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Education / Training How long will a CO2 airgun last? – Part 2

How long will a CO2 airgun last? – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

We’re talking about how long CO2 guns will last, and I said that the answer isn’t as straightforward as it was for spring guns. That’s because CO2 guns have used all sorts of construction methods in the 120 years that they’ve been produced. We left off with the guns of the 1950s, which was when some companies started to see how inexpensively they could build guns.

The 1960s bring more problems
Diecast metal continued into the 1960s, but it got stronger, and makers got smarter about designing the parts that use it. However, the problem of difficult machining is still very real. When a complex part breaks or wears out, it usually isn’t worth the effort to try to reproduce it in steel. This is now causing problems for aging Crosman 600 semiautomtic pistols that have a steel cam and a cast metal cam follower. If that follower breaks, it’s difficult to replace. And, the 600 is such a popular shooting gun that they’ll continue to wear out and fail at an accelerated pace until the gun is too rare to shoot.

In the late ’60s and through the ’70s, they started playing with new seal designs that arent traditional. The Daisy 100/200/300 falls into this category. When new, the guns worked fine. Once they start leaking, however, not even the maker would repair them. They’re wonderful fast-action semiautomatic BB guns with light triggers and great handling characteristics, and today they can be bought as parts by the pound at every airgun show. The problem with each one is always the seal, and they can’t be rebuilt, as far as I know of.

The ’80s are worse!
In the 1980s, some makers began substituting plastic for diecast metal. They reinforced the plastic with thin steel stampings at critical wear points, but the net result is that these guns don’t have a hopeful outlook for longevity.

In the late 1990s, we had yet another revolution – this time in the direction of quality, for a change. Umarex (Walther) began to produce the most realistic air pistols (and one replica air rifle) that had been seen in CO2 guns. They are diecast construction, but that technology has come a long way since 1950. However, the problem of specialized parts still remains. When a diecast part breaks, it is quite difficult to make unless the design is very simple. And the realism of the replicas goes against simplicity.

Guns built to last
CO2 target guns are built to last. They do have complex parts, but they’re mostly made of steel and therefore are easier to make. The receivers are machined from aluminum blocks and are complex, but receivers are usually not the parts that wear out and the seals are all straightforward.

Another kind of CO2 gun that will last is based on easily manufactured parts, such as Crosman’s 2240 pistol and 2260 rifle. The round tubing-based assemblies in these guns assures their longevity, as long as tubing continues to be made and lathes still work. A look at the success of the Crosman 160 and 150 pistol shows just how good this type of construction is. Even when the guns are originally made of some plastic parts, like both models just mentioned, someone with a lathe and mill can replicate those parts in steel to make the gun last indefinitely. The Chinese QB-78 follows in the 160’s footsteps, with interchangeable parts, making this family of guns virtually immortal.

Airgun makers such as Dennis Quackenbush and Gary Barnes work in steel (Barnes also uses aluminum) and make their parts on simple machines. That assures that their guns can be repaired for a long time to come.

The longevity question has many answers when it comes to CO2 guns. Unlike springers, CO2 guns have been made by many different methods, each of which carries it’s own genes for longevity.

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.

23 thoughts on “How long will a CO2 airgun last? – Part 2”

  1. Hi BB

    Here is a bit of an off topic for you. I bought an old BSA Meteor from a mate of mine out of sympathy for the rifle as he was quietly trashing it. Now that I’ve got it and replaced the back site I have noticed that there is some play on the barrel and where the barrel is connected to the chamber, the chamber hinges are slightly flared at the point where the pin goes through. It would definitely be easier to explain with a photo. My question is, will this barrel movement affect the shooting of the rifle and if so is it reparable?


  2. Ken,

    Are you sure the pivot bolt is tight? If it is, then do the following.

    Yes, there is a way to fix it. With the barrel and baseblock removed, the action forks are put in a padded vice, tightened to the spread you want and the vice is wrapped with a 3-lb. mallet. When you loosen the vice, the action forks should have closed to the width you want. This trick requires a deft hand, so you may want to let a machinist do it.

    With the barrel loose, you are undoubtedly having some air loss at the breech.


  3. B.B. and Ken,
    I’m guessing the BSA is a break barrel? I had a similar situation on my Gamo shadow 1000 with slop at the barrel pivot bolt. It made the barrel effectively have two locked “home” positions. So when I shot a series of pellets, I’d end up with 2 neat groups, one spaced 3/4″ away horizontally from the other, shooting at 10 yds. Took me an embarrasingly long time to figure it out. I ended up with a good fix, but B.B., your fix sounds a HECK of a lot easier than what I went thru. So much to learn! That keeps it fun and interesting!
    B.B., another question on this. The Gamo pivot bolt threads into one leg of the action fork, but is a clearance fit thru the other leg. When I tighten the bolt up I am just clamping the barrel tighter to the one leg, not really pinching the barrel between the fork legs. Is that the normal design for break barrels? Seems like one to many design corners were cut.
    Thanks again,

  4. Good article on CO2 gun longevity, you raise some points that I wouldn’t have thought of. You mention the Walther replicas in a generally favorable light, with qualification for cast-metal parts.

    I’m wondering specifically about Walther’s copy of the model 1894 Winchester (wish it came in .22); I’ve had my eye on it for a long time, but now I’m wondering about the durability (and replaceability) of the internal parts. Couldn’t find a review in a search of your blog, an article on this gun would be interesting.

    As always, thanks for any response.

  5. 1894,

    I did a review on June 10, 2005, A hoot to shoot

    The gun IS a lot of fun to shoot and pretty high quality. I’ve heard some reports of leaking in the 2-cartridge CO2 mechanism that’s hidden in the butt. I think the people with that problem did not use Crosman Pellgunoil. My 1894 is 4 years old, and it doesn’t leak.


  6. Pestbgone, when you tighten the pivot bolt on the Gamo (or the old Chinese B19, the Crosman Quest and derivative rifles) you are actually tightening the breach against the right fork. The bolt should bottom on the bushing that the bolt goes through. The close fit of the bolt head in the left fork does help keep the barrel from wobbling left-to-right.

    Not sure why they did this, but I doubt it has anything to do with cost-cutting. The cheapest (and junkiest) breakbarrels available (Industry B1 and B2 series) do not use this arrangement, and I believe that Gamo’s system requires more close-tolerance machining than other systems.

    It is possible that they did this in an effort to minimize friction in the pivot while keeping the joint free of sideways play.

    Seems goofy, but the general consensus among Gamo owners seems to be that it works well enough. If your’s had a problem, I think it was rather the exception than the rule.

  7. BB, your remarks about the old Daisy CO2 pistol series (beginning with the 100) was right on the money. Absolutely incredible trigger for a double-action BB pistol – it feels like an honest semi-auto. As the balance and feel of the gun – well, again, you are right about that.

    What I can’t understand is why nobody else (to my knowledge) ever used the same “elevator” mechanism as this pistol. It might even lend itself to feeding pellets.

    A friend asked me to repair his old Model 200 that was leaking and jamming. I disassembled the gun, cleaned the parts, and lubed everything with Pellgun oil (where do you think I got THAT idea???). Believe it or not, that took care of it. It worked fine when I returned it to him.

  8. Kinda wish I had known about Pellgunoil before giving away the Model 100 that I had a few years ago. Then again – 8gr CO2 cartridges ain’t the easiest thing to find anymore…

    BB – if I may I’m going to risk the wrath of the bloggers here and ask what you think of the Springfield Armory 1911A1.

  9. Vince,
    Thanks for your insight into the Gamo pivot bolt, and you are right, it does seem a little goofy, even if not uncommon. I guess either the bolt head was undersize or the fork hole was oversize. I think it calculates out that a .002 clearance at the bolt head would allow for a .75 offset at 10 yards, if there was slop in the bushing and the bolt flexed also. I guess the tolerances are normally a lot tighter. Good to know that mine is the exception, rather than the rule…….I guess. lol
    Thanks again,

  10. HI BB

    How about a blog on the new Gamo
    Whisper it is said to be 52% quieter. i have owned a Shadow they
    are loud. a 1000 fps airgun that only half as loud.Wow but what about spring noise. Is it as good
    as it sounds…the sales pitch.

  11. Vince,

    I like Springfield Armory products, and they seem to win awards for their designs.

    I’ve now heard from some Taurus insiders that the PT1911 has many known issuea and no real fixes, so it will be interesting to see what happens to my gun.


  12. No doubt the Whisper is quieter. The TX200, which has the same baffled shroud, is also quieter. But as you correctly point out, all that can be quieted is the report. The spring noise, which I feel is 60-75 percent of a spring gun’s noise, is still there

    I’ll see what I can do.


  13. BB, how on earth can a pistol design that has been around for almost 100 years and hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of trouble-free examples have many known problems and no real fixes? Did Taurus mess around with the original design that much?

  14. Vince,

    I bought the PT1911 because it has the most popular tune-up features. It’s possible Taurus has low quality control, or they may be using the wrong manufacturing methods for some of the parts. I don’t really know. What I do know is that they know there’s a problem, and it’s a big one.


  15. We are new at target shooting. My daughters are participating in a tetrathlon. The Beeman p-3 was recommended for kids due to its smaller size and cost . Do you have any special instructions or hints for use and care for this gun? They will be target shooting 2 sets of 10 shots at 10 meters. THANKS!

  16. Can a PCP air rifle be recharged from the regulator hose(w/ quick connect fitting) from my 2nd stage that I use for diving? or do I have to get a special regulator just for the gun?

  17. P3,

    The P3 is a single-stroke pneumatic that needs very little care or maintenance.

    First – DON’T clean the barrel – EVER. There is no need. Just use good quality target pellets and the gun will shoot well for tens of thousands of shots.

    Use Beeman H&N Matrch, or H&N Match pellets. You might try RWS R-10 pellewts, as well. Gamo Matrch are very good and economic, too.

    Only use wadcutter (flat-nosed) pellets for target shooting.


  18. There was a guy selling seal kits for the model 300. Essentially a new O ring and lots of pell gun oil. I think he was out of AK. Didn’t work for me but put me on the right track for fixing my 300.

    Don’t throw them away, they can be fixed.

  19. Corey,

    You have to tell us what model your gun is. Several manufacturers use the number 200.

    But I'll bet you have a Daisy 200. If that is correct, there are no repairs for that model. Sorry.

    If your gun is made by a different manufacturer, tell us who made it and maybe it can be fixed.


  20. Anything that can be “created” can be fixed with enough time and effort. Even the “lowly” Jaguar Cub can be restored with a little creative effort. The 200, is no exception. Only YOU can decide if the effort is worthwhile.

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