Lubricating a spring-piston airgun
by B.B. Pelletier
We all want to take care of our airguns, so today we’ll look at lubricating a spring-piston gun.
Many guns should NEVER be oiled!
This includes most recoiless target guns like the FWB 65/80/90 pistol and the FWB 150/300 rifle. All the RWS Diana target guns fall into this category, too. These guns have lifetime lubricated piston rings or seals that never need oil. In fact, oiling them can cause early failure.
Some guns require VERY LITTLE oil
This includes all current models of RWS Diana guns – both rifle and pistol. Diana uses a special synthetic piston seal that needs very little oil to work properly. They recommend ONE DROP of oil every 1,500 shots or so. Use a high-grade silicone chamber oil like Crosman Silicone Chamber Oil.
Webley is another brand that needs very little oiling. They use a different type of seal than Diana, but it is self-lubricating. Air Arms guns are the same. The guns that need more oil are the Weihrauchs and Beeman R-series guns. More means abouty three drops of oil evey thousand shots, though the R1 may need more than that during break-in. Treat the Beeman RX-2 as a special case and follow the owner’s manual, because it has a special powerplant inside.
Gamo guns also get by with a small amount of oiling. They have done a lot of R&D on their seals, and they’re almost like Diana when it comes to oil. The less expensive guns are the ones that usually need a little more oil to stay in shape, and the Chinese are the neediest of all. You can oil a Tech Force 99 with three drops of chamber oil every 500 shots.
What about YOUR airgun?
I can’t list them all, so the general rule is that less oil is better than more. The one exception is when you hear a honking or squeaking sound when cocking the gun. Then, it needs to be oiled.
How and where to oil
You drop the oil down the transfer port and stand the gun on its butt for 30 minutes to an hour. Then, shoot it at least 10 times to make sure the oil has spread around the piston seal. The transfer port is directly behind the breech of the barrel. It’s the little hole where the air comes from. On some guns, like the RWS Diana 46, you have to open a flip-up loading gate to see the hole. If you are completely baffled, just stand the gun on its butt and drop the oil down the muzzle. It will find its way to the transfer port!
Does the mainspring need to be oiled?
On a new gun, the mainspring has so much lubrication that you can leave it alone for several years. But, if you hear a crunching sound when cocking, the spring needs attention. For the mainspring, we’ll use an oil with good lubrication properties, like Weblube from Webley. If you can take the mechanism out of the stock, it will allow better access to the mainspring, but it is possible to drop the oil through the cocking slot. About 10 drops once every 3-4 years is good unless the gun is used a lot. In that case, lube it every year.
Lube the cocking mechanisms
The cocking joint needs grease more than oil. All new guns come properly greased from the factory, but storage in hot climates can speed the loss of lubricant through runoff. Breakbarrels should be greased on both sides of the action fork (where the barrel pivots when cocked), and if possible the pivot bolt could use some, too. Don’t disassemble the gun if you don’t know how! You can do more damage that way than by just leaving it alone.
Guns with sliding chambers, like the RWS Diana 48, need grease along their chamber walls. Beeman/Feinwerkbau joint grease is specially formulated for this application, but any good lithium or moly-based grease will do the job.
If all this sounds like you should carry an oil can when shooting a springer, that’s not the case. I’ve simply tried to list as many of the lubrication points as possible. Actually, a spring-piston gun will do very well if simply left alone and shot regularly.