Gun care / Storage
A well cared for Forester, with bipod, "Moonlighter" scope and standard silencer
Basics Don'ts Stock Storage Tuning / Tinkering
Providing you exercise basic care, guns and scopes etc. require very little cleaning and maintenance. Under normal conditions, a drop of oil (not silicone oil) on the barrel hinge (preferably not in the barrel, and NEVER in the chamber) on break barrels, or on the pump hinge for pump up guns is all that's necessary every month or so. (I do not really use pneumatic guns, but caring for them is a more specialised job- see links page). Every 6 months or so, a little oil such as WD-40 on a soft rag can be wiped over the guns external metalwork, making sure it goes into every nook and cranny of hinge, scope rail etc. The gun should not be sopping wet with oil afterwards, as this will trickle through breech mechanism etc. and clog up in the stock- not pleasant- a gentle sheen is all that's required. (Some forms of engine oil can be used too- the oil is heavier, and will hence last longer and be more hard wearing).
Scope lenses should be gently brushed with a soft artists paintbrush to remove any grit, then gently polished with a soft piece of toilet tissue. Grit is the killer here- NEVER polish a gritty/ dusty scope lense until all particles have been brushed away. (If necessary, after polishing, any particles of tissue can be brushed away too).
After a hunting trip, your rifle may be covered in sweat, animal blood, watery mud, grit and grass. The first thing to do here is to wipe the whole thing clean with a pad of kitchen towel, tissue or soft rag, then go over the metal with the oily rag again. If the blueing is scratched, you can buy pots of 'touch up' gun blue, which you just rub over the place.
This depends on the type of stock- synthetic stocks require no maintenance except wiping clean of mud, blood etc. and drying with a soft cloth or kitchen towel. Wooden stocks should only be dried at room temperature, or with a soft cloth because excessive heat can crack them. Once dry, a little stock oil (often specific to type of wood or even type of stock- check with your manufacturer/supplier) can be gently polished in with a circular motion, and, you've guessed it, a soft cloth.
The three DON'TS
Besides the obvious Never point an airgun at a human being, even when it's unloaded, there are three accepted things you should never do with an airgun:
1) Never press the trigger with the barrel broken, as the spring will straighten, the barrel will snap shut- possibly removing your fingers if you are loading- and you will probably bend the barrel, snap off the end sight and maybe even snap the pistol grip.
2) Never fire the rifle dry (unloaded). With no pellet in the breech to cause a cushion of air for the spring to bounce off, it will smash into the end of the air chamber, possibly snapping the end off and almost certainly breaking the spring.
3) Never put a rifle away cocked. For spring rifles, leaving them cocked will weaken and stress the spring. With a gas ram rifle (see types page) this doesn't matter so much, but there is no point in doing it. If a child accidentally fires it (or whatever) you risk snapping the air chamber, piston and spring. Putting a rifle away cocked and loaded is totally stupid. Little fingers could squeeze the trigger (maybe ruining your life in the process), or the gun could fall from its perch and go off. (See "storage" below). Even if none of these things happen, the power of a spring rifle deteriorates if it is left cocked, as the spring cannot rest.
To this list, however, I would add never put the gun away wet, in any type of case. Always clean off any muck, dry externally, allow to dry internally at room temperature, oil as necessary and put away. Don't get the type of case that only opens at one end, because once this becomes moist inside, it will be very hard to fully dry out.
At the present time, there are no rules governing the storage of air rifles, except the FAC (Fire Arms Certificate) type which must be stored in a locked gun cabinet. However, a rifle should not just be left leaning in a corner- it is likely to fall, which does nothing for zeroing and finish. As todays guns can be so pricey, a lockable gun cabinet may well be a good idea anyway, or at least a lockable cupboard where the gun can rest on some foam rubber or sponge etc., while firmly held in place by pegs, dowel, padded screws or string- this keeps it out of reach of thieves and any young family members or guests.
I have one simple thing to say about this- DON'T, unless you really know what you are doing. Spring air rifles are not as simple as they seem, and just shoving a huge spring into the compression chamber will certainly not increase power. When the trigger is pulled, a complex series of events takes place in a fraction of a second- anything that you do can alter this series, probably for the worst. All tuning should really be left to an experienced gun smith or tuner, with the possible exception of kits that you can buy to (for example) convert your spring gun to a gas ram- these come with full instructions etc. and can usually be done by any relatively competent airgunner.
© Vulcan 2000