When I got my first serious adult precision air rifle, I naturally wanted to take good care of it. I recalled that back in the days when I shot rimfire a lot, you cleaned the barrel after every shooting session. That was part of being a marksman – maintaining the equipment.
So I was suddenly seized with a wild urge to grab the old rimfire cleaning kit, assemble the metal cleaning rod, fasten the brass brush to the end, douse it in bore cleaner, and have at it.
It’s a good thing I couldn’t figure out where I had stashed my old cleaning kit. Why? Because an uncoated metal rod and/or a metal brush could have damaged the rifling in my airgun’s barrel.
Repeat after me: “I will never use an uncoated metal rod or metal brush to clean my airgun barrel.” Good. Remember that.
Nevertheless, when you first get a new airgun, the urge to clean the barrel is a good one. That’s because there may be grease and oil left in the barrel from the manufacturing process, and if you don’t get it out, it could affect accuracy.
So here’s what you do: get yourself a flexible boresnake-style cleaner – a pull-through. I can highly recommend the Napier Pull Through Cleaning Kit, which includes a flexible pull-though and instructions.
Run the pull-through down from the muzzle to the breech. Slip a patch that has been moistened with the cleaner-degreaser through the loop in the pull-through and pull the patch from the breech out through the muzzle. (Note: the patch does not have to be dripping with cleaner, damp will work just fine.) Now pull several dry patches through – from breech to muzzle – until the patches come through looking clean or almost clean. Because the patches get crumpled up as they are pulled through the bore, you can reuse them by folding them so the clean areas are outward and pull them through again. If after four or five dry pulls you’re still getting a lot of dark stuff out of the barrel, run another patch with cleaner-degreaser, followed by more clean patches.
If you can’t use a pull-through, then use a synthetic coated rod with cleaner-moistened patches and repeat the procedure as you would with a pull-through. If you are cleaning the barrel of a springer that has been stored for a long time, you may have to use a nylon bristle brush and Beeman’s MP-5 oil to clear oil and grease that has congealed and dried.
How often do you need to clean the barrel of your airgun? The short answer: not often. Unlike firearms, there is no need to clean the barrel after every shooting session. Most competitive airgunners that I know clean their barrels only when they think they may be having an issue with accuracy. Otherwise, they leave it alone. And that would be my recommendation to you.
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.