BSA Meteor Mark I: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

BSA Meteor
BSA Meteor Mark I.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Applying Tune in a Tube
  • Not greasing a tractor
  • Well?
  • The test
  • Hobbys
  • RWS Superpoints
  • JSB Exact RS
  • Shut my mouth!
  • Next

Today we find out whether Tune in a Tube works on my BSA Meteor Mark I. Before we get into that, though I want to say a couple more things about the rifle. Reader RidgeRunner asked if the detent has a groove cut into it for the pivot pin. Yes, it does. And the trigger of this Mark I is significantly different than the trigger on my Mark IV Super Meteor that I showed you.

I plan to photograph both items in the report when I clean and re-tune the rifle, just so we have a good record, because this trigger is not that simple to assemble. Or perhaps it is simple, but it only goes together one way, which is not completely obvious. So I will document that in the next report.

Applying Tune in a Tube

The directions for Tune in a Tube are very simple. Pull the barreled action out of the stock and apply several thin lines of the grease on the coils of the mainspring through the cocking slot. Sound simple — right? It is simple, until you go to do it. I am so glad this test was on a Meteor, because the cocking slot on a Meteor is not that exposed. Here, let me show you.

BSA Meteor cocking slot
Here is the cocking slot of the Meteor. The mainspring is not as exposed as you might think. Not a lot of room to apply the grease. Look at the extreme left of the picture. See the small window where the spring is exposed? The spring guide isn’t blocking it there, either, so you have good access to the entire inside of the spring cylinder in that spot.

Not greasing a tractor

Okay, guys, time to grease the gun.  This is where the term “sparingly” comes into play. We aren’t greasing a tractor! The directions say to apply several thin strands of the lube both on the mainspring coils you can see and also reach the applicator tip through the coils to get to the inside of the spring and the other side of the spring tube. But look at the small space you have with the Meteor. Most of the spring that’s visible has the spring guide inside it, so there will be no reaching through the coils there.

You have to use common sense. What you are doing is putting some grease inside the spring tube. The actions of cocking and firing the gun several times will spread the grease around the spring and the inside of the tube. Just do your best to put enough grease in there. If you err, do so on the side of putting too little grease on the spring. You can always put more if you have to. It’s hard to take any away. Let me show you what I did — and given the small space you can forget the “thin strands of grease” in the instructions. I just put in what I thought was the right amount — again trying to err on the side of too little.

BSA Meteor grease 1
This is (almost) how much Tune in a Tube grease I put on the mainspring. Notice that I put some on the body of the piston, too. Since the piston slides in the spring tube, it will also distribute the grease as the gun is cocked and fired.

Remember that tiny window that was to the left in the first picture? I told you that was the one place where there is access to the opposite side of the spring and spring tube. So I squirted some grease in there, as well. I can’t show you how much because it’s deep inside the gun, but trust me that I put about the same amount of grease there that you see in the last picture. I also greased the tiny bit of spring that is visible through that window.

BSA Meteor grease 2
This small window (arrow) gives the only access to the inside of the spring tube that isn’t blocked by the spring guide. I squirted some grease deep inside this window, plus I put some on the few coils of spring that are visible.

Well?

I noticed that the grease was thinner than I anticipated. It also looked reddish, but since I’m colorblind how would I know? It reminded me of the Spring Gel product Beeman used to sell. I never had much success with Spring Gel and thanked them for bringing out the much thicker Mainspring Dampening Compound several years later. That thought left me wondering if this product would do anything.

I then assembled the action into the stock, cocked and loaded the rifle and fired the first shot. My gosh — it works!

Shot two was even smoother and I noticed over the first 10 shots that the rifle was smoothing out with every shot. That is exactly what the directions say! I then settled down to break in the new “tune.” After about 15 shots I remembered the dry piston seal, so I oiled it through the transfer port. Then I shot maybe 15 more shots and endured a couple detonations — perhaps three in all. After that the rifle seemed to have settled in and was ready to test.

The test

To test the rifle I decided to use the same pellets that were used in the velocity test in Part 2. I even shot them in the same sequence.

Hobbys

First up were RWS Hobbys. I’ll show you the results of the two tests (before and after the tune) side by side. Today’s test is Test 2.

Test 1…………………………….Test 2
Shot…………….Vel…………Shot…………….Vel
1…………….….624…………..1……………….616
2…………….….615…………..2……………….613
3…………….….612…………..3……………….610
4…………….….618…………..4……………….607
5…………….….605…………..5……………….605
6…………….….619…………..6……………….604
7…………….….622…………..7……………….610
8…………….….600…………..8……………….616
9…………….….616…………..9……………….612
10………………615…………..10…………..….611

Test 1…………………………….Test 2
Avg……Spread…..FPE………Avg……Spread…..FPE
615……….24……..10……..…610……….11……..9.83

Pretty close, eh? That is exactly what the directions said to expect — slightly slower with a tighter spread.

RWS Superpoints

Next came RWS Superpoints. They are now called Superpoint Extra, but the weight is still the same, at 14.5 grains.

Test 1…………………………Test 2
Shot…………….Vel…………Shot…………….Vel
1…………….….552…………..1……………….546
2…………….….551…………..2……………….545
3…………….….559…………..3……………….549
4…………….….548…………..4……………….546
5…………….….532…………..5……………….548
6…………….….541…………..6……………….540
7…………….….550…………..7……………….541
8…………….….542…………..8……………….549
9…………….….549…………..9……………….552
10………………545…………..10…………..….539

Test 1…………………………….Test 2
Avg……Spread…..FPE………Avg……Spread…..FPE
547……….27……..9.64………545……….13……9.57

JSB Exact RS

The last pellet I tested was the JSB Exact RS dome.

Test 1…………………………Test 2
Shot…………….Vel…………Shot…………….Vel
1…………….….571…………..1……………….567
2…………….….572…………..2……………….570
3…………….….566…………..3……………….567
4…………….….558…………..4……………….564
5…………….….563…………..5……………….566
6…………….….563…………..6……………….568
7…………….….565…………..7……………….561
8…………….….568…………..8……………….563
9…………….….566…………..9……………….566
10………………561…………..10…………..….563

Test 1…………………………….Test 2
Avg……Spread…..FPE………Avg……Spread…..FPE
565……….14……..9.52………566……….9…..…9.56

There you have it. In every case the velocity spread was smaller after Tune in a Tube was applied. Two of the pellets went slightly slower after the application and the last pellet went slightly faster. In practical terms there is no difference.

Shut my mouth!

I never imagined this test turning out this way — especially after seeing the low viscosity of the product. I thought we were in for a big disappointment. Well — I WAS WRONG. This stuff really works. In fact, if I had cleaned the parts of the powerplant before assembling it, I would leave the Meteor just as it is. I can’t do that, of course. I have to clean everything, just to ease my conscience if nothing else. But Tune in a Tube really does work.

Next

My thanks to all you readers who prompted me to test this product. It’s almost too good to be true, because this is exactly what airgunners have been asking for, for the past two decades. Tune in a Tube — get some!

My next step will be to disassemble the rifle and clean all the parts, including the interior of the spring/compression tube. Then I will lube it again (maybe with this stuff!) and assemble it once more for a final test. There are several additional places I want to lube with different products, plus I want that rust out of there. And I want that piston seal lubed properly! So, stay tuned.

41 thoughts on “BSA Meteor Mark I: Part 4

  1. B.B.,

    I was waiting for this part. RidgeRunner had recommended Tune in a Tube to me a couple weeks ago. I almost ordered some then, but then you said you were going to test it, so I decided to wait. I’m definitely ordering it now.

    Thanks for really going into detail about how you put it in. That’s very helpful.

    Jim M.


  2. B.B.,

    Although it is a bit late for it, I would appreciate a picture of the tip of the “Tune in a Tube” placed on top of the cocking slot to give us a relative size as to how big is the tip compared to how narrow is the cocking slot.

    Siraniko


  3. BB,

    I am glad you are impressed with it. As long as people understand that if nothing else is wrong with your air rifle this product is a great way to lubricate your sproinger without a total teardown. They also need to keep in mind that a little bit can go a long way. Do indeed be sparing with it. As you said, you can always apply more later if needed.

    I have used it twice now, on my new Tomahawk and my Diana 46 and was amazed at how it quieted them and smoothed the shot cycle out. A higher viscosity might do better over a long term I do not know, but would be almost impossible to apply other than doing a teardown.

    As to the color, it is reddish. I believe it is a lithium compound.


  4. Very interesting. My first thought is that ANY thing is better than nothing. Obviously “black tar” grease, while maybe better,…. would not be able to “self distribute” itself.

    This sounds like a good addition for anyone having a cheaper ultra mega powered cheek slapper. Nice job on trying and testing a new product. For those a bit more resourceful, a meat injector or a farm animal syringe would do the same. As for the grease, I have used to red greases in the past, but it is any ones guess as to what this grease would be. Bottom line,….. it worked!


    • Chris USA,

      From Duskwight’s previous posts I would suppose this is a synthetic as opposed to natural petroleum based allowing it to be used in a springer with minimal detonation.

      Siraniko

      PS I batched the pellets in ten to find out if when divided by ten would approximate the individual 18.13 gr weight stated by JSB. As B.B. (I think) said a scale that could weigh a hundredth of a grain is a laboratory instrument not a regular commercial scale.

      Siraniko


      • Siraniko,

        Yes, I think anything that measures to the 1/10th grain is more than good for pellet weighing. From my testing, I can not see where it made much difference. Heck, I just did a test that spread an (entire) grain and proved nothing conclusive. The first pellet, the lightest,.. landed the lowest. Subsequent pellets, light to heavy, landed higher,….. them moving lower,… in general. At 70 yards, the spread from top to bottom was about 1″. All the same pellet.

        The target, homemade, has a 1″ black center,…. so tracking the shot #/POI elevation was difficult if they landed in the black. Next test will be the same, except that I will change the target so that I will shoot 1 shot per bull and modify the bull center. That will produce very clear POI elevations that can be directly attributed to a pellet/shot # that has a known weight down to the 1/10th grain.

        Chris


        • Chris USA,

          I am beginning to think it is all about matching the head size to the barrel. Weight difference will not matter much if the pellet does not fit perfectly concentric to the bore. Maybe I will buy a Pelletgage. May have to wait a while though for relatives to come from over there to here.

          Siraniko


          • Siraniko,

            My nice reply “vaporized” just now. I will say though that when sorting is refined to this level,…. it is sometimes hard to have (repeatable and verifiable) results. Many, many variables. For right now, I would be happy to see a general improvement trend to the better. To do it one day,.. and not the next,.. kind of throws any conclusions out the window. 🙁

            Chris


        • Chris,

          My favorite target for shooting with a scope is an X. It has a very small POA and when you align the center with the center of your reticle, the “wings” of the X point to the center, so if you should obliterate the center you still have a reference. Shoot small, miss small.


  5. BB,

    While we are on the subject of lubricating sproingers, why not use silicon grease? It would certainly reduce the chances of a detonation. Is it because of the viscosity?



  6. B.B.,

    I have a 12 foot pound springer that is a bit creaky when it is cocked and both vibrates and twangs when it is shot. However, it is basically brand new, having been shot only a couple dozen times since it was purchased new several years ago. Therefore, I am confident the tube is not rusty. It was an expensive, German made air rifle, so I presume the spring is not kinked.

    I suppose my question is a no-brainer, but do you think it is possible this product will significantly lessen these problems?

    Michael


  7. As a kid I did all the gun-smithing for my friends – fees were paid in “tins of pellets”.

    A quick-tune on a new rifle involved flushing out all the factory grease with varsol and applying a small amount of gear oil into the piston chamber followed with a light application of lithium grease applied to the visible portion of the spring with a small brush. Pivot points received a small amount of light machine oil and the piston a couple of drops of an STP/oil mixture.

    Once the rifle had been broken in (several cans of pellets) I would do a full tune which was a complete disassembly, clean, deburr, polish, cylinder/spring moly treatment followed by the normal lubrications.

    I use food grade (Dow Corning 2000) silicon oil to lubricate my “plastic” pistons (comes in various viscosities) with good results. The piston on my FWB124 lasted over 25 years before I had to replace it.

    Hank


  8. BB.
    Temperature here this AM was 26°F and daily highs are in the 40’s and 50’s. I am curious about the cold weather properties of the Tune in a Tube product.
    Would it be possible for you to place a small dab of the grease in the freezer for a half hour or so and using a toothpick or wood match let let me know how much it has stiffened up.
    Cold weather lube has always been an interesting topic for me. So far I have found that molyed oils like Slick 50 are excellent really cold weather lubes and synthetics like Castrol Syntex 5W50 are also pretty good. Warm weather use tends to require more oiling as they seem to dry out rapidly. They also buzz, have twangy springs and sound like a baby playing with his lips.
    I would love to find a grease that would work down to about 0°F but I know that’s dreaming.
    Cheers
    Dave




    • Dave,

      They make it. I used to work maintenance at a place that made freeze dried coffee years ago. The “cold room” was -80 degrees F at the chillers. You could only stay in there 20 minutes tops. And, that was with top of the line coats, bibs, boots, mittens and face mask. Oh yea,…. It was “food grade” grease,….. whatever that might be. It is amazing what is out there when you go digging.

      Chris


    • Hey there Dave,

      This is Rick Eutsler from AirgunWeb,creator of the Tune-In-A-Tube concept and product. With regards to temperature and viscosity on this product. There are a couple of versions. This is the thicker of the two and it supposed to hold it’s viscosity (claims from the manufacturer) from 30 degrees to 300 degrees. Being in Arizona and trying to shoot “tuned” springers, it was amazing how many lubricants broke down in the extreme heat to just leave the gun a dieseling mess. Cold was less of a concern for me. However, it was part of the equation when I set out on the task of finding what I would consider the perfect airgun lube. At lease for spring guns at the time. So far this has been the winner.

      There is an alternate variant that maintains (claims from the manufacturer) viscosity from 0 degrees to about 300 degrees, but I did not find it as effective as a dampening agent. Great lube, but did not stop the buzz like the thicker stuff.

      Anyway, I hope that helps.

      Cheers
      Rick


      • Rick
        Thanks for the Tune in a Tube info.
        I would be interested in this product, if, as you say, manufacturers claims of 30°F lower working temperature are correct. Like most products it has probably been legalesed to those specs to protect the manufacturer from legal issues and would probably work fine at much colder temperatures.
        Now ,the main problem, is finding a seller who will ship to my home here in Alberta. Canada.
        Cheers
        Dave


  9. In lubrication, I’ve always erred on the side of too much rather than too little. Is there a problem with too much lubrication other than being messy?

    Against my expectations, I finally had reason to make use of the blogs on straightening bent rifle barrels. I finally realized that the ninja sword that I bought has a very slight bend in the blade. It doesn’t effect functioning, but it preys on my mind. I figured if you could bend rifle barrels, then you should be able to bend a sword, which is a much simpler object, using my newly purchased vise. This didn’t work as planned since I could not secure the vise strongly enough to keep it from twisting with the force that I needed to apply. And after awhile, it looked like I was introducing a new bend in the sword. Then, I tried crushing the bend flat in the vise and leaving it there for a week. But one of our blog readers and a professional machinist told me that the analogy was like a spring gun whose spring does not change despite being under pressure for long periods. Moreover, he told me that bending steel after it has been hardened makes it brittle and more likely to shatter which is especially dangerous for a sword blade. I don’t see how rifles barrels avoid that problem when they are straightened. Anyway, I have decided to live with the sword as it is.

    Matt61


  10. Hi,

    I’m wondering if a flexible or curved applicator would reach around to the back side of the spring guide? Of course that might not be a significant gaining the long run…

    Having spent more time working on guitars, where disassembly is much difficult than air guns, I’ve had to learn how to work around obstacles and in places where one hand either barely fits or won’t reach at all without gadgets. A straw or similar extension on a glue syringe makes some repairs through the sound hole possible.

    Just a thought: thanks for the excellent reportage!

    Erik


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