Like with every hobby, there are affordable entry-level products that we buy to get started. They are usually big box products that are more disposable than repairable. Of course, this is not always the case, but generally speaking, it’s the natural course.
But if it’s a hobby that grabs our attention, our interests and experiences mature, and we start looking at better products. Most of the time, these “better” products cost much more money and are worth repairing or restoring, sometimes simply for sentimental value.
Many of the products at the low end are built to meet a price point, not for longevity. Manufacturers look at making ends meet by selling thousands of units, expecting the consumer to see it as a consumable not meant to be repaired after a warranty. This is why it can be very difficult to find spare parts, repair centers, or anything to do with keeping starter airguns going. Some manufacturers take a different approach, and we’ll get to them shortly, but if you are a new shooter looking to get into the sport, it’s best to know this before buying your first airgun.
Spend More, Expect More
As you look at products above the entry-level airgun segment, right to repair starts to be far more expected. Higher-end brands like Air Arms, Diana, Weihrauch, and others, expect their customers to pass their airguns down to the next generation. For this reason, parts are available, and there are skilled airgun smiths around to help keep your prized airgun operating at top performance.
For those who aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty, we can do a lot of repair and restoration ourselves. So let’s look at some things you’ll probably face if you stick with airgunning for the long term.
Rust is the Killer
One of the most common issues airgunners face is rust. If you live in a humid environment, you’ve probably experienced this on your airguns or firearms. If you happen to live in South Carolina, just leave your airgun outside on the porch overnight and see what happens. Actually, don’t do that. We can tell you that it probably won’t be a pleasant surprise in the morning to find your airgun covered with surface rust. Now, let’s discuss how to deal with it.
Many products can help remove surface rust; one of our favorites is Ballistol. Not only will it remove light surface rust, but it will also leave a protective coating to help prevent more rust from forming. The best option is to pull your airgun out of the stock and treat all the exposed metal before putting it back in the stock and storing it in a protective sleeve like a silicone gun sock. But what if the rust goes beyond the surface?
Once rust goes beyond the surface, you’ll need to get more aggressive. A good option is a brass penny gently rubbed on the metal until the rust is gone. Unfortunately, this will also probably remove any bluing or other anti-corrosive treatments, so you’ll need to consider that part of the repair before you get started. For minor blemishes, you can use a product like Perma Blue, to at least provide some level of chemical protection to the exposed steel going forward. For more dramatic repairs, you may need to contact a local gunsmith with the equipment and experience to properly reblue your airgun.
What About Other Repairs
Regardless of price point or power plant, air rifles are all mechanical devices that need to be serviced. Suppose you expect to keep your airguns around and pass them down to the next generation of shooters, the right to repair and the ability to repair are very important. Purchasing replacement o-ring kits, springs, seals, linkages, and other replacement parts becomes critical.
We’ve already mentioned some of the higher-end brands that provide reasonable availability of replacement parts. But are there any airgun makers on the lower end that provide access to parts? Air Venturi is certainly one.
The Air Venturi Avenger is an entry-level PCP that touts a feature set equal to airguns that cost four times as much. As a regulated PCP airgun, you’ll need to rebuild it at some point. It’s good to know that Air Venturi has complete rebuild kits to keep you going.
You’ll find the same customer commitment from Air Arms, Diana, and other brands. Whether it’s a new main spring, piston seal, or other critical parts, it’s nice to know that you can get your prized airgun up and going again.
What About Parts You Can’t Find
It would be great if every airgun maker embraced the right to repair movement, but that’s just not the case. When you simply can’t find the parts, your options are dramatically limited. You can always source a custom shop that can turn out a custom part, but the cost is often more than simply replacing the gun. The best thing you can do as a consumer that wants to know they’ll be able to keep their airguns running at top performance, is to do your research before you buy. Most of the folks we talk to have purchased a product before checking to see if it would be something they could repair if and when needed. Now they are looking for parts that simply don’t exist, and there’s nothing we can do to help them. So, make sure that you do your research before you buy. And if you have questions, please give us a call so we can help you make a great decision on your next airgun.