by B.B. Pelletier
Before we begin,
Pyramyd AIR is running a new video contest.
Well, the last time I wrote on this subject I failed to take into account the television schedule that has me running all the time. So, I haven’t done anything yet with the two Czech rifles I talked about last time. They’re still on hold, so I’ll keep the series alive with other nuggets of airgun information.
Starting with pneumatics
Remember the rule of keeping a pump of air in every pneumatic rifle? About 0.05 percent of the airgunners know to do that–maybe less. So, it isn’t getting done. Consequently, most vintage pneumatics you encounter are suspect as leakers. But not all of them leak.
A Crosman model 101 may not leak, but it also may not shoot. That’s because its owner has overpumped it beyond the point of valve lock and doesn’t know what’s going on. The gun will never shoot, but every so often he puts in another pump, just to see if it has healed.
A rifle like that needs to be partially disassembled and the valve stem needs to be rapped with a hammer to exhaust the excess air. It’s a common fix, but only to those who know airguns.
And on the 101, I unscrew the hammer weight, which is at the back of the gun, to keep pressure off the valve stem. My gun holds a pump of air for years at a time.
A Sheridan Supergrade (officially called Model A) will not pump from empty unless you cock it first. To store this rifle with air, you must cock it first, then pump, then ride the bolt down slowly so the hammer doesn’t hit the valve stem.
Many people have seen CO2 leave a vapor trail from the muzzle on a warm day, but pneumatics can do it, too.
And then CO2
A Walther PPK/S may lose its charge over a period of two weeks. But if you put several drops of Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip of the next cartridge you pierce, it may hold for the next 12 months.
Vintage CO2 o-rings may swell in the presence of CO2 gas. They will look huge and the end caps are difficult to remove right after a fill or when the cartridge is exhausted. You can tear a vintage o-ring by being too aggressive when it’s swollen this way. That corrects itself in a few hours, and they’ll be back to normal in all ways.
Many barrels on CO2 guns are brass to avoid corrosion when the chilled gas condenses water vapor while shooting. You don’t have to do anything about them. No cleaning. In fact, they’re easy to damage when being cleaned.
Don’t leave CO2 guns or tanks in a hot car in the summer. They can build pressure to dangerous levels and blow up, damaging the car.
The stroke length of a spring-piston gun is important to its power. Stronger springs often don’t increase power, while guns with long strokes are difficult to tune down.
Oiling a mainspring is an infrequent job. Most spring guns never need it. If the coils bunch and spring during cocking, the mainspring may need some oil. Spring gun oil is good for this. Silicone chamber oil isn’t good because it’s too thin to protect the inside of the powerplant from galling (metal-to-metal scraping).
Oil a gun with a leather piston seal every month or 500 shots, whichever comes first. Oil a gun with a synthetic piston seal every 3,000 shots or whenever the piston honks like a goose when the gun is cocked.
Cleaning your airguns
The barrel is the part most people want to clean, and it isn’t required most of the time. As long as the gun shoots accurately, leave the barrel alone.
Wipe outside blued steel parts with Sheath or Barracade or something that neutralizes fingerprints. When a gun gets wet, be sure to wipe it dry before storing it.
A cloth impregnated with silicone is good for wiping metal parts.
“We have met the enemy, and it is us!”
The following is made-up, but based on things I have actually witnessed over the years.
Sharky is hot for a Flabbengaster 190W from all he has heard on the internet. So, he springs for one.
His initial report:
I bought the Flabbengaster 190 from Plumbum Pushers, and I had it drop-shipped to Idaho Ike whose tunes everyone says are the best. I wanted screamin’ power, so I had him put in the Red-Butt Baboon seal with the Kooky Kangaroo mainspring. Based on the advice of Dreadful Doug on this forum, I had him clip three coils off the spring and install a stack of five power washers. I also opted for Snail Snot on the mainspring.
When Ike finished, I had him send the rifle to Robert Bobbet to have the barrel cut back to 10 inches. Then I had him silver-solder one of his Hush-A-Boom moderators on the end, so the gun will be super-quiet. I live in an apartment, and I set up field targets next to the dumpster in the parking lot. I live on the third floor and shoot out my bathroom window, so I rigged a remote control reset for the targets, because I don’t want my neighbors seeing the reset string.
Report number two:
This thing is a bear to cock! How do you guys do it? I figured the 19-inch factory barrel was overkill and that the three-inch can I installed would make up for it, but it doesn’t. Also, the trigger is way too stiff, so I disassembled it to stone all the surfaces and put moly on everything. Now I can’t get the gun to close without firing unless I block the safety lever with my finger, so that’s how I shoot it. I put my finger between the trigger and the safety lever and just slip it out when I want to shoot.
By the way, my Red Star scope is shifting something bad! Any recommendations?
This Flabbengaster 190 is a P*S! I don’t see what all the good reports are about. Mine didn’t shoot from the start! I’ll sell it with a Red Star scope for $100, shipped.
Poor Sharky never even shot a Flabbengaster 190, did he? He shot a butchered mess that he created and then sold when it didn’t work.
Like I said, I’ve seen every one of those things before. Just not all on one gun.