Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 14

FEATURE // AIR MAINTENANCE
have to be replaced, with a $600-$800
price tag.
I mentioned synthetic grease, so
let’s talk about proper lubricants for
modern CA guns. Never use a petroleum-based lubricant or cleaner with
your airgun. If the petroleum product
gets into the high-pressure line, it can
diesel (ignite) and cause a potential
life-threatening explosion. Also, nonsynthetic oils or cleaners can cause
the rubber or plastic seals to deteriorate. Most traditional firearm lubes and
solvents will harm your airgun.
The good news is that you don’t
need to lube an airgun very often or
very much. Honestly, we see more
airguns damaged from over-lubing than
under-lubing. If you want to lubricate
your gun, all you need is a very little
amount of synthetic grease on the
working parts of levers or pins and a
“smidgeon” of moly grease on the
sear and the cylinder threads, as mentioned before. In normal use, the only
user lubrication that I would consider
absolutely necessary is the grease on
the cylinder threads. Other lubrication
can take place when you have a professional inspection of your airgun.
How often should that happen? It
depends on how much you use it. Top
athletes that are shooting daily should
have their guns gone through once a

Notice the glove used during
transfer of the air charge from
the fill apparatus into the gun’s
cylinder to protect from the
extremely cold temperature—
as low as –700 F.

year. Schools or programs that shoot
their guns half a year or so can get by
with a rifle service every third year.
Individuals who shoot their airguns
infrequently can go six or seven years
or longer. What does a full service
consist of? Normally, all seals and
springs will be replaced. Valves and
valve surfaces will be inspected and
replaced if necessary. This necessitates disassembling the whole gun,
so all moving parts will get inspected
and re-lubed on re-assembly and any
potential problems should be found.
As I heard one shooting athlete say to
another, “Getting your rifle rebuilt is a
good idea, ‘cause sometimes they just
find stuff.”
One thing you can do to preserve
the life of your airgun is unscrew the
cylinder every time you finish shooting it for the day. Unscrew it enough
that you hear the air “whoosh” out
of the regulator. Leave the cylinder
attached to the gun to prevent dirt or
other foreign objects getting on the
threads. When you get ready to reinstall the cylinder, unscrew it all the
way out first, and then start back in to
avoid pinching the sealing O-ring. The
reason for releasing the air is to take
the pressure off the regulator springs
and O-rings—the heart of a modern CA
match rifle. The regulator is what steps
the 3,000 PSI air in the cylinder down
to around 850 PSI to give a consistent
shot each time you pull the trigger.
Another point about regulators on
CA guns is to exercise them after the
gun has set for a while. Shoot three
or four shots without pellets before
starting sighters to make sure that the
internal rubber seals are moving as
they should, as sometimes they can
stick when they have set for awhile.
Another frequently asked question
is: Does your air rifle barrel require
cleaning? There is some debate on
this issue. There are those who say it
should be cleaned every time after firing, and those who say never clean an
airgun barrel. Airguns don’t generate
any real heat, nor do they have dirty
powder residue like firearms. I have
tested many airguns for pellet accu-

racy and, occasionally, found one that
does not shoot well. I tried cleaning
the barrel, looking for improvement,
and it seldom helps. I am going to say
that as long as you are using good
quality match pellets from RWS, H&N,
Vogel or JSB, then cleaning is of little
benefit. If you think it helps, don’t let
me discourage you. I recommend you
use some doubled-up monofilament
fishing line to pull a cleaning patch
through the barrel. I see no need to
ever put a brush or a rod through a
10m airgun barrel unless you have a
pellet stuck in the bore. A barrel that
has been cleaned should have
15 to 20 “fouling shots” shot through
it before you start a match, as a totally
clean barrel will shoot to a different
point of impact than one with a normal
amount of pellet wax on the lands
and grooves.
Always make sure that pellet
holders are securely closed in your
travel case. Every year we get three
or four guns that have problems.
When we dissemble the action, we
find little chunks of pellet lead from
the gun case that somehow got
inside the action.
For those that use a CBI (Clear
Barrel Indicator), you should carry
something like a sandwich baggie to
store the CBI when not being used.
I cringe every time I see an athlete
remove a CBI and throw it on the
dirty floor, then pick it up and stuff it
back into the barrel at the end of the
stournament. This can cause long
term damage to either the rifling or the
crown of your precision airgun.
All these basic rules apply to air
rifles using CO2 as well. For more
complete information on airgun
safety and maintenance, download
this 28-page guide: www.odcmp.
com/comm/publications/PDFs/JrSafetyGuidetoARSafety.pdf. For another
good book on airgun maintenance,
ranges and safety, also see www.training.nra.org/documents/pdf/education/
airgun_safetyguide.pdf.
For more information, contact
PILKGUNS at (931) 924-3400 or
www.pilkguns.com.


http://www.odcmp.com/comm/publications/PDFs/JrSafetyGuidetoARSafety.pdf http://www.odcmp.com/comm/publications/PDFs/JrSafetyGuidetoARSafety.pdf http://www.odcmp.com/comm/publications/PDFs/JrSafetyGuidetoARSafety.pdf http://www.training.nra.org/documents/pdf/education/airgun_safetyguide.pdf http://www.training.nra.org/documents/pdf/education/airgun_safetyguide.pdf http://www.training.nra.org/documents/pdf/education/airgun_safetyguide.pdf http://www.pilkguns.com

Shooting Sports USA - March 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Shooting Sports USA - March 2013

Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - Cover1
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - Cover2
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 3
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 4
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 5
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Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 14
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Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - Cover3
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - Cover4
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