There are a lot of new gun owners out there and, believe it or not, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of air gun owners here in the topsy-turvy 2020. If you find yourself in the new airgun owner category there are a few things that are vitally important to consider in taking care of your new air pistol so you can enjoy it for as long as possible.
New Air Gun Box Opening!
Box opening videos used to be all the rage on YouTube. While they are still a thing, the thrill is kinda gone from that video craze. But who doesn’t like to open their own gear when the delivery driver drops it off? Once you’ve got the outer box opened, the good part is next, but don’t get in a hurry. Getting in a hurry can cause you to lose important parts like CO2 puncture keys or magazines, or important papers—slow down and make sure nothing is lost and nothing is missing.
After you’ve ooggled over your new Umarex air pistol, dive into the owner’s manual. Trust me, just about everything you need to know will be found in the manual. Of course for some the type is never big enough, and some illustrations might not be 100% clear to you—but hang in there and study the manual. You’ll find some really pertinent information there, some of which will be particular to your new air pistol. Read the manual! If all else fails, contact the super helpful gun techs of Umarex Customer Service.
Gearing Up for the Airgun Range
That new BB gun or pellet pistol isn’t gonna shoot itself! You want to make sure you have the correct airgun ammo and power supply. This may seem obvious to many people, but the question is often asked through the Q&A section of retailers’ websites, “What does this shoot?”, or “Can I shoot pellets in this?” For shooters who’ve been around airguns for a while, we tune in on little details that many people just miss and therefore we might see these questions as silly. But if a new shooter purchased the wrong product for their new air pistol that can lead to a bad experience. We don’t want that to happen. The manual, the box, and even the air pistol itself should specify exactly the type of ammo needed. While there will likely be several brands that will work, a general rule of thumb is to avoid products that are radically different than what is recommended. Odd-ball products tend to perform sub-par and might even damage your new air pistol. Stick with what is recommend and that will keep things popping at the range.
The same thing is true of CO2. Getting the right product is crucial for function and the shooter’s general happiness. What may not be obvious to everyone is that there are many different size single-use CO2 products on the market. We’ve seen more than a few occasions where a customer ended up with the wrong size CO2. Our CO2 powered air pistols use 12-gram non-threaded CO2 cartridges. Yes, we make and sell the best 12 gram CO2 out there but there are other brands that will work also. There are some differences even within the 12 gram non-threaded CO2 that can effect interface- so once again staying with the manufacturer’s recommendation will not steer you wrong.
The Most Essential Airgun Accessory
This one item is essential for all Umarex air guns, especially CO2 powered pistols! It’s RWS Chamber Lube. Before I explain what it is and where to apply it, I need to explain how CO2 guns work. In order to get a whole lotta pew pew out of a relatively small container, a lot of propellant needs to fit in it. CO2 fits this bill better than anything. However, when you stuff a lot of CO2 into a small place, it gets really cold and turns into a liquid. When you shoot a CO2 powered air pistol, a little bit of CO2 is released. As this burst of CO2 is traveling through the valve, it is expanding as it warms up. This expansion maximizes the propellant effect of the gas as it launches a BB, pellet or airsoft BB. You do need to keep in mind that the CO2 propelling the projectile is really cold!
The valve goes through an extreme temperature change. If the air gun is shot too rapidly, this extreme cooling effect can freeze the valve. Also it should be stated that this will happen sooner in cooler weather. Winter and CO2 powered air pistols are usually not good friends. Forgive me for the rabbit trail, but this does circle back to the point I’m trying to make: RWS Chamber Lube helps keep the seals in the valve soft even when they go through a harsh freeze and thaw cycle.
But even before that happens the drop of Chamber Lube placed on the tip of the new CO2 cartridge provides some “slickum” for the puncture seal. This is important because a dry CO2 cartridge tightened down on a dry CO2 seal can cause the seal to gall (pit or distort). This is the number one cause of leaks in CO2 powered air pistols. Having a drop of RWS Chamber Lube on the tip of each new CO2 cartridge will help prevent that seal from becoming galled.
Of course you are! Once you’ve got the Chamber Lube, ammo, and fuel for your new air pistol situated, you are ready to hit the range. But before you can shoot you have to load the magazine.
Loading the BBs into an airgun magazine is a good way to draw some frustration out of thin air. It doesn’t have to, though. Setting up a table or folding down the tailgate of a truck is a solid suggestion for creating a platform for magazine stuffing. Otherwise, you may end up dropping more BBs on the ground than make it into the magazine! The magazine will have a loading port for the BBs. This port can be on the front, side, or back of the pistol’s magazine depending on the model. Pull the follower down so that the tip of the follower is below this loading port and insert the BBs one at a time into the magazine. There are some tools like the Umarex Universal BB Speed Loader that can help make this job a bit easier, but pinching a few BBs at a time will get the job done in short order if you don’t get in a hurry.
If you have an air pistol that takes a rotary magazine, just remember “Gears to the Rear”. Whether it is a rotary BB or pellet pistol rotary mag, the projectile should be loaded from the rear where the gear is located. If a pellet push the head of the pellet toward the front so that the skirt of the pellet is facing the same side of the magazine that has the gear. When installing the magazine in the air gun, make sure the gear is pointed toward the rear of the gun—“gears to the rear.”
Installing CO2 Cartridges In Airguns
With the magazine full of BBs you can install the CO2 in the air pistol. Some models will take the CO2 in a compartment in the grip and others will store the CO2 in a drop-free magazine. In either case loosen the CO2 piercing screw so that the cartridge with its drop of Chamber Lube on the tip, will fall into the appropriate position. With the cartridge in place you can begin to tighten the screw. Don’t get in a hurry with this and don’t pretend like you are the Incredible Hulk. Keep an eye on the cartridge to make sure that it doesn’t fall out of place. Yes, the cartridge can fall out of place and be secured improperly. The bottom curved end of the cartridge will be sitting in the center of the dished CO2 seat and it will be straight in line with the grip sides.
Another crucial part to this process is not to overtighten the cartridge. Especially if you neglect to obtain some Chamber Lube. Just tighten the puncture screw until you hear the seal break and turn the screw until the CO2 stops leaking. A huge mistake is to overtighten the CO2 screw which can ruin the seal and cause problems right away.
Air pistol replicas are such a refreshing and enjoyable way to get in some trigger time without having to spend a fortune on ammo (or fight lines for limited quantities of the precious metal). Air guns are a way to get the whole family shooting in a low pressure, low noise environment. Taking care to follow these basic guidelines and always following gun safety rules, will help you keep the trigger time going strong for a long, long time.
Mark Davis, avid outdoorsman, family man, and outdoors writer is the social media specialist for Umarex USA.