Basic air rifle maintenance is important in keeping your rifle in tip top condition so it will give you plenty years of excellent service. Left unattended, the mechanical parts of an airgun will slowly deteriorate as residue and deposits or wear and tear can cause some of the moving parts to slowly malfunction. This can result in your airgun losing its power and unable to attain muzzle velocities it once had.
The one good thing about these weapons is that the air rifle maintenance needed to keep it in good condition is minimal.
Before doing any air gun or air rifle maintenance make sure of the following:
1. The air gun is not loaded
2. The safety is on
Read Your Air Gun’s Owners Manual Section on Maintenance and Care
This is the first thing any new airgun, air pistol owner should do, even if they already own several other air guns. Each product is different and manufacturers have their own specifics for caring for the item.
Do Not Dry Fire Your Airgun
These weapons are made to be fired with ammunition in them. Shooting them without ammo increased the vibration and jarring effect on the components which can shorten the life of your gun or damage some of the parts. Also use the proper type and size of ammunition. This will prevent it from getting stuck inside of the barrel or other problems.
Clean the Air Rifle Barrel
- Clean the barrel every few hundred shots. How often depends on what type of barrel your gun has, what type of pellets (material) you use and how fast your gun fires.
1. Guns using steel barrels need to be cleaned more regularly.
2. Using high quality pure lead pellets or the non-lead alloy pellets mean you can leave your barrel on its own for longer periods before having to be cleaned. Lower quality pellets leave more residue so you need to get more off more often.
3. The faster your gun fires, over 900 FPS, the more often you need to clean your barrel.
- Usually 500 to 1000 shots which is easy to count if you count by the pellet tins since these are in units of 500 or divisible by them.
Barrel cleaning requires using the right materials including a cleaning rod, cotton patch and non-powder solvents. The last part is particularly important. Don’t assume that cleaning an air rifle is similar to those of regular firearms specially the barrel since the two procedures are very different and require different tools. The main difference is due to the fact that airguns don’t use gunpowder.
Lubricating Your Airgun
Air rifles have a lot of moving mechanical components. Most of these act like hinges that need to be lubricated to work properly and reduce friction wear and tear. Every few hundred shots (500 to 1000), lubricate your gun’s compression chamber by applying one drop of gun lubricant. Very little is needed.
- Locate all the moving mechanical parts including the barrel pivot (for break barrel), trigger, safety, and breach and lightly oil these areas.
Two things to remember here:
1. Use the lubricant specified by the manufacturer.
2. Apply the directed amount. Often putting more can be harmful.
Tighten Any Screws
Recoil and vibration from each shot can slowly loosen some of the screws that hold your air gun and the scope together. Regular air gun and rifle maintenance includes checking that these are all tightened and properly in place. When doing so, be careful not to over tighten the screws.
Stock Care and Maintenance
More air rifles today come in either synthetic or wooden stock. And as you’d expect, wooden stocks need more maintenance just as wooden floors do. They look better but also need more care.
1. Keeping the luster and look of the wood requires polishing every now and then. More importantly, when storing your wooden stock air rifles, keep them in room temperature. Keeping them in conditions that are too hot or too cold can damage the makeup of the wood.
2. Synthetic stocks need less maintenance. Since they’re built for all weather they can be left alone and just cleaned with dry cloth to get rid of any dust or dirt that sticks on them.
When not in use or being stored it is important to take note of how you keep your airgun. Before putting your airgun away, inspect it for any wet spots, or dirt specially if you’re going to leave it for a while. Any damp areas can damage metal or promote corrosion in the future.
1. Don’t store it loaded.
2. Don’t leave it cocked when stored. The compression mechanism, specially those using springs, will weaken when placed in a compressed position for long periods of time.
3. Keep them locked or placed in a secure location specially if there are children around.
4. Keep your airguns stored in the correct temperature. Very humid conditions can damage the internals and externals of your air gun.
Summary of Air Gun and Air Rifle Maintenance Tips
1. Know the proper maintenance and care needed by reading the user’s manual
2. Do not dry fire your air gun
3. Clean your rifle’s barrel
4. Lubricate your airgun after a few hundred shots. Use the proper lubrication and amount.
5. Tighten any screws that have come loose
6. Store air rifles with wooden stocks with care
7. Be safe when putting your weapons into storage
8. Do not disassemble or modify your air gun unless you know what you’re doing.