Maintenance is an important part of airsoft and people often forget to clean their guns and accessories just as they forget how to properly store them. Such mistakes often lead to a variety of malfunctions and unnecessary repair costs.
Maintaining the airsoft gear with guns being the number one priority does not mean anything complex or expensive, all you need to do is to be informed and learn a couple of useful techniques and do it regularly.
In this guide I will share the best maintenance tips and guide you, so you will be able to clean your airsoft equipment properly. If you don’t have lubricants for airsoft guns ready, I recommend that you explore more about the best lubricants in my dedicated article where I mention the types you should use on exact parts of the replica.
How often should you clean your airsoft gun and can you over-clean it?
How often you should clean your airsoft replica strictly depends on how often you use it, under what conditions you use it, and what type of gun it is. Not all replicas are equal when it comes to maintenance and some will require more cleaning and lubricating than others.
Let’s first determine which guns require serious maintenance and which ones won’t take it to the heart if you skip the maintenance from time to time. I will also mention some special characteristics and parts that each gun type is very sensitive to.
Statistically, most people use AEGs as their primary guns and I will consider them first. Electric guns require proper inner barrel cleaning, however, there is more to handle about these, such as maintaining the gearbox dry at all times and making sure that no electronics get damaged by outer environmental conditions.
Hopefully, all you have to take care about is not to let the water get inside and they will be fine, the barrel cleaning is recommended after approximately 2500 BBs shot or per average after every second to a third game.
Some people clean their AEGs rarer than this and some clean their AEGs after every single game.
The conclusion is that AEGs are not that sensitive and do not need often barrel cleaning, but they still should be cleaned and people who do not clean them at all are risking big.
The most important fundamental tip about AEGs is to never leave them wet in storage. AEGs should be always dried if any water or liquid entered the inside of the replica. Humidity can hurt electric components and obliterate your precious AEG, so be careful how you handle the AEG during high-humidity games and protect it accordingly.
Any blowback gun is sensitive and you will have to protect them from dirt that may get inside due to lots of sliding and moving parts just as you will have to keep them well-lubricated at all times.
Lubrication is important when it comes to blowback guns because lots of moving parts dry out the lubricants quite soon.
When it comes to the barrel cleaning I suggest that you do it after every game and therefore I consider them to be more dependent on cleaning than AEGs and non-blowbacks.
Naturally, if the gun does not have a blowback mechanism it will be easier to maintain. Pistols are easier to clean than rifles and traditionally the non-blowbacks are simply more resilient.
However, if you are a beginner bear in mind that an AEG airsoft gun is a non-blowback gun, so you will still have to pay attention to the gearbox and what I have mentioned above.
Springers all day long! These guys are awesome and they seem almost unbreakable when it comes to maintaining as they over-perform! The simplicity of spring guns allows them to be efficient like no other gun out there.
However, bolt action guns have moving parts and the dirt can quite easily get in there, so it is recommended to clean them after each game for the best results.
Now, many guns can be converted to the HPA, and let’s say that you have an AEG, you convert it to the HPA and you still have to keep up the regular AEG maintenance because the electronics still remain in, but you will also have to properly take care of HPA parts such as an HPA tank and engine.
If you want to know more about HPA systems you can find more information here.
Can you over-clean any of these guns? Not really, unless you are too aggressive and bend or screw something in the process. Just be gentle with your gun and do not stomp on it, crash it or put a gallon of oil into it.
What can go wrong if you do not clean and lubricate your gun?
When you forget to clean your gun it collects dirt, dust, and oils and it can cause the gun to malfunction.
It is not a surprise to hear people complaining about the gun’s accuracy and once they clean it, it magically works well again. Lubrication is also pretty important to secure that all gun parts work as intended with one another.
The first consequence of poor maintenance is reduced performance and this means that the BB won’t accumulate proper speed at the right angle and therefore the gun will lose accuracy.
The second one is an increased odd of the gun jamming. The gun can get jammed for different reasons but one of them is the excessive amount of dirt within the barrel.
Poor lubrication can lead to the wear off of gun parts and therefore reduce the effectiveness of a gun.
In this case, you will need to remove the affected part and replace it, just bear in mind that if you have not lubricated your gun for a while, it may be more than one piece that is damaged.
What will you need for barrel cleaning?
- Cleaning rod
- Cleaning cloth (not paper or something that may leave small pieces inside a barrel, make sure it won’t tear or break into smaller pieces)
- Cleaning alcohol or silicone oil ( water is a good substitute, but would not prefer it) and alcohol is the safest option for cleaning purposes alone)
After you have acquired the mentioned tools you will need to first take the magazine out and secure that there are no BBs left in the chamber.
Secondly, take the hop-up off because you do not want to damage the hop-up unit once you start putting the cleaning rod in. If the gun has the hop-up it will have this option and it is pretty obviously located at the side of the gun where the actual hop-up is located.
How to clean the barrel?
At this moment the gun is ready and you are ready to start cleaning. Follow the next steps.
- Bend the cleaning cloth in half and insert it into the cleaning rod.
- Put some alcohol or oil on the cloth.
- Insert the rod into the barrel and spin it around while pushing it into the barrel until you feel the resistance.
- Pull it out by twisting it.
- After the first try observe how much dirt is left on the cloth, repeat it again and see whether there is still dirt in there. It is usually enough to do this two times and the barrel will be clean, but if the barrel is really dirty do not hesitate to continue with the cleaning.
How to lubricate the airsoft gun?
You do not have to lubricate the airsoft replica after each game, but it is recommended to do it after approximately 3-4 games and a bit less often for resilient guns without many moving parts such as for AEGs.
As I have mentioned above, blowback guns are the guns that are affected by this the most.
By keeping it well-lubricated at all times, the gun will simply remain in a good shape for years to come! Forget to do it and it will wear down inner parts in a matter of months and reduce its performance.
Use silicone oil for lubrication purposes, it works fine unless otherwise written in the gun manual and you got it with some other oil. Also always check for the manuals if you have access to them because it will make it easier for you.
In short, I will explain how to lubricate GBB, but I recommend that you take a look at the video below that I have found on youtube, it is way easier to follow this guy’s guidelines than to read through my textual instructions.
- The process looks similar to the cleaning process. First, remove the magazine, make sure that there are no BBs left in the chamber, and turn off the hop-up.
- Now, you got to remove the slide in order to get access to all those inner parts. To do this you will have to find a button on the side and a lever, you will remove it by simultaneously pressing the button and turning the lever on the other side, sliding it forwards along the rails until it gets off the gun. The exact location of the lever and button depends from model to model, but it is quite easy to catch it up in no time.
- After this, you will have to get your way to the important parts that need to get lubricated and you will have to move some parts ( be careful to know how to put them back, that’s why I recommend watching a video).
- Take the oil and start putting it on the parts, but bear in mind that you only need a few drops for each part and not more than that!
- Pay special attention to oil the rails where the slide moves on, the trigger mechanism, and the hammer.
- Re-assemble it back to one piece and there you go.
AEGs do not have to be often lubricated, however, the gearbox should still be well-lubricated at all times. Once it’s been lubricated it will stay that way for a long time.
In order to do this, you will have to remove the motor and then spray the silicon oil that we use for lubricant purposes through a small opening at the bottom of the gearbox. Put just a few drops in there and leave the gun upside down for a few minutes, so the oil can cover everything inside nicely.
How to unjam the airsoft gun?
As mentioned above, the gun can get jammed by poor maintenance that accumulates dirt, but it can happen for various other reasons as well, such as poorly manufactured or damaged BBs, accumulation of dirt inside the magazine, deformations of the hop-up unit, or nozzle.
If the gun is jammed you have a few options before disassembling it.
- First thing first, stop shooting because the more you do it, the higher the odds are that the piston and gear will get damaged.
- Turn off the hop-up just as you would do it for cleaning purposes and set it to zero.
- After turning your gun upside down, use the opposite end of a cleaning rod and push it into the barrel
- Try to push the BB back into the magazine
This hopefully has solved the issue and you can test shooting it blank and inspect the sound the replica makes before putting the BBs back. If the problem still persists, you might need to manually disassemble it and unjam it that way.
If you are not familiar with airsoft gun parts and how to disassemble them, the service stores or other professionals will do it instead.
To disassemble a gun it is important to understand the construction of a gun and I believe that it is useful knowledge because one day you may decide to upgrade some parts for increased performance.
Do not forget the magazine care
Magazines are not difficult when it comes to basic maintenance, but there are different magazines out there and the process may differ slightly based on the type of gun.
Spring and AEG magazines
Spring and AEG guns utilize different magazine technology, therefore if you have one of these guns, make sure that you do not leave BBs inside because they will otherwise continue to cause pressure on the spring and it may wear it down with time. This is all you have to worry about when it comes to springer and AEG magazines, quite simply.
Gas airsoft guns utilize gas magazines and to take care of them you should always keep them pressurized and be careful that you do not cause leaking. Magazine that leaks can cause many issues and one of them is the damaged O-ring.
Lubrication is quite important here and it is recommended to put a drop of lubricant such as silicon oil on the internals, but be careful not to put too much of it, literally just a drop!
When it comes to gas magazines and it is important to understand the basics of how CO2 cartridges work, I have written a guide on them and you can find it here. This is going to help you with proper Co2 maintenance and you will not experience leakages and potential damages.
How long does an airsoft gun last?
With proper maintenance that includes cleaning and lubrication, an airsoft gun can last for years no matter how often it has been used in battles. To say it is all about maintenance might be a bit inaccurate too, so we can also mention the importance of quality models and proper manufacturing.
Therefore, it is recommended to invest in good guns that are branded.
You can not really expect much from a full plastic gun that is not even made out of high-quality polymer, but rather something cheap they wanted to get rid of anyway.
The materials on which airsoft replicas are built are extremely important and some brands are known for keeping up with the standards better than others.
Debunking myths and wrong practices
Can you use WD40 on airsoft guns?
WD40 is not recommended for airsoft maintenance because it contains petroleum that is known for being unfriendly towards plastic components. You do not want to damage the plastic components and rubber within the gun.
Can I use olive oil on my gun?
Olive oil just like any other vegetable oil has different properties than industrial oils and therefore it would not be effective. It would more likely cause jamming within a gun if the temperature would get cold.
Can you use motor oil to clean a gun?
Motor oil does not seem to protect the gun from corrosion and for cleaning purposes, there is no purpose in using it because I believe that it would make too much unnecessary mess and simple water would be a better substitute.
Is water enough?
Water may be good enough for cleaning purposes, but it probably won’t catch dirt like oil or alcohol would, it does not mean that you can not use it if you do not have oil or alcohol because there are no studies done that say that the alcohol or oil does significantly better job for barrel cleaning purposes. Water is good for cleaning the outer parts of the gun, but be careful not to accidentally put it into electronics if you are cleaning the AEG.
Is silicone oil good for guns?
Some players say that silicone oil is the best both for cleaning and lubricating and some will disagree. I believe that silicone oil is good in low amounts, especially for lubrication.