Meet the AoA team — Don Golembieski

Monday, November 23, 2015

If your precharged pneumatic air rifle or air pistol needs help, and you send it to Airguns of Arizona, chances are it will fall into the hands of repair technician Don Golembieski. And, as we shall see in just a bit, they are pretty capable hands indeed.

Don Golembieski, expert tech at AOA.

Don Golembieski, expert tech at AOA.

Don worked for many years in the aerospace industry as a highly skilled machinist, and it’s fair to say that he has an unusual mind. He has the ability to visualize a machine or assembly in his mind, to see how it works, and to visualize how any problems in its operation might be solved. It is a bit like he has his own computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) and computer animation studio operating inside his skull, so that he can look at a piece of machinery and “grok” how it works. Some years ago, Don was able to solve – in a day – a problem that had vexed a major robotics manufacturer for many months.

He says, “My background in aerospace technology makes firearms look easy, and air rifles and air pistols simply aren’t that complicated.”

Don got involved with airguns when Robert Buchanan opened his first small Airguns of Arizona shop. Don purchased an FX Tarantula and has been a lover of airguns ever since. “One of the things I love about them is that they make it very convenient to have fun close to the house.”

Don started competing with firearms when he was ten years hold and has continued to this day. For the past 30 years, he has been building custom firearms, including hunting rifles, competition rifles, and sniper rifles for law enforcement and special military applications.

He offers some recommendations for airgunners: fill your airgun with clean, dry air; give it a little TLC – wipe it down, keep dirt out of it; keep an eye on the probe seals, and be sure to store your PCPs with a little air in them. He thinks that many airgunners clean their barrels too often, and he recommends shooting pellets that have been lightly lubed. (He adds, “I have some Air Wolfs that have 20,000 rounds through them, and no issues.”)

If you think you are having accuracy problems because the barrel is leading up, he offers the following trick: shoot about ten non-lead pellets through the barrel. That should strip much of the lead out of the barrel, and then try shooting some lightly lubed lead pellets. You might find a big improvement.

The most common problem that he sees are leaks from a PCP rifle or pistol. “Send it to us,” he says, “We can reseal the entire airgun fairly quickly and at pretty reasonable cost.”

Don using a microscope to inspect precision parts.

Don using a microscope to inspect precision parts.

One of the problems he sees that he feels is completely unnecessary is an airgun with multiple pellets stuck in the barrel. “If you shoot your gun and something doesn’t happen, take the magazine out and fire again at a safe target. If something still doesn’t happen, pull the bolt back and slide your cleaning rod down the barrel from the muzzle. If you see the tip in the breech, you’re okay. If not, send it to us.”

He notes that sometimes shooters complain that their gun isn’t accurate, but some shooters don’t realize how many variables are involved in shooting a good 50-yard group: Is the scope tight? How are you resting the gun? Is it the right pellet for the gun? What are the wind and weather conditions?

He says, “When I was shooting smallbore, we’d find a particular lot of ammunition that the gun really liked, buy a bunch of that ammo, and shoot it until we ran out. Sometimes the next batch of ammo wouldn’t work as well in that gun as the first batch, and we’d have to go through the ammo testing process all over again. I think that is possible with airguns; sometimes you have to go back to pellet testing at shorter range to make sure you have the right pellet for the gun.”

“The bottom line,” he says, “is that if you have a quality rifle, quality scope properly mounted, and a quality pellet that the rifle likes, you’re probably going to have a good combination, and I won’t be seeing it very often except for the occasional resealing.”

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

  • Jock Elliott


One Comment

  1. Dan D says:

    That’s interesting advice to use alloy pellets to clean a barrel. I’ll give it a try next time I have a leaded barrel.

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