Airsoft primer: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

This report covers:

• Learning to work on airsoft guns
• Components of airsoft guns
• Parts commonality — the airsoft way
• Various upgrades to components
• Need for a systematic approach to upgrades

This report is the beginning of the second installment of a promise I made to some of our readers. They wanted to know how to upgrade and work on airsoft guns, and I said I’d show them. The last report was written half a year ago, but I’ll get the next one out a bit faster. In fact, I’ve already written it!

How do you learn?
If you think there’s a lack of information about working on pellet guns and BB guns — you should experience airsoft! Not only is there very little information, much of it suffers from poor translation from various Asian languages to English. If you persevere, though, there are places to find this information — and, today, you can add this blog to the list.

I had to learn the hard way — on my own by doing it. I think that’s a rite of passage among airsofters. Most of this work is not that difficult once you know what you’re doing, but there are so few places that tell you how to begin. I was fortunate to have an airsoft store owner advise me when I first learned, so I’ll pass along a lot of what he taught me.

Airsoft parts groups
The first thing to learn is that there are several components in any airsoft gun that can be upgraded. They are:

• Barrel
• Gearbox
• Powerplant (usually sold as a kit but sometimes can be purchased separately)
• Batteries and motors — applies only to automatic electronic guns (AEGs)
• Accessory components (these are not what you’d think)

A universal truth
There are many airsoft guns and many airsoft manufacturers, but there is a very high degree of commonality throughout the industry. If we were talking about cars, it would be the equivalent of Ford making all the engines for all cars, regardless of what name was on the car. There would be no such thing as a Corvette engine. It would be a Ford engine with the Corvette name on the outside.

airsoft parts
A small assortment of airsoft parts. These parts are available from online sources to upgrade most guns.

While there are dozens of different models of sniper rifles, there might be only 2 or possibly 3 really different designs. In some cases, there’s just 1. I’m not just talking about sniper rifles now — I’m talking about all the different families of airsoft guns. You look at M4s, for instance, and you’ll find 15 different names on the outside. That doesn’t mean anything. There might just be 2 different M4s that everybody makes into their own proprietary rifle. So, in the world of airsoft, there’s no such thing as an Armalite M4. The Armalite M4 is the same as the Olympic Arms M4 and the Colt M4, etc. Get it?

aorsoft illustrated parts breakdown
Unlike most airgun manufacturers, airsoft manufacturers freely publish their illustrated parts breakdowns and schematics like this. They’re protected from American liability laws by their U.S. distributors.

The first thing you have to do, therefore, is discover which parts will fit on your specific model. Don’t expect to find a universal Rosetta Stone with all this information! It’s not the same as going to the auto parts store and looking in that thick book of parts applications. What you have to do is converse with the manufacturer/distributor or go on the airsoft forums and ask questions. Let me give you a specific example.

Barrels
Sniper rifle barrels are nothing but smooth tubes. If you paid $99 for your sniper “rifle,” the tube that came on it is probably quite a bit larger than most 6mm airsoft ammunition. Why? Because the sniper rifle manufacturer knows you are a cheap person — having spent only $99 to buy a sniper rifle, when you could easily have spent 3 times that amount. Because you are cheap, you will probably also buy and use cheap airsoft ammo, and that’s the stuff that is oversized and not uniform. It will work much better in an oversized barrel — where the term “work” means continue to come out the end of the muzzle when the trigger’s pulled.

airsoft barrel
This is a typical airsoft barrel.

But…if you actually want to hit a man-sized target at 50 meters with the first shot, a cheap sniper rifle is not the gun to use. For that, you need a rifle with a tighter barrel (which is still a smooth tube), and you need to find and continue to use only the one correct round in your gun. In other words, you need to become what many will call an airsoft “snob.”

As surprising as it may sound, you can buy a tighter barrel for your cheap sniper rifle — often from the company that made the rifle! You see, they didn’t actually make that barrel. They bought it from 1 or 2 barrel makers who supply barrels to all of the airsoft community (the Ford engine in the Corvette). And there are different grades of tightness among barrels! This is where the airsoft forums come in handy. Someone will tell you that to upgrade your $99 Whango Tacticool M40, you need a Sho-Lin barrel that’s only 0.20mm larger than 6mm. It will work on your rifle, but you have to shoot 0.24-gram Black Mambas through it because everything else will jam.

If you can follow this advice to the letter, you can make a nice sniper rifle. And, when you’re done with the barrel and all the rest of the modifications, the price of your upgraded rifle will have about tripled! Small world, no? But, if you’re the guy who constantly wants to substitute Owl Sweat for Kangaroo Juice, because there’s a sale on it at a store near you, don’t even think of modding an airsoft gun! All you’ll do is spend money on a pile of parts that will never work together.

Gearbox
The Asians call this the Mech Box or Meca Box. It took me several months to figure that out the first time, and it’s important to know if you want to find them on the internet.

The $125 M4 AEG often comes with plastic gears. If you plan on shooting it only on holidays and at family gatherings, buy one and be done with it. By the way, if there’s a brand name like Colt on the outside of the gun, plan on spending 3 times as much and still getting plastic gears (sometimes)!

If you want to go into battle and have the gun continue to function for several days and thousands of shots, think about metal gears. But it doesn’t end there. There are also special shim spacers to keep the gear wheels aligned under a load, and there are special reinforced metal gearboxes that don’t wear like the cheaper gearboxes do. At the top of the list are the gearboxes that are built with pins (gear axels) that have been align-bored by a custom builder. A gearbox upgrade kit in a blister pack can cost you $68, or you can spend $400 with a custom builder who makes the gearbox specifically for your gun.

So, you see the Super Zombie Black Ops (a name I just made up) M4 AEG selling online for $99msays it comes with steel gears on the outside of the box! Big deal! That’s the airsoft equivalent of a pellet rifle manufacturer saying their rifle shoots at 1,400 f.p.s. In other words, although it sounds like it implies quality, what they don’t tell you is that those gears are not aligned properly and are set inside a cast pot metal gearbox.

Like everything else, in airsoft there are things that do work well and then there are the retailers who trade on the general ignorance of the buying public. They use buzzwords like metal gears to suck in the beginners. To mean something, the metal gears need to be run on pins of the correct size, have thrust washers to hold them in alignment and be inside a gearbox that can take the strain — and the whole reason for all of this is so you can get some benefit from that high-torque motor and uprated battery you also installed. If you aren’t going to do this in a systematic way, you might as well eat the metal gears, for all the good they’ll do by themselves.

Summary
I’ll stop here because this report is getting long. In the next installment, we’ll look at the airsoft powerplant, upgrades to batteries and motors, and the best way to get started working on airsoft guns.

66 Responses to “Airsoft primer: Part 2”

  • Kevin Wilmeth Says:

    Thanks again for this subject, B.B. The background is really helpful.

    Here’s a question that might belong here: what sort of metals are used in other places? For my first green gas gun, I got one of those “full metal” 1911 clones (from WE, in my case) and not only am I curious about modifying a couple of things, but I also have noticed that the metal on the frame seems to peen quickly from dry-firing. (I don’t dry fire the gun on purpose, but it happens periodically when the gas runs out* in the middle of a shot string and the hammer falls on a spent magazine.)

    Do you happen to know about what materials are used in slides/frames, etc.?

    _______________
    * This is another subject entirely. I’m learning that the green gas powerplant does seem to behave differently at different temperatures; somewhere between zero and twenty degrees ambient, I’m lucky to get 10 shots off a full charge, but at 30-40 degrees, I’ll go through two magazines (~30 shots) before I start anticipating the end of the charge.

    • Gunfun1 Says:

      Kevin W.
      I was hoping you would post some info about your green gas gun. I remember you said you got that a while back and was wondering when BB was going to do the airsoft topic again so you could post some info.

      We had a blast with them over the winter. I bought that little cheapy air soft pistol and then got one of them gel targets. We shoot it in the back family room all the time. About 10 yards of room we got and the red laser works out nice on the pistol.

      And I’m still happy I got that 701 sniper rifle with the upgraded spring. And it still amazes me how well it shoots. I think it could give some pellet and bb guns a run for their money under 30 yards. At beverage can size targets of course. But it does shoot good out to 50 yards.

      And then back to the green gas at different temperatures. I would say that it acts like Co2 in ways. And just a comment people. I don’t know all the physical DNA of the green gas or Co2 ok.

      But that made me wonder about that when you talked about getting a green gas gun and you live in Alaska. I actually thought about getting into the green gas guns but I was waiting to hear what you had to say.

      • Kevin Wilmeth Says:

        I haven’t taken the plunge into the Airsoft rifle world yet, but that is just a matter of time. I seriously look forward to more discussion on that. B.B.’s treatment here of the “few parts suppliers, many branded variations” topic strikes me as pure gold to have in the evaluation and thought process for planning my strategy.

        Green gas absolutely is going to be viable for me in Alaska. I’m still very, very new to it and I won’t feel comfortable making a lot of definitive statements until I’ve got a lot more rounds downrange, but I am starting to notice patterns. When we get back from this big “Outside” trip (as of this writing I’m in Minnesota, having just come from Montana, and to be in Colorado before returning home in mid-May) I’ve got a whole lot of tests I want to run, and by the time next winter arrives I look forward to documenting the performance patterns more formally. (By then I should know much better what to expect of the one gun and three magazines, as a control.)

        What I have concluded so far is that once ambient gets down close to zero, I should simply use a spring-piston powerplant and accept single shots for training work. I’ll certainly test a bit more with the gas in the deep cold, and see if that might be amendable if it’s just a fewer-shots-until-exhaustion thing (if I can reliably get 7-8 shots per magazine instead of 15…well, that’s the capacity of a .45 magazine anyway) but even if it’s not, using gas when it’s warm enough and springers when it’s not is going to be a great solution to an un-interrupted year-round outside practice regimen. On the Kenai Peninsula at any rate, we don’t often get really long stretches of subzero anyway (the longest I can remember was <2wk, and that only once); more normally we are between 10 and 40 for most of the winter.

        In specific regard to ambient temperature and powerplants, I'm also looking forward to trying some of the electric designs. From my long history with flashlights I know that alkaline batteries don't handle cold that well, but that the CR123 lithium designs are superb, and there's a spectrum in between. If anyone here knows how typical AEG batteries perform over the temperature spectrum, I'd love to know about it. :-)

        • Gunfun1 Says:

          Kevin W.
          I may just give the green gas a try. The rifles that I have looked at seem to have a higher fps rating than some of the spring guns. Maybe that’s a good thing but not sure without having one to try.

          Anyway I was wondering how it was going with your airsoft gun.

      • Kevin Wilmeth Says:

        I will understand completely if pointing to this link needs to be removed per policy–one reason I’m doing it as a separate comment–but I think this may be germane and useful to a few people.

        I have been posting Airsoft observations, as I can, to the Rifleman Savant blog under the label “Airsoft” (there’s also one for “Airguns”), and will continue to do that as I learn more.

    • Vince Says:

      Slides and frames tend to be pot metal of some sort. Given the low stresses in a GBB, there’s little motivation to use anything stronger and more expensive. Heck, even some .22 rimfire pistols use pot metal…

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Kevin,

      Airsoft guns are made mostly of pot metal that is easy to cast. Only the high-end guns like the copy of the BAR that sells for above $3,500 are made of ferrous metal.

      B.B.

      • B.B. Pelletier Says:

        Kevin,

        Like all gasses, green gas changes pressure with the ambient temperature. It isn’t as sensitive as CO2, but as you have discovered, it has its limits.

        B.B.

        • Bub Says:

          One complaint I keep hearing about the new crop of .22lr firearms on the market is that many are made by airsoft companies. Whether or not this is true or how many airsoft parts can be used in a .22lr I don’t know, but the ones I’ve come across seem to work and the folks that own them seem satisfied.

          As for green gas, personally it seems you can shoot airsoft guns faster than co2 guns without as much of a decline in performance.

          • B.B. Pelletier Says:

            Bub,

            I haven’t heard that airsoft companies were making .22 rimfires! Do you perhaps mean guns like the Chiappa pistols? I don’t think those are copied on airsoft designs, but their cheap constriction might lead someone to believe that they are.

            What I am seeing a lot of is airsoft guns coming out as steel BB guns. The new Colt Python and the Dan Wesson are 2 good examples.

            B.B.

            B.B.

            • Bub Says:

              B.B.

              I agree with you I don’t think they are turning airsoft guns into rimfires. The Chiapas and Umarex Colt 1911, etc was what I was referring to. The point I was attempting to make poorly, may I add, was that just because you may be using cheaper grade metals and manufacturing technics doesn’t mean these things won’t work. They may not be something you hand down to the grand kids , but they are still a lot of fun.

              A few years back I picked up a GSG MP5 clone. I paid about twice the price of a 10/22 for a gun that not
              Iikely as good as a 10/22 and sure not to last as long. However I always really liked the MP5 and was unlikely to ever be able or willing to spend the kind of money to own the real thing.

              Bub

              • B.B. Pelletier Says:

                Bub,

                If you like the gun, that’s the most important thing — don’t you think? We tend to worry about where things come from and how they are made, but as the real purpose of any product is to satisfy the buyer, I’d say these guns do it well.

                B.B.

              • Vince Says:

                The GBB’s tend to replicate both the functioning and the assembly of the firearm they copy. The .22 rimfire replica’s – mostly just the functioning.

                I’ve had the Colt and Chiappa 1911′s, and the Chiappa M9-22. All three are basic blowback designs with fixed barrels that copy few mechanicals from the full-size weapons they replicate. I also have the WE, Bel, and Tanfoglio airsoft 1911′s and (mechanically) they are far closer to the firearms than the rimfires are.

          • Reb Says:

            There is a video on Youtube of a guy who claims to have bought a .22 rimfire conversion kit for his 1911,.45, swapped the parts onto his airsoft replica and fires it?!..Just for curious minds.

            Reb

            • Kevin Wilmeth Says:

              Would you mind posting either the URL or the YouTube search terms for that clip? I’d like to see it. Based on my first look at my own pistol I concluded that frame-swapping would not be a viable exercise, and with the discussion of pot-metal cast parts I’d imagine that would be even more true. (On one hand I’d expect that would be less critical with .22 rimfire, but on the other hand, recall that most .45 ACP operates at lower chamber pressures than most .22 Long Rifle. :-)

              At a minimum, the mainspring of the firearm seems much more powerful than the Airsoft gun’s, and given that the Airsoft ignition system is intended to strike the gas valve–on the magazine down into the frame–rather than the firing pin at the rear of the slide-mounted breechblock, I’d wonder both whether the hammer would sufficiently strike the firing pin, and also whether you’d damage the firearm magazine, which is not intended to be struck by the part that is expecting an Airsoft gas valve just above the trigger bow. The disconnector design does seem to be at least somewhat different, and…and… I certainly don’t know for sure, but I do recall noting a number of differences from a standard 1911 frame, and I’ll admit to being very leery about such things.

              Now…all this does bring up an interesting question if I think about it all in reverse. I’m not looking at the gun now (as of this writing I’m visiting extended family in MN), but I wonder what would need to be done to a firearm frame, to make it suitable as an Airsoft frame. In other words, if one had an extra 1911 frame and parts, what gunsmithing would need to be done to support an Airsoft upper and magazine? IIRC, at a minimum the frame would need to be machined for a ramped barrel, rather than the standard barrel, to support the Airsoft’s hop-up system which occupies that space, and again there will be some differences in the ignition system as well…

              Maybe the sum-total of modifications would be more expensive than simply replacing a worn-out Airsoft gun with a new one. But maybe the effort would be worth it, I dunno.

              It’s an interesting idea, for sure. Thank you, Reb, for making me think about it seriously. :-)

              • Vince Says:

                Based on the hammer spring alone, I’d be highly suspicious of those claims. The airgun hammers are from 1.5 – 2.5 lbs, while the burners (both .22 and .45) are 5 lbs or better.

        • Kevin Wilmeth Says:

          Another thing I’d love further wisdom on is the use of silicone oil, both for adding to propane for GBB, and for general lubrication in the Airsoft guns. (B.B., please forgive me if I missed your having earlier treated this subject; it may be that the right “back-issue” might give me everything I need.)

          As it turns out, up where I live at least, nobody seems to carry liquid silicone oil, but several kinds of places carry silicone sprays. I have been getting along by “re-condensing” a spray into liquid form, but would want to know if this is not advisable due to whatever is added to the spray propellant, etc. (Next time, of course, I’ll just order the oil from PA, like I should have done the first time. I think I got confused during my ordering process and presumed incorrectly that the oil could not be shipped to Alaska. (Do not underestimate the amount of stupid that can be involved in shipping to the 49th state. I made my mistake in perfectly good faith. :-) ))

          Anyway, this seems to be another area in which the available information for the consumer is spotty and often unhelpful. This particular “Commentariat” just might have better things to say!

      • Kevin Wilmeth Says:

        Thanks to everyone for the clarifications here. This is such a great place for a curious noob! :-)

        Being no sort of metallurgist, but (perversely, I suppose) interested in modification and design, I would welcome a more formal description of just what “pot metal” means, and what sort of things should and should not be attempted with it. For example, if it’s a case of a soft metal inside with a surface hardness treatment to hold things together, then I’d imagine one would not want to grind or shape anything that would disrupt the hardened outer. (Unless, of course, re-hardening turns out to be a simple task.) If on the other hand it’s a homogeneous blend throughout, then maybe simple grinding and filing is no problem at all. (My natural inclination is to dehorn relentlessly.)

        So: great, it’s pot metal. What does that mean, exactly, in re modifications?

        • Vince Says:

          It means a metal alloy (with zinc as a major component) that can easily be melted in a pot. And that is about as far as it can be narrowed down.

          It ranges from the super-cheap dollar-store toys to the somewhat better “Chiappalloy” that Chiappa uses for their rimfire stuff.

        • B.B. Pelletier Says:

          Kevin,

          Pot metal refers to a casting or melting pot. It is comprised of zinc, largely, with small amounts of other metals called for, depending on the application for the finished product. The manufacturer considers things like ease of casting, durability, the ability to take and retain a finish and so on.

          B.B.

    • Wulfraed Says:

      “Green gas” is primarily propane with a touch of lubricating oil in suspension…

  • Reb Says:

    I’ve got a couple of these pistols laying around that I need parts for and have been looking and waiting for some info on them
    Thanks B.B.

    Reb

  • rob Says:

    i really enjoy the air-soft posts.

  • Ronald Fernandez Says:

    BB, I have two Weihrauch Air Rifles (HW95 & HW35) that I have been afraid to use ever since both were submerged under flood waters back in 2009. I sprayed a lot of WD40 and CLP gun oil all over both air rifles as well as through the transfer ports in my attempt to prevent or minimize rusting, but of course, I still have no idea regarding the exact condition of both rifles with regard to the insides of the powerplant/compression chambers/synthetic piston seals and I suppose, both powerplant mechanisms would need proper re-lubrication. I don’t have the skill and equipment to disassemble springer air guns. Then again, I’m thinking maybe the CLP gun oil and WD40 would have evaporated or have by now, dried off, considering that I oiled the air rifles back in Oct 2009. Do I risk doing damage to both air rifles if I try to shoot them? Do I risk a catastrophic Detonation? My main problem is that I am in the Philippines and there are no air gunsmiths available here that specialize in spring piston airguns. -Ronald

    • Vince Says:

      Your bigger problem MIGHT be the CLP eating away at the synthetic seals. I don’t think that stuff is designed to be compatible with plastics… so there might be a problem there.

      But other than that… after the flood, did you try to dry out the guns before oiling them? Did you swab out the barrels? Is there any visible rust or pitting in the bores?

      Did you cock the gun before putting anything in the transfer port? If not, very little actually got into the chamber because there isn’t any room if the piston is fully forward.

      After you put stuff in the transfer port, did you cycle the action (cock and de-cock the gun)? Did you squirt anything in the cocking slot behind the piston? Your bigger problem might be rust behind the piston seal.

      As a first step, you might want to try cocking the guns about half way (don’t latch the trigger). Is it smooth and quiet, or is there friction and noise?

    • Vince Says:

      How do the guns look on the outside? Visible rust? What about the breech face and breech detent? Are they clean, or do you see signs of rust?

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Ronald,

      Welcome to the blog.

      Vince gave you excellent information. I would add that now might be a good time to learn how to work on your guns.

      I would begin with the HW35, as it is more conventional to disassemble.

      Here is a 13-part report I wrote on disassembling and lubricating a Beeman R1, which is similar to an HW 80. Your 35 is very similar.

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

      B.B.

    • pete in the Caribbean Says:

      Ronald,
      If the guns were under flood waters you would not only have a water problem but might also have mud and silt in the compression tube behind the piston and between the mainspring and possibly in the trigger assy. The only way to find out is to loosen the stock screws and take the action out and do a visual inspection by peering through the cocking slot. Vince has helped me over the years and given me the confidence to work on my springer. I am sure he will do the same for you.
      A good motor mechanic would have the skills necessary to take the guns apart and make any repairs necessary but you will need the schematics and parts list. Try e-mailing HW, tell them about your problem and ask them to send you the assy drawings & parts list. Break barrels are easier than under levers to work on so don’t be afraid to take on the task if there is no one else to help you.
      In the absence of assy drawings, you can take pictures as you disassemble the guns- laying out the parts in the order in which you took them out. That way when you are ready to reassy. the guns you will know how the parts go together.
      Let us know how you make out.

      Pete

    • RifledDNA Says:

      Hey Ronald, if they get wet almost 5 years ago, and you old them up after, they are fine. Seals may be a little worn if the wrong oil was used, but there should be absolutely no risk of damage to fire them. It takes a good bit of flammable product to cause even a noticable detonation, so the oiling that long ago will not still be a danger, if it ever would’ve been. Using the guns and getting some proper oil in them asap is probably the best way to see if anythings funny and to get them cleared out and clean. Shooting spring guns is a great way to keep them clean.

  • Gunfun1 Says:

    BB
    Glad you did the airsoft topic again. But do you think at some point you could give some base lines on a common rifle and pistol and then mod them and show the results.

    Maybe something like the spring guns. That kind of would be something that us pellet/bb airgun people could relate to. And then get into the automatic gearbox guns as time goes on. Well or what ever order you would do it in it would be great.

    I know your busy so maybe somewhere down the line that could happen. I would enjoy it.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      GF1,

      I’m not really set up to do that these days. I did it to a couple guns about 6-7 years ago. Let me look through my Shotgun News articles and see what I can salvage.

      B.B.

  • Pete Hallock Says:

    B.B. Very happy to see more AirSoft information since we moved from acreage to town a few months ago and Santa Barbara county only permits AirSoft outdoors or any air gun use indoors that will not penatrate a wall ( Smile )…Told a retired state trooper about the AirSoft UTG Sniper you suggested and it looked “Just like my Steyr Sniper Rifle !..and the Win.308 rainbow trajectory.. “…anyway. Clueless about Green Gas, AirSoft ( 6mm pellets ..what ?).
    Thanks, B.B.
    Pete

    Pete

  • Michael Says:

    B.B.,

    I think it was a week ago or so that many of us on the comment section were bemoaning the preponderance of ultra-cool CO2 replica airguns because they were smoothbores shooting BBs inaccurately (compared, of course, to lead pellets out of rifled bores).

    Why doesn’t the metal-shooting airgun industry industry (with a number of airsoft companies now among their ranks, such as ASG, KWC, and Cybergun) start doing the tighter-barrel thing with their steel BB guns, both handguns and long guns?

    You’ve demonstrated that even out to 10 meters the low-powered, tight-barreled Avanti 499 is more accurate than other BB guns at that distance. Might a tight-barreled, faster shooting CO2 BB gun also be reasonably accurate out to 10 meters?

    Put a 0.0025 tighter barrel on a Crosman 760, call it the 761 (for steel BBs only), and I’ll buy two.

    Doubling that 5 meter distance to the pop can would mean a lot to us backyard warriors.

    Michael

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Michael,

      They already do. I held a TARGET airsoft pistol that Daisy was considering at the SHOT Show about 7 years ago. It looked like an FWB 65, but shot 0.31-gram airsoft BBs. They didn’t bring it in because they didn’t see the market.

      I see the market, but it’s not a big one.

      You know2 what people say when yo0u tell them this sniper rifle costs 3 times what that one does? They play the poor man card and buy the cheaper gun, thinking they can always upgrade it. As I pointed out today, they probably can — for 3 times the cost of what they bought.

      B.B.

      • Michael Says:

        B.B.,

        I’m afraid I wasn’t clear enough in my post, and you misunderstood me.

        Why doesn’t Crosman, Daisy, and Umarex take a page out of the airsoft tight barrel book and produce steel BB repeaters with .175.5 inch barrels?

        The Avanti 499 is slow because it’s for kids and is shot at only 5 meters (yards?), and it requires a single shot muzzle loading design because the barrel is so tight, but what about opening it up by .0025 inches and making a higher powered repeater in spring, CO2 or multipump?

        AEG airsofts are often outfitted with ultra tight barrels, and they fire semiauto and full auto, so it certainly can be done with round ball ammo. Why must all steel BB shooters be so darned innaccurate?

        If a full-auto airsoft smoothbore with a tight barrel can be accurate, why can’t there be a tightbore steel BB repeater or semiauto that is, too?

        Michael

        • B.B. Pelletier Says:

          Michael,

          The answer is both time and money. Making a BB gun with a tight barrel sounds good to those of us who want to hit targets, but are we the major portion of the BB gun market? Probably not. The Red Ryder does very nicely for the millions of kids who want a BB gun.

          Let’s say someone was able to build a repeating BB gun with a tighter barrel. Would it be as easy to build, or would it take longer because of the additional precision involved? I don’t know the answer, but I do know that nobody is going to shell out $20 more money for a BB gun that claims to be more accurate. I have to beg and plead with people to buy 499s and only after they do, are they converted into people who understand.

          I think the accurate BB repeater is an idea that just doesn’t have enough support.

          B.B.

          • Michael Says:

            B.B.,

            Yeah, I can see your point. And I am one of the folks who read your praise of the 499 and then bought one based solely on what you wrote! It is a wonderful shooter. I can hit a dime offhand at 15 feet, a dime from a rest at 20 feet, and a quarter from a rest at 25 feet. At thirty feet offhand I can hiot an empty pop can. (But alas, it will not have a dent larger than a small dimple.) It is VERY quiet, even for a springer BB gun. No complaints! :^)

            I am also able to easily cock it with one hand, from the shoulder, which is something I can only barely do with my Red Ryder, and doing so with the Red leaves a sore spot on my hand.

            Michael

  • G & G Says:

    BB,

    I sorry this is so off topic but curiosity is killing the cat. Do you plan on or would you please do a review of one of the new Hatsan Quiet Energy rifles? I hear they are very accurate. I’d like to know.

    Thanks,
    G&G

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      G&G,

      Yes I will review at least one of the QE rifles soon. But when I was filming American Airgunner in March I watched the host shoot one and it was Marauder accurate.

      B.B.

    • Gunfun1 Says:

      G&G
      That’s a great suggestion. I have been looking at those like a hawk. I have been looking at them before the new quiet versions came out. Now that they are quiet I want one.

      • RifledDNA Says:

        Hey gunfun, what do you think of the stoeger x50? I think that may be a good one for me to step up a bit from my wally specials buy not have to sell the car… and 1000fps w lead in .22 is my power goal. I am confused by the stoeger catalog info chart says no wood stock for x50 but has a picture that shows one and says x50 wood stock combo….???? Is there a wood stock x50?

        • Gunfun1 Says:

          RDNA
          I dont think you will like it. Its stronger than my x20. So that means it will probably vibrate and kick more than the x20. So it will be harder to control.

          They are the complete opposite of the Air Arms TX200 or the Air King 54.

          And maybe other people think different. But I believe if you keep the pellet around 800 to 950 fps you will have a better shooting gun.

          There are other spring guns out there but all I can say is I tryed a bunch of different guns throughout time. And the best I can say is I wasted a bunch of money before I found out that I should of bought known quality.

          If you buy a gun you cant expect it to be more than what it is.

          Sorry but I dont know how to say it any other way.

          • G & G Says:

            Gunfun 1,

            I’m going to have to speak up again about the Walther LGV. I think when we talk about the highest quality spring rifles, especially with accuracy, I really believe this gun needs to be in the mix. I know they are not being talked about that much but I can’t be the only one wowed by this rifle. Maybe they are just too expensive, I don’t know.

            G&G

            • Gunfun1 Says:

              G&G
              I guess it sounds like Im being partial to those guns I mentioned.

              I just use them as a example. The Walther is a good gun. I was just saying those guns without listing all the different spring guns.

              But you said exactly what Im talking about. The Walther is another higher quality spring gun that is a bit more exspensive than the other spring guns.

              I knew and figured when I said that other people would talk about the other springers out there.

              So sorry I left them out.

            • RifledDNA Says:

              I haven’t looked at the fps on it but I know gunfun knows Im on the market for a hunting carbine magnum .22, so if the LGV is 1000fps w/ lead in .22 and doesn’t cost a used automobile- it goes on the list. I think an rws 350 short barrel might hit the spot. I should’ve never let the walther talon magnum I had go, but at the time it was too much cause I had nowhere to shoot, 14.3 grains broke the sound barrier and wasn’t ordering pellets so couldn’t bring that down. Pretty much that’s what Im looking for again, supersonic with 14.3s. Get some heavy pellets and have some serious ft/lbs.

          • RifledDNA Says:

            Vibration, no. Insane kick? Yes! That’s exactly what Im looking for in a quality springer. I want a beautiful .22 breakbarrel solid craftsmanship that’s gonna bruise my shoulder! All inquires welcome!

            • Gunfun1 Says:

              RDNA
              Well that helps. That makes a big difference if your not worried about the gun being smooth. My nephew is like that. He says if the don’t kick it ain’t no fun to shoot.

              And it sounds to me like your missing your Walther. So if you know that guns characteristics then there’s your answer.

            • Gunfun1 Says:

              RDNA
              And I left you a reply on the topic about “A few bricks short”.

  • Lee Says:

    Good article Tom!

    Not very long ago I managed to crippled my cheap spring piston airsoft rifle in attempt to achieved the fastest, meanest, super duper highest fps ever airsoft rifle. Goal achieved, albeit for one shot only.

    Since then my objective in upgrading leans toward accuracy (good barrel and quality BBs), range (hop up), parts longevity (plastics and very strong spring doesn’t mix well), and ergonomics. I find that more fps does not automatically means more range and accuracy. In fact low weight BB and high fps is a recipe for disastrous accuracy.

    I hope your next installments discuss hop up and tuning as well.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Lee,

      I don’t really view Hop Up as a tuning step. It’s more of an adjustment than a tuning technique. But since you have asked I will try to include it in this series.

      B.B.

  • Joe Says:

    B.B.,
    Did you ever wrote an article on How to tune a higher end steel spring airgun such as a TX or a HW? Tuning to reduce the power and vibration, thereby the firing cycle is smoother and gun is easier to cock.

  • Jeff Hunter Says:

    Sorry to always be “off subject”. Any chance of writing or directing me to a blog that has info on upgrading your rifles “power plant” (spring,piston etc.). Maybe even about converting your springger to a nitro piston? I’m interested in the possibility of getting a little more out of my basic Gamo. Or save money and buy a better rifle out of the box?

  • Jeff Hunter Says:

    I’ve done a “tune” with proper lube. I’m interested in the difference that aftermarket parts make. Such as. Do they make and sell stiffer replacement springs? Do they make and sell pistons that preform better than stock? Is it worth buying after market products or stay with factory parts? I’ll do some online searching.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Jeff,

      A stiffer (more powerful) mainspring may not increase the power of a gun. In fact, it may reduce it!

      Read this old report about how a Theoben owner made his rifle cock with great effort and get less power:

      http://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2008/02/theoben-fenman-gentle-gas-spring-rifle_20.html

      Yes there are good piston seals that may improve your power a little.

      The answer, though, is not that simple. First, you have to know what your airgun is capable of. An HW35, for example, has a short stroke piston and cannot be improved very much. You could put a huge mainspring in one and gain nothing. Read about the guy who spent thousands of dollars to make a more powerful R1, only to come out even with the factory rifle:

      http://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2008/10/steel-dreams-part-2-building-more.html

      You can break your heart trying to make a TX 200 Mark III shoot faster. They give you everything right out of the box.

      On the other hand, you can take some ill-designed airguns and actually bump up their power when you do the right things. Read about what Ray Apelles and I did with a Chinese springer:

      http://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2007/01/tuning-cheap-chinese-airgun-part-2.html

      So, yes, it can be done, but no — not to every airgun.

      B.B.

      • kevin Says:

        B.B.,

        What technique are you using to find those older articles on the old blog? I really struggled while you were on the road finding articles I knew existed. Glad you’re back and at the helm full time.

        Second question (now that you’re home), in your link to your Fenman article, in the comments, you mentioned a technique that Ben Taylor shared with you for cleaning airgun barrels that improved accuracy. What is it?

        kevin

        • B.B. Pelletier Says:

          Kevin,

          I search in Google. I know the titles or the main theme of the series, and I’m always listed at or near the top of the search.

          The search function on the blog is next to useless, unless I wrote the report in the past three months.

          B.B.

  • Gunfun1 Says:

    BB
    I don’t think I seen anything about where somebody can buy the parts for the mods. I know PA has stuff.

    And is there like a brand of airsoft barrel known to be better than others? You know kind of like the lothar walther barrels in the airgun world.

    And as far as somebody getting into airsoft guns and modifying them with the available components. What type do you think would be easiest to get good results with. And be the easiest to work on. Or should the person really just go pay for the money for the higher dollar gun because that is really all that is out there.

    That’s kind of why I chose the 701 because it had the spring upgrade and I just wanted to go shoot and not have to mess with the gun. But also I was hoping that there was more out there that could do to the gun in time. Am I looking at this the wrong way?

    And I’m talking rifles from my point of view but also pistols too. Oh and I think I fall into that airsoft snob category. Ok you can now officially call me a snob. :)

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      GF1,

      Okay, here is how it works. Leapers imports some airsoft guns and they make others. They sell them under the UTG brand. So, when I said contact the manufacturers, Leapers would be one place to try.

      Another place would be to do a search on “airsoft upgrade parts” on any search engine. I just did one that netted 1.4 millions results.

      As far as the best barrels go, it is the precision of the tubing they (whoever “they” are) use. You need to go on an airsoft forum and ask around. Generally the kits that come in blister packs are not the best. They are good and are often much better than what is in the gun, but the absolute best are sold separately.

      If you want a gun that’s the best money can buy — buy one that has all the upgrades. If you want one that’s even better, buy a custom one from a builder. I know several of them. Just do a search on the internet and you will find them.

      B.B.

  • Matt61 Says:

    Well, I really enjoyed my airsoft guns for a short period. There was even one incredible session where my airsoft sniper rifle shot perfect groups for 50 shots or so, but I was never able to duplicate that. However, they have all been displaced by my pellet guns.

    Gunfun1, I have never seen a Goshawk flying through a forest live, only on video, but that must be something to see. Yes, the IZH 61 is back and shooting as well as ever, thanks to Derrick. And Derrick has also fixed by Daisy 747. Turned out the air adjustment cylinder was rotating on its own due to a lack of friction with other parts. An adhesive got that fixed. Now, I just have to restock ammo.

    Matt61

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