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How long will a spring airgun last?

by B.B. Pelletier

Today’s posting was one I have wanted to do for a long time, but a question from Jeremy prompted me to do it today. Two days ago he asked, “I have a couple more questions about the Gamo 850.

1. How long would the break in be?

2. How good is the scope that comes with the 850?

3. What would be the longevity of the 850?

4. How would i maintain the 850?”

1. How long to break-in?
I think almost every spring gun needs at least 500 shots to break-in, with the TX200 being the sole exception (maybe the BAM B40, but I don’t know that, yet). I’ve seen Gamos and Webleys that were still breaking-in after 3,000 shots. The rougher the gun, the longer the break-in takes. I’m guessing that the Gamo 850 will take several thousand shots before it’s fully broken-in.

2. Is that scope any good?
I’ll be honest, scopes that come bundled with airguns are often selected on the basis of price. HOWEVER, scopes in general are very good these days. That scope is probably a great one to get you started. I doubt it’s going to break on you the way scopes used to break on spring guns 20 years ago. And, after you’ve used it for a while, you’ll know better what you really want.

3. How long will the 850 last?
This is the question I really wanted to address. Friends, I have owned a few spring airguns that were over 125 years old and still working. They didn’t come with a lot of performance back in 1870, so they look pretty puny compared to today’s giants, but they do hold up! I had a wonderful BSA underlever that was made in 1914 and still worked as good as new after I made a new piston seal.

The thing that differentiates today’s crop of spring guns is their construction and power. The old guns were overbuilt for the power they delivered. Today’s spring guns are pushing the envelope of possibility. Still, because they use modern synthetics, I think they have just as good a chance to last, not 100 years but 400 years and more! Naturally, their springs will wear out many times and those piston seals will have to be changed, and there will come a day when the parts will have to be made because they no longer exist, but I really think such longevity is possible.

Of course, in the wrong hands, the same gun can be destroyed in a short time. Here are the leading causes of the destruction:

  1. Disassembly without a clue how to put it back together.
  2. Over-oiling the piston.
  3. Over-cleaning the barrel.
  4. Experiments to “see what happens,” such as pulling the trigger with the barrel open to watch it snap shut, which is the No. 1 destroyer of spring guns.
  5. Dry-firing.

4. How to maintain the 850?
Jeremy – this is the best question you asked. Before you ever shoot your rifle, I recommend cleaning the barrel with a one-piece rod and a brass brush laden with JB Non-Embedding Bore Cleaning Compound. This will bring out the inherent accuracy right away. Then, never clean the barrel again unless the accuracy falls off. If you have the rifle but lack the materials to clean it, go ahead and shoot it, but clean it this way as soon as possible. Or, just shoot it for 500 shots, and you’ll pretty much accomplish the same thing.

Second, don’t oil your gun too much. None at all until you have at least 2,000 shots through it. The exception is if the piston squeaks when the gun is cocked.

Third, wipe your gun after every handling. Use a cloth that has silicone on it. Pyramyd AIR sells such cloths (Beeman and G96 brands), but they’re easily made from an old t-shirt and some silicone spray.

And that’s about it. How about if you report back to us after you’ve had your gun for a while and tell us your impressions?

44 thoughts on “How long will a spring airgun last?”

  1. BB,

    You talk about 500 shots to break-in the gun. I’m a newbie (just got my Mendoza RM-200 and very happy with it) I’m curious what I’d expect to see/hear when the gun is broken in. Is the break-in just about the spring or the whole gun as a unit.

    My new gun is still smoking heavily after each shot. I’ve notice the sound quieting down after about 200 shots. No comment on accuracy since I’m a newbie. I am surprised how hard it is to hold a gun steady.

    Happy Mendoza RM-200 Owner

  2. BB,could you tell me why people say hydrostatic shock dosent exist in air rifle ballistics,when you have a subsonic round at say 30 grains doing 900 ft psr second,for 54ftlbs of energy, then again the same for an air gun,whats caueses the hydrostatic shock in one and not the other,or does it not exist in airguns of low power only,i often read in airgun mags here in the uk that say dont confuse live-ammunitionguns with airguns because ther is no comparison,please could you shed a little light on this matter thankyou

  3. Nathan,

    Let me give you an anology. If a friend punches you, it hurts. If a prizefighter punches you, it may knock you out.

    All projectiles impacting tissue produce shockwaves, but until the waves are powerful they have little effect on tissue.

    In the 19th century, animals were killed by bullets that often impacted them at less than the speed of sound, yet they worked. They worked either because they were so large they caused massive wound channels or they caused direct tissue damage. They also caused massive bleeding.

    Modern supersonic bullets set up violent shock waves in an animal’s tissue to the extent that the shock waves themselves cause massive trauma. The bullets do not have to touch the organs and tissue to damage them.

    Pellets are like the old subsonic or barely supersonic lead bullets. Their shock waves do cause pain, but not tissue damage. The difference between a friend’s punch and one from a prizefighter.


  4. Hi BB,
    Is a bore cleaning compound really necessary when using a brass brush on a steel barrel, or can I just use the bare brush? I mean is the JB Non-Ebbing Bore Cleaning Compound some sort of protective lubricant, or is it only a cleaning agent as the name implies?

    Alan D.

  5. Hello B.B.,

    Just received my .177 Eun Jin 16.1gr pellets, and noticed that there appears to be some oil/lubricant in the tin.

    Do you forsee any problems or concerns that this oil/lubricant might cause me in the immediate/future if I use these pellets in my Gamo CFX or RWS 350 Magnum (also plan to use them in the 460 in the future)? Will dabbing them dry, alleviate any concerns?

    Gamo’s manual states “never put any oil inside the barrel or chamber”.

    I was planning to use these for 10/15 yard hunting.


  6. I have a question B.B. I have one springer( a benjamin legacy .22), I would like to know why the manual says to put a drop of oil in the compression chamber every 250 shots when you say otherwise.

    I am wondering if it is marketing tool so the gun will die quicker making you buy a new piston and seal quicker or a new gun?

    I would like to know the reson they say to oil it more than you do, thats my best thought. Im glad I know that I only need to rarely.

    Also what would you recommened instead of every 250?

    Because you said at least every 2000 shots for the first time after you buy it.

    Unfortunately I re – oiled mine after about the first 1000 shots and reoiled it again after about 400.

    From here on I will less often. But some advice would be very much appreciated, because I have alot of knowledge on air guns and firearms, but I’m fairly new to the springer world.

  7. Squirrel,

    Good question. Since Eun Jins are made primarily for PCPs I suppose they gave no thought to this. I would try a few and see what happens. I think they will be too heavy for your CF-X, but probably not for the other two.

    Give them a try.


  8. Jones,

    I am flattered that you regard my opinion so highly! The problem I have answering your question is that I don’t have all the specifics about the materials used in the Legacy. I suppose it’s POSSIBLE there is a synthetic I don’t know about that needs to be oiled every 200 shots, but I do think that is far too frequently.

    Beeman used to recommend oiling every 500 shots, but synthetics have gotten better and guns need less oil today than they did 20 years ago.

    Go with every 2,000 shots until you notice something like a squeaking piston seal when you cock the gun. Then increase the frequency until you discover the correct amount. I’m betting that it’s a lot less than every 250 shots.


  9. Bryan, you mentioned having bought a muzzle brake for your IZH-61. Where did you get it? By the way I have found the IZH-61 to be very accurate. Better than me… I shoot indoors with it a bit where it is quiet and of suitable power.


  10. I checked a manual that I had – and he’s right. Crosman does call for a single drop of “RMCOIL” in the transfer port every 200 rounds.

    On mine, the seal material seemed no different than the typical synthetic springer seal on a Gamo or Quest.

    What really seems odd is the fact that the Legacy was, without a doubt, the MOST diesel-prone gun I ever worked on. Don’t know if it had to do with the large bore powerplant or the very heavy piston/tophat assembly… but it always seemed like the slightest bit of oil – even silicone oil – would make the gun bang like a .22LR.

  11. Hey BB! and Gazza!

    I was talking about how my IZH-16 was not accurate, and it was believed by you and also me (he he) that it was because of me, and I did not know how to shoot it accurately, well I just found out that my barrel was not put in straight and my Iron sight was crooked (my first time noticing, I never really liked iron sights anyway) well I moved the barrel and I noticed that my sight is now straight! Well my barrel from the time I got it until now, has always been pointing to the right and my sights were crooked, which caused me to shoot it less because of the bad accuracy. It is now dark out and I don’t have a chance today to take it out and see if my problem is fixed.

    Well I hope I can get the IZH-61 that you talk about!

    And about the muzzle break you were talking about Gazza well I made it with items from home depot.

  12. another off topic. in december in the coments of the air arms s-200, debarr posted about converting his RWS850 from CO2 to HPA. have you heard anymore about this? I would like to try the same thing, I’m looking for a .22 repeater. Also any info on when they are inporting the 850 in the Walters 1250 PCP version, that would be the perfect rifle for me. Thanks, Steve

  13. Steve,

    The 1250 is due out soon.

    I wouldn’t go to the trouble to convert an 850 if I were you. It’s pretty much a science experiment that will cost as much as buying the new rifle.

    If you still want to do it, an air hose used by painballers that has an 850 psi regulator in line allwos you to connect your airgun to a scuba tank.


  14. Vince,

    Yes Legacy hit just over 1000 fps from dieseling, and it still puffs out smoke every once in a while, I was shocked because it was my first springer, and shoots more like a firearm in that since, it didn’t get down closer to its 800 fps advertised .22 velocity for a while, and the lightest pellet I used by the way was a crosman premier.

    I think every 200 shots would be rather dangerous esspecially for this gun, definately why I’m trusting BB.

    Although its cool when it diesels to very high velocity and smoke, its not good for the powerplant.

    The Legacy is somewhat weird, I noticed mine was labeled “full power version” when I got it from the box, maybe because its in .22 and it delivers higher ft-lbs? Or is there a higher power version that is no longer sold that crosman discontinued because they tend to head for guns geared for younger shooters more? They actually sell a “full power version” replacement spring piston powerplant for the Legacy at Pyramid Air thats still available I believe.

    All I know is its definately a unique rifle, and Ive never heard of a 28 lb cocking force gun delivering as much power as it does.

    The quest and phantom have similar cocking force levels, and although they have similar advertised velocities, I can assure you you get more power from the Legacy than those 2 guns.

  15. I also heard there will be a new Benjamin Rifle coming out this year, its supposed to be a step up from the Legacy with even more power and more accuracy. So expect a gun a little more pricey than what you might be used to from them. But I think it should be a very good rifle. Every model from the Banjamin Sheridan line offeres amazing power accuracy and quality for the affordable price.

    So hopefully the new rifle will be as good as the rest of their models.

  16. The best my Legacy ever did was about 900 or so (with CPL’s), and that was with a brand new spring and seal from Crosman. That’s in the same range as a good running Quest or Phantom (I’ve got 3), so no, there’s not really any power advantage to the Legacy. And all that dieseling tended to pound the heck out of the spring, both the original and the replacement eventually wouldn’t deliver more than mid-800’s.

    Crosman only had one part number for the mainspring, so I don’t think there’s multiples out there.

    In any event, as much as I like Crosman in general, I don’t think the Legacy is all that great in its price range. It’s not bad – but the tough trigger and the so-so metalwork leave a lot to be desired. And the rear sight is laughable. Back when Walmart had $125 Shadow’s, that was a better deal.

  17. Hi B.B., And thanks for all you do.
    This is probably very old news to you but I find a broken off end of a Q-Tip fits a .177 barrel very well. Good way to swab out the extra oil and such.
    Thanks! Brian.

  18. Hey B.B. You think you could do a reveiw on the Crosman tac – 1 Extereme?

    Its a new Rifle availble on Pyramid Air, looks like their most serious gun they’ve put out on the market, can’t be for sure till its tested, but it looks like they may be becoming a more well rounded company.

  19. bb,

    This is off topic, I know, but do you know those topics you did on “best airguns in the 100/200/400+ range”? I was wondering if you could do something similar to that with scopes.

    Alot of the scopes you review are very expensive. I’m interested in affordable scopes that get the job done. I don’t want a scope for 100 yards if my gun is the most accurate at 30-40 yards.

    How about it bb?


  20. B.B.

    Bought a used R1 as a project gun. Didn’t shoot well so I suspected the mainspring was worn out. When I got it apart the mainspring looked fine but the piston seal had a 1/4″ chunk missing. Had a old piston seal in good shape so I installed it and moly lubed the rifle according to your instructions. What a difference a good seal makes. I had ordered a tune kit from ARH including a new piston seal but I think I’ll wait awhile to install it. Thanks for all your help – I check in with you everyday. By the way – the R1 I bought was a fairly early San Rafael one with 2 stop pin holes in the end cap so springs really do last.

    Springer John

  21. Jones,

    The Tac-1 Extreme is a Phantom with a bunch of accessories. I haven’t tested the Phantom yet because it is so similar to other Crosman spring guns like the Remington Genesis that I feel I have already tested it.


  22. Insomniac,

    I have also mentioned a great many Leapers scopes for less than $100. I haven’t reviewed them yet because they are older models. I reviewed the others scopes because they are new products.

    Any Leapers scope you get will be a good one.


  23. Hi Steve,

    I was the one who wrote that comment back in December. I have to agree with B.B. about converting an RWS 850 from CO2 to HPA. Unless you want to do it for the learning experience, just buy a PCP.

    I redesigned the conversion so that it will mount directly under the barrel. It is close to being done, but the cost of the conversion looks like it will end up around $220 (and lots of time). I will post the performance results under B.B.’s second RWS 850 article when I am done.

    .22 multi-shot

  24. bb,

    thanks, i’ll go for a leapers scope then (when I want one). I assume that the leapers scopes are compatible with the intermount for the benjamin rifles(b272 intermount? or something.)?


  25. BB,
    a question about durability, how well are beeman airguns made, i havent heard much about them and was thinking about purchasing the ss1000. also how the accuracy of a beeman(specifically the ss1000 if you happen to know).


  26. Kyle,

    Beeman makes nothing. They sell brands made elsewhere. The SS-1000 is made in China, I believe, and is fairly well made, though it doesn’t compare to Weihrauch who makes the R-series Beeman guns.

    Being a breakbarrel springr, the SS-1000 will be difficult to shoot accurately, though with the correct technique it should be accurate enough


  27. BB, I noticed that TX200 MkIII manual recommends that the internal parts are not to be lubricated. I guess this includes spring piston. The manual also tells not to use silicon oil on any internal parts.
    According the blog, you own at least one TX200. How do you maintain it? Do you oil the piston and what oil do you use (if not silicone chamber oil)?

    Also, what is the proper way to clean the bore of a rifle with sliding breech? I assume it should be done from the muzzle. The breech should be open while cleaning, which means that the piston has to be cocked and the rifle has to be fired with a pellet after the cleaning is finished. Is there a way to uncock TX200 without firing? Is there any way to oil the bore and leave it oiled for storage?

  28. Jim,

    I maintain my TX200 by doing NOTHING to it! It’s 6 years old and has never been lubricated, despite being used for field target.

    You have to clean the bore from the muzzle, but I don’t recommend ever cleaning a TX200. The baffles will collect the bore paste and it’s just too messy.

    To uncock, release the safety, hold the cocking lever, pull the trigger and ride the piston forward. You have to also hold the beartrap ratchet as you do this, so it takes three hands.

    Unless you are storing for over five years, don’t do anything to the bore. This is a maintenance-free airgun.


  29. BB.

    I have accidentaly shot my CFX with the rotating breech OPEN, and with a pellet LOADED. I didn’t notice until I took the shot and the sound was different.

    I looked and the breech was open and the pellet was gone! I didn’t notice a hit on or near my target, so I was afraid that the pellet remained inside the barrel.

    I cocked and I shot the rifle without a new pellet, to shoot the pellet out.

    From the sound it made, I understood that I dry-fired the rifle and that the pellet was not actually left in.

    During what stage(s)have I caused damage to my CFX?

    What can I do to fix it?

    Thanks a lot

  30. Probably no damage at all. Gamo is the only manufacturer that ever advertised that their guns could be dry-fired safely. I don’t think they say that anymore, but the design is still there.

    Just keep shooting and watch for any strange behavior. I don’t think you hurt it at all.


  31. I haven’t noticed anything weird. It seems to get better every time I sit down and shoot. (or is it me?).

    I was more worried about the open breech, since I don’t fully understand how the pellet could be shot even when the breech was open.

    I know about Gamo’s dry-firing safety but I have also heard many people (e.g. Mr. Gaylord) say that you should never trust that.

    Thanks for the reasurance BB.

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