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. Find more info here.
This is Alan’s second guest blog. He tells us how he cleans his airguns with cleaning pellets.
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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.