, October 05, 2007

B.B. was wrong: The story of Crosman Pellgunoil

by B.B. Pelletier

Today, I will explain all that went on with the Pellgunoil incident, as it will forever remain in my memory.

First of all, I have always believed that Crosman Pellgunoil is a synthetic silicone oil. I had no reason to believe otherwise, and I never questioned why I believed it to be so. All the advice I have given about using Pellgunoil over the years has been based on that belief.

The incident
Yesterday, one of our readers brought to my attention that there has been a discussion on the Yellow Forum about me telling you readers that I introduced Pellgunoil into the BAM B51 precharged pneumatic rifle through the fill nipple to coat the inner seals. I did give that advice, and those on the forum were saying that was wrong and dangerous. They said I should not have done what I did and certainly not told others about it in print. I answered the reader who told me about the forum discussion that Pellgunoil is synthetic and poses no problem.

Was I sure?
Then, my wife asked me whether I knew that for sure. The two things wrong with that are:

  1. I didn't know it for sure - I thought so, but I wasn't certain, and

  2. whenever my wife asks me this question, I am invariably wrong

So, I called a friend who is very knowledgeable about airguns - someone in the business who is in a position to know about Pellgunoil.

He said he didn't know for sure what it was, but that a mutual friend of ours (another very knowledgeable guy) had once purchased some Pellgunoil that was accompanied by a spec sheet that revealed it is just non-detergent 30-weight motor oil and nothing more. My friend didn't know whether that was correct, but he suggested I conduct an ignition test to see if Pellgunoil burns.

A call to Crosman
Right there I knew I had a problem, because something I had believed to be true for decades was quite possibly not true at all. I called Crosman and talked to a company official I know. He told me he doesn't know what Pellgunoil is for certain, but that he does believe it is a petroleum-based product. At Crosman, he told me they refer to it as "Red Oil." I didn't ask this guy for an official company response. My call was simply precautionary, so don't think for a minute that Crosman doesn't know everything there is to know about Pellgunoil. Just not the guy I happened to buttonhole on the phone for five minutes.

The right stuff
He also told me that Crosman RMCoil, which the company now calls Silicone Chamber Oil, is 100 percent synthetic silicone with a high flashpoint. That is the stuff I should have used on the BAM B51.

Then, my friend called me back to say he had tried to ignite Pellgunoil, and it did. So, it is flammable, and probably petroleum-based, at the very least.

Pellgunoil forever - for the right jobs
Here's the deal. Crosman recommends Pellgunoil for all their CO2 guns, and I will continue to recommend it for all CO2 guns. Crosman also recommends using Pellgunoil on the pump piston heads of their multi-pump pneumatics (in the Benjamin line), so I will continue to recommend that, as well. I know it works wonders in those applications.

What I will not do again is recommend the use of Pellgunoil in precharged pneumatic airguns. Perhaps you're wondering what is the difference between a precharged pneumatic and a multi-pump pneumatic? A multi-pump builds an internal pressure of up to 1,200 psi (approximately...some may be less and some may even be more), while many precharged pneumatics develop internal pressures of 3,000 psi, and some even more than that. The two multi-pumps I still wonder about are the Daystate Sportsman Mark II and the Titan multi-pump that it was derived from. Those guns may develop a pressure over 2,000 psi, because they perform like precharged pneumatics. Since I don't know, I will only use silicone oils to lubricate their pump heads.

Now you know everything I do about Crosman Pellgunoil. It's a great product, and I'm very sorry that I told you about using it in an unsafe application.


At October 05, 2007 5:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


That was a tough pill to swallow. You handled it with grace and eloquence. Thank you for all you do.

Michael in Florida

At October 05, 2007 7:50 AM, Blogger Robert said...

I use "Red Oil" in all my Crosman, Daisy & Sheridan guns. It's called transmission fluid. In fact when I bought a leaking Crosman Mark II air pistol I used it in it. Sealed it right up and has been working ever since.

If it can work in a transmission with all the seals, o-rings and gaskets and do no harm then it can work on air gun o-rings.

Plus a quart is only a couple of bucks. And will last a life time.



At October 05, 2007 7:54 AM, Anonymous Mike said...

I'm still unsure where the danger comes in. You made the point that it's dangerous to use petroleum based lubricants in guns that reach these higher pressures. But what is the actual danger?

Will the lubricant explode? Will the gun explode? Will this damage the gun? Is the danger when the gun is fired or when it's being charged (or pumped)?

It's good information to have. But lacking some knowledge you were probably assuming I already had it left me with some questions.

At October 05, 2007 8:36 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


So many people have said the same thing that I know it must be true.


At October 05, 2007 8:41 AM, Anonymous Bryan said...

well if you want to know more here are some links,

my school is luck to have a auto shop :P

At October 05, 2007 8:44 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


Here is the actual danger. When fuel (the oil) gets atomized (broken into a mist of tiny droplets) in a pressurized atmosphere in which there is sufficient oxygen to support combustion, all the droplets burn at almost the same time, if ignited. The higher the pressure, the less it takes to ignite the mixture, until it becomes sensitive enough to go off almost with shock, alone. That's the definition of an explosion.

The military uses fuel-air explosives for scuttling ships and for setting off landmines.

The gun will be blown apart.

A lesser danger is a violent fire, like the one I showed all of you in the post on 30 May this year.


At October 05, 2007 8:47 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


That's what I thought. 30-weight is correct as I originally wrote it. In the designation 10W30 the W stands for winter.


At October 05, 2007 10:01 AM, Anonymous Clarke said...

I, for one would like to for certain what Pellgun Oil actually contains. It seems quite a few people feel that Crosman Red Oil is merely "oridinary" automatic transmission fluid, becuase of its red color. There are many types of ATF from the old type F to many variations of Dexron, some of which are now synthetic based, rather than petroleum. I'm not saying that transmission fluid is bad for airguns. I'm just saying not use a fluid just because of its color. After all, Marvel Mystery Oil is red also, but according to its MSDS, it contains mineral spirits (paint thinner) as a solvent. I think I'll stick with Pellgunoil for my multipumps.

At October 05, 2007 10:01 AM, Anonymous Jack said...

I bought some "Liquid Wrench silicone spray lubricant" a while back, but , under contents the first thing listed is petrolium distillates. Where would one go to get PURE SILICONE OIL? (without waiting for delivery)

At October 05, 2007 10:04 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


Good point.


At October 05, 2007 10:09 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


Don't go to the hardware store. Buy Crosman Silicone Oil, which they told me yesterday is 100 percent pure silicone. The other airgun chamber oils are also probably pure silicone - Airgun Express Chamber Lube and RWS Chamber Lube found in the RWS Rifkle Shooter's kit.


At October 05, 2007 12:31 PM, Blogger LoneShooter said...


You are the best! Thanks for the information.


At October 05, 2007 3:09 PM, Anonymous bill said...

Hi B.B.

So assuming Pellgunoil is actually a petrolium-based product, I understand that as such, it is safe for CO2 guns and mulit-pump pneumatics.

Are there any pellet gun applications where Pellgunoil (and like products) are preferred over pure silicon chamber oil?

Asked another way, is there any reason not to use pure silicon chamber oil exclusively for all lubrication needs? If so, what are those applications?


At October 05, 2007 3:33 PM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


You ask if silicone oil can do everything Pellgunoil can, plus service PCPs. I would haver to say yes, it can.

The main reason I push Pellgunoil so hard is its wide distributrion, and the fact that real 100 percent silicone oil is not widely distributed.

I read a report online two days ago about a guy who overhauled Saxby-Palmer air cartridges and his pump with WD-40. Had he asked me beforehand, I would have told him what that would do, which was destroy everything it touched. But to some people, WD-40 is good oil and they use it on everything.

So I tell them NO, emphatically, and push Pellgunoil. If I were to push silicone oil, they would go to Home Depot and pick up a can that says silicone on the lable and proceed to destroy everything they came in contact with.


At October 05, 2007 4:10 PM, Anonymous J.R. said...

But if pellgunoil is actually 30w non-detergent oil colored red, then can't we just use the latter? Don't get me wrong,I'm OK with giving Crosman the business,its just that pellgunoil is hard to find in my area (San Diego Co.).

At October 05, 2007 4:37 PM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


Sure you can use motor oil. Like I said in one of my recent posts, straight non-detergent motor oil is what Daisy recommends for their guns.

But not all airgunners want a quart of seal lube laying around. I have been working on 4 ounces for 8 years and there is still half left. And you know I almost drink the stuff!


At October 05, 2007 4:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it was Satchell Paige who has been credited for the quote "It ain't what you know that gets you - its what you know, that ain't so".

No sweat B.B. - everyone is entitled to a mistake now and again. Admitting that in public takes character - good for you!

At October 05, 2007 5:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Occtober 5, 2007- bb made a mistake. It was bound to happen. tisk tisk tisk...

Only kidn bb.


At October 05, 2007 8:05 PM, Anonymous Vince said...

BB, I don't believe that silicone oil is as effective at lubricating metal-metal wear surfaces as petroleum-based products.

But, of course, I could be wrong...

At October 05, 2007 10:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BB, I respect you even more now - and will know who you are soon too, isn't that right. Interesting discussion on silicone. Here is a link to another blog with some more info., slightly different but none the less informative.
BB, I respect you even more now - and will know who you are soon too, isn't that right. Interesting discussion on silicone. Here is a link to another blog with some more info., slightly different but none the less informative.


At October 05, 2007 10:46 PM, Blogger katmwz said...

Making a misake won't let others down, not facing up to it will. Keep up the great work.
Quick question, why are spring guns supossed to be shot (with a pellet) instead of uncocking the gun? By uncocking I mean putting the same amount of pressure and grip on the barrel as if cocking it then pulling the trigger to release the piston and "slowly" allow the barrel to close. Will doing this harm the gun??



At October 06, 2007 7:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry if this is a duplicate comment. First, I am the fink that told about you about the Yellow Forum heads up. I am glad to see that all is well and also that you deserve the accolades and kudos for your corrections and much info given!!! By the way, air tanks and oil was actually mentioned first on the forum - Pyramyd was mentioned by name first. Anyway, I was told to use FOOD grade silicone on my orings in my pcp guns and had no problems. I buy these from dive shops and Sports Authority. Please let me know if you heard anything detrimental. Pellet lube is VanHogs Boar oil or FP10.
On a side note: Curious that you or Pyramyd was not told of this besides myself...Surely the Yellow Forum is exclusively read by airgunner - most very highly knowledgeable in this art/hobby. And many visit your site and blog. Why no feedback on this matter which could have had dire consequences on some unlucky user? All I can say is that we must help each other, for there are many antigunners waiting for any excuse (accidents, faulty products- recalling BBguns, etc) to hamper our beloved hobby.
I apologize to anyone who takes the above wrongly. Take your best shot!
All have a great day!!

At October 06, 2007 8:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

still lurk daily...

First, simply could not stop laughing at stipulation #2 of when the Mrs asks you a question. Behind every great man is a woman who is telling him he's wrong hehe

second, and I cant believe the days have come when I'd quote my dad and beleive it...

"the only people who make no mistakes are the ones who don't do anything" ... With the amount of info you dispence here it'll happen agaian no doubt. probabply to a lesser degree, this was a biggie that could have blown up in your face (pun definitly intended). But how you dealt with the discovery is why I'm a fan and have always been around.

Life isn't about "plan A" it's about "plan B",


At October 06, 2007 8:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW you should take full liberty and edit out the suggestion to use the oil in the b50 blog...anywhere you can find it for that matter

"Be damned" to any who may say you were trying to hide an error.

hearing of your antifans saying you were trying to hide an error may be the last pill to swallow to make this right.

The change is necessary for saftey and absolute clarity and is fully warrented for that alone.


At October 06, 2007 9:14 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

Garden-variety silicone oil is definitely NOT recommended for metal-to-metal lubrication. I can't recall anywhere that I recommended it for that.

Consider chamber lube as garden-variety silicone oil.


At October 06, 2007 9:23 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


No reason to apologise. As you recall, I even answered you that Pellgunoil is a synthetic - that's how sure I was until I checked.

I will always defer to safety in my writing. I have no pride of authorship that tops the safety of others. Our hobby needs the correct informations, if it's to thrive.

As far as I know, you are the only person who brought this up to Pyramyd Air, which says something.

Thank you.


At October 06, 2007 9:27 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


Good to hear from you!

On Oct. 18 when I reveal who I am, you may recall a phone conversation we had several years ago.


At October 06, 2007 9:31 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


I thought about editing out the reference to the improper use, but I decided it's better to let everyone see the mistake, as long as I correct it at the same time. That way they will all see that anyone can make a mistake, and that safety is more important than anyone's feelings or reputation.


At October 06, 2007 12:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I said then, Ive felt like I was plugged into some of the best people in the sport.


At October 06, 2007 1:30 PM, Anonymous bill said...

Hi B.B.

Thanks for the great info. I need some clarification, though. You said, "Garden-variety silicone oil is definitely NOT recommended for metal-to-metal lubrication. I can't recall anywhere that I recommended it for that. Consider chamber lube as garden-variety silicone oil."

Getting back to my original question, which was, " there any reason not to use pure silicon chamber oil exclusively for all lubrication needs?" to which you replied, "You ask if silicone oil can do everything Pellgunoil can, plus service PCPs. I would have to say yes, it can."

So I am a bit confused now by the differences between silicon oil (which you allow) and chamber lube (which you disallow).

Are "chamber lubes" petrolium based?

Is pure silicon chamber oil suitable for metal-to-metal applications? Is it not as good as a petrolium-based product like Pellgunoil?

What makes "garden variety" silicon oil not suitable for m-to-m?

Maybe you already have, but could you restate the definitive answer on what is and is not recommended and for what reasons?


At October 06, 2007 7:34 PM, Anonymous Vince said...

I believe that pellgunoil is not recommended for metal-on-metal lubrication either, which explains why silicone can be used in its place.

I think that metal-on-metal, like linkage pivots, trigger pins, and sliding piston-to-chamber lubrication is better handled by something entirely different... like moly paste or an oil/moly mix.

At October 07, 2007 1:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must have missed something - how many people were killed by this mistake? No harm No foul I say and lets move on!

At October 07, 2007 2:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


check this out...


At October 07, 2007 4:03 PM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


You and I are not communicating.

Pure (food-grade) silicone oil is for sealing - not for lubrication. Blended silicone oils are used as motor oils, so silicone is very versatile. But NO OILING METAL PARTS WITH SILICONE AIRGUN OIL!

Chamber lubs are only pure silicone, and ARE NOT to be used for lubrication.

You can buy a can of silicone spray at the hardware store, but while it does lubricate, it is not formulated for high-temperature applications like airgun chambers. THAT is what I referred to as a "garden-variety" silicone.


At October 08, 2007 6:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Surely the Yellow Forum is exclusively read by airgunner - most very highly knowledgeable in this art/hobby."

Well..I wouldn't say MOST..There are a few select people on the Yellow who know their stuff. Personally I prefer my airgun information in well-written doses.

While any philosopher will tell you that "knowledge" is indeed subjective, I have trusted my last four airgun purchases to the excellent reviews found here. I am quite pleased.

I once saw a quote on the side of a blue taxi cab that read "We're not yellow, we'll go anywhere!"

Keep up the great work, B.B.!

At October 08, 2007 7:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no doubt that because of this exposure, Crosman will be seriously looking at their Pellgun Oil product labeling. It should NOT be the average consumer's responsibility to test this company's products, or have to guess at their chemical compounds.

"Specially developed formula. exclusive use for all high compression CO2 gas and air gun seals"

The use of language regarding "high compression" and "air gun" is pretty darn broad.

We are in a whole new world of HPA powered air guns, and it seems to me that Crosman needs to do a little catching up to prevent some serious litigation.

caveat emptor, and all that.

At October 08, 2007 9:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Check out El Cajon Gun Exchange. They have some.

Springer John

At October 08, 2007 9:22 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

Regarding the Pellgunoil labling, I believe you're right.


At October 08, 2007 6:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Regarding the Pellgunoil labling, I believe you're right."

Yer darn toot'n!

Labeling for the consumer is a studied science. Words have to be chosen very carefully, and instructions very, very specific.

I recall an article about a woman who overdosed and sadly died because of labeling on her prescribed medication.

The label said:

"Take once daily"

So she followed the directions precisely and took 11 pills every day.

"Once" is Spanish for eleven.

At October 11, 2007 5:53 AM, Anonymous Jack Bauer said...

Hey B.B.,

I was wondering if I should use pellgun oil on the breech seal of my air rifle, and my airsoft sniper rifle? I remember talking to a pyramydair person and he recommended it, but since most don't really know what this stuff is I begin to wonder if he was wrong. Since it is petroleum based, then why does Crosman recommend it on their CO2 guns because petroleum eats through a rubber seal? Thanks!

At October 11, 2007 6:31 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


Crosman recommends Pellgunoil because it works. Blended petroleum products like 3-in-1 and others will destroy some seals, but apparently straight oil doesn't.

Use Pellgunoil on all CO2 applications. Silicone oil on all spring seal applications.


At October 11, 2007 2:55 PM, Blogger katmwz said...

Did my earlier question about uncocking a springer get over looked or should it have it been posted on a different day?



At October 11, 2007 3:03 PM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


I didn't see it. Please post again.


At October 12, 2007 1:38 PM, Blogger katmwz said...

Why is it recommened to shoot a cocked springer(with a pellet) rather than carefully uncocking it by holding tightly onto the barrel, pulling it back slightly towards the stock and pulling the trigger then allowing the barrel to "slowly" rotate up? Will doing this harm the gun?



At September 24, 2008 11:39 PM, Anonymous Tom said...

I used a "3 in 1" brand of silicone lubicant from home depot to lube my c02 airpistol. Then I found out it has petrolium distilate. Is my airgun messed? Or is it still fine? And is petrolium distilate that bad for my gun?



At September 25, 2008 6:00 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


Perhaps not! Crosman Pellgunoil is really 20-weight motor oil with an O-ring preservative added. So it's petroleum.

Just watch the gun and see what happens. It won't take long if the oil damages the seals.


At September 29, 2008 12:23 AM, Anonymous Tom said...


Thanks, I used it for my airgun and shot over 3 bulbs of c02 while using the 3 in 1, works better then then before, more shot made. I will continue using it on my umarex ppks and see what happens. If all goes well I will continoue using 3 in 1 on the rest of the air gun. Also how many bulbs of c02 will I have to use to see if it damages the seals? Thanks


At September 29, 2008 6:38 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


If it hasn't damaged the seal yet, it's not going to.


At September 29, 2008 7:08 PM, Anonymous Tom said...


Thanks alot for helping me, and one last question, how do you know if the seal is damaged? I'm a beginner at airguns so Im not sure. If its damaged can it still fire? What will happen? And if the gun's seal is fine this co2 pistol using 3 in 1, will it have a chance to mess up another co2 pistols seal? Thanks alot for your help, this site is really awsome and helpful!


At September 30, 2008 5:37 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


If the gun leaks, the seal is damaged. There is not just one seal - there are several.

A fast leak can empty the gun in a minute. It's loud and you will know it. A slow leak can empty the gun in anything from overnight to several months. The only way to tell is the charge the gun and let it sit.

A gun with a slow leak will still fire. I have several that leak down over several months. I just put in a fresh cartridge when I want to shoot and don't worry that any that's left over will leak out. I leave all my CO2 guns charged all the time, and I have several that have been charged for over 5 years.

I warn against using anything besides 20-weight oil or Crosman Pellgunoil because we don't know what works and what doesn't. But if 3-in-1 is working in one gun there is every reason to believe it will work in all of them.


At October 18, 2008 12:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I own a 392 benjamin sheridan for about 3 years, I noted a little less force to pump the rifle, I disassembled de valvle and a black/oily substance was covering the valvle, the pipe pump, and inner the valvle... I washed the valve just whit soap/water, but I think thas was caused by using "mendoza oil" to lubricate only the pivots and rivets in the pump arm, (what the manual said to be lubed)Here (zapopan, Mexico) never found "crosman pellgunoil"... Yesterday found "slim lub" a silicone base lub, this can be used to lub the metal parts that have friction???
I think was a little damage to the sintetic seals, but not notorius as deforming it... I chroned the velocities and was very low... less than 560 fps whit 14.3 gr. here we have a height level over sea of 5200 feets
Thanks for your comments...

At October 18, 2008 10:09 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


Use Pellgunoil or 20-weight non-detergent oil, ONLY! The other stuff may harm your seals.

Have you always stored the rifle with a pump of air? It sounds like you haven't, and that will drop the velocity, too, as the seals harden

Silicone oil is not often used for heavy lubrication. Use petroleum oil for that.

At your altitude, you probably need to pump your rifle two additional times to compensate for the thinner air. Try that before anything else.


At December 03, 2009 11:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crosman's MSDS says it's
"Monolec GFS SAE 30 Engine Oil"

At February 04, 2010 10:49 PM, Anonymous Barton Smith said...

I suppose the formula for Pellgunoil might have changed over the years - and a transition from a silicone-based oil to a hydrocarbon-based oil would certainly be quite a change - but the owner's manual for my ca. 1967 Crosman model 99 pellet rifle states that one should use only "Special Crosman Silicone Formula Pellgunoil" to lubricate the rifle.

I've heard that one should NEVER lubricate rubber and plastic seals and gaskets with hydrocarbon-based oil because it can cause deterioration of the elastomers. I belief this is why gasoline and diesel engines contain paper and cork gaskets.

At February 05, 2010 6:36 AM, Blogger Vince said...

Barton Smith, many gaskets ARE made of rubber in modern engines. In some cases replacement gaskets are available in both rubber and cork - with rubber being more expensive. And therein lies the advantage of cork.

But generally speaking it is very common to see OEM valve cover/oil pan gaskets, fuel line hose, and cam/crank seals made of some form of plastic or rubber. It all depends on the formulation.

Paper does work better in some applications because it is harder and compresses less, and the exact position or alignment of a gasketted joint can be held with greater precision or it might be less inclined to blow out.

BTW - you might wanna pop over to for the latest discussions....


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