Springer Maintenance

As previously discussed, shooting a spring piston airgun is an art.
Learn to shoot using a springer and everything else (including firearms) is easy.
This is about maintenance though.
Funnily enough I was better with a springer than a PCP but like driving a posh car, you get used to the polished performance of a PCP as opposed to the springer’s rough recoil and NOISE.
These are basic “generic” notes on servicing a spring piston airgun.

Degrease first.
With a new weapon it will come “greased” and needs cleaning before use.
To do that you’ll have to disassemble the weapon and this is the dangerous bit.

An older weapon will need re-lubricating but even then, TAKE THE OLD STUFF OFF.
This strip down will be minimal and largely confined to removal of the stock BUT occasionally you will need to lube the spring and that (as above) is the dangerous bit.

Get an exploded view of your weapon before attempting to disassemble it.
You will need to make a spring compressor to reassemble the weapon.
Simple to make, you must build it STRONGLY. 

After all , compression of a spring can exceed 100 kg of force.

Necessary tools vary but gunsmith screwdrivers, possibly Allen or Torx keys, punches, and a hammer.
Lots of cloths. Cotton is best, low flock, and absorbent. Don’t forget the old favorite 4×2.

Selection of Substances

Most “rubber” seals aren’t and synthetic material can react to chemical or petroleum based solvents.
From WD40 to paraffin (kerosene), gasoline, acetone, and denatured Alcohol the range is extensive.
Firearm solvents should not be used as they tend to be more corrosive as they have to deal with propellant residue and dissolve copper deposits. If in doubt, ask the manufacturer.

Do not use organic i.e. vegetable or animal based lubes.
Do not use silicone-based lubricants for metal parts they are designed for plastic and low power situations NOT the brutal world of the spring piston weapon.

Only use
Petroleum-based oils and greases.
Use synthetic motor oils for the piston face and seals.
Use a very thin coat of Lithium or molybdenum disulphide is used on friction parts like cocking levers, barrel joints, etc.
HMP grease lightly applied to the spring with a wipe of a cloth is all that is needed.

ALL MAINSPRINGS should be sleeved to prevent the “Twang”.
Make with either discarded plastic drinks bottle plastic or 1mm thick PTFE (very strong & low friction), the sleeve will reduce the spring ‘twang’ and reduce internal friction of the rifle when fired.
Form a tube out of the substance (i.e.PTFE cloth) along the length of the inner wall of the piston and the outer face of the main spring. Trim it so that it just sits below the level of the end of the piston.

Gas Ram maintenance.
Apart from cleaning the outside, if a gas ram leaks it will require a powerful pump to refill the chamber. Although it is not the same high pressures as a PCP, that typically uses 200 bar, 17 BAR is about right for 11.5 ft lbs. on the Weirauch HW90 and  48 BAR for the Theoben Evo HE.
(Note Internet hearsay on both these figures)

In a survival mode, without a workshop, this is a difficult thing to achieve SAFELY.
Too much pressure will cause the inner seals to burn out.
Personally I don’t like gas ram and although PCP is technically complicated, it’s accuracy and quiet operation is a winner for me.

Trigger Groups are difficult.
Greases only cause inconsistent let offs. Moly paste is generally recommended a REALLY LIGHT coating.

Barrels get clogged.
Lead (Pb), oil, or grease particles can be discharged from the piston chamber. Dieseling does the rest.
The problem is gun barrels are made of mild steel. VERY mild.
To scrub them use only brass brushes. Less is more.The rifling is shallow.

Use a suitable solvent like WD40 or simple gasoline on a cloth patch (1″ x 1″ patch for a 0.22) pushed through continuously until the patch comes out clean.

Refer to the article on muzzle damage / re-crowning. Don’t use pull throughs or bore snakes, only cleaning rods.
Running through a dry patch before shooting is usually good enough BUT if you are shooting a long string i.e. target shooting, your mean POI will change.
If target shooting or long distance work is the norm, it is better not to clean until the groups open up.
For long term storage, run a lightly oiled patch through the barrel
Then, prior to shooting, dry patch the barrel.

Whatever your usage is, you should not lubricate or even strip your springer a lot.
In the field, you will need to strip the workings out of the stock to dry off the metal work and dry the stock.
Usually that’s only one or two screws.
There is no need to strip down the spring piston further unless it gets soaked.
Routine strips only need to be carried out every 2000-4000 rounds.

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