Airgun Maintenance

Airgun Maintenance

A modern airgun will deliver maximum shooting potential and remain trouble-free for an unusually long period of time if properly lubricated and cleaned. Ignoring this will inevitably lead to wear, power, accuracy loss and ultimate breakdown. Improper/over lubrication can cause damage to the gun and possible injury to the shooter and bystanders.   There are numerous techniques used when maintaining airguns by numerous collectors, shops, and shooters.   Below are some suggestions that we have found to work and are offered here only as information.  This information is intended for an informational guide.  It is not instructional, and we therefore assume no responsibility for those who use it without proper factory training.

Spring Piston Airguns (commonly referred to as break-barrel)

Compression Chamber

The Airgun Compression Chamber is the portion of the receiver where actual air compression takes place when the piston moves forward in shooting. The piston seal in most modern air guns is made of a synthetic material that is self-lubricating. It should only be lubricated during routine maintenance performed by an authorized service shop. Recoilless spring-piston airguns such as FWB 300S and 65, also require very little lubrication, that should only be performed during routine maintenance. Do not over lube. Use all lubes sparingly and as directed.  One or two drops of Airgun Chamber Oil (e.g., Crosman RM Oil) can be placed in the transfer port, and then the gun cocked, and stood vertically for a few minutes to allow the oil to run in.  Then cocked and fired with a pellet in the breech, in a safe direction.   This should only be done once a year or two.  The piston seal in older airguns is usually made of leather. In this case you should use Neat’s Foot Oil, a fish oil lubricant, or synthetic leather conditioner. Regardless of what the seal material is, never use petroleum-based oils on the seals.

Piston Seal Installation

Synthetic piston seals usually fit as is and only need some lubrication with Airgun Chamber Oil (i.e.; Crosman RM Oil).

Below is a method that one of our customers used to fit and install a leather piston seal in his gun that was very successful. We are reproducing it here, not as a recommendation but as an alternative method when a lathe is not available.  Once the seal has been installed on the piston, try to fit (backwards) in the compression tube. Trying it backwards prevents damage to the seal by not trying to force a seal that is too large into the compression tube. If it goes into the compression tube, remove the assembly, and insert it oriented correctly. It should slide with finger pressure when properly installed in the compression tube. If it fits, saturate it in Airgun Chamber Oil (i.e., lower power air rifles can use Neat’s Foot Oil, Crosman RM Oil, or your favorite leather conditioner) until moist all the way through. Then put a light coat of Moly Grease (Molybdenum Di-sulfide Grease) on the outer edge of the seal. If it does not fit, glue a piece of 80 grit sandpaper to a flat board. Put the piston in a drill press and spin it against the sandpaper, being careful to keep the seal circumference parallel to the piston. Do not let the outer edge of the seal become curved or at an angle. Then try it again in the compression tube (backwards). If it does not fit keep reducing the diameter with the sandpaper board until it fits. Then lubricate it as above and install it in the compression tube as described above.


The Airgun Mainspring is the storehouse of the energy provided by cocking the air gun. To expand smoothly with as little friction and vibration as possible, they should be lubricated only infrequently. The mainspring is housed in the compression cylinder, which is a polished cylinder containing the piston, the mainspring, and the spring guide shaft. All metal mainsprings eventually have some cant; therefore, the polish and lubrication of all surfaces here is critical for maximum performance. Velocity and smoothness can be increased slightly by simple, but careful, treatment. Add Molybdenum (Moly) grease with a cotton swab through the long slot in the receiver which is exposed when the stock is removed. The mainsprings of recoilless guns need only light, infrequent lubrication; this lubrication should be done by an authorized service shop. Recoilless guns receiving extensive use in competition should be shop serviced once a year. Regular recoiling spring-piston airguns will benefit greatly from an initial application of Molybdenum grease. It is of special value when burnished onto a clean mainspring and onto the inside walls of the spring cylinder after disassembly and cleaning by those skilled in airgun service. Gas-piston require special maintenance.

Cocking Lever Linkages

Airgun Cocking Lever Linkages receive considerable pressure; proper lubrication insures smooth operation and minimum wear. Moly grease or a good quality gun oil should be used in such areas as the sliding small link in the Beeman/Webley Tempest and Hurricane, and on rifle cocking linkages of most spring piston and pump-up airguns.

Barrel Pivot Points

Airgun Barrel Pivot Points and detents benefit from regular lubrication with a good quality light polarizing gun oil. Remember, do not over-oil, and keep low flash point oils away from air vent and breech seal. Moly is also good here.

Trigger Mechanisms

The Airgun Trigger Mechanisms in any airgun should only be serviced by an authorized service shop.

Airgun Bore Cleaning

Since airguns do not use powder or primers, cleaning is not necessary to prevent most rust that forms in the bore; however, it is essential to good accuracy, use a product specifically designed for airguns such as Napier airgun oil. Accuracy suffers badly due to caked grease residues blown into the bore from the compression chamber and from leading. Most accuracy complaints are the result of dirty bores--even though they may look clean! For storage, clean the bore and leave it with a light coating of a high-quality polarizing gun oil. After cleaning, follow with dry patches until no trace of oil is seen. If you use regular firearm bore cleaners, be careful, as they may injure seals and cause dieseling. A few regular or cleaning pellets will have to be shot through a cleaned barrel before it can be expected to return to its "zero."

Exterior Surfaces

The Airgun Exterior Surfaces should be regularly wiped with a high-quality light polarizing gun oil with a rust inhibitor to maintain the quality of the finish and prevent rust.


Use only high-quality pellets to avoid harmful oils, abrasive material, and gun-wrecking air blow-by. Precision adult airguns are intended for use only with lead shot or pellets; steel shot or darts will injure rifled bores. Properly seated pellets should not show rub marks on rear of skirt if breech is reopened prior to firing. Damaged, used, or unauthorized projectiles may be unsafe. Plastic jacketed projectiles may cause dangerous ricochet, excessive piston impact and excessive penetration.

Pneumatic and CO2 Airguns

We recommend Crosman Pell Gun Oil (or JGAGUNOIL), it is specially formulated for the valves and seals on these type airguns. Never use oils that are 100% petroleum (like motor oil, household oil, etc.,) on the seals of these guns. Many of the older pump airguns had a felt or sponge oil wiper on the pump piston rod. These should be kept moist with Crosman Pell Gun Oil, never 100% petroleum oil.

The above is for information purposes only. It has been found to work in most cases.