Naylor Ball’s Air Arms S510 gets a soaking, and it’s Gaffer tape and fishing line to the rescue.
Iwas caught in a downpour, recently, and it was so intense that, by the time I made it back to my car, my rifle was literally drenched, inside and out. I didn’t help matters by snagging my rifle on a bramble and dropping it in a puddle deep enough to completely cover it. It was submerged for less than a second, but I saw water running out of the barrel, so I knew the bore was as wet as everything else. What now?
I knew I had to take off the stock and mop away as much of the water as I could before I even drove home, and I keep a couple of clean towels in the car boot for that.
With the rifle’s action wrapped in a towel, I zipped it into its case and headed for home, fretting about that water in the bore all the way. The problem was, I didn’t have anything to clean out the bore, so I gave the editor a call.
Terry asked if I had any felt barrel-cleaning pellets in my maintenance kit, and I told him I hadn’t. The same went for a .177 barrel rod, or anything else designed to clean the bore of my rifle. ‘OK, then you’ll need to make something until you can get hold of the proper kit. It’s easy; I’ll talk you through it.’ Terry made it sound simple, and for once, it actually was. Here’s what I did to dry out the bore of my beloved Air Arms S510. This was an emergency measure, but it’s something I believe is worth doing, anyway. Experience has shown me that being prepared is way better than taking emergency action to save the day.
MAKING A PULL-THROUGH
I do a bit of fishing, and I have a reel of something called ‘leadcore leader’. Basically, this is a hollow, woven cord, with lead wire running through it. That wire helps the leadcore to sink in a fishing situation, but it also gives the leader enough rigidity and weight to allow me to ‘feed’ the leadcore down the rifle’s barrel, especially when the leader is doubled into a long loop. Plastic-coated conger trace can do the same job, but I prefer the leadcore material because it’s soft and I don’t have to worry about any plastic coating breaking or wearing away and allowing the steel trace to contact the bore. The leadcore leader has a 40-pound breaking strain, so it’s really strong, too.
First, remove the magazine from the rifle, and make sure it’s uncocked and unloaded. Withdraw the loading bolt slightly to ‘open’ the breech. 1. Cut a length of the leadcore that, when doubled, is around a foot longer than your rifle’s barrel, with the silencer fitted. 2. Make a handle for the pull-through from whatever you have to hand. I used a piece of dowel I found in the shed, but almost anything with do, as long as it’s comfortable to hold. 3. Tie the leadcore securely to the centre of the handle. I taped over the handle to make sure the leadcore couldn’t slip. A few large elastic bands will do the same job.
4. Fold the doubled length of leadcore and pinch the end to make it easier to feed it into the barrel from the muzzle end.
5. Stand the rifle securely with its muzzle pointing upward, and feed the leadcore loop into the bore, pushing the leadcore down until it appears at the breech.
6. Pull enough of the loop through the breech and fold into it a small ‘plug’ of barrel cleaning cloth. I’ll be getting some of the Napier stuff, but for this I used a piece of cotton from an old shirt of mine to make a cleaning wad.
7. Don’t use too large a wad or it will be difficult to pull it through the bore. You need just enough wadding to ‘scrub’ the bore efficiently, where the wadding is pushed into the rifling grooves.
8. Repeat the pull-through process until the wadding comes out perfectly clean. Then apply some gun oil to a final piece of wadding and pull that through to leave the bore protected.
You want a doubled length of leadcore leader that’s at least a foot longer than your barrel and silencer.
This is the reel of leadcore leader I used. Your local tackle shop will have other brands, or you can use plastic coated conger trace.
Tie the doubled length of leadcore leader securely to the centre of the handle.
I began by finding myself a handle. Almost anything will do.
A couple more pulls and that wadding will come out clean, after which a final pull with some oil added will protect the bore.
If you struggle to get the loop into the bore, feed it through via a drinking straw.
This is about twice as much wadding as I needed, and I cut it down for subsequent pulls through.
Feed the leadcore leader into the bore via the muzzle, so that when you pull it through, any water or particles will be drawn away from the transfer port.
Pull enough from the breech end to attach your folded wadding.
I covered the handle in Gaffer tape but elastic bands do a good job, too.