Technical guru and carbon dioxide aficionado Jonathan Young explains how to get the best out of CO2-powered guns with an easy to follow 4 step guide
Q. How do I get the best out of my CO2 air rifle?
A. CO2 air rifles can offer stunning performance. I’ll never forget my first session with a QB78 – it was so good that I bought the later XS78. CO2 expands on release, so getting or retaining best performance is relatively easy. Keeping your internal seals in good condition is the priority. You can use a drop of Crosman Pellgun Oil or an alternative, dabbed on the end of your gas bulb just before loading it. Every time you gas up, you are piercing a canister and any loose micro-metal particles should get caught by the valve filter.
If you hear a gas leak, look at the piercing inlet: the compression seal here is the first to go. If the leak is heard down the barrel, that will be the exhaust valve seal. Don’t panic – try safely firing off in short then long blasts to help dislodge any dirt or metal bits possibly caught on the seal. If your gun’s out of warranty, get someone experienced to service it.
Tuning for better performance is an option, but study up or bring in an expert. Check results with an accurate chronograph: CO2 is so good that it’s all too easy to get a ‘go faster’ gun that’s actually illegal. Swapping to a heavier pellet is sometimes all that’s needed, and warm weather helps, but remember that accuracy over power is more important.
After use, I empty out all CO2 before storage and release the empty bulb, as it will still be crushing that inlet seal under force.
Lightweight, accurate and affordable, CO2 air rifles offer great performance at a lower cost. Warm summer weather gives an increase in velocity for free.
A little lube oil goes a long way – just use a dab. This special oil will vapourise inside the valve on piercing, and coat the seals, helping to prevent deterioration.
That old compression seal sat in front of the new one looks like roadkill! DIY resealing takes time and isn’t for the faint-hearted, but is fun and can be straightforward.
Heavier pellets can increase performance – another freebie with CO2 – but always rely on a chronograph to check consistency and, crucially, legality.