The matter of oiling an air gun is a touchy subject with tons of debate. We break down what you need to know about oiling your air rifle, including what to use, what not to use, and how often. Oiling is essential to the longevity and performance of your air gun so it is imperative to understand the basics. We answer all the most commonly asked questions right here so you can take care of your gun and get back in the action without worry.
Taking care of your air rifle is critical to its longevity and optimal performance. One of the most important matters is oiling and/or lubricating your air rifle to make sure all the internal components operate with minimal friction and wear. How do you know when it is time to oil your air rifle? What is the right type of oil for air rifle use? Is there an air gun oil substitute? Let’s take a look and find out all you need to know about these matters so your air rifle stays in peak working order.
Start by Reading the Manual
The one best suited to tell you how to properly care for your airgun is going to be the manufacturer. They built your airgun from the ground up so they are going to be the folks that are best able outline exactly what’s needed to keep it running in top form. If you have ANY questions specific to your airgun, don’t hesitate to reach out to the manufacturer and get the 411.
What is the Best Oil for the Internals of your Air Rifle?
When it comes to oil for air rifle use, it isn’t about choosing the right brand, it’s about making sure that you are using the right TYPE of oil. For lubricating, the compression chamber of spring airguns, as well as internal components of your PCP, silicone oil, is generally recommended. It has a very high flash point, important for spring airguns, and will not harm the internal o-rings of PCP airguns. Two popular choices would be Crosman Silicone Oil and also RWS Chamber Lube.
While silicone oil is ideal for lubricating the internals of your PCP and the compression chamber of your spring or gas ram airgun, it’s not effective on the metal spring, trigger components, and other internals of your traditional spring airgun. The metal spring will tend to resonate when shot, sort of like ringing a bell. If you want to dampen that sound, you need to greatly reduce the vibration from the shooting cycle. Tune-in-a-Tube is designed to do just that. And, you only need to take the action out of the stock to expose the key components. This is not a “miracle” cure for every springer, but it will greatly reduce felt vibration and buzz while adding superior wear protection to these critical components.
What About Exterior Lubrication & Protection?
Depending on where you live, the most critical area of your airgun that you’ll want to protect and preserve is actually the exterior. Humidity can be incredibly damaging to most airguns, especially the lower end airguns, as they tend to not have the same resilience to the elements. Staying free of surface rust and mitigating the potential of serious damage is easily done by regular inspection and application of a quality protectant like Ballistol or Air Venturi MP5 Oil.
Wooden stocks as well as synthetic stocks also need regular care and attention if they are to stay looking their best. What you use on your wood stock will likely be decided on how it’s finished. Be sure to check with the manufacturer for their recommendation. The same will go with a synthetic stock as you want to make sure that you use something that will not break down the plastic or composite materials. Again, the manufacturer will be the best source of information about your specific airgun.
Is There an Air Gun Oil Substitute?
A lot of people wonder if there is a substitute they can use to oil their air gun such as lubricants and cleaners typically used with firearms. You want to avoid this because the gun solvents used on firearms will most likely be way too harsh for the O-rings and other plastic and poly components of your air gun causing premature leaks and outright failure. It is always important to remember that air guns are constructed with different materials as well as designed differently than traditional firearms, so they need their own care solutions.
The bottom line is that there is NO substitute for the right oil and lubricant for your airgun. Don’t cut corners because doing so could cause serious damage and even possibly serious injury. Don’t be tempted to use WD-40, 3-in-1, or some other option just because it’s convenient. Get the right stuff to do the job right.
How Often Should I Oil My Modern Air Rifle?
This question is going to be best answered by the manufacturer of your airgun. However, a good rule of thumb is to NOT go crazy oiling and lubing your airgun. Modern airguns are actually designed to mostly be maintenance-free. This means that the best thing you can do to keep it 100% operational is to go shooting on a regular basis.
PCP airguns love to be stored at full pressure, which helps keep the o-rings from drying out. Modern piston seals for spring and gas ram airguns actually have lubricant impregnated into their composition which is released when shot. As much as we have been conditioned with the need to turn a wrench or twist a screw, the best thing we can all do for our airguns is simply just get out and shoot!
There are some exceptions to every rule and here are a couple to consider. Old springers, we’re talking 20+ years old, probably used leather seals vs polymer seals. Leather seals NEED regular maintenance to function properly. So if you have an oldie but a goodie, be sure to give it the TLC that it needs. Additionally, CO2 products perform best when lubed often. Specifically with a drop of RWS Chamber Lube or Crosman’s Pellgun Oil. One drop on the top of each CO2 cartridge will help the seals last a lot longer.
Regardless of what kind of airgun you own, be sure to refer to the manual for its proper care and maintenance. Read the manual and if you have more questions, never hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call. Happy Shooting!