How to Clean an Airsoft Gun Barrel for Optimal Performance?

As an avid airsoft player and gun enthusiast, keeping my airsoft rifles in peak operating condition is one of my top priorities. A clean airsoft gun barrel is essential for accuracy, range, and preventing jamming or wear on the inner barrel and hop-up bucking. After playing a few intense rounds crawling through brush or running through dusty fields, residue, dirt, and grime can quickly build up inside the inner barrel. If left unchecked, this buildup over time can negatively impact your airsoft gun’s performance.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk you through the steps, tools, and techniques I use to deeply clean the inner barrel on all of my airsoft rifles. Properly cleaning the barrel takes some time and care, but is well worth the effort to achieve the best possible shot consistency, range, and accuracy from your airsoft gun. Let’s get into the specifics of how to clean an airsoft gun barrel for optimal functionality.

Materials Needed for Cleaning an Airsoft Gun Barrel

Before we dig into the cleaning process itself, let’s go over the supplies you’ll need to thoroughly clean out an airsoft inner barrel:

  • Airsoft unjamming/cleaning rod – This is an essential tool for reaching the full length of the inner barrel to clean it out properly from breech to muzzle.
  • Lint-free cloths/patches – Cotton swabs and patches are needed to insert into the barrel attached to the cleaning rod to scrub out residue.
  • Isopropyl alcohol – For dissolving grime, oil, and other gunk built up inside the barrel.
  • silicone oil – After cleaning lubricate the inner barrel which prevents corrosion and maintains a smooth barrel surface.
  • Paper towels – For wiping up excess cleaning solutions and grime removed from the barrel.
  • Small container – For soaked cotton swabs/patches in cleaning solutions.
  • Eye protection – Important when dealing with cleaning chemicals!

The materials you use are very important for effectively removing contaminants without damaging the barrel. Let’s look now at the step-by-step process for cleaning your airsoft gun barrel safely and properly.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning an Airsoft Gun Barrel

Follow these steps every 50,000 to 100,000 shots fired or after playing in especially dirty outdoor conditions to keep your airsoft gun shooting straight and true:

Step 1 – Clear the Gun and Remove the Barrel

I start by confirming that my airsoft gun has no BBs or gas loaded and pointing it in a safe direction to ensure it’s unloaded before maintenance. Then I partially disassemble the rifle just enough to fully remove the inner barrel from the outer barrel and upper receiver. This allows much better access to thoroughly scrub inside the barrel.

Step 2 – Select Correct Size Cleaning Rod

It’s critical to use an airsoft cleaning rod that fits properly inside the barrel’s bore to reach its full length. Using a rod that’s too small in diameter won’t properly stabilize as you push it through and attempt to clean. I like to use either a coated metal cleaning rod or a sturdy polymer rod matched to my various barrel diameters.

Step 3 – Prepare Barrel Cleaning Patches

For scrubbing out the inside of the barrel, I prefer using lint-free cotton patches instead of cotton swabs. I take a dozen small squares of soft, lint-free cotton and load them onto my selected cleaning rod, to push through the barrel multiple times while scrubbing the surface. I soak about half the patches in isopropyl alcohol to dissolve grime and oil.

Step 4 – Initial Dry Passes to Remove Debris

Before wet scrubbing with cleaning chemicals, I make several passes through the barrel with dry cotton patches attached to the rod to wipe out any loose debris inside. Usually the first few passes yield some visible dust or dirt on the patches indicating the deep scrub is needed next.

Step 5 – Soaked Cotton Patch Passes

Next, I attach fresh patches pre-soaked in isopropyl alcohol and make at least 8 to 10 full passes slowly through the barrel, pressing the rod firmly against the top of the barrel for maximum scrubbing action. More passes are sometimes needed for extremely dirty barrels. The rod handle usually has an attachment point for running a strap through to pull instead of pushing for getting extra pressure against the barrel surface.

Step 6 – Dry Patches to Remove Cleaner Residue

After thoroughly scrubbing the barrel with solvent-soaked patches, it’s very important to remove any remaining cleaner residue and dissolved grime from inside the barrel. I finish by making another 10 passes at least with fresh, dry cotton patches to fully remove any traces of cleaning solutions. The last couple passes should come out looking clean when removed at the end of the barrel.

Step 7 – Silicone Oil Treatment

As the last step once barrel scrubbing is complete, I apply silicone oil to freshly cleaned barrels for corrosion prevention and maintaining a smooth surface finish. A single drop spread on a cotton patch makes about 3 light pass-throughs sufficient to leave a protective silicone oil coating inside the inner barrel. And then my airsoft barrel cleaning process is complete!

Extra Airsoft Barrel Cleaning Tips

Now that you’re armed with the basic step-by-step guide, here are some additional helpful tips for keeping your airsoft gun barrels spotless for top-tier performance:

  • Inspect barrels visually first using a tactical light or bright flashlight shone through – often you’ll see built-up debris or fouling inside without disassembly needed.
  • For really severe fouling/buildup, try soaking just the barrel overnight in Isopropyl alcohol to help soften and dissolve heavy deposits stuck inside before scrubbing.
  • Take care using solvents – have proper ventilation, avoid skin contact, and wear eye protection – that stuff can damage more than just dirty barrels!
  • Consider using a bore snake for quick cleanings when a deep scrub isn’t needed – pull/push through the soaked bore snake attached to a weighted cord.
  • Always make sure barrels are completely dry before reassembling your airsoft gun after cleaning to prevent jams.
  • Checking and adjusting barrel/bucking alignment as part of cleaning ensures optimal air seal for the best possible accuracy.
  • Periodic barrel cleaning is most critical for precision sniper rifles where small inconsistencies drastically impact BB flight.

Keeping up on routine barrel maintenance makes a world of difference in airsoft gun functionality – sending BBs straight & true downrange toward their target! Let me know in the comments if you have any other tips for effectively cleaning airsoft gun barrels!

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