How do you break-in your new Breakbarrel/Underlever Air Rifle?

There are many theories on how to break in your new breakbarrel/underlever spring/gas piston air rifle. I am going to share the steps that I have been doing for years and it has been quite successful for me.

Shoot the rifle! Do not let the gun sit in the box for several weeks before you shoot it.  This should be a standard practice regardless of what type of airgun you have purchased.  The reason being, most airgun retailers will accept full returns or exchanges within the first 30 days of purchase. You need to thoroughly test the gun to make sure there is no *manufacturer’s defects. I have purchased hundreds of airguns and unfortunately, I have experienced a handful of defective ones. You need to shoot a minimum of 200 rounds right out of the box.  Don’t overly worry about fine tuning your sights at this point. Just get those rounds through the gun during this “Break-in Period.” The phenomenon known as “Dieseling,” can be very common during the break-in period.  This is when the piston seal or the chamber of a spring or gas piston airgun is newly lubricated. Dieseling occurs when some of the newly-applied oil is put under pressure and reacts explosively with air in the compression chamber during the firing cycle. The excessive lubricants will eventually burn up and the rifle will smooth out as you put more pellets through it.

Clean the rifle! After shooting your 200 plus pellets, you need to make sure the barrel is clean and grease free. Many times, these guns are really grimy coming from the factory.  Many of the Chinese built rifles are heavily lubricated to avoid rusting during extensive shipping distances.  Try to avoid using any petroleum-based solvents in the barrel and chamber area.  These products can be harmful to the Breech and Piston seals.  I personally use “Ballistol” it works very well and it is not harmful to the seals. Also, lubricate all the pivoting points on the cocking arm. You can use spring cylinder oil or any light gun oil lubricants for this. I repeat the cleaning and lubricating process every 800-1000 rounds.  Unlike conventional firearms air rifles do not require cleaning after every use.  Although, I do like to wipe the rifle down. I actually have been using WD40 for 40 years. I spray a small amount on a microfiber towel and then wipe the gun down after every use.  By the way do you know what the meaning is of “WD40?”

Tighten all stock screws! Make sure all your stock screws are secure.  I like to remove each screw and put a couple of drops of the “Blue” thread locker and then re-install.

Find the right pellet for your Rifle! Each rifle will have that special pellet that is the most accurate. This is probably the most time consuming and frustrating process. All pellets do not shoot alike and some rifles are more pellet picky than others. What you are looking for is the pellet that gives your rifle the tightest groups. I go through numerous styles and weights researching for that special pellet. Occasionally, in a very rare circumstance, you may find an inexpensive pellet that your rifle likes.  Again, that is extremely rare.  In my experience the top three best pellet manufacturers are Haendler & Natermann (H&N Sport), JSB/Predator International and RWS. 9 out of 10 times the best pellet comes from one of these manufacturers.  

Sight in your gun! Once you find the pellet that groups the best it is then time to sight in your rifle. You may see your groups tighten up quite a bit depending on how you hold the rifle. Remember these are reverse recoil air rifles.  When you pull the trigger, the piston is actually going forward, away from the shooter, creating high pressure in the chamber which forces the pellet out of the barrel.  The piston will make contact with the front of the chamber and begin to bounce backward prior to the pellet leaving the barrel. This is why it is extremely important to hold the gun steady as possible through the entire recoil process. That is why I have found the ultimate accuracy is shooting the breakbarrel rifles off of bipods. Keep in mind, the reverse recoil can be very hard on conventional rifle scopes that are not “AIRGUN” rated. You might need to upgrade your scope to achieve the ultimate accuracy.

*NOTE If you go through all the listed break-in steps and your rifle does not group well it is very possible your gun is defective.  This is uncommon but over the years, I have returned several air rifles as defective because they simply would not group. Look at some reviews and see how well your specific air rifle model shoots.  Compare those groups to your own.

Remember, “Life is too short to worry about the small stuff! Just have fun and shoot some airguns!” (WD40 i.e. Water Displacement and it took 40 times to get the formula just right, invented in San Diego CA in 1953))

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