When a new Airsoft hobbyist asks about gas guns on various forums, they usually get frightening responses about the amount of care necessary to keep a GBB pistol running. We emphasize the importance of maintenance quite heavily as well, because we would rather not have customers to run into problems with anything they buy from us.
The manuals are unfortunately in Japanese most of the time, and people turn away from them despite the excellent illustrations provided. Despite being written in an odd language with odd symbols, the illustrations are highly useful when you figure out various features of the weapon. We urge even more experienced players to read through the manual at least once. For example, did you know it's easier to fill Tokyo Marui magazines from below instead of through the feed lips?
One could say GBB maintenance is a bit of an exaggerated boogie man. In other words, it's really not that complicated or critical, but gas operated weapons are not as low maintenance as AEGs are. For an AEG - especially a stock Tokyo Marui - cleaning the barrel every now and then is advisable to maintain the accuracy, but other than that they can run up to and over 30 000 rounds without missing a beat.
Unlike with a real firearm, shooting a GBB means you're putting two things through the system: Gas and BBs. Both of them are clean (heck, HFC 134 a is also used for dusting computers and other appliances!), so there is no residue like from igniting gunpowder. The build materials being plastic and aluminum for the most part with the inner barrel of brass, rust and oxidation is not a concern. Any gunk in the weapon is a small amount of dirt from having the parts rub against each other, and foreign objects in the size range between a particle and a squirrel. People who use their handguns for skirmishing may sometimes have to hit the ground and get dirty.
What you need for cleaning a pistol is a short list:
Q-tips are sometimes handy as well
A cleaning rod is included with Tokyo Marui guns by default, but you can buy one from a local firearms shop as well. The caliber of Airsoft guns is 6 mm (.236), so you can simply buy a rod for a 5.56 mm (.223) AR-15 or .22 LR and you're good to go. Note that the brass brushes should not be used for a brass barrel, but the tip with an eyelet for a cleaning patch is perfect for Airsoft use.
It's always advised to start on a clean desk with all the necessities laid out. As a first precaution you remove the magazine and check to clear the chamber. An extra-safe routine is to check both the chamber but also look through the magazine well, because a clear chamber would be loaded as soon as you let the slide forward, if you left a magazine inside.
The field-strip varies from model to model a bit, but is easy enough to figure out for any model we can think of. If you have problems, ask before using force or the Force.
It's good to make a routine for the cleaning so you don't miss any parts. On the video we show the barrel being cleaned first, because the barrel is the most important part to clean. Silicone does not need to be sprayed inside, but you just proceed to clean it. There should be nothing in there that would take a solvent to loosen, and if there is then you should clean inner barrel separate from any other parts. A solvent that loosens tight dirt will probably attack the hop-up rubber.
The idea is to clean and lightly lube all moving parts, until the entire action runs as smooth as new. If the action is very gritty or you feel mechanical stops in the way, check for worn or broken parts. Lubrication is only good for parts that already fit together well.
There are two schools to whether you should leave gas in the magazine, or empty them after use. There is no middle ground: A bit of gas in the mag has the same pressure as a fully charged gas. Our preference in most cases is to store the magazines charged, to keep the O-rings seated better. Do note that the magazine should be stored in a cool place away from sunlight! Some of our gas pistols have had gas continuously in them for up to two years, and we are still waiting for them to show any problems... If you want to store the magazines empty, never ever dump the gas by pressing the main valve. Instead, use a ballpoint pen to press the fill valve and bleed the gas out slowly. Or the fun method: Shoot! Firing without BBs is most usually not any more so harmful to a GBB than shooting with BBs, and some models like the KWC Mini UZI and the WA M4A1 have features that specifically help you do this by deactivating the bolt stoppers.
Phew, that took a whole three minutes of your life! So how often do you need to do this? There is no definitive answer. A new pistol will "wear in" a bit, so with a new pistol it's advised to do every 200-300 rounds or so. As you use the pistol more, you will notice that after some time the pistol is quite clean already as you take it apart and wipe the parts. At that point you can reduce the frequency to around once per 1000 shots. Of course if the weapon gets dirty from external elements, clean according to need.
After each time you do the regular cleaning and lubrication, some silicone will find its way into the barrel. This won't build up so you don't have to worry about jams, but the barrel is most accurate when the bore and hop-up are clean of any lube. You can reduce the amount of silicone you use, and clean the inner barrel more often, to keep a higher level of accuracy.
If there are any questions or feedback, or you think we didn't cover some points, please don't hesitate to contact us!