Introduction to the Gunsmith’s Bench

by: Glenn

Editor’s Note: This articles comes directly from gunsmiths who work at Umarex USA.

Have you ever shipped a gun to a manufacturer for service?

It’s easy to overlook basic common sense and gun handling rules when you’re anxious to get your gun back in working order. Many of you will appreciate the “alarm” among our service team when last month we received a package containing a rimfire rifle with a live round in the chamber. Yes, it actually happened. Calls were made immediately, apologies were given, but what was done was done. Thankfully, no one was injured as the gun passed many hands during its travel. Can you imagine how many people were put in harm’s way or who may have been injured if the gun had accidentally discharged?

That aside, here’s a quick glimpse of our service department:

When you first call Umarex USA for service you’ll reach one of our gun techs who will provide you with technical assistance as needed. They are well trained professionals who pride themselves in making certain that you receive prompt, courteous and knowledgeable service. They have gun schematics digitally available at the click of a mouse for quick reference and utilize a state-of-the-art phone system that allows us to monitor and measure phone traffic and response. We know that you want a live person when you call, so we monitor our statistics—in fact, we achieved a 96.4% live answer rate during the month of August which we feel is quite exceptional.

If you have to ship a gun to us, a gun tech will provide you with a return authorization number and it will be opened in our new gun repair facility led by our Master Gunsmith, Danny. He’s approaching 40 years of gunsmithing experience and has accumulated a wealth of knowledge over a lifetime of honing his skills. Our entire team of gunsmiths are steadily expanding their own knowledge encouraged by Danny’s true passion for gunsmithing and his encyclopedia-like knowledge base on guns.

Expert and efficient assistance and repairs are top priority for us. Our entire service team takes great pride in performing quality work. Our turnaround time for a gun repair is 72 hours with most being completed within 48 hours of receipt. We receive many positive comments about our turn time and appreciate each one as we learn that they anticipated a wait of six to eight weeks which is typical for most gun repair facilities.

We can be reached between the hours of 8 AM and 5 PM CDT. Please feel free to call us any time at (479) 646-4210 option 7 if you have a question about one of our products or send us an email via our contact us page.

And remember, if you ship a gun to us, make sure there is no ammunition anywhere in the gun or in the package and it’s a good idea to remove any sighting devices as well.

Click The Gunsmith’s Bench for more articles or click the category on the right column.

The Ruger Blackhawk Air Rifle

Ruger Blackhawk Air Rifle

Ruger Blackhawk Air Rifle

Umarex USA continues to bring economical air guns to the American consumer that perform well beyond the expectations of the average shooter. A great example of what is available to the small game hunter and pest shooter is the new Ruger® Blackhawk® Air Rifle.

Available in two variations, the gun I received was the more powerful of the two. There is a version that features extremely easy cocking, and only shoots around 490 fps with the average .177 caliber pellet. However, as a hunter, I almost always opt for the more powerful versions as long as the shooting behavior is manageable and the cocking effort within the realm of reason.

If the Blackhawk Air Rifle looks familiar, it should. It is based upon the venerable Diana Model 34, an air gun that is a classic. This Blackhawk Air Rifle features a synthetic, ambidextrous stock that is comfortable for both right and left-handed shooters. The fiber optic open sights make target acquisition easy and quick, handy for when your shooting opportunity on a nervous squirrel or rabbit calls for a fast shot. Or, if you are like me and prefer a scope for finer shot placement, the Ruger Blackhawk Air Rifle comes with a 4×32 scope and mounts included.

Starling

Starling

My first opportunity to use the new rifle was on a pest control situation. If ever there was a pest, it would be the European starling. They rob my bird feeders, kill my bluebirds, and generally take over the best nesting sites that our native birds need in order to survive. So at every opportunity, I take them out!

I had finished sighting in the open sights on this air rifle and had it leaning against the kitchen door to do duty as my bird feeder gun. Some serious snow had fallen within the last evening, and birds were flocking to my feeders for an easy meal during the bad weather. Sure enough, the starlings started showing up to ruin the party, acting like the avian party crashers they are. I eased outside to do something about the situation, and with a single shot, the starling party was over. And one of them didn’t go home!

Squirrel

Squirrel

Having successfully proved the use of this air gun for pest control, I moved on up to small game hunting. Squirrel season is still open here in Kentucky, and I had a new camouflage chair I wanted to try out. Setting up in a likely spot, I chose the Ruger Blackhawk Air Rifle as my armament for the day. It didn’t take long for a large fox squirrel to climb up to a dining perch in a tree and begin working on a nut it had found under the snow. With a properly placed shot, the squirrel came tumbling down. The Ruger Blackhawk Air Rifle and RWS Superdome pellets made a lethal combination for this tree rodent!

Blackhawkpossum2Most air gun shooters like to keep an air gun around that is capable of handling larger pests. The possum and raccoon come to mind in this category, and though I would hesitate to take on a large raccoon with the smaller .177 caliber air rifle, a possum provided no challenge to the Ruger Blackhawk Air Rifle. I have issues every year in regards to what animals are going to move into my old barn, and this possum had to go. Coming out in the open at the wrong time of day earned this pest a shot to the head, ending the issue of where it would live for good. The power provided by the Ruger Blackhawk Air Rifle proved more than it could handle, and the accuracy provided by the rifle put the pellet exactly where I needed it to go.

If I had any suggestions for Umarex USA in regards to this rifle, I would opt for a slightly longer scope rail to allow the use of the longer-based 1-piece mounts that are so popular among air gun shooters. These style mounts provide some serious clamping surface on the dovetails, a greatly desired feature for spring-piston air guns. The current rails only allow the shorter-style 1-piece mounts.

I can recommend the Ruger Blackhawk Air Rifle for most game and pests that range in size from the possum on down. The air gun has the accuracy needed, is pleasant to shoot and practice with, and will provide many hours of shooting fun and enjoyment for its owner. Give one a try and see if you don’t agree!

Hunting with an RWS Model 34

The Diana Model 34 with a scope attached.

The Diana Model 34 with a scope attached.

by: Randall Mitchell

The RWS Model 34 from Diana of Germany is one of the most sold spring-piston rifles known today. Many air gun enthusiasts have one of these fine air guns in their possession and use it for plinking and fun shooting. However, many individuals miss out on the hunting uses this fine example of German engineering brings to the table.

I have been shooting the RWS Model 34 for a number of years now, having owned one or two in the past. Air guns at my house tend to come and stay for awhile, then move on to another worthy owner who shows interest in it while I’m at the range or shooting with a group of friends. So when my new RWS showed up on the porch from Umarex, I decided to write a brief article on the hunting uses of the Model 34.

The RWS Model 34 leaning against a stump on my property, with a tin of Superdome pellets.

The RWS Model 34 leaning against a stump on my property, with a tin of Superdome pellets.

When you hunt with an air gun, you will find there are debates in the air gun world as to which caliber is best for different game. I consider the .22 the best all-around caliber if you are going to own just one air gun…but where’s the fun in that? As you hunt more often and learn the differences in the calibers and their effectiveness, you’ll find the ability of the shooter a bigger factor than the caliber of the air gun in question. The rifle I ordered was a .177 caliber, and I quickly opened up a tin of RWS Superdomes and began breaking in the gun.

I shoot a couple of hundred pellets through an air gun before worrying too much about velocity measurements and accuracy tests. New spring piston guns need a break-in period to allow the internal parts to start working smoothly together, so shooting a half-tin or more of pellets is a great way to allow those parts to mesh and start doing what they were designed to do at top efficiency. I also took a moment to run a swab or two down the barrel to remove the preservatives inside the barrel. With a clean bore and some ammo already sent down range, I was ready to do some hunting!

I own about 3 acres on the edge of town, with lots of old-growth trees filled with hollows. These hollows make excellent nesting sites for woodpeckers and bluebirds, two of my favorite birds to watch and enjoy. However, they are set upon by English sparrows and European starlings constantly, so I try to even the odds in the favor of the native species, and eliminate every sparrow and starling I can find. Stalking along the edge of my property, I was offered several shots at starlings and sparrows that were competing over hollows and cavities for nesting rights.

The first sparrow I caught was arguing with a relative of hers over who had the best roost on the bush they were in. The male sparrows were also hanging around, trying to catch the attention of the females. I shot the female first at 10 yards, and the rest flew up into a tree to figure out what was going on. At that point, a Superdome was sent precisely to one of the male sparrows, putting him down for the count. That’s a couple of English sparrows that won’t be arguing with my bluebirds this spring!

Next came the European starlings, airborne Vikings I call them. From the front porch, I harvested the first with an upward shot. When shooting up, be sure you can call your shots—shooting at elevated targets or targets lower than you can be tricky sometimes. You need to hold a little bit under what you might think for such shots. Starling #2 was a longer shot of about 30 yards as it was searching for food on the lawn. After the shot connected, the starlings just folded up and went to sleep..

The RWS 34 with four of the birds that it was able to take care of.

The RWS 34 with four of the birds that it was able to take care of.

The Superdome pellets from this pellet gun are both accurate and devastating on pests and small game as well. There is currently no open season for small game in Kentucky right now, so I had to limit my hunting to the avian pest species that you see in the picture. Each pest was a one-shot, one-kill example of the usefulness that the Model 34 can provide as a pest control tool and small game hunting rifle. But during the small game seasons, rabbits and squirrels fall to this combination quite often. In addition to my experience with the Model 34, I was at the local police chief’s office recently, talking about pigeon control. He showed me the tool he uses for quiet and efficient removal of feral pigeons. Want to guess what it was? Yep, an RWS Model 34 in .177 caliber. He likes to use head shots, and finds the air gun very accurate and up to the job.

Just how accurate is the Model 34? It’s funny you should ask. Now don’t think I’m crazy here, but unusual targets are a favorite of mine. I’ll sit 10 yards from a ripe fruit tree and pick off the wasps and yellow jackets that buzz around the tree if the rifle I am shooting is up to the task. So I want to show you a picture that you may or may not recognize right off.

While waiting for another starling to come winging into range, I noticed a large housefly sitting on a cardboard box that was about 5 yards away. He was just sitting there in the sun, and I just couldn’t resist! I placed the sights on the fly, and at 5 yards left nothing but what you see in the picture.

The remnants of the housefly.

The remnants of the housefly.

The remnants of the housefly.

Nothing but a splash left for any evidence that a fly ever sat there. Now that is accuracy! And that accuracy extends out to further ranges in proportion to the ability of the shooter. This is a well-made rifle that brings home the bacon when shooting pests and small game.

Click to view all available RWS 34 guns.  The link will show the following items:

  • RWS Model 34 with or without Scope, .22 or .177
  • RWS Model 34 P with or without Scope, .22 or .177
  • RWS Model 34 Pro Compact .177
  • RWS Model 34 Meisterschutze Pro

12 Spring Gun Shooting Tips for Accuracy

The RWS 34P Panther is a Spring Piston Air Rifle. Click image to learn more.

The RWS 34P Panther is a Spring Piston Air Rifle. Click image to learn more.

This article of shooting tips for improving your accuracy was originally written for RWS guns, but applies to all spring piston air guns.

  1. Be patient as you break in your new gun. Spring piston airguns typically require 500-1,000 shots to break in properly. Groups may be erratic for the first 100+ shots.
  2. DO NOT bench rest on ANY solid objects! NO part of the gun should rest on a rigid surface or object.
  3. Stabilize your shooting surface.  Utilize sand bags, pillows, or folded quilts as a shooting surface. This helps stabilize the gun so that you can verify the gun’s accuracy instead of the gun & shooter combined.
  4. Protect your gun barrel.  The gun barrel is NEVER to rest on any surface when shooting.
  5. Position the gun so that it is resting and pointing at a specific target point without being held. You can then ease into the shooting position without changing sight picture. By taking out as much of the “human factor” of holding the gun, your accuracy will most likely improve.
  6. SQUEEZE the trigger – pulling the trigger or jerking the trigger will result in terrible accuracy.
  7. Make sure to follow-through for every shot. Try not to blink when the gun fires and continue to focus on the precise point of aim.
  8. Always hold the gun “loosely” at the forearm and in the shoulder. Spring guns usually become inaccurate when held tightly.
  9. Use a consistent position & grip.  Changing your shooting position or grip can and will affect your point of impact.
  10. Become familiar with your rifle and your ammo.  Each rifle is individual and has its own characteristics. To achieve the best performance, you should try an RWS Pellet Sampler pack of pellets to see which ammo your gun shoots the most accurately.
  11. Don’t use junk ammo.  Use only high quality pellets in your rifle, such as the RWS line of pellets. They are much cleaner and manufactured to more exacting tolerances.
  12. Never dry fire a spring gun.  Dry firing your spring rifle can damage your gun.

Many competent air rifle fans are aware of these rules.  How many do you think consistently follow all of them?

 

Dieseling Air Rifles

by: Glenn and Danny

Editor’s Note: This articles comes directly from gunsmiths who work at Umarex USA.

The mainspring of a rifle that broke due to heavy dieseling.

The mainspring of a rifle that broke due to heavy dieseling.

Have you noticed smoke coming out of the barrel or breech of an air rifle or an unusually loud shot? Dieseling is the ignition of a fuel resulting from the heat generated by the compression of air in a cylinder. When the air within a spring-piston airgun’s receiver tube is compressed, the temperature of the air rises to a very high level, igniting the tiny oil droplets that lubricate the piston seal and walls of the compression chamber. Thus, a combustion and sometimes detonation can result.

Dieseling in an air rifle is natural due to the lubrication required for smooth operation, but too much lubrication can be damaging to your airgun, and may even result in injury to you or others. This is why we stress you follow the RWS recommended air rifle 1000 shot maintenance schedule (also see 100 shot schedule) and specified amount of lubrication for all of your air rifles.

A carbon mainspring with heavy buildup and damage caused by dieseling.

A carbon mainspring with heavy buildup and damage caused by dieseling.

The accompanying picture of a broken spring is an example of what may happen if you over-lubricate your air rifle. The excessive amounts of oil can detonate, creating a powerful force within the receiver tube that violently slams the piston into the spring. When conditions are right, or rather wrong in this case, the force can cause the internal spring to break, rendering the rifle unusable.

The same thing can happen if you use the wrong type of lubricant. You should avoid using petroleum-based lubricants in your air rifle. These lubes are more prone to combustion and some formulas are known to deteriorate the piston’s seal.

While a broken spring due to over-lubricating is one of the worst things you can do to your spring-piston rifle, excessive dieseling can also lead to tears in the piston seal, which will cause a decrease in power and consequently, the velocity.

Many of the air rifles we receive for repair have been over-lubricated. We’ve seen this so often that it’s immediately recognizable, be it the black build-up of carbon on the piston seal, a torn seal, or a broken mainspring. We’ve even seen situations where excess oil has seeped out of the chamber and onto the stock.

Dieseling can cause heavy damage to the inside of an airgun if it is not controlled for.

Dieseling can cause heavy damage to the inside of an airgun if it is not controlled.

Dieseling can cause heavy damage to the inside of an airgun if it is not controlled.

To avoid dieseling, be sure to use non-petroleum based lubricants, like RWS Chamber Lube and Spring Cylinder Oil. Then, only apply the amount as specified in the gun’s manual or in the RWS recommended air rifle 1000 shot maintenance schedule (also see 100 shot schedule).

If you have an air rifle that has been over-lubed, or lubed with petroleum-based oil, the best and safest thing you can do is to contact us at Umarex USA. Ship the gun to us un-cocked and unloaded with the Return Authorization number we’ve provided. We have the specific decompression equipment necessary to disassemble and clean your air rifle and we’ll send it back to you shooting like new.