Sooner or later, the cold days will reach us, and with the cold airsoft guns suffer. The importance of understanding what airsoft guns parts are vulnerable to and how to minimize the marvelous effects of the cold on performance is a big deal for everyone who wants to enjoy airsoft during chilly winter days.
Cold above 50°F (10°C) is not real cold and airsoft guns are safe at ranges above it, but when the temperature drops below 50°F (10°C) it can already start to affect airsoft components, so it begins with outer parts made from metal and plastics but the colder it is the higher the impact on precious inner parts are including the energy source the gun uses.
Anything below 39.2°F (4°C) starts to be dangerous and temperatures below 39.2°F (-4°C) can greatly impact the performance of an airsoft gun to the extent when it is almost unusable, while the damage that can accumulate with constant use can easily put you in a hurry for new replacement parts.
Let’s analyze vulnerable parts of airsoft guns and see what can be done to combat the cold.
Cold sensitivity of airsoft gun parts
Not all airsoft gun parts are equal, so let’s see which ones are endangered in presence of cold.
The common metal used for airsoft guns is formed of zinc-based metal alloy and while there are variations and higher quality metal guns may be sturdier, the cold days during which people play airsoft are not close to the extreme temperatures that will shatter metal even when we talk about cheaper metal guns.
I haven’t ever played at -40°F (-40°C) and can not say much about it, but there is no reason why the metal would crack at temperatures slightly below 32°F (0°C).
Metal may be affected by the cold but all you need is a good pair of gloves to protect your skin because that’s all you are going to notice.
However, corrosion is always a high risk if you do not maintain your gun properly, so always assure it is dry and well lubricated.
Sometimes having a wood imitation may be an advantage over a real wood replica.
Wood expands in heat and shrinkages in cold, but it is not a big deal for airsoft guns because they are built so they can sustain it. If you constantly expose the wood to low temperatures below 32°F (0°C) and then quickly reheat it, with time the small cracks may occur.
Wood does not like moisture and the first thing to do about any wooden piece is to protect it. Usually, this will already be done by the manufacturers, but some guns may require additional maintenance if the gun is old, etc.
So for instance, if the wood touches a barrel or any important guns parts such as sights it may deviate them to some extent and impact the accuracy. Usually, airsoft guns are only partially made of wood, so probably you should not worry.
Overall, the wooden airsoft guns are great and you should not worry about them if you follow the normal maintenance on your guns and do not let the wood get soaked!
Plastics and rubber
Plastics and rubber are seriously impacted by the cold, so even at temperatures close to 32°F (0°C), the plastics will be weakened.
This, of course, depends on the quality of the plastics, and the usual ABS airsoft guns are made of are decent, but there are high-end ABS guns that are also reinforced with additional layers which make them more durable and resistant.
Following the mentioned, if you were to drop a cheap plastic gun on the concrete at temperatures around 32°F (0°C), they would have an increased probability to crack in half.
Being careful with your airsoft guns is an option, but every airsoft gun (especially AEGs) have lots of work going within, so rubber may get damaged even on higher tier guns over time, while plastic gearbox could easily get damaged and ruin the gun.
The mentioned also applies to every plastic part that is in some kind of collision within or outside the gun.
Cold exposure effects on gas guns
Green gas drops in effectiveness dramatically at 4.44444°C or 40°F due to the low-pressure levels it is stored at. Such green gas guns can lose up to 50% of velocity generated and if the gun has a blowback feature it may make it unusable.
However, there are red and black gasses which are the variants of the green gas and those gases are stored under greater pressures which makes them a good option for a cold environment.
Another option is to use Co2 because similarly to red and black gasses, Co2 is also stored under greater pressure which means it is more resistant to cold and it can retain its properties for longer under even lower temperatures.
Yet, when the temperature drops below 39.2°F (-4°C), Co2 and variants of the green gas will also start to malfunction and you won’t be able to play for hours but for a rather short time.
Another possible issue with the gas and the cold is that the leaking may occur more often than it would under normal, warm weather.
This is due to poorer lubrication properties of the lubricants such as silicon oil and sometimes the magazine may break at some point or the area where the magazine attaches to the gun may get compromised if the gun is not of high quality.
Cold exposure effects on electric guns
Electric guns are here to save you from the chilly day!
Electrics guns do get diminished in power under zero but it is nothing serious because a battery can sustain rigorous cold.
Although, if you are playing somewhere colder than 14°F (-10°C) no airsoft guns will perform as well as they usually do, and neither will you, so better stay at home.
The most popular airsoft batteries are Nimhs and LiPos and LiPos do a better job in cold environments, so you can expect that a LiPo battery will provide you with better consistency while NimHs may start to affect the FPS after some time if it’s below 32°F (0°C).
However, batteries are almost always better than gas in cold environments so you can not go wrong with an AEG when it gets chilly outside.
What about gearbox and motor safety?
Low-quality guns with plastic gearboxes could easily get damaged, but if the quality is on point and everything is well maintained, AEGs should not break in cold environments even after regular use.
Tips to protect airsoft guns from cold
Lubricate with low viscosity lubricants
I like and recommend silicone oil for lubrication of most airsoft parts, while grease should be used solely for purposes of gearbox due to its thick properties and dangerous properties in contact with other inner parts made from plastics.
So, let’s only talk about silicone oil because you will be using it for standard gun maintenance.
You can choose the thickness of silicone oil and if the standard weight of silicone oil players uses during a year in normal temperature environments is 15 you could use something even thinner for really cold days.
However, this is only necessary if it is really cold such as lower than 14°F (-10°C) because at that point the thickness really matters, and using special weight silicone oil is a smart decision.
In conclusion, use the standard lubricants with the goal of being in a thinner range for the colder it gets. Never use any high viscosity lubricant during winter days, and in, either way, they only have a purpose during really hot summer days.
Mosfet comes with a few benefits but in this case, its ability to secure the electricity from diminishing before it reaches the gearbox is a big one.
MOSFET helps the battery to work at its best and usually guns without a MOSFET can be expected to lose some electricity along the way, just as it is a problem with a bad air seal that decreases the pressure within the gun and thus affects its performance.
More effective battery, more effective airsoft gun in the cold environment.
Carry a reserve battery in a warm place
A battery that gets cold greatly diminishes and carrying a second one in a warm pocket/place is a great way to boost life into your airsoft gun in the middle of the day.
You can also charge the primary one and put it in a warm place along with the charger, so it will be ready in a couple of hours again and you can cycle!
HPA as a great solution against cold
HPA is airsoft guns on steroids, so it’s not a surprise that an HPA system works great in cold climates.
HPA may be great, but it is also expensive and if you are looking for an HPA system or to convert your favorite gun into it, you should do it for other reasons because its resistance to cold is not a strong-enough reason in my opinion, unless you live in Siberia and you only ever enjoy airsoft under -58°F (-50°C).
Keep them warm
If you want to keep the airsoft guns warm on a really cold day it won’t be easy and it will only lead to a minor difference, but you can roll them in some warm material such as wool. Remember, protecting the stock and receivers is enough to give the gun some heat, so you do not have to cover every part.
Ask a grandma to knit a scarf for your favorite airsoft gun and you won’t only protect it from the direct cold but it will count as cosmetics too!
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