Q&A: Should you clean your moderators?

Mike Morton discusses cleaning moderators and if your air arms require as much attention as your fire arms

This moderator can be used for both rimfire and airgun use; while it does come apart, there’s really no need to risk exposing yourself to the lead residue inside

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.

This article originally appeared in the issue 107 of Airgun Shooter magazine. For more great content like this, subscribe today at our secure online store: www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk

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