Introduction: How to Supercharge Air Gun With Things in You Can Find in Your Local Pantry

Picture of How to Supercharge Air Gun With Things in You Can Find in Your Local Pantry

DISCLAIMER:do not take any responsibility for any injury, death or property damage caused by the above information and instructions. Meant for informational purposes only.

Hiya, fellow DIYers and airgun enthusiasts! NK here with a quick pellet hack to increase pellet velocity in mid to high velocity springer (break barrel) air rifles.

Spring air rifles work by pushing a spring into a locked position. The spring is released and pushes a piston forward, propelling a pellet out of the barrel with air pressure. The sudden compression of air generates intense heat, like a fire piston.

A diesel engine uses the same phenomenon to get its power--it compresses air in a cylinder and injects fuel. The fuel burns, creating a movement of the drive shaft.

This principle can be harnessed for your pellet gun to increase muzzle velocity. (I suspect that in very rare cases that YOU SHOULD NOT TRY TO REPLICATE (You could lose your face.  I am dead serious.) I seem to be getting more than 2 inches of penetration on a log (similar to a .22 LR) from a .17 cal.  This leads me to believe that the round was traveling in excess of 2,000 FPS,more than double gun's normal power.)

You will need:
Peanut oil or vegetable oil
Paper towel
Alliteration! 3 P's
Springer/breakbarrel gun (Yes, nitro piston/gas ram (NOT CO2) works too, and you guys with gas systems, you can beat the hell out of your "spring" since it is just air, but you may damage seals.  Otherwise, you may have few limits, aside from chamber rupture pressure.)

Put a few drops of peanut or other pant, not petrol oil (petroleum based oils dissolve seals which takes time and money to fix) into a tin of pellets. Shake. Put pellets out on paper towel. Carefully dab off extra oil. Load a pellet and fire. You should see some smoke when you fire. This is normal, and your gun probably does it naturally sometimes.

If you hear a very loud bang, either you have broken the sound barrier (common) or the oil has detonated (also common, and usually breaks sound barrier as well.) If your gun does not shoot over 100 fps normally, than this is bad. DO NOT DO THIS REGULARLY. It may be cool, but it is inaccurate, as the shock wave catches up with the pellet as it gets slower, making it tumble. It also can blow up barrels if repeated with a lot of fuel or very often. In less extreme detonations, it may recock (bad) or break the spring and main seals (also bad. Duh...) So just towel them off again until you get smoke but not a very loud crack.

If your pellet gun can shoot beyond the sound barrier with super light pellets, like raptors, than the loud sound is just a sonic boom and is fine. You should still tone down oil for accuracy's sake. If your gun can fire beyond sound barrier with normal lead pellets, than go ahead. You will be far enough above to get good accuracy with peanut oil. Probably better than without since the sonic boom takes longer to catch up to a faster pellet. But unless your gun can do it with whatever pellets you are using sans oil, don't. If your gun can break sound barrier with ultralight, still don't, because this coupled with ultralight is bad for spring.  You can do this with a gas ram system, however, since they have no spring to worry about.

Step 1: Safety and Tips for Goin' Easy on Gun and Accuracy

Safety:Never try putting fuel directly in the compression cylinder or barrel.  This could cause ruptures and serious injury.  be extra careful!  This turns a pellet gun into a hybrid firearm!  And as with all breakbarrels, load in pellet before cocking gun to avoid smooshing fingers.

1)Dry pellet by shaking and dumping on paper towel.  Wipe off the inside of empty tin.  Dab pellets.  Put in tin and shake. Repeat until the pellets do not make a supersonic boom after firing ten shots.  Shake tin avery five well aimed shots or every two very well aimed shots.  Or just shake every two min.  This re-disperses oil, resulting in more consistent muzzle velocity.

2)You will know a detonation when you hear one.  It will usually come coupled with a supersonic crack, but unlike a normal supersonic crack, the initial bang is much louder.  When a shot goes supersonic, two things make loud noises: the initial bang of gas escaping the muzzle, (that is the bang from a normal subsonic shit)  

The second bang is the shockwave behind the pellet.  The shockwave is what causes destabilization, as mentioned earlier.  Anyway, in a detonation, the initial bang is very loud.  You will be able to tell these apart, almost certainly.

When a detonation occurs, a great deal of force is exerted.  I have had one shot where the skirt of the pellet was separated from the head.  The head rocketed forward and went through an incredible two inches of solid tree.  The skirt Flew out as shrapnel, but a little bit was forced through the thin crack created by the barrel meeting the powerplant.  Molten. Inside the gun.  Bad.  Avoid detonation.  really.  

One more side note:  The official definition of detonation is a combustion reaction that propagates faster than the speed of sound in a given substrate.  I am not sure if this is what happens during and airgun "detonation" , but this is the most widely used term.  If it were a true detonation, the brisance (shattering ability) is high.  This means that a work hardened or high carbon steel may fracture and fly off in a badly designed gun.  

I find it likely that it could indeed be a true detonation for two reasons: the gas all reaches ignition temperature at almost exactly the same time.  This results in an incredibly fast ignition, and possibly a detonation.   Reason two is that a gas deflagration (burn) can breach the sound barrier when it encounters turbulence (such as the constriction from pressure cylinder to barrel, as well as the skirt of pellet.  Also, the chamber is so small by the time the gas ignites from that the flame probably rebounds across the chamber at unimaginable speed.    


Nightkilla (author)2014-01-22

This is my first Instructable! Please comment on your results!

kissreconarmy (author)Nightkilla2017-09-14

so what is the difference in pellets?

61jason61 (author)Nightkilla2015-05-21

Youncould just buy napier power pellet lube which is designed for air gun pellets, same job, same results but NO DANGER. £3 BOTTLE DIRT CHEAP

kissreconarmy (author)2017-09-14

ok so what would happen to the rifle? just wondering I was trying to load an air rifle and I smashed my pinky finger loading the air compressor

AaezI (author)2017-03-27

Tried this today and it worked great! I use a think metal plate as a
target sometimes and no pellets have ever gone through it. Tried this
and it made a clean hole in the plate! Definitely not good for my gun,
the seals are turning black after only a few shots, but its just a $70
rifle so I don't care much. One more thing: ITS LOUD! My neighbors
definitely won't be too happy...

ZiyaadK (author)2016-10-21

thanks for the awesome advice, i have a .22 rifle which fires at approx 850 fps and the guy at store said another customer said he used to soak his pellets overnight in diesel.i see now from what youve said that this cant be a safe practice

RhysH10 (author)2016-10-02

Air rifles that fire lead ammo are self lubricating, after the first 1500 shots or so, a thin layer of lead will coat the barrel, allowing pellets to slip through the barrel easier. Napier pellet lube is just engine flush for cars, packaged in tiny bottles and charged the same amount as for a whole bottle of engine flush. Do not use any products of any kind to.lube pellets, not even vegetable based oils, I'm sure you've seen what happens when a frying pan gets too hot. Plus, any kind of look on a pellet is going to get blown back through the transfer port, creating the conditions for detonation inside the cylinder, not a good idea. If you want your airgun to shoot faster, tune it, upgrade the spring and piston, and use light grain pellets. The only "lube" needed for air rifles is on moving, for that you should use lithium or moly grease, but very sparingly. Although it won't detonate, it will catch dust, fluff etc, and gunk up the mechanicals.

AlexisL18 (author)RhysH102016-10-02

The goal of this is not to lubricate the gun. It is to produce a detonation. This is a very easy (if damaging) way to increase pellet velocity as needed, while enabling you to keep sub-sonic velocity most of the time.

As I'm sure you know, as you are evidently very smart, pellets travelling supersonic speeds are rather unstable. Thus supersonic airguns are quite inaccurate. The ability to raise speed to supersonic for a single shot (say, for vermin hunting) is useful. A full tuneup and spring replacement is a permanent change, and limits the range of capabilities.

I would never do this on a several-hundred-dollar gun. That would be a terrible idea. It's a fun trick for a low-end rig like the Beeman RS2, though.

It's also worth noting that 1) most powerful airguns get a fair fraction of their power from dieseling (this was tested by comparing when charged with nitrogen vs air). 2) Light pellets can be just as bad for the gun as dieseling, and even less stable and 3) A spring replacement or gun-tuning requires a fair bit of skill, time, money and commitment. This is often impractical, especially if you only want supersonic velocities for a short time.

charding1 (author)2016-06-07

diesel fuel or if u want to get all crazy buy a little nitro fuel for gas rc cars. Stuff explodes under pressure like diesel

Kevin Lincoln (author)2016-05-16

lets make real one

Pranks1 (author)2016-05-01

Awesome and youre hot af

Nightkilla (author)Pranks12016-05-01

Hehe thanks. I've gotten better. The photo is a year old. Updating it now.

Pranks1 (author)Nightkilla2016-05-02

Awesome! love the spiked collar! have you made anything lately?

abels12 (author)2016-02-21

does this work on a black ops (1,200fps)

alu_cilveeks (author)2015-11-25

Well, muzzle brake can deal with sonic wave following the pellet, it village disperse most of air, leaving less of air to follow. It won't take away all of it, but most likely will increase accuracy, without power reduction

stvef (author)2015-07-30

picapicapica (author)2015-07-01

German Natioalist (author)2015-06-25

Virgin olive oil works best, it does not gunk. I have a Browning. 660 FPS it is .ow wellover 800, thanks


Many of gun-smith will disagree with olive oil for the fact they will not being able to sell their petroleum based lubricant. Try it you will need be dissapointed especially in break barrel and air pellet-bb ammo. I've bee doing this for years with all my weapons. In the subzero weather when ordinary lubricants break down and freeze, olivr oil with a few drops gasoline will not break down the lubricants. Try it you will be amazed. God bless GN

61jason61 (author)2015-05-21

Buy napier power pellet lube (£3/$5 )

RafałH (author)2015-04-23

What do you think about this product. One of the cheapest is it worth it?

tetra28 (author)2014-09-06

I have a crosman raven pellet gun (break barrel) that shoots 600 fps with lead pellets, do you thing it would be safe to use this? Also, can you use olive oil? I don't have any peanut oil.

Nightkilla (author)tetra282014-09-07

Huh. Looks like it may work. it may, however, not generate a high enough pressure. I think olive oil has a higher flash point, so it may not even ignite. But, in principle, it should. Give it a shot. No pun intended.

It should be safe, but don't take my word for it. Look at your gun and decide for yourself. Wear eye protection and fire first shot from afar, with a vice and string. Better safe than sorry. I bet you are attached to you fingers.

joseph.staljin (author)2014-08-28

Very nice instructable Nightkilla.Comprehensive, all steps well explained and most of all you predicted some of the FAQ¨s and answered to them while explaining the whole thing.



Thanks! A TON!

You are most wellcome...

gemoney (author)2014-06-07

Can I use this in a bolt action airsoft gun

Nightkilla (author)gemoney2014-06-08

Well, the piston is much smaller and less powerful. The compression ratio is reduced, meaning that the heat required probably will not be generated. Unless you have to put about 200lbs into pulling back the bolt, then no dice.

gemoney (author)2014-04-28

well ik for sure that it's not a break-barrel and it's pretty weak because it shoots at 500 fps so will it work

Nightkilla (author)gemoney2014-04-29

Well, read how this process works--with a piston from a breakbarrel. A pump or CO2 gun does not (should not--if it does, that is bad) generate much heat. Sorry.

gemoney (author)2014-04-22

could I use this hack on my 4.5 mm BB gun

Nightkilla (author)gemoney2014-04-23

Maybe. Search up "breakbarrel air-rifle." If your gun uses the same mechanism as what you find, then yes, you can. Another easy way is to see if your gun shoots over 800fps. If it does, than it is probably breakbarrel, meaning you can use it. But be warned, if done improperly, it can damage the gun, your property or you.

Theocrat777 (author)2014-01-23

Interesting, albiet dangerous, instructable. I would like to see someone with a chronograph compare actual velocities with and without the oil. Also, I wouldn't want to try this experiment on an break barrel that you would be heart-broken if you ruined. Although I am not a physics major, you may be onto something when you are discussing how this could grossly destablize the pellet and hurt the accuracy. My guess is since break-barrels are designed totally different than rimfire rifles, any ignition that occurs is secondary in the propulsion of the round and not contained, by the brass shell, like a rimfire rifle is. So yes, even if you tightly control every other factor, the rifle itself may give you radically different results from round to round. Which is another reason why this project may be interesting for experimenting with and recording results, it is not something that sounds like it would give you an edge if you are trying to increase velocity to kill small game with accuracy being much more important than velocity in this case.

Anyway, thanks for sharing!

Nightkilla (author)Theocrat7772014-03-08

Oh, someone has. Search up dieseling airgun, and you will find it eventually. They used a vacuum pump to pump out oxygen and reintroduced nitrogen to stop the reaction. FPS dropped off by more than a thrid.

Nightkilla (author)Theocrat7772014-01-23

Hi, and thanks for the comment! It is not dangerous with a thick barreled gun, like an RS2, but it may damage the gun. As long as no-one tries using aerosolized fuel or something of the like, or liquid O2, it should be fine. Worst case scenario, the piston is pushed back all the way to reset or breaks, but the chamber gives. Also, the breech seal could pop, letting out addition gas. Also, most guns use a primer high explosive, which has far more power than a thin coating of oil, and even with a bunch if nitrocellulose soaked in nitroglycerin, guns usually don't explode. Also, my gun was a cheap $100 gun. Anyway, a big air piston would handle it even better, so the more expensive, the better.

I agree, it is almost useless, but most powerful break barrels do it anyway. This just enhances it. But definitely don't exceed sound without good margin. Also, it is more useful for taking down things like possums and other bigger targets, not little ones.

Also, another interesting idea to try with a gun and some bulletproof glass to hide behind: Filling the skirt of a special type of pellet, like a mini ball slug from the civil war, with PETN or a small primer minus the anvil might add a tremendous speed boost. Only with an air-spring and a seal made of rhino bedliner though, otherwise it will total the gun.

One more: A pellet like the mini ball, but with a hollow-point shape and containing PETN with a BB on top.

JoMoFroBro (author)2014-03-07

Oh, I understand. Either way, be careful. And I'm just wondering here: technically any rifle you do this in is now powered by an explosion rather than pure air pressure, so technically this fits under the category of firearm. If I'm correct, then anyone without a firearms licence is firing it illegally. I might be wrong, but it's worth checking up on that

Nightkilla (author)JoMoFroBro2014-03-08

Yup. Technically true, however, most spring guns capable of doing this already do when you first get them (barrel and piston lubricants), and so already would be considered firearms if this were true. Conversely, airguns designed specifically to do this are considered firearms. However, most police would not (1) know it was a firearm (2) care, since it is a bb gun or even notice if you used it in a safe place and manner. But point taken, and yes, it is.

JoMoFroBro (author)2014-03-05

Hey man, not trying to be negative here, but this is a very bad idea. This is a technique commonly used by air gun manufacturers to get the velocity up to make the gun seem more powerful called dieseling. It will seriously damage the rifling in the barrel, resulting in EXTREMELY poor accuracy. It will also damage the breach seals which will significantly reduce velocity. I would seriously not recommend trying this if you want your air gun to last. As stated previously, I'm not trying to criticise your work, just putting this warning out there.

Nightkilla (author)JoMoFroBro2014-03-06

Yeah, but that happens upon detonation. There is a common misconception that dieseling is bad, but it is actually detonation of the fuel that is bad. It is discussed above how to reduce likelihood of detonations.

About This Instructable



Bio: I like makeup too... but things exploding is cool.
More by Nightkilla:How to supercharge air gun with things in you can find in your local pantryPaper black powder/ pyrodex mini cannon
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