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PB Sports Airsoft Information Page

 

After answering many questions for customers at our retail store, we have decided to put this information page together for our customers. If, after reading this, you still have questions, feel free to contact us.


Airsoft Gun Types


There are a few different types of Airsoft Guns. While there are some exceptions, most Airsoft guns fall in to one of the three categories below:


Spring
 

Spring guns are the most basic type of Airsoft gun. They operate by the user cocking a spring prior to each shot. This is typically done by cocking the slide (pistol), bolt (rifle), or grip (shotgun). This action compresses the spring inside the gun, making it ready to fire. This ‘pump’ action makes this type of gun incapable of semi-auto or fully-automatic fire. Spring guns are typically some of the more inexpensive guns available. The velocity of most spring guns will generally be lower than that of the other types. An exception to this is the spring sniper rifles, which can reach velocities of over 475 fps (feet per second).

Some people prefer the simplicity of the spring gun, as well as the non-reliance on batteries or gas.

Electric

Electric Guns (AEG’s) are the most popular guns sold by PB Sports. They use a rechargeable battery and a motor to work a gearbox containing the firing piston and spring, which in turn fires the gun. This type is most often able to shoot both semi-auto and full-auto, selectable by an external switch. Most AEG’s offered by PB Sports come as a package including the gun, magazine, battery, charger, BB’s and cleaning rod. AEG’s now come in a wide range of price and quality levels. While we carry some low end AEG’s, we specialize in the mid-grade and high end AEG’s.

Gas

Gas guns are most commonly pistols, but there are some exceptions. The Gas pistols come is a two styles: non-blowback and blowback. Non blowback guns tend to be lower in price (and often quality) than the blowback models. Blowback models have a realistic slide mechanism that moves back and forth, giving a realistic feeling recoil with every shot. Gas guns are operated by either gas (usually green gas, purchased in a can), or CO2 (12 grams).
 


Airsoft Battery Basics



Voltage, (V) determines the rate of fire of an electric gun and how strong a spring can be installed in the weapon. Battery voltage (V) is determined by the number of cells in a battery pack. To determine a battery's voltage, multiply the number of cells by 1.2 volts. For example:
6 cells x 1.2V = 7.2V, 7 cells x 1.2V = 8.4V, etc.

Battery milliamperage (mAh) is printed on the battery cell. The milliamperage rating, or mAh of a battery determines how long a gun will fire, as well as determine recharge time. In general, a battery with the same cell size and voltage will vary in cost based on the mAh of the battery. The higher the mAh, the longer the battery will last in your gun, but will cost more initially. A very general rule is that, on a full charge, you can shoot one BB per mAh. For example, an 1100 mAh battery should be able to shoot about 1100 BB’s on a full charge. This is only a general rule, and varies by gun type.

Cell configuration (in what shape the cells are put together) can affect the cost of a battery. Some battery styles, and unique configurations, will add to the cost of a given battery.

Colder temperatures will greatly reduce battery effectiveness and life.

There are two basic types of rechargeable batteries suitable for use in Airsoft guns...Nickel Cadmium (NiCad) and Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries. The following is a comparison of the features of these two different battery types:

NiCad: Prone to battery 'memory' effect
MiMH: No battery 'memory' issues

NiCad: Discharging required
NiMH: Discharging not required

NiCad: High output rates, high rate of fire
NiMH: Rate of fire lower than a NiCad


NiCad: Can be fast charged
NiMH: Must be charged at 3A, or less

NiCad: Less milliamp capacity than NiMH's
NiMH: Higher milliamp capacity than NiCad's


The 'memory' effect described above occurs when a battery 'remembers' its usual discharge point and superficially 'needs' a charge whenever it hits that point. In other words, if you have a NiCad that routinely gets discharged to only 50% of it's capacity, it will eventually not provide power below that mark. Many people who do not know about memory effects simply throw away the battery away because they think it is dead. More than likely, the battery can revived (providing that the battery isn't completely damaged from years of memory buildup).

Also, keep in mind all batteries have an expected life. NiCad's have a life of approximately 1000 cycles with proper care. So, if your battery is really old and no longer holds a charge, chances are it's not memory, but simply a tired battery that should be replaced.

PB Sports carries a wide range of batteries, with an emphasis on Intellect NiMH batteries. We have found them to be the best batteries for the money.


Battery Care

 
Never pull batteries by their plugs and be careful not to damage the wiring insulation.

Exposing the battery wires to contact with another battery wire or any other metallic object can cause the battery to short out, damage the weapon, and/or create a potential fire hazard.

Unplug batteries from the weapon whenever it is not in use. This will decrease the chances of damage to your batteries or your gun, as well as being a more safe practice.

Please store your batteries in a cool, dry place when not being used.

Never expose batteries to open flame, or break open the cells.

The easiest way to prevent battery memory is to discharge it to 1.0 volt per cell (VPC) on a minimal load, then fully charge it. Repeat this procedure until you notice the battery lasting longer in the field and on the discharger. At this point it should hold its correct capacity and no longer be 'memorized'. Unless you have a battery discharger, it is hard to discharge to 1.0 VPC without ruining your battery pack. Many people find that running your battery pack in your gun until you see your range and rate of fire start to lower or decrease is sufficient to discharge your battery. Also remember that this only applies to Ni-Cad batteries. NiMH, like the Intellect cells we carry, do not have the memory issues.

Remember...if you treat your Ni-Cad battery well from the beginning by never letting it acquire memory, you won't have to worry about any of these procedures.

Dispose of batteries in the proper manner. There are recycling programs in our area that accept used batteries.
 


 


Battery Charging
 


WARNING: NEVER OVERCHARGE A BATTERY! If a battery overheats, it can cause irreparable damage to the battery and create a potential fire hazard!
Be sure to read the charger instructions thoroughly before charging any battery.

Not all chargers are created equal. Be sure to use the proper charger for your battery type, i.e. if charging a 9.6V NiMH battery, make certain the charger is designed to charge both 9.6V and NiMH batteries. When you purchase a gun package from us, we will include a basic charger that is correct for the included battery.

Use only the proper connectors to attach a battery to the charger.

You can calculate the proper amount of time required to charge a battery by dividing the battery's milliamp capacity by the chargers charge rate. Every charger is different, so be certain to read the charger's manual thoroughly before charging any battery.

Basic Chargers

Many of our mid-level AEG’s come with a 250 mAh charger. As an example, is you had a 1500 mAh battery, it would take 6 hours to charge your battery from a completely drained state.

We often include a 500 mAh charger with with our better guns. So if you had a 2000 mAh battery, it would take 4 hours to charge your battery from a completely drained state.

Universal Smart Chargers

This style of charger is purchased separately from your gun. It will greatly decrease the time it takes to charge your battery. A typical model will have 900 mAh and 1800 mAh settings. Therefore, if you had an 3600 mAh battery, it could charge it in either 4 (900 mAh) or 2 hours (1800 mAh). These chargers will also have an indicator light letting you know your battery is fully charged and ready for use.

This is the most popular style of charger for the average player, since they work quite well, require little skill, and are much faster than the basic chargers.

Deluxe or Programmable Chargers

This type of charger is not as common for Airsoft, as they are somewhat more complicated and expensive.

Below is a list of examples of what setting to use on your charger, depending on how long you want to charge your battery, based on the capacity of the battery:

Fast Charging Formula
20-minute Charge: Battery Capacity (milli amps) X .003 = Charging Current Setting (amps)
30-minute Charge: Battery Capacity (milli amps) X .002 = Charging Current Setting (amps)
60-minute Charge: Battery Capacity (milli amps) X .001 = Charging Current Setting (amps)

For example, if you want to charge a 2000 mAh NiCad battery in 30 minutes, this is how it would work:
1200 mAh X .002 = 2.4 amp (setting on the charger)

If you are not certain of the remaining charge in a depleted battery, check it every 5-10 minutes while charging. If the battery is warm to the touch, assume it is fully charged. If it is hot to the touch, remove the battery from the charger IMMEDIATELY! Another recommendation to prolong battery life is to keep a fan blowing on batteries (NiCad & NiMH) during charging to keep damaging heat build-up to a minimum.

NiCad batteries must be completely discharged before charging again. Use the appropriate discharger to deplete the battery of any residual charge, or completely drain the battery through normal use before recharging. Again, this does not apply to NiMH batteries. Some better quality chargers will offer a discharge setting that is useful for Ni-Cad batteries.

PB Sports offers programmable chargers with all the above features. Again, this would only be for the experienced user who follows the directions of the charger, as you can ruin your battery pack with improper charging techniques with this style of charger.
 


 

BB's



Only use premium BB's in any Airsoft gun. Using cheap BB's can cause damage to a gun and barrel due to seams, burrs, or deformation of a BB that results from poor manufacturing. We have seen guns in for service that have been damaged due to bad BB’s that were of poor quality.

Most AEG's and GBB's were designed to use 0.20 gram (.2g) weight BB's, or heavier. BB's lighter than 0.2g can jam, or break the firing mechanism. If you are not sure what BB’s to use in your gun, feel free to ask us, we will be happy to assist you.

WARNING: NEVER reuse BB's. Once BB’s have been shot, they could get dirty of cracked from impact, which could then jam or damage your equipment.



 


Gun Care


Electric Guns (AEG's)

An Automatic Electric Gun (AEG) gearbox should cleaned and re-lubricated approximately every 6-12 months, depending on how heavily the gun is used. If you are unfamiliar with disassembling the weapon, you can bring your gun to PB Sports for service.

DO NOT soak the gun in any sort of lubricants or water. Liquids of any kind are bad for the other components of the gun, including the motor and wiring.

AEG fuses prevent a sudden discharge from your battery into the gun that could potentially damage the motor or other electrical contacts in the gearbox.

If the gun stops firing for any reason, the first thing to check is the fuse. Usually a blown fuse will be visually obvious. If you are not sure, we can test your fuse with our fuse tester.

If the metal strip in the fuse is no longer intact, or tests bad, replace it with another one of the same rating and test fire the gun.

The most common reason for a fuse to blow is low battery charge. This occurs when the motor does not turn due to lack of voltage, but the battery still has a sufficient charge to heat up the wiring and blow the fuse. Replace the fuse, recharge the battery, and try again. Should the gun 'lock up', i.e. the gun will not fire even with a fully charged battery, bring your gun in for service.




Field Care

ATTENTION: Treat an airsoft gun with care when handling. Though they are made mostly of durable, high-quality ABS plastic and metal parts, they will not withstand the same abuses and tolerances of a real firearm. Any type of major impact to an airsoft weapon can potentially cause damage that will affect the performance, or break it. This can include dropping the gun.

Avoid direct impacts to the barrels and stocks. Barrels can bend and render the gun inoperable.

Avoid jamming dirt into the barrel. If a significant amount of dirt and debris travels up the barrel, inspect it and clean it before firing.

Use a sling whenever possible to avoid dropping the gun.

After use, be sure to clean the gun thoroughly. Any loose dirt or debris on the outside of the gun should be removed to make sure that it does not work it’s way to the inner workings of the gun.

Many external components of the gun are attached by screws. Before and after use, check to see if any of these screws have loosened. If so, gently tighten them. Do not over torque the screws as that may cause the threads to strip. This will not be covered under most Airsoft warranties.


Gas Guns

Gas guns fire best in WARM weather. Using a GBB (Gas Blow Back) or other gas gun in cold air is not advised. In cold air gas guns will not cycle as well, sometimes not fully recocking the gun. The velocity will also not be as high, and the gun will use more gas than normal.

Rapid-firing a gas gun in moderate temperatures (i.e. Spring & Fall) can also cause the gun to freeze up, resulting in improper firing. This is usually not a problem in summer months. Once this occurs, simply wait for the gun AND the clip to warm back up, and it will again cycle and shoot as normal.

Always use high-grade BB's weighing .20g grams or more. In some GBB guns, cheap BB's have a tendency to jam in the magazine, preventing proper firing. Using .12g is not advised in any GBB guns carried by PB Sports.



Gas Magazines

The magazine is the heart of any airsoft gas gun. As such, filling the magazine is critical for both performance on the field and protecting your investment.

Properly filling a magazine takes a bit of practice. The first thing to do is turn the magazine upside down, pointing straight at the ground. This will help you align the magazine and canister, plus it lets you see the filler port on the mag. Make sure the magazine and gas canister are both lined up vertically (not tilting sideways). Make sure the canister nozzle gets a firm seal with the magazine before pushing down (firmly) on the gas canister. The canister MUST be upside down to fill the magazine!

Filling time depends on magazine capacity. A typical handgun mag generally requires about 3 seconds to fill completely, while a 50-round mag will take about 5 to 6 seconds. These times ensure you will get a full charge of gas, for the amount of BB's in the magazine. Filling mags is a precise job that requires some skill and patience. However, in time, you'll get the hang of it. In general, you should be able to complete shoot one clip’s worth of BB’s with one good charge of gas. Keep in mind this may not hold true when the clip is cold (see above).
What NOT to do when filling a gas magazine.

NEVER overfill a magazine. If you load it up for 15 seconds, you will probably blow or damage the seals. Do not fill for more than 6 seconds MAX, ever!

DO NOT press the big metal button on the side of the mag to discharge the gas. Doing so can prematurely wear out the seals. Instead the safe way is to fire the gun until it is nearly out of gas.

If gas spills everywhere while filling a magazine STOP! Before proceeding again, let the magazine warm up for about 2 to 3 minutes.

Once you get a tight seal and fill the magazine correctly leave it alone until it warms to room temperature (about another 3 to 5 minutes) before firing. For this reason, many people find it handy to have more than one magazine for their gas guns.

At the end of the day, leave a little gas in the magazine before storing it. Do not keep them at full charge, nor store them totally empty. Leaving just enough gas (about 1 to 2 shots) in the magazine is perfect. The silicone lubricant in the gas will help keep the magazine seals tight. This will also keep any tiny bits of dirt or debris from getting in the gas chamber or on the seal, prolonging the life of the magazine.


 

Gun Care (General)


 


Airsoft Guns require minimal cleaning. The most important part that should be cleaned regularly is your barrel.

To clean your barrel, take the cleaning rod that came with the weapon and thread a .22 caliber patch or similar sized piece of cloth through the slit. Spray a small amount of silicone spray to the patch.

Before inserting the cleaning rod into the barrel, turn the Hop-Up off. If you leave the Hop-Up on you run the risk of damaging it, dislodging it, and/or getting the cleaning rod stuck in the barrel. This is an important step, and should not be ignored.

Insert the cleaning rod into the barrel. Swab the inside of the barrel with a back and forth motion. Remove the silicone soaked patch from the cleaning rod. Insert a new, dry patch onto the rod and repeat the process to clear any remaining residue from the inner barrel. The last step is important to remove any small debris and silicone still in the barrel.

Once no dirt left in the barrel, test fire the gun and reset the Hop-Up. Be sure to keep all moving parts slightly lubed with SILICONE oil. NEVER use anything else. 100% pure silicone oil (available at PB Sports) is recommended, as it will not damage plastic or rubber parts. Hoppes #9, WD-40, and other petroleum-based lubricants will hurt a gun, as well as void your warranty.

For GBB's, lubing the slide is critical. Not cleaning and lubing the slide is the most frequent cause of jams and improper functioning. To do this requires field striping the weapon to access the slide and parts.

ALSO, be sure to spray a little silicone oil into the top nozzle of the magazine after every 5 to 6 magazines worth of BB's. On GBB's this is done, by pressing the big-metal button on the side of the mag all the way down. For AEG's, simply spray into the hole BB's come out of. For both, apply a quick shot of silicone into the top-part of the mag. This will keep the seals and springs properly lubed for a lifetime of use. NEVER overkill the lubing. Using too much lubricant will only gunk up the parts and degrade performance. Just use enough to apply a thin coating to the internal surfaces.

WARNING: Never use petroleum-based solvents or harsh cleansers to clean your gun. Only use a soft, damp cloth to clean the exterior, and 100% silicone oil spray to clean the internals.
 



 

Gas Types



Choosing the proper gas type is critical with an airsoft gas gun (GBB). First and foremost, NEVER use a gas that does not contain silicone. The silicone helps keep the magazine seals and GBB internals lubricated while firing. The green gas we sell contains the correct amount of silicone for all the guns we sell. Red gas is also available, but is not recommended for most applications.
 


 


Hop-Up


 


Be sure to follow the gun manufacturer's directions on how to adjust the Hop-Up of your weapon. Depending on the weapon's velocity, most guns require a range of at least 30 yards to properly set a Hop-Up and achieve as flat a trajectory as possible. Trying to set your Hop-Up in a shorter distance is not recommended.

Most Automatic Electric Guns (AEG's) have very sensitive Hop-Up adjustments. Very little movement of the adjustment wheel or arm causes very large variations in a BB's trajectory.

Some Hop-Up mechanisms can be moved and shifted even as the gun is being fired.

Many factors can affect your gun's trajectory: cleanliness of the barrel, quality or brand of BB's, the weight of the BB's, wind, humidity, and air density. Never assume your gun will fire the same way anywhere, anytime! Expect to reset the Hop-Up periodically, especially when any of the above variables change.
 


 


Loading Magazines


 



Be sure to thoroughly read the owners manual before loading magazines. Make sure BB's are new and clean. Dirty, or deformed BB's can cause the magazine or firing mechanisms to jam, or become permanently damaged.

Keep foreign objects, debris, and dirt away from and out of BB's and magazines.

Always remove and throw away any staples from a bag of BB's! They have been known to jam up magazines.

Occasionally lubricate your magazines by spraying a small amount of 100% silicone lubricant (NOT petroleum-based oil) into the magazine. If the magazine has been subjected to significant amounts of dirt and dust, disassemble it magazine and clean out all of the dirt and dust, if you are comfortable with doing this. If not, contact PB Sports.

High capacity magazines are fairly complex mechanisms. In order for them to feed reliably, they require a load of at least 50 BB's, and there will always be at least 20 BB's left in the magazine when it quits firing. A fully wound magazine will typically shoot 50%-75% of the magazine's full capacity before requiring rewinding. You can over wind high capacity magazines; if the winding wheel is clicking, it is over wound. If a high capacity magazine jams, tap the side of the magazine sharply against a solid, flat surface. This will often un-jam the winding wheel.


Motor Adjustment



On weapons with this feature, a key component of proper functioning is the Motor Height Set-Screw. This small hex screw (usually 1.5mm in width) is located at the end of motor housing, typically located in the grip of the gun. This screw ensures that the motor is set the proper distance from the gears in the gearbox. If the motor is too close or too far from the 'Bevel Gear' in the gearbox, the gun will produce a whining sound. In extreme cases, an improperly setscrew will cause the gun to jam, break the gear, or strip the pinion gear on the head of the motor.

Motor height is set in place by the factory, however after use, the spinning of the motor may cause the setscrew to tighten or loosen from its original position. If unusual noises begin coming from the gearbox adjust the Motor Height Set Screw into its proper position.

A high-pitched whining sound generally indicates the motor height is too low. To correct this, turn the setscrew clockwise to raise the motor up. Do this slowly while firing the gun in semi-automatic mode. Listen for a flat, consistent sound similar to the one the weapon made when it was new. Once this sound is achieved this, leave the screw in place.

A high-pitched, grinding sound generally indicates the motor is too high, or has been adjusted too far. Turn the screw counterclockwise to lower the motor while firing in semi-automatic mode. Again, listen for a flat, consistent sound coming from the motor and gears.

The key to adjusting the motor height is to minimize any sounds coming from the motor and gearbox. If your are having to adjust this often on your gun, PB Sports suggests using a VERY small amount of 271 Loc-Tite on the screw.


Repair & Upgrades



Gun repairs not described above should only be performed by a skill individual or experienced Airsoft technician.  Airsoft guns are designed to perform within certain parameters and tolerances. Changes made to these parameters and tolerances are not recommended and are done at the owner's own risk. Alteration to the gun's internal parts may cause excessive wear and tear, and possibly breakage. Alteration to the gun's internals voids all factory warranties. Consult with us for more information regarding gun upgrades. These upgrades include internal springs and gear boxes, barrels, motors, and batteries of a different voltage. Contact PB Sports regarding any internal upgrades you are considering.
 


Un-Jamming




Airsoft guns typically jam due to excessive dirt in the barrel, dirty BB's, deformed BB's, improper weight BB’s, foreign objects in the magazine/barrel, or overly tight Hop-Up. In extreme cases, a gun can jam due to a damaged or deformed internal part. If a BB jams in the gun stop firing immediately. Continued firing may result in a broken gear or piston, which can be expensive or impossible to repair, depending on your gun. To remove a jammed BB, remove the magazine and use the opposite end of the cleaning rod (the tip with the slanted angle) that came with the weapon. Turn the Hop-Up off and insert the slanted end of the cleaning rod into the barrel. Do not forget to turn the Hop-Up off. Turn the gun upside down, look into the magazine slot, and gently force the BB back into the area of the magazine well. DO NOT use excessive force to un-jam a BB as this can cause the Hop-Up rubber to dislodge. Once the BB(s) have been cleared from the barrel, test fire the gun without any BB's or a magazine in it. If the gun sounds fine, test fire it again with BB's. If jamming persists, contact PB Sports regarding repairs.

 

Questions & Other Help

Should you have questions or need additional information, please contact PB Sports. Our contact information can be found on the Contact Us link.