Air pistols do not generate heat nor do they require gun powder as a propellant, thus the two primary reasons for cleaning a handgun are absent. In fact, CO2 air pistols are almost maintenance free. Almost, however, means that even an air pistol needs to be cleaned from time to time.
Keep ‘Em Running
Maintenance is really more about keeping things running smoothly and preventing seals from drying out than it is about dirty bores and gummed-up actions. Different air pistols have specific cleaning requirements, but the basics of cleaning a CO2 air pistol remain the same. Over time, all air pistols are subject to leading from pellets, residue from steel BBs and a build-up of minor fouling that can hurt performance. Having said that, air pistols do not need to be cleaned after every trip to the range; in fact, it isn’t even recommended until 1,000 rounds have been fired. It is recommended, however, to clean the bore and any exposed interior surfaces before firing a brand new gun to remove any oils or residue.
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The most important thing with a CO2 air pistol, especially blowback models, is the lubrication of moving parts, and for CO2 guns a drop of lubricant like Crosman Pellgun Oil on the tip of each CO2 capsule before it is inserted is beneficial to overall operation and longevity. Its formulation helps to protect and preserve the rubber O-rings, the CO2 capsule’s piercing mechanism and the air gun’s seals. It can also be used to lubricate moving parts like the follower in the magazine, the base of the hammer and the trigger hinge. RWS Spring Cylinder Oil is also ideal for the latter job, as it comes with an applicator needle to place a drop of oil exactly where it is needed in a single drop.
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The bore should also be given a periodic cleaning and the Umarex Airgun Cleaning Kit has all of the necessary tools required to get the job done for the majority of air pistols and air rifles. Priced at $16, it includes a 33-inch, flexible, plastic-coated rod that will not scratch the barrel, .177- and .22-caliber chamber brushes, patch rods, bore mops and a rod handle that converts into a screwdriver (with a six-bit driver set) for most air gun disassembly requirements.
When cleaning an air pistol, only use products recommended for air pistols, and never use gun cleaning solvents because they can get into the valves, damage valve seats and the rubber or synthetic materials in the internal mechanism. Cleaning the barrel should be a simple process to ensure that there is no fouling. If needed, an air pistol bore brush is used to loosen any buildup, a dry patch to clean it out (a second or third patch until it comes out clean, just like a cartridge-firing handgun) and the bore mop at the end for a final wipe.
The bore brush is not necessary for most cleaning and is more for air pistols that fire lead pellets rather than those that fire steel BBs. With pellets and rifled barrels, there is also a chance of leading after a significant number of rounds. For more information, visit http://www.umarexusa.com.