Many people who are into airsoft know that sniping is an art form. Learning it is often considered easy; mastering it is a whole different ball game. It requires patience, dedication, and lots of practice on and off the field. One of the things you need to keep in mind when preparing to maintain your airsoft gun is that it is a precision instrument, often requiring hours of work to perform the way it is intended.
Maintenance for your airsoft gun should be second nature.
Even the best airsoft sniper rifle will need some form of maintenance after every game.
Proper maintenance will ensure that not only will your airsoft gun performs reliably for a long time; it also improves its accuracy in the field (assuming you’ve also zeroed the airsoft scope). Depending on if you have a gas rifle or perhaps a spring bolt action rifle, you will have to wrap your head around a couple of different things. That’s why we’ve broken this guide into two parts. In the first part, we’ll go over maintaining spring loaded rifles and then talk about doing the same thing with a gas airsoft gun.
Now before we jump into it, it is important to state that this airsoft sniper rifle maintenance guide is based on the popular VSR-10 platform, though the principles you learn here apply to all other platforms
What is the Best Lubricant for Airsoft Sniper Rifles?
The best lubricant for airsoft sniper rifles depends on where you are applying the lubricant. We can break down airsoft lubrication into two main categories:
- Airsoft silicone oil – for this we have not found any single silicone oil brand that stands out as being significantly worse or better. We’ve used AIM, Laylax, Modify, P-Force, and Evike’s generic brand for reference. These are good for o-rings and other places were rubber meets metal or plastic.
- Airsoft silicone grease – grease is far more thick than oil and useful in specific applications depending on the airsoft gun. White-lithium grease is our go-to grease here. We’ve had a lot of success with plumber’s grease as well. Grease is good for where metal makes contact with other metal.
Both grease and oil are VERY affordable, and you should have them in your maintenance kit at all times.
Let’s Start with General Maintenance
In this section, we’ll go over all the maintenance steps you want to take regardless of what type of airsoft sniper rifle you have.
Remember to only use silicone lubricant for your airsoft guns. This is because rubber seals will dry and crack with more traditional gun cleaners & oils.
Keep the Rifle Dry
You always want to make sure that the airsoft rifle is dry. Moisture can destroy your airsoft gun, leading to rust, damaged o-ring seals, and cracked finishes; that’s why you’d always want to ensure it is in a dry place. If you happen to be outside and it starts raining, you will want to wipe the rifle down before placing it back in the bag.
Always Clean the Barrel
Now one of the keys to your rifle’s performance is the barrel. As an airsoft user, you’ll be amazed as to how dirty the barrel gets, even if you’ve hardly used it. Buy a cleaning rod, or use the one that came with your rifle along with a couple of cleaning supplies, which should comprise of high-quality silicone oil. Then take some cleaning wipes, fabric patches, or even paper towel strips to remove the buildup of dirt in the barrel.
After a few passes with the oil, you should dry pass it to ensure you’ve removed as much oil as possible. Your hop-up bucking must be dry to function properly.
Standard Magazine Maintenance
The next thing you need to maintain is the magazines. You need to keep these things in tip-top condition; otherwise, there isn’t going to be a pellet in the chamber when you need it. You need to make sure that the BBs or the pellets travel through the magazine smoothly. The follower shouldn’t have to get caught on to anything, while the spring shouldn’t be exerting a strong pressure upwards.
To maintain the magazine, dismantle it (be aware this can void your warranty for newer magazine), and then use a degreaser to clean it. Doing this will ensure that the BBs flow through it smoothly.
DO NOT just ram your cleaning rod down the magazine down the BB tube. You’re liable to break not only your cleaning rod but the magazine as well.
Ensure your magazine is dry, as any silicone oil leftover that make it onto your BB’s will heavily affect your flight pattern.
Now, this is the heart of your airsoft sniper rifle. It is what decides where the BBs go, which is why it needs your attention. Be careful when working with the barrel; if you do it too vigorously or push the rod too far, it can tear the hop-up bucking or displace the nub.
You will also want to be mindful of lubricant touching the hop-up bucking because it needs friction. One of the ways to know if something is wrong with the bucking is if you see shots flying unexpectedly, bad accuracy, or low FPS.
Make sure your hop up bucking is dry and clean.
Spring Bolt Action Rifle Maintenance
Spring rifles are mechanically simpler as compared to other types because they don’t rely on the complexities associated with compressed gas or electricity. However, the mechanical parts tend to be under a lot of load, which is why they arguably require more maintenance to prevent them from jamming up. Now that you know what to expect let’s get into it!
The piston is located inside of the airsoft gun cylinder. You need to focus on two main aspects; the first is the piston head, which has an o-ring that seals it off. If the o-ring were too dry, you’d get inconsistent FPS.
So, the first order of business is to lubricate the o-ring, using silicone-based lubricants to ensure a consistent FPS. If your FPS is not consistent, then it’s clear you have a problem with air compression and the piston, which hopefully this should fix.
On the back, you have the firing piston, which holds the primary piston in place with the aid of latches. Usually, they are at a 45-degree angle. Check the latching’s surface and ensure it is in good condition. Also, take a look at the seer.
The piston is encased in the cylinder, and it is the victim of a lot of internal abuse by the piston and on the outside by friction. However, it is imperative that the cylinder is in excellent condition.
You start by unscrewing the cylinder head; the head has an o-ring, which is imperative for making sure that the pressure is routed correctly. You will want to lubricate the cylinder head with silicone-based lubricants on an almost monthly basis.
Make sure that the cylinder is free from debris. On the outside, the brushings that hold the cylinder should also be in good condition to cushion the blow. Clean up any and all debris that may hinder the bushings.
The Trigger Group
The trigger group can become grubby over time, which makes pulling the trigger harder. You should regularly tear it down, then clean and lubricate it. Use molybdenum-based grease to reduce friction.
If you need additional help – please review this video on maintaining your VSR-10 spec airsoft gun.
Gas Rifle Maintenance
Gas airsoft guns are under comparatively less stress than their spring-loaded counterparts, and that’s good news for you because it requires a little less maintenance.
The best thing you can do is to keep the magazines with some pressure in them. The gas has a lubricant in them, which keeps the rubber o-rings refreshed for an extensive period. Take special care of the release valve, since that takes a lot of wear and tear.
If you notice the magazine leaking, dismantle and service it by inspecting all your o-rings and ensuring they are lubed with silicone oil.
Now, this is a tight unit, mostly comprised of metal parts, each of which rubs against the other. That’s why you’ll want to clean and then lubricate the trigger box using a branded molybdenum based grease.
Now, this is another metal part that requires both lubrication and cleaning for it to move. However, the lubricant shouldn’t get into the hop-up. Take a careful and systematic approach to maintain the bolt. Lightly grease all the rails with the same grease while refreshing the O-rings with silicone oil. Though make sure that the lubricant does not reach the feed lip.
Conclusion: Cleaning your Airsoft Gun is Actually Easy
We hope the above steps give you an idea of how to get started on performing maintenance on your airsoft equipment. It is important to ensure your gear is set up for success on the airsoft field.
If you want to get even more prepared for a day of airsoft sniping, be sure to learn how to zero your airsoft scope.
In addition, check out our best airsoft sniping tips.