Common PCP leaks and some common fixes

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

I’m still in Ft. Smith, Arkansas, as I write this, so please excuse the brevity of the report. A while ago, I wrote down this idea as a possible report topic. Those who haven’t yet come over to PCPs often wonder how reliable they are, and those who already have the guns sometimes encounter things that are common problems but new to them. Let’s talk about that today.

WARNING: The procedures I am about to describe are for those who know what they are doing. In every case, there are proper safety steps to be taken so accidents don’t happen. I cannot possibly describe all of those steps, so the following procedures are presented only for your education — not to train you as an airgunsmith. Safety with pressurized air and airguns should always be the No. 1 concern.

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Compressed-air tank capacity

by B.B. Pelletier

Today is Friday, when I usually have some fun, but I already did that with the dime article on Tuesday. I’m going to remain serious and address a topic that causes a lot of confusion. I’m going to talk about compressed-air tank capacity and how it relates to airguns.

As this report unfolds, I think you’ll see why this subject is so confusing. Every time I instruct a new precharged pneumatic (PCP) airgun owner about compressed-air tanks, their eyes glaze over when we come to this part.

“How can this scuba tank hold 80 cubic-feet of air? It isn’t that big!” That’s not what 80-cubic feet means.

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Hydrostatic testing of pressure vessels, including scuba tanks

by B.B. Pelletier

This posting was requested by a reader several months ago, and I think it’s timely now with Christmas approaching. People buying PCP guns for the first time are going to make the choice of whether to use a scuba tank or a hand pump to fill their guns, so the maintenance of scuba tanks should be of interest to many. In fact this information applies to all pressure vessels that have to be tested.

Controlled by DOT
Every country has a national agency that controls the use, transportation and maintenance of pressure vessels. Though the laws differ somewhat, they are all pretty similar because the concerns are always the same. In the United States, the Department of Transportation controls pressure vessels. They establish the regulations for their use, one of which is periodic pressure testing to determine if the vessel is still safe to fill. That test is done with water instead of air and is called a hydrostatic test. Water is much safer because it doesn’t compress; so, if there is a rupture, it doesn’t explode like pressurized air does.

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