Before using lubricant, read the sections below that relate to the application you're using it for. Lubricants containing petroleum distillates (hydrocarbon solvents) or other flammable substances may not be safe. They can end up in places where they won't evaporate before the gun is charged or fired. Combustion or explosion could result. WD40, many gun oils, cleaning solvents, silicone sprays and most similar products contain flammable chemicals. Many products intended for firearms are not safe for airguns. Substances with any significant toxicity should not be used. They could be harmful with regular contact and become aerosolized and inhaled while charging or firing. Which lubricants are safe is explained below. Section 1 covers low-pressure CO2 and variable-pump models. Section 2 covers high-pressure PCP, HPA and break barrel.
SECTION 1 : VARIABLE PUMP & CO2
Crosman recommends Pellgunoil which works well in moderate temperatures. It comes in an applicator tube that contains 1/4 oz. Magnum Airpower's HIGH-PERFORMANCE AIRGUN OIL works better in all temperature ranges. It's available in 1/2 oz precision applicator bottles and 4 oz wide-mouth bottles.
SELF-CONTAINED PUMP : These models should be assembled with oil to lube all the seals and moving parts. Add a drop of oil directly into the pump chamber every couple hundred shots. You can do this more often if the piston isn't working smooth or produces inconsistent performance. If you accidentally over-oil you can fire the gun with the barrel pointed straight up, unloaded and safely away from you. In that position excess oil settles near the valve stem and blows out through the barrel. To prevent oil-lock, only use two pumps for each shot until excess oil is cleared from the pump chamber and valve. A drop of oil should be applied to all pivot points of the pump lever and one at the back of the piston seal. This will lubricate the contact points of the pump assembly. The owners manual should indicate other model-specific lubrication points.
CO2 : Like the pump models above, these should be assembled using oil to lube all the seals and moving parts.
CARTRIDGE POWERED : For models with a piercing cap or rod that threads into the front of the gas tube, the threads should be oiled to keep them working smooth and prevent rust. A drop of oil should be placed on the tip of each cartridge before installation. For 22XX this prevents the piercing pin from getting stuck in the cartridge which causes the cartridge to get stuck in the tube. It also lubricates the valve, ports and barrel to preserve performance and reduce corrosion. After installing a cartridge the gun needs to be fired once (unloaded) to pierce it. This is not a malfunction, it's how they are designed to operate. Other types of CO2 guns will pierce the cartridge automatically during installation. Those may have different lubrication requirements that are model specific.
BULK-FILL : A drop of oil should be placed in the fill nipple before each fill. This is not safe for dual-fuel PCP models, those require silicone oil instead. An explosion could occur during a rapid fill from an air tank. Refer to the PCP section below for more info.
SECTION 2 : PCP, HPA & BREAK BARREL ( spring piston, gas piston, gas ram )
Crosman recommends Crosman Silicone Chamber Oil (RMCOIL) for their PCP and break barrel guns. Magnum Airpower's HIGH-PERFORMANCE SILICONE OIL is a safer high-performance version. Both are dimethyl, phenylmethyl siloxane, trimethyl-terminated. Our oil has a higher phenyl content which gives it a much higher flash point, better thermal stability and it's more hydrophobic to better prevent corrosion. This oil is available from industrial suppliers for around $400 per gallon and up. We sell it inexpensively to make it affordable for most. It has a viscosity equal to SAE 30, does not thicken in cold temps or thin in hot.
PCP & HPA : Without lubrication, PCP components can be difficult to assemble and o-rings are more easily damaged. Tanks are harder to install and remove without lubrication on the outer threads and o-rings. Many lubricants are not safe due to the risk of rapid compression autoignition. Use only lubricants that are recommended by the manufacturer or a trusted expert.
A drop or two of oil can be added through the fill nipple of PCP guns for maintenance. It works it's way through the system to reduce corrosion, prolong seal life and lubricate the valve. Some experts and manufacturers recommend only oiling during assembly, then running them dry until the next rebuild. As far as Crosman/Benjamin models are concerned, we highly recommend occasional oiling. It works extremely well to reduce corrosion and valve wear. A drop about every dozen fills is more than enough. To avoid over-oiling, excess accumulation should be cleared before adding more. To do this, let the unloaded gun sit with the barrel pointed up for a few minutes. Then fire it, still unloaded, with the barrel straight up and safely away from you. Keep the barrel pointed up through the entire procedure so the oil settles into the valve and shoots out through the barrel.
No oil should ever be used inside a HPA tank, regulator or the internal threads of either. They are commonly flash-filled, an explosion could result. Scuba tanks generally have grease on the internal threads to prevent corrosion. Those are filled at slower rates so there's less risk of explosion when the correct type of grease is used. Grease works better than oil for this purpose, it stays in the threads where needed instead of settling and migrating the way oil tends to.
It's not high pressure that causes lubricants to detonate, it's rapid compression generated during a rapid fill. The fill rate required for rapid compression autoignition to occur varies by the type of lubricant and size of the container. A PCP tube capacity of 4.5 cubic inches would require a rate of about 2000 PSI per second for standard airgun oil (SAE 30 engine oil) to combust. The rate required for larger tubes is higher. The rate for smaller tubes stays about the same. Based on this it's safe to establish 2000 PSI per second as the minimum fill rate required to cause autoignition. The rate required for common silicone oils is about the same. For some specialty versions, like ours, it's much higher. Most silicone and standard SAE 30 oils are safe when there is no risk of accidental rapid fill. Only the safest type should be used otherwise.
BREAK BARREL : For most guns one drop of oil can be added every couple hundred shots. Many will not require lubrication this often and some manufacturers recommend no oil at all. Some guns have a leather piston seal that needs to be oiled regularly. Some require petroleum-based oil and some require silicone-based. It's safest to follow the manufacturers recommendation for which type to use.
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