Ashton-Under-Lyne Rifle Club

Barrel Cleaning

February 2016

Good news. These excellent products are now available everywhere

Cleaning airgun barrels is a hot topic that’s been rumbling on for years. Some people believe that you should scrub your barrel every time you shoot because if you don’t, it will fill with lead and accuracy will be lost. Others think that you should never, ever clean an airgun barrel or you’ll damage it beyond repair and your gun will be scrap, but as with most things in life, the real truth is somewhere in the middle.

It’s true that each pellet through your barrel can leave a small deposit of lead as it passes, but that isn’t necessarily a problem. The perceived wisdom is that once a certain level has been deposited, then the accumulation tends to settle down and the barrel stabilises. Unless you change pellets, the barrel may well stay accurate for months, even years, without attention. If you swap between pellet brands the different lead alloys may not be compatible and you may need to shoot 50 to 100 pellets before a new level establishes itself.

If you scrub the barrel clean you’ll need to re-lead it before full accuracy is achieved, say 25 to 50 pellets, and most people don’t have time for this. Also, phosphor-bronze bore brushes could scratch and wear the soft steel alloy that airgun barrels are made from. Firearm and shotgun barrels are made from much tougher steel and can therefore take the strong cleaning that airguns can’t.

The one time an airgun barrel must be cleaned is when water, be it rain or condensation, gets inside. Rust forming on the rifling will have a damaging effect – you have been warned. I like to keep a small quantity of VFG felt pellets in my rifle slip that can be fired behind a normal pellet, wiping and drying the barrel as they pass, before I set off for home. They’re also my preferred method of barrel cleaning for both pre-charged pneumatics and spring/piston guns. They can be simply fired through, or pushed through, with a plastic-coated cleaning rod. In fact, they’re all I’ve used in the last 25-plus years since I first came across them.

If I feel that accuracy has taken a dip, I take a couple of pellets and drip some everyday gun oil onto them before pushing them through the barrel with a rod. I then continue to push new dry felt pellets through until they come out clean and dry. This whole procedure takes just five minutes, does a great job and I know that I’ve done no harm to my precious barrels. My high-power rifle needs this treatment more often than my 12 ft.lbs. guns, which I’ll only clean when I’m sure they need it.

The VFG felt pellets have been tricky to get sometimes, but the good news as that every gun shop with a John Rothery Wholesale account, which is pretty much all of them, can now get them easily

To find your nearest dealer visit

VFG felt pellets

Per tub of 100 £4.99