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Troubleshooting

Overview

Troubleshooting problems or issues with your air rifle.

Typical Spring Piston Mechanism

Note: This diagram has been simplified for clarity, the airgun is shown in the cocked position.  In a Gas spring airgun the "mainspring" consists of a sealed unit of compressed gas.

airgun piston spring.PNG

Troubleshooting

NOTE: Spring piston adult airguns have characteristics which are unique.  Most "problems" encountered by new owners are often really not problems at all or are easily corrected.  In any case, most experts agree that the spring piston system is the most trouble free of all airguns power mechanisms.

Problem: Poor Accuracy/Possible Causes:

  • Dirty bore.  Most accuracy complaints are traced to an unclean bore.  Even a barrel which appears to be clean may be shooting well below its potential.  Look up the bore from the breech (directly or with a small mirror).  If you don't see shiny clean rifling the bore is dirty. 
    • SOLUTION: Felt cleaning pellets are ideal for this purpose-and are easy and fast to use (See bore cleaning in the basic points section.)
  • Not Using Special Shooting Techniques. Because of the relatively long time that pellets remain in the airgun after the trigger is pulled, as compared to bullets in a firearm, airguns are much more sensitive to shooter motion.  This is one of the reasons why airguns are so good for teaching technique to firearm shooters.  Many excellent firearm marksman do NOT do well with airguns until they have improved techniques that were not so critical with firearms.  Published accuracy figures were obtained by AIRGUN experts under ideal conditions.  Imperfect techniques, especially some techniques which are excellent for firearms, may cause oversize groups.
    • SOLUTION: Give yourself time to become accustomed to each airgun.  Do not rest barrel on anything while shooting.  Using sandbags or firearms bench rest methods often will give you very poor accuracy with airguns.  Use loose consistent pressure and replace airgun to same, position for each shot.
  • Minor dieseling often occurs in new airguns. This is the burning off of manufacturing oils and greases.  The airgun "cracks" and shots go high or wild due to higher velocity.
    • SOLUTION: This problem usually solves itself after a few shots.  Some airguns may require 500 to 1,000 pellets or even internal "super tune-up", to be completely "cured".  Over lubrication, or improper lubrication, is a very common cause of this and several other airguns problems.
  • Loose stock screws. This is a major cause of inaccuracy in airguns new or old.  One quarter of a turn may affect accuracy by 2 inches (50mm)
    • SOLUTION: Tighten front and rear screws very firmly.  If a problem recurs, remove screws, degrease screws and screw holes thoroughly and apply Loc-Tite 242 sealant.
  • Incorrect or defective pellets: Keep in mind that each air rifle is unique and it requires some experimentation on your part to find just exactly the types of pellets that will work best for each of your particular airguns. Damaged pellets will not shoot well and may damage the airgun.
  • Breech seal leak. The breech seal may be defective, worn from use or damaged due to dieseling.
    • TEST: Cock and load the airgun.  Hold the palm of your hand about 1/2" (15mm) above the joint between the breech and receiver.  Be very careful not to let this hand touch the airgun.  If there is a seal leak you will feel a strong blast of air, a slight leak is normal blowoff of excess pressure in many models. 
    • SOLUTION: Replace seal.  A severe leak can cause a piston to slam into the end of the chamber with eventual piston, spring and chamber damage. (Don't disturb even an ugly, blemished seal if it works well!)
  • Improper pellet seating. Correctly seated pellets have the pellet skirt flush with, or below, the face of the breech.  In top loading airguns, the pellets often drop a short distance into the barrel or top-this is correct.  Improper pellet seating may cause the pellet skirt to become smashed when breech is closed.
    • SOLUTION: Seat pellets deep enough, carefully and consistently.
  • Bent or weakened mainspring.  Mainsprings can assume a "set", become bent, or even break.  Metal fatigue can cause a spring to lose some of it's elasticity.  Years of use or leaving your airgun cocked overnight can lower velocities.  If an airgun becomes hard to cock or velocity decreases this is a good indication of a broken and/or weakened mainspring.
    • SOLUTION: Have mainspring replaced by a technician.
  • Loose sight.  Front and/or rear sight screws or scope mount screws can work loose. 
    • SOLUTION: Tighten all sight and scope mount screws firmly with correctly fitting gunsmith screwdrivers.  If problem continues, remove sights or scope mount and degrease all mating surfaces thoroughly three times, apply film of Loc-Tite 242 (Use standard, not industrial Loc-Tite 242) to sight/airgun contact points and reinstall tightening screws well.

Problem: Airgun does not shoot/Possible Causes:

  • Shooter Error. Shooter may not be cocking airgun to full cock.
    • SOLUTION: Bring barrel (or cocking lever) all the way back until it stops and gradually increase pressure until a final "click" is felt.  DO NOT force.
  • Broken mainspring. CAUTION: Repairing airguns should only be attempted by a technician.  Personal injury and/or airgun damage is possible if this is incorrectly done.  NOTE: Repairs and/or enhancements performed by a non-technician will void your warranty, service contract and/or repair policy?
  • Safety in "on" position. Always check safety before firing trigger.  Some airguns have an automatic safety in others the safety may have been manually engaged.
    • SOLUTION: Put safety in "fire" position manually.  Always point airgun in safe direction before releasing energy.

Problem: Accidental discharge/Possible Causes:

  • Airgun not fully cocked. Due to hasty cocking.
    • SOLUTION: Be sure to cock deliberately.  Excessive force is never necessary.
  • Trigger setting too light.  This is a dangerous situation.  Most commonly due to owner over "improving" trigger pull.
    • SOLUTION: Increase trigger pull weight setting.

Problem: Pellet fit very tight/Possible Causes:

  • Some airguns are engineered with a tight breech for maximum performance.  Such airguns depend on the pellet holding still, like a cork, until the air pressure reaches a critical peak.

Problem: Stock breaks or cracks/Possible Causes:

  • This is always caused by dropping the airgun or allowing the barrel to snap shut to itself (This also causes cocking levers and barrels to bend!) This is not covered by repair policy, warranty or service contract.
  • Due to variations, between the country of origin and final area where stock is used, minor drying cracks (called checks) may appear.  They are superficial blemishes and almost never enlarge.  All new airguns have some small blemishes; those selected for stock condition have fewer such blemishes, but no stock is perfect.

air rifle shooting.PNG

 

WARNING! The airguns described here are designated as Match Precision or Adult airguns and, as such, are exempt from having a "safety" may have trigger pulls below 2lbs. (900gms) and may fire when dropped.

Important Safety Tips: In addition to the instructions and cautions on the preceding pages, we would like to include a few basic tips for your safe shooting practices.  Some points are important enough to repeat!

  • Normal operating temperature of piston airguns is approximately 200 to 1100 F (-60 to 420 C).
  • Always check to see if the airgun is loaded when removed from storage or received from another person!  A pellet may be in the bore without being easily visible!  See clearing bore instructions.  Never fire, even unloaded, airguns against any part of your body.
  • Never allow anyone, especially youth, to use an airgun loaded or unloaded until they are fully trained in airgun safety and proper use!
  • Treat all airguns as if loaded.  Follow safe airgun handling practices.  Remember that airguns can be dangerous if mishandled.  Precision adult airguns are not toys; they can cause serious injury or even death.  for proper training and information contact your local airgun clubs and/or the National Rifle Association.
  • Adjustments and repairs should be made only by technicians.  Never use a malfunctioning airgun!
  • Store the airgun in safe and proper place, secure from unauthorized use.  Locking it up is best.
  • Shoot safely: Airgun pellets may travel up to 600 yards (549 meters).  be sure of your backstop. Avoid ricochets.  Do not shoot at hard surfaces.  Shooters and bystanders should always wear shooting glasses during firing.  NEVER depend on a "safety".
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