by B.B. Pelletier

With all the testing and tuning of spring guns I’ve been doing in the past few months, I’ve noticed some things I do for new springers that I’ve never mentioned,but which makes a lot of difference in performance. I thought I’d share these things with you.

Setting the record straight – what manufactures don’t do
I’m amazed at the naivete of some airgun buyers. This week, an airgun manufacturer told me of a call they received from a potential buyer. He wanted detailed performance specs on how the rifle he was interested in buying would perform with about 20 different pellets! Apparently, he believes they have a staff of lab-coated technicians who gather this kind of data! Boy, is he missing the boat! An airgun manufacturer does test guns during development and after each change, but they do it with one pellet (two at the most) they know will tell them what they need to know. This 20-pellet business exists only in the minds of unknowing dreamers. Don’t think for a moment that a manufacturer has the time or inclination to test every gun they build and shoot them all for velocity and accuracy. If it’s a $1,500 10-meter gun, perhaps they will shoot a group. If it’s an $89 springer, they’ll make sure there are screws and pins in all the holes.

You are responsible!
When you get a new airgun, it’s your responsibility to ensure all the screws are tight. Don’t shoot the gun before doing this. Spring guns are particularly bad in this respect. This wisdom knows no boundaries of country or brand. I’ve seen new Webleys with loose screws as often as I’ve seen new Chinese guns with them.

Steel barrel = dirty barrel!
Read the post titled Should you clean a new airgun barrel? Also, read Is your airgun barrel really clean? This is a big concern, because nearly every airgun with a steel barrel is guilty. Guns like Weihrauchs, Webleys and so on have the problem. Any airgun made in a third-world country is guaranteed to have a filthy barrel when it’s new. If you just shoot and shoot the gun, eventually your pellets will scrape out all the crud, and you’ll have a clean shiny bore. If you want performance right off the bat, clean the barrel!

How to clean a new steel barrel
It’s best to use a one-piece steel rod with a ball bearing handle, like a Dewey. Use a brass or bronze bore brush liberally coated with as much J-B Non-Embedding Bore Cleaning Compound as you can fit on it. Clean from the breech if at all possible; clean from the muzzle if you must. Run the brush through the bore 20 strokes in each direction. Somewhere in all that, you’ll notice the brushing gets much easier. That’s a combination of the bore becoming clean and the brush adapting to the size of the bore. Following this cleaning, remove all traces of compound with patches. Keep cleaning until the patches come out clean.

After cleaning, preserve the barrel with Sheath, Ballistol or Break-Free. Or, just shoot the gun a lot and use nothing at all. Once the worst of the rust and dirt is out, continual shooting will keep the bore clean.

Don’t oil new spring guns unless they detonate
Chinese guns and some of the new 1,000 f.p.s. inexpensive springers from American companies (many of which are also made in China) go bang when they shoot. That’s called detonation. Those that smoke are not a problem, but the ones that sound like rimfires can be a problem if they continue doing it. On these guns only, put a few drops of silicone chamber oil down the transfer port. That often stops the explosions…but not always. If it doesn’t, the gun may need attention from the manufacturer or dealer. Use heavier pellets to stop the explosions, as well.

That’s what I do to get a new spring airgun ready to shoot.