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Education / Training Lubricating a spring-piston airgun

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.

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.

47 thoughts on “Lubricating a spring-piston airgun”

  1. Thank you very much for that information. I am trying to determine the ills of my RWS 6G, which I bought over 20 years ago. I could not find the chamber oil port. After an Internet search, I came across your article. However, it left me in limbo as far “never need oil” or “require VERY LITTLE oil” for the chamber. As you probably already know, it is recoiless but not current. After shooting this gun for the first time in well over a decade, a brown spongy material that at first glance seemed to be rust came out after a pellet. I assume that this is more than just a should I oil the chamber or not. However, I am having a lot of trouble finding information on this pistol. Can you recommend any professionals, resources, or direction so that I can get this pistol back to a shootable state.

  2. Ken,

    STOP SHOOTING THIS GUN IMMEDIATELY! The piston seal is disintegrating and has to be replaced. That is the gunk you see coming out in the barrel.

    All older RWS recoiless guns are susceptable to seal disintegration, and they need VERY little oil! The seal they will install now should last a much longer time than the first one.

    FWB 124s also have this problem, as do Walther LGV target rifles.

    Call RWS in New Jersey (201.767.7971) and find out how to send your gun back for repairs.


  3. I’m sorry but I don’t know what is in Beeman Ultra-Lube. Since they don’t sell it anymore I can’t find out, so I can’t recommend it.

    You want silicone oil with a high flash point so it doesn’t diesel.

    I can recommend Crosman RMOil for this purpose.


  4. I have a Winchester 1000X .177 and I want a repair kit that include the original main spring or more strong main spring, piston seal, piston and so on…. please help me to find this…Thanks!!!!

  5. Jonathan,

    Put two drops of silicone cylinder oil down the transfer port once a year. I also lubed the barrel pivot joint with moly grease. Use lubricating oil on the oil point on top of the spring cylinder. About two drops once a year.


  6. Re: Follow up to my question on Sept 7, 2007, about lubing airguns stored for 30 years–HW 55, HW 70 and Crosman 600. Years ago the HW55 was fired less than 2500 pellets, the HW70 less than 500.


    I followed your recommendation of two drops of chamber oil through the transfer port, ten drops of spring oil for the mainspring, and one drop of chamber oil on the breech seal, for the HW55 and HW70.

    The HW55 has been fired about 1000 pellets since. I have shot indoors at about 10m and outdoors plinking at 10-40 yards. The rifle is quieter with less vibration.

    However, yesterday I set up a target at 25 yards. The pellets left an elongated hole, round at the top with an ear 1/4 to 3/4 inch out the back. Is this to be expected? At 10m the holes are decent, but not as crisp as those on targets from 30 years ago. The targets now are 10m NRA, National Target Co. targets, new from PA. The groups are also 1 1/2 low, compared to 10m. Decent accuracy at 10 m–0.20 to 0.26–but at 25 yards the groups are almost an inch or better. These are groups, not strings or two separate clusters.

    I used the ballistic calculator on Airgun expo to estimate mv, and arrive at about 475. Interesting, I used the same calculator several weeks ago, with approx drop at 40 yards and arrived at a very similar estimate.

    I think the rifle should be more accurate at 25 yards and should leave crisp holes at both 10m and 25 yards, but that is only my guess. What do you think? and What do you recommend?


  7. BB

    The groups at 25 yards were shot with H&N match, RWS match, Hobby’s, and Gamo Target. All groups about the same. All with 1/4 to 3/4 ears out the back. Ears true when the targets are backed with cardboard or just hanging. Groups at 10m also with those pellets and much the same. Hobby’s and Gamo are new pellets, other two are from 30 years ago. Have also used Daisy wadcutter and Crosman wadcutter–both have more deformed pellets.

    All shooting is with aperture sights. I was surprised to see pellet holes thee width of a pellet but 1/2-1 inch long. Hope this helps.


  8. farmer,

    It does help. You are experiencing tearing of the target. I get it with lower-velocity airgunhs from time to time. The key was the absense when backed by cardboard.

    I think your 55 may have a leather seal. If it’s from the 1960s, it certainly could have one. Instead of a drop of lube, try five every three months. That ought to pick the velocity up and start cutting sharper holes.


  9. B.B.

    The HW55 was purchased new in early 1975.

    The elongated holes, with ears in the back 1/4-3/4 inch long, occurs both with and without cardboard backing. When backed by cardboard, can see the elongated hole in the cardboard with ears in back of the cardboard also.

    At 12-15 yards the pellets will penetrate a plastic milk bottle, but only one side, and the pellets will remain in the bottle.

    Same recommendation?


  10. Farmer,

    Let’s give it a try. It really can’t hurt the gun.

    If this gun was in the dealer’s posession a while it still could have leather seals.

    If it has synthetic seals, this won’t do much, if anything. But if the seal is leather, velocity should increase.

    One good thing about a 55 is that it is easy to work on if you need a new seal. Think of it as a very mini R1. The end cap is threaded on and the spring is so light you can probably take it apart without a compressor, if you hold onto that cap and keep tension on the spring as it is unscrewed.

    It should pass completely through an empty plastic milk bottle.


  11. B.B.

    Follow-up to above Q/A.

    The HW55 was purchased from Beeman in early January 1975 and shot 2-3000 times over the next year, then stored.

    5 drops of chamber oil in the transfer port and the rifle stood muzzle up overnight. The next day [ Day 1] the pellets would pass through both sides of a plastic milk bottle at 20-30 yards and holes in paper targets at 25 yards had smaller ears on the bottom of the holes. Day 2 I tried the milk bottles at 35 and 40 yards and the pellets pass through both sides. Daay 3, again shot paper targets at 25 yards and the holes continue better, but many 1/8-1/4 inch ears on bottom of holes. Groups are now only 1/2-3/4 inch low, compared to 10m. Groups are also smaller. Certainly positive improvement in terms of signs of low mv; I am surprised.

    So, what next? Leave as is? more oil?, how often to oil?,store muzzle up? Plan on replacing seal? Will shooting gun with poor seal cause harm–there are no unusual noises?


  12. 350,

    When you break the barrel open, the transfer port is on the end of the spring cylinder (the part of the gun the barrel aligns with when it is closed. It’s called the transfer port because the high-pressure air is transferred through that hole from the compression chamber to the back of the barrel, called the breech.

    You don’t CHARGER your rifle. That is a term used for pneumatic guns. You cock it. Breaking the barrel cocks a large coiled steel spring that then pushes the piston when the gun fires. Why don’t you read the 13-part blog aboyt tuning a spring gun, to better understand how they work?



  13. I have a Crossman model 1377 that does not hold an air charge the air leaks out , since I purcased the gun used and it would cost more to ship it to Crossman for repair than what I paid for the gun , do you have any suggestions on what I can do to stop the air leak in the gun ? Can a person use say automotive transmission leak stop to stop the air leak in an air-pistol ? Also is there a repair kit to fix this gun with repair instructions ? I have seen so many defective pump air-guns with air leaks so this seems to be very common .

  14. B.B. Pelletier : Thankyou for your information and the name and address of the individual to contact for parts to repair my Crossman 1377 ! As I said for me to mail the gun to Crosman would be rather rediculous as the cost of labor and postage would be more than the $15 that I paid for the the used gun . Thanks again Thomas

  15. up top you said to leave a gun sitting on the buttstock for a half an hour will this work with break barrel guns how long can you leave it cocked

  16. Winchester Deluxe,

    I said to oil the gun, but not to cock it. If you have to cock it to access the transfer port and if it’s a gun that cannot be uncocked without shooting, you can drop the oil down the muzzle instead. I’d wait a couple hours if you do it that way.


  17. I also have an RWS model 6-GS air pistol purchased in 1985. The gun had little power after non-use for many years. I disassembeled as per info found on site “replace main seals in Diana/original model 6g” the front seal was totally disintigrated. Where can I get new seals? Also, where can I get more info on this model 6g and a model 45 rifle purchased at the same time?

  18. I have a Winchester 1000x, and I have had it for about 1 year. Its the best air rifle I have ever had. But, I haven’t lubed it yet because I have not felt the need to. So should I? and how often should I?

  19. Anonymous with the one year old Winchester 1000X,

    I would suggest you read part 2 and part 3 of this series. It should answer your question about whether to lube, where to lube and what to use:



  20. I own Remington Vantage 1200 and I am satisfied with this gun and it has great power. I would like to know if and how often it needs oil. Do you oil or grease the main spring on this gun.

  21. Anonymous,

    How much do you shoot your rifle? The last paragraph in the blog you posted to will probably work well for you. Have you checked your owner's manuel for any specific lubrication recommendations?

    I cann't speak specifically to your gun, but I suggest following Kevin's advice found in the comment preceeding yours.

    If that doesn't work try asking your question on the current blog. You posted to a blog written in 2006 and you'll reach a much much larger audience here/blog//.

    Mr B.

  22. BB, he might be talking about the Ruger Blackhawk air rifle, which is a rebadged BAM B25s, which is a near clone of the Diana 34P.

    If it is, do NOT use 3-in-1!!! BB would agree!

  23. Malachi,

    You may want to re-read the article at the top of this page.

    IF your ruger blackhawk is honking or squeaking when you cock it then put a drop of two of crosman silicone chamber lube down the transfer port.

    Keep your pivot bolt lubed with grease/moly.

    Wipe the exterior down after each shooting session with a good silicone cloth or a light coat of ballistol with a clean rag.


  24. I just recently acquired a Hyscore Model 809 and I know very little about airguns in general.

    I'm familiar with firearms, and will be refinishing the stock, but I decided to look into maintenance while I've got the action separated from the stock. It shoots pretty well at the short range I've tried it at so far (~20ft). Cocking is stiff and seems to hang up slightly sometimes. I'm currently using quicksilver field point pellets .177, but I'm nearly out so I can pick up most anything – I use the pellet rifle for varmint control (squirrels, armadillos, etc) and target shooting/plinking. Any advice or other information? Also where can I find different front sight inserts? This insert is very wide and covers up much of the target at any appreciable range.

  25. Fuzzy2guns,

    A Hy Score 809 is a Diana 35, so you can research that and find out more about your gun.

    From your description it sounds like either your mainspring or spring guide is broken and the only way to know for sure is to disassemble the rifle. Don't try this unless you have a mainspring compressor. The Diana 35 has a complex trigger that is daunting to install and it has to be removed do disassemble the rifle.

    I suggest that you send your rifle to a qualified tuner for an overhaul.


  26. Manual says a drop of RMCOIL every 200 shots.
    Calling Crosman tech support – they said to never lubricate the chamber.
    I have read on the NET – 1 or 2 drops chamber oil every 1000, 2000 or 3000 shots, never oil or oil when you hear noises when co cking.

    I love to practice target shooting and on average I am using 500 pellets a month.

    What are your recommendations for this particular air riffle?

    Best regards!

    J J

  27. I purchased recently a new Crosman Nitro Venom air riffle in .177
    I did some research on the NET about lubrication and maintenance and I am puzzled.

    Manual says a drop of RMCOIL every 200 shots.
    Calling Crosman tech support – they said to never lubricate the chamber.
    I have read on the NET – 1 or 2 drops chamber oil every 1000, 2000 or 3000 shots, never oil or oil when you hear noises when co cking.

    I love to practice target shooting and on average I am using 500 pellets a month.

    What are your recommendations for this particular air riffle?

    Best regards!

    J J

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