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Bad vibes

By B.B. Pelletier

Today we’ll look at a problem some spring guns have in abundance – too much vibration!

What causes vibration in a spring gun?
Vibration is caused when the moving parts of the powerplant have too much clearance. The moving parts include the piston with its seal, the mainspring, the spring guide and sometimes other parts – such as the piston liner (inside the piston), which removes some of the clearance between the mainspring and the piston wall. Technically, this last part isn’t supposed to move, but if it gets bent during operation it can cause vibration.

Do powerful guns vibrate more?
More power isn’t really an indicator of a tendency to vibrate. In fact, some very powerful spring rifles hardly vibrate at all. Gas-powered piston guns, such as the Beeman RX-2, are among the smoothest, as far as vibration is concerned, though it may take a little time to get used to the quicker recoil.

You might even expect a powerful steel spring rifle like the Webley Patriot
to vibrate a lot, but it doesn’t. Yes, you will feel some vibration, but compared to other spring guns, it isn’t too bad. Now, RECOIL on a Patriot is a different story!

Webley and BSA know how to tame vibration
In my experience, both Webley and BSA spring rifles have been the most vibration-free airguns. Weihrauch guns usually vibrate more, and they also vary more, gun to gun. Most older Chinese airguns are pretty bad, but for some reason the newer ones are very nice. I think the Chinese have learned a lot about fitting powerplant parts in the last 10 years.

Gamo guns vibrate in the beginning and then become smooth!
Most new Gamo rifles I have shot seem to vibrate a lot. That said, you can significantly reduce the vibration just by continuing to shoot a Gamo rifle! It seems to take thousands of shots, but a well-used Gamo can be fairly smooth. Of all the Gamos, I find the Shadow 1000 to be the smoothest out of the box, though the Hunter 1250 Hurricane is surprisingly smooth, despite the power. The Hunter 220 has the most vibration of the Gamos I have tested.

Why would a formerly smooth gun now vibrate?
When a smooth spring gun all of a sudden starts to vibrate, it usually means the mainspring is canted (bent). Springs cant for a number of reasons, which I’ll cover in another posting. However, I will tell you now that there is no grease that can stop a canted spring from vibrating. The only solution is to replace the spring.

There’s a lot more to vibration than what I’ve written here, so look for more info in future postings.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

2 thoughts on “Bad vibes”

  1. I know accruacy improves on spring guns with a break in period. I’ve herd it takes about 2500 shots with a new gun. Is this true because the gun settles down and vibretes less. Also does velocity increase as the gun breaks in?

  2. I’ve seen many spring piston guns smooth out after a good break-in. One was a Beeman C1 that took about the 2,500 shots you mention to get smooth. The trigger continued to get better up to around 4,000 shots, so that was a REAL long break-in.

    I guess it depends on the individual gun how many shots a good break-in will take. Tom Gaylord broke in two Beeman R1s in .22 caliber and he documented them from the first shot to number 1,000. Both had LOST velocity, though not very much, by shot 1,000. But the consistency improved tremendously and he said both became smoother to shoot. This is recorded in his Beeman R1 book.


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