Intro: How to Clean an Airsoft GBBR (WE M14 EBR)
In this instructable, you will learn my preferred method for cleaning my gas blow back airsoft rifle. While for this instructable, I am using a WE M14 EBR as my example rifle seen in the pictures, these basic techniques can be used on any gas airsoft rifle. Do not follow this guide for AEGs, or Spring powered rifles, as the internal parts and method of operation are much different.
Keeping your gas airsoft rifle clean is key to its performance in the field. A dirty rifle not only performs worse, but an end up damaging important parts of your rifle in the long run. The following is my method for cleaning my rifle. There are many different approaches to airsoft rifle maintenance out there, but this is a method that works for me, and hopefully for you to consider. Again, I am going to specifically be going over maintenance of the WE M14, but the concepts can be applied to other gas airsoft rifles as well.
Let's get started.
Step 1: Step 1: Set Up a Clean Work Space, and Gather Needed Tools.
While you can always do this in the field to fix a BB jam, or troubleshoot a broken rifle, it is important that you clear an area as best as possible before you begin, otherwise risking further dirt and debris getting in to the internals of your gun, which can hurt performance, or even damage the gun.
These are the tools that I use when cleaning my WE M14:
1. Mostly clean rag
2. Silicon Oil
3. Barrel Cleaning Rod
4. Small pieces of cloth (to clean the inner barrel)
5. Isopropyl Alcohol
6. Q-tips (optional)
Once you have everything laid out and organized, its time to start breaking the gun down.
Step 2: Step 2: Take Off All Accessories (optional)
First, remove all accessories, and set them aside for cleaning (if you wish) or just until we have reassembled the rifle. You can leave your accessories on if they wont interfere with accessing the the inner parts of the rifle.
Step 3: Step 3: Break Down the Gun
Carefully dismantle the rifle so that you have access to, and can remove all of the basic operating parts (ie the barrel and hop-up assembly, the trigger box, and the bolt mechanism). You do not have to completely dismantle the gun for routine maintenance.
If you have never taken your rifle apart before, I would recommend following a video on YouTube, or an instruction set based on that once or twice so you are familiar with your rifle and how to put it back together.
As you disassemble your rifle, layout the parts in an organized fashion, and keep track of all your screws.
In may case, I am only going to remove the trigger box, since I can access all of the areas I need to clean without fully stripping the rifle.
Step 4: Step 4: Clean the Rifle
I would recommend breaking this task down into smaller parts. Here's how I approach it:
1. The exterior parts, or the non moving parts and magazine.
2. The trigger box
3. The bolt and slide mechanism
4. The barrel and hop up assembly
Starting with #1:
Take your rag, and wipe away all dirt and debris from the outside of the rifle. Usually dampening the rag a little will help. This adds to the overall appearance of your rifle, and will keep that dirt from finding its way to an essential part.
For the magazine, make sure the area around the gas valve is clear of dirt and debris. If it is dirty, some of the debris could end up in the barrel once you load and fire the rifle. The same goes for the BB reservoir, and area where the BBs load into the barrel.
The trigger box is one of the essential components of your airsoft rifle. Without it, you basically have a fancy stick. If you see any dirt or debris inside the trigger box, try to clear it out with a Q-yip, a rag, or even compressed air if you have it. Since this component is usually the first one to fail on the WE M14, be sure to check it for damage whenever you clean it. Cracks or serious damage anywhere means failure is eminent, and its time to order a replacement.
If it is in good shape, take your silicon oil spray, and make sure that all moving parts are generously lubricated. Proper maintenance of this part of the rifle can significantly improve its lifetime.
The bolt and slide catch most of the dirt and debris trying to get in to your rifle. Clean are the cracks and crevices with your rag, but be sure to re-oil what you wiped up. Most of those cracks and crevices are sliding parts in the bolt mechanism, and need to stay well lubricated with silicon oil to function as intended.
The barrel and hopup assembly is the most important when it comes to rifle performance. Keeping these areas clean will ensure that your rifle performs as well as it did on day 1.
**NOTE: There are many different schools of thought on how to clean a barrel for a GBB rifle. Some people prefer silicon oil in their barrels, others, including myself, prefer to have absolutely nothing in my barrel (given that it is already a tight bore 6.01), which is why I use isopropyl alcohol.
Begin by taking your un-jamming / cleaning rod, and placing a small piece of cloth, or commercial barrel cleaning pad through the opening at one end. The size of the cloth pad depends on what you use, mine was rather thick, so only a very small strip could fit.
Then, place your barrel assembly either in your lap or on a table, so that it is angled, with the hop up at the higher elevation. This is important because we are using isopropyl alcohol. If any of the alcohol drains down the barrel onto the hop up rubber, the rubber will dry out, and wont perform as well, or may even be ruined if this is done repeatedly.
Next, run the cleaning rod through the barrel, starting from the open end without the hop up assembly, and push it down until you see it at the other end of the barrel. Remember not to push past the barrel, and keep the barrel elevated until all of the alcohol dries. To help with getting the right amount of cleaning rod in the barrel, I mark off a point on the rod by moving it up the barrel without any alcohol on it, and then marking a a spot just before the rod comes out of the other end, This way, I know where to stop when I'm applying the alcohol, and I don't damage my hop up rubber.
Repeat this process as many times as needed until your barrel appears clean (ie no more dirt or markings on the cleaning cloth)
Now that everything is looking brand new, its time to put the gun back together.
Step 5: Step 5: Reassembly
While being sure not to get your newly cleaned parts dirty again, reassemble your rifle. If you need help, there are plenty of videos and forum posts on the internet that show assembly / reassembly or many airsoft gun models, including this one.
Step 6: Step 6: Enjoy!
And there you have it. One fully assembled and cleaned airsoft rifle. If the rifle isn't performing as you'd expected, there was most likely an error in the reassembly step, so make sure you didn't forget any parts, or put something back on incorrectly.
I personally clean my rifles after every outing, but the choice is ultimately up to you. I would recommend cleaning it more often than not, in order to keep performance up, and avoid expensive repair costs that can come from dirty and damaged parts.
Have fun out there, and play safe!