Simple Airgun Cleaning Kit

Airguns don’t need as much cleaning as firearms, but they definitely benefit from routine maintenance. I’m going to share a simple cleaning kit that I use to keep my airguns shooting at their best. You’ll need an old pellet tin, a bit of plastic weedeater line, a pack of patches, and some 91% isopropyl alcohol. A small, leak-proof bottle of oil can also be added to round off the kit.

Budget cleaning kit for airguns

I started my kit by cutting a 30″ length of weedeater line. This needs to be an all plastic line to keep from damaging the barrel. I then cleaned a old pellet tin, added in several patches, and moistened them with alcohol. There shouldn’t be any liquid alcohol in the bottom of the tin. The weedeater line can coil up and be placed in the tin for storage:

Everything stays clean and compact this way

The lid is then screwed on and the tin is placed in with the dry patches. It makes a simple kit that is easily stored in a backpack. Over time, the patches can dry out, so before taking it afield, be sure your patches in the tin are moistened.

Ultra portable, budget cleaning kit!

Here’s my airgun cleaning procedure: first, make sure the gun is empty and on safe. If at all possible, I try to clean from the breech end. On multipump and PCP airguns, I turn the airgun upside down to prevent debris from entering the transfer port. A dry patch is added to the end of the weedeater line and pushed through the barrel to push out any large debris and to soak up excess lubricant. That is followed by several moist patches, until they start coming out clean. A couple of dry patches later, and the barrel should be spotless.

Small oil container will fit nicely in this kit. You can also keep a small container of rubbing alcohol.

If you are going to put up your rifle after cleaning, lightly oil a patch and give it a couple of passes through the barrel to provide a protective film. Most airguns work well with 30 wt non-detergent oil and this oil can also be used to lubricated pumps and pump linkage. Consult your owner’s manual to find out what is recommended for your airgun.

Your airgun’s barrel should be cleaned when first purchased. I normally don’t clean after that until I notice my groups start opening up. If you wash, dry, and lightly lubricate your pellets prior to use, your barrel will stay cleaner, requiring less maintenance.

Winchester 1977XS Out of the Box Review

It took me a little while to get one of these in. Old rifle, old news? While forms of this rifle have been around for awhile, what is new is the internals, which allow the rifle to shoot an advertised 1000 fps at 10 pumps. In this post, I’m going to take the rifle out of the box, mount the included scope, chronograph some pellets, and shoot some groups. In the future, I’m going to open it up, we’ll explore the changes made, and see if we can make it better.

This rifle is nice, you can tell it shares a common heritage with the Daisy 880. The thumbhole stock is a little odd looking, but feels good when shouldered. If you don’t like plastic, this one isn’t for you. I don’t have any high end scopes, but the included 4×32 scope is a little worse than the $20 to $50 scopes I’m used to.

The first pellet I chronographed was the super light Winchester alloys that weigh 4.32 grains. I couldn’t get 1000 fps with these, they topped out at 975 fps. A drop or two of oil on the pump o-rings would likely push them over the 1000 fps mark. Next, I went to the pellet of choice for these rifles, the RWS Superdomes. At 8.3 grains, they will allow us to gain some energy. They didn’t disappoint, averaging 772 fps, or 10.99 FPE at 10 pumps. This is considerably higher than a 880. What was even better was their performance at 5 pumps – 660 fps, or 8.03 FPE. That is about 20 fps faster than my first 880 could do out of the box! Since they did so well at 5 pumps, I shot a 20 shot group at 25 yards. Here’s the result:

With all but 3 pellets landing in a half inch square, I’ve got to say this is a good shooting airgun! Keep in mind, I took the gun out of the box, scoped it with the 4×32 it came with, and shot this. No barrel cleaning, no tuning, just out of the box. At the price point, the power level, and the features, this is a hard to beat multipump!

To see the maximum power potential, I loaded up some H&N Sniper Magnums. These massive 14.97 grain pellets just barely fit in the loading tray, but come cruising out of the barrel at an average of 628 fps – a tad over 13 foot pounds! This tells me that the platform is just begging for a .22 conversion, might be able to hit close to 15 foot pounds without even doing power mods.

The biggest pros are the price, power, accuracy, and coming with a usable scope (compared to the 4×15 most multipumps come with). What about the cons? The pump effort is high compared to the 880, but still better than the Crosman 2100. This is to be expected when you are pushing higher power levels, there’s no free lunch out there. The same can be said for the trigger pull. Since the valve is operating at higher pressures, more force is required to open the valve. You definitely feel that in the 1977 trigger. Finally, the noise coming out the barrel is considerably louder than the 880. Again, this is to be expected when you are pushing higher power.

In all, I think this is one of the best multipumps for the money. It has the power and accuracy right out of the box for small game hunting. As time permits, I’ll crack this one open, we’ll look at how it differs from the 880, and see if we can do anything to improve the trigger. We might even squeeze a few more fps out of it too!

Without opening the rifle, there are a couple differences that are easy to spot. The bolt has 2 o-rings, as does the piston. The elastomer spring has been replaced with a steel spring. The wheels that guide the piston have been replaced with a squared off set of guides. The receiver has a cutout to allow the exhaust valve to open a little more. I’m looking forward to opening it up and finding more…

Bargain knives for the small game hunter

Back in the day there was no such thing as a decent cheap knife. Cheap knives had loose blades, came apart during use, and had no edge out of the box. Surprisingly, I’ve found some really decent knives under $20 in the past few years and wanted to share my findings with my readers. These aren’t for the knife snob or to hand down to posterity. I’m approaching this subject from the perspective of a small game hunter / fisherman / general outdoors forager on a budget.

A trio of budget knives

We’ll start from the left. That is a 4″ fillet knife from Wal-Mart, costing just under $7. Came out of the package shaving sharp and works well for its intended use. The handle has grippy inserts, a very nice feature when cleaning fish. In addition, it works really well for dressing small game. It is my knife of choice for deboning small game. It comes with a blade cover and is a great knife to throw in a backpack. I’ve been using it for a year and have been very happy with it. It holds a decent edge and is pretty easy to resharpen.

The middle knife is a Imperial Trapper I bought from Amazon for $8.29 about 3.5 years ago. These are made in China and have stainless steel blades – a major departure from their origin. In spite of that, it comes in super sharp and has been my favorite small game knife in the time I’ve had it. The blades don’t lock, so keep that in mind while using it. Again, it holds a good edge and resharpens easily.

The last knife I’ll admit seems like a gimmick. I got one as a gift a couple years back and was pleasantly surprised. The blade has a thumb opener, flicks open smoothly, and stays in place with the liner lock. There is no slop or wiggle in the blade. It comes sharp and features a strong pocket clip. The blade is a tad on the heavy side for small game dressing, but still gets the job done. The blade is great for wood carving, mushroom harvesting, and camp chores.

In addition to being a decent knife, it has a bottle opener, a flashlight with a magnet, seatbelt / cord cutter, glass breaker, and firestarter. The firestarter works very well, I use it when starting fires to cook over when camping and hiking. This knife has been an excellent sub $20 EDC knife and like the others, resharpens well. Check it out here.

Keep your knives up with a sharpening system

Just because a knife is cheap doesn’t mean it has to be disposable. I use a Lansky sharpening system to customize and maintain the edge on my blades. I also occasionally build knives for fun, so the above system combined with a 1″x30″ belt grinder comes in handy. You can do fine with just a set of stones, but a guided sharpening system takes the skill out of putting a good edge on a blade. A sharpening system like this pays for itself in 3 or 4 sharpenings, so it is a worthwhile investment. Works well on kitchen knives too!