Should You Clean a New Air Rifle Barrel?

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clean-air-rifleCleaning your air rifle’s barrel is a necessity. But do you need to clean the barrel of a new air rifle? This is a question that a lot of people never think to ask because, well, new items shouldn’t need a cleaning.

But things are a little different when talking about air rifles.

Are new barrels dirty? The answer will depend on the type of metal the barrel is made of.

Barrel Metals and Cleaning

Brass barrels are high quality. Unless they’ve been sitting for years and years in a factory, you really don’t need to clean an air rifle if the barrel is made of brass. If the barrel is made out of steel, then it’s recommended that you do clean the barrel of a new rifle.

Steel tends to corrode very quickly. And with companies pushing to assemble and produce as many products as they can to keep up with demand, you don’t see assembly lines cleaning out their barrels.

Most of the time, the barrel is shipped from another manufacturer, so the assembly line is just the end point of the production line. This doesn’t mean that your rifle is ready to fall apart, but if the barrel is steel, it will have a decent amount of rust inside. Something like 30% – 40% of all new steel barrels have rust in them.

Rust is the number one problem with an air rifle barrel.

Thankfully, rust is the only problem with a barrel. Since air rifles are shooting pellets, they don’t suffer from leftover residue or other breakdown.

Packaging is the Issue

So, why are all of these air rifle barrels rusting so fast? A lot of it has to do with the packaging of the rifle. The casing is typically made of foam, and if it gets even a slight misting, this foam will soak up all of the existing moisture and continually rust the gun.

Bluing is meant to protect against rust, but this black oxide can also lead to rust in some cases.

What happens is that the rifle undergoes the bluing process, and then the barrel is cleaned to remove all of the bluing salts. But if any of these salts remain, they will start to rust the barrel and the process continues.

A good cleaning to eliminate all of the rust is recommended.

But you also have the option of shooting a lot of pellets. An afternoon of shooting will often remove rust from the inside of the barrel. The only time this will not work is if the rust has formed deep into the rifle’s metal.

Pitted barrels are another exception and will need to be cleaned diligently to remove all of the rust that has formed. Pellets will not be able to get rid of all of this rust.

To summarize: Yes, you should clean a new air rifle barrel, especially if it’s made out of steel. A thorough cleaning and regular shooting will keep the barrel in good shape.

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