This article was written by me and originally appeared in Safezone Magazine.
CARING FOR AIRSOFT GAS PISTOLS.
Whether their route into airsoft is via spring pistols or skirmishing, most people find themselves drawn fairly quickly to gas pistols, either as a sidearm to their AEG or as a more realistic form of target or collectorís pistol.
Most people will agree that good gas pistols provide the most entertaining airsoft shooting experience, but many are discouraged by bad experience with poorly maintained guns.
In this article, I will try and provide some guidelines for maintaining a gas pistol properly to ensure it gives good service and has a long life.
Most airsoft guns come from Japan, where temperatures are higher than in the UK. As airsoft gun pressures are temperature dependant, the Japanese manufacturers only recommend the use of HFC 134a gas in the majority of their guns, but in the cooler UK condition, most standard airsoft gas guns will safely tolerate slightly more powerful gases, such as Cybergun Winter Gas or Abbey Ultra Gas.
The use of Taiwanese green gas (HFC22) in unmodified airsoft gas pistols is definitely not recommended. If Taiwanese gas is used in airsoft gas pistols, metal slides and upgraded valves should be installed. You may also find that, when installing a metal slide, the extra weight of it may make it necessary to use higher powered gas to provide crisp blowback or even to ensure correct cycling. Even under these conditions, though, wear will be accelerated if Green gas is used.
When filling the magazine, ensure you turn the magazine completely upside down and align the gas can nozzle exactly perpendicular to the gas fill valve.
Usually 2-3 seconds of filling is sufficient and if gas expels immediately, you either have a stuck fill valve, full gas reservoir or you have not aligned the nozzle correctly.
One final tip on filling, Western Arms magazines have a slide on the release valve, which you should push down before filling the magazine. If you do not, the release valve will be held open and all the gas will simply expel from the top of the magazine!
Any gas gun, especially the complex Blowback pistols (GBBs), is a mass of small moving parts and requires effective lubrication to ensure a long life. Always clean and lubricate your gun after a skirmish or every 1-2 months. Some people even recommend doing so every time you shoot, which is unlikely to do any harm, but is probably overkill.
Only use 100% silicon oil (such as Abbey Maintenance gas or American Eagle Power Up spray) when maintaining gas pistols. Do not use petroleum based oil, such as 3 in 1. It will eventually degrade the rubber seals and cause problems with the internals and the gun's performance.
Areas requiring special attention are the hammer, trigger, slide rails and the magazine.
With your pistol field stripped, turn over the slide and spray the inside fairly liberally with silicon lubricant.
Repeat the process into the open top of the frame, paying special attention to the area around the trigger mechanism.
Remove the barrel assembly and apply a little silicon lubricant, either on a clean, lint free cloth or with a spray, to the hop up rubber, if fitted
Be careful not to use too much, as over lubricating can cause the Hop-Up (which increases range by giving the BB backspin) to work inconsistently, reducing effective range and accuracy.
Before refitting your pistolís slide, spray (or drizzle, if you have a bottle, rather than a can) a little silicon oil along the slide rails.
When you refit the slide, rack the action 5-10 times and then wipe away any excess lubricant on the frame and slide.
If you have a fixed slide gas pistol that you cannot field strip, remove the magazine, turn the pistol over and spray a generous amount of silicon lubricant up the inside of the grip, where it will penetrate into the inner workings.
Next, turn to the magazine. Spray a little silicon spray into the opening of the rubber gas routing on the top of the magazine , this will help lubricate the inside of the valve which releases gas when the trigger is pulled and the inside of the rubber routing.
It is also a good idea to spray some silicon spray on the outside of the release valve, which is usually on the rear of the magazine.
The fill valve (usually at the bottom of the magazine), doesnít really need maintenance, but may need rubber seals replacing at some time.
I would advise that you invest in a valve too for this, as unmodified screwdrivers can damage the valve. If you cannot obtain suitable sized O-ring seals, they can sometimes be salvaged by soaking in Power Steering fluid overnight, but replacements are always best.
Donít be tempted to spray oil into the magazine feed spring, as this will simply attract grit and quickly make the system less effective. A compressed air spray may blow away any loose grit in the spring, if this should start to become unreliable.
Use only high grade BBs, such as Excel or Marui. Cheap, lower quality BBs, which may be fine in spring pistols, can easily jam inside the gun and cause damage, especially in full auto airsoft gas guns. Gas guns, generally, prefer .2g or .25g BBs, the latter giving slightly better accuracy at a small cost in range.
If you have the original box, store the gun in that, which will stop it being crushed or otherwise damaged by impact. If not, consider investing in a foam lined gun case.
Do not put away your gas airsoft pistols with fully charged magazines, but try not to store them totally empty, either. Leave a little gas in there, enough for one or two shots, or a 1 second fill burst from empty, as it will help preserve the seals in the magazine. Remember the spare magazines, too.
If you need to discharge the gas from the magazine, fire the gun (with BBs, dry firing is not advisable) until it runs out of gas. Do not simply press the gas release valve button on the rear of the magazine.
Like a car, with a little care and attention, an airsoft gas pistol will give years of reliable service and repay the small amount of time required to care for it many times over.
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