by B.B. Pelletier
Of all the weather types, wet weather is hardest on guns of any kind. Airguns are particularly susceptible to problems.
Wood stocks are the hardest hit
You hear about wood swelling in wet weather, but I remember a field target match where the constant drizzle cracked one stock and rendered several underlevers uncockable. The stock that cracked apparently did so because the wood swelled so much there was no place to go.
After the match, shooter’s guns rusted in their cases before they got home. Eggcrate foam that’s typically found in gun cases attracts and holds moisture like a sponge. Shooters removed their rifles from the stock after they got home to properly dry both wood and metal.
Optics are affected, too
Nearly everyone had impact shifts that day (from stocks that swelled), and a number of scopes fogged up so much they couldn’t be used. Normally, scopes are filled with dry nitrogen at the factory, but sometimes it leaks out and the air that replaces it will fog under the right conditions. Since the fog is on the interior lens surfaces, where you can’t wipe them, there’s nothing to do but wait for it to dry out.
What can you do?
If your gun gets wet, tend to it right away. Waiting even a day allows rust to form and take a hold. Even if you clean it off, there will be loss of finish and possibly pits on your gun. To remove water, an absorbent cloth like a towel is best. A blow dryer speeds the drying process, and a blast from an air hose displaces water rapidly. This is the one time WD40 can be used on guns. It sheds water well. Just be sure to remove it entirely before it has a chance to turn to varnish.
You can also protect your metal parts with a silicone-impregnated cloth. When you wipe your gun with this cloth, silicone bonds to the metal. If the metal gets wet, the silicone sheds water like a duck!
Don’t forget the bore
Normally, I never clean the barrel of an airgun. I make an exception when there’s a water problem! Dry the bore completely, then run a silicone-soaked patch through it. You can buy either special airgun silicone spray or just get some at the local hardware store.
Watch for water in all its forms
It’s pretty easy to know you have a water problem when you’re in the constant drizzle of a hurricane, but water comes in more subtle ways. Snow is just cold water, so don’t forget to clean your gun after an outing in the white stuff. Those who live near the coast have problems with salt air attacking their guns. And, if you live in a humid climate, NEVER store a gun in a case with a foam liner. The foam absorbs moisture from the air and is in tight contact with the metal on your gun.
Yes, of all the weather problems, water is number one. Protect your guns from its ravages.
2 thoughts on “How wet weather affects your airguns”
I just bought the rws 94 from Pyramid. I like it. The included manual says to lube chamber through chamber lube port with needle, and to lubricate spring, however, the instructions fail to indicate where the port is located, and where to lubricate spring. I am new to this. Can I get some advice?
I’ve heard the RWS 94 is a very nice gun, but I haven’t tried one myself. It is a breakbarrel, however, and they pretty much all work the same way.
When you break open the barrel, you’ll notice a hole in the receiver behind the rear of the barrel (when the barrel is closed). This is called the air transfer port, and it’s where your chamber oil goes. Put one or two drops of chamber oil into this hole, then close the barrel and stand the rifle on its butt for half an hour. The oil will run down the transfer port and into the chamber, where it will lubricate the piston seal.
Only use chamber oil for this. When you shoot the gun, it will be loud for several shots. That’s the chamber oil exploding or dieseling.
To oil the spring, turn the gun on its back and oil through the slot in the stock. Though you can only see part of the spring this way, the oil will eventually run to all the coils.
Don’t lube the chamber more than once a year at most. And the spring the same or less. Don’t lube a new gun, as they have an excess of lube from the factory that needs to be burned off.
Hope this helps,