Air­gun Stu­dent

Nay­lor Ball’s Air Arms S510 gets a soaking, and it’s Gaf­fer tape and fish­ing line to the res­cue.

Airgun World - - Contents -

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.


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.

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