Mike Morton shares 10 top tips to help you look after your CO2 guns and keep them shooting sweetly for years to come
1. Read The Manual
The best way to deal with a problem is to avoid it altogether, and one piece of essential “maintenance” that will help you achieve this is to understand how your gun works and how to operate it. An appreciation of the gas and ammo loading systems, the safety catch and whether or not the gun can be dry-fired will help avert most jams, blockages and stoppages.
2. Match The Gas To The Gun
Most modern CO2 guns like the Walther PPK/S from Umarex are designed to take a 12 gram CO2 capsule, while most rifles accept either two 12 gram capsules or a single 88 gram cartridge. It’s a good idea to stick to capsules that are made by the same manufacturer as your specific gun, as the necks can vary slightly in shape and size and may not fit properly and form a gas-tight seal.
3. A Delicate Touch
When it’s time to install a CO2 capsule, use the right amount of torque to pierce the capsule and release the carbon dioxide inside. The capsule has to be seated with enough force to form a gas-tight fit with the seal, but excess force can distort the seal, sometimes permanently, and your gun will function poorly, if it functions at all.
4. Spend It, Don’t Vent It
Don’t remove a CO2 capsule when there’s plenty of gas left. Venting the remaining carbon dioxide when you’ve finished shooting isn’t just a waste, it can also harm the seal. Allowing the gas to quickly escape creates a rapid chilling effect which can warp this crucial component. Instead, either extend your shooting session, or shoot off the excess gas before removing the capsule.
5. Use Maintenance Capsules
It’s important to periodically lubricate the seal and working parts of the gun by using something like the Valve Maintenance Capsules that are made by Walther. These are filled with CO2 as normal and are used to power your shots, but in addition to the gas each capsule contains 0.5 grams of a special oil that cleans the valve and lubricates the sliding parts every time a shot is taken. Use one of these after every 250 shots.
6. Keep Your Cool
Carbon dioxide is responsive to changes in temperature, which can affect velocity and point of impact, but temperature also needs to be taken into account when storing your supply of CO2 capsules or taking them to the range. Try to avoid exposing your capsules to temperatures below 10C and above 31C, especially for extended periods, as your gun may not function properly.
7. Grease Moving Parts
As well as using maintenance capsules, you can use something like Bisley Gun Grease to provide some extra lubrication, especially on metal-to-metal moving parts such as slides. But do be careful not to apply too much grease otherwise it may attract dirt or even gum up the mechanism – you only need a little. A tub will last for years, and a small hobby paintbrush is ideal for applying just the right amount in just the right places.
8. Clean The Barrel
Like a regular airgun, the barrel of a CO2 gun will need cleaning from time to time, and that applies to a CO2 gun that fires steel BBs just as much as it does to one that shoots lead pellets. A dedicated barrel cleaning brush of the correct calibre is the best tool to use for a pistol, but a nylon-bristled tobacco pipe cleaning brush will work well in a pinch.
9. Wipe It Down
The grips and other exterior surfaces of your gun will pick up sweat and dirt over time and will benefit from a gentle wipe down with something like a soft microfibre cloth. A small amount of oil can be used on exposed metal parts, especially those that have been blued, otherwise a damp cloth is all that’s required. Just make sure the gun is allowed to dry completely before putting it away.
10. Get Help If You Need It
If your gun isn’t working properly, your priority is to first make it safe, then try to identify the problem and work out what needs to be done to fix it. Unless you are 100% confident of your ability to remedy the situation, either contact the manufacturer or take it to a gun shop for a professional service and repair.