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Beeman quick cleaning pellets

by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement #1: Twice a year, I’m a guest on Charles Heller’s “America Armed & Free” on Liberty Watch Radio. We talk about airguns & take questions. I was on this past Sunday (6/14/09), and you can listen to a recording of the show here. My guest spot was in the first 30 minutes. I’ll make another guest appearance in December. The show broadcasts to the Tuscon, Arizona, listening area, but anyone can also listen to it live on the internet. I’ll give you a heads up when I have a definite date for the next show. Now, on to today’s blog.

Announcement #2: A reminder that Pyramyd AIR is moving on June 19-20. If you want to get anything delivered this week, you need to place your order by noon (Eastern) today and specify 3-day delivery. 

Guest blogger
This is Alan’s second guest blog. He tells us how he cleans his airguns with cleaning pellets.

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email me.

Bloggers must be proficient in the simple html that Blogger software uses, know how to take clear photos and size them for the internet (if their post requires them) and they must use proper English. We will edit each submission, but we won’t work on any submission that contains gross misspellings and/or grammatical errors.

by Alan

Let’s take a look at Beeman Quick Cleaning pellets. B.B. has already given some very good information on how to perform thorough cleanings with J-B Non-Embedding Bore Cleaning Compound and a Dewey one-piece cleaning rod. I believe that’s the best method for those times when a thorough cleaning is required. However, cleaning pellets may also have a place in your airgun supplies. So where do Beeman’s cleaning pellets fit in?

1. Quick cleaning of airgun barrels
Felt pellets are designed to be fired from rifled or smooth bores of spring piston, pneumatic or CO2 gun. Upon firing, the felt pellets expand to fit the detail of the bore, wiping it clean of lead debris, graphite lubricants, excess oils and moisture.

I used them to clean my Gamo Recon, which sat unshot for most of the winter. It was stored in about the worst conditions possible, having found it’s way behind the clothes dryer. With the action left partially open, it was subject to repeated moisture then drying (our laundry is in our garage and it pretty much rains all winter.) When I recovered it this spring, I noticed some light surface rust at the breach and assumed I’d see more in the barrel.




For the first shot, I fired a dry cleaning pellet in to an old blanket being used as a backstop. It came out looking like this:




The next shot showed evidence of oil and rust:




I repeated the cleaning procedure until the pellets were coming out clean. The whole process took about 5 minutes, and I’m certain that the barrel crown was not subject to the damage that can sometimes occur when a cleaning rod is used. Now, the barrel is clean and this little rifle is ready to shoot.

Here are some tips on cleaning pellets and how to use them in various powerplants.

Spring-piston guns: Beeman recommends using two pellets in low-powered spring guns and at least three in moderate- to high-powered air rifles. These are loaded at once to help increase air resistance and stop the piston from slamming into the end of the compression chamber. If I had an expensive or extremely powerful air rifle that recommends against dry firing, I would be very cautious in trying this. Some manufacturers have claimed their spring guns can be dry-fired with out hurting the gun. [Note from B.B.: Pyramyd AIR does not recommend dry-firing any spring gun.]

CO2 guns, multi-pump pneumatics & single-stroke pneumatics
Beeman recommended cleaning procedure is very basic, but I tend to a more extensive procedure below.

  • Shoot a dry cleaning pellet into something that facilitates recovery (I use an old towel) I like to examining the first pellet for clues about the cleanliness of the bore.
  • Next, I put a drop of Crosman Pellgunoil on a pellet and load it. This shot is guaranteed to leave a splat mark so be sure to watch that target.
  • Then, I fire new cleaning pellets until they’re coming out dry. If several come out dry and dirty, I repeat the use of an oiled pellet and continue cleaning.
  • Once the pellets come out clean and dry, the barrel is clean. If the gun is going into storage, I’ll fire one more load with the slightest bit of Pellgunoil to leave a film of oil in the bore.
  • If the cleaning pellets are clean and dry, the task is complete and the gun is ready for shooting. For single-stroke pneumatic match guns, the instructions recommend a couple of fouling shots on the cleaned barrel to bring the point of impact back to normal.

2. Point shooting and indoor target practice
Although it says that they will shoot to a higher point of aim than lead pellets, Beeman recommends cleaning pellets for point shooting practice and indoor target shooting.

For point shooting the pellet is moistened with a dark lubricant or colored dye allowing it to be used in the manner of simunition or a paintball marker. It is recommended that you clean and lubricate the bore before & after use of your homemade marker pellets.

Although cleaning pellets should be considered dangerous to the eyes at ranges under 20 feet, the Beeman documentation states that the pellets are not normally capable of breaking a light bulb at that same distance. Because of their light weight and limited range, they are a natural for short range indoor target practice. Items such as Styrofoam cups and ping-pong balls make fun reactive targets when engaged from a distance of 6-8 feet.

3. Pest control
Beeman cleaning pellets are instrumental in the war I wage against certain Northwestern Pacific insects such as the extremely aggressive, of which the most notorious is the hobo spider (Tegenaria agrestis).


The hobo spider is not beneficial, and you don’t one want it around your house! (Photo courtesy of Dr. Lee Ostrom’s hobo spider images)


The hobo is both aggressive and poisonous, capable of causing significant reactions in both humans and pets. Hobos will jump on you and bite. Before encountering these nasty buggers, when my wife or one of the kids called me to deal with a spider, I’d scoot it in to a glass or onto a magazine and put it out the nearest door or window.

Now I blast them in to tiny little spider parts. A felt pellet through my Gamo P-23 pistol, and there’s nothing left but a smudge. Big spiders can leave a smudge that requires some cleanup, but it’s worth it.

There may be a fourth use for cleaning pellets
I have to wonder if the .22 cal. felt pellets (either whole or cut-in half) could be used as a component in reloading shotshells for the Gamo Viper Express Air Shotgun. I’d like to get my hands on one soon and do a little experimenting. If anyone else has attempted this, please let us know.

27 thoughts on “Beeman quick cleaning pellets”

  1. Alan,
    Are the cleaning pellets reusable if they aren't too dirty? For instance, once they start coming out clean can you use them over or are they too deformed by then?

  2. Alan,
    I've tried everything to reload the Shadow Express air shotgun. The ONLY thing that has worked without damaging the gun is… take the brass adapter, put a fired shot wad through the top, fill with 18-25 #7shot (any size under 6 will do), then put a second fired wad into the rear of the brass adapter. After assembled, take a pencil and press the front wad towards the rear until the rear wad fits flush with the base of the adapter.

    I say other methods don't work because they are too loud and seem to have a dry firing effect and they loose to much velocity (as with the felt pellet method).
    Shadow express dude

  3. All,

    If I remember correctly, there was talk of using felt pellets cut in half or smaller to retain the shot in used Viper cartridges. The tone of the posts seemed to indicate that this was not satisfactory.

    Somewhere else (wish I could remember where–perhaps it was on youtube), tiny amounts of Kleenex or toilet paper worked much better.

  4. CJr,

    Funny you should ask that question. I shoot starlings, grackles, English sparrows and the occasonal crow in my back yard. My cats are insiders and pay no attention to my shooting from the house into the back yard.

    A feral cat had 2 kittens under my neighbor's shed. She would hear the ping of my Talson SS and the bird falling through the holly tree and come a running for a meal. Fun to watch.

    Have you a chance to check out TalonAirgun.com-index and if so what did you think of it? They have some simple and inexpensive ways to make your SS even quieter. If you'd like to try one, let me know I've got some extra stuff that I'd be happen to give you

  5. MrB,
    Yes, I did check out the TalonAirgun site. I visit it occasionally as a lurker. Thanks for the "extra stuff" offer but I'm very happy with what I've got and have things set up just right, at this time. I don't want to change anything there and ruin it 🙂 I don't do any backyard shooting so I don't bother neighbors and my indoor range is sound proof enough that I don't bother anyone in the rest of the house, yet. Maybe, when I go .22 with the Marauder, that'll change, but thanks again.


  6. Alan,

    Good cautions about shooting cleaning pellets from a spring gun. However, the easier way is to shoot your way to a clean bore. My understanding is that leading the bore is the only type of fouling which cannot be cleared up this way.

    Good idea about eliminating the spiders.


  7. I like the idea of shooting insects with the cleaning pellets. I'll have to give it a try soon!

    I was reading one of B.B.'s blogs from earlier this year concerning shooting with both eyes open. I did the exercise, but am having problems. When I have both eyes open the one with the hole in front of it is a 'ghost' image. It's a lot lighter a little blurry and I'm seeing double images. I find that I'm unconsciously moving the hole to try to re-adjust and it's moving off target. Is something wrong, or is this normal and what you have to overcome?

    word verification is 'almos' almost a word.

  8. Found it. Type "How to reload/re-use gamo shotshells for gamo viper express" into the search function of youtube.com. Warning: video gets a bit weird at the end.

  9. Regarding the re-use of cleaning pellets. I don't re-use the pellets myself. When they are new they are a pretty tight cylinders of approximate bore dimensions (I have .177 and .22 cal.) Once they've been fired their shape is a bit distorted and they are a little frayed so they may not be as easy to load as when new. I have not played around with trying to clean them for re-use either.


  10. Mr. B.,

    Yes cleaning pellets can generate more power than one might expect. I've noticed that in a Crosman 1377c pumped to maximum they will penetrate a cardboard box. One does still need to be careful with them.


  11. The subject of pellets going supersonic has been occupying my mind. I read that the waves of energy produced mess with the trajectory of the pellet because of the shape and makes it start to tumble. If a lead ball started to tumble it would be less affected because it's round right? Would lead balls then be better in super-magnum rifles for solving accuracy problems? Also, why aren't gunpowder bullets subject to the same phenomenon, is it because of the weight?

  12. Great Post Alan

    Beeman cleaning pellets are a hoot to shoot when compared to a thorough cleaning. They do a good job but;
    in my experience Q-tip ends (the cotton part) have worked just as well.

  13. Fused,

    I'm no ballistics expert, but I'd guess it has a lot to do with weight and design. The spitzer design seems to be found on nearly all rifle rounds, as well as artillery shells and the nose of fighter aircraft. Super Points (I'm using the Crosman term) may have a pointed tip, but it's still only at a 45 degree angle or so. Also, I seem to remember reading somewhere on this blog that pellets are designed to be stable in flight, regardless of whether they are spinning. That's why they can be shot from certain bb guns, even though they won't be as accurate.

    Regarding weight, I've been thinking about a little idea I had. What if a ShinSung Dragon Slayer was rebarreled to fire the bullet from a centerfire rifle like the .223? Would it perform similarly, or am I missing something?

  14. I'm of the opinion that was expressed by Matt – Shoot your way to a clean barrel. If you are really leaded, go the JB paste route, cleaning pellets can't help you there.

    Those other uses are great though; never thought of them – cleaning pellets do have a use in my arsenal (in pumpers, C02, and PCP's; not springers – too risky, I use up my free shots by stupid mistakes; none left for on purpose!)

    Thanks for the info.


    • I have done that works great with JB paste… .20 Cal. Been researching Crosman 1100 CO2 shotgun.
      Might buy some #8 lead shot and turn R10 or R1 into shotgun using two felt pellets sandwiching #8 lead…will see

  15. I use cigarette filters to clean my bore. They are far cheaper than the cleaning felt pellets, came in different sizes, but for .177 caliper they must be gently squeezed to fit. Is also needed to peel off the paper sheet that they came rolled. I don't know if it is so efficient than the regular felt pellets.

  16. Hi Alan, good article, have you tried using Fluid Film from Eureka Chemical Co, San Francisco, on your rifles, here in South Africa we use it extensively as a cleaning oil and as an anti-corrosion barrier, the stuff seems to last for about 18 months each application


  17. I’ve just stumbled across this thread whilst looking to see if anyone else has used an airgun to fire lead shot. I wasn’t aware of the gamo smoothbore “shotguns” until a few minutes ago.

    Anyway what I’ve done in the past is used Rizla “smooth” ultra-slim cigarette filters. They are a small paper tube of about 5.5mm, or 0.22″ featuring a cotton filter at either end with activated carbon granules in between. I roll them between finger and thumb until one of the filter ends drops out. I then empty the activated carbon granules out, and stack in nine pellets of no. 7.5 lead shot out of a 12g target cartridge. Then I squeeze down the filter end that dropped out, re-insert it on top of the shot, before dipping the end of the assembly in wax from a tea light/candle. To use I load it in the barrel of my .22 springer airgun, wax end rearmost to act as a wad. Despite the rifling and any spin imparted therof, it patterned well, about a 4-6″ group at 30yds, probably 2″ group at ten-12 yards. Also penetrated around 2-4 mm into a pine board. Hopefully the mass of all that would be high enough and have good enough seal to prevent damage to the gun. Care must be used as occasionally the paper will remain in the breech and need hooking out with a peice of mig welding wire or similar to prevent chance of paper building up in the barrel and causing a blockage. I’ve though about trying it again tonight because I have a mouse problem where I work and want to shoot them without damaging the fabric of the building, and wondered if there was any better way than what I’d previously attempted.

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