Blowback Action Airgun Maintenance

Blowback Action Airgun Maintenance

Even Air Pistols Need Cleaning

By Dennis Adler

Even an air pistol needs to be cleaned from time to time, especially blowback action models that have more moving parts and slide to frame contact that can suffer more wear over time, just like cartridge-firing semi-autos.

Blowback action airguns have more moving parts and slide to frame contact areas that can suffer surface wear over time, just like cartridge-firing semi-autos.

Air pistols do not generate heat nor do they require gun powder as a propellant, thus the two primary reasons for cleaning a cartridge-firing handgun are absent. In fact, CO2 air pistols are almost maintenance free. Almost, however, means that even an air pistol needs to be cleaned from time to time, especially blowback action models that have more moving parts and slide to frame contact that can create surface wear over time, just like cartridge-firing semi-autos.

Maintenance is really more about keeping things running smoothly and preventing seals from drying out, than it is about dirty bores and gummed up actions. Different air pistols have specific cleaning requirements, but the basics of cleaning a blowback action CO2 air pistol remain the same.

Since the brushes used on firearms are unsuitable for cleaning air gun barrels Umarex has put together a special airgun-only cleaning kit with the right brushes and tools, plus a flexible, plastic covered 33-inch cleaning rod in .177 caliber diameter.

Since the brushes used on firearms are unsuitable for cleaning airgun barrels, Umarex has put together a special airgun-only cleaning kit with the right brushes and tools, plus a flexible, plastic covered 33-inch cleaning rod in .177 caliber diameter.

Over time all air pistols are subject to leading from pellets, residue from steel BBs, and a build-up of minor fouling such as dust and other miniscule debris that can hurt performance. Having said that, air pistols do not need to be cleaned after every trip to the range; in fact, it isn’t even recommended until 1,000 rounds have been fired. It is recommended, however, to clean the bore and any exposed interior surfaces before firing a brand new gun to remove any oils or residue from manufacturing and if a pistol gets dusty or soiled at the range, to give it a wipe down.

For CO2 guns a drop of lubricant like Crossman Pellgun Oil on the tip of each CO2 capsule before it is inserted is beneficial to overall operation and longevity.

For CO2 guns a drop of lubricant like Crossman Pellgun Oil on the tip of each CO2 capsule before it is inserted is beneficial to overall operation and longevity.

The most important thing with a CO2 air pistol, especially blowback action models, is lubrication of moving parts. For any CO2 airgun, a drop of lubricant like Crossman Pellgun Oil on the tip of each CO2 capsule before it is inserted is also beneficial to overall operation and longevity. Its formulation helps to protect and preserve the rubber O-rings, the CO2 capsule piercing mechanism and airgun seals. It can also be used to lubricate moving parts such as the follower in the magazine, the base of the hammer, and the trigger hinge.

For blowback action air pistols that disassemble like their cartridge-firing counterparts, (such as the Beretta Model 92FS and 92A1), very light, and occasional lubrication of the rail surfaces (on an airgun) where slide and frame align, helps reduce wear just as it does when field stripping and cleaning cartridge-firing semi-autos.

For blowback action air pistols that disassemble like their cartridge-firing counterparts, (such as the Beretta Model 92FS and 92A1), very light, and occasional lubrication of the slide and frame rail surfaces (arrows), help to reduce wear, just as it does when field stripping and cleaning cartridge-firing semi-autos.

RWS Spring Cylinder Oil is ideal for the latter job as it comes with an applicator needle to place a single drop of oil exactly where it is needed, whereas the Pellgun oil is more difficult to accurately dispense.

Though rarely needed, the Umarex kit comes with bore brushes in .177 and .22 caliber for more rigorous cleaning of rifled barrels and pellet guns.

Though rarely needed with a smoothbore barrel, the Umarex Air Gun Cleaning Kit comes with bore brushes in .177 and .22 caliber for more rigorous cleaning of rifled barrels and pellet guns.

The bore should also be given a periodic cleaning and either an Umarex Air Gun Cleaning Kit, UTG Complete Cleaning Kit, or Hoppe’s Air Rifle & Air Pistol Cleaning Kit, has all of the necessary tools required to get the job done for the majority of air pistols and air rifles. Kits include flexible plastic coated rods that will not scratch the barrel, .177 and .22 caliber chamber brushes, patch rods, bore mops. The Umarex kit also includes a rod handle that converts into a screw driver with a six bit driver set for most airgun disassembly requirements (a pair of flat blades, two different-sized Phillips head, one 3mm and one 4mm hex head). There is also the ATK Weaver Gunsmith 36-piece Tool Kit for those who prefer to have a complete set of tools for any job that may come up with airgun maintenance.

The Umarex 33-inch flexible cleaning rod with a small cleaning patch is generally all that’s needed to clean the barrel of a BB gun.

A flexible cleaning rod with a small cleaning patch is generally all that’s needed to clean the barrel of a BB gun. Note the samll amount of fouling that has accumulated on the cleaning patch after one pass through the barrel.

When cleaning an air pistol, only use products recommended for air pistols, and never use gun cleaning solvents because they can get into the airgun’s valves, damage valve seats and the rubber or synthetic materials in the internal mechanism. Cleaning the barrel should be a simple process to ensure that there is no fouling or debris. If needed, an air pistol bore brush is used to loosen any buildup, and a dry patch to clean it out, (a second or third patch until it comes out clean just like a cartridge-firing handgun) and the bore mop at the end for a final wipe.

An air pistol is one of the easiest handguns to maintain, making the airgun experience all the more enjoyable.

 

3 thoughts on “Blowback Action Airgun Maintenance

  1. Much rather be shooting than cleaning. I do wish there was a way to work on the triggers of some of these guns to make them better. A drop of oil and other cleaning just doesn’t do it. I’m up to 26 pistols in my collection, and most have acceptable triggers, but some are just unworthy of shooting. They look OK, but are really useless shooting because the POA is ruined by the pull.

    Thanks for the article. I have that kit and it works well, even for my .22 long guns.


    • My first “modern” CO2 airgun is a Crosman Vigilante, and I recently disassembled it for the sake of improving the trigger. (I grew up with old school multi pump pneumatics like Crosman and Daisy.)

      Of course, any time you disassemble an airgun beyond what the manufacturer recommends, you risk damaging something, losing parts, or simply not being able to get it back together. I once spent over 4 hours trying to get a Stoeger Luger 22lr back together. I was convinced I had totalled it.

      Some triggers can be improved, some cannot, and any time you attempt it is a risk, but it can be a risk worth taking if the gun has such a terrible trigger that you won’t ever shoot it.


  2. It is a good kit for light cleaning which is all most air pistols generally need. You are so right about some air pistol triggers, and it isn’t always based on the price of the gun. In a perfect airgun world all CO2 pistols would have triggers as smooth as a Tanfoglio Gold Custom, but in point of fact, some triggers are designed to duplicate the action and trigger pull of their cartridge-firing counterparts, and if it is heavy it is supposed to be, particularly with DA/SA designs.

    Dennis Adler


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