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Safe storage of pneumatic airguns

by B.B. Pelletier

A couple questions have come in regarding the safe storage of pneumatics and whether they should be left with a pump of air in them. I have reviewed what I’ve written on this issue and it hasn’t been thorough enough. Here’s the full story.

I meant multi-pump pneumatics – and not all of them!
If a multi-pump has an impact-type valve, it needs to be stored with a pump of air in the reservoir. An impact-type valve has a hammer that knocks the valve off its seat, momentarily allowing the compressed air to escape. Owners’ manuals used to tell you to leave a pump of air (or two) in the reservoir of a multi-pump pneumatic to keep both the inlet valve and the exhaust valve closed against foreign (airborne) contamination. An example of a gun that has an impact-type valve is the Sheridan Blue Streak.

The exceptions
Some multi-pump pneumatics, such as the Daisy 22SG, will not hold a pump of air unless the gun is first cocked. Therefore, to store those guns with air, you would also have to store them cocked – something I would never recommend! However, it is possible to uncock many of these guns (but not the 22SG!) after pumping them, so those could be stored with air in their reservoirs. The Sheridan Supergrade was a gun that had to be cocked before pumping and could be uncocked for storage. The Daisy 22SG has apparently been carefully designed to make it impossible to store with air in it – so don’t try. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendation given in the owner’s manual.

Another BIG exception
This is what prompted this posting. Haque, a reader from Indonesia, owns a Sharp Innova, and he asked about storing it with a pump of air. The trouble is that the Innova has a different type of valve mechanism. Instead of an impact valve, the Innova has a blow-off valve. Blow-off valves were created to end the problems of over-pumping pneumatic guns. Read about that in the Sept. 19, 2005, posting, Another oldie – Crosman 130. The Innova’s trigger holds the exhaust valve shut. Whenever air is in the reservoir, this kind of airgun is cocked and ready to fire! There is no separate cocking action that needs to be taken. That makes for a very unsafe situation if you fill the gun with air to store it – not because you are storing a cocked gun (although you are), but because that type of valve is well-known to fail! Guns having blow-off valves can fire without the trigger being pulled! I’ve had it happen on numerous occasions with many different models of guns.

Fortunately, the guns with blow-off valves aren’t very common, but the whole Sharp line has them. The giveaway to one of these blow-off valve pneumatics is that the trigger becomes harder to pull as the air pressure increases. DO NOT store them with air in them!

What about single-stroke pneumatics?
The manuals for most single-strokes say not to store the gun with air in it. We had a question about doing that with an IZH-46, and I know it covers that specific point in the owner’s manual. What’s at work here is safety and damage to the airgun.

To charge a single-stroke pneumatic, it must be cocked – and you never want to store a cocked gun! The design of the single-stroke mechanism introduces the possibility of damage to the gun if you leave it pressurized. In order to work, the seal must be flexible enough to expand and seal the compression tube. Being that flexible also means that storing it under pressure will soon cause it to extrude (be squeezed through the tiny spaces it seals) and fail. For this reason, the IZH-46 manual tells you not to leave the gun pressurized for extended periods.

Precharged pneumatics
Precharged guns such as the FX Black Widow and the Aeron B99 are always stored with air in them. They all have impact-type valves and benefit from having their inlet and exhaust valves closed against airborne contamination. The only time to take all the air out of them is when you ship them. Otherwise, leave them with at least a caretaker charge to keep the valves closed. There’s no harm in leaving them filled to the max at all times.

I hope this clears up any questions you might have had about storing your pneumatic guns with or without air.

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.

13 thoughts on “Safe storage of pneumatic airguns”

  1. Hi B.B.

    Off the topic, since so many folks responded to your “Gamo CF-X field test”, looking at the responded comments. You did a great job. Is it possible you can do a “Field Test” on the following gun as well?

    Diana RWS 52
    Diana RWS 54
    Air Arms TX200

    For the folks who want to make a purchase decision, your “Field Test Review” can give them the insights on which gun to purchase. I am sure a lot of other folks have the same dilemma as to which gun to get.



  2. BeeKeeper,

    That’s three guns you want me to test. I have done the TX200 several times already and I just did the RWS 52 recently. All that I lack is the RWS 54.

    But here is the problem. You have asked for a comparison between a Corvette, a John Deere model B tractor and a more modern John Deere with hydraulics.

    The TX 200 will shoot rings around the other two rifles in the sport of field target. So if you want to make tiny groups at long range with a .177 pellet, get the TX. In .22, however, the RWS rifles rule.

    The RWS 52 is perfect in .22 for hunting. It’s accurate (though not as accurate as a TX in .177) very smooth and quite powerful. It has one of the best cocking-to-power ratios I have ever seen in a spring gun.

    The RWS 54 is very much like the 52, only it has a sliding action in the stock that reduces the felt recoil when the gun is fired from a near-level position. Aim up or down and the 54 kicks just like a 52. It’s just as accurate and just as powerful as the 48/52, so the only real difference is the sliding action recoil reduction.

    I propose an alternate article. How about an article titled, “Which airgun should I buy?” I might ever make it a series.

    I do appreciate that a good field test is a big help when making a purchase decision. That’s why Pyramyd AIR has a huge section of field test articles on their site. I have even heard through the grapevine that there will be a full test report on the CF-X at some time in the near future.

    The funny thing about any test report that’s favorable, however, is that when it comes out, everyone wants THAT airgun. Until the next report comes out, then they want THAT one! And finally, when a new person arrives on the blog and sees all the reports at the same time, he says, “Wait a minute – they can’t ALL be good! Someone is lying!”

    So I’ll keep plodding along and try to hit as many of the guns as I can. But I doubt I will ever compare one to another, except where certain features overlap.

    Thank you for your interest and for suggesting this report,


  3. Every one interested in the .22cal cf-x,

    I checked on gamo.com and went in the international gamo website.There I went in the cf-x and it sayed”Available in .177 or .22!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You can order it there even though I think that the shipping will be quite expensive.

    CF-X guy

  4. Hi B.B.

    I did a search for TX200 in your blog site; I only got the following topics:

    Airguns and noise
    HW97 & HW77

    Can you point to the Month and Year for the TX200 review or what key words should I search for?

    Also, which model of RWS for the .22 would you recommend?.



  5. BeeKeeper,

    Look at July 22 for the TX 200. I’ve actually hit on it a number of times in the past year.

    My pick of an RWS .22 is the 48/52. The 350 M is great, too, but it takes more technique to shoot accurately.

    There are no .22 CF-Xs in the U.S. right now. Those who are writing about them live in New Zealand, Australia and Europe. I do believe they will be imported, despite what some have heard from GamoUSA, but they aren’t available yet.



    No .22 I’ve ever seen was less accurate than the same gun in .177. BUT – and this is a big and important point – an RWS .22 cannot keep up with a TX 200. That was what I said.

    By “keep pace” I mean shoot as accurately. When it comes to power, the RWS wins, hands down.


  6. Just got my IZH 61 last week, and WOW! Fantastic plinking fun for an almost too cheap price. I used a borescope at work and the barrel is honed. It’s not perfect, but far above standard, so that mostly explains the great accuracy.
    And it is almost more than what I need right now, as I do not have enough room on 1/3 acre. I think you hit on a good idea for an article on what rifle/pistol is appropriate for a particular need, as there are too many that are impressed with speed/power only, and do not consider space or noise when purchasing. I think I will need to see a friend about using his land, as the IZH is begging to be used at farther distance. Untill then, I’ll stay with my pistols for plinking at home(mostly).

  7. BB

    I know you made a post on the crosman 130 which is a close relative of the crosman american classic but I’m still confused on if I should store my american classic with a pump of air or not.

    oh and if you haven’t written an article on one please do, I know very little about the american classic other than it seems to share the same basic internal design with the crosman .22 pistol and rifle

  8. American Classic,

    The model 1377 American Classic has to be cocked by the shooter. Therefore, it does not have a blow-off valve like the 130. The Crosman 1300 was the last Crosman pistol to have that kind of valve, and guns that have it are often called “automatic cocking” because they require no separate cocking.

    Because you have an impact-type valve, you can safely store a pump of air in the gun.


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