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22 February, 2014

Lubricants for Spring/Piston Air Rifle Lube Tunes.

This is the first of what will hopefully be a series of posts by reader Paul Mattoon. This one covers the often-asked question "What lube should I use when rebuilding or making a lube tune on my spring/piston airgun?"

Take it away Paul...

"This is a summary of the various lubricants that I have found to work exceptionally well for tuning and general lubricating purposes. These products are not designed for air rifle use, but are readily available, and prove to be quite appropriate for the uses I have listed.

Through the process of modifying and tuning my spring piston air rifles, I have found the following products to serve exceptionally well as lubricants. They all have relative differences, and are used for specific purposes. All of these are reasonable in price, and are commonly found in various retail stores. This has eliminated the need for me to special order "air rifle specific" lubricants.

1. Silicone Faucet Grease:

The intended use of this product is with plumbing applications, which primarily use neoprene seals and are subjected to extreme variations temperature. I have found that this product is extremely versatile, catering to the need for a lubricant that doesn't break down quickly with friction, or deteriorate various materials like rubber (neoprene), vinyl, latex, silicone, polyethelyne, PVC, ABS, and many others. The grease is extremely viscous (similar to petroleum jelly). I primarily use this for lubricating piston seals, and coating breach seals. This product can be found within the plumbing department of many hardware stores for less than $5.00 per container.

2.  Losi Silicone Shock Oil:

This product is intended to be used as shock oil for RC cars and trucks. There are many brands and weights of shock oil. Like the faucet grease, this product is composed entirely of silicone. It will not damage synthetic seals, as it is not a petroleum based product. Due to the nature of the use, this oil does not break down through agitation or friction, making it ideal as a form chamber oil. Keep in mind; the higher the weight number, the higher the viscosity. Oils within the 10-50 range are best used as chamber oil, as they are thin enough to pass through the transfer port quickly. This can be found in most model/hobby stores for a price of around $5.00 per bottle.

3. Traxxas Silicone Differential Lube:

The silicone differential lube is very similar to the silicone shock oil. Composed entirely of silicone, it also safe to use on an array of plastic and rubberized materials. The major difference between this and the shock oil, is the viscosity. This product has a consistency similar to molasses. I have found that this is ideal for coating breach seals for periodic care. It allows the seal to slide against the receiver, and prevents the neoprene from drying out. Like the shock oil, this can be found in most model/hobby stores for around $5.00 per bottle.

4. Bel-Ray Waterproof Grease:

The intended use of the Bel-Ray grease is for sealing air filter interfaces and lubricating various bearings on motorcycles. Due to the nature of the intended use, this product holds up well through extreme friction, and exposure to extreme temperature changes. It retains a consistent lubricity and viscosity through these extreme changes, even when submerged in water. This is ideal for using as a main spring lubricant, as it is light in weight, but extremely viscous. It will cause swelling and erosion to rubber/neoprene materials, but sate on plastics. The Bel-Ray grease can be found in nearly all motorcycle stores for around $10.00 per "butter container" sized tubs.

5. Moly-Graph Grease:

This type of grease contains graphite and molybdenum. It is intended to be used as a bearing grease in automotive applications. The graphite and molybdenum are both tolerant of extreme friction, and do not "scuff away" easily. I use this type of grease for any metal-to-metal interfaces, cocking levers, and for the posterior end of the piston itself. Keep in mind; a little goes a long way, and this will damage rubber/neoprene components. There are many variations of this type of grease, just make sure it contains molybdenum for the uses stated above.This particular container was purchased at my local automotive store for $6.00."

Paul, Thank you! I'm sure your suggestions will be of great value to the many folk who are interested in doing a lube tune on their air rifles.


dag evert,  Monday, 24 February, 2014  

I would be hestitant to use silicone lubes in springers, its all too easy to get them where they dont belong.

I do agree that they have a place on pcp seals, used in moderation.

Anonymous,  Thursday, 27 February, 2014  

A little moly paste, heavy tar, and petroleum free silicone oil is all that is needed to lubricate any spring air rifle. These recommendations, particularly automotive bearing grease are poor at best, and at worst a good way to cause damage to your rifle.

But then again, would not expect much in the way of reliable and knowledgeable information from a vendor with the business practices of a weasel.

Anonymous,  Friday, 07 March, 2014  

Well, again, these are OPTIONS as stated in the post. This would then mean that the use of anything would be subjected to the OPINION and understanding of the user. It also would include the knowledge of properly lubricating the components of the rifle relative the amount lubricant to be used.If you were to look at the chemical composition of your AIR RIFLE specific lubes, you will find that they contain the same components as the products listed in the blog. Spring air rifles are quite primitive in design (dating back nearly 400 years +/-), and are primarily made of metal; including some synthetic materials (in newer designs). The lubricants chosen only need to comply with a few physical guidelines: reduce friction, and NOT deteriorate any synthetic materials like piston/breach seals. I have shot 1000s' of pellets through my air rifles using the exact lubricants as stated in the blog with absolutely no adverse effects on any part of the components. The point of the blog was to provide other shooters with VALID options for other lubricants when servicing or tuning is desired. This comes from being creative and innovative while truly understanding the physics of the mechanical construction of spring air rifles. If you choose to use a name brand, or brand specific lubricant due to a lack of understanding or personal preference; great. If everyone always followed the direction of what they are told to do, you would still be drinking from a lead cup. As for the weasel comment, this blog was written by an independent party, intending to assist others who may not know to look on the other side of the fence.

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This blog shares information, ideas and knowledge about air rifles. It compliments the information Stephen publishes on the Archer Airguns website, on YouTube and the Chinese Airgun Forum.

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