As someone who has been in the game for a decade and a half, I've been lucky enough to acquire upwards of 20 replicas. And as a long time Airsoft gun owner, I can attest that cleaning your airsoft gun properly is the most important thing you should do. Investing in a replica is like investing in a new car. Or maybe a pair of brand-spanking-new shoes.
Knowing that I am not the only person in the world that enjoys their new acquisitions staying new, or at least looking as if it is. I get a kick out of keeping my shoes clean for as long as possible. No pun intended. If an external factor decides to permanently carve a new pattern into my shoes, there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. At least I tried to keep it clean on the outside for as long as I could. The same goes with a new car, but internal maintenance is just as important, if not, even more so.
One of the most important aspects of owning an Airsoft gun is proper maintenance and cleaning. Reason being that Airsoft guns are actually precise pieces of kit, and they will malfunction due to lack of upkeep or maintenance, perhaps even more so than the risks posed from external damage.
Albeit, external damage due to clumsiness or purely bad luck can cause permanent damage. Here's to hoping a random obstacle doesn't grab hold of your boots causing the ground to quickly collide with you or your new replica.
Thankfully, we're here to help you keep your replica in tip-top shape, working properly for as long as possible. After all, Airsoft replicas are not exactly cheap, so let's make sure you get the maximum life out of your collection. After reading this article, you will attain an understanding of some basic maintenance on how to go about cleaning your airsoft gun.
How to do Basic Maintenance on an Airsoft Gun
Apart from cleaning your airsoft gun, there are other maintenance tasks you can do to keep things running. We'll address them in the various sections below.
How Often Do You Need to Clean Your Airsoft Gun?
The methods mentioned below are something you would need to do at the end of a tiring day of Airsoft. None of which are at all complicated. If done properly, all can be done in less than 20 minutes. Something you can do as you're talking to your friends about how your target never called their hits.
Dirt Inside The Barrel Can Destroy Your Airsoft Gun
When you purchase a new Airsoft gun, some brands will come with a cleaning rod. For example, Tokyo Marui includes a cleaning rod with all of its Airsoft guns. However, if you purchased a second-hand replica or the manufacturer just did not provide one, then it might be a good idea to get one as soon as possible. Read on to learn why.
Throughout the day, flakes of your BBs, dust, and dirt will accumulate inside the inner barrel. It is very important to clean them out where possible since it could be why your BBs are not flying in a straight line. Inner barrels have very tight tolerances, usually with 6.04mm - 6.08mm inner diameters. Airsoft BBs are mostly 6mm, so you can imagine that there is very little wiggle room. Now imagine a plastic BB traveling at high velocity through the barrel while there is sand inside. The inner surface of your barrel can be scratched and gouged, reducing accuracy and power. Worse yet, it could jam the BB in the barrel, and if you are shooting in full-auto mode, multiple BBs may pile up behind the jammed BB before you realize what has happened, eventually jamming the loading nozzle and destroying the internal mechanism of your replica. That will be very costly, if not potentially a total loss.
Cleaning the Inner Barrel
Cleaning an Airsoft gun's inner barrel is as simple as can be.
- Use a clean strip of microfiber and thread it through the tip of the cleaning rod like a needle and spin or tie it around the tip. You can also spray a little bit of silicone oil onto the cloth to lubricate the inner surface of your barrel.
- Now insert the cleaning rod microfiber first into the inner barrel of your Airsoft gun.
- Gently spin the rod moving it up and down the barrel whilst intimately gazing into your friend's eyes. The glaring into the friend's eyes isn't necessary, but making them feel very uncomfortable is always a good laugh.
Try not to ram it too hard or you may cause permanent damage to the inner barrel or hop up rubber, and eventually, your pride. Make sure you do this with all your replicas, even the unused ones since dirt and dust does still accumulate inside the gun over time.
Lubricating Your Gun
There is no way to avoid the fact that all these subheadings either look or sound naughty. Just know that failing to lubricate your gun is detrimental to smooth functionality because no one likes the feeling of chafing.
Thankfully, there is an easy method to lubricating the internals of both electric and gas blowback replicas without having to do much disassembling. Ensure that the magazine is out and empty the chamber before attempting any of this. For gas blowback M4s as an example. All you have to do is remove the rear pin, split the upper from the lower, and lubricate the parts that already seem lubricated previously. Don't overdo it though. Soaking the internals in oil will have the reverse effect.
As for AEGs, again using an M4 as an example. The gearbox can be rather difficult to get to but there is an easy way to lubricate the internals.
- First, remove the pistol grip by loosening the screw at the base.
- Carefully remove the motor but take note of where the cables are attached when putting it back together.
- You'll notice a hole at the base of the gearbox. Spray a bit of silicone oil inside. Wipe off any excess oil.
- Put it all back together and fire it a couple times to make sure the lubricant gets to all the gears and parts it needs to.
Caring for the Magazine
Again, this is different for both AEGs and GBBs. For AEGs, do make sure that at the end of the day, you empty all your magazines. Keeping BBs in could strain the tension of the magazine spring. You can have a bit of fun picking off still targets. Note that inserting BBs into an AEG magazine already makes them dirty as even running around with unused magazines and get dirt into them. Do not ever use used BBs. It will cause harm to your AEG as dirt gets everywhere. And try not to throw your magazines around on the ground in the dust or mud. Sediment can get into the magazine feed tube and eventually make its way into your Airsoft gun, causing damage. Keeping your magazines clean is just as important as keeping your Airsoft gun clean.
One nifty tool is to keep a can of duster gas ready to spray off dust and sediment from your gun when you get home. It makes getting soot out of tight spaces much easier than a piece of wet cloth.
When it comes to GBB magazines, always leave them unpressurised at the end of the day. Don't just press the point where the hammer trigger the release as it could cause long term or even permanent damage to the O-ring. It's always best to empty it by shooting it. This is the more fun method after all. These days, the good quality gas cans will have lubricant inside. This definitely helps keep the internals lubricated.
Unjamming Your Airsoft Gun
Cleaning your Airsoft gun can reduce the chances of malfunctions. Unfortunately, no Airsoft gun is perfect so there will always be moments where jams may eventually happen. Here are some reasons as to why it happens listed below:
- No matter how you play, dirt always manages to make its way into the inner barrel. An excessive amount could be an issue.
- Dirt can also accumulate in the magazines so it's always best to swab them down at the end of the day.
- Bad quality BBs could be deformed so do make sure you always grab quality BBs.
- Internal parts like the nozzle and tappet plate will degrade over time so it's best to replace them once in a while. Thankfully, those particular parts are very affordable.
- This also goes for the hop up rubber or unit itself. Make sure that your hop isn't tuned too tight.
If by chance your gun jams in the middle of your game day. Take the necessary precautions to ensure no further damage.
- Lower the hop to the minimum.
- Remove the magazine.
- Insert a cleaning rod into the top of your Airsoft gun in hopes it pushes any jammed BBs from the inner barrel or hop-up unit.
- Insert the magazine and give it a couple of shots.
If the problem persists, you'll need to contact your local tech. This may cost you a little but it's always best to know what is happening inside from someone who has worked on hundreds of replicas.
Properly maintaining and cleaning your Airsoft gun is one of the most important aspects of the sport. Airsoft is an investment of time and money, and proper cleaning and maintenance will help you enjoy your purchases a lot longer. Over time, you'll learn to understand your Airsoft gun's internal design, which will help with understanding how to maintain it better. There are so many YouTube videos out there that can properly guide you through the disassembly and reassembly of each model with ease. Just don't be afraid to experiment.
We hope that this Beginner's Guide to How to Clean Your Airsoft Gun can help you at the start of your Airsoft adventure. These are just the basics and we're here to help if you have additional questions.
Stay safe, stay clean and have all the fun Airsoft has to offer!