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Off Season Maintenance and Preservation

Posted 01-17-2013 at 01:22 PM by LastPatton
Before we get too far past the end of the 2012 season, I would like to throw out a few tips concerning winter maintenance of our guns and gear. This by no means covers every little tip or trick that you can or should do but it definitely covers most of the basics for newer players.

Electronics

- Radios
Something that may sound like common sense but everyone forgets at some point, don't leave your radio on. Check to be sure that all of your radios are fully charged and then remove them from the chargers. Leaving fully charged radios on charge can reduce the battery life as well as cause a fire hazard. I also recommend removing radios from any vest or rig pouches. Obviously check the functionality of the radio in combination with your headset or throat mic is imperative. You should also check the wiring of all external radio devices, looking for cracks and exposed wiring.

- Batteries
If you are using a LiPo (7.4v or 11.1v) or NMh battery (most commonly used, usually 8.4v or 9.6v), fully charge the battery and then remove it from the charger. Store them in a sealable metal container in room temperature, away from extreme temperatures (cold or hot). Please, DO NOT leave them in your gun under any circumstances, this could lead to serious injury of any person who picks it up not knowing that it might be loaded or a fire/melt down in the gun.

- Sights
If you have a red dot sight, be sure to check the batteries.

Ammo

- Mid Caps
Remove all bbs from your mid cap mags, into a container of unused and same quality/weight bbs. Store the mags in a dry room temperature environment away from fluctuating temperatures (heat vents). I also recommend dropping several drops of silicone oil into each mag's internal chamber and then fully loading and unloading each mag with .20g bbs a couple times. This will keep the spring from developing rust or sticking over the winter. DO NOT store bbs in the mag for any reason.

- High Caps
Remove all bbs from your high cap mags, into a container of unused and same quality/weight bbs. Store the mags in a dry room temperature environment away from fluctuating temperatures (heat vents). I also recommend dropping several drops of silicone oil into each mag's internal feeding chamber and then loading and unloading each high cap mag with .20g bbs a couple times. This will keep the spring and winding wheel from developing rust or sticking over the winter. DO NOT store bbs in the mag for any reason.

- Speedloaders
Not much maintenance to do on these except not exposing them to extreme temperature changes and visually inspecting them for cracks or broken internal springs.

- BBs
Store all of the same brand and weight bbs together in a sealed plastic bag or container, away from moisture. Do not "recycle" already shot bbs, after being shot they can become dirty, out of round, cracked, or brittle. Shooting brittle, dirty, or cracked bbs through your barrel can cause scratches or gouges in your hop-up unit or barrel.

Guns

- AEG
The first thing to do to your AEG is to test all of its functioning parts and visually inspect the entire gun for cracks or broken pieces. This is not to say that you should take apart the entire gun looking for issues, especially if you donít know how to reassemble it but if you feel comfortable enough with a tiered disassembly, I would recommend doing so. Shoot it with and without bbs, listening for any weird or strange noises and looking for any performance issues, such as accuracy, range, or improper mag/bb feeding. Knowing that your gun is working properly when you put it away for the winter is a very reassuring feeling. However, if you do find something that needs to be addressed with the gun, you can do so out of season as well as take your time repairing it.

I think probably the most important thing to do to your AEG when putting it away is to put a few drops of silicon oil in the hop-up unit and then turn the hop-up all the way off and back on several times. This is easier to do when the hop-up unit and barrel have been removed from the gun but you can still do it while both are complete assembled in the gun. When finished lubricating the hop-up unit with silicon oil, turn and leave the hop-up completely off (this would be accomplished by turning the hop-up adjustment gear all the way to the left, for most units). Check your gun manual or ask a team member if you are unsure which direction to turn your hop-up adjustment.

The last time that you fire your AEG before taking the battery out, you should ensure that the spring in the gearbox is completely uncompressed. This can be accomplished several ways but the easiest way is to turn the gun upside down and alternate firing it between semi and full auto. While firing the gun, you should be looking into the bottom of the hop-up unit to see the nozzle from your gearbox going back and forth. You want to make the nozzle stop as far forward as possible, this will indicate that the spring is as uncompressed as possible. If you leave the spring half or fully compressed for a long period of time, you could cause the spring and gears to experience wear at a much higher rate than normal.

Something else that you can do is clean your barrel, this must be done with the hop up turned completely off. This can be done by using an un-jamming rod that normally comes with a AEG in the box when you purchased it. Put a small gun cleaning patch through the end of the un-jamming rod (there is a small slit in one end) and lubricate the patch with silicone oil. Slowly push and pull the rod through the barrel a couple times until the barrel is clean. This will help with accuracy and reduce dirt build up within the barrel.

I also recommend putting your gun in a gun bag, it doesnít have to be a hard shell case but at least put it in something that will protect it from scratches, dings, and dirt. As a side note, it is always best to transport your gun in a gun bag. The last thing you want is someone to walk up to your vehicle and see a very real looking "assault rifle" laying in your back seat.

- GBB
For GBB (Gas Blowback) pistols or rifles, remove the mag from gun, never store the mag in a gun. Release all the bbs and gas from each mag, which usually be done by pressing down on the gas release pin at the top towards the back of the mag. Lubricating the gas mag spring with silicone oil is also a very good idea. For GBBs, I recommend at least cleaning and lubricating the lower receiver and slide separately. However, if you choose to disable the entire gun, you should also inspect for lose or broken mechanical parts throughout the entire gun. Again giving you time to fix anything over the winter instead of needing to do it during the playing season.

Other Gear

- Clothing
Wash your uniform, dead rag, gloves (if applicable - check the "how to wash tag" for directions), and other applicable fabrics. Please be sure to remove anything from the pockets or shoulders including Velcro patches, bbs, and maps. They generally do not fair so well in the washer or dryer. Hang up your clothes on hangers to keep them from wrinkling or getting "musty", also visually inspect for rips, tears, or stains.

- Tactical Vests/Rigs
I also recommend removing all equipment from your rigs or vests to keep from stretching or wearing out your gear. Look for any dirt or bbs that may be stuck at the bottom of any of your pouches. Remove the camel back bladder from its pouch and wash out the bladder with soap and water, let it hang with the cap off to air dry. Look for any holes, cracks, or wear in the camel back hose and bladder that may cause leaks.

- Full Seal Eye Protection
Carefully visually inspect your full seal eye protection for signs of cracking, gaps, missing foam, and comfort. The last thing that you want is to have serious injury to your eye or face and know that you could have prevented it by inspecting your goggles and finding that large crack in the lenses. Check or replace any fan batteries for functionality.

- Grenades
Inspect any functioning grenades or sound distraction devices for broken spoons, cracked or stripped threads, O-rings, and springs.

There are several things to that you may also want to do involving your gearbox before winter but they are for much more advanced players. Feel free to comment and provide your own tricks and suggestions. If you don't agree with a suggestion, feel free to say so but make sure that you give sufficient reasoning and other recommendations. This will help everyone determine what method best works for them and help you know how to research a particular aspect of winter maintenance instead of just disagreeing with it.
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Comments

  1. Old
    iamDeath's Avatar
    Great Guide!
    Posted 01-18-2013 at 09:17 AM by iamDeath iamDeath is offline
  2. Old
    Nforcer's Avatar
    First off, great recommendations but I have to interject on the storing for the LiPos, Most manufacturers recommend to not charge your battery to 100%(4.2V) unless you will use it in the next 6 hours. It degrades the slurry. Most manufacturer recommend to charge to between 3.5V and 3.8V for storage.
    See this A&M paper http://oes.tamu.edu/web/guidelines/b...Procedures.pdf Section 3.2

    E-Flite recommends their Lipos be charged at 50%(3.8V) for storage http://www.parkzone.com/ProdInfo/Fil...tery_Guide.pdf

    Couldn't find the turnigy care and maintenance but you get the point
    Posted 01-25-2013 at 01:21 PM by Nforcer Nforcer is offline
  3. Old
    LastPatton's Avatar
    @Nforcer
    I have owned at least 8x 11.1v Lipo batteries over the last 4 years and always recharge them to full capacity no matter how much I use them. I currently only have 4x left only because I either traded or sold the others, all of them still work perfectly and I can charge them to their max capacity (1800mAh) everytime.

    Maybe its different for others but that has been my experience.
    Posted 02-06-2013 at 11:31 AM by LastPatton LastPatton is offline
 

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