Mike Morton discusses cleaning moderators and if your air arms require as much attention as your fire arms
Q. I always clean the inside of the moderators on my firearms. Should I be doing the same with my airgun moderators as well?
A. The residue that collects inside a firearm moderator is highly corrosive to steel and aluminium, which is the main reason you’ve been cleaning them, either by spraying oil inside them if they’re a fixed unit, or stripping them down for a more thorough clean if they come apart.
Our airguns, in contrast, do not rely on the pressure caused by exploding powder to propel a pellet down the barrel – just clean, dry, compressed air. However, if you were to take apart a moderator that’s been used on an airgun, it would be filthy with lead particles. Just take a look at the patches you use to clean your barrel to see exactly how dirty lead can be.
But while it may be tempting to clean a moderator, it’s probably best to leave well alone because lead is a toxic metal and you want to avoid the ingress of lead into your body. Spraying oil or even canned air through a moderator will do very little apart from make a mess. If your moderator can come apart, then you may want to consider cleaning it after several thousand shots, but I’d certainly wear latex gloves and a face mask before taking one apart.
The threads are the only things that are truly important to keep clean. Even then, it’s only necessary to clean and re-grease them if you regularly remove and refit your moderator – for example to make sure your rifle fits inside a compact gun bag.