Weihrauch Air Rifle Basics for the Beginner

Learning to shoot with a Weihrauch air rifle.

Buying a new Weihrauch Air Rifle for the beginner is fraught with hurdles from poor advice from dealers with little experience in air rifles to ill-advised purchases of unsuitable or poor quality air guns. Forums can also be a bit misleading as quite often the advice a member may portray to the air rifle community is ‘tainted’ if I am to put it politely. I am only talking spring powered air rifles in this first article as I will cover an introduction to PCPs in Part 2 of Air Rifles for Beginners.

Those of you who take the time to read my newsletters know that I tell it as it is without the bullshit that often precedes a sale, so here is my take on buying a new Weihrauch air rifle if you are just getting into the game. I only sell and tune air rifles where my passion and experience has finally landed me, and I feel reasonably qualified to advise you on seeking a new spring air rifle.

I will start at the beginning here and list some prerequisites you may want to consider when making a selection from the many manufacturers, models and types of air rifle available today. I will discuss only the range of spring air rifles that I know well and that I stock, that being Weihrauch and the budget-priced Cometa spring air rifles together with Brocock, Daystate PCP airguns. It should be noted that Air Arms also make a range of spring air rifles, however, these are a costlier option than the Cometa and small Weihrauch airguns.

So, let’s begin at the beginning in selecting his or her first air rifle:

  1. Who is the air rifle for and what physical build are they?
  2. What is the purpose of the air rifle?
  3. What is your budget?

Weihrauch Options.

OK, so you are in the market to buy yourself or someone else, like your kids, for example, an air rifle. For this article, I am going to stick with Weihrauch air rifles as I consider their spring piston air guns to be the best available. Firstly I would consider the new owner’s physical build so that you don’t purchase an air rifle that is too big, too heavy or too small. Get this wrong and their whole experience with air rifles will be a negative one.

If the new owner is slightly built or in early teens, then buying the large Weihrauch air rifle like the HW80 is a big mistake as loading it takes some strength and a developed technique requiring some body weight. So, when you are buying a spring powered air rifle, make sure that it is sized accordingly, and that the user can load it easily. As Weihrauch air rifles come in a large range of sizes and weights, there should be no problem getting one that fits the bill.

The smallest Weihrauch is the HW25 which is available only in .177 and is a gun for “junior” with the full review of it on this site. Then there are the Weihrauch HW30s followed by the HW50S which are nicely finished ‘break barrel’ air guns. Size wise, the HW95 is next and then the HW80. That is it for the Weihrauch break barrel models.

Weihrauch HW25 spring air rifle

Weihrauch’s smallest spring air rifle

Weihrauch HW25

This rifle pictured below is a Weihrauch HW30s which would suit a young teenager, woman or even an experienced mature person seeking a small air rifle to control rats or birds on their property. This Weihrauch totals 985mm in length and weighs in at 2.5 kilos without scope and is available in .177 and .22 calibres.
I sell Weihrauch air guns Australia wide and as such do not actually meet my customers that often. I do carry the HW25 and HW30S specifically for beginners but what is actually happening now, is that many mature guys are buying the HW30S and using it for target shooting and small pest control.
Because it is, in fact, a very accurate spring air rifle and is capable of being tuned using a Vortek kit with a Vac Seal assembly. Quite a few guys are buying this for a backup gun, hunting, target shooting or just for plinking as it is a well balanced, light and accurate low powered air rifle. Expect 7.5 Fpe or thereabouts and the ability to group ½” at 30 metres.

Weihrauch HW30s Air Rifle

Weihrauch HW30s


Below I have a Weihrauch HW80 that would suit a mature or well-built person looking for a hunting air rifle that comes in 4 calibres, .177, .20, .22 and .25. This is a very large spring powered Weihrauch air rifle and sits at the top of the Weihrauch range in power. This is going from one extreme to the other to give you an idea of where I am going with this. The HW80 is 1150mm in length and weighs in at 4.0 kilos.

Weihrauch HW80 Spring air rifle

Weihrauch’s HW80 Spring powered air rifle


What will you use the air rifle for?

Having found a spring powered air rifle that you feel is sized correctly for your build, you need to select a calibre that you will need, and to do this, one needs to get a bearing on what you will use the air rifle for.

If you intend to shoot air rifle targets and generally plink with the air rifle, then a .177 calibre is an excellent choice as this calibre offers you a huge range of different pellets and is cheap to run while it is also very accurate. However, if you want to shoot rabbits for example, then doing it with a .177 requires a degree of skill due to the small calibre and reduced energy level of the .177 pellets. Then I would advise you to buy a .22 calibre spring powered air rifle to begin your air gunning with if you want to hunt.

The Weihrauch .22 air rifle will pull down a rabbit with a head shot easily, even if the shot is slightly off the mark and will result in a clean kill rather than a wound from an ill-placed pellet of a smaller calibre. The caveat here is that the larger and more powerful the .22 the further out it will reach and consequently your distance to your quarry is enhanced. Don’t expect to shoot rabbits at 50+ metres with a Weihrauch HW30 where the effective range is severely shorter.

A Weihrauch HW80 will do the shot of course but that is a big jump in size, weight and cost. Note that both the Weihrauch HW30S and HW80 are “break barrel” models, where you actually pull down the barrel to compress the spring, unlike the HW77 series that has a fixed barrel and an under-lever loading arm.

If it is a .22 calibre air rifle you decide on, then you need to take into consideration the power level that you want, as .22’s come in from what I would term a low velocity (and therefore low power) right up to a high powered air rifle variant. The Weihrauch HW97K is the most popular spring powered air rifle that I sell and can be tuned with ease to suit the target shooter or hunter alike. Bear in mind this is a heavy air rifle and is also available in 4 calibres: you can find a 4 part series on the HW77K on this site: it is the same action as the Weihrauch HW97K but with a marginally longer barrel.

Weihrauch air rifle stocks.

Today’s air rifle stocks are quite varied and even more so with the Weihrauch HW77, HW77K and HW97K that give you a choice of 7 stocks and two finishes, nickel or blue. The Sporter is available in 2 styles, being Sporter 1 and Ambidextrous in wood or two coloured laminates, then there is the thumbhole stock in wood or synthetic. Some of the optional stocks are now becoming hard to source as the less popular stocks are quickly removed from the assembly line, due, I imagine, to ‘economies of scale’.

The Weihrauch HW77K comes in at 1020mm in length and weighs 4.0 kilos which make for a heavy rifle but with German quality right through it. When selecting a stock, you either want a Sporter or a Thumbhole basically. When choosing a Thumbhole stock you can select the synthetic Weihrauch Blackline model which is ideal for hunting where it will take the knocks better than wood with minimal bruising. Then, of course, you have to select between blued or nickel finish for the rifle mechanism and again, if you are hunting with it a nickel finish will resist rust and damage from the elements better which are points to bear in mind.

The cross-section of some Weihrauch under-lever air rifle images is below.

Weihrauch HW77K Blackline – Blued. No Sights.

Weihrauch HW77K Blackline – Blued. No Sights.

Weihrauch HW77K Blackline – Nickel. No Sights.

Weihrauch HW77K Blackline – Nickel. No Sights.

Weihrauch HW77K – Nickel

Weihrauch HW77K – Nickel

Weihrauch HW77KSE Blued

Weihrauch HW77KSE Blued

Air rifle budget.

At the end of the day, it comes down to the budget that you have to spend on a new Weihrauch air rifle. In saying this, I think you need to remember that buying the air rifle is but only part of the equation, there are other costs as well such as the cost of getting an air rifle licence, a safe, Scope (if you go that way), gun bag etc. I would recommend that you brush up on air rifle law in your state as it varies across Australia.

Weihrauch air rifles are of a very high standard and as a consequence, they are marginally higher priced than many other spring powered air rifles on the market today. German engineering comes at a price and this is it. However, if a Weihrauch spring powered air rifle is above your budget then I suggest that you look at the Spanish made Cometa air rifle.

Cometa air rifles have been around a long time and now that I am finding more time for testing, I have some points to make with regards the Cometa, in this case, the Cometa 400 Galaxy in .22.

After doing a pre-delivery test shoot recently with the Cometa Fusion in .22, I was very surprised at the “out of the box” performance. The Cometa Galaxy weighs in considerably less than the Weihrauch equivalent and is around 30% more powerful and just as accurate. Look at the cost and you have not only an air rifle that shoots as well as a Weihrauch, weighs a lot less, is 30% more powerful but it also costs significantly less. Good value all around and a great beginners air rifle.

The Cometa range is significantly lower priced on their spring powered airguns and this is evident in their style and finish which is not quite up to that of the Weihrauch air rifles. That said, I still recommend the Cometa as they do shoot well and make an ideal beginners air gun, back up or work-related air rifle.

I can supply any of the spring powered air rifles with open steel sights or alternatively with a Hawke Scope of your choice. It should be noted that if you want a Scope you need to allow a decent budget as it is the most important part of your rifle. The better the Scope the better your target acquisition is and the better you will shoot. If you can’t see your target well then don’t expect to hit it.

I carry the Hawke and MTC Scope range that is guaranteed for life, that is correct, for LIFE. With that type of guarantee, you have peace of mind when buying a Hawke Scope that will fit most budgets. The Hawke Airmax is needed for Weihrauch springers.

Weihrauch air rifle selection summary.

This is the first part of a series of articles for beginners with the next article discussing PCP (Pre Charged Pneumatic) air rifles and air rifle handling and shooting. Please note that all our air rifles that we stock come with a 3 year warranty.

Questions that I may not cover in these articles may come into play as you read and research your first Weihrauch air rifle, that being the case, drop me an email or a text and I will contact you, 6 days a week.


Ian McIntosh


Weihrauch HW100TSE

Air Rifle Care and Maintenance, Part 1

In this 2-part article on air rifle care and maintenance, I am going to principally refer to Weihrauch air rifles being a dealer for these guns. However, you guys that own other brands of air rifle can take home much of what is in this article as it basically applies not only to air rifles but rifles and handguns in general.

Those of you with more air rifle experience and conditioning that sees you looking after your air rifle, you may want to pass on this article.

Periodic Air Rifle Care and Maintenance.

Over the many years I have been involved with air rifles, I have noticed 2 things that keep air gunners apart from the general shooting fraternity. The first thing is that many, not all, but many air rifle owners do not clean or maintain their air rifles with the same dexterity that rim and centre fire rifle owners do. The reasoning that I have been given is that air rifle pellets do not ‘lead up’ barrels like conventional firearms do. Hmmm.….., wrong!

Pellets ‘lead up’ air rifle barrels just as much and sometimes more, depending on the quality of pellets used. Many air rifle pellets have lubricants applied to them to assist in the manufacturing process of such tiny castings and in some cases, to assist in reducing friction when fired in an air rifle. Some pellets have preservatives on them to reduce oxidising and cross-contamination when placed in a tin or amongst other pellets. Pellets also get deformed knocking around in the tins in which you buy them or through being carried in your pockets where they pick up lint, dirt and other contaminants – this can be alleviated to some degree by storing your pellets in a dedicated Pellet Pouch.

Pellet pouches assist in air rifle care

Brown Air Rifle Pellet Pouch with Lanyard

These lubricants/preservatives are basically contaminants in the big picture and tend to adhere to the rifling in the barrel. Over time and through irregular use, the build up of these ‘lubricants’ tends to alter in their physical composition and their semi-fluid status by becoming harder. This in effect then adds friction to passing pellets rather than assisting the pellet by reducing friction in the air rifle’s bore.

Causes for the state of change comes about by atmospheric changes such as heat and cold, rain and humidity, differing lubricants and cross contamination through using different brand pellets, and so on. Bottom line for whatever reasons, are that the traces of lubricant or preservatives do change their state over time and therefor should be removed with regular barrel cleaning, using approved cleaning solutions and kits.

The second thing I have seen primarily with air gunners is that many restrict maintenance to just oiling the barrel and visible mechanics of their air rifle. The problem arises here is that quite often rust and corrosion takes effect between the gun and the stock where it can’t be seen with the naked eye until the air rifle is removed from the stock. So, in this article I am going to cover the basics that I feel are required to keep and maintain your air rifle in premium condition.

As can be seen from the pellet on the left below, it has obvious signs of oxidization that would normally end up in the bore of your air rifle. Compare it to the image below right and there you have a better-quality pellet with less baggage. What is the difference apart from oxidization? Answer, Price.

The air rifle pellet to the right, is not only smoother and better defined than the one on the left, but it also performs a lot better with more consistent grouping.





Pro-Pell airgun pellet

Pro-Pell air rifle pellet in .177

H&N Field Target Trophy air rifle pellet

H&N Field Target Trophy air rifle pellet in .177 calibre

By late 2020 we will have a complex pellet analysis on this website where you will find data taken from results obtained by firing various air rifles, both spring and PCPs. Some of the results we are currently getting are already at odds with common beliefs about air rifle pellet behaviour.

Tools Required.

Often when I get an air rifle in for maintenance or to fit a Vortek  Air Rifle  tuning kit I find that the securing screws have been butchered by heavy handed clowns using the wrong sized screwdrivers and/or Allen keys. While the screws still work ok, they are a blight on an otherwise good looking rifle. Good air rifle care extends to using the correct tools to prevent such problems.

So before you get out your air rifle after reading this and proceed to strip it down, do yourself a favour and assemble the following:

    1. The correct width flat head screwdrivers that are needed – one without sharp edges above the flat head will ensure you don’t mark your stock (you can grind/file and polish the edges smooth which I DEFINITELY RECOMMEND).
    2. In the case where Phillips screws have been used, carefully size and select the correct screwdriver.
    3. Allen keys. Weihrauch air rifles use Metric Allen Keys while some British and American firearms use Imperial. Do NOT attempt to use the incorrect keys as you will only stuff up the screw inlet possibly rendering it impossible if not difficult to remove later.
    4. A basic set of pliers, small ¼” socket set, small hammer (key word here is “small….”), pin punches, wire brush, vernier calipers (they are quite cheap now and even come in a carbon fibre version which work quite well, see below), small mirror, tweezers, small file set, parts tray, small LED torch and a Mini Hook and Pick set.

      Small Pick Set for air rifle care

      Small Pick Set for your air rifle tool kit

    5. Carbon Vernier Calipers are a must in most work carried out on an air rifle.

      Air rifle maintenance Verniers

      Carbon Vernier Calipers that won’t scratch or mark your bluing on your air rifle

    6. Degreasing spray or fluid. This can be an automotive degreaser which is a lot cheaper than the dedicated firearm degreasers that are on the market. I have found no benefit in one degreaser over the other apart from price.
      1. If you need to touch up bluing, you will need:
      2. some Bluing solution in liquid or gel form
      3. clean toweling or cotton material
      4. paper towels
      5. applicator – brush, sponge or soft cloth
      6. acetone
      7. Wire wool – preferably stainless wool if you can get it.
    7. Gun Oil or Silicone Spray. Some ‘die-hards’ will debunk Silicon Spray in favour of good old “gun oil” like their Grandpa used. I’m not going to get into a pissing contest here over which is better but just say that times have changed, and a good Silicon Spray is just that, “good” and they work just fine, though when dispensed from an Aerosol, they tend to ‘dry out’ leaving a mottled film on the bluing. This mottled film is still Silicone only it has been diluted with Aerosol solvents to enable it to be spayed from a low pressure canister. When these solvents disperse, they tend to leave varying thicknesses of Silicone film behind, hence the mottled look you get after a few hours.
      Mobile 1 for air rifle maintenance

      Mobile 1 Synthetic oil

      Air rifle care and maintenance requires Gun Oils, these come in different qualities with some being really crappy and others very good. Having worked in the USA, where I mixed with a number of Gun enthusiasts there who use Mobil 1 synthetic engine oil. I have even spoken to some seasoned Police who swear by it as it has many of the qualities required to protect your firearm from rust and the like. I use it and have done for many years with great results and the best thing of all, is it is readily available in small quantities and it is a lot cheaper than the ‘Gun Oil’ you get around the traps.  Mobile 1 Synthetic oilAs air rifles do not get as hot as centre fire rifles or handguns, I use a 5W30 grade Mobil 1 and I recommend that anyone reading this should give it a go. Mobil 1 is a polyalphaolefin based synthetic motor oil and not a regular mineral motor oil. As a ‘gun oil’ in the true sense of the word, the specs of Mobil 1 appear to exceed that of Rem Oil and Militec-1, both very respected gun oils.It should also be noted that automotive oils are subjected to extremely competitive marketing and so a lot of constant research goes into making the oils better, whereas “gun oils” are part of a very miniscule niche market where large research programs are not affordable. Hence the growing gap in quality between the two types of oils is becoming evident .

    8. Cleaning kit for air rifle care. Here you need a dedicated Gun Cleaning Kit:
      1. A ‘Pull Through’ rod of the correct diameter.
      2. Bronze Bristle brushes of the correct size.
      3. Pull Through Loop to pull cotton patches through the barrel.
      4. A good supply of flannel cleaning patches that should only be used once before discarding. Make sure that they are the correct size.
      5. A Bore cleaner or Solvent for de-leading rifle barrels.
        ATA Kit for good air rifle care

        ATA Cleaning Kit

        ATA Cleaning Kit

    9. An air rifle stand to hold your gun steady for cleaning and working on it is a must. You only need to drop your air rifle once to understand me.
      I seriously suggest that you make it out of wood if you don’t want to buy one. If you do make it, make 2 grips, one for the complete air rifle and another so you can hold the rifle mechanism when you break it down.

      1. Basically a wood box where your gun cleaning tools and solvents etc. can be stored.
      2. Inside the box you have 2 sets of stands, one for the complete rifle and another for the rifle mechanism plus your dedicated rifle tools.
      3. I will post a set of drawings and photos shortly of how to make one and you can copy this for yourself. Any problems then just buzz me.
    10. You need a large coffee tin or similar to drop your used cloths and rags into when you have finished. These should then be soaked in water before being discarded. Oily cloths and those with solvents in them have been known to self combust and I’m guessing a fire in your gun room or safe is not really what you may have in mind.

Air Rifle Care Part 1 Summary.

That should just about do it for your air rifle maintenance kit. As far as the screwdrivers, pliers and Allen keys go, I have found it prudent to go out and buy the specific tools I require and keep them separate from my automotive tools – this saves you from dicking around in the garage looking for the right gear each time you decide to work on your air rifle, trust me.


Ian McIntosh

Weihrauch HW100TSE

Air Rifle Maintenance, Part 2

This maintenance article is directed at those who wish to service their own Weihrauch air rifle and may lack the skills or confidence to do so without guidance.

Stripping your Weihrauch Air Rifle

The first step is to ensure that the air rifle is UNLOADED. That helps…..

If you don’t have a rifle stand or mount, then the next best thing is a flat table at a comfortable height to work on with good lighting, just like the kitchen or dining table. If you use one of these tables, the best way to strip the rifle is on a blanket over the bench and an old sheet (now its ‘old’….) covering the blanket.

This provides a soft rest for your air rifle and it protects your kitchen or dining table that you may be using while your wife is out shopping. Trust me here, you need a blanket under a sheet to protect the table and the sheet minimises fibres from sticking to oiled parts while doing periodic air rifle maintenance.

With the Weihrauch HW25, 30, 50, 80, 95 etc, all being ‘break barrel’ air rifles, you clean these in a slightly different sequence than you do the HW77/97 loading arm models or the HW100 PCPs.

With all air rifle models, first ‘crack’ the screws prior to un-screwing them completely. By ‘cracking’, I mean just un-tension each screw in turn prior to removing them so that no one screw is left under full tension to the stock.

Then unscrew the 2 side stocck screws in the stock and the 2 screws through the trigger guard on all but the HW100 models. The mechanism can then be lifted off. Be careful to retain the flat and star washers from the stock sides.

With the HW100T,S,TK and SK, being PCP air rifles, the mechanism is held in place by 2 screws with Allen key heads set in cupped retainers into the underside of the stock.

Break Barrel Air Rifle Models

With the break barrel models of air guns, once the stock is removed I would start by wiping the gun down with a lightly oiled cloth first if the rifle is in a clean condition. If it is grubby, then some degreaser sprayed onto a cloth and used to wipe the gun down is the first step.

Then crack open the barrel and put some clean cloth over the detent and in front of the air chamber to keep any loose debris from entering. Next insert a pull through rod from the end of the barrel towards the air chamber. Screw on a pull through jag, attach a patch and damp it with some Bore Cleaner and pull it through, noting of course how dirty it is. Repeat this a couple of times using a new patch each time.

Substitute the cloth patch loop for a bronze brush using some Bore Cleaner solution if the bore has excessive or hard to move build up, then pull this through the barrel. Then wash the bronze brush clean noting any contaminants. If it comes through dirty then clean the brush and repeat the action a couple of times.

Do NOT pull through a cloth patch or bronze brush twice without replacing the patch or cleaning the brush.

Finally, pull through a couple of dry patches noting that they should now be clean and dry. If this is not the case, inspect the bore with a torch and repeat the cleaning using a bronze brush on the pull through followed by cloth patches once more.

You will find that if you clean your barrel regularly that a patch and cleaning fluid is all you need. However, if you use cheap pellets or you are not one that cleans his gun that regularly, then you may need to initiate cleaning your barrel with a bronze brush first before using the patches.

Air rifle maintenance is not restricted to just cleaning and oiling your airgun, storage is important too. When you are storing the air rifle, lightly oil a patch and pull it through the barrel to prevent rust while it is stored for any given length of time. Do NOT over-oil the patch, just a light oiling is all that is needed.

The air rifle mechanism should then be checked for broken springs, loose screws, binding or wear marks that indicated misalignment etc. Lightly oil the pins and detent, trigger pins and loading arm pins using a light machine oil (3 in 1 Oil, light Machine Oil or a genuine Gun Oil). Then wipe down the rifle with a lightly oiled cloth one final time prior to reassembling it into the stock.

Locate and start each screw a few turns until all screws are in place, then hand manoeuvre the rifle mechanism to ensure that it is nested correctly in the stock inletting. Next, lightly nip the screws up in turn, finally securing them with a firm nip rather than screwing the crap out of them. The screws need to be snug and not over-tightened.

NOTE: If you are storing the air rifle, break the barrel and put some clean cloth over the barrel detent and in-front of the air chamber to catch any oil that may drip down. Store it this way if possible. If you have to close the barrel due to storage restraints, then I suggest that you put a Cleaning Pellet in the bore prior to closing it. This will stop any oil from draining through into the air chamber which can cause dieseling and subsequent damage.

Cleaning Pellet by VFG

VFG Cleaning Pellets for most calibres of air rifle

Under-lever Loading Arm Models such as the HW77 and HW97K

The cleaning of the bore on HW77, HW77K and HW97K is done using the same steps as above with the following differences:

Access to the barrel at the pellet end is restricted due to the chamber guide covering the pellet entry end of the barrel. So what I do is clean the action after removing it from the stock while checking the Bear Trap spring is in place and not unserviceable – this is a VERY IMPORTANT part of air rifle maintenance. This image below is a Bear Trap that stops the trigger from being inadvertently pulled when the loading arm is down. The springs lose their tension over a long period and in cases where the air rifle has been neglected, I have found the spring missing on more than one occasion.

Bear Trap And Spring.

Bear Trap And Spring.

Air Rifle Maintenance Diagram

HW77K ready to assemble with the Bear Trap indicated (Note Trigger group is in the “fired” position.)

Once the mechanism is cleaned down, I then check the trigger assembly for dirt or dust and if it looks fouled at all, it is removed and it gets cleaned in a bath. Then the trigger mechanism is oiled and sears are greased prior to reassembly. The moving parts and pins are lubricated next and the air rifle is reassembled. If you are a guy who is not really “into” air rifle maintenance, then just stick to cleaning and oiling the air rifle. If the trigger group looks like it needs removing and cleaning, get a gunsmith or a local gun club enthusiast to do it for you as it is not an area where you should experiment.

So at this stage, we have removed the air rifle mechanism from the stock, cleaned it, checked out the trigger mechanism, oiled it, checked the Bear Trap and refitted the action to the stock ready for the barrel cleaning.

For those of you new to the term Bear Trap, it refers to the sliding gate that is held open when the loading arm is locked up in place. Once the loading arm is drawn down, the small spring you see in the image above, has it’s tension relieved and in so doing this, pulls the sliding gate to move under the trigger fulcrum, effectively preventing the trigger from being operated.

Safety first when doing air rifle maintenance.

I then cock the air rifle and secure the loading arm tight in the fully down position. I do this using a nylon strap to hold the loading arm in the drawn down position to eliminate any possible chance that it may let go and fly back up under pressure, taking off any digits in the loading gate. Ouch….. Unlikely but not impossible, especially when working on a client’s gun as you don’t know what they may have done with it.

air rifle maintenance safety point

HW77 With Loading Arm Locked Down.

Then I clean the barrel out as per the Break Barrel sequence. Once finished, I put a cleaning pellet in place and after releasing the loading arm, I fire that into the ground. This allows you to unload the gun and it also removes any surplus lubricant in the bore. When firing a cleaning pellet, it is best to push the cleaning pellet into the bore ahead of a regular pellet, so when you fire it, the regular pellet creates the back pressure needed to prevent spring and seal damage when fired.

If your air rifle barrel is cleaned regularly, then all you need to do is use patches drawn through the bore with cleaning fluid and you may get away with just pulling down the loading arm sufficiently to allow you to hook the patch onto the jag and then pull it through. Some guys tell me they do it this way but as I am working with Weihrauchs everyday, I find that this method is a bit slow and cumbersome though it may work for you, so try it. Air rifle maintenance is not limited to how I do things, there are other methods worth exploring.

If you need to store your air rifle for a while, then oil the bore as per Break Barrel models. To do this, you pull down the loading arm sufficiently to allow you to insert an oiled patch and pull it back through. You can then fit an air rifle cleaning pellet before relocating the loading arm into the barrel detent socket. This will put a cleaning pellet in the bore while the rifle is NOT loaded. If you pull the loading arm down too far it will cock and you will need to fire it prior to repeating this process.

It is important that you do not get any oil, be it Silicon oil, Mobil 1 synthetic oil or traditional “Grandpa’s” Gun oil into the air chamber as this can cause dieseling: this is a form of combustion that takes place when solvents and or oil are placed under great pressure such as firing the air rifle.

Repeated dieseling can cause massive damage and early retirement of the seal which can then allow metal on metal contact at the end of the spring travel, sometimes rendering the rifle unserviceable. I have seen this on several occasions, it’s not a way to go.

When you are performing any sort of air rifle maintenance on any sort of springer, be it under-lever or break barrel, have a good look at the visible area of the spring. This needs to stay clean and to do this a gun bag or case while travelling is a must as you can’t afford to contaminate the oiled spring with red dust or the like as this would necessitate pulling down the air rifle completely, cleaning it totally and rebuilding it.

Remember too, that when storing your air rifle in a gun bag, do not leave it there for more than a few days or you may find rust forming inside due to the insulation effect of the bag causing condensation.

If like me you live near the sea, then you need be extra vigilant to ensure that dry air borne salt spray does not enter your work space area where you keep or work on your rifle. This dry salt air absorbs moisture as the humidity cycles through day and night and anything not well painted or lubricated will be adversely affected or at risk. Please note this if you live near the sea as performing regular air rifle maintenance will be very necessary to avoid rust.

Weihrauch HW100 PCP

This Weihrauch HW100 PCP air rifle is cleaned much the same way as the others except I prefer to clean the bore while the gun is cradled in the rifle stand.

Again, cleaning the bore should be just that, cleaning it and not moving crap from the bore into or onto other parts of the air rifle. So, care must be taken to draw the pull-though from the pellet entry end out through the end of the barrel. With PCP air rifles you cannot allow dirt or oil to contaminate any parts of the complex air chamber port.

Other points to note are that when cleaning down around the pressure chamber, be very careful not to allow any oil or solvent what so ever to enter the cylinder delivery port, or threads etc. High pressures of 200 Bar and oil do not mix and are extremely combustible!

Extra care should be taken with PCP  air rifles when doing routine maintenance and if you lack the skill set or are reluctant to do it for any reason at all, I suggest that you engage a gunsmith with air gun experience to do it for you. Cost is peanuts and the exposure to risk of damage or incorrect maintenance is not yours. However, in saying this, you need to find a gunsmith who actually does work on airguns as many have little if no experience with air rifles, with their knowledge base being around the more popular rim and centre fire guns.

How often should air rifle maintenance be carried out?

I get asked this a lot. Just like everything else on this site, this is how I do things and I accept that there are other ways to do things as well, I respect that. Each to his own as they say. In saying that however, what I put here works for me and has done for over 50 years without too many mishaps and still counting….

If you are an avid Target shooter then I expect that after each session you would at least clean the air rifle bore if not the whole rifle. This is what it takes to stay on top of the game as well you would know.

Now for you guys that are into hunting and vermin control let me say this: Cleaning your air rifle is probably as quick as reading this article, maybe quicker once you have mastered a technique. So, if you are punching out quite a few pellets each week, I would expect that the air rifle be cleaned at least once a week if not once a month, and not just when it screws up.

For those of you shooting in damp and humid conditions I would be dropping the stock each time I take it out as moisture between the stock and mechanism will not help the finish. Go shooting in dry and dusty conditions and I would pull it down just as regularly, not to stop the rust but to keep sand and dust out of the mechanism.

In saying this, I would also expect that once you have pulled down your air rifle a few times you will know just how dirty it is after each shoot, so you will then be better qualified to know how frequently to pull it down for a clean.

There are still a number of air rifle enthusiasts who prefer not to do air rifle maintenance work on their own rifles, so if this is you, stick to just oiling it and get a gunsmith with air rifle experience to service it in more detail. For those of you who send me their rifles for tuning, service work or repairs, please only send the mechanism, that is, leave the gun stock at home. I have plenty of Weihrauch Air Rifle stocks here to mount your rifle mechanism and anyway, it will cost you less in the Post that way.

Another tip for sending your rifle by Post is to send it Registered mail and package it carefully without making it look like a firearm. Furthermore, NSW restricts sending firearms by Post so you would need to send it by a freighting company if you live there. When addressing any package to a Gun Dealer, whether it is to me or another Dealer, try not to mention the word ‘Gun’ in the address and just use the Dealer’s name instead, this way you at least disguise the fact that the package is firearm related to some degree.

The bottom line guys is this; the cleaner your air rifle the better it will shoot, the longer it will last, the safer it will be, the better it will serve you and the longer it will retain its value, period. Air rifle maintenance is the key to getting longevity from your airgun.


Ian McIntosh