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A couple helpful tips Sealing CO2 guns and eliminating rust

by B.B. Pelletier

Two things drove today’s blog topic – (1) the wind is still howling here, which prevents me from finishing the Walther Falcon Hunter report, and (2) there are a couple small subjects I want to cover that don’t fit well anywhere. So here we go.

Crosman Pellgunoil really works
I think I’ve promoted Crosman Pellgunoil more than any other product throughout my writing career and for good reason. It works! It won’t reseal a gun for you, but it will rejuvenate the seals in a gun that’s been lying around a long time. How long? Well, I’ve used it on a gun that hadn’t been shot in more than 20 years, and it kept the gun sealed for another two years of regular shooting. That was a flea market purchase that came out of the closet after a death in the family, which is how the dating was determined.

Accept no substitutes
The moment I give advice to use Pellgunoil, I’m hit with, “What can I substitute?” You’d think Pellgunoil was tied to gas prices, the way some shooters want to avoid it. What they really want is to be able to buy it at Wal-Mart, but none of the hundred or so stores I’ve visited carry it. Please don’t write and ask me whether this or that can be substituted for Pellgunoil, because I really don’t know. Heck, until last year I thought Pellgunoil was a synthetic!

What is it?
Crosman Pellgunoil apparently is a 20-weight, non-detergent, petroleum-based oil that has o-ring and seal conditioners added. That’s what colors it red. Daisy used to offer their own brand of oil for the same purpose. When they stopped production, they simply told owners to use 20-weight, non-detergent motor oil in their guns. Of course, you don’t get the seal conditioner when you do that.

What does it do?
Pellgunoil is introduced into the gun at the point where the pressurized CO2 gas flows in. It’s then carried through the entire pressurized portion of the gun by the gas that flows through. If you lube a fresh CO2 cartridge and install it in a very dry airgun, before that cartridge is exhausted, you’ll notice oil around the breech. That’s from the oil-laden CO2 exhausting at the transfer port and leaving oil behind. Every seal and o-ring in the path of the CO2 will now have a coat of oil with seal conditioner.

As it flows through the pressurized system of the gun, the oil loosens and removes particles of dirt that are carried out the transfer port by the flow of gas. Guns that get oiled have far fewer incidents of seal damage due to dirt particles.

I didn’t discover the benefits of Pellgunoil on my own. I was introduced to it by Rick Willnecker when I visited his shop in Maryland back in the 1990s. Rick is a Crosman and Benjamin repairman and has been fixing guns since the 1960s, when his stepfather had a gun shop in Baltimore. He kept a large bottle of the stuff on his bench and every gun he repaired – CO2 or multi-pump pneumatic – got a liberal dose of it as the new parts were installed. Once I started using it, I’ve have had far fewer problems with CO2 guns.

Getting rid of rust on guns – a smelly business
For many years, I’ve avoided using Ballistol because of the odor. It smells like fish, which I’ve been told is the anise in the formula. The late Joe Goulart (“Golden Joe” of Golden Toller Guns) was the guy who pushed Ballistol at me with a vengence. He sold airguns and black powder guns and was one of the nicest people in airgunning. But that didn’t make Ballistol smell any better!

Then, a few years ago Van Jacobi, of Airhog told me he used Ballistol to clean the bores of all the new airguns that came through his shop and said I’d be surprised at the rust he got out of new Falcon barrels. I relented and tried some for that purpose. After seeing for myself, I never looked back. In fact, I pushed hard for Pyramyd AIR to stock Ballistol because of its excellent rust-prevention and removal properties.

Let me show you what I mean. I recently bought a vintage Daisy BB gun that was originally nickelplated but had been attacked by rust over decades of attic storage. It was the perfect test subject for how well Ballistol works. I cleaned the rust from one side of the action, just to see if the change was that visible. I had hoped to show the other side as a comparison, but the Ballistol is also a penetrating type of oil and it crept around to the other side of the gun. So I stopped and took a photo of that side with as much rust as remained, then I applied Ballistol in three successive treatments. Just spray it on the surface and let it stand for 30 minutes to an hour. The longer it stands, the less work you have to do because the Ballistol has more time to bond with the rust.


Rust from decades of attic storage has peppered this plated BB gun pretty bad.

Ballistol penetrates and neutralizes rust
Ballistol is a non-carcinogenic, biodegradable oil that penetrates rust. That allows you to wipe away a lot of it, but not all. The rust down in the pits that were formed does not wipe off, but it turns from red to black and will not continue to eat the metal. You cannot see the color change on a blued gun, but you can see the results on a white rag when you wipe it off. On my nickel gun, though, you can actually see the red rust leaving the surface.


I had to cut the light on this exposure because the receiver now reflects much more light. This is after three 30-minute treatments with Ballistol. If I do more treatments, more rust will be removed.

You can see the white rag turn reddish-brown and can actually see the red rust being removed from the surface as you rub.


The rag clearly shows what’s coming off the gun.

Will oil do the same thing?
Yes, regular petroleum oil will do almost the same as Ballistol, but not quite. Regular oil won’t bond with the rust to the same extent Ballistol does, so you will have to work longer for similar results. Also, the rust in the pits may not be fully neutralized by regular oil, and the rusting may not be entirely stopped. Of course, the more carefully you work, the better your results will be.

What about using steel wool?
Steel fur, as our UK cousins call it, works well with Ballistol or oil on some surfaces but not on others. It works very well on a hot blued finish. The nickel finish I chose to show here is one surface on which you wouldn’t want to use steel wool because it would rip up a large amount of the remaining nickel with the rust. Once a pit eats through the rust, the edges of the nickelplating are exposed. If a hard object such as a steel wire scrapes past, it can get under the plating and pull up more of it. On any plated surface, I use a cotton rag.

What do you get with this treatment?
You may remove and neutralize all the rust, but the pits are still there. All the finish that was removed by the rust will still be gone, so the gun may not look much better after a treatment like this. However, you’ll know absolutely that the rust problem has been dealt with. If there are large patches of bare metal, this treatment will probably leave them with a brownish-gray color called patina. That’s considerably better than the peppery-red color of active rust.

Besides rust removal, Ballistol is a great penetrating oil, good for light lubrication and as a wipe-down to prevent rust from fingerprints. Blackpowder afficionados even use it as a patch lubricant in ball-shooting muzzleloaders.

44 thoughts on “A couple helpful tips Sealing CO2 guns and eliminating rust”

  1. Steel fur? What’s that when it’s at home? Trust me, in the UK we call steel wool, well, steel wool. At a push we might use wire wool, but steel fur? Oi veh, already.

  2. BB, I went an airgun show in CT this weekend and purchased a HW 50S .177 in excellent condition for $160. The serial number is 20XXXX. It is my first spring air rifle (mostly have pneumatic pumps). I cannot find a safety on the rifle. Is there a user manual available anywhere? Also, do you happen to know when the rifle was made?
    Al on CT

  3. Al in CT,

    You bought an early HW 50S. That’s why no safety. It may have only two scope stop holes instead of three. They are really for stopping the aperture sight.

    I would guess your rifle was made in 1963-64, sometime.

    It may have a leather seal, which you should retain, if you can.

    Al, go on this forum and tell them what you have:


    List the complete serial number and they will be able to give you the date of manufacture. Someone there might have a manual for your gun, or you could buy the Weihrauch booklet published by ARH from Doug Law. He’s on that forum, I think.


  4. Morning B.B. Does a Benjamin Discovery need any type of internal lubrication like a CO2 only gun, ie, seals that would benefit from the condictioner part of Pellgunoil? Thanks much.

  5. B.B.

    How fascinating. I was sold about the benefits of Pellgunoil but am fascinated to read about Ballistol. I bought it from PA but wasn’t sure if the hype was for real. Ballistol has done a great job arresting the rust problem on my Winchester 94.

    I wasn’t aware that it was a bore cleaner too. Am I reading that right? Also, the literature says that you can spray it on stocks for preservation. What will it do to a wood or synthetic stock? Thanks.


  6. BB, Just my 2 cents on the subject, but if I were concernned about lubricating any rifle, I’d let a professional air-gun smith check it out first. I followed the maufacturers instructions, and dropped a tiny drop of Crosman silicone chamber oil into my rifle, which had 1200 to 1500 rounds through it, and needless to say, my gun don’t work any more,…again. I’ll never use it again, nor would I ever recommend using it, nor wasting the money for it. Best advice, enjoy it until you are sure somethings not right, then let a pro do the rest.
    On a good note, I was able to attend my first air-gun fun shoot this past weekend. I had the pleasure of meeting Bob Werner, Gene Curtis, and alot of really nice people. There were guns of all types, and I even got the pleasure of shooting some of them. The field-target guns were pretty awesome. Lots of custom jobs. I held my own, and you’d be proud how well my Benji’s shot. Hit a golf ball @ 45 yards with both my 392 and “old reliable” 397. Got the GRT 3 trigger on my Big-Cat, and my groupings shrank!!! The best part of the show was when my 10 year old daughter would walk up to the line and hit the spoons at 20 yards with her Daisy Buck. Like it was nothing to her!!!!! Even the F-target ‘snipers’ shook their heads in disbelief. Way to go Sweet-Heart!!!!! Good Food, good shooting, and great fellowship. That’s what it’s all about!!! Thomas

  7. Hello all. Utter catastrophe has overtaken me. You may recall that I was ordering a Savage police sniper rifle through some very inept characters. I finally got a call from the owner a couple of weeks ago saying that the gun had arrived and that I could pick it up after a 10 day waiting period. About a week ago, I called to reconfirm and got no answer as continued to be the case when I called 5 times a day for the following week. I went in person on Saturday only to find…the place is closed for business with no contact information.

    Someone drove up in a car all set to shoot at the indoor range and asked me what was going on. When I told her that the place looked closed for business, she said that she hadn’t heard anything about that and had paid for a year membership. She gave me the number of an employee/friend whom I called and this guy said that the owner had fired all the employees with no pay and no explanation.

    I called the police sort of hoping that they could kick down the door of the place and get my gun, but they said that this is a matter for the Civil Court. They put me on hold for an hour this morning. I will make the ATF my friend as well as the California Department of Justice. Anyway, instead of coming away with a super-accurate rifle for a cheap price as planned, it looks like I am locked into an open-ended court proceeding with a potential fugitive from justice. All I can say by way of general advice out of this is to pay attention to the level of service you are getting. If you see a sullen, rude manner and incompetent behavior, fly far away rather invest any serious money or wind up like me.

    B.B., I thought I would also improve the lighting in my indoor range this weekend. I found that the bulbs were 60W–surely not adequate. So, I bought some 100W bulbs which were the most powerful that would fit in the light fixtures. What a difference! I was dropping those pellets right on top of each other. Then just as I was reloading to complete a high score and one of my best sessions ever there was a great crash and everything went dark. I found that the entire light fixture–along with an avalanche of plaster–had fallen right out of the ceiling and was dangling halfway to the floor by wires.

    I would say that I am a man more sinned against than sinning….


  8. Matt 61,

    Ballistol says their product is good for wood and synthetics. Most European armies use it on their machine guns as a lubricant, and, yes, it cleans bores, as well.

    In fact, in Europe, it is used for both veterinary and human medicine, according to the website.


  9. Matt,
    I feel bad for you and guilty, too, because I had composed a cynical diatribe against small gun businesses and an injunction to only shop large chains with service from the manufacturer, which I never posted because it would have gone over like a lead balloon. To be honest, for every great mom & pop business I’ve seen in the last ten years, there’s 40 fly-by-night, underfunded, badly-run, or outright dishonest excuses for commerce. If they tell you their prices are higher because you get better service but don’t have time/ability to answer simple questions directly, red flag number one!

  10. Hi,B.B.Great post about pellgun oil. My brother had an old Blue Streak that he left with out air in it for about ten years.I followed the instuctions on one of your posts and that gun shoots like it has new seals.A question. Which is louder.Gamo CF_X or a TX200Mk111

  11. Matt61

    I feel your pain, man. Try to be patient for a couple days. If you have the owner’s name, try to call him at home and tell him you’ll pay for the gun in cash. The most likely scenario here is that under threat of suit, he’ll simply transfer the gun to you. He needs the cash more than he needs another lawyer. Let us know how this goes down.


  12. bg_farmer…I’ll take you to task a little bit (and I hope you will take it in the spirit intended).
    I work for one of those ‘mom and pop’ businesses. We are in the photographic industry and in truth our little business has been in operation since ’48, has nine stores and does about $30,000,000/yr and we have seen our share of small businesses start up and disappear a couple of years later.
    In a very few cases have the disappeared because they are “fly-by-night, underfunded, badly run or downright dishonest”. In most cases they are started by people who see a way to make an honest living if they sell a quality product at a fair price and give good service.
    What they aren’t prepared for is the fact that the majority of purchasers do not give one wit about ‘real’ quality or service. That fact that Walmart probably sells as much Marksman plastic crap in a day as Pyramid sell in a month is testament to this. As long as there is a place to put the pellet, and it goes ‘pop’ when you pull on that 8lb trigger…’well gee-wiz, why are you guys spending all that money on them german guns?’
    A while back on a Canadian forum (where I’m from) I saw a posting someone made mentioning how wallymart had a cheap chinese pellet going for .90 for a tin of 500…even on the forum…people who you think would know better were all saying how they were going to check this out…the pellets in question are notorious for inconsistincies…but hell, .90 cents a tin??!!
    Why pay $7 and buy a quality product, and keep my nieghbours business going when I can buy this cheap crap?

    Okay…end of rant.

  13. Hi BB,
    Im gald to here its nice and windy down there. Its been in the 90’s without a breath of wind here. horrible weather.
    I had a question that i know is not appropriat to ask here but your writing about the walther lever action got me thinking again. I was wondering if you had any experience with the .22lr Henry rifles? If you could tell me anything i would appreciate it. Thank you

    Nate in Mass

  14. Canadian Ranter,

    Don’t worry (if you do), I’m not offended. In fact, I have, do, and will willingly continue to spend a bit more to support good local and small businesses when possible. I will also admit that dealing with “customers” could turn a saint into a cold-blooded killer. In my own defense, I actually asked a local tractor shop to charge me more on an implement, because I thought they had made a mistake in pricing it.

    My problem is that people trap themselves by starting a business with little plan, then try to (understandably but not always ethically) extricate themselves by passing the suffering on to their clients, then complain about Wallyworld. PA seems to be a very well-run business and it offers a wide range of products (and service [e.g. Sharon]) from the “affordable” to the more exotic; I seriously doubt the big W will ever be a threat. On the other hand, the business model I usually see in small businesses is to shame the customer into buying much more than they need or want just to keep the lights on. There’s no reason, for example, that an airgun “place” shouldn’t offer the same low-end pellets as Wallyworld and recommend them for suitable purposes (i.e., shooting big, closeup targets with your nephews). Instead, you’ll probably get a load of huey about how cheap pellets in general damage your rifle and specifically how pellets sold at Wallyworld are made from radioactive waste. Also, I remember the long-ranging arguments that Remingtons sold by WM were secretly made off-shore out of pot metal. Personally, I will support a business that tells me the truth (that it does take more money per transaction to run a small business, but I won’t spend much time worrying about one that lies to people).

    Hope you don’t think that’s a crazy position.

  15. Nate in Mass,
    It’s hot, humid and nasty here in CT as well.
    I’ve read a lot of information on the Henry .22 lever guns. Years ago I was searching for a nice .22 levergun and was looking between three; the Marlin 39A, the Winchester 9422 and the Henry. I had a 9422 for a bit and sold it off (dumb move) and now own a Marlin 39A (smart move). I looked long and hard at the Henry because of the price and the ton of good reviews that people have given the rifle.
    The only knocks that I have heard against them is that while they are accurate, they are made of less expensive materials than either Marlin of Winchester.
    My vote would be for the Marlin 39. You can find them used at gun shops for $250=350. They are the longest continuously produced firearm made. That should tell you something.

  16. to the above
    Thank you! Just curious as to where you got the info on quality of materials. the Henry site seems bent on ensuring me their using top notch stuff.
    ps. What kind of accuracy do you get with the Marlin?

    Nate in MAss

  17. BB:

    I don’t think there’s an aversion to using Pellgunoil. The problem is it’s so hard to find locally, at least in my area and shipping/handling charges are prohibitive for an item that costs <$3. Jeff

  18. BB (or anyone)–
    I just bought my first gas Airsoft gun: a WE1911A1, after checking out various models and specs until 1 this morning! It’s a blowback model. I’d also like to have a non blowback pistol as well (I teach marksmanship classes). Would you be kind enough to recommend a handgun that balances the following personal prefs: gas (propane, here on Maui), NON-blowback, price, accuracy, great trigger, hi capa, reliability? Thank you! I’ve looked at so many NBB pistol specs that I can’t remember anymore which gun does or has what. Just someone please point me in the direction of a good gun to buy. Anyone’s personal favorites (and WHY they are such) would be insanely — at this point –appreciated.

    –Joe B.

  19. David,

    I don’t know how to get a Prochrono, short of buying one. Most manufacturers aren’t willing to loan equipment for a blog.

    What I can tell you is that I have tested several other brands of chronographs and they all work about the same. The only one I really dislike is that IR one you attach to the muzzle of the gun. I had a lot of trouble with that one (I bought one several years ago).

    The Oehler is the most precise, but they are all pretty good. I’d say get the one you want – as long as it doesn’t use IR skylights – you won’t be disappointed.


  20. Nate in Mass,
    I have shot the Henry. It is very accurate and has a much smoother action than the Winchester. I have never had the chance to shoot the Marlin 39A, but I hope that I do sometime. I know that you want a lever gun, but Remington pumps are excellent, but expensive. Currently favorite rim fires are the Glenfield mod. 75 and Marlin 917VS with Rifle Basix trigger.

  21. Nate in Mass.

    My Marlin gives very good accuracy for a lever action .22. Half inch or so at 25 yards (depends on the ammo). Extremely fun though. One thing about the Marlin as opposed to the other lever .22s, you’ll see that the operation of the lever is much more stiff than either a 9422 or a Henry. Henry has the smoothest that I have felt. I don’t think that you will see much difference in accuracy amongst the three.
    On a final note, the 39a breaks down easily for cleaning and storage. Just a turn of a large screw on the receiver. The 9422 was slight more involved, but still easy

  22. hey bg-farmer…you ever hold one of them chinese pellets up to a geiger counter? hahaha
    You make some good points…I think part of the difference in experience is that Canada is a far smaller market than the U.S. with far less competition. The few real sleazy operators really don’t have enough market base to stay in operation much beyond their grand opening.

  23. BB,

    Great information about Pellgunoil and Ballistol!

    Have you heard of anyone using Ballistol on power tools? My father-in-law gave me a nice used drill press that needs some work to get rid of the rust. After this report I’m thinking about trying Ballistol on it!

    .22 multi-shot

  24. hey B.B. I know that this article is about the pellgun oil ( which really works!) and the ballistol, but i have a question about co2. I know how it functions on cold and warm weathers, and not to leave it in the car on hot days, and all that. But i have a question. Does altitude of where I’m shooting affects the co2? like say, i go to a summer or winter house, and they’re both on the mountain side, like 8,000 to 9,000 feet high, and higher, and I know, the higher i go, the more colder it gets.but on a summer or a hot day in Lake Tahoe or Reno here in California, or any high place, will the co2 explode or be loosing gas pressure? or will it be fine? sorry for that long story i have for the co2 question =)

  25. Altitude means thinner air, which will allow your gas gun to shoot a little faster. There is no danger of leaking or exploding.

    Unfortunately, altitude also means lower temperatures, which offsets the thinner air on many days.


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