Being on top of maintenance with your gas blowback pistol just like any mechanical device is important to ensure proper function and performance. We've surveyed many players out there, and most take a pretty lazy approach to cleaning their gas guns, which is they don't. While some pistol designs can be forgiving in terms of operating while dirty, you are not doing yourself any favors and are adding wear and tear. This is even more crucial if you bought a very expensive and tight fitting pistol.
Why is it so important? Why can't you treat it like a real *insert most reliable real handgun brand ever made*? The answer is: you shouldn't. Even the most reliable real pistol in the world should be cleaned. Though they can operate just fine for extended periods of cleaning, the dirt and particulates trapped in the moving parts of your gun add friction and act almost as sand paper in your internal parts. This just adds premature wear when you really think about it. Though it could be a long period of time where you could ever notice it, take it as food for thought when you wonder why your expensive gas pistol is performing sluggishly.
Aside from smooth operation, performance can also be hindered if the gun gets dirty. Even brand new guns should be cleaned before you start using it out of the box. There are greases and oils that are present in the gun put by the factory that keep the gun nice and lubricated in storage as the gun is being shipped from the manufacturer to your retailer and eventually to you. These are purely for protection and you could do better by cleaning that out first. When we get some complaints about accuracy out of the box for an airsoft gun, we often ask if you have cleaned the barrel first. Many times I have done this on the spot to show the customers what they are dealing with. This is not a flaw in the manufacturing, it is just something you should do as part of your initial use and break in. If you are the type with a big budget to buy that custom AEG, sniper rifle, or gas pistol, you better expect to clean frequently if you want to maintain a level of performance.
- Eye Protection - you will be disassembling your gun and there could be loose parts that come out of it
- 100% Silicone oil - something light to medium weight just for coating parts. Don't use grease
- Cleaning/unjamming rod
- Cleaning patches - use 1" to 1.5" little squares of cloth or paper towel
- Cotton swabs (optional)
Use 100% silicone oil. From left to right: ASG Ultrair (light oil), Slip2000 Airsoft lubricant (middle weight), PFTE grease (thick grease).
Same oils from left to right. You should use the lighter to middle weight stuff. Grease can be used on hammer and trigger parts but are too thick for the slide.
Now let's go into the process of cleaning and lubrication.
Step 1: Field Strip
Gas blowback pistols have a distinct advantage over non-blowback and partial blowback pistols. Since the operation mimics the real counterparts, GBBs can be taken down the same way as well. Make sure your GBB is unloaded and there is no BB in the chamber and no gas/CO2 in the magazine. Take down the pistol per manufacturer instructions. If you are not sure, you can contact the manufacturer or contact us at Fox Airsoft if you are taking down a pistol we carry.
Pistols that utilize the slide stop for take down will pop out when you pull the slide back a certain distance and push it out.
Takedown levers keep the slide and barrel on the frame independent of the slide stop. These are captured and are usually rotated to release the upper half of the pistol.
The majority of GBB pistols will follow how the real counterpart takes down, so that will mean pulling back the slide and either activating the take down lever or removing a slide stop. For pistols that utilize the slide stop for taking down, the slide stop pops out. Some pistols have a take down lever which is captured and does not pop out. You can tell you have this type of pistol if you also have a slide catch lever separate from the lever.
Step 2: Lubricate the frame rails and internals
Clean off any old grease or oils you may find present. Lubricate the frame rails. The frame rails are what the slide is attached to and rides on as it moves. Use a middle weight oil like Slip2000 and avoid grease because this will cause your slide to move sluggishly. For the hammer and trigger parts, you can use light to heavy oils. Light oils will get runny however, so just wipe off the excess.
Step 3: Lubricate the outer barrel, clean inner barrel, lightly oil the hopup bucking
Now we move on to the barrel components. A light coating of oil on the outer barrel will be needed. The barrel makes contact with the slide so you will smooth out the operation by making sure it's not dry. The inner barrel and bucking is next to be addressed. Spray some silicone oil into the barrel/bucking and on your cleaning patches and start swabbing out the barrel. Spray and swab until the patches start coming out cleaner and cleaner. Do a final patch without any silicone oil. For the bucking, just make sure it is moist and swab out any excess with a cotton swab. Having excess oil or worse, grease on the bucking will trap more dirt and grime and possibly affect accuracy.
Step 4: Oil the recoil spring and guide rod lightly
A little bit of oil on this component also ensures smooth operation.
Step 5: Lubricate the slide rails
This part of your slide is what is mated to your frame and it moves back and forth as you shoot. Clean this of any dirt or grime and apply some fresh oil. Anything short of heavy grease will work, so a light or middle weight silicone oil is just fine. The heavy grease would actually make the slide more sluggish and is not recommended.
Optional Step: Lubricate the piston cup seal
Every now and then, you will want to lubricate the piston cup seal. It is similar to an o-ring and is integral to having the gas gun perform properly. Skilled techs can take the slide apart to get to this component, but for the novice I recommend just shooting some oil into the loading nozzle in the slide and it should condition that seal. If you ever notice your gun not getting the right gas pressure, shooting wildly inconsistently, or just using excess gas, it is usually the fault of a bad air seal nozzle or piston cup seal.
Step 6: Reassemble
Put your pistol back together. If something is not going into place, do not try and force it. Try manipulating the slide and barrel until things line up. Insert the slide stop back in when you can see that the holes are lined up. For guns that utilize a takedown lever, simply rotate it back into the locked position.
That is the basic level of maintenance you should do to your pistol. Though we recommend you clean your pistol after every use, we know now many people will be that dedicated enough to do it. Just be sure to check regularly that the slide cycles smoothly and your accuracy is acceptable and then you can make your own decision of when to clean it.