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Five things you don’t want to do to your airgun

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

This blog is for those who are new to shooting and to airguns. Sometimes, we have to address the basics, and that’s what I’m going to do today. I’m inviting the veteran shooters to chime in with their own ideas of what the new airgunner should avoid.

1. Over-cleaning
For reasons I cannot fathom, new shooters think they need to clean their airguns even more than firearms are cleaned. I know people who never clean their .22 rimfires until they start to malfunction, yet these same people don’t hesitate to take a bore brush to the barrel of their favorite air rifle every chance they get. It isn’t necessary to clean an airgun barrel that often, and it actually exposes it to possible damage from the cleaning process gone wrong.

Why do we clean a gun?
Historically, guns used what we now call black powder, whose residue both attracts moisture and then turns it into sulphuric acid. It begins to do this in less than 24 hours following shooting, so cleaning was/is essential if the bore was to be preserved. Later, when smokeless powders were developed, the early primers that ignited them contained compounds that were just as corrosive to the bore as black powder residue. A great many .22 rimfire rifles have lost all their rifling from the combined activities of this primer-based corrosion, coupled with over-zealous cleaning.

More recently, shooters have discovered that the jacketed bullets of centerfire cartridges will quickly foul barrels with metal deposits. While this doesn’t corrode the metal, it does fill the rifling grooves with jacket metal until all hope of accuracy is lost. So, the metal fouling has to be removed with a combination of chemical and mechanical action.

The modern .22 rimfire, in sharp contrast, uses clean-burning powder, clean priming and shoots clean lead bullets at low velocities. Nothing in its makeup or operation requires frequent cleaning. Those who shoot .22s can get away with not cleaning their guns for many hundreds and even thousands of rounds. Eventually, there will be a buildup of powder fouling even in these clean guns, but the contrast with centerfire guns is vivid.

Finally, there are the airguns. They neither burn powder nor use primers, so there’s no residue. They shoot at low velocities (compared to many firearms) and use clean lead pellets, so there’s little metal fouling. Only with some of the more powerful airguns do the velocities get fast enough to scrape off some lead from the pellets. And some barrels seem more prone to scrape off lead than others. That, alone, is the sole cause for buildup in an airgun.

In contrast to a firearm, an airgun can be fired tens of thousands of times between cleanings…and some lower-velocity airguns may never need cleaning at all. Those with brass or bronze barrels are entirely impervious to cleaning requirements.

The time to clean your airgun is when the accuracy falls off, not before. Do not clean an airgun barrel on a regular schedule — they simply don’t need it.

2. Disassembly without a plan
I’ve done this and so have many of you. The gun isn’t working right, so we take it apart to find out why. Then, we haven’t got a clue how to get it back together. That results in a basket case of parts that somebody else will be able to buy for a song. Don’t create bargains for others! Before you take an airgun apart, give some thought to what it takes to put it together again.

The way to do this is to first research the gun on the internet, to see if there are any disassembly or assembly problems. If there are known issues with a gun, there should be plenty of information on the internet.

Another thing to look for is if any special tools or equipment are needed. With spring guns, you usually need a mainspring compressor to safely disassemble and assemble the gun. And if you’re disassembling a BB gun like a Daisy Red Ryder, you need to make a special fixture to hold the gun while the mainspring is compressed and parts are removed. Unless you have three arms, this fixture is absolutely necessary.

Then, there are guns that are assembled during manufacture in ways that make them almost impossible to repair. One good example of this is the barrel of a Benjamin 392, which is soldered onto the pump tube at the factory. If the solder joint is ever broken, it’s next to impossible to repair. That’s because the joint is very long and is difficult to keep an even heat on the entire joint at the same time. The solder flows in some places, but clots in others. When you move the heat to the places where it’s clotted, you lose the solder that flowed before.

Don’t attempt repairs or modifications unless you know you can do the entire job. Better to spend some money to get the job done right by an airgunsmith than to charge in and break or lose some irreplaceable part.

3. Over-oiling
Some of the new owners’ manuals tell people to oil the compression chamber on a frequent schedule. While oiling was appropriate for guns with leather piston seals, the newer synthetic seals don’t need nearly as much. Over-oiling causes detonations that can damage the gun if they’re allowed to continue; and once they start, there’s almost no way to get them to stop. All spring guns diesel; but when they go off with a loud “bang,” that puts a strain on the mechanism.

I always like to err on the side of under-oiling because all that does is make noise during cocking. Over-oiling causes problems, though, and in extreme cases the airgun must be disassembled and dried out.

There are places to oil besides the compression chamber. Linkages need a drop every now and then, and the wood parts can always benefit from a Ballistol wipedown.

The other place oiling is necessary is on the tip of each fresh CO2 cartridge before it is pierced. The best oil for this job is Crosman Pellgunoil, and a CO2 shooter needs to always have some on hand. The oil is blown through the gun’s valve when the cartridge is pierced; and it gets on all the sealing surfaces, making a tight seal against gas loss. It’s the No. 1 maintenance action a CO2 gunner can take, and you absolutely cannot overdo it.

4. Under-oiling
So, what happens when an airgun is not oiled enough? It makes noises to tell you. Spring-piston guns will honk like a goose when they’re cocked if there isn’t enough oil on the piston seal. Mainsprings will crack and crinch when cocked as they slip their coils when they don’t have enough oil. And the fork that the breech sits in will become shiny if there isn’t enough grease between it and the breech. Also, the cocking effort will increase dramatically.

CO2 and pneumatic guns will develop slow leaks when they need oil. Their seals cannot do the job without a thin film of oil on all their surfaces. But if the gun is holding air, stop with the oil — except in the case of CO2 guns, as noted before.

5. Over-pressurization
This fault is as old as the hills and is a classic mistake a newcomer will make. If 10 pump strokes give X amount of power, shouldn’t 15 pump strokes give 1.5X? No! In fact, they do just the opposite. Over-pump a pneumatic or overfill it from a scuba tank, and the velocity takes a nosedive. It will drop all the way to zero, at which point the valve is locked shut by the excessive pressure in the gun. Imagine a door being held shut by several strong people. No amount of pushing will open it. You have to wait for some of the people to leave or, in the case of the gun, for some of the internal pressure to drop. That can take weeks and even months!

A pneumatic gun is designed to work within a certain pressure margin. Too little pressure and the power drops. Too much pressure and the power drops. Remember it this way — putting more gas into a car’s tank will not make it go any faster.

With CO2, you don’t have to add pressure; and in fact, there’s no straightforward way to do it. If you were to increase the gas pressure somehow, all that would happen is more gas would condense to liquid. The pressure would remain the same. But if the outside temperature should go up, the gas pressure will increase as well because the gas pressure is dependent on temperature. Operate your CO2 guns when the temperature is between about 60 degrees and 90 degrees F. And don’t leave a CO2 gun lying in the direct sun, even on a relatively cool day, because the gun will absorb the sun’s heat and will go into valve lock.

There you go — 5 simple things to remember about airguns and their operation. Perhaps our readers can suggest more?

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.

99 thoughts on “Five things you don’t want to do to your airgun”

  1. Don’t try to fire things it was not designed for. Don’t try to turn a bolt action BB gun into a shotgun. Don’t fire a BB and a pellet at the same time. Don’t try: rocks, salt, tissue wads, dirt, needles, pencil leads, or matches.

    I swear to God I never tried any of that. Thought about it, but never tried it.
    I was and still am way too cheap to risk ruining even a cheap gun.

    • What people do that? Wow those must be some weird people huh…
      Who me? Nooo of course not!
      I would never think of putting a match in the barrel of an air rifle and shoot it at a hard surface to create a small explosion and flash of light or put long pine needles and shoot them at cardboard to make it stick half way out or shoot at my uncles old car he has in sitting in the woods for the parts because he still drives another one identical to it only to have him discover a small pellet sized hole when he goes to change the radiator… I would never do stuff like that (where is that shame/embarassed smiley when you need it).


  2. B.B., I know you must already be missing Earl, but I believe you two will continue your friendship in the eternities. I just wonder what we’ll all be shooting there… probably TX200’s and Diana 27’s.

    I want you to know that as I’ve gotten into shooting air guns, I’ve paid close attention to your advice. I have avoided the ultra-powerful-but-difficult-to-shoot trap, and my first gun was a Avanti Champion 499b. My wife and I absolutely love it, for all the reasons you stated: it is dead-on accurate, easy to shoot, quiet and reliable. It builds confidence due to its wonderful peep and globe sights. Whenever we struggle with one of the other, tougher to shoot guns, we just pick up the Champion and feel confident again.

    The next guns we got were a couple of Sheridans, which due to their variable pump design, can be as docile and accurate as the Champion (we have Williams peep sights on both of them), or with more pumps, they can be pretty powerful. With three or four pumps, they are all-day shooters.

    We then got a Izh 53m. Being a pistol, it is a lot tougher to shoot accurately than the above long guns, but it is fun and challenging. Now that we’ve got several hundred pellets through it, the trigger is smoother, and we’re learning the idiosyncrasies of a break-barrel pistol. We still have a way to go, but this gun is so pleasant to shoot, that learning how to use it is a pleasure.

    The next gun was a Crosman 2289, which came with the Bug Out kit. What a sweet gun this is! We’ve only shot it as a carbine, but we put a red-dot sight on it, and it is as accurate as the Champion and the Sheridans (at the distances we have been shooting so far). Easy to pump, easy to hold steady, and very consistent.

    We then got a Crosman 2240. It’s pretty loud, and the trigger is more difficult to deal with (it’s not broken in yet). The loudness factor makes it unpleasant to shoot indoors. We haven’t gotten very accurate with it yet.

    Our newest acquisition is a Crosman 1377. Without question, this is the easiest pistol to shoot accurately, for us. Tonight I was shooting the Champion at a large cardboard box upon which I had drawn black dots with an indelible ink pen. It does not make perfectly round holes due to its velocity and the fact that it shoots BBs. Anyway, every now and then I’d pull out the 1377 (loaded with RWS R10 Match 7.0 grain wadcutters) and immediately print nice, round holes where I’d been hitting with the Champion. Double use targets! It has a better trigger than the 2240, and is easier to hold steady, due to the forearm stock. We love this 1377!

    Now, we are waiting for our “last” gun to arrive: a Daisy 953. I called Daisy and told the nice woman I spoke with (I believe it was Carol W.) that we really love the sights on our Champion, and we’d like to duplicate those sights on our 953. She recommended the same 5899 rear peep sight we have on our Champion, and to match it, she recommended replacing the standard front 953 sight with a 888 front sight. This uses the same apertures as the front sight on the Champion, and because the barrel weight is larger in diameter, places the globe at the correct height to properly work with the 5899 on the rear. We’ve got these sights here, now, waiting for the 953 to come from PA.

    Last, about five years ago, we bought a Crosman Quest 1000 to deal with some pests at a large property we used to own. I hadn’t shot it for at least four years… compared to the relatively mild-mannered guns I’ve cited above, it is an unruly beast. I have gotten pretty accurate with it (with your advice to use the artillery hold), but it is too loud for indoor and backyard shooting, and it penetrates most backstops we’ve attempted to use it with (unfortunately for the rear wall in our garage). It has a place, though: if something absolutely needs to be destroyed or deceased, it is the tool, with the correct pellet.

    I’ve gone on long enough (more than long enough, I’m sure some think).

    Thanks for a great blog, and thanks for your integrity and good advice.


    • Dave

      Your 2289, 2240 and 1377 all have the same trigger/sear design. Any difference in feel is likely due to the relative roughness of the contact surfaces from the stamping process. The triggers on all can be smoothed out by sanding and polishing the places where the trigger and sear contact each other. Some moly lube at these interfaces would’t hurt either.

      Two things to be careful of. First is the ball bearing in the safety. It can shoot out when taking it apart, and you will never find it. Disassemble the trigger unit in a bag or pillow case and all parts will be caught. When putting it back together, pack the ball with grease and it will stay put more or less. Secondly, some triggers can be made unsafe by too much work on the trigger and sear surfaces. The Crosman design we are discussing here is very forgiving. Sand contact surfaces until smooth, and then polish and you will be OK.

      One last thing. The triggers on all three guns are pretty thin. The trigger pull weight added to the thinness of the trigger will make it feel like it is digging into your finger after many shots. A trigger shoe will be an excellent addition to any of these guns. Check the yellow forum for trigger shoes.

    • Marcos,
      Don’t be afraid to try a powerful springer. I did the same as you, not buying a powerful springer for several years. Then I finally bought a 30 foot pound Beeman Kodiak and have been shooting more powerful springers ever since. My favorite springers these days are older BSA Supersports. They weigh about 7 pounds and are about 15 foot pound guns. The Beeman R-9 weighs just a pound more and is in the same power level. It is another very nice gun.

      David Enoch

      • Your response was very timely for me! I’m starting to plan for a more powerful springer… isn’t a HW95 similar to a Beeman R9? I am toying with purchasing either a HW95 or a HW80. I very much want a Weihrauch.

        As an aside, I had been thinking about either a HW30s or a HW50s, but I think they are too close to the power level of guns I already have. Plus, I understand that with these guns it is important to put a plastic shim in the cocking link to prevent abrasion. This seems a pain, to me, to have to take apart an expensive new gun to prevent it from damaging itself. The HW95 and HW80 apparently do not suffer from this same problem.

        After reading your post, I looked into BSA Supersports – there is a regular and an XL version. BSA is owned by Gamo, I understand, and has been for almost 30 years. Is your BSA British or Spanish made?


  3. Hello B.B. and fellow airguners. A very good blog to start the week. Takes me back almost 5 years ago, when I began my never ending airgun saga. Just before I bought my Weihrauch HW97, I purchased a used Tau Brno 200 .177 cal, co2 target rifle from a fellow living just north of me. He bought the gun from a target shooter who had bought it new around 1995. The reason I include the lineage of the gun, may become apparent momentarily. The rifle had a few scuff marks, but the trigger was the selling point for me. Smooth as glass, and although it was setup for one stage, I was told it was a 2 stage trigger. It also printed one hole groups at 10 meters when this fellow demonstrated it. So I handed over $400.00 ($895.00 new) and all seemed well with the world. A couple days later, just as Google directed my query for a manual to a site called Pyramyd AIR, I heard a 2-3 second hiss from the barrel of my TAU 200. Trouble! I knew I had taken 40 or so shots from a new co2 capsule, and I was told it would get at least 60 good shots. To make a long story a bit shorter, this became a defining moment in my quest for airgun excellence. A fellow know only as B.B. Pelletier, seemed to have the answers to all questions. This sage on top of a high mountain, pointed his trigger finger at me, and imparted the following in a kind, but firm voice in my head. “Use a dab of Crosman Pellgun oil on the tip of every co2 capsule from now until eternity, Grasshopper”. That was almost 5 years ago, and the gun still gives me 70 reliable, accurate shots, despite at times, sitting for 3-4 weeks between shots. Nor have I needed to replace any seals. I have been a faithful reader of this blog to this day. Now that is what I call a serendipitous moment.
    And now, a bit of good news for my fellow Canucks. A major online airgun retailer on the west coast, is selling all three models of Walther LGV’s in both calibers. Prices range from $599.99 -$749.99. The one catch being there are no models under 500fps. for us non PAL (Possession and Accusation License) holders. This could be the moment I decide to ‘go for it,’ and apply for the PAL. I know cowboystardad has his. How do you stand at this critical juncture, J-F? Any other Canajuns think this Walther is worth it? Just an aside. To my eyes, the adjustable cheek piece on the Competition Ultra, looks a mite slim for comfort, and utility. Could this be an illusion that is the fault of the camera, or is it really this thin?
    Caio Titus

    • Titus Groan: There is a youtube review of the Competition Ultra (kindly provided to me by another reader of the blog). The reviewer, a British Chap, complained about the narrow cheek piece and how it uncomfortably cut into his face. While I don’t have the link readily available, you could search youtube for Walther LGV Competition Ultra.

        • TC,

          I’m back home now, so the LGV gets an accuracy test today for tomorrow’s blog. But I don’t think it will be good enough. For those who are dead-set against the Walther, I doubt any accuracy will ever change their minds.


          • B.B.

            Sure hope it shoots good.
            Could be very cost effective too. It’s good quality in the first place. The way it is built, it is pretty much tuned in the first place.

            Compare to my 97k…
            The “Buzzing Behemoth” got a kit . Still way too much vibration. Then another kit (this time from Vortek). Killed the buzz, but I ordered the wrong one (12 ft-lb). Ordered the right one (15 ft-lb).
            That’s three kits, but could have been only two. And I still don’t have open sights !!!!

            AND…I did the work myself too. That’s as cheap as you can go.


              • B.B.

                Hardly worth a guest blog !!
                Everything I get my hands on seems to have some kind of glitch (or two–or three).
                Just ends up being…
                Fix the glitches, then learn the nature of the beast. Happens with every individual gun. Some worse than others.

                By the way, how does 1/4″ sound for low powered PCP groups at 25 yds (round nose) ? Not quite fly hunting accuracy, but I am tempted to leave it at that.


                • I would be very interested in reading a guest blog on the subject, particularly how you got past the glitches. That is the toughest part of any project.

                  I would also be interested in hearing how the Vortek kit is performing in your HW97K.

                  • SL…

                    Let’s go the easy way first here…
                    The Vortek works fine. Velocity stays up without any need to keep oiling. The HW piston seal (stock)seems to start dragging or something once the lube gets rubbed away or blown out. All five of my HW’s act this way without a kit. It’s possible that just a Vortek seal alone would handle that. But there is that brutal vibration with stock spring/guide. Not a problem with the Vortek. The kit can be a bear to install. The rear guide has to fit into the piston. It can be a pain getting it to line up when you put the gun back together. If you try to force it, you are going to damage it.
                    I do have a slight buzz with it (97k), but I don’t think it is the kit. I think it is some kind of resonance between the action and the stock.

                    The R9s require the piston sleeve be removed. One of them was VERY hard to get out.
                    Nothing done to the R7s yet. Oil once in a while, and there is no buzz. Have the kits on hand anyway.

                    As far as a blog on the 97..

                    Not much to say…
                    Needed a kit. It broke a scope in less than a tin of pellets. Screws kept shaking loose even with Loctite. Hard to make a good shot when you know what the rifle is going to do as soon as the trigger breaks.
                    Only other problem was that the breech seal did not last long before it started leaking. Been keeping a thin nylon washer in the breech when not in use to take the constant pressure off the seal. Working so far. It leaves the end of the cocking rod hang down about an inch. Do not try to force closed.


      • Hello chasblock. Thanks for the heads up on the video review of the LGV Competition Ultra. It was interesting to hear the reviewer confirm my suspicion on the adjustable cheek piece. I have an HW98 with a very nice adjustable cheek piece, and it looks to be twice the size of the LGV’s. I wonder how or if Walther will rectify this problem. After all, it is the flag ship of the LGV line. Personally, I like the clean looks of the middle of the line, ‘Master’. I’m sure the barrel weight must aid in cocking the gun, and keeping the gun stable during follow through. I’m just a sucker for the clean, classic lines the LGV Master offers. This would be my choice in .22 cal. All will forever remain a dream, if I don’t get a license to possess such a gun in Canada.
        Caio Titus

      • Yes, I remember that day well. It seems all the planets were lined up then. The Tau 200 came with proper target sights, but it also has quite a long 11 mm groove for mounting a scope. With a scope and 10.65gr. Barracuda’s, I can hit a popsicle stick at 20 meters with regularity. In fact, it could be considered a boring gun. It hits what you aim at, without a glitch. I need more drama in my life. Bring on the springers.
        Caio Titus

    • I don’t know about the PAL. I’m still sitting on the fence about it.
      On one side I don’t want it because it pisses me off that I have to get a license to get a firearm and that they will keep a record of every firearm I own (my province still has that darn regitry).
      I also don’t want my PAL because of all the cool new toys I’d want to get but I also want one for the very same reason…
      I’d say I’m 52% against it and 48% in favor of my PAL right now.


      • J-F…maybe this will sway you to get it. It’s the reason I first got a PAL, before I even really needed it.
        Consider the possibility of the Liberals getting in next election. Trudeau has already intimated that he is not pro-gun.
        Now that the long gun registry if finally gone (thankfully), the only way the government knows just how much of the voting population are pro gun is by how many PAL’s have been issued. If everyone who has any interest in all in the shooting sports (even if they are shooting sub 500fps pellet rifles) gets a PAL then the government will realize be could be a voting force to be recognized.

        • I know you’re right (but the Trudeau kid did say he wouldn’t bring the registry back and that he liked guns and being the young son of the premier he saw the security guys surrounding his family with guns all the time and that it was normal to him… but the party might not see it that way).
          I guess it’s just laziness on my part and the “fear” of the dark side. I tought PCP’s were the dark side and now that I’m there, the firearms are the dark side. I guess I have apprehansions about what will come next and I really don’t want to have anything to do with the stupid registry my province still has.

          And how will I afford another step in my shooting hobby? I was reading a firearm mag yesterday and looking at the beautiful Ruger stainless SR1911 and it’s Commander brother at 829$ each and a few .22 LR, (lever action, takedown, tactical, target etc) I’ll be broke and living out of a shed or a rented garage in less than a year (if my wife doesn’t get hold of one of my many new toys and doesn’t beat me to death with LOL).

          If we can kill the registry in my province, I’ll go take my PAL course and exam (and probably the RPAL while I’m there), there it’s written in front of many witnesses.


        • Hi CBSD. What you propose to J-F, is intriguing. Something I have not considered before, and makes perfect sense. Now I have two good reasons for getting my PAL. I promised my wife, I would not buy a “firearm” when I started pursuing my airgun fetish. So when I do get the PAL, I will stick to my word, and stay the coarse with air. It will always remain an honorable pursuit for me.
          Caio Titus

      • Hi, J-F. I wasn’t aware the Quebec government stayed the coarse with the long gun registry. I was so happy when this law was repealed. It remains the one decent act our illustrious Prime Minister has performed.The law made criminals of people like my 94 year old Mother. My Dad had a beautiful Winchester Model 12 pump action shotgun he bought in the early 50’s. He stopped hunting and retired it to the attic in 1968. It was sitting up there ever since. My Dad passed away in 1992, and my Mother had forgotten all about it. My brother came across it last year, when we sold my Mothers house, and she moved into a more manageable seniors residence. My brother does have the proper license, so he inherited the gun. I just shake my head when I think of all the years my Mother was a criminal. Ignorance is never considered an excusable defence in the eyes of the law. Now if only something can be done with our laughable airgun laws.
        Caio Titus

  4. If you are new to this, and the airrifle is a spring piston air rifle… and the accuracy seems way off, the last issue to look at is the gun… the second last issue is the sights, the third last issue is the pellets, and the fourth from last issue is you… it is also the first issue.

  5. I’d like to add another to B.B.’s list. Don’t fail to check all the screws. Stock screws, action screws all come loose eventually. And pay particular attention on a newly obtained gun. Frequently the stock screws will be loose.

  6. B.B.

    I’d add
    “Don’t try to improve anything unless you are 300% aware of what you’re doing and have skills enough for that”
    “Don’t ask an airgun to be M2, understand its niche and don’t try to jump out of it”, “Don’t blame the gun for your hands/The gun in order is the last to blame for miserable results”
    “Max X psi on the tank, max Y kg on the spring, and max Z fpe on the pellet trap are written for some obscure and definitely stupid reason by people who don’t have even one-tenth of your knowledge on airguns. Keep that in mind when you need troubles”.

    Saturday tests showed no significant improvement over previous results. However I made some very interesting observations and I think they’ll be helpful for redesigning Mk.1. Just like they say “A grain of experience can change the taste of a whole pot of theory”.


  7. B.B.
    I have found that accuracy goes out the window right after cleaning the barrel and it takes about 100 shots before it returns to normal. Has anyone else encountered this problem??

    • Pete….

      I am one of those “anyone else” people….

      Yup. It happens. Depends on which rifle it is as to how much shooting it will take. Switching pellets will do the same thing. Does not matter if it is a springer or PCP.


      • Same for me on both accounts. It seems like it take 50-100 shots for a specific pellet to condition itself with the barrel. Some pellets I’ve given up on actually perform very well if I don’t make a quick judgement after 25 shots.

        • TC…

          I think a lot of people will not take anywhere near that many shots to test a pellet. The worst might be to do a three shot group at ten yards with each pellet.
          Then you get into testing different lube/dry with each pellet for three shots. You gonna fool yosef and get nowhere fast.

          Springers can do freaky things on the chrono when switching anything too. The power plant can have to settle too.


  8. x2 on everything said here.
    From personal experience. I have the Mossberg 715T, their rimfire .22LR AR lookalike (it’s one of their basic autoloaders with a clamshell AR body).
    It gets a lot of bad press for a number of reasons…one of which how hard it is to take a part to clean because of it’s clamshell design. I’ve read about people who complain how everytime the go to the range they get home and tear it apart to clean it and it’s a two hour chore.
    I cleaned mine when I first got it to get the gunk out. After I get back from the range I spray the action down with a good cleaner/lube. It has about 4000 rounds through it since I tore it down and I haven’t had a single misfire in at least a couple of thousand rounds.
    Why fix something that ain’t broke?

    • CBSD…

      I got a tip one time from a member of the AF shooting team. (that’s U.S. AF)

      Don’t clean a .22 unless it gets too hard to chamber a round, or the accuracy falls apart. After cleaning, shoot one or two boxes of ammo before you even look at a target.
      My old 521-T sure believes this.


    • CSD,

      I almost added that into this report — the spraying thing. Because that is what people do. I do it and so does everyone who doesn’t want to fiddle with something that’s hard to work on. My 10/22 is another one that gets sprayed instead of detail cleaned.


      • I have a Rossi .22 pump (Copy of a 1890 Winchester). It shoots fine dirty but you need to clean the chamber about every 100 rds. If you don’t, extraction becomes a problem. Each gun has it’s own set of wants.


  9. Things you don’t want to do to your airgun………

    1-Don’t touch any screws until you have a decent set of gunsmith screwdrivers and variety of bits

    2-Don’t polish or stone or lube the sears on your trigger unless you know what you’re doing

    3-Don’t bother mounting a scope on your new spring gun until you have shot at least a tin (500) pellets through the springer. Use the open sights during this break in period.

    4-Don’t get frustrated while you’re learning the proper variation of the Artillery Hold that your springer likes

    5-Don’t believe the internet guru’s when they say all you need is a bigger spring in your spring gun to increase the power


    • Kevin,

      There are some dangerous trigger modifications floating around. I wish that some of the bigger names in air-gunning, like Crosman and Gamo, would make their triggers a lot better so that some wouldn’t feel the need to do this sort of thing. Some of their triggers are so bad that even a 10 times improvement would barely be acceptable.


  10. BB and other pellet shooters, Make sure to use the right oil or solvent on the correct area of the gun, ie silicon oil on piston area, Moly grease on bolts, and do not over oil or use incorrect solvent as it WILL damage the air gun. I ruined a Whisper .177 by putting Gamo oil in the piston. Whisper probably shoots somewhere around 800 fps instead of 1000 fps with lead because of this. Also do not use steel brushes on any airgun and most firearms as it usually wears down the rifling degrading accuracy. I have said enough……for now!

    • Another vote for using the correct oils. Though I’m coming at it from a slightly different perspective. Its not unheard of to see people asking how they should clean their new airgun on Yahoo Answers. And its quite common to see a lot of people recommending people use firearms cleaning solvents (Hoppes #9, Nitro solvents, copper solvents…) or things like sowing machine oil/3-in-1 oil to clean the barrels and oil the working parts of airguns. Near as I can tell, all of those sorts firearms cleaning solvents will damage the seals and O-rings in various models of airguns. When I see it, I usually either link to PA’s Airgun Academy segments on cleaning, tell people to read the manual and do what it says, or tell them they’re better off not cleaning than using the stuff intended for firearms. (I will admit to telling people to use pellgun oil or 30-weight, non-detergent, motor oil (Daisy’s manual used to recommend this, and may still do so) for pump-pneumatics as often as the manual says though.)

      • J.,

        Some multi-pumps, like the Daisy 880 you mention are designed so that they must be cocked before they will hold air. So to leave them with a pump of air is to also leave them cocked all the time — an unsafe condition.

        Do it when it is possible.


  11. B.B.

    I thank you for these reports. They are as needed as a new mother needs advice. I would ask this though. I have been told by so many folks that you need to clean your barrel before testing a new pellet. Is this correct?

    Thanks in advance of anyone answering.


    • Chris..

      B.B. is probably busy right now shooting the LGV , so I will give it a shot.

      You coud clean between different pellets, but it may end up being the long way around. You might be better off by not doing it. Just shoot enough of the new pellets to make sure of how it likes them. The bore will recondition itself .
      Maybe if you have been shooting with Crosman pellets you might need to clean . They can lead up a barrel very quickly at times.
      I don’t know about the PBA stuff. The plastic jacket trick pellets will sleaze the bore and require cleaning. Just stick with lead.


      • twotalon,
        What is you guess on the results BB will post tomorrow on the LGV? Do you think 3/4″ at 50 yards is possible? Last time it appeared it still required a little more break-in time. I would expect the smooth firing performance would allow for some very good long distance bench rest results. Not as good as a PCP, but better than tuned break barrel.

        • TC…

          I don’t want to guess, because there is no way to be sure until it happens.
          There can be a lot of things change between up close and distance. At best, it could go sub inch at 50 with just the right pellet. We wait and see.


    • Chris,

      If a new barrel is dirty from manufacture, cleaning it is the best way to get it ready to shoot, sooner than later. After several hundred round have passed through, the barrel is clean no matter what.

      Some guns do need it, while others don’t. The LGV didn’t need cleaning, but several Chinese-made rifles seemed to require it.

      So the answer is a qualified, “Yes.” Just so you know what that means.


      • The old Chinese air rifles I sold in the past needed everything when new. The screws were loose, the bores were dirty, the exterior was dirty, etc. I would clean, tighten, lube, and zero each one before I sold it. This made the customers happy since most of them knew “0” about air rifles and not much about firearms. I told them the pellet it was zeroed with so they could buy those if they wanted. The Daisy pellets I used were available locally and inexpensive so most used them. Those were some fun days, I sold a bunch of them!


  12. ^^That’s excellent advice re: mounting a scope before break in. Wish I’d known that before destroying the one that came with the Airhawk!
    Unfortunately I do still have trouble w/#4, learning the artillery hold. Just cannot seem to get any consistency. I really wish I could get it down so I could justify buying a muuuuuch nicer springer….

    • Keep practicing that artillery hold! It really works.

      It is counter-intuitive. You instinctively want to hold the gun tightly “to keep it from moving off-target”. You have to realize that you are not going to be able to prevent it from moving no matter how tightly you hold it.

      The barrel has to be able to return to the position it was at when the trigger was released, before the pellet exits the barrel.

      You don’t need an expensive springer or expensive pellets to perfect this.

      Keep trying!


  13. I’ve got another one to add: don’t dry fire your spring guns.

    I’ve broken most of these rules and ruined my first “adult” air gun as a result. It wasn’t because I was intentionally abusing it. I couldn’t follow rules I didn’t know about.

    Fortunately, this gun was a cheapo. I was always cleaning and oiling it, thinking I was doing the right thing. I would dry fire it without giving it a thought.

    The gun always Dieseled, which I thought was normal and desirable. Accuracy was very poor. I couldn’t figure out why.

    One day, this gun (a break barrel) suddenly became very easy to cock. And I could see the pellets in flight. It was obvious, even to me at the time, that the spring had broken.

    The suggestion to shoot springers until they are broken in without a scope is a good one. I have broken scopes on two brands of lower-priced, high-power springers before they settled down. One gun literally shook itself apart and had to be exchanged. Only problem is, some of these guns are not sold with conventional sights. I suppose the solution there is to fit a low-priced scope you can afford to sacrifice.


  14. Missed you, glad your back! Waiting patently for your continuation (Part 8,”Summery” & 9, 50 “Yard Testing”) of “How does rifling twist rate affect velocity and/or accuracy”. Acquired a TalonP from Pyramyd last Aug. 2012 & am having a ball. Ran the gamete on many candidate pellet possibilities, am now down to (3) @ 45 yds. (my back-yard range). Now it’s chronographing @ “muzzle & target” w/wide range of fill pres. & power settings. Being retired & having a “Shoe-Box” compresser ~ I’ve got the time & resources. Enjoy your BLOG contributions!


  15. I’ve actually avoided almost all the errors, mostly by passivity. I love never having to clean my airguns. The only time I’ve disassembled an airgun was to extend the stock of my IZH-61. The entire buttstock dropped off and there were some bad moments. But I got it back on and have called it quits for any disassembly.

    So, the copper fouling in the M1 Garand is scrapings from the bullet? Is that a problem unique to the Garand or does it occur with other rifles?

    On yesterday’s subject of long-range shooting, is it possible to get zeroed at long distances of 300 yards or greater without a spotter? I find that the scope jumps when the bullet strikes so that I cannot see where it landed. Mike, I didn’t know that Cowboy Action shooting went out to 300 yards. Hitting at that range with open sights and a lever action is impressive. 100 yards is about as far as I’ve gotten with my Winchester 94 in 30-30.


  16. What’s happened to this blog ?? It used to be about airguns now it’s a long trawl through the obvious.
    Is there a lapse in the availability of good air rifles to test or is it all about to change and I am over reacting ?

    • Personally I think you may indeed be overreacting.
      Remembers that for the hobby to stay alive and healty it needs new shooters and new shooters need to start somewhere and this right here is the best place I know for new people to learn.
      Everyone is friendly and welcoming and questions that have been answered many times will be answered again instead of shooting the new guy down in flames like a lot of forums do.


    • What is obvious to some can be easily overlooked by many.

      There are many similarities between firearms and airguns. There are also the differences . Some things are relevant and some are not between different species.


  17. I have a #6 for you. I have a friend that doesn’t like to wait for ANYTHING. If he runs out of ammo he doesn’t like to take time to run to the store and get more ammo. He’ll start shooting small rocks out of his gun. Then he wants to trade me for my well maintained guns. Sorry. Last time I traded him a gun he traded it back and I had to totally rebuild the gun. I’ll not be doing that again. I found grinder marks on the air valve, the air presure guage had also been ground on. The barrel was put together all wierd, The rear sight was put back on backwards. Seals were shot. And the trigger had ben hacked apart with a dremel drill. It took me at least 5 hours to fix that gun. But i did it. It’s back to fine accurate condition again. Part of why I’m so mad at what he did is because I had already set in all kinds of performance parts. I had to replace those parts again.

  18. SL…

    I may not have understood exactly what you meant about the glitches…
    Did you mean all of them that I have noticed ? I have seen a bunch here and there. Fixed some, gave up on some. I could talk for a week or two.


    • TT

      I meant all of it.

      I am not a complete idiot mechanically. But when I try and work on something, it rarely goes smoothly. Something won’t line up, or something won’t go back on, or a screw falls into an intake. That is where I get really frustrated and begin cursing, and where experience becomes invaluable.

      I have heard that working on the HW97 can be frustrating, in contrast to the TX200, which is a breeze. I have an HW97K in .20 cal that I bought used. Great gun, but it buzzes like a hornets nest when fired. ‘Brutal vibration’ is how you phrased it. I would like to open it up and coat the spring with tar, and see if I can sleeve the piston and/or button the piston, and see what can be done with the rear guide.

      But I don’t want to end up with a pillowcase full of parts labeled HW97. I figured someone who has done it at least three times already could steer me clear of the glitches.

      I understand that writing a guest blog on the subject would be tedious and time consuming with the photo taking and whatnot. Frankly I don’t see how Derrick and Nick do it. But I wouldn’t mind hearing from you for a week or two on the subject. I wouldn’t get bored. I appreciate any input you have. Thanks again.

      • SL…

        Would this tide you over ?

        Been a while since I worked on the 97. The above link should work unless I copied it wrong.

        I think I understand that you just want to know about the 97.
        You need a compressor or a few helpful gorillas.
        Put some moly on the threaded plug when you put it back together. It goes easier.
        Getting the plug in just right so that the scope grooves line up right is a job. It seems to help if you try to clamp a scope mount on and keep tightening it as you work the plug back and forth a bit.
        The horse that should have come before the cart……
        Make sure to have all the slots lined up and the cocking lever installed BEFORE installing the plug.
        The pins that hold the Rekord in place tap out easier in one direction than the other. Make note of which way to go so it will be easier when it goes back together. One pin is longer than the other, too.
        If you want a Vortek, watch the rear guide so that it does not catch on the piston. If you are lucky, it will need to be pushed toward the top of the tube enough to start into the piston if it did not line up in the first place. It can be pushed up through the cocking slot with a screwdriver if I remember right, unless I am thinking about one of the R9s. Otherwise you will have to pull the plug and rotate the kit 90 degrees or so and try it again.

        My 97 was without a doubt the worst vibrating monster that I have seen so far. The Vortek cured it.
        If you go that way, be careful of which kit you order. 12 or 15 ft-lb. .


      • SL…

        Extra note…
        Watch that freaking safety when you take it apart or put it together. It will launch on you if you don’t restrain it. The little spring may or may not fly with it.


        • TT

          Thanks for the tips and the link. Perhaps I will give it a go.

          I would prefer to install a Vortek kit, but cannot justify the expense just now. So I will probably just tinker, polish and lube. Your tips will make the going easier, and I appreciate it.

          • SL…

            Something of interest for you.
            My 97 likes the screws snug, but not extremely tight. That is a bit hard to keep if it vibrates worse then a truck with square wheels. Yours may have different thoughts about it.


  19. A few more don’ts:

    1. Don’t dry fire springers, it damages the piston seal. Pneumatic guns are OK to dry fire.

    2. Don’t use cleaning pellets on a springer. There is not enough back pressure. It is like dry firing.

    3. Don’t leave springers cocked for long periods of time. The spring will take a set, and you will lose power.

    4. Don’t store pneumatics without pressure in them. The all important seals will not last very long. If it is a pump gun, pump it a couple times. If it is a PCP, leave half a charge in it. If it is a CO2 gun leave a partially charged cartridge in it.

    5. Don’t store your valuable airguns without prepping first. Fingerprints are acidic, and will eventually eat into the finish on a blued gun. Foam lined cases can absorb moisture from the air and trap it inside the case, rusting the finish of your gun in short order. Use Ballistol or silicone oil on a soft clean cloth to remove any fingerprints. When storing inside a foam lined case, first insert the gun into a gunsock or wool sock lightly coated with silicone oil or Ballistol. Your guns will last for years in storage prepped this way.

    6. Don’t shoot the new couches with any of your airguns. Don’t shoot the old couches either, just to be on the safe side.

    • I’m going to partially disagree with item #4 on slinging lead’s list, at least with regard to pump pneumatics. Some of them (mainly Crosman pumpers) are designed to be stored with a pump of air in them. However the manual for Daisy multi-pumps (or at least the manual for the last Daisy 880 I bought) explicitly says not to store them pressurized. Which surprised me since it defies the common wisdom. I’m not sure if they’re saying that due to legal fears or if the pump mechanisms are designed differently. Whatever the reason Daisy tells people not to do this. With that in mind, I would rewrite item #4 on Slinging Lead’s list as follows: Store pneumatics in the manner the manual says. If the manual does not explicitly address this, then default to storing them pressurized.

  20. Breakbarrel, steel spring or gas spring.
    After some hours shooting I’m happy with “satisfactory” shots (when they are very close to obey what I’m doing..). Considering very last performance, next time I think that things will start fine.
    No inside cleaning, same pellets, etc., but they don’t!? No matter my focus, things go a kind of erratic, and I take a few dozens to back to the satisfactory..
    I’ve already stopped to blame the rifles.
    Someone else needs this mental warm up?

    A second and mysterious one … Take for granted that nobody else gets even close to my rifles. All the same about “yesterday” shots. Sometimes, during warm up .., I notice shots grouping “well”, but out of target. Adjusting rear sight, or scope, things back to normal .. How come?? What about those “yesterday” adjustments that went well?
    Someone else?


    PS – BB, I did a homework and found your article (Parts 1- 4), 2011, reviewing the Gamo Whisper IGT .22; even considering you have a lot of other things to think about, I suggest you to do a Part 5 – “Just open sights – 10m >> 25m”. At that time, “2011/2012”, my experience (feelings and “conclusion”) with my – scoped – first Whisper (changed from steel to a gas spring) was the same as yours! But, as I had only that one, I’ve persisted with the open sights..

    • Marcos,

      When things change like this I first suspect that the scope is adjusted too high and the erector tube is floating.

      I don’t have access to a Gamo Whisper IGT any longer, so a Part 5 is impossible. But watch the Walther LGV test I’m doing, because I am doing the same thing there.


  21. Here’s irony at the best. Today my friend Dan dropped by wanting to borrow some of my gun cleaning supplies to give hes brand new gun a thorough scrubbing “to improve his accuracy”. I told him his new gun didn’t need a cleaning and wouldn’t need one for quite a long time. His response was “I just want to clean it because I want to clean it” even when I showed him this very article. Needless to say he walked away without my gun cleaning kit and went off to buy his own. This is the same guy that begged to buy my Discovery, trashed it then wanted to trade it for one of my new guns that I had set up with a nice grt3 trigger. That gun is the one he wants to trash with cleaners designed for powder burners. That gun is only 3 months old and i only ever shot it 3 times.

  22. I imagine the construction of the Benjamin 392 is pretty much the same as a Blue Streak. The solder joint between the barrel and cylinder failed on my 1975 model year Blue Streak. Being a poor high school student at the time , I gave Crazy Glue a try. It has been about 35 years since that repair and the gun is still in one piece and shooting straight. Probably not the correct way to repair it but it worked.

  23. Hmm. It was definitely “Krazy Glue” that the Blue Streak was repaired with. Not cyanoacrylate cement bearing a different trademark name. Seems like there are a lot more companies today as opposed to then ( about 1978 ) that have their name on a cyanoacrylate cement.

  24. Tom im looking at buying a new rifle and scope,I like the cometa fusion preimer star in 22 cal with the hawk 2-7-32 scope there is just so much to choose from ounce you start looking. I have an old RWS 36 that shoots very well. For the money is this a good choice, I enjoy shooting longer ranges like 80 yards, and I dont see much info about the cometas anywhere they look to be a well built gun. Hope to here from you soon Rich. PS I really like accuracy but dont we all hope you can help me make a good choice.

    • Rich,

      I tested the very rifle you are interested in.


      Spring guns aren’t much =good past 50 yards. You need a pneumatic for 80m yards, if you want good accuracy, which I think you do.

      Read the 4 parts of the report and get back to me with what you think.


  25. Never take the tootsie pop stick or similar and cut them into 1 inch sticks, raid your mother’s sewing kit for needles then stick the needles in the sticks to make darts and then put them into your pellet rifle and then shoot at stuff crawling on your parents wooden house. Rifle confiscation, butt whipping, and endless lecture are sure to follow. Me and my cousin never did that, I’m just advising others not to…

  26. Hi all,

    I’m researching for a novel and one of my characters is going to love BB guns. What happens if you shoot a BB gun at a rock? Can the BB bounce back at you? Will it send the rock off? I would like to know, but I don’t have a lot of BB gun experience. Any help would be appreciated?

    • Stefanie Cole,

      Welcome to the blog.

      Steel BBs bounce off hard surfaces with great force. Yes, a BB will bounce off a rock. The direction it takes depends on where it hits the rock, as the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection. What they taught us in 8th grade science class is still true.


  27. hi there!
    I am going on a trip for few months. I would like to know if there is anything I need to or not do with my airguns? For example, should I remove the mainsprings or this is not necessary?
    Or just light lube inside the barrel and Ballistol outside will do the trick?
    thanks a lot!

  28. My Crosman fire NP manual says to add one drop of silicone oil into the chamber every 250 rounds. Should I follow that schedule or wait for symptoms of not enough oil?

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